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JJ’s Three Cheers: 10/22/10

It’s early, sure, but let’s raise a glass to my three stars of yesterday’s NHL action:

***Cheers to New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, who blanked Montreal as his Devil teammates notched a goal in each of the game’s three periods en route to a 3-0 win. Brodeur extended his all-time record with the 112th shutout of his brilliant career. Zach Parise, Jason Arnott and Matt Taormina scored for New Jersey.

**Cheers to Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who scored a pair of goals and assisted on teammate Kris Letang’s overtime winner to lift the Pens over the Nashville Predators 4-3. “Sid the Kid” (hard to believe he’s still just 23, no?) appears to be heating up, 6-5-11 in Pittsburgh’s eight games this season but 5-3-8 in his last three – and that’s bad news for Atlantic Division rivals and opponents league wide.

*And big time cheers to Phoenix’s Lee Stempniak, whose first NHL hat trick propelled the Coyotes to a 4-2 win over Los Angeles in front of about 11 fans in Glendale. (Sorry, ‘Yotes

Village

Nation. Had to. That was pathetic.) Stempniak opened up the scoring early in the first period and later added his second of the game (and of the season) before the initial frame was complete. After Wayne Simmonds pulled L.A. to within a goal late in the third, Stempniak iced things with an empty netter as the Coyotes evened up their record (well, “even” in the NHL, anyway) to 2-2-1.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from last night’s Islanders/Lightning tilt up next…

JJ
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Filed in: NHL Teams, New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: lee+stempniak, martin+brodeur, sidney+crosby

Comments

Moq's avatar

The combined Florida turnout of Lightning and Panthers wasn’t dreadful given the opponents (Islanders and Stars), and it’s probably still early for hockey, but it could be better. However, the turnout in Denver and especially Phoenix was pathetic. A heartfelt boo for that.

If Crosby had any lingering injuries or discomfort at the start of the season, they appear to have healed. In general, the Penguins are playing some really decent hockey at the moment. That’s worth a cheer from here.

One shouldn’t exactly scoff at defeats to Washington and Philadelphia, either.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 10/22/10 at 12:07 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

How about Gino Malkin JJ?? He was better than Sid!!

Posted by Evilpens on 10/22/10 at 12:56 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Moq and Evil,

I’m assuming you guys have caught the majority of Pens games thus far. 

I couldn’t help but notice the massive disparity in power play opps between the Pens and the rest of the NHL (a near 20% spread between them and the Isles, who are second, which is the same spread between the Canes and Habs last year who were first and last in the entire NHL).  Obviously they have played a higher amount of games thany many in the league thus far, but the disparity will still be significant once others catch up.

Curious to hear if you are sensing any particular things that the Pens are doing well to create those opps, f it simply a combination of dumb luck/dumb mistakes by the opposition, or if the Pens games are being called more tightly across the board thus far.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 10/22/10 at 01:54 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Posted by Leo_Racicot

A team that is routinely 1/2 to a full step ahead of the opposition is going to draw more penalties.
I don’t see it being the officials treating their games any differently.
The Pens edge in PP opportunities is likely to continue as long as injuries and coaching don’t upset their advantages.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 10/22/10 at 02:16 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Leo! There have been some weak calls for the Pens, But I think that is the same as against the Pens or for that matter any team in the league. They are really pushing the Play, Their D Men are Incredible at jumping into the play & creating odd man breaks & having the opposing teams taking guys down or hooking, holding what have you

Posted by Evilpens on 10/22/10 at 02:44 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by HockeyTownTodd from A. K. A. NostraGrampus on 10/22/10 at 12:16 PM ET

While I do agree that the may hold an edge in PP opps against the majority of the NHL, the historical numbers don’t support the level by which it is happening thus far.  For example, they have 17 more than the Hawks having played the same amount of games,  through the entire 82 game schedule you are talking about 170 more power play opportunites.  To put that into perspective, there was a 60 opp spread between Carolina (most in the NHL) and the Habs (fewest in the NHL) last year.

Posted by Evilpens on 10/22/10 at 12:44 PM ET

It sounds like Letang and Goligoski are the guys you are referring to?  Are you seeing it from Martin as well?  Anybody else?  Up front, Leetsu’s box numbers look fantastic early on, do you see him being a mainstay on the first or second PP unit?  What about Comrie?

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 10/22/10 at 03:30 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

While I do agree that the may hold an edge in PP opps against the majority of the NHL, the historical numbers don’t support the level by which it is happening thus far.  For example, they have 17 more than the Hawks having played the same amount of games, through the entire 82 game schedule you are talking about 170 more power play opportunites.

A sweeping generalization disregarding quality of the competition.  At this point in the season, no teams stats reflect how they would look after facing all the teams, plus the multiple games in their own (weak, or strong) division or conference.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 10/22/10 at 03:47 PM ET

Jon Jordan's avatar

The combined Florida turnout of Lightning and Panthers wasn’t dreadful given the opponents (Islanders and Stars), and it’s probably still early for hockey, but it could be better. However, the turnout in Denver and especially Phoenix was pathetic. A heartfelt boo for that.

Very unfortunate, all around. (I’m holding off on beating up Lightning fans for not showing so far… But it’s difficult to stay silent for long.)

How about Gino Malkin JJ?? He was better than Sid!!

Wanted to make the point that Crosby is heating up FAST. No disrespect meant to Geno!

no teams stats reflect how they would look after facing all the teams

An excellent point that could (and should) be applied to many subjects, including the planning of Stanley Cup parades and mass suicides for teams at the polar ends of their conferences after 5, 6 and 7 games!

JJ

Posted by Jon Jordan from Tampa, FL on 10/22/10 at 04:14 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

It sounds like Letang and Goligoski are the guys you are referring to?  Are you seeing it from Martin as well?  Anybody else?  Up front, Leetsu’s box numbers look fantastic early on, do you see him being a mainstay on the first or second PP unit?  What about Comrie?

yep tanger & Gogo Have been Very Good & Martin has been Just as good, Letestu is on the 2nd PP unit Comrie hasn’t scored a Goal, yet But he is warming up Now, played well last night

Posted by Evilpens on 10/22/10 at 04:18 PM ET

Moq's avatar

Well, I don’t actually spend a lot of time analyzing penalties one way or the other. Also one of the reasons why I seldom get worked up about missed or erroneous calls by the officials.

Our style of play is more or less as explained by Evilpens. Pressuring the opponent everywhere on the ice with physicality and speed, quick transition, and defencemen participating as often as possible. That draws interference and hooking calls. Add the healthy duo of Crosby and Malkin roaming the ice, and you get a lot of calls in your favour.

The flip side of the physical and intense style is that we also commit quite a few penalties. We’re in the bottom third with more than 15 minutes a game. Fortunately, the ledger of penalties drawn minus penalties committed is positive. When you seek contact and physicality there’s an increased chance of penalties. If you instigate and lead the play, you’ll benefit the most. The Penguins have been good at that so far.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 10/22/10 at 04:31 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by HockeyTownTodd from A. K. A. NostraGrampus on 10/22/10 at 01:47 PM ET

I’m not sure how the delta provided in those raw data points could be labeled as a “sweeping generalization” when it comes to the level of play that both teams have experienced through 8 games.  If you look at the historical PP numbers across the NHL over the past five years there are some relatively consistent themes are established, the Pens start is bucking that trend.

Admittedly, I haven’t watched enough of the Penguins nor the Blackhawks to conclude that the talent level of the teams the Penguins have played is inferior to those that the Blackhawks have played.  Hence my question to some of the Pens folks on here that have followed this team far more closely over the first 8 games.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 10/22/10 at 06:00 PM ET

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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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