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The Penguins: I Have a Bad Feeling About This. – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

The Penguins: I Have a Bad Feeling About This.

To quote Hans Solo, “I have a bad feeling about this.” I hope I am wrong.

I was just reading some notes from the Penguins practice this morning on the NHL web site. According to this site, Jake Guentzel was Centering the 3rd line. Honestly, it may not be optimal, but until the team gets a legitimate 3rd line Center, it may be the best thing they can do. Riley Sheahan did look really good Centering the 4th line between Tom Kuhnhackl and Ryan Reaves, making Carter Rowney the odd man out and swing man right now.

However, I do have a bad feeling about tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Again, according to the NHL web site, the rest of the Penguins work flow at practice was like this;

Dominik Simon – Sidney Crosby – Conor Sheary
Patric Hornqvist – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel
Carl Hagelin – Jake Guentzel – Daniel Sprong
Tom Kuhnhackl – Riley Sheahan – Ryan Reaves
Matt Hunwick – Kris Letang
Ian Cole – Justin Schultz
Olli Maatta -Jamie Oleksiak

Apparently Mike Sullivan is going to try and force that proverbial square peg into the round hole. He is apparently going to try playing 2 Left Wings on Crosby’s line and 2 Right Wings on Malkin’s line. Each time I have seen the NHL report a work flow like this that is what the team did during the game. It hasn’t worked yet. Maybe it will work tonight but there is no game evidence to support that optimism. I truly hope history doesn’t repeat itself. I hope it works this time.

Although Hunwick does play much better on the left side, playing the 2 weakest defensive defensemen (Letang and Hunwick) together also seems to be a less than a good idea.

Odds and Sods
Tristan Jarry did participate in this mornings practice.
Teddy Bleuger scored the game winning goal last night to lift Wilkes Barre Scranton over Bridgeport in OT.
Penguin prospect Filip Gustavsson and team Sweden take on team USA tonight in the Semi Finals of the 2018 Junior World Championships.

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12 Comments

  1. 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
    January 5, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Everyone has been posting great stuff. This is the best Pens blog around. Kudos to all contributors!

    I’ve begun several posts in the past weeks, but by the time I get here to post, someone has already said it. And, I’m still stuck on a few things I’ve talked about previously. My pet peeves.

    Number one among them is my recurring wish that someone in the Pens organization gets real regarding Kris Letang. At this point, he embodies everything that’s wrong with the team. His confidence is at ice level, or maybe it isn’t even on the ice, but elsewhere in his memory. It’s nice they want to keep him in there out of loyalty, or thinking sitting him would destroy what’s left of his confidence, but it’s not helping the team. It’s doing more harm than good. There he was again last night clearing a puck into the slot to a player skating right down the pipe for a clear slapper from twenty feet. Or, watching Teravinen blow by him right into Murray’s face for the second goal. The old, confident Letang would have picked his pocket and stripped him of his jock without a seconds worth of thought. That guy’s gone. He ain’t coming back.

    Flashes of brilliance one game out of five, or one period out of three, aren’t going move them off the dime, or aid in turning any corners. There have been too many bad decisions, or too much indecision, on the ice and off. From the front office to the last guy on the depth chart, there’s enough blame to go around beyond the 20 players who lace ’em up every game. Serious changes needed made in November, early December. Maybe that is a bit unfair since it’s impossible to know what really happens behind the scenes, but it’s also clear that barring trades, help could have been sought elsewhere with a few phone calls to WBS, and a few passes to the press box. They’ve taken too long to allow themselves to admit they’ve had a dying horse in harness since October. It’s also clear that it isn’t the horses wearing the blinders.

    There have been some tentative steps taken. I think Oleksiak will prove to be a good find. I like that Sprong has been given a shot. I like both moves so long as it is understood that both of those guys will need help, too, to help the team. Neither is going to come to the rescue by themselves.

    I also understand that perhaps JR is encountering roadblocks we may never know of. I don’t want to think he’s done, or is doing, nothing to get this team on its feet. He may have been working at it since October for all I know. But, my benefits of doubts are wearing thin.

    As Rick mentioned in another thread, it wouldn’t be the worst thing should this team go home early this year. But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see them go down fighting. If there are any good deals to be made, make them, and make them now. If not, get on the phone to WBS and let’s have a look at what we’ve got with an eye toward next year.

    One more thing: This thought has been clanging around in my near-empty head. Just what does Mark Recchi add to this team? He’s been labeled divisive before. Was he another loyalty hire, or does he really add something worth his being here?

    — 55

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      January 5, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Hey 55,

      You and I are pretty much on the same page with a lot of things. I am not sure I can add anymore but my agreement.

    • 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
      January 5, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      An addendum:

      I know I made it sound simple — just call WBS — but it isn’t. They’d still have to deal with cap issues to do that. However, that doesn’t preclude them trying. At this point anything is worth a try, unless, of course, they resign themselves to golf in April and see what the off season brings.

      — 55

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        January 6, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Hey 55,
        Great stuff my friend. I appreciate your comments on Letang. FYI, there has been a lot mentioned in the academic Canadian media, (not the biased sports media) about the recent break thru information from various sources on the affects of concussions and head trauma. This is all leading to a coming to Jesus moment very soon for the NHL and their reluctance to accept responsibility.
        In this new information they talk about “Brain speed or more specifically the time it takes to make split second decisions “. They refer it to a mental fog of confusion. What if our be loved # 58 is suffering from just that? Apparently the condition can come and go with out warning. So Kris could have 2 good games and then suddenly in the next one his mental thought process becomes confused. Even ever so slightly.Puts him off his game. He would not even realize it the report said until more severe side affects would appear later in life.Could happen from period to period in one single game !
        The reason I say this 55 is, I have been one of the most vocal supporters of trading Letang for the past 2 years and now I feel a little sympathy in that as you said so correctly above. “That guy is gone ..He ain’t coming back “.
        We have to move on if we are going to make the play offs.
        He needs to go ..
        Great post as usual.

        • The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
          January 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          Hey Jim,

          Very interesting stuff on the effects of concussions, it goes a long way to explain things. I would like to add my thoughts on Letang specifically too. Although I am a strong supporter of moving on from Letang it is not from a lack of respect for all that he has done for the team, it simply is from a business perspective. Now with your comments of the effects of concussions, like you my sympathies are heightened. I really do hate to advocate a trade, but it makes the most sense.

          Is there any discussion on treatments that may mitigate affects?

  2. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    January 4, 2018 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, I really wanted to be wrong, but Kessel and Hornqvist on the same line is a recipe for no offense!

  3. Pen's4ever's Gravatar Pen's4ever
    January 4, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Rumours..Rumours…

    I know they are just that, but I have read today that the Pen’s are interested and called about Sabres Kane and Habs Max Pacioretty.
    You guys have probably heard those rumours as well. Kane would cost the least, but Jim would have to dump salary to fit one or both. Buffalo says they would keep 50% of Kane’s salary. Plus he has more goals and pts then Max.
    Which one would you want and what would it cost??

    Kane- sheary and a pick/ or high prospect and pick

    Max- 1st, sheary and another high prospect?

    Just rumours!!!

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      January 4, 2018 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Hey Pens4ever,

      Who would I want?

      First, let’s face it, either would help this stagnant offense.

      However, unless the Penguins do not get a contract extension for Kane, I am sorry, no dice for him. Rent-a-Players haven’t work for any teams in a long time (Iginla, Hossa in Pgh, Shattenkirk for Was last year)

      If the Penguins would be able to sign Kane, then it gets interesting. In the end, I think I would rather have Pacioretty if I could make it work. I would think he could bring more of a spark to the team. I can imagine most Canadian players would be having bigger years anywhere else right now. I think a perfect storm hit Montreal and the players are their own worst enemy right now, just like Pgh. Move anyone of them and they explode.

      Figuring out how to make it work out is the key. Regardless of which of the players the team gets, Sheary would be my choice to offer.

  4. January 4, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Hey tOR,

    The Guentzel – Crosby – Sheary line has had a huge problem with getting back in the play and covering defensively. Maybe some time at center will get Guentzel playing a little bit more defense.

    As for the Letang – Hunwick pairing, it should be interesting. At some point the coach needs to notice that the Letang – Dumoulin pairing has been a massive failure. Hunwick is probably the second best skating defenseman on the team behind Letang. I would defenitely be interested to see how this pairing plays out. It can’t be worse…. Right??

  5. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    January 4, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Hey Other Rick,

    Tossing my two cents on the table, I wonder if it might make more sense to have Hornqvist on Malkin’s right side and Kessel on the left, since ‘Phil the Thrill’ frequently mans the port side on power plays. Plus, having him on the left puts his (very potent) forehand in the middle of the ice.

    Then again, Hornqvist generally migrates to the crease, so perhaps Sully thinks playing him on the off-wing won’t matter that much.

    I’m surprised to hear you don’t have confidence in the Hunwick-Letang pairing (shudder). Call me goofy, but I actually think (hope, pray) this tandem might work out.

    Rick


            

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