"Mad Monday" with @MadChad412 (Pens Suck When the Other Team Score first, Tanner Glass Most Improved Player on the Team, and More!) - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Monday, November 25, 2013

"Mad Monday" with @MadChad412 (Pens Suck When the Other Team Score first, Tanner Glass Most Improved Player on the Team, and More!)

Welcome to another edition of "Mad Monday".  Coming into today, the Pittsburgh Penguins are back in first place and went 3-1 since last Monday. Hard to be mad about anything involving your favorite team during a span like that, especially considering the teams that they played during that four-game stretch.

The loss in Saturday night's game to the Montreal Canadians was frustrating to say the least. The Pens failed to capitalize on two early power-plays and missed a ton of opportunities throughout the game. Turnovers continue to be the Pens' worst enemy as well.

Really weird thing happened during the game by the way, Sidney Crosby wasn't looking and when he went to jump the boards to get onto the bench he damn-near ended up in the Habs' bench. Backup goalie was bored and figured he would mess with Crosby by the way.

Since we're focusing on the bad, the Pens failed to score the first goal for the 11th time this season. In those 11 games, the Pens are just 3-8, and have only beaten one team that has a winning record (Tampa Bay) when falling behind first. Stats thanks to Brian Bylstone!

Loss at FLA 3-6 0-1-0
Win at TBL   5-4 1-1-0
Win vs VAN 4-3 2-1-0
Loss vs COL 0-1 2-2-1
Loss vs NYI 3-4 2-3-0
Loss at NYR 1-5 2-4-0
Loss at STL 1-2 2-5-0
Loss vs PHI 1-2 2-6-0
Win vs NSH 4-1 3-6-0
Loss at NJ 1-4 3-7-0
Loss at MTL 2-3 3-8-0

Obviously I'm mad about this. With the offensive talent that the Pens have, you'd think they would have enough firepower to come back against teams a little better than they have. The Pens turn into a completely different team when they don't score first, they get emotional and seem to press everything big time. Says something about the leadership and coaching in my opinion.

We saw this a lot last year and I think it's becoming a concerning trend.

In more bad news; the Pens have placed Beau Bennett on the IR. I think Bennett has a lot of potential and he just recently started getting playing-time in the top-six, but so far you have to say that his overall time up in Pittsburgh has been somewhat disappointing. I blame that on the coaching staff more than anything. Hoping that when Bennett comes back that we get to see him in the top-six again.

Bennett has a history of injuries going all of the way back to college. He seems to get moved off the puck very easily and has already missed 12 games this year, and Dan Bylsma seems to indicate that it will be close to another 10 games coming up. Yikes.

Bennett has 3 points on the season in 12 games. That includes one goal, which was scored just last week against the Washington Capitals. Bennett now has 4 career goals in 38 games, with 17 total points. Look, I think Bennett is good and I think when he's healthy he needs to be with either Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. That's the only way we're going to see him reach his full potential. I'm not sure that Bylsma likes that idea though and that's very unfortunate.

Speaking of being injured, the Pens have announced that Tanner Glass has an "Upper-Body Injury" after blocking multiples shots against the Canadians in Saturday night's loss. Glass showed everyone that he truly is one of the toughest guys on the team during the penalty-kill.

Glass is easily my pick for most improved player on the Pens from last year. He's scored a few goals, done well on the penalty-kill, and he's been the grittiest player on the team, leading all Pens' forwards in blocked shots and hits. He's actually second in the entire NHL in hits and is tied with the third most blocked shots among forwards in the entire NHL.

Glass isn't a prolific scorer and he never will be. However, when you're a forward and you earn $1.1 million per-year, you're going to be expected to score a goal every once in a while, and so far this year Glass has done that and more. Glass has also beaten some ass this year as well!

Where are the Malkin haters at? Sure, Malkin only has four goals on the season and only one goal in his last 16 games, but he's been damn good other than that. Understanding that expectations for Malkin is to score 35+ goals per-year, you have to understand that you can produce in other areas and Malkin is doing that.

Malkin has four-straight two-point games with at least one point in eight out of his last nine games. Malkin is currently tied for fourth in scoring in the NHL with 26 points in 24 games. Malkin is also tied with Joe Thorton for the league lead in assists, and on our Pens Initiative Podcast, I compared Malkin to a Russian Joe Thorton.

Malkin has his flaws, one of which is that he's not Sidney Crosby. He's also not scoring as many goals as we'd all like him to. It's still pretty early into the season and that can change fast. Other than that, there's still an argument for Malkin to be one of the three-four best forwards in all of hockey. Now that James Neal is back, I expect those two to put up some pretty good numbers going forward. Haters hate.

That concludes another "Mad Monday", see yinz next week.

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