Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still has more than half of his career in front of him, and there's a growing consensus he's already a lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"I'd have put him in the Hall of Fame last night," NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes said.
Mike Rupp, Crosby's former teammate, also said he'd vote Crosby into the Hockey Hall of Fame if Crosby never played another game. Former NHL goalie and longtime television analyst Darren Pang said the same thing. So did NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk, who was Crosby's first NHL coach.
"No doubt," Pang said. "There isn't even any hesitation on my behalf."
"I would for sure, because of the personal history," said Olczyk, who will call the NBC Game of the Week on Sunday between the Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Olczyk said the only blemish he can find on Crosby's resume is the disappointing finishes the Penguins have had since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. Crosby has been the face of some of that disappointment in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, particularly last season when he had one goal and nine points in 13 games while playing with a bad wrist.
from David Ebner of the Globe and Mail,
Sidney Crosby is in a slump.
It is an odd thing to say about a hockey player who, as of Sunday morning, was the fourth-leading scorer in the NHL, 56 points in 49 games and only two points out of first....
There have been recent flashes of the real Crosby. Last Friday night in Calgary, he delivered two beautiful goals, the second of which was collected as a pass in full flight, after which he split the Calgary defence and cracked a laser of a wrist shot past the Flames goalie. But the next night, in Vancouver, the same old problems. Crosby looked strong and savvy at times – but managed only one shot at the net, a backhander from in close at a near-impossible angle that had no real hope of going in.
When he does get his chances – and Crosby is driving play this season, as always – the simple fact is he’s connecting at a strong but not superstar level.
This is Sidney Crosby in a slump: excellent, but not amazing.
His shooting percentage is 11.3 per cent, the lowest of his career looking at seasons when he’s been healthy, and the number is down several percentage points from his normal elite rate of 14 per cent-plus.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Penguins (30-15-6) faced a 2-0 deficit at the time, and the goal would have given them a serious spark. Instead, Shawn Matthias and Zach Kassian scored later in the period to trigger the rout, which wraps up a 2-1 Western Canada trip.
Johnston explained that nothing was called or said on the ice. The only thing he heard or saw was a whistle and a referee with his arms up.
“There was no call made on the ice,” Johnston said. “There was just a wave of the arms. It wasn't a call that was waved off. The play was stopped because the net was off.
“They decided on the ice that it was no goal. Then they waited for Toronto. Toronto couldn't decide. That's the way the ruling went.
“When I watched it again ... boy, it's a goal for sure. I thought that was a key turning point in the game. Would have given us a lot of momentum at that time.”
Watch the no-goal below...
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
The talent is obvious, with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the lot. But there’s a reason this team has not returned to the Cup final since 2009. Rutherford’s eyes, which have seen more hockey than most, are tasked with spotting what the missing ingredients are, but really, who knows what the Penguins truly have?
The mumps and injuries have ravaged Pittsburgh all season, including the loss of stellar young defenceman Olli Maata (shoulder surgery) and veteran winger Pascal Dupuis (blood clot in his lung) for the remainder of the season.
“We haven’t seen this team yet,” Rutherford said. “We’ve managed to stay near the top of the East with all the adversity that we’ve dealt with, and all the different players who have come in. Now, I’m hoping we get to see our team. And even with that, Maata won’t play ’til training camp, and Dupuis is a top-six forward.”
Rutherford’s dad was in the car business, and that’s a good thing. Because in his first year as Penguins GM, there will be some wheeling and dealing to do prior to the deadline. He wants a defenceman for sure, and a left-winger to put next to Malkin is also a priority.
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
COLUMBUS, Ohio- Sidney Crosby's first decade in the NHL is almost over. And here is what he needs to know: Being Sidney Crosby isn't his job anymore.
Just being Sidney is all any of us should ask of “The Next One” who became “The One.”
Being Sidney Crosby meant breathing life into hockey after the NHL attempted to suffocate the game at its highest level. Being Sidney Crosby meant resuscitating a Penguins franchise that was on life support while calling a decaying Igloo home.
As Crosby became the world's finest player, Being Sidney Crosby came to mean raising the NHL and Penguins from their respective deathbeds. Either feat should have exhausted Crosby. Both tasks were too much to ask of any “Kid.”
Now a man at 27, Crosby can take the deep breath he is long overdue. His Penguins are perennial contenders. More importantly, they're financially sound, with 360 consecutive home sellouts and supreme regional TV ratings. His league is thriving, topping $4 billion in revenue, and working peacefully with its players' union to finally bring promise of tangible growth.
Being Sidney Crosby wasn't necessary here this weekend.
via the NHL,
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby will miss the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game because of a lower-body injury, executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday.
Crosby has been playing with the injury and will need about a week to heal, the Penguins said.
As a result of missing the All-Star Game, Crosby will not be permitted to play in Pittsburgh's home game on Jan. 27 against the Winnipeg Jets.
from Randy Miller of NJ.com,
Pittsburgh Penguins fans are outraged at Flyers left wing Zac Rinaldo.
They're angry over a dirty hit that injured Letang in the first period of the Flyers' 3-2 overtime victory on Tuesday night a Wells Fargo Center and disgusted about Rinaldo's postgame comments in which he bragged that he "changed the game" and "might have changed" his club's fortunes in what's been a bad season.
Since his hit, Rinaldo has been getting bashed virtually nonstop with messages sent to his @rinaldozac Twitter account, many of which were quite vulgar.
Others kept it clean by calling Rinaldo a disgrace, thug, beer leaguer, embarrassment, idiot, Neanderthal, coward, punk, puke, scumbag, tooth bag, meathead, dirty, useless, moron, garage, trash, scrub, goon and savage.
Plus a game misconduct.
Update #2: Via The Score's Navin Vaswani:
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Games Tuesday and Wednesday at the Flyers and against the Blackhawks present the Penguins an opportunity to take a few days off feeling good about themselves, the best-case scenario a 5-3-1 record in January entering the break.
Or the Penguins could stew for four days and reconvene for practice following two losses that dropped them into fourth place in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-5-1 record in January and losses in seven of eight against division opponents.
“We have to get our game back and get back in sync,” coach Mike Johnston said. “That's the real key thing for me right now.”
That the Penguins need to bounce back from losses to the Islanders and Rangers, one more wretched than the next, is the easy part.
How they do it gets a little more complex.
The Penguins went winless in back-to-back games twice over the first 10 weeks of the season. It's happened three times — including a seasonlong four games without a win Dec. 22-29 — since.
“You can't get into a spot where you lose a couple games in a row,” Johnston said. “We've lost two. Now, we have to respond.”
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.
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