In the aftermath of the Penguins' exhausting 7-6 overtime victory over Montreal Saturday night, one thing is becoming pretty damn clear:
Crash the net on the Penguins' defensive corps, and you've got one helluva chance to score.
Not only will the Penguins' D-men not put up much of an effort to stop you from getting near their goal, they're not going to do very much to clear you away from the goal once you get there.
That may very well be an exaggeration, granted, but generally speaking it's not an outlandish statement to make either.
And as we today hit the T-minus one month mark of the NHL Trade Deadline, it would behoove Penguins' GM Ray Shero to be on the lookout in the coming weeks for defensemen that can actually play defense.
That is, if he wants the Penguins to be the Stanley Cup contender that many have proclaimed his team to be. 'Cause without better defensive play, that dog ain't huntin'.
From the Toronto Globe and Mail's James Mirtle:
They call them Sidney Crosby’s Little Penguins.
One thousand kids, aged 4 to 8, who every year for the past four years have received full hockey equipment paid for by the Pittsburgh Penguins, their 25-year-old captain and several sponsors.
The numbers may sound like a drop in the bucket in Canada, where one in 10 kids are already playing, but they matter in a place like Pittsburgh, where even when the Penguins have ruled, the game has never really flourished at the minor-hockey level.
But the combined effect of Crosby and Co. providing free gear and instruction has brought a quick and dramatic change that landscape in this football-crazed city, to the point that there are now 120-per-cent more children aged 10 and under playing in Western Pennsylvania than even five years earlier.
A region with fewer than four million people, in other words, has accounted for 15 per cent of the growth in youth hockey in the United States, outpacing every other state.
Last night's disappointing 6-4 Penguins loss to the Florida Panthers was one of those nights where you scratched your head and said out loud, a la Vince Lombardi, "What the hell is going on here!".
Lazy, undisciplined penalties getting called left and right.
The usually very steady penalty kill of the Penguins simply collapsing, allowing four Florida powerplay goals.
The fact that the Penguins came back from a 4-1 deficit only made the loss that much worse.
But the increasing frequency of the Penguins' trips to the penalty box should have the coaching staff concerned.
From the Penguins:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Mark Eaton to a one-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
The deal has an average annual value of $725,000.
Eaton, 35, rejoins the Penguins for his second stint after previously playing four seasons with the team between 2006-10. He was a member of the Penguins’ 2009 Stanley Cup championship squad and he helped the team reach the ’08 Cup Final.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound blueliner appeared in 218 regular-season games with Pittsburgh, tallying seven goals, 24 assists and 31 points with a plus-eight rating. He added 10 points (4G-6A) in 42 playoff contests.
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Eaton spent time this season playing with the Penguins’ top minor-league affiliate, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL), collecting one assist in six games.
Eaton, who originally signed with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent, has played 12 seasons in the NHL with the Flyers, Nashville, Pittsburgh and the NY Islanders. He has amassed 85 points (24G-61A) in 627 career regular-season games. Eaton has added 10 points (4G-6A) in 60 career postseason contests.
His best season came with the Penguins during the 2009-10 campaign when he established career highs in games played (79), assists (13) and points (16). During the Penguins’ Cup run in ’09, Eaton tallied seven points (4G-3A) and had a plus-4 rating in 24 playoff games.
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi:
Evgeni Malkin is experiencing concussion symptoms, including severe headache and mild disorientation, multiple sources confirmed Saturday.
Malkin was injured early in the third period of the Penguins’ win over Florida at Consol Energy Center on Friday.
He did not finish the game after sliding into the end-zone boards. The back of his head appeared to bounce off the boards, and Malkin’s neck snapped back in a seeming whiplash motion. Malkin was slated for further medical evaluation Saturday, coach Dan Bylsma said after the game Friday night.
Malkin was not available for comment.
He is not expected to play against Tampa Bay at home on Sunday night, the sources said.
From the St. Catherines Standard's Dan Dakin:
Standing there in front of little Rowan Langille was the guy whose name is on his favourite hockey stick. The guy who he watches playing his favourite sport on television. The guy who is easily his favourite player in the NHL.
Sidney Crosby crouched down to be at eye level with the four-year-old boy fighting cancer that started in his brain and has spread to his spine and the two smiled.
It was a special moment for everyone in the room. “We've got some real Penguins fans here,” Crosby said as he looked at Rowan and his three siblings – all of whom were wearing Pittsburgh ball caps or had some piece of Penguins gear on them.
On the surface, Tyler Kennedy is the prototypical Dan Bylsma forward.
Good speed. Decent forechecker. Decent defensive forward. Not a European (oops).
But after a disappointing '11-'12 season with 11 goals (in 60 games), Kennedy has arguably been the worst performing forward in the Penguins lineup so far this season.
After 15 games, his one goal and two points have the Penguins fanbase, and likely Penguins management, getting weary of his mediocre performance in the Pens' lineup.
From the Penguins:
You knew it would be just a matter of time even before Erik Karlsson left the ice, even before the injury was confirmed to be a lacerated Achilles tendon,
The "lacerater" was none other than Matt Cooke, and it was an intentional, vicious and dirty act.
Or so you would be made to believe.
Disregard how Cooke has drastically changed his physical play, whose PIM's went down from 128 to 44 over the last two seasons.
You see, amongst many NHL fans, and now the Ottawa Senators, Cooke can do no right. His past reputation has seemingly sealed his fate with all future controversial plays involving him.
From the Penguins, certainly not unexpected:
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