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Friday, June 28, 2013

Pens Don't Need Harry Z by @MadChad412
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been a model franchise when it comes to the NHL and pro sports for the most part. They do a lot for their fans, their players hardly ever get in any kind of trouble off of the ice, and they put out a good product year after year. The Pens seem to try and stray away from controversy, despite Matt Cooke's on the ice antics, and their fans like it that way. But now the Pens have made an acquisition that gives their clean image a little blemish, the acquisition of Harry Zolneirczyk.

The Pens acquired Zolneircyk from the Anaheim Duck, sending minor-league defenseman Alex Grant in exchange. Zolnierczyk, 5-foot-11, spent a majority of the ’12-13 season in the AHL with Adirondack and Norfolk, scoring 11 goals and 19 points. Zolneircyk is a scrappy grinder, who most likely will end up in Wilkes/Barre, but could compete for a fourth line spot with the big boy club.

Zolneirczyk, who is famous in the minds of Pens' fans for getting his ass-whooped by Joe Vitale, could be a cheaper alternative to Tanner Glass, who the Pens should and probably will buyout. The problem is, Zolneirczyk comes with some really concerning character issues.

That was topped by Tyler Kennedy, who opened up a big can of whoop-ass on Harry Z, finishing him off with a "Rock bottom".

 In 2008, Harry Z, pled guilty to " video voyeurism" which is the production and distribution of child pornography. Now look, the girl who was involved wasn't a small child or anything, she was damn near 18 years old. However, Zolnericyk still video taped an underage girl having sex with his friend and teammate and uploaded on the internet for sale.

That's sick.

I'm all for second chances, considering that I have been given a second chance by a lot of people. I understand that people make mistakes, especially when we're young, but this is really disturbing. I have a really hard time forgiving someone who does something involving sex crimes with minors. That's a hard pill to swallow for me, even if it did happen over five years ago.

It's not like Harry Z is a model-citizen when he's actually playing hockey either. Zolneirczyk is known to stir it up on the ice as a grinder/pest, and was even suspended this past season for a brutal and illegal hit delivered to Mike Lundin of the Ottawa Senators. (Read about that at SB.Nation

This is starting to sound familiar for long-time Pens' fans, or at least is should. If you can remember the days of Billy Tibbetts that is. Tibbetts was also a career fourth liner that played for the Penguins with a shaky past. Tibbetts was accused of and charged with one count of statutory rape when he was 17. On top of that, Tibbetts shot someone in the face with a BB gun just 16 months after his rape conviction.

Mario Lemieux, who was still the owner of the team in 2001 when Tibbetts was on the team even applauded Tibbetts;"I think that's a great story. That kid faced so much adversity, did his time, came back after 31/2 years. To find himself in the NHL is a great accomplishment."- Lemieux. Growing up with Lemieux as my personal hero, it hurt me to have to read him actually saying that about Tibbetts. Especially considering that Tibbetts didn't work out at all, and was actually arrested again in 2007. Perhaps the only humor that Tibbetts' stint with the Penguins provided was the urban legend of him throwing a cheeseburger at, who else but Mario Lemieux on the team bus. Perfect ending.

So why take a chance on Harry Z, who is going to be a fill-in fourth liner at best? There are a ton of these gritty grinders out there that don't have the whole sex-crime past that Harry Z brings to the table. So I just don't see the need to go get a guy, who's not really a rare commodity by any stretch, that has the baggage that Harry Z has.

I am also very disappointed in Pens fans and especially the media for their lack of criticism of this acquisition. Look, it's hard for me to criticize Mario Lemieux and the Pens sometimes, but this transaction deserves it.

I also see a lot of "Pens only" fans in Pittsburgh that criticize the Steelers for their players having so many character issues. I even saw a Peguins blogger call the Steelers, the Pittsburgh criminals. Ok, well with Harry Z on the Penguins roster that's kind of hypocritical now if you ask me. Harry Z brings a bad taste to this organization that is otherwise a model-franchise.

No Harry Z!

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