Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Craig Simpson at CBC’s hockey blog:
There is some serious concern and all kinds of tough questions coming out of Pittsburgh.
This Penguin team is a shell of the one we watched in June, and despite the legitimate excuse of some key injuries to Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar and the departure of Marian Hossa, Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts, they have underachieved in a big way.
Pittsburgh still boasts two of the three top scorers in the NHL, but even Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby have not been themselves. Malkin, the NHL leading scorer has zero goals in his last right games and has only two points in six. Crosby has done more damage with his fists than his stick lately with just two goals in his last 17 games played, and has been held pointless in eight of those 17.
If the players have tuned out their head coach Michel Therrien and are trying to get him fired, they are doing a good job.
from Mark Madden of the Beaver County Times,
While Therrien has wielded his iron fist more judiciously than in the past, his tactical acumen remains inadequate and the coaching staff’s continued mangling of the power play is unforgivable. The staff should have been upgraded between seasons. Mike Yeo lacks experience, Andre Savard lacks a pulse and the staff as a whole lacks a communicator.
But Therrien didn’t ask for a roster caked with wings that lack both finishing and fury. Therrien left Saturday’s post-game press conference without answering the final question: “Can you win with these players?” Shero might not have wanted to hear Therrien’s answer.
Therrien isn’t responsible for the significant injuries that have dogged his team, either.
The end of Saturday’s second period typified the Penguins lately: Max Talbot and even Sidney Crosby fought in a transparent attempt to inject adrenaline into their lifeless teammates. But Nathan Horton extended Florida’s lead to 5-1 exactly 90 seconds after Crosby’s set-to.
Crosby should have punched one of his wingers. At least his rage would have been properly placed. Crosby’s attempt at inspiration was met with raging indifference.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
As the old punch-line goes, “TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT!”
And so it should be for the Rangers at The Garden this evening when the shaky Penguins come to town.
With apologies to the punch line (“Tonight’s The Night”), perhaps the theme should be simply to pick apart the Pens whose confidence appears to be leaking out of every pore.
Granted, the Rangers have not been playing in the manner of Boston nor San Jose, but on Saturday night, they gave the capricious Capitals a good run for their Ovechkin before losing by a mere goal. Considering that Washington virtually never loses at home, the Blueshirts played them hard and well.
from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“I would not want to make a trade right now that I wouldn’t have made the first 20 games. To do something because we’re losing some games isn’t what I’m looking at,” Shero said yesterday from Ottawa, where he has been watching a wave of potential future NHL stars at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championships.
He wouldn’t rule out a deal “if there’s a chance to make the team better,” but pointed out that the mid-November trade in which the Penguins swapped defensemen with Dallas, getting Philippe Boucher for Darryl Sydor, was “a lateral move” in a season of few consequential NHL trades so far.
“There’s not a lot of movement right now,” Shero said, “so you stick with it a little bit and not do something you wouldn’t do when things are going well.”
Head Coach Michel Therrien speaks with reporters following the Penguins’ 6-1 loss to Florida.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Way too much talent in that Penguins lineup for them to struggle so mightily on the power play, in part why they called a players-only meeting after the Bruins rubbed them out at the Igloo Dec. 30. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are among the two best young forwards in the game, and they can’t get the job done on the power play? Clearly, they miss Sergei Gonchar (shoulder), who has been out all year. But some of it is coaching, and Michel Therrien has always been a bit of a strange fit there, even when they made their run to the Cup finals last spring.
read on for more hockey topics…
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
Here’s what happened: Moments after Campbell and Maxime Talbot fought a good fight, Crosby and McLean lined up in the faceoff circle. The puck was dropped,
Crosby grabbed McLean and took him down, shaking and pulling him around the ice – without throwing a punch.
McLean cut the bridge of his nose when he hit the ice, and Crosby was sent away with four penalties – including instigating and unsportsmanlike conduct. Crosby’s fighting style has been criticized lately, especially after he repeatedly took below-the-belt shots at Atlanta’s Boris Valabik last month.
After the game, coach Pete DeBoer and McLean didn’t have much to say on the subject, but Nick Tarnasky and Nick Boynton sure did. Tarnasky’s comments to me should be construed as off the record since we were just chatting during the second break, but Boynton went off as he finished getting dressed.
We’re you hoping he’d get back on the ice? ‘‘Oh yeah,’’ Boynton said.
more and watch the video below..
from Going Five Hole,
December 31, 1988. Penguins v. Devils.
A feat likely never to be seen again.
Mario Lemieux torches New Jersey for five goals…in all five possible ways.
continued with video….
You make the call and Tony of The Confluence has brought the subject up too.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
Since Rocket Richard did it for the first time ever in 1944-45, there have been 184 total 50-goal seasons posted by 87 different players. It has been done by the truly great (Gretzky, Wayne; Lemieux, Mario), by the merely very good (Nieuwendyk, Joe; Roberts, Gary) and by the downright obscure (Richard, Jacques; Chouinard, Guy).
Not once has it been done by Crosby, Sidney. In fact, Crosby hasn’t even come within 10 goals of scoring 50 in a season and given his goal production through the first third of this season, nobody should count on it happening in 2008-09….
he concern I have for Crosby is that he may never emerge as a truly elite goal-scorer in the NHL. In fact, instead of taking his goal-scoring up a notch as his career progresses, Crosby appears to be faltering more in that department as each season goes by. Through the early part of this season, the dip in scoring for Crosby has been as precipitous as it has been mysterious. His goal-drought to date has reached a career-high nine games.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com