"I know he has the intention within him (of trying to do more). That's part of the battle with Evgeni - to make sure he plays within the structure and not try to do it all himself and get it all back himself in one power play or one touch of the puck. That's a growing process for him and he's certainly dealing with it - the spotlight and the expectations. He's fighting through it, desperately trying to get back on his game."
The Penguins shifted Malkin to the half boards on the power play just before the game against Calgary, a position where he is more comfortable, but that forces Crosby to go down in front of the net. The new lineup resulted in the decisive power-play goal, which bumped the Penguins all the way up to No. 29 in the league with the man advantage. Hard to believe that a team with all that firepower can be so bad on the power play, but there you go. And the issue is more about the percentage (14.3) than the actual number of goals (29). Pittsburgh was the first team in the league to get 200 power-play chances; maybe there is something to the conspiracy theories about the referees favouring the marquee teams. Or maybe it's just that the Penguins are so skilled up front that they draw, on average, more power-play opportunities than the average bear.
Whatever it is, if the shift to the side gets Malkin any closer to the net (he didn't seem to be moving any closer to the hard areas in the game against Calgary) and the goals start to come, the Penguins should be a far more dangerous opponent than they are now, relying as heavily as they do on Crosby for their scoring.
FROM THE MASH UNITS: As if the Chicago Blackhawks needed any more help, centre Dave Bolland - sidelined since a Nov. 10 surgical procedure to repair a herniated back disc - skated for the first time this past week and is on schedule to return to the lineup prior to the Olympic break. Bolland figures to practice full-time with the team during a season-high eight-game road trip that begins Saturday night in Columbus. Upon Bolland's return, the versatile Patrick Sharp figures to shift back to the wing … The news is not nearly as promising for the Detroit Red Wings' Niklas Kronwall, out since a Nov. 21 knee-on-knee collision with the Montreal Canadiens' Georges Laraque that earned the latter a five-game suspension. Kronwall was originally expected to miss about six weeks with a medial collateral ligament sprain, but is still feeling pain and thus had to stop skating. Kronwall is one of two top-four defencemen (Jonathan Ericsson is the other) still missing from the Red Wings' line-up … The Anaheim Ducks were just about to bump Teemu Selanne up the depth chart, after he recovered from a fractured left hand and was just getting back in game shape when there was more bad news for the Finnish Flash. Selanne fractured his jaw in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins, the Ducks' fifth consecutive victory, a streak that came to an end Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings. Selanne underwent surgery that afternoon and, according to the team, could miss anywhere from two to six weeks. If it's closer to the latter than the former, it might put his Olympic participation in jeopardy …