Game 48 Recap: A Simple Plan. Penguins win 2-0.

There is going to be a subset of people that are going to start accusing others of leaving the Penguins for dead back in late December.

No one left the Penguins for dead earlier this season.

They were dead.

But here we are at the all-star break, and the Penguins have crawled out of the shit tunnel they were in and have placed themselves into a realistic place to make the playoffs.

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Tons of credit to everyone but Jim Rutherford, really. Because he still sucks.

Mike Sullivan has waltzed into Pittsburgh and gotten Crosby and friends back on track.

We were listening to the Sullivan post-game presser until Tim Benz asked a question, but Sullivan credited Crosby for getting his game back. You’d be a giant spaz if you think Sullivan hasn’t had a lot to do with getting 87 back on track.

It’s hard to say if Sullivan did a great job unraveling the stupid plans Mike Johnston had, or if he just fixed everything by keeping the Penguins’ new plans simple.

Whatever that answer is, it doesn’t really matter. Winning games is all that matters. And Sullivan has the Penguins doing that.


Snore Fest 2016

Literally four things happened in this game:

1. Crosby scored:

2. Kessel scored:

3. The Devils hit the post once.

4. The Devils hit the post again.

That’s it. If you didn’t watch the game, that’s all that happened.  The Devils seem to have some random players assembled, and they just dick around the entire game. Not clue how they’ve won any games at all.


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– Matt Cullen seeing unlimited time. And you know what? He deserves every minute.

– It’s hard to remember one shift Kuhnhackl had. That’s not a job on him either way.

– Patric Hornqvist plays so fucking hard. Inspirational player in our opinion.

– Hagelin, man.


Sharts stats


The return of Shero

Ray Shero was back in CEC in this one. The Pens had a tribute for him, which was nice. Jim Rutherford probably had Nam-like flashbacks of the Staal trade. No word yet if Ron Burkle took time away from sniffing Puff Daddy’s sac and eating to see it.


Picture: Ron Burkle after eating two stacks of his own money.

Craig Adams retired

This game was so boring, Craig Adams retiring became a headline. Big goal in game 7 against the Caps.

Adams’ Hall of Fame ceremony has already been held:

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Thoughts: Game 47 – Slow Start Can’t Stop Malkin and the Penguins in 5-4 Win

Pens 5  Canucks 4 Record: 23-17-7, 53 pts Goals Malkin (21) (PP) from Letang Malkin (22) unassisted Malkin (23) from Kessel, Daley Rust (2) from Kuhnhackl Crosby (16) from Hagelin, Letang Penalties Dumoulin (tripping) – Bad (loses his balance and falls, which leads to him getting his stick into McCann’s skates and taking him down […]


Thoughts: Game 46 – Resilient Pens Show Up to Beat Flyers, 4-3

Pens 4  Flyers 3 Record: 22-17-7, 51 pts Goals Daley (4) (PP) from Maatta, Kunitz Crosby (15) from Kunitz, Hornqvist Kessel (13) (PP) from Crosby, Hornqvist Kessel (14) from Hagelin, Lovejoy Penalties Cole (interference) – Unnecessary (steps up and knocks over Gagner skating towards him despite Gagner not having the puck) Daley (hooking) – Bad […]


Game 46 Recap: Walks like a sellout, quacks like a sellout. Pens win.

Let’s take a live look at Vox Media’s own Turtle Hughes after the Penguins’ big win against his beloved Flyers: Huge kudos to Mike Sullivan, who did something his predecessor could not in beating the gaggle of douches in orange. Probably a signature win for Sullivan, and just at the right time.  


GAMEDAY 46: Leaderless Flyers are still a joke, their fans forever awful

Philadelphia Flyers (20-16-8) at Pittsburgh Penguins (21-17-7) 7:00 PM EST – ROOT Sports CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania They haven’t skated over someone’s face or impaled anyone with a stick, nor has a fan drunkenly punched a 10-year old kid yet, so overall it has been a pretty uneventful season to this point for the Philadelphia […]


Thoughts: Game 45 – Pens Start Strong but Can’t Finish in 5-2 Loss to Blues

Blues 5  Pens 2 Record: 21-17-7, 49 pts Goals Kunitz (8) from Letang, Crosby Malkin (20) from Hagelin, Letang Penalties Daley (holding) – Bad (starts to lose Tarasenko skating around him in the defensive zone and uses his free hand to hold back Tarasenko for a penalty) Kunitz (roughing) – Inconsequential (gets into a shoving […]

Game 45 Recap: Way she goes. Pens fall apart in third period, lose.

The Greatest Show On Ice, the St. Louis Blues, were simply too much for the Pens on the second night of back-to-back job. It didn’t help anyone in the Milky Way Galaxy that Jeff Zatkoff got the start, but what are you gonna do. That’s the way the team is constructed. It has nothing to do with being lucky or anything.

When you have bad players in important positions, like goalie and defense (looking at you Ben Lovejoy), chances are it will be revealed. We will say this is probably a 2-2 game with MAF in net, Hagelin scores some goal, and the Pens win.

But that’s the way things have been going this season.


The Penguins best move would be to make no move at all

Despite all their flaws, the Penguins sit one point out of the playoffs.

To recap how amazing that is, look at this:

To further that the Penguins chance of making the playoffs are hovering around 50%…

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Graph via the tried and true sportsclubstats.

So this all positions the Penguins for a pretty crazy finish to the 2015-2016 season. We’ve been saying this for awhile, but every game from here on out is huge.

The stats are pretty clear, they are going to have to finish at least five to six games over .500 in the next 38 games to give themselves at least a 50% chance of making the playoffs.

The product of no plan


Our stance on Jim Rutherford will never change. Based on what we know now he was a bad hire, by a lame duck ownership group. He has no plan. He never did. He’s winging it. If you don’t believe that, that’s on you. Every move he’s made is based on a win-now, answer for later platform.

He rightfully drafted Kasperi Kapanen in 2014. Then he traded him as part of the Phil Kessel trade. He traded a first round pick for the lifeless David Perron. At the 2015 draft he drafted Daniel Sprong, then the Penguins botched that.

Of the once good young defenseman core the Penguins were thought to have, they only now have Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta.

He’s the same GM that openly questioned his own Ben Lovejoy trade, and added a 4-million dollar career third line signed until 2019 for an expiring contract.


Please god stop him from making a trade

Good internet friend Ryan Wilson had a thought about the Penguins trading for Kevin Shattenkirk.

St. Louis isn’t going to want to take on any players who are due for huge massive raises otherwise they would just keep Shattenkirk. They will either want a proven NHL commodity with term at a reasonable rate or they will want an NHL ready prospect that is cost controlled.

Pittsburgh has one of each of those. Patric Hornqvist is the proven NHL commodity that is cost controlled and Derrick Pouliot is the NHL ready prospect. While those two players may somewhat fit what the Blues are looking for I do not believe that Pittsburgh’s pieces are strong enough to beat out other teams that will take a run at Shattenkirk.

Like Ryan says though, that package wouldn’t be good enough. Plus, in our view, Hornqvist is a guy the Penguins need.

But let us circle back to our main point. The Penguins, given where they are, should stand pat. See if you can make the playoffs with the current roster. It’s a toss up anyway, so why risk another short-sighted move?

We have a feeling that isn’t going to be the case for Stone Cold Jim Rutherford, and we’ve very afraid of what that means.




Thoughts: Game 44 – Pens Finally Get Results in 5-0 Win over Hurricanes

Pens 5  Hurricanes 0 Record: 21-16-7, 49 pts Goals Maatta (5) from Malkin, Kessel Sheary (2) from Porter, Cullen Crosby (13) (PP) from Kessel, Malkin Crosby (14) from Hornqvist, Lovejoy Daley (3) from Hornqvist Penalties Malkin (slashing) – Unnecessary (chases Skinner in the neutral zone and whacks him in the hip with his stick) Lovejoy […]


Thoughts: Game 43 – Pens Drop Another Point, Then Send Perron to Anaheim

Lightning 5  Pens 4 (OT) Record: 20-16-7, 47 pts Goals Letang (6) from Crosby, Hornqvist Hornqvist (10) (PP) from Malkin, Letang Daley (2) from Malkin, Kessel Kunitz (7) from Maatta, Hornqvist Penalties Rust (holding) – Overly aggressive (tries to get around Stamkos to get the puck off of him in the offensive zone, but uses […]

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Jim Rutherford continues to contradict himself, does anyone notice or care?

Dateline: December 15, 2015. This quote appeared in Friedman’s 30 thoughts: One defenceman we may not see in a Penguins uniform too quickly: Derrick Pouliot. “We’re going to be careful with him,” GM Jim Rutherford said last Saturday, “We were too quick to push him last year. It’s better to leave him in the minors, […]

The Jim Rutherford Panic trades begin: David Perron and Adam Clendening for Carl Hagelin

Mercifully the David Perron era in Pittsburgh is over.

After trading a first round pick to get Perron last year, Jim Rutherford has seen enough.

At around 3:00am Saturday morning Rutherford traded Perron and little used Adam Clendening for Carl Hagelin.

Here is Hagelin’s stats:

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You may remember Hagelin from his murdering of the 2015 Penguins season:

Reaction from others

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 22: Carl Hagelin #26 of the Anaheim Ducks returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time as a member of the opposing team against the New York Rangers on December 22, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 22: Carl Hagelin #26 of the Anaheim Ducks returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time as a member of the opposing team against the New York Rangers on December 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Seth from Empty Netters take:

This strikes us as an exchange of two underachieving top-nine wingers with a side of a borderline NHL defenseman thrown in.

A vital part of the Rangers’ postseason success in recent seasons, Hagelin never found his groove with the Ducks this season. In fairness to Hagelin, he wasn’t the only one to struggle in Anaheim. A lot of the Ducks’ top offensive players have struggled to produce. 

Hagelin did not exactly thrive in a top-six role to start the season and has been used in a more traditional third-line role in recent weeks. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told the Orange County Register:

“We tried him first line, second line at the beginning of the year. Realized this is what he is. He’s a solid third-line guy who’s going to get between 13 and 18 goals probably in a year and be responsible. And he’s a really good penalty killer.”


Mike Darnay, a new blogger at Pensburgh loved the deal beyond belief:

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Boudreau’s comments up top are pretty much all you need to know. Hagelin’s basically a third liner, and a good penalty killer. We do know he is fast, but so is your mom’s car. Doesn’t mean they can succeed in the top 6 of the NHL.  The Penguins needed another top six, but instead got another Nick Bonino.

Look just getting rid of David Perron is probably a win, but why in the living fuck would you trade an expiring contract for a guy who’s never scored more than 20 goals, and is signed through 2019 with a NTC?

Edit: Thanks to Rage in the comments for finding this:

In regards to his NTC, I give you CBA 11.8: 

“If the Player is Traded or claimed on Waivers prior to the no-Trade or no-move clause taking effect, the clause does not bind the acquiring Club. An acquiring Club may agree to continue to be bound by the no-Trade or no-move clause, which agreement shall be evidenced in writing to the Player, Central Registry and the NHLPA, in accordance with Exhibit 3 hereof.”

Overall, it’s good to see Perron go, but really not sure of the allure of a 4-million-dollar third line penalty killer.

Would have rather ridden out the Perron contract and then worked with that cap space in the offseason.

We’ve been alluding to Jim Rutherford making a panic trade, and this is probably the first of another one. The trade speaks to what the Jim Rutherford era is.

Aimless and random


Game 43 Recap: Same Old Song. Pens lose in OT.

So, that game was interesting. Mike Sullivan, to his credit, has undone the Mike Johnston 2-1 hockey and has opened up the 4-3, 5-4 hockey. Here’s the thing, though, the result is the same. A loss. The Penguins’ offensive talent will now keep them in games, but their defense is so horrid, it all offsets. There […]


Thoughts: Game 42 – Another Point Bites the Dust, Pens Lose 3-2 (OT)

Hurricanes 3  Pens 2 (OT) Record: 20-16-6, 46 pts Goals Letang (3) from Maatta, Crosby Kunitz (6) from Crosby, Hornqvist Penalties Daley (interference) – Bad (reaches out across Versteeg to stop him from getting to a rebound and takes Versteeg down away from the puck) Cole (slashing) – Stupid (slashes Hainsey as they skate behind […]

Game 42 Recap: Tropical Depression. Pens fall in OT.


This Game as a Gif

We’re in the middle of January now. From here to the trade deadline are the dog days of winter. We have no stats to back this up, but we feel this to be the most important stretch of any NHL season. It’s basically like saying a true judgment of character is what you do when no one’s watching. Carolina has a couple of games in hand, but they are no joke. Pens and Flyers play probably 10 times between now and mid-April. You can see the standings; what a logjam.

For the game itself, what else would you expect from a regular-season game in Carolina?

Although Carolina seems to have sucked forever now, they always give the Penguins a game.

Going into the game, there was a 100% chance that Eric Staal was gonna score, and he did. The Canes also got a goal off a horseshit deflection that snuck in OVERTOP of MAF. Kris Letang scored on the 2009 Caps Overtime Goal Play to make it 2-1. That all happened in the second period.

After Kevin Porter dumped the puck in for the 15th time, we decided to look up some great moments in Carolina history:

still hate lincoln




Then came the third period. The Pens tied it.

And then came the 3-on-3 OT, and this tweet sums up the buildup to the OT nicely:

Jordan Staal ruined the OT by having Malkin hook him behind the net.

The ref said “Malkin” when assessing the penalty. Then went to the number:


The Good

Chris Kunitz scored his monthly goal, so people can pretend he is good again. ROOT Sports should make a tribute video for every time he scores.

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$4.0 million.


The Bad

David Perron.

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Two predictions for David Perron in 2016:

1. Mike Sullivan tries to kill him.

2. He signs with some bullshit team over the summer and scores 25 goals next season.

He might be one of the most miserable players we’ve seen in a Penguins uniform in a long, long time.


The Ugly

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The Defense

Do us a favor. Get every advanced stat you have that tells you the Penguins are “fine defensively.” Print them out, roll the papers up real tight, walk to your garage, get in your car, start it, and then sit there and die.

The Penguins defense is ugly. They get beat in transition, they struggle to get pucks out, etc. Ben Lovejoy continues to play 17+ minutes a night.

The state of the defense is going to cause Jim Rutherford to make a panic move. Just wait; it’s coming.


Thoughts: Game 41 – Fleury Continues to Dazzle in Pens 3-1 Win Over Montreal

Pens 3  Canadiens 1 Record: 20-16-5, 45 pts Goals Hornqvist (9) (PP) from Kessel, Malkin Rust (1) from Bonino, Dumoulin Fehr (5) (SH) (EN) unassisted Penalties Dumoulin (tripping) – Careless (tries to shove Byron in the back and loses his balance, getting his stick into Byron’s skates as he puts his hands and stick down) […]