From the Point Too
Entries with the tag: marc andre fleury
One of the areas that many around the National Hockey League identified as a key need for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they headed into the trade deadline back in March was that of a back-up goaltender and they have finally answered those calls by acquiring the rights to Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals for a seventh-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft.
On March 22, 2012, a diverse group of journalists, bloggers, and radio personalities were handpicked by the Fan v Fan Network to participate in an exclusive conference call with CCM-Reebok general manager, Philippe Dube’.
It was a unique opportunity to question one of the brightest minds in the hockey equipment industry on everything from player safety, upcoming product offerings, research and development and those who use the equipment, the players themselves.
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.
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.
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.
Though it wasn’t pretty, the Penguins picked up their third win in four games and sent the Consol Energy Center faithful home happy. They got some big contributions from some unlikely sources, as Joe Vitale had the best game of his young career, Richard Park showed why he was brought back to Pittsburgh and Matt Cooke stayed hot.
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.
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.