Thursday, Nov. 17: NHL players in the 2018 Olympics?

Thursday, Nov. 17: NHL players in the 2018 Olympics?

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while wondering where this Kevin Durant heel turn is coming from. That was some cold-hearted stuff he had for Drake in his postgame interview last night after the Canadian singer did his Spike Lee imitation on the sidelines at the Raptors game. 

*Elliotte Friedman has his always easily digestible 30 thoughts for the week, including a deep dive on the NHL’s potential participation in the 2018 Olympics. 

*Eric Staal is turning out to be the steal of the NHL free agency period as one of the leading scorers for the Minnesota Wild. 

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle on the army guys, and outside-the-box thinkers, helping to build up the Florida Panthers, though their 8-7-1 start to the season hasn’t been one to thump their collective chests about. 

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has Steven Stamkos out indefinitely with a knee injury, and the Lightning just looking to get through it. 

*Speaking of injuries, Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau has a broken finger that will require surgery and keep him out of the lineup for a longer period of time as well. 

*At least the Rangers have some good injury news with Chris Kreider close to a return to the Blueshirts lineup.

*Michael Felger thinks things seem to be different for the Bruins this season, and there is ample evidence to back that up. 

*For something completely different: a look at the first two albums of Stevie Nicks’ solo career that have been reissued over the last month. She was excellent as the headline act with the Pretenders at TD Garden the other night. 



Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

The Bruins have managed to take three of a possible six points since Zdeno Chara went down in the third period of last week's comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've done it completely without their top pairing since Charlie McAvoy has also been out all this time.

There are a number of factors behind the ability to withstand the injuries, of course, and the entire defense corps was stellar at both ends in the shutout win over Tampa Bay last weekend.


But it's Torey Krug who's really stepped up his game. He had three assists and 15 shots on net in those three games, and was immense in the win over the Lightning.

Krug has surpassed the 50-point plateau for the second straight season, a major accomplishment for a defenseman who prides himself on his puck-moving and power-play work.

"You know, he has [stepped up]," coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krug, adding: "Torey is always going to get his numbers, but he's really added to it 5-on-5 . . . [It] was comforting to see that [without Chara and McAvoy] we shut out one of the best teams [in the NHL], at home, that was rested. You've got to take something out of that. It was one of 82 [games], but that was a real positive for our guys."

For Krug, the challenge of stepping up and being a leader in the team's time of need is the kind of thing he takes pride in responding to with an elevated level of play.

"I'm in the business of winning hockey games and helping my team win," said Krug. "It falls on my shoulders to produce some offense from the back end. And [when] we're missing a couple of guys from the back end that do that push the pace, then you've got to step up and make some plays. When you play with a lot of great players then you'll get your points, and you just need to worry about the defensive zone first.

"We're confident in everybody in this room. A lot of people think that the guys on our back end can't get the job done, so for us to step up [is a good thing]."


The biggest sign of Krug's increased responsibility? He topped 26 minutes of ice time in two of the three games since Chara was injured. Only once before, when he was on the ice for 27-plus minutes against the Rangers in early November, has he played more than that.

The loss of Chara and McAvoy has forced Krug to go above and beyond his normal range of duties and he's stepped up and embraced it. That's what good players on good teams do, and it's something Krug has consistently done in the big moments since arriving in Boston five years ago.


Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

File Photo

Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.