Penguins at Thrashers, 7PM ET, Philips Arena
Penguins, 11-4-3, 25 pts., 4th in Eastern Conference
Thrashers, 7-8-2, 16 pts, T-11th in Eastern Conference
Certainly, discussing anything with constructive criticism of Sidney Crosby will stir up some, shall we say, interesting comments (especially all of those “Crysby” and “Cindy” ones, quite mature, eh ??).
That said, in my view as a Penguins fan, it’s entirely justified to criticize Crosby when it’s warranted.
I’ve done it in the past when Crosby was going overboard with passing up shots (although he’s done better lately, relatively speaking), and now I’m going to do it again:
Has Sid has become, or is quickly becoming, a liability on the shootout ??
As expected, the Wild and Penguins engaged in a defensive struggle tonight at the Igloo, with the Wild eventually emerging victorious on Marek Zidlicky’s shootout goal, 2-1.
Dany Sabourin was the tough luck loser, with his only goal allowed in regulation coming on a bouncing puck off a faceoff in the Penguins zone.
Niklas Backstrom was sharp as well in net for the Wild making some key saves in both the third period and in overtime.
Wild at Penguins, 7PM ET, Mellon Arena
Wild, 10-4-1, 21 pts, 5th in Western Conference
Penguins, 11-4-2, 24 pts., 4th in Eastern Conference
From SI.com’s Darren Eliot;
Much is written about the Pittsburgh Penguins with good reason. They have electric young talent in current NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin, the face of the league in Sidney Crosby, and an excellent young goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury. Oh yeah, and the Pens are the defending Eastern Conference Champions, owned by Hall of Fame icon Mario Lemieux.
In other words, the Penguins don’t lack for story lines. And with an 11-4-2 start despite missing top defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney, young players Kris Letang and rookie Alex Goligoski have received valuable minutes they otherwise wouldn’t. Plus, GM Ray Shero just added veteran blueliner Philippe Boucher to the mix by sending Darryl Sydor to the Dallas Stars.
With all that, the Penguin who intrigues me is Jordan Staal. At 6’ 4” and 220 pounds, Staal is man-sized, yet he’s just 20-years old. Despite his youthfulness, he’s already in his third NHL campaign. Personnel, in part, defines his role, with Malkin and Crosby also being centermen. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Staal plays over 20 minutes a game, just a couple of minutes less than Pittsburgh’s big two and more than Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Boston’s Marc Savard.
Let me stress this right off the bat; I am a happy Penguins fan. Or, let me rephrase, I’m a content Penguins fan.
Seventeen games into the season, the Pens are 11-4-2 and off to their best start since the ‘95-‘96 season during the days of Dave Roche, Chris Tamer and Frankie Leroux (oh, and Lemieux’s 161 points, and Jagr’s 149 and Francis’ 119).
But it’s how they’re 11-4-2 that is absolutely perplexing.
As my colleague Paul has mentioned, RDS is reporting that the Penguins and Stars have swapped veteran defensemen, with the Pens sending Darryl Sydor back to Dallas and the Stars sending Philippe Boucher to the ‘Burgh.
Sydor was not getting much playing time this season, and with Ryan Whitney perhaps a month away from returning, he wasn’t going to be getting much more.
It must be stressed, however, that Sydor was the consummate professional throughout his time in the press box. He did request a trade to GM Ray Shero, but that didn’t affect his attitude towards his younger teammates.
Well, they did it again. As Shelly Anderson wrote in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, watching a Penguins game is not for the faint of heart.
DISCLAIMER: I almost started calling this team the “Cardiac Kids”, but I quickly realized that since the Cleveland Browns of the late ‘70’s/early ‘80’s were known with that moniker, I wouldn’t be let in the Pittsburgh city limits the next time I wanted to visit. Let’s just forget I ever mentioned it.
Anyway, after two periods of relative lethargy, the Penguins turned up the heat in the third period to overcome a 2-1 Sabres lead with four goals to win their sixth straight game with a 5-2 win over Buffalo.
Sabres at Penguins, 7:30 PM ET, Mellon Arena
Sabres, 9-4-3, 21 pts, 5th in Eastern Conference
Penguins, 10-4-2, 22 pts., 4th in Eastern Conference
I’m gonna give everyone a heads up here.
If there ever comes a time, particularly after another one of these harrowing Penguin wins, that you don’t eventually read something from me, I’m here to let you know beforehand; The Penguins will have done me in.
In tonight’s episode of “Try to Give Tony a Heart Attack”, after controlling most the game with a 3-0 lead, the Penguins let their collective feet off the gas and allowed the next four goals, two of those short-handed, only to score late in regulation and eventually win in the shootout over the Flyers, 5-4.
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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