November 2015 - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Dear @Ech28 and @BurkieNHL, This is Bullshit by @Nick422

3:28:00 PM 2
This is an open letter to Patrick Burke and Damian Echevarrieta, the President and Vice President of NHL Player Safety.  This is from the heart of, yes, a Penguins fan.  Above all this is from the heart of a hockey fan.  And this is calling bullshit on a one game suspension to Brandon Dubinsky.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Can You Blame Them? by @BrianK_PI

4:35:00 PM 0

Mathew Barnaby dropped a bombshell on the air when he reported that multiple sources had confirmed to him that Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby had a "big falling out" and that there was a huge rift between them. You're talking about the current face of the franchise in Sidney Crosby - long considered the best player in the NHL, team captain, Stanley Cup Champion, Hart and Art Ross trophies to his name - and THE face of the franchise in Mario Lemieux - he's done all those things Crosby has and then some, he's saved the team from leaving Pittsburgh on multiple occasions, and it's harder to be a bigger face of the franchise than as a iconic hall of fame player on the short list for greatest player who ever lived who now owns the team he dominated for on the ice. Naturally Lemieux has come out to refute the rumor, but whether true or not - can you blame them?

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Morning Drive: Radio:PI 11/24/15 with @ChrisWasselDFS

9:00:00 AM 0
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, November 24, 2015

Should You Trade Sidney Crosby? by @Nick422

3:24:00 PM 1
With his struggles worrying a fanbase, and the team's lack of interesting product on ice, it can lead one to wonder whether or not a shake up is needed.  If so, is that shake up traded the Captain and face of the NHL, Sidney Crosby?

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Former Penguin Trottier Writes Letter to Younger Self

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

No Defense for This Blue Line by @BrianK_PI

12:00:00 PM 0

The Pittsburgh Penguins currently find themselves 5th in the Eastern Conference with 22 points in 18 games, a 100 point pace that has them sitting as the first wild card due to the imbalanced nature of the conference. It's been an up and down season so far for the team, and that record belies some of the issues the team has seen on the ice. It would have been nearly impossible to imagine that the team could somehow find itself 27th in the league in scoring with 2.17 goals per game and entirely unthinkable that a power play featuring Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel could sit 27th in the league at 14.3%.

If Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Wild was any indication, it's only a matter of time before the power play corrects itself and gets back on track. Beau Bennett scored on a one time from the slot, and Evgeni Malkin's power play goal came after a number of shots and scoring chances. That power play is exactly the mindset the Pens need to have. The first unit registered 6 shot attempts in the 1:13 before the Malkin goal. They've got the shooters who can put the puck in the net and the passers who can find the right man off rebounds and broken down plays. The less the team passes up good scoring chances trying to get the puck to a better scoring chance, the better they'll be. The talent is there - the results should follow.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Crowd Noise and Consol

1:22:00 PM 0
"That place sounds like a library!" "You can hear a pin drop!" "Corporate Consol!" Log on Twitter for about fifteen minutes during a Penguins game and I guarantee you will see at least one variation of those words.

Penguins fans are often criticized for a lack of crowd noise at Consol Energy Center for home games. I'll admit, this criticism may be warranted. Quite often the building seems disinterested and disengaged from the play on the ice. Sure, we'd all love a ruckus crowd that's always screaming and waiting to explode. But unfortunately, that's just not the trademark of the Pittsburgh Penguins since moving to the Consol Energy Center. That is mostly due to the design differences of the two buildings. The Mellon Arena the hard dome shaped roof acted like a satellite dish utilizing the parabolic share to gather sound waves and direct them off the ceiling and back down. Not only that, but the cantilever based construction type allowed for a more intimate experience and for the fans to be "closer" to the action allowing a shorter distance for sound to travel. [For more information on how this works, check out Sports Science on ESPN] But that is a topic for another post on another day. The Penguins have become a family-based franchise. Everything the Penguins do is family oriented in some way. Sure, it limits the rowdiness inside the building, but thi$ i$ a $uperb bu$iness $trategy. Management isn't dumb, they know exactly what they are doing.

Despite the lack of crowd noise, I'm not sure it matters that much. Like I said, sure it'd be nice to have a boisterous crowd but at the end of the day the crowd isn't going to win you a game. I can't criticize the "corporate" folks either. They paid for the tickets, they can do whatever they want. The fact is, Penguins gear and tickets are selling like hotcakes still. This team will spend right up to the salary cap and will continue to challenge. With or without crowd noise. Hockey isn't like football where you can draw opposing defenses offsides with crowd noise. The game itself doesn't allow for this type of "fan intervention." Because hockey is always in continuous motion, this does not allow for players to pause and think about the noise. In football, they pause after every play and have to listen to the snap count and watch for movement. Hockey, the most a boisterous crowd would influence could be that a player doesn't hear his goalkeeper telling him to either play it behind or up the wall. This is not to say that crowds can never influence hockey, just that it's importance is a bit overinflated. The lack of crowd noise has been an 'issue' for a while now. But has it? Over the last 5 years, the Penguins have amassed a record of 103-42-10. Not to shabby for a team that lacks the true home ice advantage. Conversely, the Winnipeg Jets widely considered to have some of the best and most active fans had a nearly identical home record as the Penguins. 

Does this mean that you aren't allowed to want the fans at Consol to be loud, obnoxious, and passionate? Absolutely not. I enjoy games where the fans are engaged as much as the next hockey fan. I'm just implying that it doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. Just remember. If you are at the games want the crowd to be loud, do something about it. [Whooo-ing doesn't count] You have the power. 

Follow me on Twitter: @SIra_92
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Monday, November 16, 2015

They've Built Dan Bylsma's Team by @BrianK_PI

12:00:00 PM 0

Hopefully when the dust has settled and the Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin era has ended with their inductions in the HHOF, Dan Bylsma's time behind the bench in Pittsburgh can be remembered less for the playoff meltdowns, less for the way the team seemed to tune him out at the end, and more for the time before the insanely high expectations when he took over during the middle of a disappointing season and reinvigorated a talented squad on their way to the franchise's third Stanley Cup Championship.

That time is not today; the wounds are still too fresh, the missed promise, potential, and chances still too real for a team whose window still hasn't yet completely come to a close. And it's still too difficult to forget that while Ray Shero and Bylsma's tenures in Pittsburgh will forever be linked at the hip, the two never seemed to fully be on the same page, most notably with the Jarome Iginla acquisition. Shero paid a price worthy of adding a key contributor, but Iginla's declining speed and the coaching staff's unwillingness to play him at his natural position left him out of place and incapable of living up to the trade.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ranking GMJR's trades by @BrianK_PI

2:00:00 PM 1
When the Pittsburgh Penguins decided in the spring of 2014 that they wanted to take the team in a different direction than the path they were on with Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma, they probably didn't realize how drastically different that would be in such a short time period. New GM Jim Rutherford and his army of minions quickly went about bringing in new players through a number of trades and free agent signings. Just a year and a half after the playoff collapse that cost Shero and Bylsma their jobs, players such as Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen, Eric Fehr, Patric Hornqvist, Phil Kessel, David Perron, Sergei Plotnikov, Daniel Sprong, Adam Clendening, Ian Cole, and Ben Lovejoy find themselves apart of the Penguins organization. This isn't to mention the number of players brought in last season that already are playing elsewhere.

Though much has changed, some things continue to remain the same. The team remains a bit tilted on the ice in terms of depth, but now in favor of the forwards instead of the defensemen. Star wingers continue to take their turn playing with Crosby and Malkin, except now it's Kessel and Hornqvist instead of James Neal. And the nucleus of stars is as strong as ever. As with any GM, there are going to be hits and there are going to be misses. Jim Rutherford has been busy, and that is reflected in the rankings of his 9 trades Pittsburgh Penguins GM below:

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Are Yinz Not Entertained By @WillHirschNHL

6:20:00 PM 0
Marc Andre Fleury (Via Pinterest) 
Yesterday I was scanning through my twitter machine, which, if you follow me or know me, I do quite a lot. I noticed that the most recent NHL hot take is that there isn't enough scoring and that the game has become, "boring."

Anyone who knows true championship caliber teams knows they don't win 5-4 games. They are the teams that can win a hard fought 2-1 game.

Sure, scoring five goals a game is entertaining but is it worth it if you are losing?

The Penguins recently went on a six game winning streak much in part to their stellar defensive play and the fact that Marc-Andre Fleury was playing out of his mind.

The Pens finished the month of October with a 1.82 goals against average. That was tied for first in the NHL with the New York Rangers. It was also the third best goals against average in a single month in franchise history.

Before the debacle in Calgary a few nights ago, the Pens had a 1.50 GAA on the road. The best mark in the NHL.

Their 94% penalty kill rate in that same span also ranks first. Johnny Gaudreau's power play goal on Saturday night was the first goal given up on the penalty kill by the Penguins in 21 opportunities.

Since October 13th, the Pens have posted a 9-2 record and the 1.82 GAA in that span ranks third best in the NHL.

Ever since Pittsburgh started playing well defensively and Fleury got hot, they have been winning. In the grand scheme of things, that's all that matters. Winning a low scoring game beats losing a high scoring game any day, at least in my mind. It should to you too.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Roadtrip Refresher by @BrianK_PI

4:45:00 PM 0

The Penguins return home to Consol Energy Center tomorrow night to face the Montreal Canadiens after a 4 game road trip that saw them go 3-1-0 and, more importantly, saw them make important strides in areas such as possession (52.9 CF% over the road trip) and on the power play (4/12 - 33.3%). Though Saturday's game against the Calgary Flames snapped a 6 game winning streak, the Pens will try to keep the momentum going with a November schedule that sees them play 6 of the next 7 and 7 of 9 overall in Pittsburgh before starting another West Coast swing to kick off December.

The Western Conference road trips can make it more challenging to keep up with the team and see all the games, especially considering that tomorrow night's game will be the first starting before 9 PM EST in nearly two weeks. After the break we'll take a look back at what happened, some of the big story lines, and what to expect as the team transitions back to the home stand.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

The @Penguins Top 5 Prospects by @_MAF29

4:58:00 PM 0

This post is from our friend Cassy. You can follow her on twitter @_MAF29 and she is a writer for Pens Report while we enable her hockey addiction here as well.

Top 5 Performing Prospects, by Cassandra Anders 

The Penguins aren’t exactly known for having a strong prospect pool, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely void of talent. Here I will list the top 5 prospects in the organization in a sort of “Power Rankings” style. NHLers such as Daniel Sprong, Sergei Plotnikov, Brian Dumoulin (et cetera) will be excluded.

1. Matt Murray – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

This really shouldn’t come to the surprise of anyone. Murray has not only played to his potential expectations, but some may say he has exceeded them. Through 8 starts, Murray is 7-1-0-0. He carries an impressive 1.75 goals against average (3rd in the AHL) and a save percentage of .946   (2nd in the AHL). Both of these statistics are downright ridiculous, and it goes to show how incredible the goaltending is in the Pittsburgh organization (another man will be proving that later on). Murray’s 7 wins are also tied for 1st in the AHL with Peter Budaj of the Ontario Reign, and is tied for 6th in shutouts with a plethora of goaltenders, with 1. Murray continues to reign supreme in the AHL, and is undoubtedly making himself worthy of being the goalie of Pittsburgh’s future.

2. Dominik Simon – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

Simon has been nothing but pleasant surprises for Pittsburgh brass and more immediately the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Not only is this the 21 year-old’s first season in the AHL, but it’s also his first season playing pro hockey in North America, meaning new rink sizes and different play styles. Considering this, his start to the season is just great. In ten games played, primarily on the right wing of Carter Rowney and Tom Kuhnhackl, Simon has 5 goals and 5 assists, 2 of them being primary assists. Simon is tied for the scoring lead on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and is also tied with Nick Ritchie for fourth in the AHL in rookie scoring. The Czech forward is truly an impressive player, and could potentially be another steal of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bravo, Rutherford.

3. Scott Wilson – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

Wilson would likely be first if not for the fact that Simon is doing so well considering it’s his rookie year in both the AHL and pro North American hockey. Similar to Simon, Wilson is currently tied for the WBS Penguins scoring lead with 10 points, however he has only played 9 games. He leads the club with 6 goals and also has 4 assists, 2 of the 4 being primary assists. While he may not have the highest ceiling of the Pens’ prospect pool, Wilson is perhaps the most NHL-ready forward prospect of the group, and continues to show it. Wilson is usually on the top line with Kael Mouillierat and Conor Sheary.

4. Derrick Pouliot – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

Yes, something happened. No, it did not and will not affect how I view Pouliot. He is a 21 year old who had a drink. He’ll learn from it and move on. ANYHOW! This man continues to be an anchor for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, continually being on the top pairing with Steve Oleksy. Through 9 games, Derrick has 2 goals and 6 assists, 4 of them being primary. A defenseman averaging .89 points per game is pretty ridiculous, and it goes to show how offensively talented this young man is. Pouliot is tied for 6th among defensemen in point production, and averages around 23 minutes per game. While still working on his game in his own end, Pouliot continues to show potential to be that top four defenseman he knows he can be – and even better – a deadly powerplay anchor, Sergei Gonchar-esque.

5. Tristan Jarry – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

Another goaltender? Yep. Another goaltender. Even though he has only started twice, Jarry is doing very well in his rookie AHL season behind Matt Murray. Through those two starts, he has carried a goals against average of 2.00 and a save percentage of .938. For a goalie transitioning from the WHL to the AHL, this is rather impressive. He only adds to the ridiculous goalie depth that the Pittsburgh Penguins have.

Honorable Mentions: Jake Guentzel, Oskar Sundqvist, Tom Kuhnhackl 


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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Pittsburgh Parties Hard in Edmonton With 2-1 Win By @WillHirschNHL

12:00:00 AM 0
Here we see a wild and wonderful Phil Kessel 
On the same day that Pensinitiative booked the king of partying hard, Andrew W.K., the Penguins went into Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and came away partying hard.

November 6th, 2015 will live in infamy. Mostly because THE Andrew W.K. is going to grace Penguins nation with his partying hard wisdom on the Pensinitiative airwaves on November 18th, 2015.

Tonight's 2-1 win was nice too.

Quite frankly, goaltender Jeff Zatkoff still had lactic acid buildup in his legs from the 53 shots (50 saves) he faced on October 29th against the Buffalo Sabres. Either way he added another 27 saves tonight subbing in for Marc-Andre Fleury.

In front of him he had defenseman Brian Dumoulin who has now gone 12 straight games with a plus/minus of even or positive.

Remember when experts thought the Penguins would win high scoring games? That's cute.

Tonight marked the Penguins' 12th game of the season in which they have been involved in a game where they have given up less than four goals. The only game in which they have done so was a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on October 22nd.

Collecting tonights goals were Daniel Sprong (2) and Phil Kessel (5). Patric Hornqvist even had a goal taken away in the first period because of a successful Todd McLellan coaches challenge on an offside no goal ruling.

Pittsburgh improves to 9-5 on the season and is 9-2 in the last 11 games. They also improve to 8-0-2 versus the Oilers in the last 10 contests and are 4-0-2 in the last six games at Rexall place.

Since they own the Oilers in and outside of Edmonton, Penguins fans can safely have a reason to party hard tonight.

Party hard, but party responsibly.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fun with Math: Sidney Crosby Edition by @BrianK_PI

5:00:00 PM 0

One of the biggest story lines in the early going has been the slump that Sidney Crosby has found himself in to start the season. Through the first 12 games of the year, Crosby has 2 goals and 4 assists for a total of just 6 points, numbers that if extrapolated over the course of a full season would easily be career worst marks for him (14 goals, 27 assists, 41 points). He didn't record a point until the 6th game of the year and has only registered on the scoresheet in 3 games so far. Something must be seriously wrong, right? In addition to the points, he's posting the lowest number of shots on goal of his career so far this year with 33 through 12 games (2.75 SOG/gm), a number a good bit lower than the (at the time) career low he posted last season of 237 shots in 77 games (3.08 SOG/gm). Clearly significant, right?

Well, not really. For a player that's played 639 games in what's been a slam dunk, unanimous first ballot Hall of Fame career, it's more than a bit unwise to freak out over the latest 12 games of that sample. Especially since this is a player that has led the league in points per game each of the past FIVE seasons. That's right, the last season Sidney Crosby didn't lead the NHL in points per game was 2009-10 when he finished fourth in the league. These first 12 games have also seen him shuffle linemates and have to adapt to a blueline that, for the first time in years, isn't filled with competent puck movers who are more than capable of quickly getting the puck out of the zone and up the ice in transition. But to take a closer look at how small a sample this really is, let's put things in perspective a bit:
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The Sidney Crosby Debate by @pghgirl15222

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Flower's Greatest Save by @BrianK_PI

11:45:00 AM 0

To say the 2012 playoff meltdown against the Philadelphia Flyers was the low point of Marc-Andre Fleury's career is cliche, but a dollar for every time it's been mentioned would have covered the contract that many viewed to be cumbersome and an albatross on a team many favored to win the Stanley Cup. To make matters worse, the shaky play continued the following postseason against the New York Islanders before Tomas Vokoun came in to steady the sinking ship. His teammates, to their credit, said all the right things to the media, lightening the load of the blame heaped on his shoulders, calling out the team's play as a whole. However, surely they had to privately, individually, harbor feelings that their goaltender had let them down.

But a funny thing happened along the way while fans planned Fleury's exit from Pittsburgh. The 2014 playoffs kicked off, and Marc-Andre Fleury didn't implode as in postseasons past, but rather provided solid play as the team eventually squandered a 3-1 lead against the Rangers. Instead of being sent packing, he saw his contract extended, and he responded with easily his most consistent and arguably the best season of his career. Fleury was clearly responding to finally having a true goalie coach at the NHL level, and Mike Bales was capable of taking the raw athleticism that few can match between the pipes and considerably improved the technical aspects of his play. A quick five games ended the Penguins' Stanley Cup hopes in 2015, but unlike in years past, it was the skaters who couldn't live up to their goaltender as Fleury was more than capable of stealing the series for Pittsburgh while receiving little help from the offense.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Crosby Texts Farnham, Pens PK and This & That by @ChicksDigHockey

11:45:00 AM 0

* Former Penguin Bobby Farnham is now a Devil, playing under former WBS Pens coach John Hynes. Right winger Farnham said he received “around 100” congratulatory texts and phone calls after he scored his first NHL goal and also got his first NHL assist in Saturday's game. Farnham, who was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh over a week ago, said he received texts from some of his former Penguins' teammates, including Pascal Dupuis and Sidney Crosby. Penguins assistant GM and former Devil Bill Guerin also called to congratulate him.

 It was good to see Farnham get recognized for something other than his fists. He plays with passion and pride. We wish him the best.

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