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The Confluence

Category: Opinion

Penguins’ Pesonen is gonna have to step it up

There was certainly a buzz in the Penguins’ air in July when they signed Finnish Elite League scoring champion Janne Pesonen to a contract.  Would he be that elusive scoring winger for Sidney Crosby ??  Maybe another European winger for Evgeni Malkin ??

Well, eventually, that may very well still happen, but a couple months into Pesonen’s first season in North America, he’s ran into a couple of speed bumps.

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HNIC Hot Stove:  Staal negotiations to start after new year

From Pierre LeBrun on HNIC’s Hot Stove:

“The Penguins will start up contract extension negotiations with Jordan Staal at the start of the new year.  Shorter term deal and a little less money than what has been talked about previously.”

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Take it for what it’s worth.  His recent surge has certainly quelled the trade speculation.  Interesting, though, if it ends up being a short deal, say, 3 or 4 years.  Might give an indication of how long he wants to be third fiddle, but that’s merely me speculating.

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Will the Penguins EVER get Crosby a winger for longer than a cup of coffee ??

This depresses me even typing it.  Sigh, I could use a brew right now.

Ziggy Palffy.  Mark Recchi.  Ryan Malone.  Erik Christensen.  Colby Armstrong.  Michel Ouellet.  I can even throw out Andy Hilbert.  Jani Rita.  Tomas Surovy.  Nils Ekman.  I’ve left out at least 20 names.  I could go on, and on, and on.

And now, Pascal Dupuis.  Max Talbot.  Miro Satan.  Ruslan Fedotenko.

What do they have in common ??  At one point or another they’ve all been Sidney Crosby’s wingers in his three-plus seasons in the NHL.

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So Therrien’s shaking up the Penguins powerplay, huh ?  Hmmph, we’ll see

If you’re a regular reader of this incredibly amateur-ish column, first of all thanks, but you also know my numero uno Pet Peeve when it comes to your Pittsburgh Penguins, and that’s their powerplay.

And so it’s in that regard that I was pleasantly surprised to read HCMT’s scathing comments towards the Pens’ powerplay units following yet another PP gooseegg after their 3-1 loss to the Canucks at the Igloo on Saturday afternoon.

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Has Crosby become a liability on the Penguins’ shootout ??

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 ??

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Jordan Staal’s rising power

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.

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Just how are these Penguins at 11-4-2 ??

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.

 

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Penguins/Red Wings most-watched regular season game on Versus

From Versus:

NEW YORK, N.Y. (November 13, 2008)-VERSUS, the network that celebrates real competition and the exclusive cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), earned its most-watched regular-season game among households (364,645) for the Detroit Red Wings/Pittsburgh Penguins 2008 Stanley Cup Final rematch on November 11; beating the Red Wings/Toronto Maple Leafs 2008-09 U.S. regular-season opener on October 9.

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  Tags: detroit+red+wings, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

A Confluence retraction:  Matt Cooke is no Jarkko Ruutu

A while back, I wrote an article opining that the Penguins’ signing of Matt Cooke would make Pens’ fans forget Jarkko Ruutu.

Well, I’m here to acknowledge after 15 games, that wasn’t a true statement.

The simple fact is that Matt Cooke and Jarkko Ruutu are entirely different types of players.

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Is Jordan Staal in the Penguins’ future plans ??

Way back during the 2006-2007 NHL season, Pittsburgh Penguins fans certainly had visions of offensive domination for years to come.

Sidney Crosby had 36 goals and 120 points, plus the Hart, Art Ross and Pearson trophies.  Evgeni Malkin had 33 goals and 85 points, quickly establishing him as one of the league’s most feared snipers.

And then there was Jordan Staal.  He burst on the scene in impressive fashion, scoring his NHL first goal short-handed in Madison Square Garden.  He ended up scoring seven of his 29 goals short-handed, tying the NHL rookie record and led the NHL in that category.  He also led the NHL in shooting percentage with 22.1%.

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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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