Aaah Sean Avery. You remember Sean, he’s the one who’s being portrayed as if he’s a cancer on the supposedly-snow white pure National Hockey League.
Sean is in Hartford now, biding his time with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate because the Stars don’t have an AHL team this year. Speculation has been running rampant that the Rangers will re-acquire Avery on re-entry waivers, whenever that is.
That is, unless a team with a worse record than the Rangers rolls the dice and claims Avery first. A team, like perhaps, the Pittsburgh Penguins ??
In Thursday’s Newsday, Steve Zipay stated, in reference to a possible Avery return to the Rangers, that he can’t specify when Avery could make his home debut —in fact, a team like Pittsburgh, we hear, might claim him on recall waivers.
Things that make you go hmmm, indeed.
Talk about ugly. These games are now being called “must-win” for a reason.
So with the Penguins already five points out of a playoff spot, with games in hand by the teams above them, it’s absolutely unfathomable to see this team get completely outplayed and lay an egg in the last two periods in Toronto tonight.
In a scene that’s happened over and over again this year, the Penguins’ defense was horrible, allowing Leafs’ forwards to skate uncontested around the Pens’ net, where Marc-Andre Fleury, who kept the Pens in the game through two periods, finally couldn’t stop the onslaught. Fleury and the Pens gave up five third period goals that quickly erased a Pens’ 2-1 lead to give the Leafs a 6-2 win.
Tonight’s the night.
Sergei Gonchar will make his season debut for the Penguins tonight in Toronto vs. the Leafs. Gonchar has been out since September with a ligament and cartilage damage in his shoulder.
Ruslan Fedotenko will also return tonight after suffering a broken hand on the beak of former Penguin Colby Armstrong on Jan 6th.
Unfortunately, not all news is good, although not devastating. Defenseman Philippe Boucher is out indefinitely after foot surgery. Boucher has been scratched for the last several games.
Am I seeing things, or are the Penguins actually getting healthy ?? Looks like Ruslan Fedotenko’s a go for Saturday.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned forward Luca Caputi to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL), it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero.
Caputi played in five games with Pittsburgh, including his NHL debut Feb. 3 at Montreal. He notched his first career goal in the NHL 2:30 into the first period of his first NHL game, recording the second-fastest goal by a Penguins’ player making his debut. Rick Kessell holds the record scoring 2:19 into his NHL debut March 21, 1970 versus Chicago.
As you can imagine, Kukla’s Korner will be all over the upcoming trade deadline. Paul will be burning up the phone lines, while the rest of us will do our best to get the latest trade news to ya.
In reference to the Penguins, what I plan on doing will be perusing the various hockey websites and will provide links to the various credible rumors, as well as of course letting you know when Penguins’ deals have gone down. Just to let ya know, I don’t pretend to be an insider by any means, so just keep that in mind. I’ll also throw my .02 in the rumor, so whatever the hell that’s worth.
I’ll try to throw something up here on a daily basis, if there are new rumors floating out there.
So as we’re now under three weeks away from the deadline, here’s the latest rumors;
There have been too many games this year that have finished much differently for the Penguins.
Nursing a 1-0 lead midway through the third period, the Pens watched the Sharks score on a scrum in front of the Pens’ net to tie the game. Perhaps if this was 3 or 4 weeks ago, eventually the Sharks would have worn the Pens down and gotten the game-winner.
But give the Penguins credit, although they didn’t win the game in regulation, they ramped up the intensity for the remainder of the game, got it to a shootout, and won it on Sidney Crosby’s wrister, 2-1.
It was a very entertaining hockey game to be sure, free flowing up and down the ice, with only four penalties called.
There’s plenty of blame to go around for the Penguins’ disappointing season to date.
The loss of several significant players due to free agency, led by Marian Hossa, sure as hell didn’t help.
The major injury to Sergei Gonchar in the preseason certainly exacerbated the Pens’ plight.
My personal favorite, Head Coach Michel Therrien, and his trusty powerplay sidekick, Mike Yeo, are continually bashed. [ And well deserved… ]
Now that the FIRE THERRIEN !! talk has died down to a soft roar, Penguins fans have now turned their attention to the architect of this year’s roster: Blame it on Ray Shero.
Boy did that look familiar.
Earlier this week, Puck Daddy colleague Sean Leahy asked me and some other Pens and Wings bloggers for some input on today’s game. His first question asked the biggest change in our respective team’s seasons. I succinctly answered that both the goaltending and defense had regressed. His final question asked for a score. Always striving for objectivity, rather than blatant homerism, I said to refer to the first question, and then predicted because of that, 5-2 Wings. Of course, I was blasted by true homers, claiming that other Pens bloggers and I who predicted a Wings win weren’t “true fans”.
Whatever. Those “true fans” saw just what I said, poor goaltending and poor defense led to two of the three goals today.
In a scene reminiscent of Game 1 and 2 of the Cup Finals a year ago, the Red Wings’ tandem of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg frustrated the top line of Sidney Crosby and “whatever two ham-n-eggers HCMT threw up there this game”, and former Penguins Marian Hossa and Ty Conklin both contributed to a 3-0 shutout over the Pens this afternoon at the Igloo.
Not entirely unexpected….
From the Penguins:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned defenseman Alex Goligoski to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL), it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero.
Goligoski, 23, began the season with Pittsburgh, registering 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) along with a plus-five rating in 44 games. He notched his first NHL goal Oct. 5 versus Ottawa. Goligoski leads all rookie defensemen with six goals, 14 assists and 20 points, while tying for fifth among all rookies with eight power-play points (four goals, four assists).
The 6-0, 178-pound defenseman made his NHL debut scoring two points (two assists) in three games with Pittsburgh in the 2007-08 season. Goligoski has played 47 career games in the NHL registering 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) along with 18 penalty minutes. He collected 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists) along with 53 penalty minutes in 70 career games in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last season. He also contributed 28 points (four goals, 24 assists) in 23 post-season appearances through the Calder Cup Finals with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota played three seasons of NCAA hockey with the Minnesota Gophers appearing in 117 games and posting 98 points (25 goals, 73 assists) before joining the club in 2007. Goligoski was selected by Pittsburgh in the second round (61st overall) of the 2004 Entry Draft.
I would think that Marc-Andre Fleury himself would concur that his play must improve for the Penguins to secure a spot in the playoffs in some 30 games or so.
If tonight’s performance by Fleury is any preview of what’s to come, it certainly bodes well for the Penguins’ fortunes.
Fleury made 33 saves, several of which at the point-blank range, and Kris Letang scored two goals as the Pens won their second straight game, topping the Blue Jackets 4-1.
The back-to-back wins should provide some much-needed momentum leading up to what’s sure to be an emotional game Sunday afternoon at the Igloo against Marian Hossa and the Detroit Red Wings.
About The Confluence
Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.
Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes. I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.
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