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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Penguins This and That by @ChicksDigHockey

It's been three days since we had a Penguins game. Three days off is a long time for a hockey team dealing with injuries and illness. Three days is a nice amount of time to integrate a new winger into your system. Three days without hockey has given me time to get caught up on my reading. Here are some thoughts I've had as a result:

- I was excited for the David Perron signing.  His goal on Saturday from a sweet Crosby pass brought me pure joy. (It was about the only joyful thing about that game). Much has been written since it was announced he would be a Penguin but one of my favorite pieces came from Brian Metzer for TimesOnline.

He revealed that among the reasons Perron is grateful to be a Penguin is for the chance to follow in the footsteps of his childhood idol,  Alexei Kovalev. “I just like, obviously, the skill level he had,” Perron said when asked why he liked Kovalev’s game. “The hands, different style than most players have in the league. Growing up I just tried to do whatever he was doing and his moves, and I got a little bit better that way.”  

When asked about being a right-handed shooter capable of playing either wing, he replied, “I guess that’s the Kovalev in me a little bit,” Perron said of spending more time on the left side over his career. “I always liked to see him play there, and I guess when I went to junior they asked me what position I was and I said left wing without even thinking. I didn’t even know if I would play well there or not. I played there and it went good, and over the last few years I’ve played probably equally right side, left side, so whichever coach decides to put me is fine with me.”

I liken Perron to a show horse who’s been neglected for a few years. With a little care and grooming, he just might win best of show….or at least best of trade. 

Kovalev’s years were prolific in Pittsburgh, let’s hope for the same from Perron.

- Is there a happy medium for Steve Downie....A place that exists between scoring goals and sitting in the penalty box? (I'm asking for a friend)

- Dear NHL, make me care about the All-Star Game. I love the skills competitions. I’m such geek for the the skating and shot competitions but really have little interest in the actual game. 

I read an interesting column from The Hockey Writers' Andrew Bensch who suggested going the way of MLB and making the game count toward home ice advantage for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Injury concerns aside, wouldn’t you be more invested if the game mattered? The NHL has made an effort to make the game more interesting with the addition of the fantasy draft but the game itself leaves much to be desired….like defense.

Superstars play meaningful hockey against each other in the Olympics, why not in the ASG? If the outcome meant home ice advantage in the cup for the Western conference might the players be more likely to open the throttle on a break-away?  Wouldn’t it be awesome to see what the best Power Play possible could do against a serious PK? 

The antics are fun but how about a real game among All-Stars that has something at stake?

- People who yell during the national anthem at CEC are rude. The anthem of the United States is a battle song. It is meant to unify the crowd as their team prepares to do battle.

It is not meant to be a moment for the biggest A-hole in the crowd to yell “Ovi sucks” or whatever self-serving juvenile phrase fits during the time it takes us all to breathe.

When there is a Canadian team in town and "O Canada" is sung, I don't recall anyone taking that opportunity to act out. As a matter of fact, other than emphasizing 'True North' I don't recall Canadians being anything but reverent during the singing of either anthem.

“…gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” Victory over your enemy! It signifies that after engaging in battle, you knew that your side was victorious because your flag, not that of the opponent, was waving over the battlefield. It is meant to inspire the masses, not to give platform to jerks.

It isn’t un-American to yell, you have the freedom to be ignorant in this country. It is disrespectful to those who fought to give you that freedom. It’s classless desecration of the anthem to claim the lyrics for your own.

- Haven’t the AHL guys who have been called up due to injury or mumps been so impressive?  It happened so often last month that the Penguins should develop a “Beam me up, Mario” way of transporting them between Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh. In December, when Taylor Chorney and Derrick Pouliot were called up, they had just finished playing in WBS. A car picked them up around 11 O’Clock and they rolled into Pittsburgh around 3am. 

What did Pouliot do? He scored…..first NHL goal on his first shot in his first NHL game. 

Jayson Megna has struggled a bit but Bryan Rust has seen time on the top line with Crosby while Bobby Farnham has endeared himself to Pens fans for the mayhem he brings to the ice. These guys have been a big part of the reason the team has been able to remain afloat during all the injuries. 

There is much to be said for organizational depth.

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