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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Winning With WInnik, Pens' PK and This & That by @ChicksDIgHockey

11:00:00 AM 1
(Post-Gazette)

~ * ~ Daniel Winnik has been a welcome surprise in a tough season. When the Pens aggressively pursued him, I admit I wasn’t sold. I didn’t really see what was so special about him. 

Allow me to wipe the egg off my face. I love him. 

He was an immediate upgrade on the PK. He’s a big body who is aggressive and talented at taking away chances, even in big ice situations like Sunday’s OT penalty kill.

He looked to be a solid 3rd or 4th line addition, but when injuries and illness rained down, Winnik got the chance to skate on the first line with Crosby. He did well!  He’s a puck-possession guy who can skate and his size seems to afford Sid the space to do his thing.

I’d be surprised if his time on the first line lasts but it shined a light on what Winnik brings. When Letang went out with a concussion, Winnik also made it known to coach Johnston that he had practiced as a defenseman in Toronto and would be willing to help if needed. 

He’s quite the smart acquisition. Winnik brings character and versatility. He’s a skilled defensive forward who is a top notch penalty killer. He brings a toughness and options at a time when the Penguins need both. 
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

#TBT Classic Mike Lange Calls by @kjcmalakai

3:30:00 PM 0

Last Tuesday night, legendary broadcaster Mike Lange was honored by the Penguins for his 40 years of calling Penguins games.  This is perfect timing, because this serves as a distraction from the recent spotty play of the Penguins. (Have yinz heard about the cap problems and not being able to dress a full team for tonight?)  Instead, I decided to go through YouTube and find some Mike Lange calls from classic Penguins games when the team was actually playing good hockey.

What are your favorite Mike Lange moments?  Here are some of mine.

1)  The Penguins win their first Stanley Cup against the Minnesota North Stars.


2)  The Penguins win their second Stanley Cup and go back to back against the Chicago Blackhawks.


3)  Mario Lemieux scores 5 goals against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Penguins' first playoff berth since Lemieux's arrival.


4)  Mario Lemieux scores 5 goals against the New York Rangers as the Penguins set an NHL record 16th straight win.


5)  Mario Lemieux returns from retirement against the Toronto Maple Leafs.


6)  The Penguins beat the Washington Crapitals in a 4 overtime game on a goal by Petr Nedved.


7)  Frank Pietrangelo makes "The Save" against the New Jersey Devils.


8)  Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Detroit Red Wings and the Penguins win their third Stanley Cup.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The NHL Isn't Fun by @Nick422

7:19:00 PM 1
It's another night of NHL action.  Fans are settling in to arenas, dropping hard coin to watch what's supposed to be a fun, exciting product.  Instead they're liable to be treated to another 1-0 snoozer.  This is bad.  This is pathetic.  This needs to change.


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Playoff Primer #1: The Differences Between the Regular Season & Playoff Hockey by @DXTraeger

2:37:00 PM 0
The Penguins WILL adapt their play-style....because it's the playoffs.
 **This is the first of three articles that will run between today and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15th.  The articles will hopefully familiarize Penguins fans with the nuances of post-season hockey and lead to better viewing/watching experiences as the team strives toward its fourth championship.**

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Morning Drive: Radio:PI 3/24/15

9:00:00 AM 1
Morning Drive brings you the latest episode of the Radio:PI Podcast Network for easy access.  This morning: Radio:PI



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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kris Letang: Perseverance in a Career Year by @ChicksDigHockey

11:00:00 AM 2



Kris Letang is the Penguins’ 2015 nominee for the Masterton award which recognizes sportsmanship, perseverance and dedication to hockey. He was nominated last season as well after missing a significant amount of time due to a stroke he suffered in January  2014. The work-up to discover the source of the stroke led to the discovery of a hole in the septum of Kris' heart. While the hole wasn’t large enough to necessitate closure, one could certainly understand if Letang never played another shift in the NHL or, at the very least, dialed down his level of compete.

Instead, he is having another season worthy of Norris trophy consideration.
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Tale of Two Penguins Teams by @pghgirl15222

11:01:00 AM 4


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” 

This perfectly describes the team that is the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sometimes when watching them they seem to be an un-stoppable force and other times they are the JV hockey team throwing around ill-fated passes and  a dump and chase that is more dump than chase. 

For fans this might be the most frustrating thing on the planet. It’s a team that sometimes looks destined to go deep into the playoffs and other times it’s a team that looks like they might not even show up for the playoffs. 

So which is it? What team is the Pittsburgh Penguins? The simple answer? Both. The more difficult answer? It depends. 

When they get behind in a game their frustrations become clear. Easily avoided penalties, terrible turn overs and barking at refs just to name a few. Even last night it was obvious that they were overthinking in the first. A turnover that should have never happened on a power play lead to a short-handed Coyotes goal. As a result? Three shots in the first period by the Penguins against a team that is more comparable to a high school team playing an NHL team. A perfect example of the self-destruction. 

Fast forward to the second period. 21 shots on goal, Penguins take the lead and never looked back. What changed in between? Their mentality. Yes, this is a team that they should beat but “team they should beat” strongly depends on which Penguins team is playing.

They are talented. They have no reason to struggle as much as they do sometimes. This is all true. Yet, we all have mental blocks when we get frustrated and apparently the Penguins consist of a team that becomes so blocked when losing that they can barely function. 

And don't misunderstand. Every team has some warts and rough edges but it’s about hiding them and smoothing the edges out. They will never be the perfection that some expect. They cannot go 82-0, win all scoring titles and win the Cup yearly. It also isn’t what they need to be. They just need to figure out how to stop falling apart every time they hit a bump in the road.

Typically Cup winning teams are not the flashiest but rather they are built to last. They are not pretty. They also do not shoot pucks at refs when their team is down. 

A lot has been said about what is going on with them. A lot of guesses and assumptions have been made from everyone including myself.  It would be interesting to see the team meet with the same sports psychologist that Fleury had dealt with. Could it help? Maybe. Would it hurt? Probably not.

If I had to guess I would say the issue is almost certainly mental. The players seem to get along and the relationship with Johnston does not appear to be strained. I just think that the Penguins have always had high expectations and when they do not meet those expectations it's all downhill.

Whatever it is they need to fix it now. A bad game would damn this team in the playoffs. They cannot handle it. 

I still remain optimistic about what they can be. They just need to figure out how to be the self-confident and energentic team that they used to be. And then? It can truly be the best of times again.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Penguins Will Win Again by @PennSt8Gal

2:00:00 PM 2

Will the Penguins ever win again?

Well, let me start off by answering this question. The simple answer is yes. The Penguins will win again.

How do I know? Well, the law of averages is on our side. This team doesn't experience losing streaks very often. In fact, since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, the Penguins have only faced a losing streak of four or more games six times. This averages out to a minimum four game slump only once a season.

They lost five games in a row during November 2009.  They have lost 4 games in a row on four different occasions since the Cup win. They achieved this once during the 2009-10 season and then again in February of 2011. Two of the four game losing streaks have occurred this season.

The longest losing stretch the Penguins have faced since 2009-10 was six games from 12/29/2011 to 1/11/2012. The Pens could’ve very easily used their annual excuse and blamed injuries during this time. Paul Martin and Richard Park returned to the lineup during game 3 of the streak. Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi were out for 4 and 5 games respectively. And if you recall, Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby were both sidelined at this time. The former due to concussion symptoms and the latter with newly discovered neck issues that had been misdiagnosed. Surprisingly enough, there was an upside to the six-game spell. When the Pens started winning again, they won eight contests in a row.

This season, the Pens lost four in a row from December 22nd through December 29th. They are currently at four losses stretching back to game 68 against Boston a week ago.

Now, a lot could be said of the first four-game slump in December. The Pens were decimated by injuries at the time. Beau Bennett was out with a knee injury. Adams had his Iron Man streak come to an end. Ehrhoff was out with a lower body injury. Martin had an undisclosed injury. Downie had the mumps, and Blake Comeau was sidelined with a broken wrist.

Though not as numerous as earlier in the season, I believe that injuries to Malkin and Hornqvist have played a significant role in the current losing streak. Malkin, who one could argue has been the Penguins MVP this season, has been out with a lower body injury since the second period of the Boston game last Saturday. He took an awkward hit to the hip/knee area on his first shift against the Bruins. This injury came a few short minutes after Sidney Crosby was scratched at the last second for what I can only assume was ‘tummy troubles’.

Patric Hornqvist was injured on Sunday in the game against Detroit. Late in the third period he was seen skating gingerly around the Detroit goal and holding his side. He played what was possibly his best game of the season on Sunday and all he had to show for it other than an assist on the only Penguins goal was the imprint of a hockey stick in his back and a non-contact injury. Thankfully his injury doesn't seem to be long term.

A significant difference between the first slump and our current one though is goal scoring. Over that four game losing streak in December, the Pens scored 7 goals to their opponents 14. As we are all well aware, this current slump has seen the Pens score only two goals over four games while their opponents have scored 11 goals.

So, what seems to be the issue?

Now, I like to think that I am a well-informed hockey fan. By general definition, I am. I know the basic rules, positions, and stat categories. What I do not get involved with though are defensive schemes, the special teams’ set-ups, or fancy stats of any kind.

I’m a die-hard casual fan. I watch every game from the comfort of my couch or the local bar with a big screen while wearing my Olli Maatta third jersey proudly. I yell at the television as if the players and coaches can hear any of what I’m screaming at them. I complain about the referees and the lack of calls in favor of my favorite team. I yell ‘SHOOOOOOOOOOT’ at least five times a period.

Does that make me qualified to criticize the team? Probably not, but what I lack in knowledge of the game I make up for in dedication. When they win, I am elated. When they lose a close game, I am devastated. I watch each and every game and experience the highs and lows with all of you. What really agitates me is that I know, and you know, that this team can be better. They can play better. They can score oodles of goals. They can keep their emotions in check, and they can play a defensive game. They can win a shootout.

I really do believe that to be a successful hockey team you have to not only play a complete game with minimal mistakes, but you also have to have a bit of momentum and luck. Well, maybe a lot of luck. The Penguins just haven’t had luck on their side recently. You can blame this player or that player. You can question the leadership of Crosby until you are blue in the face. You can blame the referees for not knowing their ass from a hole in the ground. No matter the excuse you come up with, it really could just be a string of bad luck.

I, for one, am not a ‘the sky is falling’ fan. I don’t start questioning everyone and everything when the team loses a few games. I sure as hell don’t think we should trade or fire everyone after every loss. Yes, I get frustrated, but that’s only because I know that this team can do better. They have lost some of their luster recently. They’ll get it back. I think this adversity is good for them. Play through it. Find a way to overcome it. If they do, it should be a very exciting post season. And yes, contrary to what some people out there want to believe, the Penguins will make the playoffs. It’s just up to them on how deep they go. And you better believe I will be on my couch wearing my jersey and yelling SHOOT until the final buzzer sounds.
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TRP: Officiating #FartNoise by @LCJS

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Can the Penguins Beat the (FREAKING) Trap? by @DXTraeger

12:11:00 PM 1
Admiral Ackbar Knew What Was Up 
The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the New Jersey Devils 2-0 on Tuesday night.

The fact that the Penguins got shutout, let alone lost to a team headed to an early spring tee-time, isn't of particulate note: the Pens always seem to lose in New Jersey, and Pittsburgh teams have always had fits beating the neutral zone trap that the Devils perfected way back in 1995.

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Complete @penguins 2015 Organizational Twitter List by @evil_shero

11:00:00 AM 0
This list was compiled by @evil_shero . If there are any mistakes or errors hit him up on twitter. (current as of 3/19/15)

NHL


Craig Adams
none

Beau Bennett
@beaubennett19

Blake Comeau
none

Ian Cole
@icole28 

Sidney Crosby
none

Steve Downie
@stevedownie23

Pascal Dupuis
@Duper009

Christian Ehrhoff
@therealhoff10

Marc-Andre Fleury
none

Thomas Greiss
none

Patric Hornqvist
none

Chris Kunitz
none

Maxime Lapierre
@max40lap

Kris Letang
@letang_58

Ben Lovejoy
@revlovejoy6

Olli Maatta
none

Evgeni Malkin
@malkin71_

David Perron
@DP_57

Derek Pouliot
@lordricky51

Paul Martin
none

Rob Scuderi
none

Nick Spaling
@spals88

Brandon Sutter
none

Daniel Winnik
@danwinnik34



AHL




Reid McNeill
none

Taylor Chorney
none

Scott Harrington
@S_Harrington06

Jean-Sebastian Dea
@jsdea10

Brian Dumoulin
@Du24theboyz

Nick Dranzenovic
@drazzy1010

Andrew Ebbett
@aebbett

Bryan Rust
none

Tom Kuhnhackl
@Tkuhn14

Josh Archibald
@JoshArchibald15

Matia Marcantuoni
@mm_91

Anton Zlobin
@zlobin_anton

Jayson Megna
@Jayson_Megna

Danny Syvret
@DannySyvret

Nick D'Agostino
@DAGwood6

Scott Wilson
@smiltztwo3

Bobby Farnham
@bobbyfarnham24

Dominik Uher
@Uhi92

Adam Payerl
@adampayerl

Tom Kostopoulis
none

Matt Murray
@mattmurray_30

Jeff Zatkoff
@jeffzatkoff

Barry Goers
@bghockey6

Connor Sheary
@csheary13

Pierre-Luc Letourneau LeBlond
@PLLeblond



ECHL




Mike Ratchuk
@rattlesnake44

Paul Cianfrini
none

Alex Boak
@bigbear589

Harrison Ruopp
@_ruoppster

Tanner Burton
@burts21

David Makowski
@david_makowski

Tyler Fernandez
@toadya10

Dave Gilbert
none

Patrick McGrath
@Grather17

Zack Torquato
@ztorq51

Derek Army
none

Shawn Skelly
@skels20

Carter Rowney
@carterrowney

Shane Bakker
@bakksey

Jared Burton
none

Clark Seymour
@seabiscuit4

Riley Brace
@rbrace25

Frankie Palazzese
@fpalazzese32

Chaz Johnson
@DKnight98

Eric Hartzell
@eric_hartzell


Prospects/System



Tristan Jarry
@tjarry35

Sean Maguire
@smag31

Alexander Pechurskiy
@pchur20

Kasperi Kapanen
@kasperikapanen

Jaden Lindo
@jlindo22

Teddy Blueger
@bluegs98

Oskar Sundqvist
@sundqvist32

Jake Guentzel
@jakenbake20

Blaine Byron
@blainebyron

Troy Josephs
@TJosephs16

Sam Lafferty
@samlafferty18

Anthony Angello
@anthony_angello

Ryan Segalla
@rsegalla

Dane Birks
@29Birks

Jeff Taylor
@jefftaylor94




























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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Three Problems Plaguing the Pittsburgh Penguins (and yes, the refs are one) by @DXTraeger

2:48:00 PM 0
The Great Train Wreck of 1856 OR the Penguins' Weekend?  Or both?  
The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't exactly have the best weekend.

They lost three consecutive games and were shutout twice, including a 2-0 loss at the hands of the punchless New Jersey Devils.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Penguins Lack Identity by @ChicksDigHockey

11:00:00 AM 4

"Cry 'Havoc!' said he who fought chaos with chaos...."   Shakespeare in Julius Caesar

Havoc, indeed! When things go bad for the Pens, they go ugly bad. You can have all the talent in the world but when a team collectively becomes consumed by emotion while the other team plays their game, the result is chaos.

 The Penguins were assessed 12 penalties including five 10 minute misconduct penalties in the fiasco of a game at CEC on Sunday. They are now far and away the most penalized team in the league. With less than a month left in the regular season, the Wings were more than happy to take advantage of the frustrated Pens' subsequent meltdown .

The Pens are now in a sprint to the finish.  While they have managed to hold on to third place in the Metro, without an identity, they will surely face a quick exit in the playoffs.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Game 69, a (U-G-L-Y the Pens Ain't Got No Alibi) recap of Penguins vs Red Wings by @DXTraeger

3:09:00 PM 2
Picard gave the Penguins' Sunday effort a double facepalm.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings met on Sunday afternoon for their season rubber match after Detroit won 4-3 back on October 23rd and Pittsburgh prevailed 4-1 on February 11th.

The two teams famously met in consecutive Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and 2009, with each squad taking home a championship.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Game 68, a (ISN'T ST. PATTY'S DAY SUPPOSED TO BE LUCKY?!) Recap of Penguins vs Bruins by @DXTraeger

3:36:00 PM 0
Note: image 1/10,000th of actual size
The Pittsburgh Penguins squared off against the Boston Bruins for the third time this season on Saturday.  The afternoon tilt was the latest installment in what's become a yearly St. Patrick's Day tradition for the Penguins and the Steel City.

(Note: in Pittsburgh, St. Patty's Day celebrations do not fall on the actual St. Patty's Day)

The two teams had previously split identical 3-2 OT decisions, with the Pens emerging victorious back on November 24th, while the Bruins earned victory on January 7th.

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TRP: This week in #FartNoise by @LCJS

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Game 67, a (sarcastic) recap of the Penguins vs Oilers by @DXTraeger

9:33:00 PM 0
Ah, the 1980's: when goals were scored and mullets flowed like sweet, sweet wine
The Pittsburgh Penguins faced off against the Edmonton Oilers for the second and final time this season on Thursday night.

The Pens had defeated the Oilers 2-0 back on February 4th, with Marc-Andre Fleury notching the shutout and Evgeni Malkin and Oiler-defector David Perron scoring Pittsburgh's two goals.

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I Hate the Shootout by @kjcmalakai

3:02:00 PM 1
On Monday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins tried valiantly to exorcise some demons against the San Jose Sharks.  It has been since October 22, 1997 that the Penguins have bested the Sharks at what has come to be known as the Shark Tank in San Jose  To put that into perspective...


Elton John's remake of his 1973 classic "Candle in the Wind" to commemorate the passing of Princess Diana in August of 1997 was #1 on the Billboard charts.


"The Devil's Advocate" was #1 at the box office, which for the career of Keanu Reeves was after the Bill and Ted movies and "Speed" but before Hollywood realized that he is just a dreadful actor...


The television show "ER", which anchored NBC's Must See TV Thursday night lineup and launched the career of George Clooney (as well as put the death nail in John Stamos'), was #1 on televison.

The only thing better than @evil_shero and I being college Freshman roommates in 1997, was that the NHL did not have the skills competition shootout to decide which team won a game.  Hyperbole aside, the shootout was not introduced until 2005-2006 after the lockout canceled season of 2004-2005.  The shootout was implemented for a myriad of reasons; the most agreed upon being that it eliminates the "kissing your sister" tie and it is exciting for the casual fan.

If you don't get this reference then you need to reexamine what you have been  doing with your life
"I LOVE SHOOTOUTS says a casual hockey fan"
So what does the shootout have to do with 1997 and the San Jose Sharks?  The Penguins' losing streak to the Sharks in San Jose now continues because... the Penguins lost to the Sharks in a shootout.  In a game in which it was widely recognized that the Penguins outplayed the Sharks, it came down to a breakaway contest that the Penguins ultimately lost in the 8th round.  Who knows if the Penguins would have won a game with a longer overtime period, like the playoffs. Even in the old points system, the Penguins would have tied the Sharks, earned the same point, and still not have beaten them.  I just hate the fact that a game gets decided by not playing hockey.  

The Penguins have had 9 games go to a shootout this season and they have a record of 3-6 in those games.  That's not good for a team with the offensive fire power and skill set that the Penguins possess.  It also leaves a lot of extra standings points on the ice.  I guess we can forgive MAF for this shootout goal, though.

The Penguins aren't the only Metro team to struggle in the shootout.  The Rangers are 3-5 and the C(r)apitals are 3-4 in the skills competition  The Islanders however are 7-3 in the shootout, partially contributing to their standings' success this season- especially in a currently crowded Metro division.

The Islanders and their shootout record
International hockey has at least figured out that rewarding a team that wins the shootout with the same number of points that a team earns for a regulation win is like winning a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice award.  Sure it's an award, but is it worth as much as an Oscar, Emmy, or Grammy?

Kanye West interrupts this post to say what he thinks about the points earned for a shootout
International hockey awards 3 points to a regulation game winner, 2 points to an overtime or shootout win, 1 point to an overtime or shootout loss, and 0 points for a regulation loss.  This system (rightfully) awards an extra point for winning a game in regulation.  This system, however, will never get implemented in the NHL because it will bury the bad teams in the standings even faster thus decreasing their financial bottom line.  The longer a team appears to be relevant, the longer fans will pay attention before tuning over to another entertainment product.

For the record... changing the points system to the international system doesn't change the current standings at the top of the Metro.  In the international system the standings* would look like:

Rangers = 125 points
Islanders = 120 points
Penguins = 115 points
Capitals = 111 points

What do yinz think of the shootout and is there a better alternative than a shootout to break ties if you think that a game should not end in a tie?

*It is not entirely fair, however, to just convert the current standings using the international system because the games were not played with an additional point being in play for a regulation win.  It is impossible to determine how teams would have played out the third period with an additional point available.




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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Which Defenseman is the Odd Man Out for the Playoffs? by @DXTraeger

4:28:00 PM 1
Mark Messier at the NYSE Imitating Ray Shero at the Deadline by Buying & Selling Shares of Mark Messier-Brand Ego
Before we launch into the debate of which Penguin defenseman rides the pine for the post-season, a "How We Got Here" summary is important to understand the background and gravity of the situation facing both Mike Johnston and Jim Rutherford.

The legacy of the Ray Shero era as General Manager of Pittsburgh Penguins is best summarized via the following two bullet points:

  • -Shero wheeled-and-dealed like a stockbroker at the NHL trade deadline
  • -Shero coveted and hoarded puck-moving defensemen


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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Love'n Lovejoy, Fleury, Hornqvist and This and That by @ChicksDigHockey

11:00:00 AM 2

~In February of 2013, the Pens sent Ben Lovejoy to Anaheim for a 5th round pick in the 2014 draft….ouch. In 98 NHL games with the Penguins during parts of five seasons, he had four goals, 25 points and 63 penalty minutes along with a plus-20 rating. He also had two assists and four penalty minutes in nine career Stanley Cup Playoff games. He wasn’t much of a defenseman. Spent a lot of time in the press box.

GMJR’s explanation for acquiring Lovejoy this season was simply that he adds experience to the defense.
 
During his tenure with the Ducks, Lovejoy was paired with Cam Fowler and, as such, saw time against most of the best forwards in the league. Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau trusted Lovejoy when the game was on the line.

Many Pens fans couldn’t see the point in trading Despres for Benny but Lovejoy plays with a certain savvy to his game that he picked up during his time with Fowler . He learned to keep the crease clear, fronted players at the blue line and smartly applied physical pressure. He has become more fundamentally sound; he can skate, move the puck and join the play.
   
When interviewed after his return to Anaheim ice in a Penguin uniform, Lovejoy expressed satisfaction with how his first game went playing with Derrick Pouliot.
"The people in Pittsburgh knew my work ethic, my personality. They have watched the things I’ve done with the Ducks and appreciated them,” Lovejoy said. “I’m a completely different player than the last time I was a Penguin. The Penguins saw a need and felt my personality and my game and the fact I’d been there so long would be an easy fit to come back.”

 
It’s hard to explain but in his return to the Penguins, I’ve felt that Lovejoy, while only two years older,  has matured and skates with a purpose. He carries the puck with confidence and pairs well with Pouliot.

Duck’s GM Bob Murray described him as “a good soldier. ” 

For his part, Lovejoy is referring to his return as “Pittsburgh Penguins 2.0”. So far, I like Ben Lovejoy 2.0.
+            +            +            +            +            +            +            +            +            +            +            +

~When all is said and done, the playoffs will tell the story but Marc-Andre Fleury is playing outstanding hockey. From a statistical perspective, he’s never been this good in a regular season before.
He shutout the Stanley Cup defending Kings out both times he faced them this season. In Pittsburgh on October 30th, even though the Kings out-shot the Pens 36-23, he held the net for a 3-0 victory. Then, Saturday night, the Pens rode his back to a 1-0 OT win. Between the two games, the Kings took 71 shots and failed to score on Fleury.
Not only does he lead the NHL with most shutouts (9), he reached the 30-win mark for the sixth straight season, excluding the lockout shortened campaign. At the age of 30, he’s already accumulated 318 career wins, which puts him one shy of Miikka Kiprusoff and 25th place on the all-time list.
The team has stumbled at times but Fleury has kept them in the race. Monday night he made a spectacular glove save on Hertl in the second that kept the Pens in it all the way to a long shootout. It just wasn't meant to be. Niemi  was a beast.
They walked away with 5 out of 8 possible points on this west coast swing. No shame on Fleury. He's easily the team MVP, no question. He deserves to be in the Veinza talks even though Price will likely win.
 
 
~I’ve grown to love Patric Hornqvist. There just is no quit to his game. He is willing to go to the net and doesn’t back down. 7 goals in 7 games until Monday night.
 
He explained his game-winning shot against the Kings from the low slot, off a turnover forced by Paul Martin by saying, “The puck just came to me, I shot it as fast as I could and I’m glad to see it went in,” (with that ever-present mischievous smile).
 
 It was so much more than that. He worked to make that play happen after taking advantage of Toffoli's fumble, fell down and got back up to score his 22nd goal to win the game.

 

~ Did you know the Pens hadn't won a game in San Jose since 10/97? They really should share statistics like that during the game.

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