In this morning’s roundup of notable NHL morning headlines: Evgeni Malkin’s impressive preseason…Jaroslav Halak hopes for a bounce-back season…Pekka Rinne cut during preseason game…Trying to light a fire under Valtteri Filppula…Jose Theodore’s shaky Panthers debut…Change in nutrition for NHL players…”The Moneypuck revolution”.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: reports Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin has been tearing it up in preseason play, suggesting he may be returning to form as an elite player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s good news for Malkin, who’s coming off season-ending knee surgery, and the Penguins, who’ll need Malkin to return to elite status with team captain Sidney Crosby possibly missing the start of the season to lingering post-concussion symptoms.
STLTODAY.COM: reports Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak has better prepared himself for the long grind of being a season-long starting goalie, including improved fitness, and working with Blues goalie coach Corey Hirsch on mental preparation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was expected last season Halak would struggle to adjust to being a full-time starter after spending the previous two seasons splitting duties with Carey Price in Montreal. I daresay we’ll see a better, consistent effort from Halak this season, which will be crucial to the Blues post-season hopes.
EXAMINER.COM: reports Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne received a twelve-stitch cut along the eyebrow of his right after after taking a shot from Winnipeg Jets forward Bryan Little off his mask during Saturday’s Jets-Predators preseason tilt. The shot bent the cage in his mask.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fortunately, Rinne didn’t suffer a more serious injury, though he finished the game on the bench after being stitched up.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: reports Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula’s teammates are hoping to fire him up, thinking it might finally result in improved production from him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have moved Filppula to the wing and matched him with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen. If he doesn’t see a significant improvement in his production playing with those guys, then we can write off those hopes of his netting more than 40 points per season.
SUN-SENTINEL.COM: reports veteran goalie Jose Theodore struggled in his first preseason game with the Florida Panthers, giving up two early PP goals and three more goals in the third as the Panthers fell 5-3 to Tampa Bay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Theodore is considered the de facto starter for the Panthers this season. It’s too early to panic over how he’ll perform over the course of the regular season, but he’ll obviously need to put forth a better effort following this less-than-memorable debut.
DENVER POST: Adrian Dater reports on how much nutrition and diet have changed for Colorado Avalanche players in particular, and NHL players in general, over the past twenty years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gone are the days when some players would smoke between periods, retire to a bar after a game for a couple of cold beers, and had a passing acquaintance with good nutrition. Today’s high performance, high conditioned players follow strict nutritional diets, even during the off-season.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle recently reported on the slow -but steady – growth of advanced statistical analysis in how today’s general managers conduct their business.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m a little tardy posting up this one, and for that I apologize. The science of in-depth statistical analysis can be a bit mind-numbing for some fans -myself included – but it’s certainly something which is gradually gaining acceptance in pro hockey beyond just “stats wonks”.