Around the Metro 1/22/15 - 1/29/15 by @kjcmalakai - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Around the Metro 1/22/15 - 1/29/15 by @kjcmalakai

The farce that was the All-Star Game has come and gone, much like the hope that was the Penguins' season (#HotTake).  What started out so promisingly with what looked like an unstoppable power play and reservations at the top of the Metro has eroded into an injury plagued, mumps infested, 17-12 mockery of its former self.  There is a lot of hockey left to play, and a lot of time to get things right, but right now the Penguins are trending in the wrong direction.  Yes they are a still in second place in the Metro, and yes, this may (definitely) be an overreaction, but at 3-4-3 in their last ten games, what has started as a slump has devolved into what appears to be a legitimate problem.

Metro Games to Watch This Week
Thursday, January 29 - Montreal Canadiens @ New York Rangers
Friday, January 30 - Pittsburgh Penguins @ New Jersey Devils
Saturday, January 31 - New York Islanders @ Detroit Red Wings
Sunday, February 1 - Nashville Predators @ Pittsburgh Penguins
Monday, February 2 - Florida Panthers @ New York Rangers
Tuesday, February 3 - Los Angeles Kings @ Washington Capitals
Wednesday, January 28 - Boston Bruins @ New York Rangers

Current Patrick Metro Division Standings

New York Islanders
Last Week: 1-0-0
Upcoming Games:
     Thursday, January 29 vs. Boston Bruins
     Saturday, January 31 @ Detroit Red Wings
     Tuesday, February 3 vs. Florida Panthers
     Monday, January 26 - Kyle Okposo placed on IR, upper body injury
     Tuesday, January 27 - Eric Boulton placed on IR, lower body injury
     Kyle Okposo - Upper body
     Eric Boulton - Lower body

Since the All-Star Game was last week, there were fewer games played, but the Islanders had the marquis matchup of the week against the Rangers and they did not disappoint in beating the blue shirts by a count of 4-1.  All is not sunshine and roses for the leaders of the Metro as they lost Kyle Okposo, their second leading scorer, for 2 months with an upper body injury.  This is the first real point of adversity for the Isles who have gone through this season pretty much unscathed by injury.

Last Week:  1-1-0
Upcoming Games:
     Friday, January 30 @ New Jersey Devils
     Sunday, February 1 vs. Nashville Predators
     Wednesday, February 4 @ Edmonton Oilers
     Thursday, January 22 - Derrick Pouliot sent down to AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Thursday, January 22 - Andrew Ebbett sent down to AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Thursday, January 22 - Scott Harrington sent down to AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Monday, January 26 - Bryan Rust called up from AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Monday, January 26 - Scott Wilson called up from AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Monday, January 26 - Scott Harrington called up from AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Monday, January 26 - Andrew Ebbett called up from AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Tuesday, January 27 - Bryan Rust sent down to AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Tuesday, January 27 - Scott Wilson sent down to AHL Wilkes Barre/Scranton
     Wednesday, January 28 - Marcel Goc traded to the St. Louis Blues for Maxim Lapierre
     Evgeni Malkin - Lower body

Take a look back at the past few of these articles I've posted and look at the transactions and injuries lists for the Penguins and that will give you an idea of what is going on with this team.  It's been a revolving door of players up and down from the AHL to fill in gaps for the myriad of injuries that keep piling up like snow in Massachusetts.  Everyone keeps saying to wait until the Penguins get healthy, but with the luck that they've had this season, is it ever going to happen?  Winnable games against the Devils and Oilers *should* help to settle things down - unless the Pens lose them and look bad in doing so.

Last Week:  1-1-0
Upcoming Games:
     Saturday, January 31 @ Montreal Canadiens
     Sunday, February 1 vs. St. Louis Blues
     Tuesday, February 3 vs. Los Angeles Kings
     Tuesday, January 27 - Cameron Schilling called up from AHL Hershey
Injuries:  None

The Capitals had a 4 game losing streak in which they had given up at least 4 goals while scoring at the most 3... until Pittsburgh came to town and promptly shut out the Penguins 4-0.  I guess the Penguins are the Metro slump busters right now.  The Caps, along with the Isles, Rangers, and Pens are going to fight to the end of the season and it will be fun to watch.

Last Week:  0-1-0
Upcoming Games:
     Thursday, January 29 vs. Montreal Canadiens
     Saturday, January 31 vs. Carolina Hurricanes
     Monday, February 2 vs. Florida Panthers
     Wednesday, February 4 vs. Boston Bruins
Transactions:  None
     Mats Zuccarello - Illness

If only the Rangers could beat the Islanders.  What the Rangers do have going for them is that they have given up the third fewest goals in the NHL to this point in the season,  Of the last 5 Stanley Cup Champions, no team has finished lower than 5th in goals allowed on the season.  This bodes well for the Rangers and is scaring the hell out of the Western Conference.

Last Week:  1-0-0
Upcoming Games:
     Thursday, January 29 vs. Winnipeg Jets
     Saturday, January 31 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
     Monday, January 26 - Ryan White called up from AHL Lehigh Valley
     Tuesday, January 27 - Zac Rinaldo suspended for 8 games for being a d-bag
     Tuesday, January 27 - Petr Straka called up from AHL Lehigh Valley
     Wednesday, January 28 - Rob Zepp sent down to AHL Lehigh Valley
     Michael Raffl - Illness

The Islanders were trying to take the spot of team I dislike the most in the Metro, and then Zac Rinaldo targeted Kris Letang and proceeded to brag about it.  The NHL suspended Rinaldo for 8 games, but in my opinion, dropped the puck by not making it at least 10 games based on Rinaldo's quote following the game in which the illegal hit occurred.  On the ice, the Flyers continue to play hard and won't tank the season despite the fact that the Flyers have little to no chance of making the playoffs.  Now that I said that, the Flyers are pretty much a mortal lock to make the postseason.

Last Week:  1-0-0
Upcoming Games:
     Thursday, January 29 @ Florida Panthers
     Saturday, January 31 @ Tampa Bay Lightning
     Tuesday, February 3 vs. Arizona Coyotes
     Thursday, January 22 - Josh Anderson sent down to AHL Springfield
     Monday, January 26 - Josh Anderson called up from AHL Springfield
     Monday, January 26 - Anton Forsberg called up from AHL Springfield
     Wednesday, January 28 - Jeremy Morin placed on IR, upper body injury
     Kevin Connauton - Illness
     Jeremy Morin - Upper Body
     Sergei Bobrovsky - Groin

Two big tests now await the Blue Jackets.  The first is playing without Sergei Bobrovsky for an extended period of time.  The second is keeping the attention of their fans now that the All Star Game has come and gone.  It appears that the first test will have a direct effect on the second and will make a bad season even worse after last years coming out party,  It's unfortunate because by all accounts Columbus did very well hosting the All Star Game.

Last Week:  1-0-0
Upcoming Games:
     Friday, January 30 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (woot)
     Saturday, January 31 vs, Florida Panthers
     Tuesday, February 3 vs. Ottawa Senators
     Tuesday, January 27 - Colin Greening, waived
     Tuesday, January 27 - Brad Mills, signed 1 year contract
     Wednesday, January 28 - Colin Greening sent to AHL Binghamton
     Wednesday, January 28 - Brad Mills sent to AHL Binghamton  
     Travis Zajac - Illness
     Bryce Salvador - Back

#JagrWatch and mumps.  At least it gives us something to talk about with this team.  I am still not sold on Jagr coming back to the Penguins.  Both the idea of it and that it will actually happen.  If it does, at least him having contracted the mumps will help him to fit right in with the rest of the Penguins.

Last Week:  1-0-0
Upcoming Games:
     Friday, January 30 vs. St. Louis Blues
     Saturday, January 31 @ New York Rangers
     Tuesday, February 3 @ Anaheim Ducks
     Tuesday, January 27 - Ryan Murphy - called up from AHL Charlotte
     Tuesday, January 27 - Radek Dvorak - retired
     Jiri Tlusty - undisclosed

The 'Canes are the hottest team in the Metro over the last 10 games - which coincidentally started about the same time that I referred to them as the Carolina McDavids.  It's making it harder for GM Ron Francis to make a decision about what to do at the deadline.  Do they sell?  How much?  Is this kind of success sustainable into next season?

Malakai's Musing for the Week

Am I the only one that doesn't understand the Marcel Goc for Maxim Lapierre trade?  Yes, Goc was mostly a non-factor during his brief stay in Pittsburgh.  You would be as well if you were stuck with Zach Sill and Craig Adams on the 4th line.  This wasn't a salary move and it doesn't clear roster or cap space for what everyone (besides me) thinks is the inevitable arrival of Jaromir Jagr.  I am not one to believe or create conspiracy theories, but given how little this trade makes sense I have to believe that maybe just maybe Goc got tired of being wasted on the 4th line with Sill and Adams and asked to be moved.  There is no evidence to support this, it's just that, if I were Goc, it would be something that I would ask for.  Since the Penguins insist on continually giving ice time to Adams and Sill, despite getting almost zero production from them, Goc finally lost it and said something to the effect of how he can't take playing with these guys anymore and he's got to get out of here.  Could you blame him if this was actually true?

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