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Back on track; Pens win, 6-1

Greetings, Pens fans. Rossi is slaving away on Winter Classic articles, so allow me to give an insider view of what unfolded tonight at the CEC.

= Whenever Penguins fans get bored or disgruntled with the team, Evgeni Malkin always seems to receive a ton of criticism. In fact, many people believe that, if one of the Penguins’ young players is ever traded, it will be Malkin.

I can’t deny that Malkin is difficult to figure and often inconsistent. But on nights like this, we are reminded why GM Ray Shero need not ever answer the phone if anyone calls regarding Malkin’s availability. The scary thing about Malkin’s performance, incidentally, wasn’t related to any of the five points he produced. Rather, for the first time all season, he looked like the “old Malkin,” if you will. This was the Geno from two or three years ago, both in the way he skated and the borderline out-of-control play he exhibited. When Geno is at his best, he plays the game right on the edge, a high-risk player who almost always wins the gamble. Tonight, he was unbelievable. Clearly he is healthy, and other teams in the league should be well aware of this. A healthy, happy and productive Malkin will almost definitely make the Penguins the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. It has only been three games, of course, but Malkin has been dominant since his return from a knee injury, which is very encouraging for the team’s chances to win a championship. If Malkin plays close to this level the remainder of the season, and a healthy Jordan Staal eventually joins the squad, it’s going to be very difficult for them to lose a seven-game series.

= I wish a camera would have captured the scene in the locker room this morning, when 20 hockey players watched intently for Sidney Crosby to appear on The Price is Right. Funny stuff.

= Line of the day goes to head coach Dan Bylsma, who accidentally called Drew Carey by the name “Drew Barrymore” while watching the Price is Right. Perhaps he didn’t want me to repeat that story, but sometimes humor should come before prudence. I suspect this represents the first time in history that anyone has confused Drew Carey for Drew Barrymore.

= Poor Taylor Pyatt. You could tell, about three seconds into that fight, that he wanted nothing to do with Deryk Engelland. I don’t blame him. Is there a better fighter in hockey right now? 

Until next time, you stay classy, Pittsburgh.

- Yohe

Comments

  1. mario says:

    i was at the game, 1st game @ CEC, freaking awesome…. & GENO wow, driving home listening to bob grove & bourque, saying that even Sid was in AWE of GENO tonight…. watch out NHL, the 2 headed monster is healhty, hungry & out to get ya

  2. Skeptical Penfan says:

    Malkin has looked good skating and whatnot the past few games… and Sid has set up every goal he has scored with some unbelievable play of his own. But Malkin will have to sustain this streak for a while before I get too excited. He flashes and is gone. Sid, Fleury and Staal are the steady, driving forces of the team. (and in Staal’s absence, the grinders have managed the pk by committee) and during fleury’s early season slump, Johnson held the fort. During Malkin’s two year slump Crosby has carried the team. NO ONE REPLACES WHAT SIDNEY CROSBY BRINGS TO THE TEAM.

  3. dwf says:

    Couldn’t agree more with the previous post. Malkin has not been the same player we all saw a couple of years ago. He seems to elevate his game only when he feels like it. I will give him the fact that maybe injuries have played a small role? But, he is a professional hockey player and injuries are an occupational hazard. You’re a big boy now Geno, suck it up and start playing like the $8.7 million cap hit you are….ON A NIGHTLY BASIS!!! Not just when the “spirit” moves you!

  4. badvibesdude says:

    Malkin has been slumping for two years? Really? Less than a year and a half ago, he won the Art Ross and the Conn Smythe. Everyone chanted “MVP” when he scored a goal. The team voted him MVP.

    I know Malkin had a down year last year in that he didn’t completely dominate, but he was banged up and missed significant time. He was also playing with slumping/injured linemates much of the time. And Malkin hasn’t been dominant much this year, he’s had some problems and was being asked to play different positions both even strength and on the power play.

    It’s amazing how short the memories of some fans are. I don’t know why people can’t enjoy the fact that the Penguins have two franchise, world-class centers.

  5. tomas says:

    @Skeptical Penfan I’ll consider the very critical comments you made about Geno and weigh them against the Conn Smythe Trophy he won in 2009′s Stanley Cup march. My conclusion is how quickly they forget!!!! I’m sorry Cookie but that hit is going to get you a two game suspension if not three from the NHL. How about a Tangradi recall in Cookie’s absence?

  6. dwf says:

    Hockey, much like every other professional sport is a “what have you done lately” business. It is unfortunate that we all can’t rest on past achievements. But, Malkin is getting paid A LOT of money to perform under such “adverse” conditions. Sid can make a lot of the same arguments as you (badvibesdude) are making for Malkin. But, all he does is got out there and work even harder to overcome his obstacles/shortfalls. Oh yeah, I don’t see Sid lining up with world class wingers and he is still leading the league in goals and points! And he is not whining and taking nights off.

    On a side note, they can leave Lovejoy in the press box to observe for the rest of the season. Engelland brings so much more to the ice than Lovejoy ever will.

    GO PENS!!

  7. Maureen says:

    Let’s all go back a little further, such as the year before Geno won the Art Ross and Conn Smythe trophies. When Sidney experienced his high ankle sprain and was out half the season, Geno scored the majority of our team’s points and Ty Conklin held the fort in goal. Geno carried this team on his back in Sidney’s absence during that 2007-2008 season. I respect Sidney and all that he does for this team. However, I have sadly realized that Malkin will never get his due amongst Pens fans and will constantly be in Sid’s shadow no matter how great his game is. Throughout his career with the Pens, Malkin has consistently and unselfishly accepted his role for the good of the team. He has played on different lines, often with the coach’s intent that he “jumpstart” other players who are slumping. He has played center and wing. To ever trade a player of his caliber will be one of Ray Shero’s greatest mistakes.

  8. Pitt says:

    It is a what have you done for me lately business indeed. No doubt Crosby fans were advocating trading Crosby when he struggled in the 2008-09 season. Wait they didn’t? Malkin doesn’t “whine”. It’s too bad that Malkin and Crosby fans have to degrade the other superstar in the interest of promoting their favorite. Crosby fans don’t appreciate Malkin’s unusual selflessness in not interfering with Crosby’s status on the team or his role as captain. Malkin fans don’t appreciate how playing in the shadow of Crosby benefits Malkin. You’re both very short-sighted. Perhaps one day only one star will play here. I think the fans of each player will regret it.

  9. Skeptical Penfan says:

    For all the folks on here lamenting Geno’s lot in life..I have to say I think he likes it. He has made no effort to engage the press, setting firm limits on when he will give interviews and whatnot. The year the team won the stanley cup, yes, geno won the conn, but go back and read the game recaps. The team doesn’t make it pass Philly without Sid and Flower, they don’t make it pass Washington without Sid and they breeze pass Carolina with Malkin suddenly dominating an exhausted team?? The RedWings top shutdown pairing shadowed Sid everystep he took. Geno not so much. Without Sid drawing the top pairngs Geno has no space. So lets give credit. The year of the high ankle sprain, Malkin was playing with Ryan Malone and Petr Styka..they had Christianson, Army and a host of top talent, not to mention a goalie playing out of his mind.

    And if you don’t think Sid has played thru injuries for long stretches with better results than Malkin, they you haven’t been paying attention.

    Finally, would like to add that Pens blogs have the terms “the Genover” because Malkin tends to turn the puck over at bad times (two losses this year can be pinned directly on this) and he tends to take stupid penalties…two more losses this year can be linked to this. The coach said “he has to stay on top of Geno” regarding his defensive duties. Geno can flash the skill…but not the most important player on the team.

    That said, Geno is a top talent. It would be nice if he could maintain a pace of really good..and elevate to great on occasion, instead of playing great on occasion and dipping to below average on many nights. Thats all the fans ask.

  10. joe says:

    will you people please stop being so critical of Malkin before some of you get your wish. also the post says malkin has not been as consistent as Sid, Staal and Fleury???? are you kidding me, Fleury has been consistent. he needs to find his way and he will be fine. glad to see him playing well again so these stupid trade seekers will be quiet.

  11. joe says:

    sidenote- it is easy to misconstrue what Malkin has been doing but he has more goals (as of yesterday) 13-12 as Ovechkin and i believe like 6-9 less assists. Also Geno has played far fewer games. Maybe we are being over critical because of the ridiculous play of Sid. Truth is we need Malkin to make this maching go.

  12. dwf says:

    Malkin has a lot of his fans trained pretty well. When he is not playing well, they all say he is hurt. If he is not hurt, then they all cry out “he has no talent on his line”. If those two responses aren’t getting the job done, then it is that the coaches are asking him to play different roles/positions. Paleeease! Just play like someone who is taking up a $8.7 million cap hit and play like you actually want to be out on the ice. As fans we all understand that players are not going to score 5 goals every night. But, what we want to see is on the nights when they are not “on” that they still do all the other less glamorous things. Like not taking stupid penalties, not making low percentage passes, not consistently turning over the puck, not try to make end to end rushes every time you touch the puck! Unfortunately, Malkin is a prime offender of all of these and more.

    Take last night’s game for instance, aside from a second assist I had to double check and make sure Malkin was still in the game, because I never heard his name. Once again proving my point that Malkin will play the game when he feels like it and when things aren’t going his way, well he becomes invisible on the ice.

    Right now Malkin basically has it made, he collects a $8.7 million salary and gets a free pass when under performing by the fans and homer media types.

    I know it doesn’t matter what Malkin does or doesn’t do his fans think he can do no wrong. And they are all thinking very shortsighted. I think Malkin is the type of player that has to be the No. 1 guy on his team to realize his full potential. I think it makes perfect sense to trade him and get a first rounder or two and a top six forward, save some money and keep the talent flowing. But, while he is still a Penguin, Geno needs to just show up on a nightly basis and PERFORM!!

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