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Penguins Update: Adversity Arrives in the ‘Burgh – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Update: Adversity Arrives in the ‘Burgh

It’s hard to decide who looked more morose.

Never one to hide his emotions, Mike Sullivan did a slow, sullen burn on the Penguins’ bench as he watched his team collapse in the late stages of an embarrassing 6-3 loss to Detroit last night.

“We didn’t play the right way again; we are trying to outscore teams instead of outplaying them,” said the black-and-gold skipper, fairly biting off his words. “When we do that, we are an ordinary team.”

Slumped in front of his locker, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury appeared positively distraught. Running his long, slender fingers through his sweat-soaked hair—anguish pooling in his dark brown eyes—he struggled to explain to reporters what went wrong.

“I fumbled the puck behind the net, and that caused the goal,” he said, referring to Thomas Vanek’s gift tally that knotted the score at 2-2 and negated an early Pens lead. “That was a big mistake. But we were still fine.”

Fine until the Red Wings pumped four goals past a shaky “Flower” in the final 21 minutes. Including Frans Nielsen’s gut-wrencher to tie the score at 3-3 with 54 ticks left in the second period. And an equally debilitating marker by No. 1 star Andreas Athanasiou, who skated unfettered through the entire Penguins team in Malkin-esque fashion before beating Fleury to the glove side 1:46 into the final period.

Throw in some bad luck in the form of a disallowed goal midway through the frame, and the recipe for disaster was complete. In the final 10 minutes, the Pens displayed all the tensile strength of an earthen dam crumbling in the midst of the monsoon season.

Adversity has, indeed, arrived in the Steel City. With a pronounced thud.

A quick recap of the recent road trip says it all. The Pens lost three in a row in regulation for the first time since December 2015, when Sullivan assumed the coaching reins from Mike Johnston. By a combined score of 15-6.

Two bugaboos continue unabated. The Pens were typically dreadful in the faceoff circle, winning only 44 percent of their draws over the three-game trip. On the penalty kill? They yielded five power-play goals in 13 tries. For good measure, the locals were out-hit, out-shot and out-blocked. Out-hustled, too.

It wasn’t like they were facing a murder’s row of NHL elite. Sure, Washington’s a top-notch team and the Sens aren’t bad, either. But Detroit—an Eastern Conference bottom feeder—is a foe we should take to the proverbial woodshed.

Even more alarming is a tendency to unravel when opponents grab the lead. Especially on the road.

The list of lopsided losses reads like a gruesome passage straight from The Book of Nightmares. Montreal 4-0. Nashville 5-1. Minnesota 6-2. Washington and Columbus, 7-1. And now the recent three-game skid.

Defeats that reveal a disturbing lack of fiber?

Sullivan seems to think so.

“When I look at some of the goals that were scored, we have opportunities to be harder to play against. With numbers. With commitment. With awareness,” he said. “Those details are important.”

It’s not going to get any easier. Our boys have a critical return engagement with the Caps tomorrow night at PPG Paints Arena. Then it’s back to the road for contests with Atlantic Division kingpin Montreal and vastly improved Carolina, who bombed the Islanders last night. Followed by home-ice matchups with Boston and St. Louis.

Did I mention that Kris Letang left the game last night and appeared to favor his left leg?

No sir. It’s not going to get any easier.

Alumni Tie

While the real black and gold struggled, a team of Penguins alumni fared better at the far end of the state. Powered by two goals from Ryan Malone and Tyler Kennedy’s game-tying tally, the ex-Pens rallied to tie the Flyers’ alumni, 3-3, before a packed house at Wells Fargo Center.

“Well you got to shorten the bench there a little bit and add a little speed,” Pens coach Eddie Johnston joked, explaining his decision to play the 30-year-old Kennedy for a good chunk of the third period.

The Pens’ lineup featured a host of popular former players, including Kennedy, Malone, Troy Loney and Bryan Trottier, along with the “Ol’ Two-Niner” Phil Bourque.

Flyers luminaries included Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and Reggie Leach (the “LCB Line”), as well as Eric Lindros and “Legion of Doom” linemates John LeClair and Mikael Renberg.

*Be sure to check out Rick Buker’s books,
 
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25 Comments

  1. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    January 17, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Hey Guys,
    I know Rick will post something about last nights 8-7 disaster later today, so I am going to post something different.( I know we won…great comeback…but that is not play off Hockey.)
    Just an observation. Today while looking over the NHL stats I noticed something unusual.
    In the Eastern conference , Washington is in first place with 64 points in 44 games played.The number 8th position is Carolina with 49 points, in 43 games.
    9 th,10th,11th, all have 48 points,12th,13th,14th have 46,45,44 points respectively. # 15 and 16 have 43 and 42 points. ( The spread from 8 th to 16th position is only 7 points in the East.)
    NYI are in last place.There to good a team…they will be moving up for sure.
    In the West, Minnesota is in first place with 61 points in 42 games.In 8th place is LA at 48 points in 44 games.9th,10th,11th and 12th places have 47,46,44,44,points respectively.Four teams and only 4 points from a play off spot. Wow.
    The last 2 spots are Arizona and Colorado with 32 and 27 points. There out for this year.
    So my point is, at the half way point of the 2016-17 season,,,Twenty eight of Thirty teams can still make the play offs. 7 point spread is nothing in the East to make up and 4 points in the West. You could not get any closer than this. This is why the NHL is the best league in the World!
    Last point is, with this many teams so close, injuries and TRADES will be the key to who finishes in the top 16 teams come the start of the second season.
    Any thoughts?
    Cheers.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      January 17, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Hey Jim,

      A really (really) astute point, my friend.

      With most everyone still in the playoff hunt, most teams will be looking to buy. That gives the few teams in sell mode a TON of leverage.

      The bottom line? It’s likely to be difficult for the Pens to make any significant upgrades through trades.

      Rick

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      January 17, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      Hey Rick and Jim,

      I agree with you to a degree Rick; The Pens may find a small market from the teams willing to sell however, with so many teams still in the hunt ,there still may be a chance to trade Fleury and give both Fleury and Murray a chance to get some PO starts. With so many teams in the hunt, someone may think a proven G is their ticket. They Pens may not get much in the way of immediate impact but may position themselves for the future.

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        January 17, 2017 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        Good point, Other Rick.

        Not to sound down on him, but I just don’t think Fleury’s going to bring a big return. Goalies traditionally don’t. At least not without a pot sweetener.

        Good thought, though, about clearing some cap space for the future.

        Still, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Pens keep Flower and expose him in the Expansion Draft.

        Rick

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        January 18, 2017 at 12:06 am | Permalink

        Hey Guys,
        Two facts still remain constant.
        1. We are watching the closest, most competitive season in 50 years. ( Since the league went from 6 to 12 teams in 1967.) When 28 out of 30 teams can still make the playoffs in mid January, and really all the teams have had their moments this year, it will be an exciting finish. Unpredictable !
        I understand the top 6 teams now at mid point, will almost certainly be in the playoffs, but beyond that anything can happen.This has never happened before Rick. Great for the game itself but tough on the individual teams.

        2. The Pen’s can not win it all again this year without some serious upgrades.The rest of the league has not, and will not stand still come trade deadline. We have a goalie controversy and it is affecting the long term play of the team. Yes we may not get a lot for MAF but the team plays differently when MM is in nets.( accept last night )
        Again I say last nights game was great in two areas ONLY.
        First we did not give up and the Capitals choked !! We are definitely inside their heads.Up 3 goals and they lose 8-7 in OT. Great for us.
        Secondly, the amount of missed defense assignments by both teams was atrocious. I thought I was watching a bad University hockey game, not a premier NHL match up.Sorry guys, I like a game where by maybe 7 goals in total are scored, not 15.
        Which we all agree means we need a defense make over and I know we have injuries, but so does everybody else.
        I hear from my sources that the Pen’s are indeed shopping right now.
        So we shall see very soon what goes down.
        Cheers,

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        January 18, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        Hey Jim and Rick,

        First, I agree that trading MAF right now is in the best interest of the team and for him, the earlier the better. It would give both the team and MAF the most amount of time to adjust the change.

        However, I also think you are on the right track as to what will happen, not really what should happen Rick. I think that the Pens just might try and keep MAF for the expansion draft and try and talk him into being left exposed. I think the love for and the loyal to Crosby, Malkin, Letang, and Fleury and the desire to see all 4 retire Pens is really high among both the organization and many fans. That would really be a PR coup, whether or not it serves their on ice needs. In fact, I can’t say that I blame anyone too much for that thought. part of me, the kid in me, would love to see it too.

        If the Pens did leave MAF exposed to the draft, the probability that LV would take him is extremely low. He could easily sneak through the draft. He is over 30, carries a large price tag, and has had a really rough season.

        It is hard to say what LV would do but if I am LV I would risk taking Schultz if he is left unprotected even though he is RFA (they are allowed to take some FAs) or I would be eyeing Kuhnhackl, Sundqvist, Fehr, or Maatta as they are the most likely players exposed. Of course it all would depend on what other teams would leave exposed. Kuhnhackl and Sundqvist could bring a large bang for the buck. Maatta may be a bit of a risk since he had a rough couple of months but seems to be settling down. Fehr would be a safe pick, a veteran who may not be all that pricey and has shown that if given quality ice time may get produce for you, depending on the rest of the teams make-up.

        Jim, the best part of your first point, the league is very competitive right now, is just icing on the cake for true hockey fans. There have been some very fun games to watch and interest should be up all around.

        As to your second point, about high scoring vs low scoring, I don’t care either way as long as the cause for the low scoring is either great goaltending or good solid clean defense and not the garbage Jersey clutch and grab hockey. As for high scoring, I love to see it when it is a question of great skills just simply over powering the D and G and not D that are floundering on the ice or behind the net because they haven’t a clue and belong in the AHL or lower.

        Did you see that Warsofsky was sent down and Gaunce brought up?

        • Jim's Gravatar Jim
          January 18, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          Hey Coach,
          Thanks for the feedback. I do respect your position and in many ways feel the same about ” clutch and grab Hockey” or the ” trap ” zone defense that was employed by many teams of less skill level than ours in the NHL. However,fire brand hockey seldom leads to Cup Championships. Look at Dallas for the past few years. Their philosophy was and may still be, we are going to outscore you…Has not worked so far.
          I am dating myself a bit, but even the great teams like Montreal of the 70’s and 80’s ,the Islanders Dynasty and the Oilers all had 3 things in common. 1. Great Goal tending.
          2. At least 4 star defense men who could play both defense and offense. 3. At least 2 great offensive centers and a third defensive center man. In summary, they all had the players who outplayed their opponents…( Even Gretzky said the Oilers were a great defensive team and that was often over looked.)
          So for me a 5-2 hockey game is exciting, and 4-3 is even better. But we all have our own preferences…. A win is a win !

          PS: NY Islanders just fired their head coach. Watch out for these guys. They have to much talent to be last in our Conference for long.
          Always great to read your posts Coach.
          Cheers

          • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
            January 18, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

            Please do not mis-understand Jim, I am not a fan of firebrand hockey/pond hockey either. I just want good hockey and let the score be what it will be.

            Like you I got to see many of the greats. I saw the first Lemieux/Gretzky match up at the Arena. Players like Lemieux, Gretzky, Orr, Lafleur, Bossy, Yzerman, they all could make even the best defensemen or goalies look foolish. Conversely Goalies like Sawchuck, Plante, Dryden, Parent, or Roy could stone the best scorer.

            So for me watching a high scoring game because a Lemieux or Gretzky was feeling or watching a shutout streak because Sawchuck, Dryden or Roy was on top of their game is just as good.

            Furthermore, I don’t like to be to critical about our Pens but at least on D, I think they are 1 dimensional. All of the D are pretty much Puck movers only. Cole is the only true exception to that rule. He is the only one who the team seems to want to get physical (Letang likes to get physical but the team seems not to like it for reason we are seeing now, injuries). That one dimensional aspect of the Pens D just may be the Achillies heel that is causing the problem right now.

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              January 18, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

              PS

              I am not a fan of this expansion or the last one for that matter. I think the quality of the games is suffering. The Pens last game 8-7 and the Dal-NYR game last night of 7-6 both disappoint me. They are perfect examples of reasons against high scoring games.

              With so many other sports now competing for the athletes out there, I am not seeing the same talent level through the ranks of any given team in the NHL.

              With this being the opposite of the NJ trap/clutch and grab hockey for me; high scoring games because there were players out there who only were out there because of the number of teams in the league. Who really didn’t have the skill to compete with the truly gifted.

  2. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    January 16, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Rick, Jim, Jayelen, well everyone,

    Just saw while moving Letang to IR the the Pens broght Guentzel and Rhuwedel back up. So here is my question, with the rumor mills on trades what do you think;

    Is Guentzel going to be shopped around for a package deal to a team that is rebuilding, say Colorado for a Landeskog. If Geuntzel is showing promise would Colorado accept a deal of MAF and Geuntzel for Landeskog? I only throw MAF into that discussion since the Pens would need to be able to clear cap room.

    Or could it be that the Pens may be shopping some vets around and are wanting needing to maybe rest them so they don’t get injured before the trigger is pulled on a trade.

    It would seem to me that going up against the Caps the Pens would have been better off recalling the other Wilson or Sestito to go against the Caps, after all they did win the game against the Caps Sestito played in.

    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      January 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Hey Coach
      Based on JR’s past experience. ..he will make a deal early and not wait for the trade deadline
      Makes sense to do this as when the deadline approaches the value of marginal players goes through the roof. He will not over pay.
      MAF, Pouliot, Guentzel, even Maatta could be in play I believe. Maybe Bonino!
      My thoughts.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      January 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Hey Other Rick,

      Excellent observations.

      I sure would hate to part with Guentzel. I think this kid’s the real deal. But you’re absolutely correct in asserting that if the Pens want to get an impact player like Landeskog, they’re going to have to give up someone of genuine promise.

      Think back to ’91-92, when we had to part with Paul Coffey and Mark Recchi to bring in Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson and Ken Wregget.

      I know a lot of people see Fleury as a bargaining chip. But honestly, if I’m another team–a rebuilding one at that–do I want to commit $5.5 million/year to a 32-year-old goalie who’s having (and had) confidence issues?

      No.

      Back to Guentzel. The only drawback, if you can call it that, is that he’s so much like the forwards we already have–highly skilled but small. If the Pens want to have another shot at the Cup, in my opinion they need to add guys who combine size and skill.

      Unfortunately, it’ll cost ’em.

      Rick

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        January 16, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Hey Rick,

        Agree, I would hate to lose Geuntzel, just like I hated to lose Recchi 25+ yrs ago. I was big fan of the Wreckin’ Ball. However, If I could somehow talk Colorado into a multiplayer swap to move Fleury, I would pull the trigger on that one. In the end though, I still think the Pens need a bigger D more than a bigger F

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          January 16, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          Great point, Other Rick.

          We may, indeed, have to sweeten the pot in order to move Fleury.

          Agree that a bigger d-man is critical. I cringe every time they call up Warsofsky. Not to take anything away from him–he’s having a fine season with the Baby Pens. But at 5’9″ 170 (and that’s generous) I think he’s just too small to be effective in the NHL. At least on a team where most everyone else is undersized, too.

          Rick

  3. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    January 15, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rick
    FYI
    I see Washington just beat the Flyers 5 – 0 and have a 9 game winning streak. We better be on the top of our game when we play them Tuesday or our streak could be 4.
    Let’s go Pen’s

  4. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    January 15, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rick,

    Earlier this year, I read a lot of people complaining that the things were coming to the Pens too easy and that the team would need to suffer before it could ever hope to win a second Cup. This idea has a lot of merit. My response, however, was that although I was not going to argue with the sentiment, I was not willing to give any of those wins back. I don’t think that was here on these boards but on another board I sometimes read. If any of those people have moved up to this better site, well, I hope you’re satisfied.

    Although no one has ever had a perfect season in Hockey, like Miami had in football, I hate losing even 1 game.

    As good as the Pens record is, there have been signs that there may be problems with our boys of winter. The D has been suspect all season, yielding way too many shots attempts, if I recall correctly on more than one occasion they surrender over 40 shots on goal while blocking nearly 20 more and the opponents missing the net more than 10 times for more than 70 attempts.

    Fleury has been seriously Jekyll and Hyde while Murray has had his moments as well.

    Finally the Face-Off circle has been a glaring weakness all season. A previous posting by you really brought to light just how bad they have been in the FO circle, to which Jayelene, Jim and I had a pretty good discussion going.

    I am not ready to throw the baby out with the bath water, but time is running out to address these concerns. The Pens need to sure up their D, get a good FO man, and one of their goalies consistent playing time so they stop with their Jekyll and Hyde play.

    To sure up their D they will have to look outside the organization. Every attempt to solve this with the current pieces of the puzzle has failed. They need to make a trade and they need to get at least one good pairing, so they need to re-unite Cole and Schultz. And when they look for a new D man, yes by all means make sure he has some mobility, but they need to get one that is more than 6’-1” tall and doesn’t panic and flop all over the ice, doing their best impression of a fish, like Warsofky did on, I believe, the last GA or the next to last GA last night.

    In the FO circle, they may be able to solve this weakness in-house with a better concentration by their Centers and a stronger team commitment from the other skaters. However, they still may need to look elsewhere. Part of me still would love to see Sundqvist up here, but although I think his positional play can help the team out as a whole, I haven’t seen how well he is doing in the FO circle, so I can’t say he could solve this problem.

    As for goal, Murray has got be given the undisputed role as starter and not putting him on a very tight leash so that he feels he has to absolutely perfect while MAF can just be Okay to earn a string of starts. I am not an MAF hater, I think he is still a quality number one, (despite last nights 6 GA effort) but he is not the future of the franchise I would love to see him retire a Penguin, but not at the expense of trading away or otherwise losing the future, or even impeding the development of the future goalies. At this point, MAF has become a distraction to the total team effort.

    Sorry and thanks for letting me vent.

    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      January 15, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Hey Coach,
      Some really good stuff as always. I can sense the total frustration you feel, as do we all, from your post.
      In reflection I never truly believed that we were this unbeatable, elite juggernaut that our record December winning streak indicated, hence the numerous posting of our needs to change up the line up in order to secure another cup in 2017.
      All teams go thru peaks and valleys during a long drawn out regular season so a 3 game losing streak is NOT the end of the world in my opinion,however we have both posted on the needs for an upgraded defense corps with more grit and size, some more talent with size up front,the need to improve on our transition game with to many turn overs, the face off crisis and a goalie situation that can not continue as is.
      Now apparently add another recent cause of concern to the list and that is to many penalties and the failure of our PK.
      I would like to add another area of concern for me to the long list as well. For the past 42 games,we have been the target in the league as the defending Cup Champions and as such we may have expended a lot of energy to be where we are. Can our players continue the same pace for another 42 games ?
      Can Crosby, who is approaching 30 years old and has played a lot of Hockey in the past 16 month’s including the World Cup and Cup finals or a Kris Letang who plays 28 minutes plus every game keep producing at the same rate as before?? They had better or we are in trouble.
      Penalties and injuries are often an indicator of a more serious problem. Sullivan hit the nail on the head when he said ” we can not out score our opponent, we must out play them”. Big difference !
      Final point is that all the good teams pace themselves during the season so they finish strong in the last 30+ games. Peak for the Play offs.
      We need to find another gear some how, because look where we are now and imagine if we go 4 wins and 11 losses in our next 15 games. With the play of the other teams in our conference, we could have a few serious issues to discuss come Valentines day !
      Hope Letang gets back soon… and our Goalie and other issues get addressed …… Good article Rick 🙂
      Cheers,

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        January 15, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Hey Jim really good points,

        Good teams, especially good teams whose stars are aging need to pace themselves. I have said it a couple of times already, as an armchair coach I would have sat Cullen, Kunitz, and some of the other older stars already, against weaker teams , to rest them for the better teams as well as give some of the kids a more playing time, more confidence, and be able to better evaluate their long term value to the team. With an expansion draft pending, I would think this is doubly important to know who exactly would be best to protect.

        You make two other very important points; Penalties and injuries point to deeper, more serious issues and focusing on outplaying your opponent is more important than focusing on outscoring them, if for no other reason than outplaying your opponent leads to outscoring them while focusing on simply scoring can lead to out scoring but also to losing 8 – 5 as well.

        • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
          January 15, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          Great article, Rick … and some real insights in the comment section! Thanks, guys! I have to admit I was afraid to check out penguinpoop today – I was thinking things might be bad after the loss to the Caps, worse after the loss to the Sens, and downright bleak after the fiasco last night in Detroit. (I had a bad feeling about that game right from the start. I mean, what’s up with falling into a game of firewagon hockey with – what did you call them, Rick – a bottom feeder?) Anyway, I was worried before, but after reading you guys, I’m REALLY worried.

          One thought I had about the aging star thing, and the need to rest some of the older players. I haven’t heard how bad Letang’s injury is, so maybe the horse is out of the barn, but I’ve been concerned for some time that he plays too much, that it lowers his effectiveness while he’s on the ice, and that it increases his risk of injury. I think a tired player is more likely to be injured than one who is at the top of his energy level. And Tanger’s no spring chicken, either. Anyway, I don’t have any stats or back that up, it just seems to make sense to me.

          Incidentally, Jim – it seemed like Bonino had a decent game last night. Do you think maybe he reads this blog? 😉

          • Jim's Gravatar Jim
            January 15, 2017 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

            Hope so Jayelene!
            These guys are pretty smart who blog on this site.
            Looks like the Gals are too.
            Cheers☺

          • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
            January 16, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

            Hey Jayelene,

            Like you, I can’t cite the actual studies but it seems to me that there has been research on that very subject, injury risk and playing too much/not getting enough rest. It also seems to be a very inuitive point.

            I looked around a little yesterday for something on Letang but the only thing I found was that no one was going to really say anything until after the morning skate today.

            Jim I have to agree with you, there are a lot of good articles and comments on this site and am glad Jayelene joined in. She has has already brought up several great points!

            • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
              January 16, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

              Hey all,

              Great thoughts and comments.

              Other Rick, I agree 100% about Fleury. Thirteen years into his career, and he still makes the same ghastly blunders, especially when handling the puck. If anything, he seems to have regressed this season.

              I decided to compare his numbers under Johnston, when the Pens played a more buttoned-down style, to his numbers under Sullivan. Under MJ (GP 88, SH 12, GAA 2.29, SV% .922). Under Sully (GP 61, SH 3, GA 2.71, SV% .910). Quite a difference.

              Not that Murray’s been airtight lately, either. (Partly a function of the way the team’s playing.) But I think at this stage, you commit to the kid in goal.

              Jim, great insight about teams going through peaks and valleys. You’re right…a 3-game losing streak isn’t the end of the world.

              My concern is, they don’t seem to be showing any signs of shaping up. If they don’t get a grip on themselves, this could easily morph into…say…a 6-game losing streak (or worse). Especially with Letang back on IR (announced this morning).

              Even though it seems inconceivable that the Pens could drop out of the playoff picture, the Eastern Conference is ultra-competitive this season. While we have a 7-point edge on the last wild card spot, that’s by no means an impregnable lead. Mark my words…Carolina’s going to make a surge before all is said and done.

              Jayelene, interesting thoughts about the Pens’ stars perhaps being a bit tired, thus more vulnerable to injury. Our guys have, indeed, played an awful lot of hockey over the past year. Perhaps fatigue is beginning to show … they just haven’t had the same energy and jump during the recent skid.

              Again, it’s a long season, and there are bound to be ups and downs. I just hope we can snap out of it.

              Rick

            • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
              January 16, 2017 at 10:54 am | Permalink

              Thanks, Jim & the Other Rick! The truth is, I hadn’t read the “ABOUT US” section until after I’d posted a couple of time. If I had, with my “credentials,” I never would have worked up the courage. But it looks like you guys are stuck with me now. {That is, unless one of you is a divorce lawyer, in which case we can talk settlement whenever you’re ready. 😉 }

              Meanwhile, Rick, maybe it wasn’t unexpected, but that’s really bad news on Kris Letang going on IR again. I know I’ve seen statistics comparing the team’s success with and without him in the lineup, and it isn’t pretty. And it doesn’t help that Dumoulin is out, too. Any idea how long until he can play again? I can’t imagine recovering from a broken jaw is a quick process, or much fun, for that matter. Fingers crossed for both guys.

            • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
              January 17, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

              Ok, this is one of those questions like, “if a tree falls in the forest, does it make any noise?” If someone says something dumb, but then corrects herself before anyone else does, is it still dumb? I don’t know where I got the idea that the Pens’ played poorly when Kris Letang was out of the lineup, but during last night’s game, one of the broadcasters said that they were 8-2-2 under that circumstance this year (9-2-2 now!). So they actually play better when Tanger’s nursing a wound. I stand self-corrected. 😉 (Although knowing you guys, it was probably out of kindness to the new kid that no one called her on it; thanks for that. And … I think I should get at least honorable mention for self-control from Rick, not saying anything more about last night’s bizarre game on this thread.)

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              January 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

              Jayelene,

              This year is a bit anomalous. In past years the Pens have struggled without Letang, so your assertion is not complete wrong.


            

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