Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
How could it be?
Sidney Crosby went into the Penguins' game Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers without a goal in seven games. Evgeni Malkin hadn't scored one in 10.
How could it be that the two stars failed to shine for so long?
The Penguins are paying big, big money to Crosby and Malkin to deliver so much more. Crosby did get a goal against the Flyers -- his first point in three games -- but it wasn't enough in a 2-1 loss to a team that should have been overmatched after coming in with a 6-10-1 record and playing Tuesday night in Ottawa. It was the ninth time in 10 games the supremely talented Penguins failed to score more than three goals. They went 4-6 in those 10, losing the past three. They had just one power-play goal and no five-on-five goals in each of those three losses.
Crosby and Malkin are too talented to have this kind of slump. We saw their amazing skill Wednesday night midway through the second period. Malkin, with the puck along the right boards and the Penguins on the power play, spotted Crosby in front alone behind Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann. In an instant, the puck was on Crosby's stick and, in another blink, it was behind goaltender Ray Emery. It was a marvelous goal.
In my opinion, I would have given Chris Kunitz. Not so sure if this qualifies as a distinct kicking motion.
Scroll to the :15 second mark to watch the play start.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“Sometimes you hear the football analogy, when it’s a rivalry, ‘Well, it really doesn’t matter where the records are at or where the teams are at. You’re playing a rival, and they’re coming into your building,’” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Tuesday.
“This feels exactly like that. … You’re not really so focused on their record or how they’ve been up or down.”
Philadelphia has won six of the eight regular-season games these teams have played at Consol Energy Center, so it is understandable that the Penguins aren’t taking the Flyers’ troubles at face value.
Predictably, they insist they are not enjoying watching a team they despise like no other sputter and struggle — “I don’t pay that much attention to what other teams are going through,” right winger Pascal Dupuis said — and that they don’t expect the Flyers to continue spiraling downward indefinitely
“There’s too much talent and too many experienced guys there,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “It’s not really a young team. I don’t see it going that long. I think they’ll snap out of it.
“Whether or not they can make a good enough run [to reach the playoffs] … sometimes when you get in a big hole, it’s tough to get out of.”
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
Boston humbled the mighty Pens last spring, and Zdeno Chara pushed Sidney Crosby around the ice like a bully kicking sand on the 98-pound weakling. Key offensive players like Crosby, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin were all bottled up by the Bruins defense, and Pittsburgh had no answer to Boston’s physicality once the puck dropped for Game 1.
So it’s safe to say the Penguins will have a little vengeance on their mind in tonight's highly anticipated “Rivalry Night” on NBCSN. (You'll be able to watch a livestream of the game right here on CSNNE.com.) There’s no Matt Cooke to rattle the Bruins' cages, but they’d better brace for whatever storm the Penguins are capable of creating.
“It always enters your mind, but it’s not up to us,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “It’s up to them in how they approach that game. . . . We lost our last game and we need to be better, so we need to bounce back. I have a feeling it’s going to be an interesting game to watch.”
So the Penguins lose three in a row and now something is missing in Pittsburgh? Did Watters feel the same just a week ago when the Pens were 7-1-0?
via ESPN SportsNation Poll (click for view state-by-state voting),
Sidney Crosby is averaging more than two points per game, which hasn't been done over a full season since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96. Will he keep up his average until the end of the season?
from Penn State News,
Question: Do you have a particular fan in mind when you call a game? A guy alone in his car or working in the garage?
Answer: Bob Prince, who worked for the Pirates, gave me some great advice. He said to me, “You have a lot of shut-ins. People who can’t go out. People who can’t see.” He said, “Langey, you need to think of those people.”
Our game moves so fast, and we get caught up in it. But I always come back to that basic premise: You describe in as much detail as you can exactly what is happening, and what it looks like. You describe it like you’re talking to a blind guy.
Question: You’re known for your catch phrases, which you often shout over the goal buzzer. Some of those – “Michael Michael motorcycle!” or “She wants to sell my monkey!” – don’t make a lot of sense out of context. Where do they come from?
Answer: I built that off a guy named Bill King, who was in Oakland with the Raiders, and then the A’s. He would say “Holy Toledo!” whenever a big play was made, and it just drilled me. When I went to Phoenix, Al McCoy did the same thing. (McCoy, now the voice of the Phoenix Suns, shouts out “Shazam!” whenever a player makes a 3-pointer.)
It breaks up the monotony. It gives it a bit of flavor. And to be honest, when I have to work 82 games or more every year, I sometimes need a jolt to keep it going.
Alex Edler gets the goal, from center ice...
Game is tied at this point, 1-1 after the first period.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
"I hate [complaining] about stuff, so it's not on the top of my concerns," Player B said. "But it's unfortunate."
Nearly every player interviewed -- and a few who declined to be -- agreed that the ice-maintenance staff and the front office are receptive when informed of complaints or problems with the playing surface.
"We try to treat our players better than any other team," said David Morehouse, the team's president and chief executive officer. "We're not 'capped' on how well we treat the players, so if the players have a problem with the ice, we'll do everything we can to fix it."
There's nothing new about that. Management has been responding to players' concerns about the ice since the building opened its doors just over three years ago and summoned NHL ice guru Dan Craig as recently as a few weeks ago after receiving negative feedback from players.
"When the ice guy from the NHL gets to town, it usually gets a little bit better," Player A said.
"They love sports, they've always loved the Steelers and now they love the Pirates, and Mario [Lemieux] brought the fans here [to the games] in Pittsburgh for hockey. So, I never really had any issues with the fans. They supported us so well over those years that I was here. We made the playoffs every year, so they were even more excited about the hockey here.
"They're crazy sports fans and that's good."
-Jaromir Jagr on the fans in Pittsburgh. More from Wes Crosby (no joke) at NHL.com.
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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