by Tony on 01/07/09 at 02:29 PM ET
Last night’s 3-1 Penguins win over the Atlanta Thrashers wasn’t just crucial because it snapped their five-game losing streak, nor because they got two powerplay goals in the process. That snapped a 33 powerplay scoreless streak in itself.
But that’s not the only reason it was a great scene last night.
It should have caused Penguins’ GM Ray Shero’s head to pop a big lightbulb with the realization on what his team desperately needs.
It needs Brendan Shanahan.
Anyone remember how those two powerplay goals were scored last night ??
Powerplay goal Numero Uno: Petr Sykora’s defection of Ryan Whitney’s shot-pass in front of the net.
Powerplay goal Numero Dos: Sidney Crosby’s deflection of Evgeni Malkin’s slapper from the center point.
Coincidence ?? I think not.
You can shoot all of the 50 foot slappers from the points you want, but until you get a steady presence in front of the net, someone who isn’t afraid to bang bodies, it’s gonna be mostly a futile effort. The Penguins haven’t had that presence replaced since Ryan Malone bolted for Tampa Bay.
Again, that guy is Brendan Shanahan.
Who’s been the best player in front of the net so far for the Penguins ?? Arguably, it’s been Crosby, and I don’t think for a second that the Pens should have him parked there on a regular basis. Hopefully, they agree with me.
Sure, there are some things that may be prohibitive in signing Shanny. First and foremost, although it has been reported in the past that Shanny was interested in signing with the Pens, recently it’s been widely reported that he would prefer to stay in the NY general area, and that would also include Philly. It was reported a couple months ago that Shanny may have been close to signing with the Flyers, but it didn’t materialize. However, it’s now January 7th. You’d think that Shanny is starting to get itchy and sign somewhere. He also may not come at a very cheap price, which could be a show-stopper, especially for a team strapped to the salary cap like the Penguins. And let’s not forget, he’ll turn 40 on January 23rd.
But let’s also not forget, that soon-to-be 40 year old had 23 goals last year and 29 goals the year before for the Rangers, as well as 40 goals in ‘05-‘06 for the Red Wings. It’s not like he’s going to be a 4th line scrub all of a sudden, ya know. This is a guy with 650 goals and 1340 points, certainly not chump change.
And finally, let’s remember that the Pens may have lost two wingers last night in Ruslan Fedotenko and Pascal Dupuis.
But to get more specific, in terms of the Penguins, Shanny’s role on the powerplay fits them like a glove. Give Crosby and Malkin the opportunity to fire at will, and have Shanny planted squarely in front of the goal to poke the rebound home, something that is sorely needed on this team, not to mention when Sergei Gonchar returns in the March timeframe. He also provides both leadership and toughness, both things that the Penguins lost plenty of last season and haven’t adequately replaced.
All sort of moves are being discussed in the Penguins’ blogosphere, anywhere from trading Jordan Staal, canning Michel Therrien and Mike Yeo, to trading for Marian Gaborik and Ilya Kovalchuk.
Signing Brendan Shanahan is seemingly the simplest move of them all.
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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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