It's easy to get down. The Pittsburgh Penguins have lost eight of their last ten and they currently sit out of the playoffs. They haven't won two games in a row since November. They may have lost Sidney Crosby to injury, for at least a short time. Alexander Ovechkin led the Washington Capitals to victory last night at the Mellon Arena. Things look pretty bad for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
So, like Monty Python says, it's time to look on the bright side of life.
Here are ten positives from this season:
The Consol Energy Center
During dark times it's sometimes best to look back on those days that were even darker. Just a couple of years ago it looked like the Penguins would be leaving Pittsburgh. Isle of Capri didn't win the slots license and Mario Lemieux was eating dinner in Kansas City. "Missing the playoffs" seems like nothing when compared to "Losing the Penguins forever." This year the new arena was given a name and it actually looks like the beginning of an arena. It's finally arriving.
Alex Goligoski's offensive skills
You can say what you'd like about his defense, but Alex Goligoski leads all rookie defensemen in points. He is also the highest scoring defenseman on the Penguins. He has definitely made Ray Shero's choices more difficult in relation to the Penguins' defense.
We had a great run in November
Think how bad off the Penguins would be right now if they didn't win six in a row in November. The Penguins only lost three games the entire month and got off to one of the best starts to franchise history.
Success with blocking shots
The Pittsburgh Penguins have three players that are among the top twenty shot blockers in the league (Rob Scuderi, Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang.) No other team can say that.
Arena attendance is great
To my knowledge the Pittsburgh Penguins have sold out every home game at the Mellon Arena this season. On average, The Penguins have sold 104.6% of the Mellon Arena's capacity this year. Only the Chicago Blackhawks and the Ottawa Senators have sold a higher percentage of their arenas this season
The Penguins hit a lot
Brooks Orpik leads the NHL in hits. Matt Cooke comes in fourth. It's good to see some players on the team who aren't afraid to get physical.
The Penguins' losing record in their blue third jerseys should end the rumours that the team will go back to wearing blue full time
I like the blue jerseys. I think they have a great retro feel. I own one. But the Penguins should not go back to wearing powder blue full time. Black and gold are Pittsburgh's colours and they are the Penguins' colours. The team is 1-4 in their retro jerseys this year, which shouldn't really be a surprise. The Penguins in the 70s didn't have too much success wearing blue either. Unfortunately, the unlucky blues return this Sunday.
Petr Sykora finally scored a hat trick
After having more two-goal games than any player in NHL history who hadn't scored a hat trick, Petr Sykora finally broke the jinx in a 9-2 rout over the New York Islanders. It was definitely a special moment. Pascal Dupuis scored his first NHL hat trick in the same game.
Evgeni Malkin leads the league in scoring
Despite the team's troubles, Malkin remains 10 points ahead of Alexander Ovechkin in the scoring race. Sidney Crosby sits between the two, in second place.
The Mellon Arena has not been taken over by terrorists yet this year
Unlike the fictional 1995 Stanley Cup Finals, the Vice President is not being held hostage in a luxury suite, no one is planning to blow up the arena and Jean-Claude Van Dam hasn't killed Iceburgh.
See? It's not all that bad!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
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