3 p.m.: With the team on its way to New York for a game Wednesday against the Rangers, here are some further notes and quotes from the locker room following practice:
–Defenseman Brian Dumoulin for the first time addressed his goal Saturday in Toronto that got waved off by a goalie interference penalty. “I thought I did everything I could to avoid it, but it is what it is. No goal. It’s over,” he said. Yeah, but what about the slick move he made on the play? “I don’t know. I just kind of did it. It’s something that presented itself and it’s something that happened.”
–More Dumoulin, on Washington’s Alex Ovechkin getting his 600th career goal: “He’s definitely one of the best. He can score from any angle, anywhere. Whenever he has the puck coming on the rush he’s always a threat to score from the blue line in. He’s the type of guy that can change the game just by himself.”
—Bryan Rust, on the hit into the boards by Philadelphia’s Robert Hagg that resulted in a concussion: “I watched it over and over. Maybe he left his feet a little, but that will happen in games. He definitely didn’t hit me high. Just caught in a bad spot. Those things happen.”
—Sidney Crosby, on former teammate and close friend Marc-Andre Fleury picking up his 400th career win Monday night in his season with expansion Vegas: “Really happy for him. That’s an amazing number and shows the consistency he’s had over his career. Not many goalies come into the league at 18, 19 years old. That’s a lot of pressure. It just speaks to the consistency he’s had – and he’s missed a lot of time, too, so it could probably be higher if he hadn’t missed so much time.”
12:35 p.m.: Coach Mike Sullivan delivered some upbeat news. Goaltender Matt Murray took full shots before practice (he had been facing controlled shots) and will travel with the team, which plays on the road the next two nights. The other player recovering from a concussion, winger Bryan Rust, was cleared for contact midway through practice and is optimistic he will be able to travel, although that had not been determined.
One strong impression from the locker room: The players are on a mission to promote center Evgeni Malkin for the Hart Trophy as league MVP. Phil Kessel even held a rare interview session and hit hard on that topic.
We will have more notes, and some quote”s, later in the afternoon. First is a little civic duty, as in voting.
11:25 a.m.: And we have the standard defensive pairings:
Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Jamie Oleksiak-Justin Schultz
Olli Maatta-Chad Ruhwedel
11:20 a.m.: In a later drill, Bryan Rust switched out of his gray jersey into a regular, gold one and participated in drills on the third line with Derick Brassard and Phil Kessel. The newer fourth line had Riley Sheahan between Josh Jooris and Carter Rowney, with Tom Kuhnhackl outside looking in.
11:05 a.m.: Injured goaltender Matt Murray and injured wingers Dominik Simon and Zach Aston-Reese are still absent from practice. An early drill showed these lines, with no surprises (no defense pairings yet):
Conor Sheary-Sidney Crosby-Jake Guetzel
Carl Hagelin-Evgeni Malkin-Patric Hornqvist
Riley Sheahan-Derick Brassard-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Josh Jooris-Carter Rowney
10:50 a.m.: Injured winger Bryan Rust is on the ice in a gray (non-contact, we assume) jersey as players are warming up for practice in Cranberry.
10:00 a.m.: The Pittsburgh Penguins begin preparations for a road-back-to-back today at the Lemieux Complex in Cranberry. The Penguins visit a pair of teams out of the playoff race, the New York Rangers tomorrow and the Montreal Canadiens Thursday. Our Shelly Anderson will be on the scene. Refresh this page often for updates.
–Monday Alex Ovechkin reached rarified air. Is it Ovi or Ovie? Ovechkin, 32, scored his 600th goal, becoming the third youngest to reach the plateau, behind Wayne Gretzky who was 27, and Mario Lemieux who was 31. Ovechkin is the fourth to reach the mark and sixth to do so with one team.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 13, 2018
Oh by the way, Washington beat Winnipeg 3-2. But who cares about the team? The Capitals lead the Penguins by one point, with one game in hand, in the Metro Division.
—Marc-Andre Fleury delivered a little help to his former team, as well. Fleury was brilliant–absolutely brilliant–and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. The Flyers squeezed off 40 shots as Fleury taunted them with a myriad of glove saves and poke checks followed snow angels. Fleury became the 13th goalie to win 400 games. Martin Brodeur is the all-time leader with 691 wins. Patrick Roy is second with 551. Roberto Luongo is the active leader with 467.
Fleury, 33, would need to average 40 wins per year until he was 40 to pass Brodeur. Amazing.
—Alex Wenneberg had four points and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat Montreal 5-2. The Blue Jackets have won five in a row. They are the Eastern Conference top wild card, one point ahead of New Jersey and four points ahead of the Florida Panthers. The Panthers still have three games in hand. (Will they ever play those games? Will Panthers fans ever show up? Will the newspapers acknowledge their existence? Would they look good in light blue with a fleur de lis?)