Dragnet 2017: The Case of the Missing Penguins – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Dragnet 2017: The Case of the Missing Penguins

Since last night’s 4-0 loss to the Flyers wasn’t much to write home about, I thought I’d do an abbreviated game summary in the style of the old TV series, Dragnet 1967.

Cue the opening music. Sergeant Joe Friday and Officer Bill Gannon, on loan from the LAPD, knock on the front door to the home of Polly Penzfan. Clad in a Penguins toque, Sidney Crosby jersey and slacks, Polly opens the door.

Polly: May I help you?

Friday: I’m Sergeant Friday and this is Officer Gannon. From police headquarters. Understand there’s been a robbery.

Polly: Yes. I’d like to report a missing two points. And the possible kidnapping of a hockey team.

Friday: Mind if we ask a few questions?

Polly: Not at all.

Gannon: Can you describe what happened?

Polly: I’ll try. You see, the Penguins played the Flyers last night in Philadelphia. That is, it looked like the Penguins.

Friday: Ma’am?

Polly: They wore the right uniforms and all. Black and gold. Sidney Crosby wore No. 87. He’s my favorite player…

Friday: Just the facts, ma’am.

Polly: Sorry. The Penguins started out okay. Even played pretty good in the first period. After that, they didn’t look so hot.

Gannon: You think they were kidnapped?

Polly: Uh huh.

Friday: Notice anything suspicious?

Polly: They didn’t have much pep.

Gannon: Score any goals?

Polly: No. And they usually score a lot.

Friday: What about the goalie?

Polly: Matt Murray? Oh, he was fine. If you ask me, he’s the only one who wasn’t kidnapped. At least not till late in the game.

Gannon: And the coach?

Polly: He looked upset. Mike Sullivan always looks upset when they lose.

Friday: Anything else?

Polly: Um…let’s see. Well, the Pens did fly back to Pittsburgh on Tuesday from an awfully long road trip out west. Then they flew into Philadelphia yesterday morning to avoid a snowstorm. Oh, and they played part of the game with only five defensemen. They do that a lot these days.

Gannon: I see.

Friday: Thank you, ma’am. I think we have enough. We’ll look into it.

Polly: I hope you find them. After all, the playoffs are coming up soon. It sure would be nice if they could win another Stanley Cup.

Friday: I wouldn’t worry. I’m sure they’ll turn up.

Cue the closing music.

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  1. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 18, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rick,
    Looks like I am alone on this one. So here goes.

    1.Washington- 98 points currently… Easy wins..Arizona twice, Av’s, Boston, Florida,Rangers and Toronto. 7 sure wins. 14 points. The remaining 5 games are Tampa? Bluejackets twice,? Calgary? Wild? . I give them 7 out of 10 possible points. 21 points. Season Total 119 points ! Best guess.

    2.Blue Jackets – 96 points currently. 9 sure wins ??? NYI, NJD, Phili twice,Toronto twice, Buffalo, Carolina,Jets, 18 points.
    Next four games are tough. Caps twice,Pens, Chicago, Three of the 6 best teams in the league. Sorry guys.. only 4 points . 22 points in all.
    Season Total 118 points ! Best guess.

    3. Rangers- 91 points with 11 games remaining. All others have 12 or 13 games remaining. Only 3 sure wins. Devils,Islanders, Phili. 6 sure points.!!
    The remaining 8 games are very hard teams to beat. Pens twice, LA, SJS, ANH, Wild, Capitals, and Ottawa.They will be lucky to get 6 points, but to be fair I am giving them 8 points out of a possible 16. 14 points total.
    Season total 105 points.
    That is my best guess. 105 points.

    4. Our beloved Penguins.. I screwed up two months ago at 104 total points,let us see if I can redeem myself. 97 points currently. 7 good wins. Should be.!!
    14 points. Florida,Buffalo,Islanders,Phili, Devils, Carolina, Toronto,
    The next 5 games, depends which team shows up. WB Penguins or the real deal. Ottawa,Chicago,Rangers twice,Bluejackets. I am optimistic and give us 5 points. 19 points in total. 116 season total points. My best guess. For what that is worth…haha.

    Rangers can not possibly move up to catch us or the Blue jackets and unless the Capitals have some real major injuries, we will be hard pressed to keep the second spot. Caps have the easier schedule than us.
    Looking at the conference, the top 6 teams are Caps, Pens, CBJ, Rangers. Montreal,Ottawa.
    Then you have Boston,Toronto, Tampa and NYI ?? fighting for the 2 final spots. Probably one more may sneak in there as well.??
    Sometimes it is good to take a look at the rest of the conference to see what is really going on. What ever happens Guys and Gals, you can sure that many an argument will be had now until the end of the season.
    The fun of the chase for the cup. 🙂


    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      March 20, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Sorry Jim for taking so long to get back to you.

      I still haven’t thought about other teams than the Pens but I agree with you on the Pens I see about 14 more points for them (Including the win against the Panthers).

      However, if they can manage to pull off a couple more 21 shots against games maybe I will start getting more excited.

  2. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    March 18, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Hey Guys and Gals,
    I went on NHL .com and checked the remaining games left on the schedule for us and our 3 main adversaries. Caps,Jackets, Rangers…. and others.
    I think you will find it interesting…..hope so 🙂

    Pens – 12 games remaining ,( in order ) Florida,Buffalo,Ottawa, NYI, Phili, Chicago, NYR, Carolina, Blue jackets,Devils,Toronto,NYR…not an easy one !

    Caps- 12 games remaining,: Tampa,Calgary,Blue Jackets,Arizona,Wild, Av’s,
    Arizona again,Blue Jackets again, Toronto, NYR, Boston , Florida,

    Blue Jackets- 13 games remaining,: NYI, Devils,Tor, Caps, Phili, Buffalo,Carolina, Chicago,Caps again, Pens,Jets,Phili again, Toronto again,

    NY Rangers – 11 games remaining,: Wild,Devils,NYI, LA, ANA, SJS ,Pens,Phili,
    Caps, Ottawa, Pens again….( Man that is one tough schedule) ..Murders alley.

    At this moment the stats are: Caps- 98 points
    Pens- 97 points
    CBJ – 96 points
    NYR – 91 points
    FYI…………..NYI – 77 points… 5th place. Wild card ???

    Montreal- 86 points 12 games left
    Ottawa – 85 points 13 games left
    Boston – 82 points 11 games left
    Toronto- 78 points 13 games left
    Tampa – 77 points 12 games left Wild card ??

    So fellow Pen’s fans…anyone brave enough to make some predictions.
    I am already wrong because I had the Pen’s at 104 points come seasons end
    2 months ago. I was the only one dumb enough to accept Rick’s challenge.
    I await your comments. ( Do not be shy…)

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      March 18, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the update, Jim.

      Don’t be so hard on yourself. You got a lot of things right, too … 🙂


  3. The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
    March 18, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Just a random thought but with all of the injuries to the Pens, if I were coaching against them I would be absolutely embarrassed to lose to what has basically become the Pens farm team.

  4. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    March 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Hey all,

    The latest on the ever-evolving injury front. Malkin’s out with an upper-body injury. Hainsey’s doubtful for tonight’s game.

    Sheesh…it’s like a bad soap opera.

    In other news, Archibald and Sundqvist were returned to the Baby Pens. Pouliot’s been recalled. Sestito’s done serving his suspension.


    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      March 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Maybe the team shouldn’t have been in such a hurry to send Sundqvist and Archibald down. Well at least they will get their frequent flyer miles.

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        March 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Now who is the Prophet? 🙂 haha

        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          March 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          Hey Jim,

          It’s not the first time you have called something, just wish you had been wrong this time.

          • Jim's Gravatar Jim
            March 17, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

            Hey Coach
            I was referring to you and ur comments about Geno being the tough guy on the team and how trouble some that may be in the future.
            Looks like you were right.

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              March 17, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink


              But wasn’t it you who suggested that the Flyers were going to knock a player out? Maybe it was 55 on point, but I know someone said it. That is what I was thinking about.

              I think it was on the NHL.com site that I read that this injury Malkin is suffering from is a nagging one that has been going on for some time. If that is true maybe the Pens are using the Devils as a rest game for Malkin, hoping they don’t really need him tonight. In theory that may be right but with the hospital ward dressing room of the Pens, they may not have enough bodies to get a win.

              Thinking about it, pretty soon it will be a real embarrassment for a team to lose to the WBS Penguins, since the current Pgh Pens roster is almost the WBS roster.

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        March 17, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        I agree, Other Rick.

        I like what I saw of Sundqvist, particularly on the PK. At times he appears a little awkward–like he’s still getting used to his frame. But as you’ve duly noted in the past, he uses his body well, especially to shield the puck.

        I like Archibald, too. Demon speed.


        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          March 17, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

          I really didn’t think anything about Archibald last year, but I agree, Archibald has kick but speed and Shearesque tenacity. I am really fighting the thought of thinking about next year but the Pens are super deep on RW; Kessel, Hornqvist, Rust, Kuhnhackl, Sprong, Archibald, and even Aston-Reese is listed as a C/RW. Let’s not forget Sheary can play RW as well as Rowney, although Rowney doesn’t have the scoring touch I would want in a RW. I could like him as possibly a 4th or 5th C, he is one of our better FO men this year. Oh yes, I forgot, Sundqvist can play RW too. As much as I liked Fehr, he was expendable.

  5. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    March 17, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Okay playing along with the theme here;

    A match strikes and lights a fuse.

    Cue theme music

    The burning fuse segues from one scene to another showing high and low lights from this season as a teaser.

    Opening Scene 1st day of Penguins traning camp Mike Sullivan puts a tape in the tape player;

    “JR has doen virtually nothing this past off season. In his defense the team has no room to manuever under the Salary Cap, however, when given the opportunity to get out from under a heavy contract in an area that the team is deep and that could have freed up money to go after UFA’s that could have helped you in this up coming season he has acted with very questionable judgment and balked.

    Your mission Mike should you choose to accept it is to try to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. We know that this is a tough enough task to do even if your GM actually tries to improve the team in the off-season. We know the rest of the league has watched you and your team all Spring and has had ample time to adjust to your strategies and the tactics of your current roster so that your GM has made your task nearly impossible.

    Should you or any member of your team be caught, injured, or put on the IR the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Mike.”

    Sullivan drops his head into his hands for a moment pondering what he has just been told, runs his hands back across his hair, looks into the camera, pauses, with the look of a deer in the head lights, fully aware of the monumental task ahead of him, now that JR left him swinging in the breeze, adjusts his game face so no one will know exactly how bad of a spot JR put them into and goes off to brief his team.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      March 17, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Hey Other Rick,

      Repeating as Stanley Cup champions truly does seem to be a Mission Impossible these days.

      While I feel your passion, I’m going to respectfully disagree with your contention that Rutherford didn’t do enough to help or improve his team. I’ll channel my inner Perry Mason to make my point:

      Exhibit A: Re-signing Justin Schultz for $1.4 million. My word, what a bargain.
      Exhibit B: Re-signing Matt Cullen—again at a sweetheart rate.
      Exhibit C: Signing depth defensemen Cameron Gaunce, Stuart Percy and Chad Ruhwedel. To me, these moves appear almost prescient, as if JR somehow knew the team would run into injury troubles. Ruhwedel, in particular, has acquitted himself well.
      Exhibit D: Acquiring Ron Hainsey and Mark Streit at the trade deadline, with virtually no cap space. Somehow JR convinced Carolina and Tampa Bay to foot part of the bill.

      I think we all were hoping for a higher impact move at the deadline. However, with the exception of Shattenkirk to Washington and Hanzal and White to Minnesota, nobody else made one, either. And those teams haven’t exactly been on fire since swinging those trades.

      I know you had hoped JR could leverage Marc-Andre Fleury as part of a bigger deal. I’m not close enough to the situation to know if he attempted to move Flower or not. However, there were a lot of mitigating factors. The size of Fleury’s contract, for one, and his limited movement clause. The narrow market for goaltenders, for another. Not to mention his value on the market.

      Toss in the fact that, in my opinion, we had to get an established backup in return? I think there were too many pieces, too many moving parts to make it work.

      I rest my case.


      PS—Re: Mission Impossible, are we talking the Peter Graves or Tom Cruise version?

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        March 17, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Hey Rick,

        Yes, Peter Graves is Mission Impossible for me. I would go with Martin Landau before Tom Cruise as well. Not really a fan of that ego.

        The great thing about arm chair GMing is that we all have our opinions and unless the real GM or Coach does what we say we can never truly know how good or bad our ideas are.

        However, Mr Mason I am entitled to my cross-examination;

        My show is refering only to the start of the season so Hainsey, Streit, Hanzel, White, and Shattenkirk are immaterial to my case.

        Exhibit A: Schultz’s signing at $1.5mil was only a minor gamble this off-season. No one could have foreseen his development into the D man he has become. Last off-season, the only reason the Pens were able to sign him for so cheap a rate was that no one was really beating down the door to sign him. His stock was really low. The signing represented a coup on both fronts. JR retained the RFA status so that he can receive draft picks this year if he jumps. For Schultz he retained the ability to prove himself and go for the big bucks this off-season.

        Exhibit B: The Cullen signing wasn’t all that great of a deal. A 4th line C is not all that important Don’t get me wrong, I like Cullen and think he has brought all that he could to the team, but again, he is a 4th line C. In the long term for the Pens it may actually hurt not letting Sundqvist get more ice-time. Personally, in hindsight, I would have rather have had Cullen and Sundqvist as the Pens C rather than Bonino and Cullen.

        Exhibit C: I do like Ruhwedel as a 6th or 7th D man for this team but I think this team’s D is well below average. Cole is the only Big D that tries to play somewhat big. Letang isn’t big but does his best to play big and gets injured for it. Schultz has huge upside and is in line for mega $$$$ but again doesn’t play that big. Maatta doesn’t play big either and took nearly a year to get back into a usable form from his last injury and is injured again. Domoulin has struggled all season and although I like Daley, he is inconsistent and small. The team D is one of the worst in the league, giving up more shots than all but 3 other teams. More improtantly even before the injury bug struck the D was as bad, it really didn’t change with injuries. Last March the team had already manage 2 sub 20 SOG against games this year they are still doing their best imitation of Pylons in the D zone.

        No, JR really hasn’t done much more than try and keep the same team together while the rest of the league has adjusted their rosters and strategies to counter that same team. And more important, the team is 1 year older; particularly players like Cullen and Kunitz. With so few teams repeating Cup victories, how many of those teams do you think were able to repeat with as much as the same line-up as the Pens are trying to repeat with?

        If it can be done, I do think Sullie can do it, but the task before him is appearing larger and larger and all because JR really didn’t deal this off season. Yes, in dealing MAF, he would have needed to get a back-up, but with $5.75mil he would have had plenty of $$$ left over for an upgrade on D. You don’t need a $5.75mil back-up.

        I know there are a lot of people who would rather disagree with me and that is alright; it makes for great discussions.

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          March 17, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

          Hey Other Rick,

          Your points on the cross-exam are well-taken.

          I just have a moment for a rebuttal (a cross-cross exam?), so I leave with a final thought.

          I’ll defend JR for not making major changes to a team that won the Stanley Cup. Hindsight is always 20/20, and it’s easy to look back and say that perhaps he should’ve moved Fleury last summer.

          Again, we don’t know if there was a market. Or what the return would’ve been. And while Murray was splendid in the postseason, it wasn’t an absolute lock that he’d be as good as he is.

          I applaud JR for his prudence.

          And the team has improved in some ways, albeit internally. My word, has Sheary been good. Defensive issues aside, Guentzel, too. While I certainly like him, I never envisioned Rust in a million years being on pace for a 20-goal season. Which he was before he got hurt.

          Wilson has quietly developed into a solid hockey player. Kuhnhackl, too, especially on the PK.

          My primary bone of contention is our lack of functional size and snarl. But again, we won a Stanley Cup playing it JR’s way. Who I am to argue?

          As an aside, the Blackhawks are looking very much like legit Cup contenders. They followed JR’s blueprint (fast kids in the bottom six, puck moving ‘d’) right down the line.


          • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
            March 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

            Hey Rick,

            Consider this, JR did his level best to retain all the same players from one year to the next; Lovejoy was the only defection. The problem with this is that in taking this conservative approach he failed to retain the personality that won the Cup last year. Last years Cup was not won on conservative decisions; decisions based on trying not to lose but on going for the gold, going for the win.

            From 2010 until 2016 the team kept players well passed their value, passing over rookies and failing to trade players to get back draft picks. From 2010 through 2016 it always ended in futility.

            Finally JR dumped the safe pick MJ and gambled on Sullivan. Sullivan in turn sat veterans, Lovejoy, Cole, and even Malkin. Instead of staying the safe course he through Sheary, Rust, Kuhnhackl, and Sundqvist out in prominent roles and the Pens stormed to the Cup.

            This off-season JR backslid to the conservative; let’s keep MAF around passed his usefulness to the team. Let’s hold the line and try and repeat with the exact same players as last year. The won it all last year so they can win it all again this year.

            What? Whent was the last time the exact same line up won repeat Cups?

            As a coach I urged my team to go for it all the time. I believe in the old saying “Victory goes to the Bold!” If a person isn’t a goalie has never stood between the pipes, I can excuse them for have having some trepidations over Murray. They may not have been able to see that Murray is a legitimate NHL starter making MAF redundant a Captain Dunsel, a spare part that could be used to upgrade a position that needed upgrading.

            However, I can’t excuse GMs who watched this teams futility over the last several years opting to abandon the strategies that won the Cup to fall back on the worn out strategies of losing teams, looking to the past for future victories.

            If you keep your eye in the rear view mirror, looking at the players that won you the Cup last year, you run into the road hazards ahead of you; teams that have taken what you did right; adapted it and tweaked it for future success all the while you only viewed the road behind.

            By the way this was a great exhange, thanks!

            I love all the hockey talk.

            • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
              March 17, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

              I love it, too.

              And great thoughts, by the way. Especially the bold vs. conservative argument.

              To put it in Biblical terms, you gotta’ step out of the boat to walk on the water … 🙂


          • Jim's Gravatar Jim
            March 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

            Hey Rick’s,
            I really enjoy your banter between the both of you. It is indeed entertaining and informative. I am going to try to do the ” impossible” by trying to strike a middle line between both of your posts. Among friends this is not always the best idea, because instead being a voice of middle ground,usually you end up with two new enemies. Such is life….
            Here goes anyway. 🙂
            Rick, you mention the signing of 3 ” utility grade ” defense men as an inspirational move by JR last fall.
            Sad truth is our salary Cap is so screwed up that JR could only afford these level of players. Plus no matter how you look at it, the MAF ,Nick Bonino, and even Brian Dumolin situation will only come back to bite us in the rear end in the off season. Plus JR failed to address the real situation which was the severe need for at least 2 larger d men last summer. The main reason for all the injuries this year is that we have ” electricians trying to be plumbers “.
            Now compounded even greater is the fact that Connor Sheary is playing his way to a 30 goal, 70 point season and come this summer ….this kid will get a 4-5 + million raise and a 6 year deal from someone. ( look at Maatta’s 4.1 million, 6 year deal ). We can not afford to sign him ? Even if you could, do you really want to tie up this much money in a player who is only 5’8″ on a good day and looks good now because he clicks with Sid.? But what happens when Sid is 33 and the skills start to fade and then Sheary is exposed ?
            Just like Kris Letang and his 7 year ,7.3 million a year deal .Because he is only 5’11″( small for an elite level d- man) and the way he plays he became injured often.
            Now is he really worth 7.3 million playing 70% of the season ? I do not think so and we still have 5 years left to pay him ! The same can be said about Sheary. Connor who has only been in the league a year and a bit and is starting to get injuries now. So you know I do like JR and his moves have been ” effective”, but I feel he could have done more in terms of size and grit.
            Now we are paying the price.” Medical Premiums “haha
            Coach, you mention Justin Schultz. I do not think you give JR enough credit. What he did was nothing short of brilliant. Justin was the most sought after college player when he was drafted.He received a huge signing bonus and had many incentives in his original contract.4 million plus. Unheard of for a College kid at that time.
            Toronto offered him a mint. He did not want to go to a big, big City. That is why he chose small market ” backwater” Edmonton. JR stole him from Edmonton and at that time he was a UFA because of his original college status. Now JR does not rush out to resign him but instead forces the kid to try to get a better offer elsewhere. Justin does get other offers but they are all large market teams and not for the high dollars he wants. So, now Justin comes back and and accepts a much smaller contract for one year. JR uses the fact that the hero of the 2016 cup run,Nick Bonino needs to get signed first and therefore the Pen’s can only offer 1.4 million. Because of the contract used and that if Justin accepts he now becomes a RFA !! Brilliant move by JR. Justin accepts knowing if the Pen’s win the Cup again, and the fact he can play for an entire season that his value will only increase. He is not stupid, he looks around the locker room and realizes that Letang is the number 1 offensive d man, but he is really a walking concussion , and then Daley who is 34 years old, and his best days are behind him…so he concluded Justin Schultz should flourish in a Pen’s uniform this year. AND HE HAS !
            Second JR move of brilliance. The Streit trade.
            I will not go thru all the details again as previously posted but I kept thinking watching the game against Philly that two weeks earlier Streit was an assistant Captain and now is playing on the same ice at over half the cost to the Pen’s as he did when he was a Flyer.
            Mario has to be laughing to himself.
            So Coach, I too have severe criticisms of JR but as noted above, the man is NO DUMMY .
            So to both of my new friends who I respect very much
            I hope you do not take me to seriously.
            Great stuff as always guys.

            • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
              March 17, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

              Thank you, my friend, for attempting a little mediation. You’d make a good arbiter … 🙂

              Some mild push back. I hear ya’ about Letang. Looking back on all the injuries and health issues, perhaps that’s one deal we’d like to undo. Although I’ll argue that he was outstanding in last year’s postseason. Lest we forget, it was Tanger who set up the Cup-winning goal with a brilliant individual effort.

              JR had nothing to do with Letang’s contract–that was Ray Shero. Keep in mind, Tanger was fresh off a banner 2012-13 season (Second-Team NHL All-Star and third in the Norris Trophy voting) when it was signed.

              Despite a string of playoff disappointments, I think Shero reacted properly in trying to keep the core intact. A strategy that proved out with last season’s Cup triumph.

              Olli Maatta–I agree that perhaps JR rushed a bit in locking him up. Again, it’s easy to forget how well Maatta played as a rookie, and how much promise he held. Heck, I thought we had a sure-fire All-Star for years to come.

              Yes, maybe we can be mildly critical of JR for eating up too much cap space, and perhaps not adding another defenseman over the summer.

              Again, we’ve got to put it in context. Who would we have targeted? Who (or what) would we have given up?

              Okay, I’ll climb down off my soap box now … 🙂


  6. JIM's Gravatar JIM
    March 16, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Ok Rick, I will play along.
    Hope you enjoy it.

    Friday walks out to his Ford Fairlane squad car and Gannon asks Joe.
    What do you think Joe ? Is she on the level ?
    Joe replies. Yes she is. Did you notice the number 428 ?
    Gannon replies. What Joe ?
    J. 428 was the number on her limited addition, autographed Sidney Crosby picture hanging on the wall. She is real.There not cheap and that is 2 weeks salary for her at least.
    G. What next ?
    J. Lets look at some tape down at the precinct.
    Now at the station…..
    J. What do see Bill ?
    G. Sure looks like the Penguins ?
    J. I am not so sure. The Stanley Cup Champs only won 35 % of the Face offs . Something is not right. How can you win any game in the NHL with only 35%.
    My nephews High school team could do better than that ! Makes me nervous.
    You know Bill, they pay Crosby and Malkin over 20 million a year….35 % . Does not make sense… Bonino is not signed for next year either .Lets keep going .
    J. That first goal….You notice anything odd ?
    G. They look a little sloppy Joe. ( Pun intended ) sloppy-joe…the food.
    J. Murray stops the first shot. Great save. But how does 6’3″ 215 defensive center get the rebound and scores on an open side. Where is the d man?
    Better still who’s assignment was that. ? That is school boy hockey, not NHL play off hockey,…Rookie mistakes .
    J. The second goal. Power play. What do you see Bill ?
    G. Simmonds was at the right place at the right time ?
    J. Right you are. Good job. But does not seem a little odd to you that nobody from the Pen’s team took him out ?? Their best scorer next to Claude G. and Jake V. and NOBODY thought it is important to take care of him?? He had enough time to sing a duet with Kate Smith and do GOD Bless America ….
    Goalie never saw a thing… You could have Murray and Fleury both in nets
    at the same time and the Flyers would have scored.
    I think something is off here Bill….Big time.
    J.The third Goal. I almost choked on my doughnut Bill. Rewind that and show me again….Slow it down…. Rust and Schultz. What are they thinking. They passed the puck to the wrong player? Are they colored blind ? Quick pass to Giourx all alone in front of Murray. How is that possible ? Again my nephew could score from there. Where is the defense ? Next to Crosby and Malkin he is the most dangerous player on the ice? These guys are just sleep walking.
    Not Murray’s fault either.
    Now I know these guys are not the real Penguins !!
    Turn it off Bill . I have seen enough.
    Lets go see Mario .
    The music fades…..
    🙂 Tune in next week for episode 2…. Where is Mario ?… and Loueegi….

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      March 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Jim, this is absolutely priceless … 🙂

      First of all, thank you for playing along. I wasn’t sure if anyone would appreciate my Dragnet theme.

      And second…well…I didn’t stop laughing for over a minute. VERY funny and clever … 🙂

      Once I did stop chuckling, I realized you did a marvelous job of hitting on the real issues of the game. Far better than I … 🙂

      Well done, my friend … 🙂

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      March 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Good stuff Rick and Jim,

      Watching the game I was Irate. Yes the pens blew many assgnments. They did their level best to address my pet peeves in the most negative manner possible. However, I do wonder what would have happened if that see no Penalty, hear no Penalty, blow no whistle monkey in stripes and red arm band would have actually called the cross-check/major interference penalty that happened right in-front of him with his face turned right to it, on I believe Malkin’s second shift.

      I say this because the Pens were flying on their first several shifts. The had Philly turned inside out, looking like the Pens of last play-offs. On his first shift Kessel fed Malkin beautifully in front of the net, unfortunately the puck was bouncing and Mason was equal to the task on both his initial shot and the rebound. Next shift out, Malkin still racing around like a Russian bear in a feeding frenzy went behind the net after a loose puck. A flyer D (Didn’t catch the number) didn’t bother playing the puck, he just proceeded to cross-check Malkin, not just once, or twice but at least three times, eventualy knocking Malkin off his skates, while the loose puck rolled around the LW corner and up the boards.

      As the play exited the zone the garbage in stripes watched on, behind the play, waiting for Malkin to retaliate. Malkin didn’t. He just tried playing hockey and tried to get back into the play. Next thing you know only a few seconds later, the Pens get whistled for their first penalty.

      Maybe Malkin should have answered the bell again and taken the bait, giving the piece of waste material in stripes what he wanted. Maybe that would have keep the Pens in attack mode that they started the game in.

      Yes the Pens continue to make me look like a prophet as they continue to bumble along all of my talking points. However, I can’t help but wonder what happens in the game if the Officials had any integrity and called that penalty to keep the momentum on the Pens side. They were outshooting Phi 7 or 8 to 3 at that point.

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        March 16, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        In way of apologizing for my less than civil diatribe and sort of playing along with the theme

        “Sorry to shock you, but l never went to finishing school. My school is the streets and the barrel of a revolver is my teacher. I get $50 a day in expenses when l can get them, gentlemen. I owe Miss Skeffington three years back pay. Ain’t that right?”

        (From a different kind of detective movie and one of my favorites can you guess?)

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          March 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          Other Rick,

          I want to say “Ace Ventura Pet Detective,” but I have a feeling I’m wrong, wrong, wrong … 🙂


          • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
            March 16, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

            Sam Diamond from Murder by Death

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        March 16, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Hey Other Rick,

        I vaguely recall the play you’re referring to. If I’m not mistaken, the Philly defenseman was Nick Schultz…no relation to Justin or Hammer.

        I seem to remember Schultz losing his stick, and then doing everything in his power (both within and beyond the rules) to keep Malkin pinned along the wall.

        Sadly, as we know all too well, the refs aren’t perfect.

        Had the Pens clearly not run out of steam (quite understandable, given their recent travels) I might have been more upset.

        I’m just chalking it up as one of “those” games. Hence, the goofy ode to Dragnet.


        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          March 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Hey Rick,

          Had the Referee not been looking right at the play, staring at it as the play went up ice as if waiting to see if Malkin would retaliate so that he could at worst play even-up I wouldn’t be upset either. However, the See no Penalty, Hear no Penalty, Call no Penalty mentality of the Monkeys in stripes infuriates me as their non calls often times has major impacts on games.

          That is why I mentioned the recent article regarding the Road Runner commenting on how important they felt their winning the Cup in a sweep against those same Flyers in 76 on last the last article you or was it the one before that, that you posted.

          And yes the stick eventually came out of the Flyers hands but not until he had delivered a couple of cross-checks.

          • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
            March 16, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            I hear ya, Other Rick,

            Speaking of concerns, I hope Ron Hainsey isn’t too badly hurt. Given our present state on ‘d’, we can ill afford to lose him for any length of time.

            I can’t remember the last time we had a run of injuries like this to our defense. Even with the acquisitions of Hainsey and Streit, we’re running out of bodies to plug in.

            Cameron Gaunce is okay in a pinch…he plays within himself, has a little bit of an edge and gets the puck on net…but he’s not a long-term solution.

            Not to sound harsh, but I don’t think Derrick Pouliot is, either.


            • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
              March 16, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

              PS–Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette authored an apt if sadly appropriate quip.

              He said pretty soon, people would be saying “flies are dropping like Penguins defensemen” instead of the other way around.


            • JIM's Gravatar JIM
              March 16, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

              Hey guys,
              My 2 cents worth. If Pouliot is the best we can do… we are all in real trouble.
              To continue your theme…” Car 54 where are You “.
              and you can substitute the numbers ….. 3,6,32,58,65, plus 7,25, 62,72, and if we wait long enough 71, 81,87, will be there too.
              I know you are upset Coach, and I understand your logic.You have been saying this to all of us since November !

            • 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
              March 17, 2017 at 12:28 am | Permalink

              Good Evening Hockey Fans,

              I’ve been thinking of a new recruiting poster for the Pens: Come to Pittsburgh. Spend some time on our defense in America’s Most Liveable City, and on IR.

              I know, it’s not funny, but I need a diversion. They may have to lay off people in the front office to pay their medical bills.

              As for last night’s game, they had nothing left in the tank. I wish it wouldn’t have been against Philly, but it was and now the Flyers have had the last minute of their 15 minutes for this season. We play them once more, so maybe they’ll get 16 minutes this year. One thing they won’t get is a playoff berth unless the Isles, Tampa and Toronto crash and burn. I don’t see that happening.

              Back here in th Burgh, I think it’s time to sit Kessel for a few games. He can’t make a pass, take a pass, or keep the puck on his stick. He’s avoiding contact, though on this team these days that’s probably not a bad idea, and couldn’t win a puck battle if he carried two sticks with super glue on the blades. I don’t know where his head is, but I know where it isn’t. He needs a rest. When he gets back to the bench after his shift he looks like he needs CPR. In fact he looks that way while he’s on the ice. If he can’t regain some mojo for the playoffs, the road to repeat will be a mile or two longer.

              Of course, he’s not the only one who could use some rest, he just happens to be the poster boy at this moment by virtue of some performances that even the word lackluster is too lofty to describe. I don’t see how it would hurt the team anymore than actually having him on the ice at this point.

              Another stellar night of NHL officiating. Don’t get me started or we’ll be here all night.


            • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
              March 17, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

              Hey 55 On Point,

              I have a couple of concerns centering around our injury situation, and you touched on one of them.

              While in a weird, backward sort of way, the injuries could prove to be a blessing in disguise by giving players some much-needed rest, it also puts an extra load on the guys left standing.

              I’m worried that the ones who have been there game in and game out, most notably Crosby and Kessel, will be worn down come playoff time. As you so aptly noted, we’re already seeing signs of it.

              I’m particularly concerned with d-men Cole, Dumoulin and Schultz. Even though the latter two have had some time off (again due to injuries) they’re logging frightful workloads in the absence of Letang, Daley and Maatta.

              Cole, especially, with his hard, involved, shot-blocking style.

              Another concern. Most of our wounded–Daley, Hagelin, Maatta and Rust–aren’t due back till the end of the regular season (perhaps later).

              That’s a really lousy time for guys to be shaking off the rust (no pun intended) while trying to re-assimilate into the lineup.



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