Pittsburgh Penguins Gameday 15 – Winnipeg Jets

Pittsburgh Penguins (9-5-0) @ Winnipeg Jets (5-6-1)

ROOT, CBC, RDS, 7:00 pm/et

MTS Centre – Winnipeg, MB

After the last Pens/Jets game, it didn't seem right to bash the Winnipeg Jets in our next gameday. And this is despite the fact that bashing the Jets is one of our favorite things in the world. But since the Pens lost, the Jets won and their fans were loud, it didn't seem right. Then today arrived and all of those feelings have thankfully passed.

Maybe it had something to do with this article where a member of the Winnipeg media appears shocked that the Jets are really just the Atlanta Thrashers with louder fans and nicer jerseys:

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So how is it possible for players so well-compensated, living out their dreams of playing in the NHL, to be in “half-way”?

Because it’s the Atlanta Thrashers way. Always has been.

The losing culture was allowed to not only sprout, but thrive like a cancer within this organization for years, with no GM or head coach able to identify the source of it and cut it out.

This type of cancer attacks the heart. And the Jets have too many weak ones.

It's like the people of Winnipeg are just waking up after a night of partying and realizing that, in a drunken haze, they somehow starting supporting the Atlanta Thrashers.

Speaking of drinking analogies, Eric Tangradi says that playing the Pens right after being traded is like "kind of like seeing your ex-girlfriend at the bar the next night."

Which brings us to this post from Jets Nation: "Jets Acquire Eric Tangradi – Cheveldayoff Still Boring"

Tangradi has had what you might call an underwhelming career to date. Sure, he's got wayyyyyyy further as a Hockey player than I ever did, but with a whopping 5 points in 45 career NHL games it's safe to say the 24 year old, 6'4, 221lb Left Winger has yet to light the world on fire.

Which fits in with what Kevin Cheveldayoff has done this far. You see, I sat down to write today about how boring a GM Cheveldayoff is. I went to the Jets site to start compiling my case, and I saw the big news of the Tangradi trade. My heart skipped, then reverted back to normal, as I was re-assured my article idea still had merit, perhaps more so then before.

But through it all, as we sit here in February of 2013, Cheveldayoff has yet to make a Franchise-altering move. We have yet to see his stamp on things. And I'd like that to change. I appreciate that the Jets have some young talent, and part of his plan is to allow it to mature, but for the love of Teemu, could he just please make a big move. I know he's still got to sign Bogosian, Wheeler and Burmistrov and others, but if that's all he does, well color me bored.

Oh Eric Tangradi. Based on everything we know about hockey, you're going to score some big goal tonight. Then you're going to skate by the Pens' bench, flick off Dan Byslma and somehow concuss Sidney Crosby all while Jets fans go nuts in the crowd. Causing havoc near the bench after a goal for no apparent reason is pretty much your thing, right?

"Canada Hates You, Eric Tangradi."

Shut up Pierre McGuire.

Get ready for the first NHL game ever where Eric Tangradi matters.

Season Series: 0-1-0

Last meeting that counted: January 25, 2013. Jets won 4-2.

What we said in our recap:

Things started out so well for the Pens. Crosby scored the first two goals of the game. Ondrej Pavelec was still in net. It looked liked an easy W.

Only problem was the Penguins couldn't do anything for the next 40+ minutes after Crosby's second goal. Winnipeg adjusted to the Pens' style and got them rattled. They waited for the Pens to make some mistakes, and they capitalized. Evander Kane played like a final boss on a Sega Genesis game for most of the night.

Know Your Enemy: Jets Nation

What they're saying:

WHO IS ERIC TANGRADI?

Well, before you answer 'the guy who couldn't score with Malkin and Neal as linemates!'… well, that's a fair point. But there is a more interesting case to consider. In fact, he's a puzzler.

Tangradi was a late bloomer, as many big-bodied skill fowards are. His first year in major junior was his draft year, and he scored just 20 points in a full 65 games. He came alive in the playoffs (sample size alert) with 17 points in 15 games. Hockey's Future had him rated as a 7C – that is, a likely 4th line forward with 2nd line forward potential. Which one he turns into is still a bit of a mystery these six years later!

The point is, it's possible the Jets actually snuck a player out of Pittsburgh who has had bad luck in his half a season of NHL experience, and who has made considerable improvements to his game since turning pro. His points per game in the AHL have improved alongside his relative corsi in limited windows in the NHL. Call me crazy, but I think we might have a real player here. And at the very least, we have a better solution than Peluso for the fourth line.

Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:

Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis
Cooke – Malkin – Neal
Bennett – Sutter – Kennedy
Glass – Vitale – Adams

Orpik – Martin
Niskanen – Letang
Despres – Engelland

Vokoun

Winnipeg Jets Lines:

Ladd – Little – Wheeler
Kane – Burmistrov – Antropov
Tangradi – Jokinen – Wellwood
Wright – Slater – Thorburn

Enstrom – Byfuglien
Hainsey – Bogosian
Stuart – Redmond

Pavlec

How long with Tangradi be on the first line? EDIT: Apparently not long. Daily Faceoff has changed their lines now.

Pens lines via Dave Molinari.
Jets lines via Daily Faceoff.

Trying to make some joke about Eric Tangradi being E.T. and phoning home, but failing.

Do It.

Go Pens.

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