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Friday, October 31, 2008

Crosby day-to-day with injury

Sidney Crosby does not seem to be seriously injured, but the Penguins have listed him as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
It appears to be either a hip or rib injury, depending on who you ask.  The Pittsburgh Penguins aren't saying.

The injury adds to the growing list of the wounded for the Penguins.  

Pascal Dupuis missed last night's game against Phoenix with another undisclosed injury.

The biggest losses, obviously, are Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney.  Whitney could be back in December or January and Gonchar may not see action until March or April.   

Hal Gill and Max Talbot returned last night from their respective injuries.  Matt Cooke returned from injury on Tuesday in San Jose.

Petr Sykora was also injured to start the season.

Of course, the Penguins dealt with their share of injuries last season, losing Talbot, Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury and Gary Roberts for extended periods of time. 

The good news might be that the injuries are coming towards the beginning of the season, rather than the end.
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Friday, October 31, 2008

NHL News from Around the League

Tampa Bay Lightning rookie and first overall draft pick Steven Stamkos scored his first two NHL goals last night in a game against the Buffalo Sabres. Tampa won the game 5-2.  Our friend Ryan Malone also scored.

The Ottawa Senators have signed captain Daniel Alfredsson to a new contract that will likely keep him a Senator for the rest of his career.  The deal is reportedly worth $22 million over four years.

The KHL has taken another player (back) from this side of the ocean.  Montreal prospect Pavel Valentenko has signed a three-year contract with Dynamo Moscow.  Valentenko was playing with Montreal's AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Washington Capitals are unsure as to when Alexander Ovechkin will return to the team.  He flew home to Russia on Monday to be with his ailing grandfather.  Alexander Semin seems to be stepping it up in Ovechkin's absence (and before it.)  He has 8 goals and 8 assists on the season.  His 16 points tie him with Evgeni Malkin for the league scoring lead.  Our friend Marian Hossa is one point back with 15.

The New York Rangers have the best record in hockey.  After a victory at home against the Atlanta Trashers last night the Rangers have a 10-2-1 record.  Their 21 points lead the NHL.

Speaking of the Thrashers, they got some bad news as defensemen Zach Bogosian will be out indefinitely with a broken leg.  Bogosian was the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 entry draft.
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Coyotes 4 - Penguins 1, Crosby leaves game with injury

Well, I said the score would be 4-1, but I chose the wrong team as the winner.

It was a better game for the Pens, but something is still off.  Malkin was a beast but he couldn't finish and Sykora and Staal couldn't buy goals right now.  Goligoski had a pretty bad game but that is to be expected from a young guy who was thrust into a huge role with Gonchar and Whitney out.

The biggest news is that Crosby left the game and did not return.  Nothing has been said yet but he took a stick to the hip and left the ice in pain.  Hopefully it's nothing serious and he just left the game as a precaution.

Satan scored on Devil's Night.  It looked mostly like a lucky bounce though.  I'm not sure what he did that earned him a 10 minute misconduct, but I think it was probably arguing with the referee too much.

The FSN Pittsburgh announcers confused and annoyed me like crazy with their constant switching between "ky-oates" and "ky-o-tees."  How do you pronounce "Coyotes?"  
I've always said "ky-o-tees."

Fleury played as well as he had to and Letang had a very good game.  I'm still not a fan of Hal Gill.

In other news, NHL Game Centre was a total dud tonight.  The free preview probably caused a lot of extra traffic to the site and, because of that, it was down when I tried it.  I managed to get the game audio once, but I never got the video to work.  It's too bad, because it looks like a good service.  Not one I'm willing to pay $30/month for though.  You'd assume that the free preview was set up in order to impress people enough with the service that they would buy it.  However, I couldn't even watch the game I wanted.  Yes, it was due to high traffic but they should have been ready for that.  It didn't impress me and I doubt it earned the NHL very many new subscribers tonight.  I wish Game Centre and NHL Centre Ice weren't so ridiculously expensive, but I'd love to get one of them.

All in all, it was a decently entertaining game and the second period was quite fast paced and exciting.  The Pens had 2 shots in the first but then exploded in the second.  Evgeni Malkin had 9 shots in the second setting a Pittsburgh Penguins record for most shots in one period.  Mario Lemieux previously held that record with 7 shots.

The next Penguins game is Saturday night in St. Louis.  Hopefully Sidney Crosby will be there.

Let's Go Pens!
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dupuis out, Minard in

Chris Minard has been called up from WBS.

I don't assume that he will be on the first line with Sid and Fedetenko so I'm guessing Satan will be moved back up to the first line.

Also, Hal Gill and Maxim Talbot will be back in the line-up.

I'm guessing on these lines:

Miroslav Satan - Sidney Crosby - Ruslan Fedetenko
Matt Cooke - Evgeni Malkin - Petr Sykora
Tyler Kennedy - Jordan Staal - Chris Minard
Paul Bissonnette - Mike Zigomanis - Eric Godard

Brooks Orpik - Rob Scuderi
Mark Eaton - Kris Letang
Hal Gill - Alex Goligoski

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Penguins @ Coyotes Game Preview


Game Time: 10pm/ET
From: Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Penguins Record: 5-3-2 (7th in Eastern Conference)
Coyotes Record: 3-4-0 (14th in Western Conference)
Last Meeting: Dec 3rd, 2007 @ Pittsburgh (3-1 PIT) [link]

Pascal Dupuis - Sidney Crosby - Ruslan Fedetenko
Matt Cooke - Evgeni Malkin - Petr Sykora
Tyler Kennedy - Jordan Staal - Miroslav Satan
Paul Bissonnette - Mike Zigomanis - Eric Godard

Brooks Orpik - Rob Scuderi
Mark Eaton - Kris Letang
Darryl Sydor - Alex Goligoski

Marc- Andre Fleury (4-2-2 / 2.17GAA / .933 SV%)


Todd Fedoruk - Olli Jokinen - Shane Doan
Daniel Carcillo - Martin Hanzal - Peter Mueller
Kevin Porter - Steven Reinprecht - Mikkel Boedker
Daniel Winnik - Kyle Turris - Viktor Tikhonov

Ilya Bryzgalov (2-3-0 / 3.41GAA / .889 SV%)

Apparently Coach Gretzky is unsure of his defensive pairings now that the team has added Ken Klee to their lineup.


GOALS: Satan (4)
ASSISTS: Malkin (12)
POINTS: Malkin (15)
+/-: Malkin (+4)


GOALS: Doan (4)
ASSISTS: Jokinen (6)
POINTS: Jokinen (7)
+/-: Reinprecht (+3)

This is a game that the Penguins need to not only win, but to win convincingly.  After a terrible game against in San Jose all that could be said was that the Sharks are a very good team, so the loss should hurt less.  The same is not true for the Coyotes.  The Pens have switched up their lines for this game, splitting up Malkin and Crosby, in an attempt to spread out the offense more.  I believe it will work.

Fleury has been outstanding in net thus far so I see the goaltending edge going to the Penguins.

The Pens penalty killing is 5th in the league and their powerplay is ranked 8th.
The Coyotes penatly killing is 22nd in the league and their power play is 26th.

NHL GameCenter appears to be offering a free preview today, so for those outside of Pittsburgh or Phoenix, this might be a good option for catching the game online.

Prediction: 4-1 Pens
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pittsburgh Penguins Line Combinations



For the most current Penguins line combinations please check out the most recent GAME PREVIEW.

These should last for at least five minutes, before Michel Therrien decides to switch them up again:

Fedetenko - Crosby - Dupuis
Cooke - Malkin - Sykora
Satan - Staal - Kennedy
Bissonnette - Zigomanis - Godard

The folks over at the PensBlog are calling the second line the "Malk & Cookies Line" which I quite enjoy.

Overall I like the lines, they're very balanced. I'd rather see Satan up with Crosby, but otherwise they're good. Putting Cooke on the Malkin/Sykora line never crossed my mind when I did line combinations yesterday but it might just work. Cooke can go to the net and cause havoc, not unlike Ryan Malone. He\ll also do it for less than $4.5 million a season.

Phoenix Coyotes Game Preview coming up later today.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What the Pens Need

Last night's game was pretty bad.  It wasn't the loss, it was the way they lost.  11 shots is ridiculous.  They were simply outworked, nothing more.  Dany Sabourin made it look close, but it wasn't, not at all.

It wasn't even a case where the shot count was lopsided but the chances were close.  The Pens lost almost every one-on-one battle and they looked like they did in the first two game of the finals against the Wings.

People will say it's still early and it is and, therefore, I don't think any major changes are in order.  I don't think any trades or firings are necessary.  Two things need to be done.  First of all, someone, somehow, some way, needs to convince this team that it needs to play hard for 60 minutes in order to win.  Second, I think the lines need to be changed.  Yes, I've often been against Michel Therrien's line shuffling, but some changes are needed.

It's time to end the Crosby and Malkin on the same line experiment.  Yes, those two are getting points and playing quite well together, but their success is coming at the expense of the team's.  Petr Sykora is a complete non-factor without Malkin as his linemate.

I like Pascal Dupuis, but he can't shoot the puck to save his life.  Crosby seems determined to set up Dupuis rather than shoot himself, so the solution is twofold.  First, Crosby needs to shoot more.  Second, Dupuis needs to get off of Crosby's line.  Fedetenko looked good with Sidney last night, maybe he should be given the chance to play with him for a few games.

Also, there doesn't seem to be a point to dressing both Bissonnette and Godard.  One is enough.

Finally, I believe that Janne Pesonen should be called up in the near future.  He seems to be adapting well in the AHL and giving him a run with the Pens could pay off.  At the very least he seems like he will shoot the puck.

So.... here are my proposed line combinations:

Fedetenko - Crosby - Satan
Staal - Malkin - Sykora
Pesonen/Dupuis - Talbot - Kennedy
Cooke - Zigomanis - Godard/Bissonnette

Yes, some players are playing outside of their natural position, but I think it works.  Staal hasn't done well previously at left wing, but on a team with so many centers he should be moved there.  He needs to learn to fill the Ryan Malone role of going to the net and creating some space.

In fact, these lines look a lot like what the Pens were playing with in the preseason and the early part of the season.  I think this is the ideal lineup for the team and they should leave these guys together for at least a few games to see if they gel.  Scoring would primarily come from the first two lines, and the bottom two would be energy lines.  If Pesonen adapts well I wouldn't be against putting him on Crosby or Malkin's wing.

It feels wrong to be shuffling Dupuis into a position where he may not play every game, but it needs to be done.  He's very fast, he works hard, and he gets himself into position very well.  He just needs to shoot and shoot better.

The whole team needs to shoot more, to be honest.

Okay, I'm done acting like I know better than an NHL coach now.

Next game: the Pens play Gretzky's Coyotes in Phoenix.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pens Lose

I stayed up late to watch the Penguins play in San Jose.  Sadly, the Pens were asleep for most of the game.

Outside of the last 6 minutes, Dany Sabourin and a few missed San Jose shots were the only things that kept the game from being a blowout.

I thought the penalty on Cooke with less than 2 minutes left was a bad call, but the Penguins didn't deserve to be only down by one at the end of that game.  

I'm tired now.  More tomorrow.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Talbot to miss tonight's game.

According to the Post-Gazette. [link]
Bissonnette will take his place.

I guess it's good news that it's not another defenseman, but it still sucks.

Speaking of injured defensemen, Hal Gill will be out again tonight with Darryl Sydor taking his spot once again.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pens in San Jose Tonight

As witnessed in the Ranger game, the Penguins still have an issue with playing a full 60 minute game.  You knew when the Rangers tied it up that they were going to win.  The Pens stopped playing after 40 minutes.

This can't keep happening.

Hopefully the Pens can straighten up in the second game of this road trip against a team they rarely play, the San Jose Sharks.

San Jose is a talented team and they have gone 7-2 this season.  The Pens are 5-2-2, largely thanks to Crosby and Malkin who have been tearing it up recently.  Malkin is tied with Alexander Semin for the league lead in points with 14.  Crosby is in 4th with 12, tied with our good friend Marian Hossa.

Fleury has been playing outstanding hockey and is 3rd in the league in save percentage, but Dany Sabourin will get the start tonight in San Jose.  He played well in his last start.

For those staying up to watch the game (it has a 10:30pm/ET start) it will be streaming on Yahoo!  If you're in the US (or have access to a US proxy) you can watch the game HERE.

Lets Go Pens!
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Pens Blow Lead Against Caps

The story seemed quite familar as the Pens still have problems playing a full game.

Someone needs to remind them that a regulation hockey game is 60 minutes, not 25.

Even strength they couldn't buy a goal, but their special teams seemed to be working, so there's some good news coming out of this game.

Ovechkin went after Malkin again and again and again.  There's got to be something behind that.

In other news, Coach Therrien has decided to switch up his lines for the next game, playing Malkin and Crosby together along with Dupuis.  I never like the decision to play Malkin and Crosby together, but I like the decision to split up Malkin and Sykora even less.

The Pens had better beat the Leafs on Saturday or CBC will never shut up.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pens VS. Caps Tonight

I'm back!

Sorry for the lack in posts recently, but here we go.

Tonight AO and the Caps come into the Mellon Arena for a battle against the Penguins.
It's always interesting when Ovechkin and Malkin play against each other.  For some reason they don't like one another.

Prediction: 4-2 Pens.
Goals by Crosby, Malkin, Sykora and Letang.

The drought from our big guns ends tonight.

Lets Go Pens!
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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pens VS. Sens - The Sweden Rematch

Thomas and Goligoski are in, Taffe and Sydor are out.

Alex Auld is starting for the Sens.

CBC is bashing all of the Penguins' losses since the trade deadline last year.
Apparently Christensen and Armstrong were the keys to the Pens' run to the Cup finals last year.
Recchi too.

Mike Milbury continues to talk about Nikolai Khabibulin for some reason. I think he said the Pens should sign him. Why, I'm not sure.

I'm going to miss the game today, but I predict a better game from the Pens and a 4-2 victory.

Lets Go Pens!

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pens Win 4-3! [OT]

It wasn't a great game by any stretch of the imagination, but the Pens record is now 1-0-0.

There were numerous things wrong for the team however.

  • Team toughness.  Maybe the losses of Laraque, Ruutu, Roberts and Malone did hurt them afterall, because the team was - in the words of Michel Therrien - "soff."  Talbot brought some energy but Cooke and Godard seemed to do nothing (expect for the bad penalty Godard took.)  And where was Bissonnette?
  • Fleury.  He was shaky.  I'm not saying he had a bad game, but it wasn't good.
  • The powerplay.  It was horrendous.  Malkin on the point was something I liked, but it didn't work out very well today.  They really missed Gonchar out there, more than I thought they would.
  • The new guys.  Satan and Fedotenko seemed to just frustrate Crosby today.  They need to gel much, much better than they did today.
Overall, it was nice to get a win, but the Senators shouldn't have been such a challenge.  The Kennedy/Malkin/Staal line was good and Talbot played an awesome game.

The rematch is tomorrow when the Pens are the "home" team.
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pens to Open Regular Season Today

Pittsburgh Penguins VS. Ottawa Senators

After a very short offseason that felt very long (weird, eh?) the Penguins will be back in the ice in the first meaningful game since watching the Wings raise the Cup in the Mellon in June.

This is technically a home game for the Senators, but the game will take place at the Globe Arena in Sweden.

Petr Sykora will miss the game with a groin injury and Alex Goligoski will be a healthy scratch, sitting in favour of Darryl Sydor. Tyler Kennedy will take Sykora's place on the Malkin line.

This will also be the first time that the Pens will have to face Jarko Ruutu in a Senators jersey.

Canadian fans can see the game at 2:30 on CBC.

Possible lines:
Fedetenko - Crosby - Satan
Kennedy - Malkin - Staal
Dupuis - Talbot - Cooke
Godard - Taffe - Bissonnette

Letang - Orpik
Scuderi - Gill
Eaton - Sydor


Glad to have hockey back!

Let's Go Pens!

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Link Exchange

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pens/Jokerit Photos and DEAD BLOG

My feed is dead, so no more live blogging for me....

Sid gives an interview after the 1st period. The announcers called him "The Next One"
Score after one: Pens Two, Jokerit Zero

Fedetenko SCORES! On a sweet pass from Sid.


It's first intermission.

Good period from the Pens. I think I only saw Fleury have to make one save, but it was a good one. Malkin looks good on the point. His shot is awesome.

Sid playing with Feds and Satan seems to be working well. There needs to be a few more ads on the ice, and several more ads on the Jokerit players.

Second starting and Blogger is giving me hassles.

Pens in control.
Fleury makes a couple decent saves.
Some good end-to-end action there. My feed is giving me problems now too. Damn this cheap laptop.

Faceoff in the Pens zone. Pens clear it.

Godard is playing with Taffe, but I can't tell who the third on their line is. EDIT: Must be Bissonette.

Finnish commericals rule.

Dupuis, Kennedy and Cooke are on the same line. I like it.

Staal, Malkin, Sykora - as expected. Nice shift for them.

Fleury is playing well, despite seeing limited shots. He controlled the rebound well there.

Fleury seeing more action now.

Crosby gets a tripping penalty.

Jokerit PP.

It sounds like some people tried to start a "LETS GO PENGUINS" chant, but failed.

Not much pressure on the Jokerit PP.

Feds gets the puck out and Sid's penalty is over.

"LETS GO PENGUINS" again, seems to be dueling with whatever chant Jokerit have ("Lets go [something.]")

Hal Gill looks absolutely huge.

Save by Fleury.

Dany Sabourin in goal for the Pens now.

I stand corrected, na-na-na Pesonen is in with Staal and Malkin, not Sykora.

- Kennedy stopped on a breakaway.

- The spacing on this post sucks... I'm not sure what's going on.

- Save by Sabs.

  • Maybe a list is a better way to do this. Sick move by Feds.
  • Sid/Feds/Satan = Money, I hope this line stays
  • the streamer starts messing around with the settings on his TV and I fear that he may change the channel to another game at some point
  • Pressure by the Taffe line now
  • Pens powerplay
  • I may have to step out for a moment
  • Letang to Malkin who just HAMMERS it from the point - I like him there
  • Jokes get it and rush back, save by Sabs
  • BRB,
  • Back now, VLC has crashed in my absence
  • and the feed now appears to be dead
  • Sorry everyone, I can't get the feed to start up again...
Game over. 4-1 Pens. I missed half of the second and all of the third as the feed went down.
Goals from Malkin, Fedetenko, Kennedy and Dupuis (EN)
Jokerit goal on Sabourin on a penalty shot.
Sure, it wasn't against an NHL team, but the Pens looked good out there.
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