Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated,
I asked Crosby about the team’s rather uneven start, postulating that maybe the young core group overlooked how well teams would prepare for them after the Penguins’ successful 2006-07 campaign. He replied, “I don’t think that’s it. We went through it last year when there was a lot of attention paid to us. We are a young group and we’re gaining experience all the time. We’ve been playing good hockey lately and hopefully we can start getting some results.”
They have been losing a lot of close games, which is disconcerting in that they excelled at winning them during the second half of last season. “The difference is in making plays” Crosby offered. “Whether it is a pass, a hit, blocked shot or save, we need to make plays at the right time. We’re starting to do that more consistently.”
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
There is no aspect of the Penguins’ performance to date with which management should be particularly pleased.
Consequently, aside from the nucleus of players who are either elite young talents or have the potential to be there should be no untouchables when Shero is discussing potential trades.
That doesn’t mean a roster-wide purge is in order but sticking with the status quo will become more of a high-risk strategy with every point the Penguins surrender if they don’t start to string together some victories.
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
At 9:03 yesterday morning, with the players’ parking area at Mellon Arena nearly empty and his teammates possibly still home in bed, Sidney Crosby walked into the West Igloo Lounge and greeted about a dozen people.
He was sized up by two clothes stylists and shown some black duds hung on a rack and placed on tables.
This was no indulgent personal shopping spree for the popular Penguins captain. Crosby arrived for work early to devote more than an hour to ESPN The Magazine, which is doing photo shoots with several top-caliber athletes across the country in advance—well in advance—of its 10th anniversary issue in March.
From Rob Rossi at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Gonchar is not listed on its All-Star ballot. According to a league spokesperson, the hockey operations department has the final decision on the All-Star ballot, which was finalized at the end of October and based on performance from previous seasons.
Gonchar ranked second, eighth, first and second (tied) in scoring by defensemen after each of the past four seasons.
“And I would still definitely say he is underrated,” defenseman Ryan Whitney said. “But players know how good he is, and that is what is important to him.”
Gonchar is the only current defenseman to record at least 50 points in each of the past seven seasons. He has scored more goals (104) than any defenseman dating to 2000, and his 385 points during that span are second to only Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, who has 391.
Rossi also notes that Gonchar currently has 19 points through 20 games this season—tied for first among all NHL defensemen.
from Mark Madden at the Beaver County Times,
But the feelings of veterans shouldn’t matter when a team is based on youth. Unless the Penguins arrive a bit early, Recchi, Roberts and Sydor will almost certainly not be around when the team wins its next Stanley Cup. So who cares how they feel? Respect them. But don’t placate them. Don’t treat them with kid gloves when they play badly.
If anybody feels Roberts is still worth anything, Shero should trade him. Try calling north of the border, Ray. If his misguided raging-bull style on the ice is any indication, Roberts is not handling his decline well.
Recchi and Sydor can still help in lesser roles. Just make sure they have lesser roles.
from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,
The most fascinating aspect of the Penguins’ struggle is that it provides us the first opportunity to gauge what kind of administrator general manager Ray Shero will be. Because this is his first GM job, we have no history to review.
But my hunch is Shero will be able to walk the fine line between aggressiveness and panic. I believe he will continue to look for scoring wingers, and I believe he will continue to be patient with Fleury. I believe he will be more patient with Fleury than his coach seems to be. I think if Shero believed Fleury needed an older goalie playing beside him, he would have acquired one last summer.
from Empty Netters,
It seems like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the only ones scoring points for the Penguins these days. That’s partially true. Through Monday’s games, Crosby and Malkin are the only players on the same team to each contribute at least 17 percent of their team’s offense. In other words, they probably could use some help from some other players:
read on for a chart of players who contribute the most to their team’s total offense…
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The Pittsburgh Penguins can say all they want about how they’re still pleased with the development of Jordan Staal, but the fact remains Staal has been one of the major disappointments of the early season.
Of course, he’s not alone on the Penguins who, if you can believe it, go into Tuesday night’s games with the fourth-worst winning percentage in the NHL.
from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Several adjustments have played a factor in Staal’s scoring slump. He has worked as a center most of this season after playing on the wing last year. Also, he is no longer skating alongside Evgeni Malkin, who assisted on 11 of Staal’s 22 non-shorthanded goals last season.
Even though he was a minus-6 player with a 3.8 shooting percentage, Staal had the backing of his coach, who sees him “in more of a defensive role.”
“He is a good defensive forward,” Therrien said. “He surprised a lot of people with his offensive numbers. I was not expecting that.
“We would like him to have more goals, but he is working hard. I am not worried about him at all.”
from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins have sputtered through the first 16 games of this season, and it remains to be seen what, if anything, general manager Ray Shero is going to do about it.
Shero has made it quite clear what he won’t do.
He won’t fire coach Michel Therrien.
He won’t replace Marc-Andre Fleury as the team’s No. 1 goalie.
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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