Sunday, February 10, 2008

Malkin Making Case For MVP

The Pens finally got off the schnide against the Flyer's, defeating them 4-3 this afternoon. Malkin figured in on all 4 of the goals, all while his parent's were in attendance for the second game in a row. Malkin has 21 points in the 10 games since Sid has been out, for a Lemieux-esq 2.1 points/game. A couple thoughts from today:

-Talbot, after taking a double minor in the first, looked possessed the rest of the way. Along with Staal and Christensen, underperformers this season, the line looks like it has considerable chemistry.

-Speaking of good line combos, I can't see Therrien simply substituting Sid in for Malkin when he comes back. Malone-Malkin-Sykora has found more consistency and chemistry then any of the other 10 dozen line combinations Therrien has called for this season. I don't know who you put Sid with, but you can't break up that line.

-Bob Errey did not have a good day. Potash had a segment about Penguins' fantasy camp, where a bunch of 30 and 40 somethings got to play with Penguins' alumni. When Dan sent it up to the booth he asked "Where were you during all of this, Bob?" to which Errey replied rather seriously "I wasn't invited." After Potash apologized, there was around 3-4 seconds of awkward silence. Then, later in the game when the Flyers made it 4-3, according to Wannstache Errey meant to say "Hold your breath" but accidentally said "Hold your breasts." Anyone who Tivo'd the game, the youtubes are waiting for you.

-I don't mind Nathan Smith or Kris Beech, but there will be no tears when Sid comes back and replaces one of the two.

-As reported by Seth at Empty-Netters, Fleury was sent down to Wilkes-Barre for conditioning. About time.

Rick sent me another email about the need of another quality defenseman, which always seems to coincide with a Penguins' surge. Still, as you can tell from our lack of posting, I'm happy with content. I may not agree with it entirely, but its hard to completely disagree. Let him have it in the comments.

Rick's Rant

I'm a little sick of people telling me that I am wrong on the Penguins defense and that we'll be "ok" come playoff time.

So how's this for an example...

I have always liked Darryl Sydor, probably my favorite player in the NHL. One of the top 10 defenseman...

People wanted him traded, because he struggled early with a new system and had a +/- as low as -7. I said to hold on.

On December 27th, in a game against that Capitals, Darryl Sydor scored the winning goal. Since that time there have been 19 games, only 3 of which Sydor hasn't logged 18 minutes. The Pens are 13-3-3, amassing 29 pts.

The defenseman +/- has looked like this:
Sydor: +10
Whitney: +8
Letang: +4
Orpik: +2
Scuderi: +1
Gonchar: 0

I hope this validates I know defense. I will admit, I don't know much about offense, but you show me a team that has a better than avaerage +/- for its defensemen and that team will be ok.

What can we get from this? That Darryl Sydor is a leader, and Ryan Whitney one day will be worth his huge salary cut. Kris Letang is impressive for a rookie, and Brooks'numbers may be lower cause he plays with Letang at times. But is Brooks worth a Whitney like extension at the end of this year? Hell no. Is Scuderi a guy you want logging 20+ a game in the playoffs? Get real. And finally, is Gonchar a true "all-star"? Maybe in Mario's time, where the average score of a a game was 9-8. However, in today's NHL Sergei is living up to the scouting report that says he is physically intimidated and makes too many mistakes in his own end.

So as the trade deadline approaches, I encourage everyone to give up their Sundin/Hossa/Havlat wishes, because Shero knows this team needs a defenseman and he will get it.

Finally, my guys that should be worried about playing in other cities at the end of the month are: Staal, Christiansen, Kennedy, and Orpik. Other than that, I believe everyone else is safe.


Pitcher's and catchers report on Thursday. The swift arrival of spring training always reminds me that the Steelers' and Pirates' seasons are almost perfectly split to cover two halves of the year, with the football season ending right as spring training starts, and Pirates season effectively ending in late July as St. Vincent's opens once again.


Dave Wannstache said...

The "hold your breasts" comment by Errey actually happened after the game was over as they were showing the Pens heading to the locker room, and I'm 99.9% sure that's what I heard.

I can't be the only one who heard this.

Anonymous said...

The pens winning without Sid is comparable to Lance Armstrong accelerating uphill. Imagine the possibilities when he is back.

Sam said...

Everyone will be making a big deal about deadline deals, but getting the best player in the world for the stretch run is going to be the biggest addition any team makes.

Lets just hope his new linemates respond.

I Want To Fight Tom Brady said...

Sid should play with Ruutu and Laraque on the fourth line when he gets back.

Maybe a little Flying-V action with Crosby pulling up the rear?