Tonight the Penguins need to hit somebody. I’m not talking the soft checks the Pens have been throwing the last two games. I’m talking the Brooks Orpik type teeth rattling check he threw at Steven Stamkos the first game. For the last two games the Penguins have let Tampa skate in and around the net without consequences. It’s time to let Tampa know how rough a Penguin team can play when they need to.
I’m calling out the softies to hit someone tonight. In six games Lovejoy has registered 0 hits, Michalek has 1. This means that Alexei Kovalev has 3 times as many hits as those two combined. James Neal the so called “power forward” only has 8 hits. To put that into perspective, Eric Tangradi had five hits in the one game he played and he just came off a concussion. Tangradi deserves to be on the ice tonight.
The team leader in hits is Craig Adams. If you go by how many hits per amount of ice time Adams and Asham are far above the rest.
James Neal, while you are trying to hit something tonight, how about trying to hit the net! Neal leads the team in missed shots. Over twice as many as Letang and Letang shoots all his from the blueline.
Definitive word from Dan Bylsma on whether Eric Tangradi and Derek Engelland will be playing tonight: “maybe“, “maybe“. I wouldn’t count on either though. Bylsma skated the same lines as normal this morning with no new changes.
Here is today’s Proposed Lineup:
Need some more motivation? Whoever wins the game tonight gets to play either the Washington Capitals or Philadelphia Flyers depending on who wins the Boston/Montreal game tonight.
It’s open season. The NHL is no longer dishing out suspensions for blind side head shots which they proved by letting Ryan Malone off the hook for the Dupuis blind side head hit. It’s time to take some cheap shots.
One more thing. Dive. Dive Dive. The Lightning did it all last game. It is the only way to get a call from the refs.
Home ice advantage. Are you the Penguin fans familiar with what that actually means? The Penguins won the right to have the game at home tonight on Consol Energy Center Ice. The ice is the same regulation size as the rink in Tampa Bay. The only difference is the fans. The Pittsburgh Penguin team has worked their asses off without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to get to this game seven. How about supporting them by wearing a white shirt to the white out not Tampa Bay blue colors.
“We have home ice, we have the last change, we have our fans, the whiteout is going to be in the building, the towels are going to be going and that’s energy and momentum that we’re going to need” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.
If you see someone wearing a blue Penguins jersey tonight you have my permission to throw your beverage on them an tell them how big of a douche bag they really are. Then yell real loud “Krundle said I could!” As fans it is 100% our responsibility to not let the team down. If they get down a goal or two me must start the “Lets go Pens” and get them going. Once again this is what home ice advantage means. Let’s call tonight “Team Appreciation Night”
There are only 10 teams left with a chance to win the Stanley Cup. This means the Penguins now have a 10% chance of winning the Cup.
The powerplay should be the biggest concern for the Penguins and who is on the powerplay should be an even bigger concern. The main powerplay of Staal, Kovalev, Neal, Michalek and Letang are the five players who have substantially more time than any of the other players on the powerplay. They have accounted for 0 goals on the powerplay and only 3 total goals from all five of them in 6 games. Why are they on the powerplay?
Arron Asham, Tyler Kennedy and Max Talbot are the guys who deserve the main powerplay time. They have scored the most points this playoff season. As much as I would like to see a change on the powerplay defense, it would be out of the question at this point in time.
Matt Cooke, the Penguins and the Penguin fans were scammed by NHL sheriff Colin Campbell. Colin led everyone to believe that there was a new protocol coming that would have players facing lengthier suspensions. This never happened. Now in the playoffs the Penguins penalty kill has suffered a huge hit without Cooke because of it. Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers has taken the exact same three penalties and hits as Matt Cooke without getting suspended one game. Read more here: Will the NHL ever have the balls to suspend Mike Richards?
Where is the Kris Letang we voted into the All-Star game? Letang has seen more powerplay time than any other Penguin, yet his numbers are atrocious, and his passes are missing the mark also. After that great first half of the season, the second half went downhill. 2 goals and 12 assists in 41 games. His plus minus in those 41 games was a minus 8. The thing that really stinks for him is the fact that he now has the stigma of only being able to play well when Crosby and Malkin are in the line up which will take him out of the running for the Norris Trophy in the future when he has big seasons.
If Letang plays his cards right tonight he could be known as a great playoff guy though. I would rather have him be that.
Speaking of cards, is Alexei Kovalev the Pens ace in the hole? Kovalev has never lost in the 6 times he has played in a game 7. He only has one goal in those 6 games sort of like the one goal in six games he has this playoff series, but he has never lost.
Tampa has never came back from a 3-1 deficit and won a series.
Mike Lange: “If you miss(ed) this one, shame on you for six weeks!”
Game time is 8PM. Wear your white it’s a white out & they will be handing out Rally towels. The game can be seen in super high definition at the Consol Energy Center, regular HD on the Civic Arena parking lot or on ROOT Sports. LETS GO PENS!
* The “Gameday Poop” is provided to give you enough information to sound intelligent while talking about hockey for 10 minutes. Anything after that and your on your own.