Pittsburgh Penguins (16-14-3) at Minnesota Wild (18-9-6) 8:00 PM EST – ROOT Sports Excel Energy Center – Saint Paul, Minnesota
Pens 5 Blue Jackets 2 Record: 16-14-3, 35 pts Goals Malkin (16) (PP) from Perron, Daley Kessel (10) from Wilson, Bonino Kessel (11) from Bonino, Maatta Warsofsky (1) (PP) from Kunitz, Perron Malkin (17) (EN) from Hornqvist, Cullen Penalties Malkin (elbowing) – Careless (jostles with Falk around the Blue Jackets crease and ends up getting […]
Phil Kessel came alive just in time for Maple Leafs fans to complain about it at their Christmas dinners. The goals came against a goalie playing exactly how you’d expect Whoopi Goldberg to play goal, but they still counted.
The Penguins really needed a win to stop the points bleed, and they got it. Columbus has definitely become a rival because by the end of the game you were hoping the scoreboard would fall on their bench.
This is pretty crazy. Ian Cole took a hard check in the corner and the glass came completely off: First off thank god that little kid didn’t get hurt behind the glass. Secondly, the glass just misses that woman’s face. Third, thankfully Ian Cole saw the glass falling on him. Dangerous, weird play.
Columbus Blue Jackets (13-19-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (15-14-3) 7:00 PM EST – ROOT Sports CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA
As his tenure continues to head towards its embarrassing conclusion Stone cold Jim Rutherford keeps getting more upset. Here are his latest rants: “Am I disappointed? Yes. Makes me sick, actually,” he said. “More sick than I’ve ever been in my career when I’ve managed a team. I feel for the fans. I feel for everybody.” […]
Hurricanes 2 Pens 1 Record: 15-14-3, 33 pts Goals Malkin (15) (PP) from Daley, Crosby Penalties Clendening (holding) – Overly aggressive (chases Nordstrom into the corner of the defensive zone and wraps his arm around him, pulling Nordstrom down in the process) Malkin (high-sticking) – Careless (goes for a stick-lift on Skinner and misses, getting […]
So, the new narrative is that Mike Sullivan is a great guy, who is saying the right things. He’ll fix this, in due time, blah blah blah blah.
All this might be true.
But it doesn’t make you scratch your head any less wondering how in the world a team that just fired their coach has managed to show not one sense of desperation. Honestly, the last two games have been as gutless as we’ve seen since the Dark Ages.
This is a spent-to-the-salary-cap team, not some run-of-the-mill bullshit team. Spare us all the excuses. It would be different if the Penguins played with any type of life other than when Evgeni Malkin is on the ice.
Mike Sullivan will take care what he has to, but at this point, all the quotes in the world don’t and won’t mean dick.
The Penguins are in trouble.
Jordan Staal returns
(Listen to Steigerwald blow the call again)
Thank God Jordan Staal scored that goal. Also scored a big goal in Game 6 that doesn’t get as much play.
Staal’s goal put the Canes up 1-0. John-Michael Liles scored, as well, and the Cans were up 2-0 in a flash.
Matt Murray’s debut
Matt Murray had his first NHL start. Fast fact: At 6’4″, he’s the tallest goalie in franchise history. He didn’t look too bad.
The first goal was just a better play by Jordan Staal, and the second goal featured Olli Maatta screening him.
Safe to say he’s earned the start against the Jackets on Monday. If he doesn’t start Monday you’d have to question the direction of the organization at this point.
Watch one shift
We were going to just make an entire post of videos of Chris Kunitz committing turnovers but decided it would be a waste. Truth is Kunitz enables a lot of breakouts, but that’s only because Sidney Crosby is there to do all the work for him.
Watch this shift. It features Sidney Crosby making one mistake, and the Hurricanes jumping all over it because Ben Lovejoy plays for the Penguins. Seriously, watch Ben Lovejoy:
No wonder Crosby is playing the way he is. He has to be almost perfect because the Penguins have a trash defense.
If there is any silver lining in this whole mess, it’s that Conor Sheary appears he can play with Crosby.
Sheary is easily the best forward to ever come from Wilkes-Barre. Think about it. Sadly, it’s true. He makes some kind of play every time he’s on the ice. Late in this game he had a little 2-on-1 with Crosby and he flubbed the pass. This was the hardest Crosby’s moved toward the net all season:
Crosby taking the baby shit pass by Lovejoy with one hand. Buzzing past the Canes defense shows us he still has it; it’s just he is getting killed with weak-ass D-man pairings. If Sheary can complete that pass he’s going to have a long, healthy relationship with Crosby.
Malkin’s near miss
Evgeni Malkin, again, scored the only Penguins goal. He also had a chance to tie the game and he missed it:
Newflash: Penguins need to win a game soon.
Bruins 6 Pens 2 Record: 15-13-3, 33 pts Goals Sheary (1) from Crosby Daley (1) from Crosby, Sheary Penalties Cole (high-sticking) – Careless (gets hit by Talbot against the boards and lets his stick go up into Talbot’s face) Lovejoy (hooking) – Overly aggressive (hooks back Hayes in his torso at the crease to tie […]
Carolina Hurricanes (12-15-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (15-13-3) 7:00 PM EST – ROOT Sports CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 19, 2015
So, did Jim Rutherford somehow see enough between hiring Mike Sullivan and firing Mike Johnston? We guess.
This is the right move, and probably saves Sprong from being completely ruined. Sprong has talent but he isn’t ready for primetime yet. Give him sometime to develop, see you in a few years.
If watching Jeff Zatkoff was like riding a ride at Kennywood, it would be like that time someone died riding the whip.
The Jeff Zatkoff experience came to a crashing halt as he gave up six goals on 13 Bruin scoring chances. It’s not just his fault, though. The entire team is basically dogshit at this point.
Here is an actual play that shows you all you need to see
No words really needed. Poor Meesh will have all of the Bruins goals broken down, and if he doesn’t kill himself, you might after watching them.
Mike Sullivan on the game:
— Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) December 19, 2015
His only reaction to the game should have been lighting someone on fire.
People ask Ben Lovejoy questions now
Ben Lovejoy: “This is a team that needs to figure out what we want to be.”
— Bill West (@BWest_Trib) December 19, 2015
It’s December, dawg.
Here are the game stats for whatever reason:
- David Perron with the solid -3
- So wait, is Jim Rutherford going to complain about Mike Sullivan not playing Daniel Sprong?
- Screen cap is from the Pens holiday video, which might be the only good thing to happen this season.
- Ian Cole might be the worst defenseman in the NHL right now.
- On a rare solid note, Connor Sheary actually can play on Sidney Crosby’s line. He scored his first NHL to give the Pens a 1-0 lead.
Matt Murray on Saturday
Big time situation for Matt Murray on Saturday night. The Penguins desperately need a win, and a sign of life. It’s an extremely big spot for Murray who has been outstanding in Wilkes Barre the last few years.
Just to follow up on that. since '08-09 of the 49 teams that were 5 points out of a playoff spot on Dec. 19, only 5 made the playoffs.
— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) December 19, 2015
By comparison, the Penguins had 44 points on the same day last year.
Boston Bruins (17-9-4) at Pittsburgh Penguins (15-12-3) 7:00 PM EST – ROOT Sports CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA
Bruins 3 Pens 0 Record: 15-12-3, 33 pts Goals None Penalties Crosby (tripping) – Careless (reaches forward for a stick lift on Krejci, misses his stick, then brings his stick down into Krejci’s skates to trip him) Perron (interference) – Unnecessary (shoves Krug from behind into the net as they’re skating to the crease) Kunitz […]
This had that feeling that the Bruins-Pens games used to have a couple years ago. Actually, when both teams are respectable, it feels like a playoff game, especially when it’s in Boston for whatever reason. It’s not hard to recall those afternoon games on FOX in the late ’90s. We remember Petr Nedved scoring a big goal. (We typed that before looking this up. Final game of the 1995-1996 season. Pens lost 6-5. Nedved scored two goals, and they were big because he was trying to finish the season with 100 points. Finished with 99. We are that good.)
So this game was really bad for the Penguins. They weren’t too far off from breaking through, but they didn’t score any goals, so that isn’t a good way to make a point or to even get a point.
The easiest things to say about the Penguins right now are the following:
1. They have no identity whatsoever.
2. They look like a randomly assembled bunch of dudes trying to play against teams that have a style, identity, system, and years of experience playing together.
This was the risk/reward of the Jim Rutherford era. He was going to build a team on paper and hope like hell it would translate to the ice.
It hasn’t. And it is looking like a long shot that it will.
Ryan Whitney had an interesting tweet the other day when someone asked him about what his favorite place to play was:
Pitt Penguins. Grew up in minors with a lot of the guys and have money saved because of Crosby giving me tap ins https://t.co/vqohhmvkTM
— Ryan Whitney (@ryanwhitney6) December 15, 2015
“Grew up in the minors with a lot of guys.”
This was one of the rosters:
Rob Scuderi, Colby Armstrong, Max Talbot, and Marc-Andre Fleury are some guys who played big roles in the building of the Penguins’ mini-powerhouse from 2008-2009. They, coupled with homegrown talent Ryan Malone, Brooks Orpik, Jordan Staal, Evgeni Malkin, and Good-Sidney Crosby, made the Penguins a team. Of course, the Penguins added Sergei Gonchar, Gary Roberts, Marian Hossa, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, etc. to the mix, but their core was with guys who grew up and formed an identity together.
Now the Penguins have Malkin, Bad-Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Kris Letang, the corpse of Chris Kunitz, and then a whole bunch of other guys that were just brought in with hopes of fitting.
Let’s face it; they aren’t built right, and the record and play reflects that.
Now, that doesn’t mean this isn’t fixable. In fact, Mike Sullivan may fix it. It’s only his second game in, and based on everything he said he knows young guys that will be the Armstrongs, Talbots, etc. needed to play.
Example: Connor Sheary saw 16 minutes of ice time. He got better every shift and he was rewarded. Brian Dumoulin saw 23 minutes and was rock-solid (minus the first goal being his fault). Would have loved to proclaim Daniel Sprong in this, but he played 7 minutes and saw the ice twice in the third. Woof.
The upcoming weekend games will tell the tale. If the Penguins can get a simple split, or even win both, Sullivan may be able to right the ship. Anything short of that, and it could get really ugly.
Pittsburgh Penguins (15-11-3) at Boston Bruins (16-9-4) 8:00 PM EST – NBCSN TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts
Unreal footage here via WTAE:
Here is a GIF of it as well:
Here is a slowed down gif.
It looks like Chris Kunitz got him as he was skating past the crease. In the full video over at WTAE, Fleury looks stunned, and appears to struggle to stand.
Fleury will be out for 1-2 weeks, and will not travel with the team to Boston tomorrow. At first it wasn’t clear as to how Fleury was concussed, but this video tells the tale.
Typical bad blogging by us. It turns out this video occurred on Sunday. And so that means Fleury played in the Caps game, and maybe it hit him after? Here was Mike Sullivan’s quote for Penguins.com:
Marc came to us after the game and said he did not feel right,” Sullivan said. “I don’t think it was in the game last night, but he didn’t indicate when. When he brought it to our attention we addressed it.”
One of the first things Mike Sullivan talked about leading up to last night’s debut against the Capitals was putting together a performance-based set of lineup decisions. Considering the maddening usage of Rob Scuderi and Daniel Sprong by the previous coaching staff, this kind of comment is music to a lot of peoples ears. “Lineup decisions […]
Caps 4 Pens 1 Record: 15-11-3, 33 pts Goals Malkin (14) from Lovejoy, Kessel Penalties Dumoulin (unsportsmanlike conduct) – Unnecessary (goes to Oshie and tries to engage with him/bear hugs him after the hit on Bennett, which accomplishes nothing and gets called a minor) Cole (holding) – Overly Aggressive (gets both arms around Kuznetsov as […]
It was great settling in for a Pens game and being genuinely pumped about it. New coach Mike Sullivan played a big part in that, and so did the Capitals coming to town.
Back in the good old days, before we were cynical assholes, we used think one game at a time for the Penguins. And that’s how it is now. Mike Sullivan has to be given time, at least 20-25 games before a good summary of his coaching style can be judged.
It might get worse before it gets better.
The biggest problem is the Penguins have no wiggle room. This is the Eastern Conference:
As Dan Rather once said on his infamous 2000 election night :
“The race is as hot and tight as a too small bathing suit on a too long ride back from the beach.”
The Penguins have two massive games against the Bruins this week that could decide where this season goes.
Wouldn’t be able to show my face on the internet if I didn’t TweetCap™ this. The
In the first trade of the NHL season the Penguins have traded Rob Scuderi for Trevor Daley. We’ll break down the trade later, but this was the first reaction: Trevor Daley is a pretty decent NHL defenseman, and he can move the puck, which is something new coach Mike Sullivan demands. Daley this season has […]
Washington Capitals (20-6-2) at Pittsburgh Penguins (15-10-3) 7:00 PM EST – ROOT Sports, NHLN CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA