Should the Penguins Dress Sestito for Game 3? – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Should the Penguins Dress Sestito for Game 3?

At the risk of repeating myself, I thought I’d pose the following question as the central theme of a full-blown post to our PenguinPoop readers.

Should the Penguins dress heavyweight Tom Sestito for today’s Game 3 in Columbus?


Whether they intended to or not, referees Dan O’Halloran and Ian Walsh opened a particularly messy can of worms with their laissez faire officiating in Game 2. Columbus got away with murder, including a passel of late hits behind the play, while the Pens were issued ticky-tacky penalties for holding. Or in Justin Schultz’ case, for making a gem of a defensive play.

The league office has already served notice in big, bold letters. Don’t expect any help from us.

Indeed, with a chance to draw a line in the sand and make a statement regarding borderline play, the NHL muffed it again. Quicker than you can say “Broad Street Bullies,” the powers that be doled out a measly one-game suspension to Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert for his attempt to decapitate the Pens’ Tom Kuhnhackl at the end of Game 2.

If only the lad had been wheeled off the ice on a stretcher. Perhaps the sentence might’ve been stiffer.

Then again, this is the NHL. Mario Lemieux’s not-so-beloved garage league. Where outlaws roam wild and free and seldom is heard a discouragin’ word. Especially when it comes to suspensions.

Back to the verdict. The message is crystal clear.

You’re on your own, boys.

Hence, my thoughts about Sestito.

Some, I’m sure, will recoil at the very notion. Dress Sestito? Are you nuts?

I believe there are valid reasons to consider such a move. Acutely aware this is their last real chance to gain a foothold, John Tortorella’s crew will show up with guns ablazin’. Anticipate a liberal dose of body work and worse, before what surely will be an amped up enemy crowd at Nationwide Arena.

If the referees continue to take a hands-off approach?

Get the body bags ready.

While no one player can completely neutralize a club like Columbus, I like the way big Tom goes about his business. Very direct and to the point. He gets right in the face of the biggest offender and issues a challenge. No pussyfooting around or beating around the bush.

Of course, standing up to our foes could backfire and incite even greater atrocities. That’s a gamble I’m willing to take.

Tough as they are, the Blue Jackets don’t have anyone in Sestito’s class as a fighter. Not Josh Anderson or bruising Boone Jenner. Certainly not disturbers Brandon Dubinsky or Scott Hartnell, who, for all their bluster, are overblown when it comes to scrapin’.

Maybe I’m squarely in the minority, but I feel Sestito has some redeeming qualities as a player. He skates fairly well for a big man (6’5” 228) and possesses an underrated touch, especially with his passes.

Most important…he makes an already courageous bunch even braver.

Unfortunately, someone will have to sit to make room. I nominate Scott Wilson. Mind you, he’s done nothing to merit a seat in the press box. It’s more a matter of physics and physiology than heart and desire. At 183 pounds, Willy’s dwarfed by the burly Blue Jackets. To my eye, he’s been a little less effective in the dirty areas than normal.

The demotion wouldn’t be permanent. I’d play Sestito for one game. Long enough to send a message to the Blue Jackets, loud and clear.

Two can play this game.

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  1. April 18, 2017 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    NO, playing into their hands if you go that direction

  2. April 17, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Kody Bigley Jody Mccoy Rachel Cardinale

  3. April 17, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Game 4 for sure… Up 3-0, I’d sit several of our more banged up players in favor of Streit, Archibald, Ruhwedel and Sestito. i think I’d sit Wilson, Cole, Schultz, Kuhnhackl

  4. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    April 16, 2017 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Hey guys and gals!
    That game was certainly one for your blood pressure. Who would have thought Jake would get 3 goals and Rusty gets the other two…
    Did not see that one coming . AMAZING.
    Way to go Pen’s.

    PS..CBJ tried to play hockey tonight and not as much Roller Derby… STILL SAME RESULT.


    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      April 16, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Hey Jim,

      Weren’t you the one talking about the young guns and the changing of the guard? The Pens have young guns too. Wow, way to go Guentzel and Rust!!!

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        April 16, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        Hey Coach.
        Right you are.
        Guentzel is a keeper. His hockey IQ is second to none. Always in the right place to get the pass and score or to make a pass and set up a goal. To think he is under contract for 2 additional years at $ 734,167 per season is quite remarkable.
        Rust has 1 more year at $ 640,000 per year as well. He too is good value for our team.
        Connor Sheary is up for a big raise this year as he becomes a restricted free agent. ???
        When CBJ scored their 3rd goal on about 6 shots in the first I thought, here we go again, Choke time… Really did. But then in the second it became apparent that CBJ was not going to really be a problem for us. Sergei BOB made some great saves and CBJ started taking penalties.
        Now we are down to one more win. Let’s do it on Tuesday…

        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          April 17, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          I am right there with you Jim; when CBJ was up 3 – 1 on just a handful of shots I was starting to wonder if Jarry was about to get some play-off experience. No slam on MAF he played great in the first two games but facing, what has it been 109 shots in 3 games? that kind of volume will eventually break a goalie. That is why I wanted to trade for a D man during the season, one who could come in and start shutting down some of these shots.

          • Jim's Gravatar Jim
            April 17, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

            109 shots in 3 games !!
            They probably blocked another 60 shots as well…
            You would not see that many shots and or attempted shots in an NBA series. Haha..
            Speaking of defense men, I thought Hansey played better than I imagined he would last night. He does not look out of place given the situation.
            Are you going to Cheer for the Leafs tonight Coach ?
            I do not expect it to happen but if Toronto was to win tonight the poor Caps mental state would be a frazzle.
            I guess their Washington media can be pretty tough on them sometimes, just like in Montreal. I am hoping so.

            Cheers 🙂

            PS. The Blues are 1 win away from beating the Wild as is Nashville over Chicago. Plus Edmonton is now 2 to 1 over the Sharks as they won last night.
            Things are changing my friend…

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              April 17, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

              Hey Jim,

              I probably shouldn’t but yes I am rooting for Toronto. Toronto is young with nothing to lose, Washington is old with a huge monkey on their back. However, I would love to see Toronto knock off Ovie and Crew.

              I read some Caps fans hoping the Pens sweep so that the Pens are odds on favorite. Their reason is they want to take the monkey off of their back but just by saying that, they show the Monkey is getting bigger and bigger as the clock ticks.

  5. April 16, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    No, we’re better than that. Let our speed and goals do the talking.

  6. April 16, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink


  7. April 16, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    No. Keep playing OUR game. Moment we dress guys to their level we get out of our element.

  8. April 16, 2017 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    No way. Beat them with skill & speed. Fists are the Torts way

  9. April 16, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Most definitely!!!

  10. April 16, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink


  11. 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
    April 16, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rick, and Everyone Else, Too!

    I’m with you on this, Rick, and for the same reason, a feeling I have knowing Columbus knows anything goes. I dress Sestito not because I fear Columbus, I dress him because I don’t trust them.


  12. April 16, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    No, No, No, No!!! He’ll just take somebody out, get a game misconduct, and now they’re down a player. No, I say!!!

  13. April 16, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink


  14. April 16, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Nope lets beat them with our speed and tenacity like we’ve been doing. we are under their skin, let’s not play their game….just keep playing ours!

  15. April 16, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Nope. Leave him in the press box

  16. April 16, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    No. Game 4.

  17. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    April 16, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Hi Rick,
    You know my thoughts. Leave it all alone. It worked well in games 1 and 2…
    Why chance screwing up the chemistry of the team ?
    In my opinion if I was the Coach and if we were to lose today, then in game 4 would I make the switch and add Sestito and start Murray, if he is ready to go…But only if we lose today.
    **( We are not going to lose.) CBJ is unhinged right now. As long as MAF keeps us close, we will win.
    Watch for more goals from the points as well for us because you know CBJ will be flooding the front of their net to stop the quick short passes as was the Bonino goal in game 1 and Sid’s in game 2.

    FYI. Last night in the Caps – Leafs game..First overtime and OVI is in the box serving a penalty… Caps kill the penalty and Ovi gets out and has a breakaway to win it all. He is in full stride. The closest Leaf player is 26 ft behind him and Mitch Marnier gets on his horse and beats his own d-man and OVI to the Leaf net and prevents a sure Goal. Unbelievable ! They are fast !
    We think the Pen’s are in the Cap’s head…. The Caps now know that this Leaf team is for real. The Leafs are not one bit afraid of Washington. Great for us !
    Just maybe their series goes to a game 7 and we win ours in 4 or 5 games max.


    • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
      April 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Jim. And I’m sure you saw the first game … the Leafs could have easily won that one, too. Go Leafs! 😉

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        April 17, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        Hi Jaylene,
        Nice to hear from you. How is your blood pressure after last nights roller coaster win ??
        As I have posted with Coach…If Chicago, Minnesota ,Columbus and San Jose all fall in the first round and the Caps were taken to a 6 or 7 game series with the Leafs, that would be very good for our Pen’s in terms of repeating as Cup Champions in 2017. I really was worried about a Chicago – Pens final because their team is built to handle us. Barring any serious injuries to our star players, I really like our chances to repeat now. – Can Chicago come back from 3 to 0 deficit ?

        Lets go Pen’s !!

        • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
          April 17, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          LOL! It’s funny you should ask that, Jim. I’ve taken to pausing the TV at critical junctures, getting up, doing the dishes, dusting the living room, etc., until I feel my BP coming back to normal. Then I sit down and let it rise again. It takes a lot longer to watch a game with this system, but my chances of surviving are greatly increased. 😉

          Btw, I think you’re getting ahead of yourself on the Nashville-Chicago series. The Preds are up 2-0, so let’s not count the dreaded Blackhawks out just yet. Soon, I hope, but not yet. 😉


          • Jim's Gravatar Jim
            April 17, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

            Hi Jay
            Thanks for the correction on Chicago.
            I heard the talking heads on TV and obviously I miss understood.
            Now my blood pressure went up… Way up.


            • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
              April 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

              Sorry about that, Jim. With any luck, your BP should be back down around midnight EST … by then, hopefully the Preds will have tightened the noose. 😉

            • Jim's Gravatar Jim
              April 17, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

              Hi Jayelene,
              ( sorry for misspelling your name earlier),
              It is not your fault for my over reaction to a media report. Thanks again for bringing me back to reality. Apparently Chicago has not played well in the 2 opening games against the Preds and that has the media talking up here of a sweep.
              With so many Canadian teams,( 5 out of 7) in round one of the playoffs this year, and especially Calgary and Edmonton playing in California now, we get 3 and sometimes 4 games a night. You can actually watch hockey from 7 pm until 2am, if the games go into overtime.
              3 English and one French sports channel are all carrying hockey. Every night until the Cup finals and then it is every other night. A hockey fans dream !
              I live 50 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and there is a 4 hour time difference to the Pacific.
              So there are some late nights indeed.

              To a 5-3 Toronto victory tonight !!

            • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
              April 17, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

              No problem, Jim. Several of my friends call me Jay. I’ll answer to anything these days except Blue Jacket Fan. 😉 (And I’m ready to turn on the Caps or Leafs at a moment’s notice.)

              You sound like you’re in Hockey Heaven! Who needs sleep when you can watch hockey, right?

              Btw, I traveled up through the Maritime Provinces this past summer – NB, NS, & PEI – and fell in love with them! Beautiful country, and wonderfully friendly people!


            • Jim's Gravatar Jim
              April 17, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

              Hi Jayelene
              The Hockey gods just smiled on us.
              Toronto beat Washington in overtime.
              Washington is now definitely rattled.

            • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
              April 18, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

              And the hockey gods smiled again, Jim, when the Preds beat the Blackhawks a few hours later, going up 3-0 and making your earlier prediction come to be a reality! Go Pens!

  18. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    April 16, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Hey Rick,

    As you know, I have always thought that Sestito should be used more often and not just as a deterent from thugee players. He isn’t just a goon. He has some hockey sense and could fill a bottom 6 role. Had the Pens been using Sestito all year at least as a platoon player, I would say whole heartedly yes; Play him!

    However, since the Pens have chosen not to use him even as a platoon player, I have to agree with k741 and Ellen Jakub, no, don’t play him. Playing Sestito is an aknowledgement that you are worried about how CBJ is playing. It shows fear to the enemy. I have always been one to be the intimidator and not the intimidated. Playing Sestito make the Pens appear intimidated. And even if they aren’t intimadated now, playing Sestito may cause some wavering in their confidence.

    Right now, CBJ is the intimidated one. They are intimidated by our speed and are scrambling to deal with our speed.

    I would rather amp up the speed another notch right now. I would consider suiting Archibald, reunite him with Rowney and Wilson and triple the speed threat. I would rather cause CBJ to spiral out of control in dizzying disarray from team speed and be forced to take even more stupid penalties.

    If this was still 1970s hockey, CBJ would no doubt in a good position to get away with more and more violent play because of the suspension handed down already, but I do think that the Suits in the NHL head office have to be aware of potential lawsuits and they would be more likely to put CBJ under the microscope, particularly in a nationaly televised game. If CBJ does anything stupid and the monkeys in stripes pull their usual see no penalty, even though a national audience does, I am sure the PR department of the NHL would go nuts. And if there is any intelligence left in those suits they should be informing their refs to at least call this game right.

    Maybe game 4 the whistles go back in the pocket, but today, I would think the refs will at least try and look better than they did last game.

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      April 16, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Did it again. I meant to say he isn’t just a goon, not a good. I have to start typing these in word were I can review what I type easier then cut and paste.

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        April 16, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Fixed it … 🙂

        Your points (and Jim’s, too) are very well taken.


  19. Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
    April 16, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I absolutely agree, Rick. Sestito is an underrated player, so it’s not like they’d be putting an anchor out there on the ice. And it’s become clear – not just from the first two games in this series, but from the officiating in other series as well – that the referees are under orders to look the other way. Sestito is the only real chance the Pens have to deter the kind of play that may put our guys out of action, and maybe for longer than just a game or two. The Pens need to have a healthy bunch (relatively speaking) going forward, if they have any hope of winning a second Cup. Go Pens!

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 16, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Agree, Jayelene.

      If Sestito was a run-of-the-mill heavyweight with no redeeming qualities other than the ability to use his fists, I wouldn’t even suggest playing him. But because he’s a viable option, I think it’s worth considering the move.

      Looks like you and I are in the minority…at least for now.


      • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
        April 16, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Yes Jim, it seems we are. And I’m guessing Sully isn’t going to be in our camp, either. Let’s just hope we get out of this series with the crew intact. 😉

        • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
          April 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          (Sorry, of course I meant “Rick” … got the pre-game jitters 😉 )

  20. April 16, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    They have done an excellent job of keeping their composure up to this point. Don’t sink to that level and just play your game.

  21. April 16, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Should the Pens abandon what’s working and play the game CBJ wants us to play? Uh, no. #pens #penguins

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 16, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Very valid point, k741.

      Why risk messing with a formula that’s working?

      It’s just a sense I have. The vibe feels a lot like the run-up to our game at Winnipeg on March 8, when the Jets were looking to settle a score with Evgeni Malkin.

      Mike Sullivan dressed Sestito for that one. Big Tom called out Dustin Byfuglien, who’d injured Justin Schultz during the previous Pens-Jets game, and fought Chris Thorburn. We won, 7-4.

      Perhaps we’d have won without Sestito. While we’ll never really know, I think the Pens’ heavyweight made a big difference that night.

      When an opponent is really coming after you and the officials aren’t offering any protection, you have to make a move to settle the other team down.

      Old school, perhaps. But sometimes necessary. At least that’s my take.


  22. April 16, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    F no.


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