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Monday, March 31, 2014

How Brooks Orpik Got Mike Milbury's Panties in a Bunch by @ChicksDigHockey

10:21:00 PM 0



There are five things hockey fans need to know that some sports commentators haven't learned.

1.            Even clean hits can result in injury. All contact sports have rules predicated on safely making contact with the other player with the goal in mind of stopping them. We tend to fall into the trap of thinking bodychecking is as easy as pushing the B button. It's actually one of the toughest skills to master at the NHL level, and that's a major reason we see so many NHLers do it poorly and end up with Shanabans: Sometimes they don't think they're doing anything risky or wrong. I’m not naive enough to think that guys don’t intentionally hurt another player but I also know players are often as surprised as the crowd is outraged by the outcome of a hit. 

2.            The principles of science do apply to hockey. For example, an open ice hit, shoulder to shoulder by one player moving faster than the other player is going to cause the slower player to suffer more effects. NHL athletes are bigger and stronger than they were 20 yrs ago. That, combined with high skating velocities, makes the risks of sustaining an injury higher than before.


 The location of the hit matters. A hit delivered a fraction of an inch higher or lower matters when you’re talking rotational acceleration and linear acceleration. The hit may be by definition clean, but science might catch up to the victim. Who can watch hockey without being reminded of Newton’s Second law: F = ma. The vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration vector a of the object…..right?

3.            The referees will only see so much. Fans have a perfect view of all that goes on during the game thanks to multiple camera angles, slowing the speed of the play and even stopping the action. The on ice officials don’t have that benefit. Unless a goal is involved, they must base their call on what was visible to them.

4.            Even the greatest players have off nights. there are countless variables in one shift that can make an NHL player appear to be unable to do what he can do in better conditions. Body positioning, momentary fatigue from sprinting, pain, opponents' interference -- remember, they want to use all of their power to prevent the attempt, all play a role in not being 100%. Basically, of all the possible explanations, the least likely is that the player suddenly sucks, suddenly decided to tick you off, or suddenly decided that he no longer cares. 

5.            Hindsight is 20/20. Fans want to legislate punishment and guilt after the fact and based on emotion or the outcome of the hit. The incident that inspired this statement was the Brooks Orpik hit on Jonathan Toews Sunday night that put Mike Milbury’s panties in a bunch.  As Mark Lazerus wrote: 


“It wasn't even a dirty hit — the NHL won’t have a disciplinary hearing for Orpik. It was a dangerous hit, and a devastating hit, but it wasn't dirty. Orpik didn't leave his feet until after contact was made, and the principal point of contact was not Toews’ head.”


The hit was hard but had Toews been able to shake it off and skate away, the outrage over that very hit would have died with the end of the game.


Toews is a beloved player. When he couldn’t pick up his stick after the play, Milbury lit into Orpik. He characterized him as “a guy who operates on a predatory level”. He further ASS-ertained that Orpik should have fought when challenged because, “There's a history of what happens to Brooks Orpik when somebody challenges him, and that happened in Boston.”  That’s right, Milbury, anytime a defenseman lays a clean hit that unfortunately results in injury, he deserves to be concussed. (Let’s not forget: no penalty to Orpik, 15-game suspension for Shawn Thornton) 




If the NHL has defined what a clean hit is and someone levels one but a player gets hurt, it's still a clean hit. Emotion doesn't turn it into a bad hit.
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Marc-Andre Fleury: The Great Equalizer by @PandaPSU

8:30:00 AM 2
(Photo courtesy of TotalProSports.com)
Looking at this current Penguins team, two things are abundantly clear. In terms of depth, this team is maybe the weakest since 2006. The Penguins have been top heavy for a few years, but this year it is even more apparent. The other thing that is abundantly clear is that Marc-Andre Fleury is at the very top of his game. He has not looked this good since 2009, and as they always say, great goaltending cures many ill wills.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mike Milbury bashes Brooks Orpik for Hit on Toews

11:40:00 PM 18
It  is safe to say that Brooks Orpik's hit on Chicago Blackhawks' center, Jonathan Toews, will be talked about until your ears bleed for the next week or so. Of course, the NHL won't be able to celebrate anything positive, instead the NHL will have the likes of old-time hockey talking heads discussing whether or not Orpik's hit on Towes was illegal or not. Talking heads like Mike Milbury of NBC.
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Video: Brooks Orpik Destroys Jonathan Toews

9:18:00 PM 0




Devistating hit delivered by Brooks Orpik on Jonathan Toews. Towes has since left the game and of course, because of the injury, Chicago Blackhawks fans are no crying that the hit was dirty.


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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pens Will Have Fresh Players For The Playoffs by @LCJS

7:48:00 PM 0
This seems like so long ago.


With 8 games remaining in the regular season and the Penguins already having clinched a playoff berth, you would think there would be a little optimism surrounding the team.

You would be wrong.

It seems no matter where you look, there are reasons to doubt the Pens. You can look at their last 10 games and see a 4-5-1 record that doesn’t exactly exude confidence. You can read through the injury report, which is long enough to make the novel War and Peace look like a pamphlet. You can still remember last year’s playoff disaster.

And the one the year before that.

And the one the year before that.

And so on.

Back to 2009.


No, fans these days seem to be taking a cautious approach.  Maybe it's because we're expecting the team to always make the playoffs.

Perhaps it's because we also expect to be let down once they get in the playoffs.  Whatever the reason, I see more and more fans not getting their hopes up.

Smart move.

Currently, things are quite stale.

With the team playing like they are beaten up and worn out, an infusion of fresh, healthy bodies at this time of yeah could be the answer.  Just last night, Beau Bennett returned to the lineup for the first time since November and scored the game winning goal.  He looked every bit a player who was coming off a good, long rest.

Soon, players like Paul Martin will be back.  Malkin will also have had a nice rest before the post season.  Perhaps this infusion of freshness is just what the team needs as the grind of the regular season comes to a close

The huge lead the Pens had built in the division has dwindled some, but it's understandable with all of these injuries finally catching up with them.  Getting players back for the Cup run will help this team more than any move they could have made at the trade deadline.

If the Pens are going to make this post-season different than seasons past, it's going to have to come down to one word:

Freshness.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Lee can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LCJS  
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Former Penguin Approved for USHL Ownership by @ToonsBrian

7:45:00 PM 0
Former Pittsburgh Penguin forward Troy Loney's bid to join the ownership group of the Youngstown Phantoms was approved earlier today. Loney will join Phantoms Fireworks owner Bruce Zoldan as an owner of the United States Hockey League team and run the day to day hockey operations for the organization, according to Youngstown's The Vindicator.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Video: Marcel Goc Leaves the Game With A Scary Looking Ankle Injury

Question for the Penguins Heading Into the Playoffs by @griffTHW

4:00:00 PM 0

Without question, the Penguins find themselves mired in a funk.  Since the Olympic break, they've posted a rather pedestrian 6-6-2 record and, worse yet, the club has gone 2-4-1 in its past seven contests.  Thus, after cruising through the first three-quarters of the campaign, the Pens enter the stretch run submerged in a tailspin.
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Penguins Hang James Neal Out to Dry by @ChicksDigHockey

1:09:00 PM 6

From time to time NHL teams will loosen their belt and allow fans brief access to a player on social media. Yesterday, the Penguins featured such an event with #AskNeal People were invited to submit questions on Twitter for Neal to then answer during a predetermined period of time.


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Do the Penguins Rely on Crosby too Much? by @ExcitedBobErrey

9:30:00 AM 0


In a refreshing change from previous seasons, Sidney Crosby has been in the lineup for every Pens game  so far this year with just 10 games remaining in the regular season. What hasn't changed is his dominance on the scoresheet, as his 95 points in 72 games have him 16 ahead of Ryan Getzlaf for the NHL scoring lead, which almost assuredly will win him his 2nd Art Ross Trophy. Making this more impressive is that Crosby's 1.32 points per game is the 2nd lowest of his career, behind only the 1.26 points per game he tallied as an 18 year old rookie. Not many players can dominate a scoring race when having an off season (by his standards), but then again not many players are as offensively gifted as Sidney Crosby. Despite not producing at the level he's accustomed to, it's possible that Crosby hasn't ever been more important to the Pittsburgh Penguins.


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Morning Drive: 412 Sports Talk featuring @Suckmeter

8:00:00 AM 0
Last night on 412 Sports Talk hosts Mad Chad and Mike "Buzz Saw" Asti sucked.  At least according to special guest Suckmeter.  Give a listen!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Evgeni Malkin Injured: Out 2-3 Weeks

12:44:00 PM 0
                                       

Here is some not so good news for Pens' fans.. Pittsburgh Penguins' center Evgeni Malkin is injured and will be out of the lineup for at least the next 2-3 weeks with a foot-injury.
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Beau Bennett and The Neverending Wrist Injury by @ChicksDigHockey

10:22:00 AM 0



Beau Bennett was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft  and became the highest-drafted California born-and-trained player in NHL history. He is a product of the Gretzky era in California; when Yuppie parents started throwing their kids into roller hockey. When asked in an interview how he got started in hockey, Bennett offered, “My older brother started when he was 5, so I’d throw the skates on. Nothing too serious. But then after a few years, I fell in love with it. I didn’t switch over to ice until I was 15. …. my parents had a little Sport Court in the backyard, so that was kind of like my pond. I’d be out there every day before [and] after school. It’s funny — even this summer when I went home and lived with my parents, I’d be out there every day shooting around.”

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Morning Drive: Case and Point 3/24/14

8:00:00 AM 0
Last night on Case and Point, host Nick Case took a look at March Madness, Roddy's sadness, baseball's badness, and look ahead to the Sweet 16.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Penguins: Never Too Late for a Youth Movement by @PandaPSU

3:57:00 PM 0




It seems like just yesterday Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby were starting in the NHL. It is hard to believe that they are playing in their eighth and ninth seasons, respectively, this season. They are still in the prime of their careers, but they are not the kids they were once upon a time. Generally speaking, fans probably view the Penguins as a young team, but the numbers suggest otherwise.
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A look at the Polarizing Evgeni Malkin, Credits Sidney Crosby For Latest Surge by @MadChad412

8:15:00 AM 0


Polarizing: "To cause (people, opinions, etc.) to separate into opposing groups". When it comes to professional sports figures, it's really not hard to do to that, especially in Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby, Ben Roethlisberger, Terry Bradshaw, Jaromir Jagr, these guys and many more would certainly be associated with the word polarizing. Perhaps, Pittsburgh Penguins' center, Evgeni Malkin, is the most polarizing player on the current roster.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

The Hard Truth For Pens Fans: James Neal is a Dirty Playerby @MadChad412

4:36:00 PM 2



Hockey is a violent sport played at an extremely fast pace. Hitting and fighting are a part of the game welcomed by the fans and the players. But sometimes the players get carried away and go overboard. You can find numerous examples of this, from Matt Cooke and Shawn Thornton, to Chris Simon and Todd Bertuzzi. As a Pens' blogger and fan, I was getting tired of having to defend Cooke every single night. Especially when Cooke did something dirty. There was a period of time I wanted Cooke off of the team.  Eventually the Penguins' upper-management went to Cooke and told him to change his game or else. Since then Cooke has transformed into a decent, gritty, and skilled third-line player. 


With Matt Cooke being gone I thought that the Pens would at least be able to benefit from the bullseye that Cooke skated around wearing every night. Thus the expression "Two minutes for being Matt Cooke". Now we can basically use Neal for that expression instead of Cooke. 

It might be time for the Pens to have that same talk with winger James Neal. 

I am a huge fan of Neal, at least as far as his skill goes. Neal, who makes $5 million per-year, is one of the best scoring wingers in the NHL. He is currently sixth in points-per-game and has scored 83 goals in his last 163 games, which is impressive to say the least. Neal has developed great chemistry with line mate Evgeni Malkin. And he's an All-Star that would be a top-line player on any team in the NHL. That being said, Neal has some big-time issues. 

Neal, like Cooke, can't seem to help himself from doing stupid things on the ice. It's as if Neal's mind goes completely blank and he commits a stupid act on the ice that costs himself and his teammates. But maybe saying that Neal's mind going blank is giving him too much benefit of the doubt. After all, this is an on-going trend with him. 

 
In 2012, Neal was suspended for game four of the first round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers. The suspension came after he charged Flyer's forward Claude Giroux with an intent to injure. The suspension was justified.

Earlier this season, Neal was committed a really despicable act when he kneed a defenseless Brad Marchand in the head. Marchand was laying on ice and Neal, casually skated with his knee raised up and hit Marchand right in the head. Personally, I can't stand Marchand, and I think Marchand is a punk, but no player, let alone Neal, should be doing that kind of thing in a hockey game. It's just a cowardly act. There is truly no defending it unless you're going to go out of your way to be extremely biased towards Neal and/or the Pens.


Consider that Neal was also suspended back in 2009 for his hit on Columbus Blue Jackets' forward Derek Dorsett. Neal was suspended for two games, which was the first of three suspensions in his career. Shortly after, Neal fined $2,500, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for high-sticking Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.

Neal has now had two close calls this season since the Marchand incident. First, Neal has accrued three embellishment penalties, which normally results in a suspension. Neal was not suspended but it's safe to say that if he is he will be suspended again.


Then, Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings, Neal crosschecked forward Luke Glendening in the face. A very dangerous, violent, and completely unacceptable act by Neal. Same song different dance. Neal has been given a $5000 fine, the second fine of his career. In all honesty, Neal got off lightly once again

Again, Neal is a fantastic player, but his actions are that of a goon. At what point does Mario Lemieux and the rest of the Pens' upper-management step and and talk to Neal. Neal was able to avoid a fourth-career suspension by the NHL, but perhaps the Pens should punish Neal internally. 

All I know is, Pens fans should absolutely be disappointed by these consistently bush-league moves by Neal. He's a $5 million per-year player that is here to score goals, not act like a total ass clown. I know it sucks, but the hard truth is Neal is and has been a dirty player and he needs to change just as Cooke did.

If you are going to try and justify Neal's actions, take into consideration your feelings if and when a player of the opposing team does similar things against the Pens. Also, take into account the fact that Neal does not benefit the team whatsoever when he's suspended or in the penalty box.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

David Legwand Butt-Ends Evgeni Malkin In his Privates

The Fully Healthy Lineup by @ExcitedBobErrey

4:30:00 PM 0

The Penguins have been hit hard with the injury bug so far during the 2103-14 season, but with the regular season less than a month from being finished they received some good news on Monday. Kris Letang, Beau Bennett, Chris Kunitz, and James Neal were cleared for full practice, with both Kunitz and Neal playing in Tuesday's win over the Dallas Stars. While Kunitz and Neal only missed a couple games a piece with their injuries, Letang and Bennett have been out of the lineup much longer. While there's still more work to be done to get cleared for games, especially in Letang's case as he's recovering from a stroke, there's a very realistic chance that both could be back in time for the playoffs. Paul Martin has yet to be cleared for practice, but could return sometime during the first round. Even Tomas Vokoun could be an option for the playoff roster, as he has been practicing with the team and could get a conditioning assignment in Wilkes-Barre to try getting him up to game speed. With the absence of Pascal Dupuis, who was lost for the year with an ACL tear, Pittsburgh could be completely healthy for the playoffs and at full strength for basically the first time all season. A breakdown of how the lineup might look after the jump.

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Streaky Neal Primed to Break Out by @griffTHW

9:00:00 AM 0
After evolving into one of the league's premier sharpshooters upon his arrival in Pittsburgh, James Neal figured to compile a monster 2013-'14 season.  As the campaign commenced, though, things quickly derailed for Neal.  An injury sidelined the winger for all but a handful of shifts on opening night and subsequently kept him out of the lineup for the next 15 contests.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why not Jayson Megna over Taylor Pyatt by @MadChad412

3:41:00 PM 3

There is a paradox that most of us face in our lives and hockey is no different. You need experience to get the full-time job for your career but you have to get the job to have that experience. The Pittsburgh Penguins have shown this to be true at the NHL level as their head coach Dan Bylsma and the rest of the organization haven't been too kind to their young players that they're supposed to be trying to develop. There's been more than a few good reads on the downfall of Ray Shero when it comes to drafting and developing young forwards. The jury is still out on first-round pick Beau Bennett, who is expected to rejoin the lineup any day now. Another young forward, although not drafted by Shero, is Jayson Megna, who in my opinion has done enough to earn more playing time and a permanent role with the Pens.

Depth has been an issue all year. Search "Pens bottom-six" on Google and/or Twitter and you'll see enough charts and stats to make you cry if you're a Pens fan. The bottom-six has been brutal. Depth was an issue at forward for the Pens before the season even started. Then Pascal Dupuis got injured. Beau Bennett was supposed to step up and become a top-six winger this season so far he's missed 53 games and counting. Evgeni Malkin has missed 11 games and James Neal has missed more than 20. The Pens went out and acquired two veterans in Lee Stempniak and Marcel Goc, both of whom have and will continue to help bolster the depth at forward.

That being said.....There is still some moves that the Pens can make internally to improve their roster. Even with the news that Bennett will be back, and the return of Chris Kunitz and James Neal, the Pens should still have a spot for Megna. Megna has played 26 games for the Pens this season and has eight points and five goals. For the most part, Megna has been scratched in favor of Joe Vitale, Craig Adams, Deryk Engelland, and even Taylor Pyatt. Pyatt, for some reason is still on the team. On Wednesday, the Pens sent Megna back to the AHL. A puzzling move to me, considering that if they were trying to make room for Bennett's return, they could have put Pyatt on waivers.



I have no idea what the Pens like about Pyatt. Mind you, I have nothing personal against Pyatt. In fact, when they first claimed Pyatt off of waivers, I was actually intrigued by the move. Pyatt had once scored 23 goals in a season, makes less than $2 million, and was supposed to be able to add size and grit. Size alone, Pyatt has added nothing of value for the Pens. He's slow, doesn't use his size nearly enough, has just two points in 23 games, and is a -14.  The Pyatt experiment is a complete failure but the Penguins are acting way too stubborn to admit that.

For better perspective, here's where Pyatt and Megna both stack up in goals for relative to when the player is not on the ice.



Tuesday night, the Pens defeated the Dallas Stars 5-1 and it was the first night all four lines were rolling and contributing. Having Brandon Sutter and Marcel Goc as your third-and-fourth line centers will do that.  I do like Gibbons on the team, Gibbons has good possession numbers and his speed certainly allows him to play on almost any line. Gibbons has also shown value to the team by drawing a good number of penalties on a consistent basis.

As for Megna, despite having a small sample size, between his grit, speed, possession numbers, and his actual on-ice production, he has definitely shown enough to have a spot in the lineup every night. Yes he is young and inexperienced and he will make mistakes. But Hell, the Pens have had aging-less-skilled forwards making mistakes on the ice all year. Wouldn't you rather have a younger, faster, player with more upside making mistakes instead? The snubbing of Megna doesn't do Bylsma any favors when it comes to the narrative that he favors less-skilled veterans that have a good work ethic, ala Craig Adams. Or an even worse example, Taylor Pyatt.

Small sample size, but look at Megna versus the rest of the bottom-six forwards.



Megna has also shown a lot of versatility. He didn't look completely out of place playing with Evgeni Malkin earlier in the season and he has enough size and grit to play a grinder-type role on the bottom-six. Considering his skill-set and his journey into the NHL, Megna looks like a poor-man's version of Chris Kunitz in my opinion. And that is not an insult to Kunitz or Megna. The Pens need to utilize their speed, skill, and possession time on their bottom-two lines. That's how they won the cup in the past. Not by blocking tons of shots and hitting everything that moves. You can still have a gritty team with speed and skill, look at the 2008-2009 team.

Also, based on what has taken place this season, you have to imagine that there will be more injuries to come. Would you rather have Pyatt and/or Engelland playing forward if that happens or would you rather have a skilled Megna who can play on any line needed? The Pens had Pyatt on Malkin's line last week over Megna which is just an insult to everyone that is remotely involved with the Pens. What is that supposed to say to Megna or any other future forward of the Penguins? "Hey you can do well when given a chance but that still might not lead to promotion." At some point, the Pens need tom embrace their youth.

So the questions are raised... What does Megna have to do to earn a full-time spot in the Pens' lineup? What is the effectuation with the Pens and Pyatt? When will the Pens embrace youth and speed? Who knows, but one thing I do know is it's time to free Megna.
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Pens Initiative Mailbag by @griffTHW

1:26:00 PM 0
It's time for another edition of the Pens Initiative Mailbag, where we give readers a chance to ask whatever questions they may have regarding Penguins' hockey.  Have a question about the way the team is playing?  Moves they've made?  Future outlook?  Whatever it is, contact us at PImailbag@gmail.com and we'll get you an answer as soon as possible.

With that being said, let's jump into some questions:



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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another Dominant Night For Sidney Crosby, Your NHL MVP

10:21:00 PM 0
What a night by Sidney Crosby. After perhaps one of the worst weekends of his playing career, in which he was held without a point in a home-and-home with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Pens lost both games and Crosby had zero points a -3.

Crosby hasn't had three straight games without a point all year and that remains the same after the masterful performance that he put on at Consol Energy Center Tuesday night in a 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars. Crosby scored two goals, both of which were highlight-reel goals, and had a three-point night. Crosby was downright dominant.

For the season, Crosby is the first player to reach the 90-point plateau. Crosby leads the NHL in points (91) and assists (58). Think about this, Crosby has more goals than the next three leaders in assists have combined. Insane. At this point, with a 18-point lead, Crosby has a chance to score 40 goals with 100 points without any other NHL player even sniffing 100. Just unreal stuff from Crosby.

The Pens just can't win when Crosby isn't producing offense. That was proven when he went four-straight games without a point in last year's eastern conference finals. Crosby had zero points in four games against the Bruins and the Pens lost all four games. Nothing has changed since then. Crosby has gone 16 games this season without producing a point. The Pens are 2-14 in those games. Crosby has 27 games in which he had two-or-more points, in those games the Pens are 25-2. That's your MVP of not only the Penguins, but the National Hockey League.





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The NHL's Best: A Stat Story by @ToonsBrian

9:46:00 PM 2
    Admittedly, I'm not always a fan of stats. Primarily because people tend to lean too heavily on them when it comes to arguing who's better than who or who's worth what contract or who should be traded or any of a number of arguments, insane or legit.

    At the same time, I'm a number freak. I've always been keen on numbers and messing with mathematics at all levels, including statistics.

    I also love "best of" lists.

    Which is why, short and sweet, I compiled a list of stats (pretty much all of them) for all 848 skaters that have touched the ice at the NHL level this season. Honestly, it created the largest spreadsheet I've ever compiled, weighing in at merely 78,864 cells worth of stats and calculations that, as of 10:00 AM Sunday, March 16th were current.
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What's Up With Sidney Crosby? by @ChicksDigHockey

10:00:00 AM 3



And so it goes…..

The Flyers took back to back games from the Pens. It was an ugly thing to watch. There were disjointed line match-ups, major special teams failures and stupid penalties a plenty. No chemistry.

Hockey, more than any other sport is a fast paced, change on the fly team effort. However, chemistry between line mates and defensive pairings matters. In the fall, the dependable chemistry of Kunitz, Crosby and Dupuis was undeniable. Dupuis brought speed and relentless checking while Kunitz brought great hockey vision and a fierce net-front presence. Still, the star of that line was always Crosby. Kunitz suffered thru all the jokes during the Olympics about riding Sid’s coat-tails and being nothing without Crosby but is it possible Sid needs Kunitz, too?

What’s up with Crosby? 

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Morning Drive: Case and Point 3/17/14

8:00:00 AM 0
Last night Case and Point returned to the air to talk about the Stadium Series, dumb hockey twitter, and discuss the NCAA Tournament.

Want to join the Case and Point bracket challenge?  Click here, search for group number 148653, enter the password casepoint, and you're in!


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Monday, March 17, 2014

5 Reasons the Pittsburgh Penguins Will Win the Stanley Cup by @PandaPSU

9:00:00 AM 0
(Photo Courtesy of thestar.com)
After two crushing defeats to the Philadelphia Flyers in a home-and-home this past weekend, many Penguins fans were left wondering why. Many fans suggested this was the same old Marc-Andre Fleury we have seen the past few postseasons. Many fans also pointed to the lack of production from stars like Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. Yes, it was indeed a fanbase implosion at its finest. Well, cheer up Pens fans, I am here to explain 5 reasons why the Penguins will win the Stanley Cup. 
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kris Letang to Return to Practice...Hold your Horses! By @ChicksDigHockey

4:30:00 PM 2



Twitter is on fire! Kris Letang has been cleared to practice.


Just when we thought he may be out for the season, comes the news that Letang can practice. That statement doesn’t say anything about him being cleared to PLAY. 

Yes, there is a difference.

Practice is a controlled situation. In a game, he’s a target that can’t be protected. Letang has a very small hole in his heart. Because of the way that hole effects blood flow thru the heart, he is susceptible to forming blood clots. As small clots are circulated, they may become lodged in a small vessel acting like a cork therefore stopping flow beyond the blockage. When that happens, he could have a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or a CVA (Cerebral Vascular Accident). A TIA is almost certainly not fatal but there are times when a CVA can be. 

The purpose of ‘Blood Thinners’ (Anticoagulants) is to keep the blood from forming clots. As a consequence of doing their job with regards to the hole in Letang’s heart, the medicines also keep him from forming a necessary clot when he’s cut or badly bruised by a hit from a puck. They have to be out of his system Vokoun was cleared to practice a couple weeks back. He hasn't returned to the ice.

Let’s keep perspective, folks. Return to practice is a great step forward for Letang but don’t expect him to play any time soon.
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Super Duper Replacement by @ExcitedBobErrey

1:00:00 PM 0


Pascal Dupuis wasn't having the greatest season when tore his ACL against Ottawa in December.  After posting a career high in goals with 25 in the 2011-12 season then following that up with 20 goals in 48 games (a 34 goal pace over a full season), Dupuis only managed to score 7 goals in 39 games (a 15 goal pace over a full season).  After scoring 59 points and 38 points (65 point pace) those two seasons, he had 20 so far this year (42 point pace).  He had started this season off on fire, recording a point in 8 of his first 9 games, before going into a long slump he was starting to break out of at the time of the injury.  He had entered the Ottawa game on a 4 game point streak and with points in 6 of his previous 7 games, and when it looked like everything was starting to click his season ended.


Dupuis hadn't been producing at the same level has he did the previous two seasons, but it was easy to see the impact his injury had on his linemates.  In 39 games with Dupuis in the lineup, Sidney Crosby scored 20 goals (0.51 G/gm), 34 assists (0.87 A/gm), and 54 points (1.38 pts/gm).  In his next 23 games without Dupuis (through last week's SJ game) he managed 9 goals (0.39 G/gm), 20 assists (0.87 A/gm), and 29 points (1.26 pts/gm). Crosby went from 0.87 pts/gm 5 vs 5 with Dupuis in the lineup to 0.78 pts/gm 5 vs 5 without Dupuis, while his pts/gm on the powerplay stayed relatively constant (0.51 pts/gm vs 0.49 pts/gm). Kunitz experienced a similar decline in production over the same time periods, dropping in G/gm (0.51 vs 0.39), A/gm (0.49 vs 0.39) and pts/gm (1.00 vs 0.78).  His 5 on 5 pts/gm also fell from 0.62 to 0.52, though his power play pts/gm fell from 0.38 to 0.26 as well.

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Pens Initiative Twitter Headers by @ryannoble66

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Been looking to spice up the top of your Twitter page? So have I. Here are some Twitter headers. Feel free to use, share or even mock!









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5 Things That Could Derail a Penguins Playoff Run By @PolemicLicense

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5 Things That Could Derail a Penguins Playoff Run
By DXTraeger @PolemicLicense


Following last night’s 2-0 whitewashing of the reeling Washing Capitals, the Pittsburgh Penguins once again find themselves as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Are These the New Pens? by @Nick422

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Outshot, outchanced, but not outscored.  These have been the ways of the world for the Penguins for the majority of their last few bouts against opponents.  Are these the new Penguins?


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Pens Initiative Mailbag by @griffTHW

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Hello and welcome to the initial Pens Initiative Mailbag, where we'll give readers a chance to ask whatever questions they may have regarding Penguins' hockey.  Have a question about the way the team is playing?  Moves they've made?  Whatever it is, contact us at PImailbag@gmail.com and we'll get you an answer as soon as possible.

With that being said, let's jump into some questions:
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Matt Niskanen: How He Went From Being Traded by Everyone to Having a Career-Year by @madchad412

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Coming into the 2013-2014 NHL season, the Pittsburgh Penguins were once again set to be a favorite to compete for the Stanley Cup. In particular, defense was set to be a big-time strength for the Pens, led by Norris Trophy finalist Kris Letang, along with Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik. The Pens also signed veteran Robert Scuderi in free-agency, who was a huge part in the Pens winning the Stanley Cup in 2008-2009.
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Penguins/Flyers: A Rivalry for the Ages by @ChicksDigHockey

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There is an important event coming up. One that will define the 2014 Penguins in ways that few other things can in the regular season. I’m talking about the Pens’ upcoming Home and Home series with the Flyers. In a season that has resembled a thrill ride at an amusement park, those two games may very well tell you if the Pens have what it takes to go deep this postseason. The Penguins/Flyers relationship is contentious and their rivalry firmly cemented in NHL history.

NHL hockey returned to Philly after a 36 year absence in 1967, when the Flyers played their inaugural home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the new $12,000,000 Spectrum Arena. The Flyers won that contest 1-0 on a goal by Bill Sutherland. The Penguins would go on to suffer a 42 game winless streak at the Spectrum. From February 7, 1974 through February 2, 1989 the Penguins were 0–39–3 at the Spectrum. 

October 7, 2010 saw the Penguins open their new arena, The Consol Energy Center, against the Flyers.  Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves in his NHL debut to lead the Flyers to a 3-2 victory. The Flyers ruined the night for the packed house of 18,289 in the first regular-season game at the Pittsburgh Penguins' new $321 million state-of-the-art home.




The most fiery irritation in the cross state feud may have occurred  on July 1 2011. The Flyers signed Jaromir Jagr and once beloved third-line center Max Talbot in a move that would forever leave a bad taste in the mouths of the Penguin faithful.  The two teams have met 263 times, with Philadelphia leading the matchup 145–93-30.  They can’t seem to play a game that isn’t tension filled from the first puck drop to the final buzzer.


In the spring of 2012 these teams met in a playoff series that set all sorts of scoring and PIM records. Perhaps most memorably, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette melted down during a game between the two teams after Joe Vitale pasted Daniel Briere with a clean open-ice hit. Lavi was furious and jumped up on the divider between the two benches, yelling at Coach Bylsma and the Penguins in general. This prompted asst. coach Tony Granato to jump up on the opposite divider and return Lavi’s tirade. In the end, it cost Laviolette $10,000 (and Pens assistant head coach Tony Granato $2,500). Assistant coach (now head coach) Craig Berube, interviewed after the game, called Malkin and Crosby the dirtiest players on the team.


On February 21 of 2013, the Pens and Flyers met at the CEC in a bitter barn-burner that saw 11 goals, 18 penalties, three lead changes, two bears in the crowd taunting Ilya Bryzgalov, one fight, one actual hat trick and one of the Gordie Howe variety(from Wayne Simmonds). When the smoke cleared and the dust settled, the Flyers flew home with a 6 -5 victory. Laviolette credited his team's winning ways in the 'burgh to the savory barbequed ribs he would have delivered to their plane for the ride home - ribs he special orders from nearby DeeJay's in Weirton, WV. 

Laviolette, as the story goes, told reporters after his team's fifth-straight victory on Pittsburgh's home ice that DeeJay's ribs are the team's post-game meal-of-choice. According to CBSsports.com, Laviolette's went on to say, "Those ribs seem to be doing the trick. It went back to last year. Whenever the ribs are ordered, we win. I want to thank DeeJays." The owner of DeeJays put an end to the post-game rib ritual in April of last year. 
Actual DeeJay's Ribs

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