This week we are going to skip the usual header and get right on into the thick of it.
This past week had SO MUCH good it was really hard to find the Clown moments and this week is already off to a terrific start. There was so much good that I have been forced to add the category of "Arch Duke" to the Crowns section.
We are now 1 week away from the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs and now that our Penguins have CLINCHED their spot, the focus now turns to securing home-ice for the first two games of the first series. But more on that next week - let's begin our coronations and finger pointing.
High King: Hail to the King! For the second week in a row, Phil Kessel sits on the thrown and has he ever proven why he deserves to be there. After turning on the jets last week, Phil showed no sign of letting off the gas. In what was basically a "must win" game against the New York Rangers, in classic hockey fashion the game came down to a shoot out. Who better to call on than the man named the NHL's 3rd star the week before. The result speaks for itself:
But was Kessel done? Not by a long shot. As if he had read my last article with him as the focus point, he notched the first two goals against the Nashville Predators. The first goal was classic skill:We Phil pretty happy right about now. pic.twitter.com/5Pcfjj0uKy— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 30, 2016
The second....just pure filth. That wrist is getting a work out and Pens' fans are VERY glad of it (OH STOP giggling!):
In the words of Geno, Phil..."stay hot".This guy is on 🔥. pic.twitter.com/W3qm98JoO5— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 1, 2016
Arch Duke: Save us Muzz, you're our only hope! And save he has. What can you say about Matt Murray that doesn't include the words "absolutely incredible" in the sentence? It's like trying to describe Julie Newmar and NOT using the word "statuesque" (mad props to you if you know the movie reference). It was a HUGE weekend for the rookie starting with getting a shootout win against the Sabres and this ABSOLUTE robbery of fellow rookie, Jack Eichel on a breakaway during the 3x3 overtime:
Murray would also get his very first NHL shut out later that weekend in a 5-0 win over the Islanders. He is proving himself a dependable back up and IS the future of the Penguins net-minders.Also, check out Matt Murray stopping this Jack Eichel breakaway late in OT. pic.twitter.com/N1qSm6Ambu— Hockey Primer (@HockeyPrimer) March 30, 2016
You never forget your first...NHL goal that is (seriously...STOP giggling). It makes it even sweeter when it comes short handed. Turnovers can kill....and Oskar "Swedish Sunshine" Sunqvist went for the jugular against the Islanders. He has been terrific when called upon and it is awesome to see him FINALLY get rewarded for all those miles he is putting in going back and forth on the PA Turnpike. Congrats Oskar! Take a look at this beaut and well deserved 1st NHL goal:
There's nothing like your first NHL goal. Congratulations @sundqvist32! Replay: https://t.co/SH2yGIpjUz pic.twitter.com/ZaxZw00TZM— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 2, 2016
Duke: Another milestone week for Capt. Sidney Crosby. Last week he played in his 700th NHL game. This week he tallied his 600th career point in assists. That is a BIG bushel of apples. Congrats to our Captain who keeps on showing why HE is the best in the NHL.
The Bozo: Dear Ian Cole, we at the Castle de 'Quin LOVE that you are playing physical. We also love that you seem to have put the first half of this season behind you. I cannot express enough how HAPPY you have made this Princess by not backing down from aggressors. HOWEVER, while you are great at big hits, a fighter you are not. Matt Martin threw you a beatin. Plain and simple. You couldn't just let it go? NO! He is TWICE your size in almost every way and what happened? You could have put yourself in the press box with the rest of the injured when WINS are needed. DUMB, Ian. This jingly hat belongs to you this week....wear it and remember to CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES WISELY!
The Simpleton: This is not a player but more of a sense of being. It is common knowledge that, for some reason, the Penguins have had a problem at the start of games. The slow starts have put them at a disadvantage more than once and THANKFULLY they have been able to dig themselves out of (most) of the holes. Then again, they wouldn't need to if they STARTED the game with the same level of intensity as they play with for the other 40 (or more) minutes of the game. "It's not how you start...it's how you finish"...blah blah blah. Get ahead and stay head, instead of get down by 2-3, get yelled at, come from behind and give us all a heart attack. It's okay once in a while, hey, its exciting to watch....but almost 2 hands full of times is ENOUGH! These slow starts can and WILL be detrimental in the upcoming playoffs.
We also have an honorable mention this week that is not Penguin related but is worth talking about. The so-called "Canadian Dream", Jonathan Toews, wanted to assert his dominance on the ice and decided to not back down in the Blackhawks/Bruins game. Okay, fine. But when it's against the Slovak Monster, Zdeno Chara, WALK AWAY, kid, walk away. OK yes, it was a cheap shot after the whistle and it would tick me off too. But Chara, we all know, is no ordinary player. He is 7'1 on skates. His hands PLUS the gloves are the size of your whole head. YOU ARE A BATH TOY TO HIM, TOEWS! You think you can beat him pound for pound in a fight.....keep on dreamin, Mr. Canadian. Take a look and you will see what I mean:
Toews and Chara go at it in the first period.— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 3, 2016
"Transcendental meditation time for Toews." https://t.co/1S6jPWQ4o1
That's all for this week. It's been super exciting and this week promises to be no different as the Pens are facing all road games. Look for Week 4 next Monday and after that, we tackle this a new way as I will break down the C&C's of an entire playoff series. Hope you enjoyed this weeks crop of Royals and Fools (including myself). Now...off with you and bring me my Royal Rally towel for playoffs!