Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Penguins Wishlist 2K7

As the Chanukah/ Christmas season approaches, we all get certain things in our minds such as gifts, snow, long lines at the mall, gifts, Santa, his elves and reign deer, the same twelve songs played 24-7, gifts, movies like Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas Vacation, Die Hard, Bad Santa, BOOZE and finally gifts.So in the spirit of the holiday we at View from the Igloo have put together our Chanukah/ Christmas wish list for the holiday season.

1) A stay at home physical defenseman
We’ve been asking for one since Ulf Samuelsson left a decade ago and still have yet to get one outside of Brooks Orpik that is capable of hitting and actually covering people at one time. Sadly the next closest thing we have had is Jamie Pushor and Eric Cairns. Credit to Shero for going after Hannan though losing out, but I can’t figure out why he signed Sydor as a back up plan.

2) Bob Errey fired
I am starting to think the mute button was invented because of Bob Errey. There are few things more annoying than Errey during a broadcast with his homerism, inability to tell who the penalty is on and constantly back patting himself when he sees something on the ice that everyone else saw but said nothing because they knew it was meaningless. Yet Errey continues to bombard our ears with attempts at humor and cuteness that make a Devils-Wild game look exciting and completely idiotic analysis. For a guy that played hockey as a career, he shows so little knowledge at times you really have to wonder. I find myself muting the Pens game more and more.

3) A coach that knows X’s and O’s
Part of me likes Therrien, and while he may be good at developing players, he is not good at using established players. His constant line juggling is insane, and half his scratches don’t make sense not to mention has shown the inability to use guys like Christensen and Ruutu to their strengths.

4) Resign Laraque
Anyone who thinks Laraque hasn’t made an impact on this team either A) doesn’t remember how bad things were before he was here or B) is just an idiot. See my previous article on why we should keep him on this team for some years to come.

5) Ryan Whitney to grow a set
Seriously, I’ve never seen a player so fearful as Whitney. He seems utterly afraid to shoot the puck unless going for a back door pass and he definitely hates being hit. You’re an offensive defenseman whose 6’4 Ryan, really, grow some damn balls and take the hit in the corner and shoot the puck.

6) A scoring winger who can ACTUALLY keep up with Crosby.
What a waste. I’m tired of Crosby get the puck and shoot up ice only to find his wingers are still just up by center ice. Can we have someone that can keep up with him? Please? Most importantly, can that guy be a sniper? Yea yea, It’s hard to find and all so it’s down on the list but still I feel like we are wasting half of Crosby’s potential. Taters has played well this season and Colby is Colby but imagine Crosby with someone with some offensive firepower next to him. He could get over 150+ per season.

7) Marc Andre Fleury to take the next step.
Developing goalies is a crapshoot as it often takes them to develop into something. I hope that he will eventually see the light as he is easily one of the most talented goaltenders of all time but there’s something that seems to be missing. Some my call it confidence, some may say consistency whatever. He has shown the ability to make any and all saves but he can’t string them together during a course of the game. By any means there’s no reason to give up on the guy as he is still young enough to still become a franchise netminder.

8) Eric Christensen to also see the light.
Christensen at this point is a shootout guy. I like his shot and he has improved his skating this season but he still there seems to be something missing in his head. Sure he suffers from Ryan Whitneyitis but he’s trying. Sure he can’t get his shot on net half the time. Sure he can’t do jackshit in the corners but the talent is just oozing off this guy. He could be the sniper for Crosby but again there seems to be some sort of block. I have not seen much improvement in Christensen’s game either, partly to him being scratched every other game

9) Mark Recchi to hang them up.
Look I like Mark Recchi. Really, I do but come on man who are you kidding? I know you are collecting a paycheck but really you can afford to hang up the skates and get on with your life’s work. You’re effort is noticeable but the game has passed you by and you no longer have an role on this team outside of being a 4th liner. When the Pens are busy scratching better players in the 4th line role, it’s about time to look at yourself in the mirror and be honest to yourself. The fact that Recchi is Therrien’s pacifier doesn’t help either. Hopefully this season, Recchi can come to terms with the fact that he is nothing more than a player coach/healthy scratch.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Whitney- What the Hell?

After having a breakout year the previous season, Ryan Whitney seems to be having just the opposite this year. Last year Whitney began to show the kind of poise and decision making that was expected of the 5th overall pick, but this year has looked extremely skittish.

Whitney’s shortcomings were always apparent, but the problem is they are getting the best of him this year. Always reluctant to be hit, he seems to be looking to outright avoid it now, even if it means moving off the puck and letting the other guy get it. In your own zone, that is really dangerous. And really Ryan, you’re 6’4, you’re big enough to absorb a hit here and there.

But getting hit isn’t Whitney’s only fear. Equal if not greater is his fear of shooting the puck. He is always looking to pass to someone more offensively gifted, and unless going for a back door shot cannot be counted on to take a shot on the power play, instead always passing back to Gonchar, Crosby or whomever else is available. Last night against Phoenix he showed he is nowhere close to ready to anchor the power play, which is a serious concern as he is our next Gonchar.

His play in his own end has also failed to progress any. It’s one thing when you keep putting up the points that you are allowed a bit of a reprieve for lackluster defensive play, but when you fail to put up points you better be playing well in your own end. Whitney continues to avoid contact and have sub-par coverage of the forwards.

Now, I’m not trying to say Whitney isn’t going to get any better or that he should be given up on. Anyone who says that is an idiot and you should automatically disregard anything they say. But a quarter way through the season Whitney has only shown he has regressed from last season and isn’t showing any signs of improvement thus far. That is concerning.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Laraque IS Doing His Job

There has been some talk recently about how Georges Laraque has not done his job since he arrived in Pittsburgh protecting our star players who are still receiving cheap shots and thus is useless or not doing his job. I can’t disagree with this more.

First off, if you say the cheap shots haven’t subsided at all, you didn’t watch the games last year or you are purposefully blinding yourself to what he has done. The amount of cheap shots have decreased significantly since his arrival. No longer are Crosby and Malkin taking shot after shot by everyone and their mother.

Secondly, it’s not Laraque’s sole purpose to keep these things from happening, nor is the responsibility solely his. People say he was brought in here to protect the stars and nothing else. Those people are wrong. Is it his main duty? Yes. Is it his only duty? Absolutely not. Laraque is known not just for being a great fighter, but the fact he can play with the puck; there is more to him than just fighting. He can create offensive chances and isn’t a big liability in the defensive zone like most enforcers are.

If Laraque was so one dimensional, why give up Danial Carcillo and a 3rd for him? We could have had Todd Fedoruk or someone like him for nothing. It’s because Laraque can play. He can take a regular shift with the 4th line, so you don’t have to double shift people at all towards the end of a game when enforcers aren’t needed.

Also, why is it Laraque’s sole duty to stop the shots at the good players? Why aren’t Talbot, Armstrong, Roberts, Hall and Ruutu doing something about it too? Everyone should be sticking up for their teammates, not just the toughest guy. It is more of a concern why no one else is stepping up when Crosby takes a shot than the fact Laraque isn’t preventing 100% of them.

Third, and I want to make this point especially clear, NO ONE PERSON CAN STOP THESE FROM HAPPENING! It’s not possible, it just isn’t. Yet here people are complaining that Laraque can’t do his job because he hasn’t completely eliminated it. That is an unrealistic expectation. Derek Boogaard hasn’t stopped all the hits on Wild Players, George Parros for the Ducks hasn’t done it, neither has Raitis Ivanans of the Kings. No Player X on Team X had been able to do it, so why is Laraque getting criticism for it? This crap happens on every single team in the league, yet for some reason people only want to hold Laraque accountable.

There is also the criticism that Laraque doesn’t fight enough. How often does Brashear fight? Or Parros or Ivanaens? Where are all the fights Boogaard gets in anymore? They’re not there. Just grabbing someone and beating the hell out of them doesn’t always make a difference. Fighters are a deterrent, not a solution.

People also say Laraque is not feared. If so why does no one want to fight him? When in a scrum why does the other guy always skate away? Why is it when a player turns his head and sees Georges coming at him they get an “oh shit” look on their face? Why? Because they know he can beat the hell out of them anytime he wants.

I am not going to deny Laraque needs to fight some more, but you have to understand that him fighting left and right won’t make things a lot better, if at all. Expect more instigator penalties for one. Second, when it comes to guys like Sean Avery, you beat him up and he still goes out and agitates. It’s doesn’t stop it from happening. The best you can do to stop it is a team effort to do it; having one tough guy wont make it stop. It never has, it never will. And don’t go on about Gretzky, that was a different era and not applicable.

So if you think Laraque is not doing his job and having no impact, than you unrealistic expectations. The cheap shots will never stop 100%, and one person definitely cannot stop them from happening. It is not humanely possible.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dont Give Up on Fleury

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about Ray Shero searching for a goaltender due to Fleury’s struggles, and once again the Fleury bashers are out in force seeking his removal. But to give up on Fleury at this point can be summed up in one move: idiotic.

Apparently at age 22 when you have a boatload of skill you should already be an elite goaltender in the league. This is the point of view of many of his detractors, but their expectations are completely unrealistic.

Most goaltenders who break into the NHL tend to break in at their mid 20’s, the higher skilled/picked ones maybe early twenties, and almost always as backups to a veteran. This way they can gain more experience without having the pressure of carrying a team on their back which helps their development. But let’s look at how Fleury has been handled.

2003 (age 18): drafted 1st overall and plays 21 games for what will be one of the worst teams in the league before being returned to juniors. He plays for a total of three different teams that year, and after a fluke goal in the World Junior Tournament is already being called a bust.

2005 (age 20): Is expected to back up Jocelyn Thibault who misses most the season with a hip injury. The team was totally revamped, but lacked any cohesion, no defense and still lacked a full time goalie coach. The Pens are pitiful once again and Fleury was forced to carry the load in net at a time most goalies are in their first year of minor league hockey.

2006 (age 21): Assumes the starting role from Thibault and now has a full time goaltending coach. He gets 40 wins and plays very good in the playoffs, keeping the Sens from running the score up in most of the games.

2007 (age 22): is once again the starting goalie, but still has a weak defense.

So at 22 years old, Fleury is in his third season as a starter, an age where most goalies have yet to see any NHL action, and most as a backup. And let’s not forget that a goalie is the slowest developing position in hockey.

Plus, think about it for a moment. A 22 year old player is a bust. How often do people ever find themselves saying this? It’s one thing if it’s a forward a la Alex Daigle who has been in the league four years, playing 15+ minutes a game and not producing, and even then you don’t declare them a bust, you’re just wary.

Does Fleury let in some soft goals? Yes. But he also makes some saves a lot of goalies couldn’t. To give up on a 22 year old player, and a goalie at that, is ridiculous.

Most goalies are still dreaming of the NHL at his age, let alone in their third year as a starter. Don’t give up on Fleury, there is still plenty of time for him to get better.


Friday, October 5, 2007

Pens Name Alternate Captains

The Pens announced the alternate captains today, and none came as a surprise. Recchi and Gonchar will continue to wear the letter on their shoulder, while the venerable Gary Roberts now carries the third on his uniform.

It is hard to disagree with these choices at all. Recchi and Roberts have three cups between them and have seen as many playoff games than some of the younger players have regular season games. Gonchar has also been to a cup finals in '96 with the Capitals (remember that unforgettable easy win by the Red Wings in four games?) So the plethora of experience is quite obvious. Add in Petr Sykora and Darryl Sydor who have two cups each, the experience on the team gets even greater, and with the young players going through their trial by fire last year a playoff appearance this year should look much better.

Interesting to note that that Roberts (41), Recchi (39) and Gonchar (33) are three of the four oldest players on the team, Sydor (35) being the last.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Pens Finalize Roster

The Pens Finalized their Roster on Tuesday and there were really no surprises. Kris Letang, who had a disappointing preseason, was sent to the minors along with Ryan Stone, Jonathan Filewich who both failed to show they were NHL ready. This cleared the way for Adam Hall who had an impressive preseason on a try out contract, earned himself a one year, two way deal that will pay him $525k in the NHL and $100k in the AHL, though he too would have to pass through waivers to be demoted. Mike Weaver, signed in the off season, was claimed by the Vancouver Canucks off waivers.
The final roster stands as this:

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Erik Christensen, Maxim Talbot

Right Wing:
Petr Sykora, Mark Recchi, Colby Armstrong, Georges Laraque, Adam Hall

Left Wing:
Jordan Staal (just moved from center), Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, Jarkko Ruutu

Sergei Gonchar, Ryan Whitney, Brooks Orpik, Mark Eaton, Darryl Sydor, Rob Scuderi, Alain Nassreddine

Marc-Andre Fleury
Dany Sabourin

Replacing Michel Ouellet and Josef Melichar with Petr Sykora and Darryl Sydor are both large upgrades, even though neither are top tier guys. Plus anytime you can rid yourself of your two worst players and add too effective one in their place is always a bonus.

The only area that got weaker was goaltending, as Sabourin still only has 14 NHL games under his belt, and the cushion that Jocelyn Thibault, now with Buffalo provided was much greater. He also provided veteran experience to help Fleury, something Sabourin cannot. I am going to be weary every time Sabourin is in the net as I do not think he has proven himself yet.


Friday, September 14, 2007

The Greatest One

So tonight I watched a video I downloaded a few years ago called "The Mario Lemieux Show" plus the comeback video the Pens played on the jumbotron upon Mario's return called "Superstar". His highlights were truly something to behold.

But the thing is, after watching it, I find myself saying "as good as Sid is, he's no Lemieux"

Does anyone else find themselves saying this? Or Am I just too enamored with what Lemieux accomplished when I was younger to admit that Sid is as good as he was?

I'll let you decide.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reebok Ruins Pens Jersey

Maintaining their dominance over good NHL jerseys’ Reebok has continued it’s torrid raping of hockey jerseys by ruining the Penguins new uniforms. Below is a picture of them, but I warn you, I made the mistake of eating dinner before looking at them.

These pretty much are the leaked jersey’s I posted about a month back, so luckily we have time to prepare for the ruination of our great jerseys. They are slightly different, and not as horrid, but still bad.

This is what the Pens front office had to say about the new designs, copied word from word from their site:
“The Penguins’ logo and colors will remain the same, although there will be some modifications to the striping, the shoulder areas, the pants and the socks.”
Some modifications? You changed everything but the god damn symbol! Liars! What’s next, you’re going to tell us you didn’t actually sign Darryl Sydor and it was actually Ian Moran you brought back? Do we actually have a new arena too?

Everyone liked our old uniforms, even other teams fans. And now we’re left with some cookie cutter bullshit. Take a look at the Senators and Lightning jerseys. Notice anything? That’s right! IT”S THE SAME DESIGN! We have the same jersey of two other teams (of just the ones that have been released mind you) with different colors. No originality, nothing to separate out jerseys from others other than the gold and the skating Penguins. It’s pathetic. PATHETIC! And frankly, that pisses me off as much as the design itself. Reebok has stolen all originality from the jerseys.

Sadly, the gold striped pants remain the best part of the uniform and do help. Even after weeks of preparing myself for this crap I’m still as pissed as if I had just found out.

Our jerseys are lame. LAME! Boring, nothing to them. The lack of anything on the bottom makes them look like some half assed design made by a 12 year old with ms paint.

Here’s another bright idea for you dumbshits at Reebok: why don’t you remake the Stanley Cup with handles for ease of carry and out of rubber so it won’t break in case someone drops it?

$%&@ you Reebok, you’re ruining hockey jerseys. I seriously hope these assholes go bankrupt within the year so the edge system will be kicked out the door and we can get real jerseys back. Who the %#^@ let the idiots their design these things anyways? And should we really be surprised at Reebok's utter failure to make good looking jerseys with the NCAA football jerseys they have been making in recent years?

-The extremely pissed off Pens fan Jordan

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Orpik and Eaton

I’ve been hearing quite a bit of talk lately that if the Penguins were to get a top four defenseman (most recently rumored is Danny Markov, though the source of the rumor is very unreliable), they should deal either Orpik or Eaton for other assets. I have to say this to those people: don’t be stupid.

Is either of these two great? No. But both are more than serviceable. Eaton brings calmness and stability to a blue line and did wonders for the Pens defense last year when not injured. Orpik got much better last year and brings a physical presence the Pens sorely need from the defense. Even if the Pens did sign Markov, you want more than one physical defenseman.

Another good thing about both are that they are relatively cheap, making about $1.5mm each. For that price you aren’t going to get anyone better unless they are on a rookie deal, and those don’t last long. Plus Orpik is 26 and Eaton 30, so both have quite a few years ahead of them.

Also, there is a lot of talk of Letang already being on this roster. This is not a given, and even if it was, Letang wont help you in your own zone. If he does live up to his hype, we will have three good offensive guys in Gonchar, Whitney and Letang on the blue line. Unfortunately, none of them are particularly adept at keeping the puck out of the net. You need a solid defense, and while with a cap you cant have four first pairing defensemen, you can have good depth. Keeping the likes of Orpik and Eaton at their current amounts gives you that depth without breaking the bank.


Friday, July 20, 2007

New Uniform's Leaked?

We were told the Pens uniforms were only suppsoed to get minor alterations for the new Reebok Edge designs, but new designs that have been leaked since last night, as the team's reaction to the leaking, is suggesting that new uniforms are on the way.

The words "gaudy" and "patchwork" come to mind. If these are the real deal, we can only hope there is enough fan backlash they will be rid of quickly. They are a major drop off from the current uniform's. I dont understand why management would change the designs when everyone liked them.

For the most part, I felt that the majority of the new jerseys released by the NHL were all solid. That is until I saw this monstrosity. What in god’s name is going on here. This blog's title of leaked is quite apropos because it looks like piss on my end. I’m sure the NHL/Reebok know that the Penguins’ jerseys will sell like hot cakes regardless but MY GOD how can they expect that trend to continue with this. Granted you could pretty much change the colors of the Penguins to brown and pink but as long as there is a Crosby nameplate on the back, it will sell.

The Vegas gold is way too overpowering and does not work at all on the dark unis. It appears to simply be just patches of color flung together in hopes of making a deadline. The excessive gold clashes with the black and makes just an awful match on the eye. If these are actually our new home jerseys, I hope to god that the NHL goes back to the home whites just because these whites are a bit better. The gold here is able to mix in with the white more so and at least is a bit more tolerable. Not to mention it isn’t much of a downgrade from the Penguins currents which by the way are on the best in league.

Also notice the underarms. What in gods name is going on over there? It’s like the reese’s peanut butter cups with the chocolate and peanut butter mixing except you know that tastes and good and doesn’t make one vomit at the sight of it. Ugh. Horrendous. They might as well put the Ol Fishtick logo in black, white and vegas gold on the front and call it day.

Of course with all things like this, we have to reserve judgment until we actually see the players wear these on the ice but still. Not to mention actually seeing the front of the jerseys. Regardless, Reebok you can go to hell. I’ll be sure to pick up the old jersey in a clearance bin. Hell, I’m sure the old jerseys will sell way more than these proposed ones.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crosby Signs Extension

The Pens announced today they signed Sidney Crosby to an extension for 5 years, $43.5 million, which comes out to $8.7 per year. Honestly, the deal is a little more than I expected as with all the talk it sounded it would be in the range of $7.5-$8.0. However, in a few years, not to mention seeing guys like Scott Gomez making over $7 million a year, this could be a steal. It comes in at $1.46 million below the league maximum of $10.06 million per year. But if the cap keeps going up so will the max salary, and if it would go to say, $12 million max, $8.7 for Crosby will be looking pretty good. (You have to wonder if they purposefully wanted $8.7, if so I think Crosby is getting a bit obsessed with that number).

Some people were expecting a DiPietro deal like length, but that is foolish. Crosby will be much more valuable than DiPietro will be and by the time the deal is done will most likely command more.

I think Dave Molinari of the Post Gazette said it best when Shero basically had to hand Crosby and his agent a blank contract, let them fill in the numbers and sign off on it. Crosby is too important to lose and Shero had almost no bargaining power.

Regardless, it is a fair deal for both teams, as if Crosby became even an RFA some team would have thrown the cap max at him for multiple years.

It’s kind of funny, two years ago we thought $6.6 million a year for Vinny Lecavalier was steep, now it’s looking like a steal.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Sykora, Sydor, Sabourin and Scuderi

Well, that certianly is a lot of names beginning with "S" Luckily I dont think it's a fascination of Shero's.

The Pens dip into the free agent market has landed them right winger Petr Sykora and defenseman Daryl Sydor. Both agree to 2 year, $5 million dollar deals. Also signed were goalie Danny Sabourin and defenseman Rob Scuderi.

Sykora comes from the Oilers after registering 22 goals and 31 assists. He has registered over 20 goals nearly his entire career, though his defense and worth ethic can be questionable at times. This was a good signing as Sykora at $2.5 with his skill set is exactly what the Pens were looking for. He will provide a much needed scoring touch for Crosby or Recchi. Props to Shero for getting him.

Sydor comes from Dallas after registering 5 goals and 16 assists. He is on the decline and more offensive minded than defensive. Make no mistake, he is not the same player that helped Tampa win the cup. This signing I do not like. I like Sydor, always have, but he is not what the Pens need. The Pens need a stay at home defenseman, and an aging Sydor is no that. Being 35 Sydor’s contract will count against the cap unless he is traded away. I think they would have been much better off with the likes of Ossi Vaananen.

The Pens also brought back Sabourin who spent one year as Luongo’s back up in Vancouver. Whether or not management plans to have him back up Fleury or merely add goaltending depth is unknown.

Finally, and unfortunately, the Penguins resigned Scuderi. Scuderi registered 5 goals, 11 assists last year: all for the other team. While he will most likely be the 7th defenseman, the Pens would have been better off bringing back Nassredeine or signing someone more effective.

What bugs me most is that more than anything the Pens needed a stay at home defenseman. They lost out on Hannan, which should come to no surprise, but Sydor is not good enough of an upgrade, especially since he will only be getting worse. Letang is a question mark despite management talking like he is already on the roster. If he fails to make the team out of camp we will be left with a terrible bottom pairing in general. Plus there is nothing to say his defense will be any good.

With luck Shero will be signing someone else to help the blue line corps more, but I doubt it.


Monday, June 25, 2007


From the Pens site:

Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero announced Monday that the Pittsburgh Penguins have extended qualifying offers to the following Group II free agents: Colby Armstrong, Ryan Whitney, Erik Christensen, Maxime Talbot, Ryan Lannon and Tim Brent.

The following Group II free agents were not made qualifying offers and will become free agents as of July 1: Michel Ouellet and Andrew Penner.


I heart Ray Shero :)


I just want to say this about those who are saying that the Pens want Ouellet back at a lower price. His contract was $500k this past season, meaning his qualifying offer would be $550k, $100k above the LEAGUE MINUMUM of $450k.

If a team you scored 19 goals for doesnt want to even retain the right to talk to you at $100k above the minimum, that says a lot.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Off Season Game Plan Part 2

The off season is a time of hope for every team where they try and fill out their needs with free agents looking for the right fit (read as “money”). This year the Pens will be no different in trying to address those needs.

However, the Pens will NOT be big spenders. Forget names like Drury, Gomez, Giguere not even because of need, but because of the cap. With Crosby, Fleury, Malkin, Staal and Whitney all due new contracts within the next two years (Whitney this year), Ray Shero needs to be very cap conscience this year as to save enough room for these guys in the future. You can’t spend six million on a top flight player when you will have Crosby and Malkin, and possible Fleury and Staal making top flight money very soon.

I’ve heard some suggest it would be good that instead of getting two second tier guys get one big name. Well the problem with that is 1) you now have less depth and less cap room for depth and 2) if you need to get rid of the guy it becomes that much harder. Plus, do you really think we have room to add a $6 million player when you will probably have Crosby, Fleury, Malkin and Staal taking up half your cap?

This leaves the so called “second tier” players available to the Pens; players who often play on the second scoring or defensive pairing units. Look for a few of these guys to be signed .

This entry will cover the players that will be available and in the Penguins target salary ranges for what they need.


The Pens offense this year was generated mostly by Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Recchi. Recchi is fading and the other three are natural centers, though Staal looked fine at wing. Christensen has skills, but he doesn’t adjust well on the wing and he needs scoerers to help him, not Ruutu and Laraque. Ekman was a bust and won’t return and Ouellet is completely dependent on skilled players (and being prone) to produce. There is no one in Wilkes Barre that is capable of filling in the top line wings that the Pens really need to fully utilize Crosby and Malkin. Look for at least on free agent winger to be added this off season.

Scott Hartnell, Nashville
Hartnell may never be the player he was supposed to being drafted at 5th over all, but he is nonetheless good after a slow development. The biggest buzz around him is that he will be the first player in the NHL that hits free agency at a young age (25) under the new CBA. This youth, paired with a 25 goal year, will make him a commodity, especially to those who can’t afford the Drury’s on the market. His scoring and grit and age could easily price him out of the Pens range as a bidding war could easily ensue for him.

Dainus Zubrus, Washington/Buffalo
Zubrus was a chronic underachiever until he was put on a line with Ovechkin. When traded to Buffalo his scoring stopped. It’s no coincidence the only time in his career he scored was with Alex. When he’s not leaching off Ovechkin he’s playing stupid and once in a while hitting. He shouldn’t even be considered.

Scott Walker, Carolina
Walker would add some good secondary scoring for the Pens, but at 33 they may want someone younger. That shouldn’t rule him out though as in addition to scoring his leadership is something else the Pens need.

Peter Bondra, Chicago
Bondra is nearing the end of his effectiveness, and money would be spent better elsewhere.

Todd Bertuzzi, Florida/Detroit
Too much baggage, and supposedly a disruption in the locker room, exactly what the Pens don’t want with a locker room that is growing up together. We all want a power forward, but Bertuzzi isn’t worth it anymore.

Kyle Calder, Philadelphia/Detroit
After last year, would you really want to take the gamble?

Petr Sykora, Edmonton
I have always liked the way Sykora has played, but he has struggled since being dealt from New Jersey. However, at $2.5 million last year, I think he would be worth the money, providing good second or first line scoring. I would take a long look at him.

Jeremy Roenick, Phoenix
I really just want to mention that if I ever see this man in a Pen’s uniform, I will throw up. No, seriously, I will be sick if this cheap shotting hypocrite ever disgraces our uniform by putting it on. With luck this guy is done and gone.

Owen Nolan, Phoenix
While he had a pretty good year, he is past his prime and little more than a checker who can score some. Money is better spent elsewhere.

Richard Zednik, Washington/New York Islanders
He really hasn’t shown much in a few years, and seems to be injured more and more. I don’t really think he could be of much help.

Bill Guerin, St. Louis/San Jose
Geurin had a resurgence this year, but faltered in the playoffs. I think on better teams he can no longer keep up with the top players. If there are no other options, okay but otherwise look for someone better.

Yanic Perreault, Phoenix/Toronto
Yanic had another solid year with scoring and face offs, the latter being of most interest to the Pens. At this point I wouldn’t mind him on the third line center, but it’s possible he just can’t be fit in as 4th line duty is definitely not a fit for him. We do need to get better on face offs.

The Pens defense proved to be as abysmal as ever in their own zone. It says something when Sergei Gonchar is your third best defensive defenseman. The Pens need to dump both Melichar and Scuderi as both hurt the Pens much more than they helped last season. While the Pens won’t be bringing in big names like Souray or Tommonen, like the offense look for some second tier guys to fill in the voids on defense (I think “voids” is a very fitting word).

Scott Hannan, San Jose
Hannan has been an underrated stalwart on the Shark’s defense for many years. He is very physical, albeit a bit slow, and very sound defensively. He is definitely the kind of player you want on your defense. Hannan will be one of the marquee defenseman on the market this year after all stars Timmonen and Souray, so the bidding for him could get steep and knock him out of the Pens price range.

Ossi Vaananen, Colorado
Vaananen is big at 6’4 220 lbs. While he won’t go out of his way to hit people, he nevertheless adds a physical presence the Pens lack on the blue line outside of Orpik. Vaananen is also capable of moving the puck some, and he could fill in on the second power play unit well enough. He is rather sound defensively, but don’t mistake him for a top pairing guy.

Vitaly Vishnevski, Nashville
Vishnevski bounced around this year, being dealt to the Thrashers at the start of the year and to Nashville at the deadline. This bouncing around could hurt his open market value, and admittingly he has not been as good under the new rules. He is a strong physical presence and reliable in his own zone but offers nothing in the way of offense. He would be a cheaper alternative than someone like Vaananen or Hannan, but also not as good. I can assure you though he is in fact a significant improvement over Melichar and Scuderi.

Cory Sarich, Tampa Bay
Sarich is big and strong and can provide some much needed physical play on the blue line while not be reckless about it. He was an under rated member of Tampa’s blue line, and definitely wasn’t one of the problems. He should be seriously considered.

Nolan Pratt, Tampa Bay
While nothing to write home about, Pratt can nonetheless give you some good minutes. If the free agent well starts going dry, give him a look.

Tom Preissing, Ottawa
Preissing stepped up his game this year and helped Ottawa make the cup finals. At 28, he is at an age where he can still improve some and you don’t have to worry about age until his contract ends. The Sens cup run though may inflate his value.

Teppo Nummien, Buffalo
Teppo has been solid again since the lockout, but at 36 you can’t expect him to keep it up. I like him, but keep with someone younger.

Greg Devries, Atlanta
Devries is aging, but could still be effective. However I think the Pens should go after someone who will be around longer than he will.

Andy Sutton, Atlanta
I only mention him because his name has popped up in rumors. Sutton is a #6 version of Eric Cairns and nothing else. They should absolutely stay away from him. If you’re not convinced just ask Atlanta fans whoa re happy he is hitting free agency.

Roman Hamrlik, Calgary
Hamrlik was proven to be a solid defenseman on both the Island and Calgary. If he can be signed rather cheaply around $2 million (which my guess is no) then he could definitely help the Pens on the second power play unit, and he’s decent in his own end. Beware a long term deal though as his decline may start soon.

Brad Stuart, Calgary
I’d love to have him, but his age (27) and skills will price him out of the Pens range.

Jon Klemm, Dallas
Another stay at home who isn’t flashy, Klemm could definitely help the blue line. I do wonder when his decline will begin though. If his demands are reasonable, I would consider him.

Danny Markov, Detroit
I was surprised he went unsigned for so long last year. Markov is a hard hitting defenseman who is good in his own zone. He is definitely a physical presence forwards need to look out for. But buyer beware, he is often injured.

Aaron Miller, Los Angeles
Miller has been showing signs of his age the past few years, and I expect that to continue. However, as a cheap short term fix he wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Janne Niinimaa, Montreal
He would have been an upgrade over Melichar, but then so would I. He has completely lost his touch under the new rules, something you wouldn’t expect from a fast offensive defenseman. Stay away.

Brad Lukowich, New Jersey
Lukowich wouldn’t be a bad idea, being solid if unspectacular in his own end. If he’s cheap, why not?

Sean Hill, Islanders
Hill had a good season for the Isles after a poor season with the Panthers. But which would you be getting? He would add grit and leadership, but his age is a major concern.

Craig Rivet, Montreal/San Jose
Rivet was pretty solid for Montreal, but was very good for San Jose. If his demands are reasonable, he should get good consideration as his stability is much needed on the blue line.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Pens Offseason Outlook Part 1: Who to Keep

The Pens head into the off season with only eleven players signed to contracts. I will review which players, broken up by free agency status, the Pens would be best to keep and let go. This will be the first part of two for the Pens off season plan, the other covering what free agents the Pens should seek out and why.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Gary Roberts- Roberts proved to be more valuable than anyone would have guessed. Even Shero was surprised. His strong work ethic fit right into the Pens mentality and he provided much needed grit and leadership, not to mention a mean streak, to the young squad. Shero has already stated they will talk extension which is good, they need Roberts. A two year deal should definitely be considered.

Mark Recchi- Recchi started off well enough but really trailed off at the end. Age is catching up and Shero has already said he would like Recchi back in a reduced role. Key words: reduced role. If they give him a one year deal at about half of what he makes now ($2.28 million) than by all means bring him back in that reduced role. But I think he has lost too much to be a top line player on a regular basis.

Nils Ekman- No one expected 30 goals from Ekman, but they expected about 20. We didn’t even get half. Despite his speed Ekman just wasn’t able to mesh with anyone and had the worst +/- rating on the team. Therrien refused to give him chances to redeem himself after his injury so I don’t see either side wanting him to return.

Ronald Petrovicky- Petro showed great chemistry with Ruutu, but sadly was not used as much as he should have been. He added speed and grit and while he couldn’t burry the puck he did create some chances. I’d like to see him back, but if not I won’t be broken hearted as his players tend to be a dime a dozen.

Joel Kwiatkowski- we know as little of him now as when he arrived two months ago. I don’t see him sticking around at all.

Josef Melichar- Get out. Just get the hell out and never come back. I feel bad a shoulder injury pretty much ruined Melichar’s game, but he proved to be the worst player on the team this year. He contributed nothing at all the whole year and will not if resigned. Again I must mention that his injury and the win streak coincided.

Rob Scuderi- you were better than Melichar, but not by much. Though to Melcihar’s credit he wasn’t scoring or directly assisting the other teams goals. Scuderi did something good every once in a while, but not enough to make him a serious part of the defense. There are others I would rather have as the seventh defenseman.

Alain Nasradeinne- Nazzy proved to be pretty solid in a limited role. He was responsible and there was no reason he shouldn’t have gotten a shot in the playoffs. I’d like him to stay on as the seventh defenseman as he can jump in and help from time to time.

Eric Cairns- He’s played less than a minute all year due to an ankle injury and post concussion syndromes. For a guy that makes his living beating people up, that’s very dangerous to have. I honestly think his career is done, and with the acquisition of Georges Laraque I don’t see the Pens keeping him.

Jocelyn Thibault- Thibault rebounded this year for some strong play when it was needed. I like Thibault, but I would not bring him back for what he’s making now. If he wants to take about half, ok, otherwise let Schaeffer take backup. I can see some teams being interested in his services this off season.


Colby Armstrong- how could you not like the beaked, “eh” spouting grinder whose as white as the snow in his homeland? While his offense was minimal he killed penalties, made some hits and often pissed off the other team. It was a hell of a sophomore slump he had but he’s young and can improve. He should definitely be resigned.

Ryan Whitney- Whitney is quite possibly the most improved player on the team this year and will be looking for a raise over his $900k contract. I bet most don’t remember that after he finished school he signed an entry level contract with no bonuses so he could get signed in time to play in Wilkes Barre’s post season. I don’t see contract negotiations with him being a problem.

Maxim Talbot- How can you not love this guy? Fast, funny and feisty, he is everything you want in a bottom line player. He is good on the PK and chipped in some points here and there. Even his offensive skills improved as he showed signs of flare that made him a scorer in juniors. He should definitely be kept.

Michel Ouellet- the subject of Therrien’s affection who despite adding little to nothing the whole season was treated with utter favoritism. I think it would be best if the Pens sign him to a qualifying offer and deal him to another team. Someone will see 19 goals and think that he wasn’t completely reliant on other talent or remaining motionless tos core them. The sad thing is his skating was improved from the year before and still Laraque could skate circles around him. I honestly don’t think he will ever be a good enough skater to maintain a spot in the league, especially since he is so ill fit for bottom line duty.

Chris Thorbun- Thorburn played very well the first half of the year, but could not get into the line up the second half. He is only 24 years old so I think it is way too early to give up on him. Even if not played every game I think he can develop into a solid 4th line guy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Crosby Named Captain

In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Sidney Crosby is to be named captain of the Penguins during a press conference. He has borken yet another record of being the youngest captain in NHL history right after he became it's youngest scoring leader.

What can you say other than "it's about time"

'Nuff said.


Friday, May 4, 2007

Crosby is #1 Most Influential Athelete in Time Magazine

It was announced today that Sidney Crosby was the leading vote getter among athletes in Time's most influential person of the year poll. He garnered 85, 835 votes for first among athletes and eighth over all amongst a list that included over 200 people.

Like him or not, that is an impressive feat considering some of the others on the poll were politicians and humanitarians. Yet this 19 year old kid found his way into eighth spot among them. This is exactly the kind of press the NHL wanted from this kid. Could he have turned out for them better? With luck this poll will help garner more attention to the NHL now.

Is this kid something or what?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Ouellet Sucks

I can’t take it anymore. It’s bad enough to have to deal with a terrible player who the coach plays favorites with, but now I have to deal with people jumping on the Michel Ouellet apologist bandwagon. Enough already!

Ouellet has been given every opportunity to succeed by Therrien yet what has he accomplished? 11 even strength goals playing with Malkin all year? Pathetic. Erik Christensen was misused most his time on the club, yet accomplished just as much in points. The difference was he wasn’t always reliant on the other players; he could create things himself. Ouellet is incapable of that.

Some say he had a good playoff. I’m sorry, setting up one goal does not make for a good series. You never heard his name the rest of the time. Why? Because he was never in the picture for the announcers to call his name. Why was that? Because he was too slow to keep up with the Senators, looking like a kid trying to play with adults.

People say Ouellet is responsible defensively and a good fore checker. Well if you consider doing nothing on either to be good than by all means he fits that description. He is too slow to apply any pressure when fore checking, and in his own zone he just runs around trying to get the puck, not covering his guys or breaking up passes. How many times did we here “good fore check by Ouellet” or “great breakup by Ouellet”? Answer: zero, because he didn’t do either.

One thing I keep seeing is “he did well with his skill set.” This is such an utter bullshit excuse. Never has anyone else had this said about them. When Brian Holzinger sucked, did we justify it this way? How about Ian Moran? Eight years of terrorizing our blue line and this was never said about him. What about the Hans Jonssons, Alex Hicks and Jeff Daniels we had? No? How come? They played well within their skill set! Yet this reasoning has been applied only towards Michel Ouellet. What has he done to deserve exemption that the others haven’t? (Scoring 19 goals while leaching does not count because you aren’t really doing anything but holding your stick out).

I see people giving grades to players for the year and giving Ouellet one in the B range. ??? Huh? Are you kidding me?! Let’s look at the thing Ouellet can do:

Sit on the side of the net and wait for the puck
Throw one or two weak hits a game
Score while stopped

Now compare to the things he can't do:

Get past defenders either by going around or through them
Show anything akin to agility
Skate faster than Georges Laraque
Keep up with his line mates
Take a shot that comes within a few feet of the net while moving
Do anything while moving
Take ill-timed penalties because he is standing still and watching the other players go by
Play physical (physical play is Gary Roberts, not one or two weak hits a game)
Control the puck with his stick
Be consistent
Take advantage of odd man rushes

As you can see, the things he cannot do are significantly greater than the things he can.

To be honest, I think people have come to dislike him so much they have become apathetic to towards him. Instead of saying “he sucks they need tog et rid of him” it’s now “well he plays within his skills and isn’t completely awful” What is this, some new age hippy bullshit? Is this some pathetic form of positive reinforcement to hope he gets better? Is it some horribly wrong way of dealing with the fact you don’t like him as a player?

People keep saying he improved over the year. Yes, he did, but improvement is relative. This guy didn’t go from waiver wire to all star like Briere or St. Louis. He went from “god awful” to “just plain bad.” So when you’re still terrible such improvement means little to nothing.

So enough of this “Ouellet is good” crap because it’s just not true. He continually dragged down any line mates he was paired with, always ruining offensive chances with his lack of skating and stick skills. I’m not in the habit of jumping on the bandwagon or carry a “what have you done with me lately” mentality. I stick to my assessment that he is not a good hockey player.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Report Card Time!

Below is a list of the player grades that I have given to the Penguins current roster. I’ve tried to grade players on my previous expectations for them this coming season and if they acceded, regular season play, and finally post season play. Taking these 3 into account, I’ve averaged the scorers based on (F = 0, A+ =12) scale and an expectation scale was based on the following: 0- utter failure, 6- met expectations and 12-well beyond.

Centers: Erik Christensen: 7/8/3 => overall: C+
I never felt EC would get a chance to succeed here but he showed enough patience and was able to succeed in the regular season. Frankly, I felt he should have been up last season as well. The playoffs saw Erik cast as a 4th line center which is just poor misuse by Therrien. His play in the playoffs drew memories of a certain RSL league scoring leader complete with soft perimeter play and failure to make his presence felt outside of being a frequent checking dummy for Ottawa defenders.

Sidney Crosby: 12/12/10 => Overall: A
Amazing player and a season to remember. While most 2nd year players fall into the dreaded sophomore slump, Crosby led the league in scoring. While his last month was off pace from previous months, Crosby proved to absolute warrior and a player that should stay on this team for as long as he is able to play hockey. A joy and a pleasure to watch.

Evgeni Malkin: 9/10/5 => Overall: B
Supreme talent but obviously with this being the first year in the NHL, and the whole English language barrier saw Malkin have struggles. Regular season saw a potential superstar who cooled off as the season progressed. In the post season after a lack luster couple of games, Malkin picked up the pace playing with Crosby and showed at least to me that he a sense of urgency which will bode well for him this future. Needs to get stronger and improve those defensive skills we saw in the international competition though you can’t take out the Calder and general impact he had this season with the Ovechkin hype.

Jordan Staal: 12/11/11 => Overall: A
When we first drafted Jordan, I was a little disappointed. I felt the hype he got was more of a direct result of this generation’s version of the Sutters. Amazingly Staal set rookie record for SHG and showed up not as a timid rookie but as a vet. The reach and hockey sense will prove him well as he gets stronger, faster and more experience. One of the few Penguins to actually show some sort of an impact play in the postseason. It will be a sad day when we have to trade this man/kid.

Max Talbot: 10/9/8 => Overall: B+
Loved his game and the way he played. Proved he belongs in the league this season. Gritty and solid player with some clutch scoring and a never give up attitude. Checking line center with some scoring upside in the future.

Chris Thorburn: 8/6/INC>. => Overall: B-
Solid gritty play in the corners, speed youth and potential bottom line guy in the future. A very shrewd pickup and hopefully a chance to become more of a contributor next season.

Right Wings:

Colby Armstrong: 5/7/9 => Overall: B-
Got bitten by the sophomore slump and had trouble being Sidney’s right hand man so to speak early. Slowly battled his way out of it before finally hitting his stride midsize. The comparisons to a poor man’s Adam Deadmarsh were dead on and hopefully Colby continues to keep it up. Was a factor during the post season when a lot others were not and that boost him up a point.

Michel Ouellet: 4/3/4 => Overall: D+
Had a horrid stretch were he showed absolutely nothing before finding himself as a decent complement to Staal and Malkin. Overall improvement during the season with noticeable difference in speed and board play. Sadly he is still too slow to be an effective top 6 winger in the NHL and has no place on the top two lines outside of healthy scratch extra skater. The game these days is based on speed and Ouellet still showed a lack of an ability to make plays skating. When he was allowed to be stationary he showed an ability to pass the puck and shoot effectively but in motion still a weakness with horrid miss shots, missed chances and blown odd man rushes. For much too often, he was invisible despite playing with skilled players. Moreover, he probably leads the Penguins in secondary assists. He took the body more but he wasn’t “physical” as some would have you believe. One or two hits (bumping into people) doesn’t count. I do appreciate his apparent effort but there are too many limitations in his game right now. Ouellet also doesn’t really add anything to this team also when he isn’t producing points. He needs to skate this entire off season before he is dare mentioned as a top 6 forward on a cup contender which we ARE right now.

Ronald Petrovicky: 4/6/7 => Overall: C
I thought he’d be a very solid player when we picked him up but struggled mightily during the season and ultimately getting injured. Showed to work extremely well with fellow pest Jaarko Ruutu. Often times, petro was awarded with his solid play with little to no extra ice time! I’d like to see Petro back but with Stone coming up I doubt it.

Mark Recchi: 8/8/3 => Overall: C+
Solid first half of the season combined with an atrocious second half. Grew tired as the season wore on before eventually dissipating. Showed a more physical side when scoring was down but sadly should not have been a first or 2nd liner for us and towards the end of the season. Thanks for the work Rex but you need to hang em up. Overall great career and hopeful hall of fame selection.

Left Wings:

Ryan Malone: 3/6/5 => Overall: C-
An enigma often times one of the more dominant players on the ice with players of lesser caliber but more often than not, far too invisible. Very solid pker and showed a greater tendency to bang bodies around but in general a disappointment. Malone showed more pursuit of Pens patrol members than the puck. More fittingly: a lackadaisical disappointment despite living the dream many of us wish we could pursue.

Nils Ekman: 2/2/5 => Overall: D+
Overall disappointment struggled with Crosby outside of a period. Got hurt and was a healthy scratch all season outside of a handful of games. Likely will not be resigned.

Georges Laraque: 6/5/4 => Overall: C
Provided toughness and big hits during the season but lack of speed really hampered playoffs against speedy Ottawa team. I’d like to see him return. The Pens should not give up on him because once he isn’t in the lineup again, teams will continue to take runs at our superstars. Laraque needs to be there to stop that.

Gary Roberts: 12/10/12 => Overall: A
Complete warrior that provided everything asked of him and than some. At this point, he is a sure fire must sign this off-season with a possible 2 year deal. Will do wonders for the young wingers. His physical nature hasn’t been seen in quite some time and the man despite being 40 years old can still crash the net and bang home any garbage like the best of them.

Jarkko Ruutu: 4/7/7 => Overall: C+
Much hyped pest thought to bring that to the ice but was turned into 4th liner with 5 minutes of ice time a game. He’d try to compensate by going out of his way to make an impact in the game but would often result in penalties. I’d like to see him return.


Eric Cairns: INC
Hurt the entire season. No need for him next season.

Mark Eaton: 10/8/6 => B
Played well beyond expectations until injured and fought back to get back into the rhythm. Sadly, the 2nd half of the season is more of the Eaton we will see but regardless a solid player.

Sergei Gonchar: 8/10/2 => C+
As opposed to last year, Gonchar started out decently and hit his stride during the big winning streak. Only problem was the real playoff season started in April and our friend Sergei was MIA. Sadly he showed some defensive awareness during the season and solid positioning. In the playoffs though was a different matter. Horrid defensive play in the playoffs and that cannon of a shot Gonchar had on the powerplay was either blocked or missed the net. Let this be a lesson to Coach Therrien that he should not be considered a shutdown defenseman nor should he be played against opposing teams best players. Brutal playoffs put another very solid season to shame. Looked uninspired / winded also. Gonchar should not be on the ice for the full 2 minutes on powerplays either.

Joel Kwiatkowski: Inc.
A waste of a 4th round pick if he couldn’t find some playing time in this sea of filth.

Josef Melichar: 0/0/2 => F
An absolutely abysmal year. The weakest link on the blueline filled with weaklinks. Melichar’s best days this season was seen when he was out with an injury. Poor positioning and defensive zone play. In an attempt to mitigate his injuries, Melichar decided to play less physical and try to become more positional sound except he is HORRENDOUS positionally. Too slow and not agile enough to keep with wingers, Melicharred was burnt more often than the sniffed out play. Some will point out that he blocks shots. Uh..blocking one shot a game doesn’t make this scrub valuable when defensive breakdowns are because of him. Would often forget to even cover his man in front of the net. Oops. Moreover, Melichar is completely useless in the offensive zone with zero ability to get a puck on net without it going 10 mph which we saw far far far too often. He can’t handle the puck nor can he make quick passes when pressured against quick teams. I pray to God that Melichar is done in this uniform. The new NHL has exposed you Josef Melichar or better yet goes to another team in the east.

Alain Nasreddine: 7/5/inc => C+
Winning Streak Alain was the money. Physical, played sound defensive hockey and was a breathe of fresh air. Lost his job for his child’s birth and never regained his spot because of the spectacular play of Josef Melichar. In spot duty the rest of the season, Alain struggled mightily and sadly was the still better than others that played over him. I hope he can stick around next season so I get one more look at him but he needs to be the 7th dman / healthy scratch. He played well beyond my expectations of course, but I’d rather have seen Welch up here instead improving his craft.

Brooks Orpik: 7/7/5 => C+
Brooks is way too inconsistent for my liking but I would like to see him back. Provides a need physical element and can sometimes look so smooth skating and effectively playing a 2 way game. Other times, Orpik is man too confused on the rink, constantly running around and putting himself out of position. This has been his overall best season and I look to see further improvement. He also was able to form a good defensive pairing with Ryan Whitney.

Rob Scuderi: 1/1/2 => D
Oy. Yet another disaster. Scuderi is better positionally than Melichar but that’s like winning 2nd place in the ugliest contest. Scuderi was in such great position that he would often screen our goaltending. When the goalies made the saves, scuderi felt that kicking in goals or batting them in would serve the team better. Like Melichar, Scuderi is completely worthless in the offensive zone. I’m sorry but dumping the puck around the boards EVERY time doesn’t help. A few shots on goal of the 20 mph variety were also blasted out of the Scuderi cannon. The playoffs actually saw improvement from Scuderi. However, it is far from enough to have a roster spot. I will also pray that this is his last game for the Pens. We can only hope some other team decides to pick him up so perhaps he can kick in some of our shots. Scuderi is often said to play his best when you don’t notice him. This season he did everything in his power to make sure he was noticed.

Ryan Whitney: 9/7/5 => B-
Whitney blossomed into a dynamic offensive player who has the ability to lead dmen in scoring for 10 years to come. I would like to see him change up his routine more as opposed to just one timing the cross ice Crosby feed. Regardless, Whitney has the speed and size to become dominant. However, we did not see that this year. Terrible positioning with atrocious play in his own zone was seen for much of the season. Played timid at times as well. The playoffs saw Whitney exposed with his defensive zone play but sadly he was still the most effective defensemen during the playoffs overall. Ryan will hopefully take over the role of PP QB once Gonchar leaves.


Marc-Andre Fleury: 9/8/7 => B
A breakthrough season for MA. I wondered if the man was physically tough enough to handle the NHL and the horrid bounces that sometimes occur. Fleury shocked and awed with 40 wins despite playing with the worst core of defenders in the league. Fleury stole games but had his share of bad ones. Would make the difficult saves look easy but make the easy saves look adventurous. Still he is the most athletically gifted goalie in the league. The playoffs showed that MA does have the toughness to succeed. He has the will and despite horrid and back breaking goals he kept his cool. His consistency will improve with further instruction and his rebound control should also see a boost.He still gives up far too many rebounds on easy shots that he should be able to vacuum in, and he looked shaky when handling the puck.

TBO: 7/7/inc => B-
A return to form for Thibault. Doesn’t have the skills of Fleury but he doesn’t need to shoulder the load. A decent backup that was able to steal some games for the club during the season. If he can be signed for cheap, I would hope he will return next season.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Season End Thoughts

Well the season ending in a way we didn’t hope (as it will for 29 other teams), but after all that happened I have to say the ending to this season was by far the least disappointing of any, especially with a first round playoff exit.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as upset as the next that the Pens lost in five games, but seeing as how even the optimists thought we could get 8th seed at best, I think things went pretty damn well this year. Everyone from the fans, players and front office seem to be very proud of what the team accomplished this year. Hats off to these guys for doing so well.

Let’s just take a look back at some things that made us happy, made us mad and the feats this team accomplished.

The Good

Sidney Crosby wins the Art Ross
Crosby became the first teenager ever to win a scoring title in the NHL, and he did it with having teammates who couldn’t keep up with him most of the year. Crosby silenced most the critiques, only the idiotic Crosby haters who will refuse to give him credit for anything or the people who still think he is a whiner and diver (yet they don’t think this of the likes of Forsberg and Alfredsson). He toned down his emotions and picked up his game even further, becoming all but immovable off of the puck. He was truly the most fun player to watch this year in the NHL.

Ray Shero is named GM
Shero was a welcomed addition to the Pens, even for avid Craig Patrick supporters such as myself. He immediately revamped the way things were run in the front office and brought it into the modern age. He quickly revamped the lower lines adding actual depth and not just whatever random scrub or prospect would fit there. He reshaped the personal and got rid of the scouting staff that had failed on so many of their evaluations. Oh, and he drafted that Jordan Staal guy. I look forward to seeing what else he can do.

Fleury silences his critics
I’ve never understood the people who criticize such a young player, especially when their position takes longer to develop than any other in the sport. Fleury had gotten flak since a fluke goal in the World Juniors and many immediately dropped his stock significantly. He continued to get flak for not performing in playoffs in Juniors and the AHL. But because he was the first over all pick, these feats should have been easy for him before he took his first legal drink (in the US that is). Fleury ended the year with forty wins and was the best player in the playoffs for an otherwise discombobulated team. The critics have gone very silent this year indeed.

Malkin finishes 17 in scoring in the NHL, first among rookies
When you saw Malkin break through two Devils players and stretch to beat Brodeur you knew we had one hell of a player on our hands. Malkin finished the season with 85 points giving the Pens another rookie sensation for the second year in a row. He is still adapting to the North American game and culture, but we all look forward to what he can do.

The Bad

Therrien’s favoritism
I like Therrien as a coach. And I don’t believe the people who would say he only accomplished anything this year because of the talent he had. But other coaches have had talent and not succeeded. Therrien succeeded and did it with young talent. But the one thing that got me was that Therrien played favorites. There are a few players (who will be mentioned later) who he refused to punish in any way for poor play, and these were the three worst players on the team game in and game out. He put his own personal feelings ahead of the well being of the team and that does not make for a Jack Adams winner. Therrien has matured since his Montreal days, but still has some ways to go.

The entity known as Scudichar
Scudichar was the defensive pairing of Melichar and Scuderi, the two worst defensemen on the team. Melichar was terrible all year, never watching a man in front of the net and remaining useless on odd man breaks. There was a reason the long win streak occurred when he was injured and it ended when he came back. Scuderi racked up about five goals and ten assists this year, unfortunately all of these were for the other team. He deflected the puck into his net or to an opposing player way to often this year. He also proved to be utterly frightened to have the puck, immediately batting it away and not taking his time, which also cost the Pens a few games this year. With luck, neither shall be back.

Michel Ouellet is made out of Kryptonite
That’s the only reason he could continues to suck the life out of the offense. His incredibly slow foot speed, lack of stick skills and often brainless moves continue to bring down whatever line he is on. He’s a little kid trying to catch up with the big boys and keeps trailing behind. And you’re going to have to pardon me if one or two weak hits a game doesn’t make me count him as physical. You want physical, look at Gary Roberts. Ouellet is an RFA and the best thing Shero could do is let him walk, because Therrien showed more favoritism to this man than anyone else despite his constant detriment to the team.

The Surprising

Malkin defects from Mettalurg
Everyone thought there would be a legal battle on who Malkin would play for, but no one expected him to defect from his team. After signing a new deal under duress, Malkin had enough and crept away from his team while they visited Finland. He spent two weeks in hiding before resurfacing in LA after which he joined the Penguins. He went through a lot this year on and off the ice, and it shows his devotion to playing the game.

Staal makes the team and surprising everyone
You didn’t think I would leave him out did you? Most were surprised when Staal made the team out of camp, but none expected he would do so good. 29 goals, leading the league in short handed tallies and a strong defensive game nearly unheard for any player his age (especially the youngest in the league). Staal was a most pleasant surprise and leaves people like me who wanted Shero to take Johnson for the pick feel foolish.

Pens take the 5th seed in the East, have fourth largest points increase in NHL history
Who saw any of this coming? We all knew they would be better, but not 47 points better. What this team accomplished this year was nothing short of amazing. Last year teams said “Oh look, the Pens! Easy win!” and this year said “Oh shit! We have to play the Pens!” That’s a hell of an accomplishment for one year. It was truly a season to behold and everyone loved going along for the ride.

Pens get new arena
I’m a save the best for last kind of guy, and what is better than after ten years of wondering if your team will still be your’s knowing they are going to be sticking around for at least thirty more? Jubilation was rampant, especially among the young people of the city that the Pens were able to work out a new arena deal to stay in the city. The fans did their part showing up to the games and letting the politicians know there would be repercussions in the form of voting for the other guy and leaving town. Mario saved the franchise for the third time in his life, an amazing feat that will be as hard to duplicate as his five goals five ways. Pens fans felt like Atlas with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and it was lifted at 11:00 PM one night as KDKA broke news a deal was reached. You could almost hear the sigh of relief across the city.

Well, I think that about sums things up in a nutshell (if I forgot anything let me know). It was one hell of a year and I am glad I was around for it. Truly enjoyable and ground breaking. Can’t wait for next October to have another go around!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pens fall, down 3-1

It sucks being down 3-1 and pretty much knowing the end is near. But you know what? I don't mind. Well, I do, but with the way the season has gone how can you not be happy with the team?

The game started off bad with some questionable calls on the Pens and no calls on the Sens. This let them go up 1-0 after a bad call on Ruutu. The first period was a bit lackluster, but the remaining 40 minutes the Pens controlled the game, taking the body and getting the better offensive chances. Alas it was not meant to be as no bounces would go the Pens way. No matter how hard they tried, how good the opportunity, the puck would not go in.

If nothing else the game was entertaining. The Pens played their hearts out and the fans lent theirs to them. Even when the game ended, you didnt really see the sighs and quietness common for a loss, especially in the playoffs.

Most players had a solid game, with teh lower lines dominating at time. Both Roberts and Petrovicky crushed people at every chance. However, the terrible trio of Ouellet, Melicrap and Suckderi continued to run around like headless chickens and gave, and I do mean give, the puck to Ottawa players on numerous oocaisons. The loss isnt their fault, but this team would definitely be better without them.

All in all a good game, but it wa a must win and I will be happy if the Pens take just one more.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Back to the Drawing Board

After recovering from a terrible game 1, the Pens once again fell down the ladder, losing game three 4-2. They started the game off right scoring less than a minute into the game, but after that there was little to cheer about. They fell apart ins pectacular fashion, both the offense and defense proving to be utterly ineffective. Again Fleury was the only reason it wasnt a route. Funny that he was the one most were worried about in high pressure situations, yet he has been the most reliable of them all.

Some thoughts:

-I hate to say this, but the best thing Melichar and Scuderi could do for this team is to get hurt. Therrien is obviously too blind to see that these two hurt the team everytime they're on the ice so he wont bench them. I am starting to think Melichar is actually trying to help the Sens. For next game they may as well just come out wearing the red, black and white of their rivals because they've done far more good for them than us.

-If you've evern been to a park, or done this yourself as a kid, remember when your older brother/sister was playing with their friends, and you being a few years younger desperately tried to keep up with them but couldnt? Well, that is exactly what I see when ouellet is on the ice. He is always racing to catch up to everyone else.

-Recchi: retirement is an option.

-If Petro and Ruutu are to be visible, ice time would help. They havent gotten enough to even make themselves known unless they take a penalty. Of course part of that is due to the huge amount of stupid penalties the Pens are taking.

-Fleury: thank god you're there otherwise it'd be 3-0 and most probably wouldnt bother watching a 4th embaressing loss in a row.

-Therrien: time to get your head out of your ass. Stop playing favorites with Ouellet, melichar and Scuderi and replace them with people who may do things. Ekman, Nazzy and even Kwiatkoswki deserve a shot because honestly they cant do any worse. We're headed for an early exit and you cant get past how much you like guys. Jack Adams my ass.

-For the love of god hit someone! The Sens are cowards and once you hit them they turn tail and run. Neil is great when your back is turned or the ref blew a whistle, but challenge him to a fight he refuses. Coward. you can't spell "Spezza" without "spaz"(hint hint: use Ruutu). And I dont even want to talk about how much I utterly loathe Alfredsson.

Three Stars:
Hell, why not give it to every player on the Sens since they show up and play every game?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Much Better

The Pens overcame deficits twice to beat the Senators 4-3. Both Sidney Crosby and Gary Roberts had a goal and an assist, playing extremely well. Roberts did exactly what he was brought to the Pens to do" lead by example. He hit everything he could and created scoring chances.

Malkin also added two assists despite not playing that great, with Gonchar, Recchi and Ouellet also adding helpers. I have got to give credit to Ouellet for the third goal. His semi-hit on Redden behind the net stunned the defenseman long enough for Gary Roberts to crush him. Ouellet then grabbed the puck and threw it in front to Staal who made an easy goal. While Ouellet struggled most the game to keep up with pretty much everyone, that goal was all him.

Fleury also had a very good game, making key save after key save within the last ten minutes of the game. He really did save them in the third, despite Melichar and Scuderi's best attempts to let the Sens score. Those two were by far the worst players on the Pens and I seriously have to question Therrien not only for his decision to continue to play Melichar, but to pair him with the second worse defenseman on the team. Play Nazzy already because at some point Melichar will cost the Pens a game single handily.

I was very pleased with the effort the Pens put forth. They used their two days off well, and my hope of them now knowing what to expect and rebounding happened. Despite having two or three heart attacks in the third period (think Sanford and Son) the Pens showed they wouldn't be pushovers in the series and held on to the lead. The third period was exactly the kind of game NBC was hoping for as it was nothing but scoring chances.

Three Stars:
1) Gary Roberts
2) Daniel Alfredsson
3) Sidney Crosby

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Grace Period is Over

After a 6-3 dredging on Wednesday the Penguins showed how inexperienced they were for the playoffs. The only problem is their grace period is up. They cannot afford to come out as flat as they did in game 1, playing at half the speed and intensity that the Senators did.

If on Saturday the Pens come out as lackadaisical as before then they might as well concede the series to the Senators. In no way can they w in a playoff game with such half assed play.

What bugged me the most on Wednesday was that the Senators took the body to the Pens, and they just sat there and absorbed it. They let the Senators have their way with them. The Senators are a bunch of cowards. As soon as you start to hit them they tuck their tails between their legs and run away. Yellow is a much more fitting color than any for that team. Even Chris Neil is this way. But when you let them hit you and don’t respond they start thinking their tough and hit more.

So even though the game was lost by the second period, the Pens did nothing. If all hopes are gone, which was apparent by the third, just hit the other team. Make them hurt for the next game. But instead they let themselves be hurt. They sat on the bench tired and beat up and had it rubbed in their faces. Hell, go out of position to make that hit, it doesn’t matter if they score. If they score in front of the net hit them anyways. Did they get rid of the puck a second ago? Hit them anyways.

Game 1 was embarrassing in every aspect. While Fleury didn’t play a great game, he had the best and was hung out to dry by the rest of the team. His pulling was of pity, not from performance.

Let us hope for Game 2 they have learned their lesson and come out ready to play.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Pens Putrid in 4-1 Loss

Nothing seemed to go right for the Pens last night as the lost to the Sabres 4-1. They were dominated the whole game, a strong showing by Fleury keeping it from being a major blowout. The lone goal game from a Recchi deflection from a Jordan Staal shot that bounced into the air. Other than this instance, the offense was invisible.

Crosby was able to create nothing, and Malkin ruined everything he touched last night. The top lines made nothing all night, and even the forecheck was weak. The 4th line of Ruutu-Talbot-Laraque was probably the best. Laraque attempted to get Peters to fight, but he refused (though he was steamed about something Laraque said to him, my guess is along the lines of "chickenshit") and Peters was rarely, if at all seen after the first period.

Michel Ouellet continued to show he has no place on this team, continually dragging down the second scoring and powerplay lines with slow skating and unable to handle the puck. We can only hope Shero rids us of him after this season.

Sadly, Gonchar mishandled more pucks than any other player, constantly losing control. One goal was directly his fault as he for no good reason tried to play up on Vanek, only to fall down and take out Talbt in the process. Easy goal for Buffalo. The rest of the defense wasnt much better.

Therrien also called a horrible game himself. He put Crosby and Malkin together and with both having off nights were easily shut down. He did not change up the lines until the third but the way thigns were going it was already to late. His biggest mistake though came in not dressing Kwiatkowski. With Whitney out from a sore groin, instead of putting in the defenseman with offensive skills, he dressed Melichar, Scuderi and Nazzy, all of whome have no offensive ability and have played poorly as of late. Instead he moved Mark Recchi back to the point, where he once again looked utterly terrible and out of place. You traded for an offensive dman, you only have two of those on your roster, one is injured, SO YOU PUT THE THIRD ONE IN! Jack Adams winner my ass. This is why Therrien should not win: simple things he is not capable of doing (and this includes playing Ouellet at all).

The powerplay was woeful at best, five on five not any better. Penalty killing and Fleury were the only things that went right this game.

Therrien better right the ship quick or else it will be a very quick first round exit.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pens Double Up on Bruins

Erik Christensen scored two goals and Crosby added three assist to extend his points lead as the Pens beat the Bruins 4-2.

Things did not start off well as the Bruins scored 45 seconds into the game. But everytime the Bruins scored the Pens answered back. The Pens displayed another strong game against the Bruins, cycling the puck and keeping it in their posession much of the time. Strong game by the team all around.

Phill Kessel did have a nice goal batting his own rebound out of the air. Armstrong, who scored the Pens second goal, caught a high stick to the face and came back in the second period with a visor and swollen eye, but didnt seem worse for wear. Nils Ekman also played well, seeing action on the 4th line. It was nice to see him get a chance again, though I wouldnt hold out hope he replaced Ouellet anytime soon. The PEns also didnt seem to miss a beat with Roberts out with a swollen knee.

And sadly, no Laraque Chara fight, but that was to be expected.

Bobb Errey was as awful as normal. He continues with his lame jokes, repetitive comments (he said Therrien was steaming about five times and fuming about 3 times within a ten second period). Please, for the love of god, get rid of Errey after this year! He makes every broadcast torturous.

Three Stars:
1) Christensen
2) Kessel
3) Crosby

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pens Beat Caps 4-3

(Sorry for the length of time bewteen posts, I forgot to mention I was going to be on hiatus.)

The Pens pulled out another victory tonight, solidifying their trip to the playoffs (at the time of this writing neither the Devils nor Senators games have finished so the Penguins current spot is unknown).

After falling behind 2-0 int he first ten minutes, Therrien called a timeout and got his squad back together. They responded three minutes later with a powerplay goal and changed the momentum of the game.

Crosby finished the game with a goal and an assist, Malkin two assists and Ryan Whitney had a productive game with two goals.

Of special note is that it sounded like a home game. Washington is always a big draw for Pens fans and tonight was no exception. Penguins chants constantly over powered Capitals cahnts, which I'm sure had to irk Ted Leonsis everytime.

The anticipated fight between Laraque and Brashear took place, with Laraque taking the victory. While a short fight, Laraque managed more punches and the take down. It was interesting watching these two stare down each other as they dropped the gloves. Neither seemed to notice a goal was scored, and Laraque even got an assist (had he gotten a goal he would have gad the Gordie Howe hat trick).

Gary Roberts, who took a punding in front of the net, left the game after taking a shot off the knee and it is not known his condition at this time.

Fleury played a solid game, no soft goals again. The first goal was blown coverage and amazingly it wasnt Melichar who missed his man (and yes he was on the ice).

Three Stars:
1) Whitney
2) Malkin
3) Crosby

Monday, March 19, 2007

Scuderi's late goal lifts Rangers over Pens 2-1

When you need a clutch guy, he is your man. That is why Ranger's coach Tom Renney had him out there with less than a minute to play in the game.

"We really needed that second point" Renney said. "When you're fighting for a playoff spot, every point counts. We didnt want the game to go to a shootout because they (the Pens) have been very good there recently."

"He's great to have on the ice" captain Jaromir Jagr said. "He's so good at deflecting it into the net you only need to get it onto his stick. I saw him in front of the net and knew it was as good as in."

But if this man isnt Jagr, who is it? Nylander? Straka? Even Sean Avery? Nope. It is Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi, who registered his sixth goal of the season on his own team to give the Rangers the go ahead goal with 33 seconds left.

Scuderi, who provides little offense or defense, is only rated third among Penguins defenseman for points behind Gonchar and Whitney. However, when it comes to points for the other team, he holds a commanding lead with six goals and eleven assists.

"We couldn't have done it without him" Jed Ortmeyer said. "When that guy is on the ice, you know something good for us is going to happen."

The sentiment was echoed around the Rangers locker room, all saying that Scuderi was the MVP of the game for them.

"Without him, we walk out with maybe one point." Marek Malik said. "But the way he played the whole game, I dont think we would have come out with any."

Three Stars
1) Rob Scuderi
2) Jocelyn Thibault
3) Henrik Lundqvist

Ok, so enough of the rant. But that is how things should be played in public though they wont be. Seriously, this is what, the sixth, seventh time Scuderi has scored on his own net? It is ridiculous this guy keeps getting playing time. The fact we have both him and Melichar on our blueline just screams to me the Pens are going to be out of the playoffs sooner rather than later.

All in all the Pens looked pretty frenzied out there, with nothing seeming to work. While few really played bad, there was no rythme to their game and no one could connect. It was an off night for everyone not named Thibault, who had a stellar game.

The Pens almost got a point out of it with a nice tap in from Ouellet (see, I can give credit where it's due, and had blogger not erased my other post you would have seen me give credit to him for the good game against Jersey). But Scuderi had to make sure they neither secured a point to go ahead of Ottawa or tie New Jersey by sending the puck past Thibault. Sadly, Thibault's good play is over shadowed by Scuderi's ineptness.

The whole loss isn't his fault, as I said the Pens did not have a good game, but if not for him they would have at least a point.

Also, I keep hearing talk of moving Malone off Crosby's line. To be honest I would move Recchi first. He has been invisible since the long winning streak ended. I think Therrien needs to mix up that first line because Crosby is the only one producing.

The real three stars:
1) Jagr
2) Lundqvist
3) Thibault

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pens defeat Sens 4-3 in the shoot out

Enough of the shoot outs already!!! Seriously, this is just ridiculous now.

The Pens gained another point on the Sens tonight in their fight for fourth place with a win in the shootout. Jarkko Ruutu was the only person to score in the shootout, with both Crosby and Christensen failing on their attempts.

Crosby had a goal and an assist to gain more ground on the scoring race, especially since LeCavalier registered no points today. Ryan Whitney and Maxim talbot also added goals. Talbots came on a set of three nice passes between him, Gonchar and Armstrong right after a penalty had expired. Whitney also had ana ssist, Gonchar two and Malkin one.

It was quite annoying that after the first two goals the Sens scored within a thirty second period to compltely shift the momentum. That should never happen to you, let alone twice in a game. The third goal was inevitable with the penalties and shoddy defensive play. The Pens should be glad they got a point, not the otehr way around.

Fleury had a good game, making a lot of close saves in front of the net as Josef Melichar continued to stand and watch as the Sens stood in the crease and hammer at rebounds. Make no mistake, this guy will cost us in the playoffs.

For the past few days, there has been a lot of rumblings about how Ouellet isnt as bad as people make him out to be. This comes after Ouellet has had one decent, and one good game. Understand this: two decent games does NOT make up for 60 bad games! People say he is a good forchekcer, he is decent at best, and you never see him putting pressure towards teh net on teh forcheck. They say his speed has improved, if it has that is sad because he is still outskated by Laraque on a regular basis. They say he can add some goals here and there, well Talbot has 11 goals with not powerplay or top line time. 3 less goals in a defensive role. PAthetic on Ouellets part.

I'm sorry, but the Ouellet apologists need to stop. This guy does not have the skills for the top line, and his game is not suited for the bottom lines. And yet Therrien shows unrelenting favoritism towards him. Every other player who has not played well finds themselves scratched or demoted, but not Ouellet. Do you honestly not see something wrong here?

With luck SHero will do the right thing and let both Ouellet and Melichar walk, as I can say with all honestly: Therrien should not win Jack Adams if for no other reason than constantly playing his two worst players in every situation when there are better options. Great coaches do not do that.

Three Stars:
1) Crosby
2) Whitney
3) Gonchar

Friday, March 16, 2007

I would like to take this time to thank blogger for completly @&*%ing up a well written post by getting an error message. I felt it was a relly good game review, but due to incompetence from blogger, it was completly lost and I am just way too pissed at them to redo the post. Unbelievable.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pens Shut Out Devils

The roles were reversed as the Pens shut out the Devils 3-0. Ruutu, Christensen and Staal all scored for the Pens, the lattter two nice goals while Ruutu's was a freak delfection off a defenseman's stick.

The game started out like many New Jersey games: boring. The first period was as devoid of action as the arena was devoid of fans. Thibault had another good game, and I think Pens fans are finally starting to give the guy credit for his play. Yes, he was bad last year (as was much of the team) but a lot of people had already written him off. But now he has become a reliable backup, and while not a starter, is good enough that you wont feel totally paranoid should Fleury go down in the playoffs.

I'm also sad to report that Ouellet managed an assist last night meaning he will remain in the lineup at least five more games. Honestly, if anyone askes why Therrien should not get the Jack Adams award there are two very good reasons: 1) Ouellet 2) Melichar.

Game Notes:

-Why are people still surprised at the small attendences at the Devils game? What possible incentive do people have to go to see a boring team at an out of the way Arena and spend a lot of money doing it?

-Can Thibault get some respect? He's played about five good games in a row now.

-I'm surprised Rupp dropped the gloves. He normally tries to act tough during games but usually fails.

-Some people have said Jay Pandolfo should be considered for the Selke. Are you kidding me? If not for the Devils system, this guy would be a career minor leaguer. If he was truly that important, dont you think the Devils would pay him more than 850k for a 33 year old? Please, this guy just rides Madden's coat tails. He's to Madden what Warren Young was to Mario.

-Another solid game from pretty much the whole team (you knwo which two arent included in that).

-Staal had another nice goal, pulling the puck away from brodeur's poke check and putting it into an empty net.

-Christensen has the most wicked wrist shot of a Pens player since Kovalev.

-Ruutu continues his good play and I think it is in no small part due to Petrovicky. The two have very good chemistryand were on fire during the winning streak. Nothing against Laraque, but I just dont think him and Ruutu pair well.

-Despite taking only three penalties, the Pens played short handed for just under 22 minutes. How does that work?

  • Ruutu 2 minutes for roughing
  • Roberts 2 minutes for roughing (fighting major equalized by Rupps)
  • Too many men on the ice 2 minutes
  • Michel Ouellet 15:58 of ice time
That's right. I am officially counting all Michel Ouellet ice time as short handed for the Pens, because they sure as hell play like that when he's on the ice.

All in all the game didnt have a whole lot worth mentioning, but that's the Devils for you.

And Kudos to Eric who called in to XM Radio this morning with this lovely quote (or something pretty close):
"This is going to annoy John (annoying Devils fan that always calls in) in that all the people involved in the Penguins getting a new arena thanked the fans and said it was because of them; and that is never going to happen with New Jersey."

How very true.

Three Stars:
1) Thibault
2) Ruutu
3) Christensen