Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Evgeni Malkin did not mince words Friday in a frank assessment of the Penguins.
“We play so bad right now. It’s true. Not just one guy, the whole team,” said Malkin. “Not fun [to] watch, you know. Last game I think [was the] worst game all season. It’s not fun to watch it.”
He also said he is sure the Penguins can turn this around.
“Yeah, of course. There’s a great chance. When you win, it’s more confidence for everyone,” Malkin said.
Could Malkin be the spark the Penguins need to generate some confidence?
Malkin and Patric Hornqvist are “very close” to returning to lineup, coach Mike Johnston said Friday, almost gleefully.
from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
“Did I see some improvements? For sure,” Johnston said “We were playing a top team, a little bit short-handed. Quite a few players actually had really good games, but we still had four or five guys who need to pick up their compete level.”
Oh. You mean 20 to 25 percent of the roster?
So, three weeks from the start of the NHL playoffs then, the Penguins have four or five guys who aren’t competing hard enough.
By the club’s own public admission.
I’m no expert, but the implications of that numerical sequence, the ol’ 3-4-5, can’t be good.
Chris Kunitz apparently can’t be good anymore, either.
In 12 games this month, he has no goals and two assists.
“I liked parts of his game,” Johnston insisted. “He was at least in the scoring areas.”
David Perron has at least found the net thrice this month, but his shots are so erratic he’s a danger to players of both teams as well as at least a portion of the audience.
He just returned from a concussion...
Christian Ehrhoff had to leave the game after being taken hard into the boards by Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko.
from Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Letang was ejected Sunday halfway through the second period for something he said to referees, capping a team performance that renewed the unflattering reputation that paints the Penguins as complainers that can’t keep their cool.
Discipline problems Sunday reared their ugly head to the tune of four 10-minute misconducts, one ejection and 64 total penalty minutes.
“I think [compared] to a few years ago I think we’ve been better, but it’s the way that people see us,” said Letang. “They think we’re always all over the referees. We need to get better at that. Even better than what we did this year. We have to control what we can control and not worry about those things.”
Coach Mike Johnston said he has, at times this year, seen his team react in ways he doesn’t like.
In his estimation it is the coaching staff and designated team leaders that should speak with officials. But no one else.
“The other players shouldn’t be dealing with officials at all. So it’s mainly [through] the leadership group and the coaches how you deal with the officials. It has an impact as you move forward, for sure,” said Johnston. “The referees talk to each other. You don’t want to have the reputation of being the team that complains, that whines, that does those types of things. I don’t believe that we have, but I’ve seen some signs during the course of the year that I don’t like and we have to address them as they come up.”
via Katie Strang of ESPN,
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin is expected to miss one to two weeks with a lower-body injury suffered in the first period of Saturday's game against the Boston Bruins.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford provided the injury update following the break of small group meetings at Day 1 of the NHL general managers meetings Monday in Boca Raton.
Malkin has 28 goals and 40 assists in 63 games this season.
Rutherford also said that Patric Hornqvist, injured in Sunday's 5-1 loss against the Detroit Red Wings, will miss approximately one week.
The Penguins have dropped two straight games, but Rutherford expressed confidence in his team.
"As long as we get healthy, I feel good about our team," Rutherford said.
The Penguins have earned the undesirable reputation with several of the referees for having too much to say. As a team, they need to turn off the tap on their own as they move toward the playoffs. The referees' patience has already worn thin.
-Kerry Fraser of TSN where you can read more on this topic.
from Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
It’s one thing to lose a hockey game. The Penguins barely showed up Sunday at Consol Energy Center, were spanked by the Detroit Red Wings, 5-1, and were booed off the ice by an angry home crowd. Ugly performances happen in an 82-game season. Occasionally, they even happen twice in the same rotten weekend. The Penguins were shut out Saturday at home by the Boston Bruins, 2-0.
But it’s something much worse to embarrass yourself and your team. The Penguins did plenty of that against the Red Wings. Somehow, they managed to take 64 penalty minutes without a fight in the game. David Perron was given a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Chris Kunitz a two-minute roughing penalty, a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a 10-minute misconduct, Steve Downie two 10-minute misconducts and Kris Letang the dubious hat trick of a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct.
It was a joke, although there was nothing funny about it.
Like the fans, coach Mike Johnston didn’t like anything about the afternoon.
“I thought our guys got on edge way too quickly in the game. That killed us tonight. We were trying to get some momentum in the hockey game and you just can’t do that. Really, it’s discipline throughout the team.”
Things looked grim for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the beginning moments of Saturday’s tilt against the Boston Bruins when Evgeni Malkin briefly left the game after a strong shoulder from Chris Kelly. He would later return.
Malkin did not return to the bench at the start of the 2nd period.
Also, Sidney Crosby took the pre-game but was a late scratch by the Penguins.
Only update from the Penguins...
Sidney Crosby took pre-game warmup but determined that he could not play in the Bruins/Penguins game
Watch his pre-game skate below...
"I wouldn't change anything I'm doing, to be honest with you. I'm working hard. I'm doing my best. If people's expectations are higher than mine, then I can't change that."
-Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins after practice today. More on and from Crosby by Shelly Anderson at the Vancouver Province.
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com