Crosby a Game-Time Decision to Play, Bruins’ Subban to Start, Backes Out & More News

Crosby a Game-Time Decision Against Panthers

The Pittsburgh could be playing their first game of 2016-17 with captain Sidney Crosby in the lineup. The star forward is considered a game-time decision for Tuesday’s matchup against the Florida Panthers.

The 2016 Stanley Cup champions have been without Crosby for the first six games of the season after he suffered a concussion during a practice just before regular season play began.

Evgeni Malkin (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Evgeni Malkin (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The Penguins won their first two games of the season but have dropped three of their last four contests and been outscored a combined 15-7 in the process.

Matt Cullen, Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist are tied for the team-lead with five points through six games. Phil Kessel, Malkin, Hornqvist and Scott Wilson pace the Penguins with two goals — not the sort of scoring expected early on in the season as the team looks to repeat as Stanley Cup champions for the first time since the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back Cups in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

The Penguins are 3-2-1 and second in the Metropolitan Division with seven points.

Crosby, 29, had a slow start to 2015-16 and was at less than a point per game pace before a strong finish in the second half of the season helped propel the Penguins into the playoffs. He finished the regular season with 36 goals and 49 assists in 80 games and went on to play some of the best all-around hockey of his career in the postseason as he helped the Penguins to the team’s first Stanley Cup since 2009. After winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in the playoffs, he followed with an MVP performance at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, leading Team Canada to the tournament’s title.

Bruins’ Subban to Start, Khudobin and Backes Out

The Boston Bruins will be starting goaltender Malcolm Subban against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, according to Bruins head coach Claude Julien.

Malcolm Subban
Malcolm Subban (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Subban was called up from the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins after current starter Anton Khudobin went down with an injury at practice on Monday. Khudobin suffered an upper-body injury and is expected to be out three weeks, according to the NHL club on Tuesday.

Khudobin has started two games this season and was considered the team’s starter as “general soreness” has continued to keep Tuukka Rask out of the lineup. In 2016-17, Khudobin has posted a 0-2-0 record with a 4.10 goals against average and an .849 save percentage.

The Bruins recalled goaltender Zane McIntyre on an emergency basis to back up Subban.

Subban, 22, has one game of NHL experience — a game he started against the St. Louis Blues in 2014-15 — but was pulled after letting in three goals on three straight shots to start the second period. It was not the sort of start he wanted, but he will look to rebound with this opportunity after the team’s other goaltenders have gone down with injuries.

Subban was drafted by the Bruins 24th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and has played 99 games in Providence the past four seasons, posting a 45-31-15 record.

The Bruins have also been battling injuries to other players to start 2016-17.

David Bckes Boston Bruins
David Backes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Adam McQuaid missed the first five games of the season with an upper-body injury but was cleared by the Bruins to begin playing on Monday. Kevan Miller underwent successful surgery on his broken left hand on Oct. 11 and is expected to miss six weeks. Patrice Bergeron made his season debut for the Bruins on Thursday after missing the team’s first three games.

Bruins forward David Backes will not be playing against the Wild on Tuesday with a “minor issue”, according to Julien. Backes has scored two goals and two assists in five games and is currently third on the team in scoring.

CWHL Expected to Start Paying Players for Jersey Sales

Caroline Ouellette and Marie-Philip Poulin show off the new jerseys of Les Canadiennes de Montreal. (courtesy of CWHL)
Caroline Ouellette and Marie-Philip Poulin show off the new jerseys of Les Canadiennes de Montreal. (courtesy of CWHL)

The Canadian Women’s Hockey League is reportedly in the process of making team jerseys customizable and providing players with a percentage of the profits made from sale of their sweaters, based on comments made by the CWHL’s Director of Communications, Sasky Stewart, on Saturday.

The CWHL is the second oldest women’s professional sporting league in North America, but does not currently pay its players a salary. The league has been working towards compensating its players and reportedly has plans to do so by 2017-18.

If the league is able to begin compensating players with a percentage of the profits received from selling their jerseys, it would mark a major step in the league’s growth and in women’s professional hockey.

Odds and Ends

— Jamie McGinn will make his debut for the Arizona Coyotes when they play the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. He missed the first five games of the season with an upper-body injury. McGinn, 28, signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Coyotes this offseason as an unrestricted free agent after setting career-highs in goals (22) and points (39) in a combined 84 regular season games with the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks in 2015-16.

— Anders Nilsson will be making his debut for the Sabres when the team takes on the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. The Swedish netminder was acquired by the Sabres this offseason in a trade from the St. Louis Blues.

— Jaromir Jagr returns to Pittsburgh on Tuesday as a member of the Panthers. Jagr won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 1990-91 and 1991-92 but reportedly believes that those two Cups would have been just a start for the team, had Mario Lemieux remained healthy.