As Paul just wrote, the Oilers and Penguins swung a trade today, with the Oilers sending Mathieu Garon to the Penguins for Dany Sabourin, Ryan Stone and a 4th round draft pick in 2011.
Maybe some more wheeling and dealing is in the works by Pens’ GM Ray Shero, because they’re got to be VERY tight against the salary cap if not over right now, but as of right now I don’t see the methods of his madness on this one.
I told my 15 year old son before the game that for some reason I had a good feeling coming into this game. He wanted to bet me $20 that the Pens would lose, I wish I would have taken him up on it.
The injury-depleted Penguins, playing without Sidney Crosby and about 35 others, played a pretty solid defensive game against a quality team and got an impressive game from Marc-Andre Fleury in defeating the Ducks, 3-1.
Matt Cooke had two of the three Penguins goals, while Fleury had 21 saves in yet another much-needed win.
However, the win didn’t come without more bad news on the injury front. Brooks Orpik left the game early in the second period with an unspecified injury. Orpik was last seen hunched over near the Penguins’ net, before he headed to the locker room.
From NHL.com’s Shawn P. Roarke:
NHL on NBC studio analyst Mike Milbury—a former NHL player, coach and general manager—has a wealth of hockey experience, so he understands just what is happening to the Pittsburgh Penguins these days.
The Penguins, who came within two wins of winning the Stanley Cup last season, have staggered through the first half of the 2008-09 season. If the season were to end before Friday night’s game against Anaheim, the 21-20-4 Penguins would not be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Milbury is not all that surprised to see the Penguins in such a precarious position.
From the Penguins:
The Pittsburgh Penguins are encouraging fans to bring “Terrible Towels” to Sunday’s 12:30 p.m. game against the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena, in a show of support for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Penguins’ game will be televised nationally by NBC.
The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
“This is a great opportunity for the Penguins and our fans to show our enthusiasm for the Steelers in their drive to the Super Bowl,” said team president David Morehouse . “One of the great things about Pittsburgh is the way the professional sports teams support each other. We all remember seeing Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and many Steelers players, including Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and Jeff Reed, in the stands at Mellon Arena last year during our run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
“Sunday will be another great day for Pittsburgh sports, and we’re proud to be a part of it. And we’ll all have our Terrible Towels.”
According to the Penguins, Sidney Crosby will be out for tonight’s game vs. Anaheim with his lower body injury.
Also out tonight, besides the already-injured players, will be Max Talbot, Pascal Dupuis, Kris Letang and Rob Scuderi.
Janne Pesonen and Bill Thomas have been recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Hey, it’s another opportunity for HCMT to play Janne Pesonen for six minutes a game !!! Don’t know yet if this will be a replacement for Crosby or Talbot, or neither.
From the Penguins:
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RECALL JANNE PESONEN FROM WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS
The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled forward Janne Pesonen from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League (AHL), it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero. Pesonen, 26, leads the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with 27 assists and ranks third with 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 34 games. He has played six games in three stints with Pittsburgh this season, making his NHL debut in St. Louis on November 1. Pesonen scored two points in three preseason appearances with Pittsburgh. The 5-11, 180-pound forward led the Finnish Elite League last season, recording 78 points (34 goals, 44 assists) in 56 games with the Oulu Karpat. He contributed 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) during the postseason, helping lead Karpat to its fifth league championship. The native of Suomussalmi, Finland was originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the ninth round (269th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Pesonen signed with the Penguins as a free agent July 7, 2008.
I really try to be an objective blogger rather than merely a Penguins homer. So in that vain, I objectively have to now ask this question.
24 hours after painfully watching the Washington Capitals run circles around the 1-2-2 trap that worked for exactly one game in Philly for the Penguins, it got me to thinking:
Let’s fast forward six weeks or so. It’s the beginning of March, the trade deadline is near, I’m hitting F5 (refresh, for those that are ignorant of those function keys) on about six windows constantly all day long.
Mike Zigomanis, Ruslan Fedotenko and the other Penguins’ walking wounded have been back for a few weeks now. And finally, Sergei Gonchar is ready to return. The team is finally healthy, and not a day too soon.
But, is it going to matter as much as some might believe it will ?? Because in my mind, there are many more problems with this version of the Pittsburgh Penguins than merely the significant loss of Sergei Gonchar.
Well, that didn’t last long.
One night after what was thought at the time one of their biggest wins of the year and perhaps a turning point in their 4-2 win in Philadelphia over the Flyers, the Penguins went right back to their losing ways, collapsing in the third period and losing to the Capitals, 6-3.
The loss was compounded by injuries to Rob Scuderi, Max Talbot, and Sidney Crosby. Scuderi took a slapshot in the forehead when he blocked a shot in the first period. Talbot left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. Crosby seemed to suffer a lower-body injury when he got tangled with a Capitals defender late in the game. While Crosby skated to the locker room gingerly, it didn’t appear that he was seriously hurt.
Michel Therrien has been criticized a helluva lot lately, including by yours truly. But for at least one game, he certainly pulled all the right strings in a huge 4-2 win over the Flyers in Philly.
Therrien employed a 1-2-2 trap that effectively shutdown the Flyers’ high-flying offense, while placing rugged winger Matt Cooke on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to provide a little protection and to bang some bodies in front of the net.
Both moves worked to a “T”, and neither the Flyers, their fans, nor even their bush-league organist leading the “Crosby sucks” cheers could do anything to stop them.
Statistics are always convenient when a team is going poorly, just as it is when it’s going good.
In reference to the Penguins’ downward spiral, a lot of the scrutiny has been focused on the poor performance of the powerplay, once considered a staple of the Penguins’ offense. In addition, the influx of injuries, simply cannot be overlooked, despite attempts to downplay them (which I’m guilty of).
But there are some other statistics that are sometimes brought up, but not nearly as much as they should, in my view anyway.
So let’s take a look….
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.
If you’d like to follow me on Twitter-