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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Biggest Pens Villain - Scuderi Bracket Opening Round

The Scuderi Bracket

Rob Scuderi - Bye

Rob Scuderi earned the nickname "The Piece" for his work during the Penguins' 2009 Stanley Cup championship, and after seeing him sign with LA for 4 years Pens fans were initially optimistic when he returned on a 4 year, $13.5 million contract. However, opinions would quickly change, and the deal would prove to be the worst mistake of Ray Shero's tenure and arguably the one that led most to his firing. Scuderi was awful in Pittsburgh, and his contract was an albatross that weighed on the team until Jim Rutherford was able to trade him to Chicago in December. Surprisingly enough, what was once viewed as an unmovable contract was traded again to the Kings before the deadline. Either way, the best thing about Scuderi's second tenure in Pittsburgh was his leaving the team.

Henrik Lundqvist vs Paul Steigerwald

Henrik Lundqvist is one of the best goalies in the league, but he's also a huge primadonna. He's been known to give Oscar-caliber performances trying to buy calls, and he's shown a temper when things don't go his way. He managed to outdo even himself though last week against the Pens. After being taken out by teammate Ryan McDonagh and mistakenly believing it to be a Pittsburgh player who did it, Lundqvist turned around and shoved his net off its moorings on the next Penguin rush. Needless to say, it was a new low for a player that already had been labelled a pouting baby before.

Paul Steigerwald has been doing the play-by-play broadcasting for the Root Sports TV broadcasts since taking over for Mike Lange in the 2006-07 season. While the shock of getting rid of Mike Lange has passed, the desire for Pens fans to bring Lange back to the TV booth hasn't. Steigerwald lacks objectivity in his broadcasts and borderline roots for the Penguins during the game, and many Pens fans prefer to mute the TV broadcast and listen to Lange on the radio instead of follow along with Steigerwald.

Jeremy Roenick vs Brad Marchand

In a vote to find the most hated member of NBC's broadcasts, it'd be a crowded field, but Jeremy Roenick would certainly have his place in the field. Loud, opinionated, and every bit the jackass he plays on TV, Roenick has shown no love lost for the Penguins over the years, basically calling the entire franchise and fanbase a bunch of whiners. Patrick Roy famously said that he couldn't hear Roenick's crap because he had his 2 Stanley Cup rings plugging his ears - if only it were that easy for Pens fans.

Brad Marchand is a pest of the highest order in the National Hockey League, and despite a career year this season with 34 goals already he's far more known for being obnoxious on the ice. He's also a dirty player, as his 5 suspensions totaling 15 games can attest to, but being a dirty player on a team like the Boston Bruins makes Marchand a very easy player to hate.

Derek Stepan vs David Perron

Derek Stepan is one of those players that always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and with the Rangers eliminating the Penguins in each of the last two postseasons that can be an annoying trait to go up against. Stepan had points in each elimination contest, and he's a big reason why the Rangers are such a pain to go up against.

Big things were expected from David Perron when the Pens traded for the winger from Edmonton, giving up a 1st round pick and Rob Klinkhammer. But after a fast start in Pittsburgh, Perron never delivered on the offensive promise that he was supposed to bring, posting just 16 goals and 22 assists in 86 games with Pittsburgh. He was traded to Anaheim this season for Carl Hagelin, and apparently being a Penguins was his kryptonite - Perron now has 8 goals and 11 assists in 23 games with his new team.

Ted Leonsis vs David Shaw

As the owner of the Washington Capitals, Ted Leonsis has always been outspoken. He has no problem sharing his opinion, especially through his Ted's Takes blog, and he hasn't made shy his hate for Pittsburgh and the Penguins. He's even gone as far as blocking ticket sales to anyone with a 412 to 724 area code. Needless to say, the lack of love is a 2 way street, and Penguins fans return the hatred with some of their own.

David Shaw earns his place on this list for his slash to the throat of Mario Lemieux during the 1988-89 season as a member of the New York Rangers. After Lemieux gave him a shove, Shaw retaliated with a two-handed slash that caught Lemieux up high, causing him to collapse to the ice for several minutes before being able to get up. It earned Shaw a 12 game suspension, which at the time was the 3rd longest in league history.

David Morehouse vs Max Pacioretty

When the Penguins blew a 3-1 series lead against the New York Rangers in the 2014 playoffs, the fans were upset, and they were calling for Dan Bylsma's job. David Morehouse used the situation as a means to forcibly takeover control of the franchise and convinced Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle to fire Shero and put him in charge. And no surprise, Morehouse has botched overseeing the hockey operations, putting a convoluted GM team in place and watching as his hand picked selection botched the coaching search. The only saving grace is that once the team is sold, Morehouse will be nowhere to be found.

Max Pacioretty isn't particularly known for being a dirty player, but it was a high hit on Kris Letang that started Letang's concussion problems. Letang was flying down the ice and Pacioretty came from the side, targeting Letang's head and sending him to the ice in a pool of blood. Letang suffered a broken nose on the play and actually returned to score the game winner, but he started suffering concussion symptoms after the game and missed nearly two months before returning to action. For his actions, Pacioretty was given only a 3 game suspension, which seemed light given the circumstances.

Zac Rinaldo vs Petr Svoboda

Being a Flyer always helps a player make this list, and being a Flyers goon really gives a player a leg up. Zac Rinaldo's lack of hockey skill is well known to the hockey world, but even more common knowledge is the dirty way he plays the game. Rinaldo was suspended for 8 games last year when he left his feet to board Kris Letang, and he's been suspended for a total of 19 games so far in his infamous career. The Flyers somehow got a 3rd round for him from the Bruins in the offseason, and he's Boston's problem now - Rinaldo is currently suspended at both the NHL and AHL level.

In the summer of 2011 with Jaromir Jagr preparing to return to the NHL, hopes were high in Pittsburgh that the former Penguins star would be returning to the team that drafted him. Petr Svoboda was vocal in regards to Jagr's love for the team, saying that his heart was in Pittsburgh. But despite his heart being in Pittsburgh, Jagr's professed desire to play for the league minimum for the Pens because Lemieux was his idol and mentor, Svoboda couldn't strike a deal with the Pens and Jagr signed with the Flyers.

Mike Johnston - Bye

Mike Johnston had a great start to his coaching career in Pittsburgh, but by the end of his first season he was struggling against the other bench bosses around the league. A simple system that was easy to gameplan against didn't help, nor did the injuries on the blueline at the end of the year. But when the team lost top defensemen through free agency, Johnston decided the best thing for his offensively minded team to do was to commit all their effort to their own zone. Naturally, it's not a winning formula, and Johnston was fired in December overseeing a team underachieving nearly across the board.

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