Morning Drive: 412 Sports Talk featuring @SteelDad

Morning Drive brings you the latest episode of the Radio:PI Podcast Network for easy access.  This morning: 412 Sports Talk

RECAP: Penguins fall to Flyers on Rivalry Night

After an impressive win against the unbeaten (at the time) New York Islanders that saw the beleaguered Penguins' penalty kill go a perfect 7-7, including killing off a 5-3 power play, the hated Philadelphia Flyers traveled the length of I-76 West for the first of five meetings.  The cross-state rivals, however, were playing their second game in as many nights having been bushwhacked 4-0 by the Chicago Blackhawks the night before.

Crosby in the Penguins' new 3rd jerseys
Sidney Crosby looking good in
Pittsburgh gold.
Donning the new 3rd jerseys for the first time this season, everything was lined up for the Penguins to exorcise some demons against the Flyers.  Philadelphia came into the contest having beaten the Penguins in their previous 4 meetings, and 9 out of the last 11 at Consol Energy Center.  Sporting the league's best power play, playing a team that had gotten shelled the night before, and coming off of three days of rest should have been a recipe for success for Pittsburgh.  Should have been.

A nationally televised game in both the United States and Canada, the night began with Jeff Jimerson singing the Canadian national anthem following the tragic events at the Canada War Memorial and halls of the Parliament in the city of Ottawa.  The game between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs was postponed as the country mourns the loss of a 24 year old Canadian soldier that was murdered in cold blood.  As a tribute, the Canadian national anthem was sang before the Star Spangled Banner, despite no Canadian teams playing.  It was an appropriate tribute to our neighbors to the North during a sorrowful day for Canada.

Video: Pens/Flyers Pregame Tribute To #OttawaStrong Victims

Prior to the start of the Flyers-Penguins game, the Pittsburgh Penguins paid tribute to the victims of today's shootings in Ottawa, ON, Canada. Fans joined in. Here's the video:

Penguins/Islanders Post-Mortem: Evaluating the Line Play by @DXTraeger

Johnston Continues to Keep His Lines Stable through 4 Games
Through the first four games of the Pittsburgh Penguins' campaign, new head coach Mike Johnston has defied expectations and played his four lines both statically and consistently ala the Penguins' former bench boss, Dan Bylsma.

Bylsma's unwillingness to mix up lines and play matchups was often cited by critics as one of the reasons why the Penguins chronically underperformed in the post-season, and was a major contributing reason as to why Lemieux and Burkle canned the Team USA head coach last spring.

By and large, Johnston's contributions to the on-ice trios has focused more on the situational use of certain line combos instead of the jumbling and mishmashings of players and skillsets.

For instance, Johnston has repeatedly called the numbers of Zach Sill, Nick Spaling and Craig Adams (38, 13 and 27 for those of you scoring at home) to handle a number of offensive zone faceoffs after a TV timeout.

Common coaching convention (including basic Coris-For doctrine) dictates that you take advantage of the extended break and put your best offensive players out on the ice to try and generate immediate scoring chances off of the draw in the attacking zone.

This apparent misuse of personnel is tempered by the fact that Sill, Spaling and Adams have played responsible hockey despite their limited minutes, and have consistently graded out under my Production Success metric as positive players.

Claude Giroux's Public Service Announcement

It was an interesting offseason for Philadelphia Flyers Center Claude Giroux. By now, most hockey fans have heard about the incident in Ottawa this summer where Claude Giroux was arrested for repeatedly grabbing the butt of a police officer. The charges were dropped, but what many people don't know is the circumstances that led to him being let go uncharged. With a spate of sexual assaults during Canada Day celebrations, Giroux was quietly approached behind the scenes by Health Canada to appear in a series of public service announcements in an attempt to combat the problem.

Claude Giroux: At The Movies (A Short Film by @ToonsBrian)

Today is the first day on the NHL calendar that Pens and Flyers fans alike circle first. Game 1 of the annual Pittsburgh Penguins/Philadelphia Series. Sure other rivalries exist for both teams. But this is "the one."

The one that matters most.

The one that makes everything better if you win.

And the one that puts a damper on an otherwise wonderful day if you lose.

In the spirit of the rivalry, I present this little nugget. Enjoy.

Image is Everything by @Nick422

Tonight, as Pittsburgh take on the Flyers, the Penguins will finally wear their gorgeous new third jerseys.  The jerseys invoke a time of great success for the team, a time when everything was new, was fun, and was fresh.  It's yet another move in the rebranding of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rutherford Says Pens Will Keep Fleury Around, But Should They? by @MadChad412

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had at least a three-day break in between games for the second time of the season, and it's only October. Thank God for Pens' general manager Jim Rutherford, who gave us all a newsworthy quote about goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's future. 

Rutherford told the media "As long as I'm the GM, he'll be our goalie" and "My plan is to re-sign him when the time is right. When that is, I don’t know, if it’s during the year or after the year, but I do want to re-sign him. I believe in him."

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