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Looks like Sid has been cleared for contact and could be playing soon.
From the Penguins website,
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been cleared for full contact, but there is not timetable for a possible return to the lineup.
“I was cleared to do contact,” Crosby said. “We’ll see how that goes. There is no real timetable, but it’s a good step. Hopefully, I can keep the momentum and get out there soon.”
Crosby, who has been out of the lineup since Dec. 6 with concussion-like symptoms and a neck injury, has been symptom free for “a few days” and resumed contact practice with his teammates Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve been through this before,” Crosby said. “Contact is the big step. It’s nice to be symptom free, but it’s not as fulfilling until you get out there. I just want to make sure that I take the right steps here and get back out there soon.”
More of the story
After a tweet by NHL.com`s Brian Metzer about James Neal`s stats in October(s), I joked that perhaps Mr. Neal is the new Mr. Savage. Thus far, Neal has 5 points in 5 games to start the season.
Is there something to this comparison?
Let`s look at Neal`s career month-by-month splits (Apologies for the formatting)
GP G A Pts PPG +/- Pct
October 40 19 16 35 0.875 7 0.178
November 29 12 10 22 0.759 1 0.146
December 42 16 11 27 0.643 -2 0.137
January 38 13 7 20 0.526 -7 0.143
February 31 7 7 14 0.452 -5 0.101
March 46 8 11 19 0.413 -6 0.075
April 13 2 3 5 0.385 2 0.067
Hmm, very good totals in October and November, and an obvious, steady, decline as the season wears on. This does look suspiciously like Brian Savage`s career, with a very clear trend.
Still, I think the reasons must be quite different. Neal plays a much more rambunctious style than Savage ever did, perhaps leading Neal to wear down as the season progresses. Also, Neal`s shots-per-game totals are consistent, while his shooting percentage declines. It`s not as if he`s not getting chances, he`s just not scoring.
According to Pittsburgh Insider William Depaoli, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been scouting the Toronto Maple Leafs in the past month. Head scout Derek Clancey has been seen at Air Canada Centre many times with winger Alexei Ponikarovsky being a player of interest for the Penguins.
Alexei Ponikarovsky (Getty images)
Ponikarovsky, 29, is a big winger (6′4”, 220 lb) with great hands that has 15 goals and 14 assists for 29 points in 48 games with the Maple Leafs this season. Poni is in the final year of his contract that pays him $2.5 million this season; his cap hit is $2.1 million.
The Kiev-native had a career-year last season in Toronto, recording 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points in 82 games. He would surely complement well Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins’ second line who is forced to play with pluggers Maxime Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko. Talbot only has five points in 25 games this season, while Fedotenko only has 16 points in 47 games this year.
The Penguins also need help on the power play; as of today their power play ranks 29th in the league with a dismal 14.8% efficiency. You have to wonder what’s wrong in Steel Town when you have talented players like Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin, Bill Guerin and Alex Goligoski on your first unit. With his large frame, quick hands and great vision, Ponikarovsky would certainly help the Penguins in that department.
Ponikarovsky, a fourth round (87th overall) pick of the Leafs at the 1998 NHL entry draft, has spent his entire career as a member of the Maple Leafs.
Does Brian Burke envision him as a core player of the Leafs’ future success or does he use him as a trade-bait to get back some of the high draft picks he traded to acquire budding star Phil Kessel from the Boston Bruins before the start of the current season?
Seriously, how long will it be till we see Michel Therrien fired? How many more excuses will we see? I saw the meltdown begin during Stanley Cup Finals calling the Wings cheaters with obstruction, diving, acting, and so on.
Yes he did coach the Pens to the SC Finals but now this is a different team with different players and you have to adjust. The excuses continued this season but last season it obviously worked. Michel has called out plenty of players and there were more excuses in interviews. Come on, when will you start coaching instead of making excuses and calling out your players.
After watching last night’s game against Toronto, I feel he needs to go. No more excuses after leading 2-0 and giving up 6 unanswered goals. If the playoffs started today; Therrien = FAIL. Hmmm maybe I need to make an excuse for writing this blog….
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