The Penguins need to bench Alexei Ponikarovsky – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

The Penguins need to bench Alexei Ponikarovsky

As an NHL coach, you never want to do something that makes your GM look bad.  Last year coach Dan Bylsma benched Miroslav Satan one of Ray Shero’s off season acquisitions because he just didn’t fit into the his up tempo system. This season Shero acquired Alexei Ponikarovsky at the trade deadline and after 17 games, it looks like he just doesn’t fit in with the team.

I’m sure Ponikarovsky wasn’t at the top of the list of players Shero was looking to add to the team before trade deadline and I do believe it was good idea giving him a shot as they definitely are in need of a prolific goal scoring winger. Unfortunately Shero is not allowed to test a player to see if he fits into the system before trading for him.

Ponikarovsky has the worst plus/minus per game than any other player on the team. I say that as “per game” because he has only been here 17 games, though in those 17 games he’s still managed to be 4th worst overall in plus/minus. He was brought in to help with the powerplay as he was one of the leading powerplay guys time wise on the Toronto Maple Leaf’s team, coach Bylsma tried him on the powerplay and decided against it.

What he doesn’t bring to the team is easier to list than what he does, so here is what he doesn’t bring to the team:

  • Playoff experience. He hasn’t been in the playoffs in 7 years and in 24 playoff games including last night he has one goal.
  • Forechecking. His lack of speed and overall awareness of where he should be on the ice has led to his team worse 5 times the giveaways as takeaways.
  • Scoring. He has two goals in 17 games. That works out to be 9 goals in an 82 game season.
  • Passing. This guy is not a good passer (see the team worst giveaway/takeaway percentage above), and he doesn’t have the speed or endurance to cycle the puck the like his teammates do.
  • Winning mentality. Being in Toronto all these years, he just never got it. This looks like a guy that is doing what he can to stay healthy so he can get a good contract next year. Help him out with that, let him watch from the press box.

It is time to start using Ponikarovsky the way they used Miroslav Satan, in emergency situations only. I’m calling the Penguin coaches out on one of their worst decisions this season:  Benching Mike Rupp last night who has given his all this season playing 81 games, getting only 9 minutes a game on the 4th line all the while getting 13 goals was the wrong thing to do.

This is the playoffs. Shero & Bylsma need to jump over the whole who looks good, who looks bad if someone is benched thing and put the best players on the ice. Sorry to Ray Shero, but Ponikarovsky was a poor acquisition, thankfully we didn’t give away much to get him. Bench him now and let’s get on with winning the Stanley Cup.

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  1. FedexSux's Gravatar FedexSux
    April 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Poni is one thing, but Blysma’s blind dedication to Fedetenko is ridiculous. Feds sucks. Period. If he does nothing tomorrow night (since he is supposedly so great in the playoffs), he needs the Sykora treatment.
    Agree 100 percent on Rupp, but Feds should be on the bench before Poni.

  2. 877111's Gravatar 877111
    April 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Chemistry is everything. Last year when Kunitz came on board, even though Crosby wasn’t playing, he immediately started to gel with Jordon Staal, you can throw the whole Poni should get a chance with Malkin now that he is healthy, but Poni just hasn’t fit in anywhere no matter how hard the coaches try to match him up with a player. He has no drive. I would rather have him find desire instead of benching him, even if that desire is signing a big contract. I just haven’t seen it yet. His semi decent numbers may be the result of all his ice time on the main powerplay in Toronto.

  3. Station Z's Gravatar Station Z
    April 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    There are Penz players that have earned their way playing hard all season, not counting Fedotenko, but he earned it last playoffs. We did not trade 1 starter for Poni boy and he hasn’t cut it, sit him unless he is needed because of injury. He just looks like sheet out there and the numbers don’t show otherwise. Goligoski is looking way better, I wander if it has crossed anyones minds to move him up to offense? Though he stopped 2 odd man rushes. They need Mckee in the lineup to clear the front of the net, especially with Fleury giving up these crazy rebounds. I’m not even a little bit worried yet, though ask me after next game.

  4. The Mick's Gravatar The Mick
    April 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more. I never wanted Ponikarovsky in the first place and thought trading a promising young winger in Luca Caputi was one of the worst moves Shero has pulled off turing his tenure. People were calling for Max Talbot or Ruslan Fedotenko to sit in the first round, but I think Ponikarovsky is the most obvious choice. Besides Malkin, Talbot was arguably their best player last night and I’ve seen what Feds can do in the playoffs. And yes, sitting Mike Rupp was a mistake that shouldn’t be made again.


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