Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
This Penguins team has small galaxy of stars. There is Sidney Crosby, of course, Evgeni Malkin, who finished second in NHL scoring this season, Sergei Gonchar, who will get some consideration for the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman, Marian Hossa and Gary Roberts, who had two goals, including the winner, in Game 1.
Although Fleury was the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft, he has been almost cocooned as he has learned to be an elite player, putting behind him questions about his ability and durability.
“Now he sees the play, he’s more mature. He’s not surprised with plays or with shots,” Penguins coach Michele Therrien said. “There’s no doubt, this is the best I’ve seen from Marc-Andre Fleury the last month and a half.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“Last year, I think we were in shock after Game 1 in Ottawa. They came out and battled us so hard,” said Roberts, who tried to aw-shucks his way around his role in last night’s win. He said luck was the big factor since he is still not in prime shape because of the injury layoff.
“Hopefully, I’ll feel as good tomorrow as I do right now,” he said. “I didn’t have a lot of jump in my legs out there. I was just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.”
Perhaps. But Roberts had enough left in the tank to score his second goal with 1:35 left and swat around a couple of Senators who tried to rough up the Penguins at the end of the game.
Watching Roberts show the way for his youthful teammates must have gone down especially bitterly with Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. He has long believed, as have the team’s fans, that Roberts is just the kind of heart-and-soul player the team lacked.
Update 2:02pm ET: From the Stats Wizards at Elias Sports Bureau, more on Roberts—
via David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
“It’s still the same game, it’s just higher intensity,” Hossa said in comparing the regular season to the playoffs. “We have to battle through the traffic and make hockey more simple.
“Every experience is big and definitely I’m learning. Sometimes it’s a longer process but I’m here and hopefully I can help this team go far.”
more on Marian Hossa…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
A year ago, the hockey world observed Sidney Crosby as though he were a brand new organism unearthed in the excavation of some long-forgotten hockey rink.
As the teenage scoring sensation and anointed savior of the game prepared for his first playoff series against Ottawa, we poked and prodded and mostly wondered. How would the league’s scoring champ adjust to life in the pressure cooker of the postseason? What could he accomplish? How would he lead his team? Where would he lead his team?
Remember the story about two months ago regarding Marc-Andre Fleury changing the color of his goalie pads?
Well, it turns out the Doctor who made the suggestion is a Sens fan….
from AFP via Yahoo,
A Canadian optometrist has unwittingly given the Pittsburgh Penguins an advantage going into their opening National Hockey League playoff game Wednesday against her darling Ottawa Senators.
Optometrist Janet Leduc wrote in a letter to the Penguins’ coaching staff some months ago that their goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, could improve his game if he ditched his trademark yellow pads.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The very banging and battering the Penguins wanted to avoid from the Flyers can serve as an equalizer in this series for the undermanned Senators. They just need to bring it. Schubert, Chris Neil, Martin Lapointe, Cody Bass, Shean Donovan, Mike Commodore and Anton Volchenkov will be key players for Ottawa.
They have to frustrate the skilled Penguins. They have to throw them off their game. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Petr Sykora and Sergei Gonchar have to be targeted. They cannot be allowed to free-wheel without concern or they will roll right over the Senators.
Crosby’s got a bad RIGHT ankle? How will it stand up to a two-hander? The Senators have to find out.
via Bruce Garrioch at Off The Posts,
Asked what he thought about the Penguins tactics by sitting Sidney Crosby Sunday, Murray stated what I thought.
“I knew what was going on,” said Murray. “You guys all know they wanted to play Ottawa. That’s fine. That was fairly obvious from the drop of the puck.”
Emails start flowing in while I am trying to enjoy a nice little cook-out going on at the home-front.
Philly fans stating Crosby doesn’t want to playa against the big bad Flyers, blah, blah, blah!
Smart move in my opinion by the Pens. Better to have Sid as close to 100% for the first game of the playoffs and he does need rest.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Given the combative nature of his team’s rivalry with the Philadelphia Flyers this season, Penguins coach Michel Therrien urged referees working Sunday’s regular-season finale not to swallow their whistles.
“We want to make sure that the referees and the league will call the right penalties,” Therrien said Friday. “You saw a game (Thursday), Toronto-Ottawa, (Senators captain Daniel) Alfredsson got hit to the head. You don’t want to see those types of things happen just before the playoffs. You have a team that’s out of the playoffs (Toronto) and has nothing to lose.”
from Scott Morrison of Viewpoint at CBC,
The Pittsburgh Penguins are for real. Very much for real, actually.
And in a conference in which any of the eight teams that ultimately make the playoffs have a reasonably good chance of going all the way to the final - where they will lose to the Western Conference winner, of course - there are signs that perhaps the Penguins are just a little better than the rest.
Now, that isn’t entirely born out statistically, given they are tied with the Montreal Canadiens for first overall and have been playing at roughly the same clip for the past dozen or so 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.
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