Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Brandon Sutter thought for a second, rubbed his chin and answered a question with a question.
“I wonder,” Sutter said, “what are other professional athletes' routines like?”
Nothing like hockey players', to be sure.
In addition to the preseason, they play 82 regular-season games and as many as 28 in the playoffs. Preferences are determined. Quirks are accounted for. Differences, when considered within the context of an NHL roster, are bound to happen.
As a result, the 2 1⁄2 hours a night spent on the ice often are less interesting than the time spent off.
There's the morning skate. The pregame meal. The afternoon nap. The smelling salts. The soccer kickaroud. The wind-down.
Here's what it's really like to play in the NHL.
Maxim Lapierre likes to be early. More than two hours early. For a 10:30 a.m. morning skate, he likes to be at Consol Energy Center by 8:15.
“Relax. Take a hot tub. Have breakfast. Talk to the boys,” Lapierre said. “I like being at the rink. I'm always the first one.”
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
So now what? This can't be it for the Penguins before the expiration of the NHL's trade deadline on Monday. Rutherford needs to add more, precious little cap space be cursed.
The Penguins need a second-pairing defenseman to play with Christian Ehrhoff. They also need to be prepared for not having Ehrhoff at all, because players returning from lengthy concussion absences always are risky bets to stay in the lineup.
More than anything, the Penguins must find some help for Evgeni Malkin, because he is their best hope for turning this postseason into something magical. No player, not even Sidney Crosby, is more capable of becoming an irresistible force than Malkin — the closest thing these Penguins have to a Mario Lemieux or Jaromir Jagr, because big, skilled players are built to shape postseason series.
Speaking of Jagr, Rutherford should stay on the watch for New Jersey's saltiest trade bait. Malkin sure sounded like somebody itching for the right winger when I brought up Jagr's name Tuesday.
“Yes,” Malkin said. “Of course. Yes. Jagr is great with (the) puck, still great at passing, still has (the) shot. You watch. He is still great. He would be great for us. Guys (would) see him work. He works hard every day. He makes big plays still. He wins. Yes.
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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