From the Point Too
Entries with the tag: evgeni malkin
When Sidney Crosby made his FIRST long awaited return to the ice, no one really knew what to expect. Sure, we all figured that he would be Sidney Crosby, but very likely a scaled back version due to rust, after all he hadn’t played a game in upwards of ten months. He hit the ice at the CONSOL Energy Center and didn’t miss a beat scoring a highlight reel goal almost immediately and ripping off 12-points (2G-10A) in eight games before being knocked out of the line-up again by a David Krejci elbow.
The Penguins and Bruins played a spirited game on Sunday afternoon on a national television stage, but the most interesting thing about it was the way that Penguins’ head coach Dan Bylsma entered the laboratory to experiment with a handful of different line combinations.
Since the calendar flipped to 2012 it seemed improbable that the Pittsburgh Penguins would be able to catch the New York Rangers in the race for the Atlantic Division crown. It seemed even less probable when the Boston Bruins blew a lead against the Rangers last Sunday and allowed the boys from Broadway to pull ahead of the Birds by ten points.
The National Hockey League’s trade deadline is right around the corner; in fact it is now just 13 lucky days away. Which means that trade chatter and speculation is picking up. Of course there has been little activity to this point, which essentially speaks to the fact that there are a number of teams sitting on the fence trying to determine which direction they are going to go – buy or sell?
It is rarely a treat to get up and down to the Consol Energy Center on a Sunday morning; however a performance like the one the Penguins put forth today somehow makes it worth it. Sure they did their best to give this game away to the Capitals, who they haven’t beaten in Pittsburgh for close to three years, but again… they found a way.
It is no surprise that at the root of finding their way was the line of Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Chris Kunitz. Though the team has been playing much better as of late, it is a rare victory that hasn’t funneled straight through those three guys.
Just as the Penguins dropped six games before our very eyes over the past couple of weeks, they have now won three in a row. I guess there is nothing like a healthy dose of the Southeast Division to help right some of the wrongs hat have been going on.
The Penguins finished off their three game set against the Southeast tonight with an impressive come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. They got another amazing performance from Evgeni Malkin, who looks to be playing the finest hockey of his career, 6 more shots out of James Neal and an impressive performance out of Marc Andre Fleury.
The Penguins and Bruins, who were separated by just 3 points at the top of the Eastern Conference coming into tonight, met at the Consol Energy Center in what was supposed to be an epic clash of two of the league’s best. Unfortunately for the Penguins they were never really able to get to their game and when they did, Tim Thomas was there to slam the door on them.
The Bruins looked like the better team for roughly two periods, though the Penguins had the edge in shots and hits. The Penguins owned the third period, but were only able to get one puck by Thomas who made 22 stops in the stanza.
To a man, the Penguins were disappointed that they didn’t make Thomas’ life a bit more difficult, especially on two 2-man-advantages that they had against the B’s during the second period that totaled 3:10.
No one really knew what to expect from Sidney Crosby’s first game since January, but it felt like it had the potential to be a special evening in Pittsburgh. The interesting thing is that the word “special” doesn’t even come close to describing what played out on the ice at the Consol Energy Center.
Finally the Cros has come back!
I had to borrow from Dwayne Johnson — “The Rock,” as he is known in the WWE, as it seemed like the most appropriate way to announce the return of Sidney Crosby.
A new season is usually looked at as a rebirth of sorts, a veritable wiping clean of the slate and a chance to start over. The Penguins, like their 29 NHL counterparts, were hoping to do just that, but for as much as they would like to start a new, they just cannot seem to shake the injury bug.
They are still dealing with the lingering injuries to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, probably the two that affected the team most last season, and have grafted several others onto the injured list during the early stages of the 2011-12 campaign.
Though the Penguins didn’t come away with the victory tonight they picked up a couple of small victories. First and foremost, they were able to pick up a point in a game in which they looked as if they were destined to lose. The second came in the form of how they picked up that point – two goals from James Neal.
Neal, who has been maligned to a certain extent by fans and media alike since his arrival in Pittsburgh last February due to his meager goal output, is quickly showing all involved that he is a pretty capable goal scorer.
Well, we have all gotten a look at a number of predictions around the interwebs this week so I thought that I would put up some of my own… I haven’t gotten to post much over the past few days leading up to the first games, so I figured that this is a great way to get back into the mix.
I will run through the typical Division winners, Conference/Stanley Cup winners and trophy winners, but I will also give you a handful of quick Pens predictions.
It isn’t often that the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals are on the same team in any cause. In fact, they are probably two of the biggest rivals in the National Hockey League, however there is one cause that is big enough to bring these two Eastern Conference foes together—raising funds for the families of those lost in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl disaster. The teams have announced a joint effort to raise money for the families of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl who lost so much in the plane crash Sept. 7 in Russia.
The Penguins head into their first game of the pre-season this evening against the Detroit Red Wings. Having the Wings swoop through to participate in the first actual hockey game of the season is starting to be a Consol Energy Center tradition as they were the first opponent to skate against the Birds in pre-season tilt last year when the barn first opened its doors.
Personally, I am not expecting to see much tonight, but it will be nice to see hockey being played after a long off-season of NBA/NFL CBA talks. If you think that was painful, wait until next summer when Bettman and company get back in the negotiating room…. But that is a story for another day.
Though the Penguins put in a day of physicals, meetings and off-ice activities on Friday; today marked the first day of on ice activities.
The sessions were open to the public and there was plenty of fan support. Most were in the house to witness the return of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Makin – both of which missed significant time last season with injuries. Crosby and Malkin did skate today and looked great in doing so, but more on that shortly.
I was in the house alongside a diverse group of media folk from around the league and Pittsburgh and wanted to throw a collection of news and notes at you.