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Pens win; Geno hurt … again

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Greetings happy Penguins fans,

 = Well, the injury to C Evgeni Malkin certain does temper the enthusiasm from the Penguins’ fifth straight win. There is no word on the severity of Malkin’s injury, but it didn’t look pretty. Malkin fell awkwardly early in the second period and his right knee appeared to buckle inward. The good news is that Malkin skated off the ice under his own power. The bad news is that he looked ginger walking off the ice and it took the Penguins only a matter of minutes to announce that he was done for the night.

C Sidney Crosby is out indefinitely and, although the Penguins have been magnificent without their big guns, it was assumed that Malkin was going to have to carry the offense with Crosby out for the Penguins to outlast Philadelphia for the division title.

Can the Penguins catch the Flyers if Malkin and Crosby each miss, say, another two or three weeks? I doubt it.

 = Injuries aside, let’s take a minute to give this team serious credit. The Penguins are now 8-3-1 without Crosby. Wow. For those of you old enough to remember, when Mario Lemieux would miss long stretches of time in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Penguins wouldn’t necessarily fall apart, but they certainly didn’t go on 8-3-1 stretches. This is not to diminish Crosby’s greatness, but rather to point out how brilliantly the Penguins have played in his absence. If ever this team could get healthy, it would be the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. But will it get healthy? This is a fair question and one that has no answer.

 = Kudos to three guys who were really good tonight and who have played well since the all-star break. D Paul Martin was a beast for a second straight game, blocking shots and playing good positional hockey all game. RW Tyler Kennedy is suddenly hot and has picked up his game with Crosby and Malkin out of the lineup. Also, give credit to C Max Talbot. He is still in a bit of an offensive funk, but he is producing quality chances every game and was terrific again in the faceoff circle tonight.

 = At the risk of sounding like a broken record, G Marc-Andre Fleury is simply unbelievable right now. Is there currently a better goalie in hockey? Fleury is a dominant goaltender right now. His days of giving up the occasional bad goal seem a thing of the past.

 = I will check back in from our nation’s capital Sunday afternoon. If anyone reads the blog in the hours before the Super Bowl, well, you’re a true hockey fan. Oh, and for the record … Steelers 24, Packers 20.

 You stay classy, Pittsburgh.

 - Yohe

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Comments

  1. Jason says:

    FYI – vegas still has the Penguins as the favorite to win the stanley cup this year.

  2. Mario L says:

    well with SIdney out indef,, you would have to think this will change Shero’s trade idea’s… I don’t see him “GOING FOR IT” with all respect to the rest of the team, I can’t see a DEEP run in playoffs without your 2 headed monster..

  3. j says:

    some great comments Josh, the boys are playing some great hockey in the absence of 2 of the “big 4″

    wow, looks like Geno’s done for the season, and possibly the beginning of next. What an unbelievable run of bad luck for this kid… Keep your head up Geno!!! You’ll be back baby! And better than ever!!!

    Hopefully Sid returns soon, but it seems like the longer he’s out the greater the chance of it being a long term injury. Just on a personal level I really hope he completely recovers very soon.

    I still like the makeup of this team. Between the players, Bylsma and Shero, I believe they can make a pretty big splash in the playoffs, and if the Flower keeps this up I really don’t see any team beating them in a best of seven.

  4. dwf says:

    I don’t know why Everyone thinks that losing Malkin is such a bad thing? Up to this point he has not done a whole lot this season. He is starting to turn into the Pens version of the ‘porcelain princess’ Ricky D. I think the Pens are/have proven they can play and win without Crosby and Malkin. But, a deep run in the playoffs cannot be accomplished without having a healthy Crosby in the lineup. Malkin and his ‘token’ 15 goals and mediocre play at best play can be replaced.

    This will ‘force’ Shero to once again do his thing and bring in a top six forward. Hopefully, he can do a little better this time around than Ponikarovsky?

    This injury to Malkin also shows that the Pens can thrive without having him in the lineup. He did not show up when Sid went down. Ok, this is where all the Malkin supporters scream “Geno was playing hurt” “Geno is a Conn Smyth winner” “Geno is a scoring champion”. And you are all correct! Which would make this a PERFECT time to trade him and get some value back and a WHOLE LOT of cap relief.

  5. Shawn says:

    I know the conventional wisdom is that the Pens will not “go for it” this season because of Malkin’s injury.

    Let me paint a worse case scenario…this might be our LAST chance to “go for it.” At least for a while.

    If Geno comes back “healthy” but a shell of his former self, we will have $8.7 million of dead weight on our books. It will be very difficult to build a contender with that kind of albatross.

    Once he’s off our books for this season, we have a chance to mortgage some of the future to bring in players to make a run this year. It might be our last best chance.

    I hope Geno comes back in 2008 form. But, I don’t know that we can just give up on this year thinking next year will be better, when it could end up being much worse.

    On the trade front, I see very little out there. So, even having said what I said earlier…if you are just going to bring in guys who are unlikely to get the job done, I’d rather just play WBS guys.

    The one name I keep hearing and I can’t believe is Jason Arnott. Arnott is a trap player. He cannot skate well enough for our forechecking game. He would be a disaster. Unless, he’s the 4th line center and strictly power play duty. But why not get a guy who can do more?

    The one player whose name is out there who I would really like to get is Kris Versteeg. He’s had a down year, but who wouldn’t in Toronto? He’s a Cup champion and he’s got hands and wheels. He could be a great fit with Sid. He could give up a legit sniper to shoot for the corners, something we really lack.

    I would be ok with giving up our first round pick for a player and young and proven as Versteeg. The only issue would be fitting his salary in next year.

  6. What’s painfully clear, given #71′s apparent season-ending knee injury and the uncertainty of #87′s return (and what will be his level of play if/when he does return?),is that the personality of this team may need to change completely come the playoffs. (We’ll know better by the trade deadline, based on whether #87 has returned and his level of play.)

    As it stands now, in all likelihood Pens will only have one forward (other than #87) with 50+ points: #14. Adding a high-priced winger won’t help (ask New Jersey). For a playoff run with a less-than-100% #87, this team will need to be built around #29 so Pens can win games in April, May, June by scores of 1-0, 2-1. Thankfully, #29 looks like he is up to the challenge if Pens play conscientious defense. #4, #7, #44, #58 are fine. I’ve been especially pleased with the play of #7 of late. Pens could use one or two more quality defensemen, using #3 as trade bait. Best ones would be:
    Ryan Suter, Nashville (signed though 2011-12 season at $3.5 million)
    Adrien Aucoin, Phoenix (signed through 2011-12 season at $2.2 million)

    I know this doesn’t sound glitzy, but it’s the team’s best chance to win the cup without #71 and if #87 doesn’t return this season or if his level of play drops (which would be understandable, given he hasn’t had intense workouts in more than a month).

  7. The Binker says:

    Trade MAF after the season, sign a real talent to play with Sid on first line.

    Don’t need a $5-million goalle to win it all. Niemi proved this last season. Johnson and a young back-up would do fine.

 
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