Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Go ahead, blame the Penguins’ injuries and illnesses, the 337 man-games lost. Blame Olli Maatta’s shoulder problem, Pascal Dupuis’ blood clot, Kris Letang’s concussion and Christian Ehrhoff’s concussion. Blame the fact the team has been without three of its top four defensemen for a significant time down the stretch and had to play again Friday night against the New York Islanders with just five defensemen for the sixth time because of salary-cap mismanagement. Those are valid reasons the Penguins are fighting for their playoff lives after losing to the Islanders, 3-1, at Consol Energy Center in front of a sellout crowd that practically booed them off the ice.
But there will be no legitimate excuse should the Penguins lose tonight at Buffalo and be eliminated. The Sabres are the NHL’s worst team. They are the Penguins’ safety net. Should the Penguins somehow slip through that, they won’t deserve to make the postseason. They will be remembered as failures. They will be remembered for one of the worst collapses in Pittsburgh sports history. They are 3-9-2 in their past 14 games.
Not to put any extra pressure on the boys.
It’s easy to believe they are feeling plenty as it is.
Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Islanders and need two points to assure another post-season appearance.
Puck drops just after 7:00pm and feel free to discuss the game, the upcoming playoffs or anything hockey related.
Here is the scenario for Penguins, Senators and the Bruins.
Pittsburgh plays in Buffalo tomorrow at 7pm.
Ottawa needs a point to guarantee a playoff spot and they play in Philadelphia at 12:30pm tomorrow.
Boston needs help, via the Boston Bruins....
Entering the weekend, the Bruins trail the Ottawa Senators by two points and the Pittsburgh Penguins by one point. Here is what needs to happen for the Bruins to secure a spot in the 2014-15 playoffs: 1. Ottawa loses in regulation and the Bruins win in any fashion; 2. Pittsburgh loses both of their remaining games in regulation and the Bruins win in any fashion; 3. Pittsburgh earns just one point in their final two games and the Bruins win in regulation or overtime.
added 7:30pm, below a screeshot of the goal the Pens thought they scored...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
There are people who say the Pittsburgh Penguins should blow it up, six years after their Stanley Cup win and nowhere near another trip to the finals.
So would they ever dangle star Evgeni Malkin for trade?
I would. They’re not trading Sidney Crosby, but Malkin would bring back a boatload.
Rick Nash got the Columbus Blue Jackets four pieces and he’s not Malkin, 29 in July, who has won a Hart and two Art Ross trophies over his career.
I’m just spitballing, but what if they shopped him to the Detroit Red Wings, who have scads of good young forwards and defencemen. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who replaced Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov years back, aren’t getting any younger.
Or maybe Florida and Colorado have some of what Pittsburgh might want.
There is one crazy wild-card in all of this too, of course. Maybe Crosby doesn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel at 28, and he makes it known he wouldn’t be adverse to moving.
continue for many more hockey topics...
from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,
Lots of teams wobble. Lots of teams shake. The Penguins have been hit by injuries, and that hurts, and they probably make the playoffs because they play the wobbling Islanders and Buffalo to end the season.
But whether they do or not may not be the issue. The Penguins may get into the playoffs, and the Senators could pass the Islanders instead, or the Bruins, or the Red Wings. Pittsburgh, though, is always different, because only Pittsburgh has two generational players on the back half of their primes, and are therefore a ticking clock.
And for the last five years, every season has ended in the same way: Crosby sitting in his locker, drained, suppressing anger as best he can. People who knew Crosby used to say that he knew he could never catch Gretzky when it came to pure production, or even relative production: his best chance at legacy was Stanley Cups.
And that’s hard, because that’s the goal over which Crosby has the least control. He’s been blessed by Evgeni Malkin, but he has also played on teams that were muffled by Jaroslav Halak, and teams that have come apart at the seams once they got punched in the mouth by Philadelphia or Boston, and a team that blew a 3-1 lead to the Rangers last season while Brian Gibbons skated on his wing. A decade in and he has one Cup, all told.
And this season, by Crosby’s standards, he has dropped a little.
The Hockey Central at Noon panel attempts to come to grips with what is going wrong for the Pittsburgh Penguins and how the problem seems to be so much more than injured defencemen.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
They trail the third-place New York Islanders by two points in the Metropolitan Division and lead Ottawa, which is ninth in the conference, by one point.
The Penguins’ magic number for clinching a playoff berth is three points; they still have four on the table, with a home game against the Islanders at 7:08 p.m. Friday and a visit Saturday to Buffalo, N.Y.
“Through all the crap we’ve been through the last five weeks – whether it was times we deserved to win and couldn’t score or just didn’t deserve to win or played really bad – the season is still in our hands,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said.
Whether they will be over their come-from-ahead loss to the Senators by the time New York visits Consol Energy Center remains to be seen.
“It’s going to take a little time,” Fleury said. “We could have clinched, made it easy on ourselves.”
Watch as Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators are heroes tonight as their goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins to prolong the Senators season.
Full game highlights are below...
On the morning of March 13, the Pittsburgh Penguins were 15 points clear of the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference standings.
Who would have possibly thought that less than a month later an encounter between the two clubs Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre would be deemed life or death for each?
-Pierre LeBrun of ESPN on the big game tonight. More from LeBrun on Pens/Sens...
What little unwritten rule of sportsmanship did Chris Kunitz break on Sunday that sparked an unruly battle between the benches between the Flyers and Penguins?
The Flyers did win the game, 4-1.
from Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins spent more than a week talking about their compete level, and how much it needed to rise to match the intensity required this time of year.
Saturday, they proceeded to blow a two-goal lead, and lost, 5-3, to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
The loss jeopardized their playoff chances and left them stewing in a locker room filled with anger.
“I thought we didn’t really get desperate until we were down a couple goals,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “We’ve got to understand that’s got to be the way to play the entire game, not when you’re down. Regardless of the score. our desperation has to be there.”
added 8:55am, Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News on today's Flyers/Penguins game...
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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