Kukla's Korner

The Confluence

Category: Opinion

A Deep Dive into the Penguins’ Fighting Majors

One of the main topics of discussion as a result of the Penguins/Islanders fiasco last Friday night was the fact that the Penguins lead the league in penalty minutes, major penalties and fighting majors, which they still do with 1113, 63 and 59 respectively.

I was really curious into the individual game circumstances that resulted in that league-leading number of fights by the Penguins, such as were the Pens winning at the time, prompting the opposition to try to give themselves a kickstart by dropping the gloves?  Or vice versa?

So I went through each game of the Penguins’ season to date, here’s what I came up with:

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Vote for The Confluence in the “Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament”

The good folks at Sean’s Ramblings have been kind enough to once again nominate The Confluence into it’s “Best Pittsburgh Sports Blog Tournament”.

Looks like I’m matched up against the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Steelers blog “Blog N’ Gold”.

So if you’re so inclined, please vote here.

Thanks, as always.

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Some Things Overlooked When Discussing Pens/Islanders Fiasco

Let’s put aside the dozens of articles that have been written since the debacle on Long Island last Friday night.  Everybody’s got an opinion on the matter, whether you’re talking about the Islanders’ tactics, the individual acts of their players or the residual effects, such as the NHL’s and/or Mario Lemieux’ respective responses.

That dead horse has certainly been beaten.  Personally, I’m moving on.

But before I do, allow me this one article to mention some topics relating to that game that either have been overlooked (maybe conveniently so), or simply ignored.  Whether they were purposely ignored is anyone’s guess, but let’s take a look at some other things that occurred Friday night that didn’t quite make the headlines.

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Pens Notes:  Hey, It Builds Character, Right?

What an absolutely ducky 2011 it’s been for your Pittsburgh Penguins so far, eh?

Before I start bloviating, allow me to apologize for my lack of very many opinion-related articles over the past couple of months.  Admittedly, I’m in the midst of my worst writer’s slump in nearly five years of blogging.  I’m fighting through it, and I thank Paul for being patient while I get my second wind.  Combine that with being busy at my real job (yes, I have one), and just recently with preparing to fly to Connecticut to pick up a Camaro I’m buying, I just haven’t expended the energy that I used to when preparing a good opinion article.  So, thanks.

But anyway, there’s certainly some hot-button topics to discuss, so let’s get started:

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Penguins’ Talented Youth Blocked by Plethora of Grinders

The Penguins’ rash of injuries has created quite a few golden opportunities for a few of their top prospects to show they belong with the big boys in Pittsburgh, rather than languishing in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  And for the most part, just about every one of them has done an admirable job.

But eventually (one would hope) the Pens will get healthy once and for all.  After all, there have been only two games this season in which Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal have been on the ice together (New Years Day and Jan. 5th, if you’re curious).

And when that happens, most of the youngins will take that trek back east on I-80 to the AHL.

It’s not that they played poorly, not because they don’t deserve to be a regular player in the NHL, but because the Penguins roster as it is currently made up is over-loaded with veteran grinders.

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Fleury Turning Rocky Start Into Career Year

I quickly did a search of articles I’ve written in the 2 1/2 seasons here at KK, and there are no fewer than five articles I’ve done here at The Confluence that are criticizing Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in one way or another.

Not that I’m back-peddling on those at all, mind you.

But I’ve always said that I’ll praise a player with the same respect that I constructively criticize.  So having said that, it’s only fair that I type yet another Marc-Andre Fleury article, but this time it’s one of praise.

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Audio of XM’s “War Room” Interview

Here’s the links for my interview this morning with XM Home Ice’s “War Room” with Mick Kern and Peter Berce.


If you want to download it, or your Media Player doesn’t work, here’s that link:

http://www.kuklaskorner.com/media/tfwr.mp3

CORRECTION:  In the interview I mentioned Crosby went bowling last night, when in fact he was in attendance but didn’t actually bowl.

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As Trade Deadline Nears, Which Penguins Should Be Nervous?

Yeah, we’re still six weeks away from the excitement that is NHL Trade Deadline Day on February 28th.

But that doesn’t mean that the wheels aren’t starting to spin in the respective General Manager’s offices around the NHL.  They might not be close to many deals, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t busy.  They’re discussing deal parameters, team needs, salary cap implications, contract expirations, minor league rosters and numerous other intangibles.

So shazam, you’re GMRS.  You’re looking to tweak your roster to hopefully improve your team for a long playoff run and another Stanley Cup.

Whatcha gonna do?

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Penguins to be Tested in January

If you were to glance at the NHL scores last night and see the Penguins’ 8-1 trouncing of the Lightning at the CEC, you would have probably thought that Sidney Crosby had yet another big night.

That wasn’t the case, at least on the scoresheet.  Crosby only had a mere assist in the Pens’ big win.  That could bode well for the Penguins, who have seemingly always needed secondary scoring help.  Sure, Tampa was gassed from their 1-0 overtime win over Washington the night before.  So let’s keep things in perspective.

But in the next few weeks we should get a pretty good idea of just what kind of team the Penguins have, as they face several of the top teams in the NHL.

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Penguins Need More Scoring Than 87 + 71

Things could be worse in Penguinsland, to be sure.  Tied for the most points in the Eastern Conference, only two behind Vancouver for most in the NHL.  It’s not like things are in crisis mode, I get that.

But I was perusing the stats of the Penguins’ regular starting lineup, and while it certainly isn’t breaking news, the amount of “role players” is noteworthy.  Of course, role players are an integral part of an NHL team.  Role players help teams win a Stanley Cup.

However, I think it’s always a delicate balance for coaches and GM’s not to overload your roster with too many role players, especially if those role players don’t score other than every once in a while.

After all, you need to score to win.

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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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