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Wakeup Call: Build-a-line workshop

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Brief and to the Point …

>> My Monday column discovers a potential winger for Sidney Crosby on the NHL’s trade deadline day. And he might be even better than Rick Nash.

>> Assuming the top line remains intact, as the column strongly advocates, what would your other three lines look like going into the playoffs?

And yes, assume a healthy Crosby.

The reason I did so in the column is because I’m working off a premise as to what’s good enough for the Penguins to win a Stanley Cup. To me, no Crosby, no Cup.

>> Feel free to manufacture a third-line center out of thin air, by the way. No way I’d feel good about those two loaded lines if Joe Vitale is my checking guy.

My choice: Bobby Holik in his prime!

>> Speaking of lines, if you missed it, this was my Sunday analysis of the Penguins’ outstanding top unit.

>> For updates all day on the deadline, follow our Josh Yohe on Twitter. But as he’ll tell you and I heard myself yesterday at Consol, the Penguins weren’t remotely close to anything as of the afternoon. That doesn’t always mean nothing will get done, but there are strong indications this deadline will be quiet for a lot of teams, not just Pittsburgh.

>> A fun moment I snapped for you at Consol yesterday …

That’s Brad Thiessen after his first NHL game — and victory — wiping away the shaving cream his teammates stuffed in his face coming off the ice. It might not be his last. He could be taking Brent Johnson’s place.

>> I’ve heard few discussions among hockey followers more ridiculous than the ones over the weekend comparing Evgeni Malkin’s excellent goal Saturday to Mario Lemieux getting the puck from Phil Bourque in the Penguins’ end, charging through center ice and into the North Stars’ end, splitting two defensemen, then deking violently to his backhand while sliding to the ice, then crashing into the post.

In a Stanley Cup final!

What next, Antonio Brown’s one-handed catch compared to the Immaculate Reception?

Michael McKenry’s home run compared to Maz?

Give me a break.

Here’s the real deal, for those who need a reminder …

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEdgiPEDa8w

If you really need more after watching that, go back to the beginning, right after Tom Barrasso’s save. Look at how far behind Lemieux the initial pass went. Look how he caught it, then turned it to his forehand in full stride. It’s amazing all by itself.

>> The “Moneyball” movie now has something in common with the A’s: It gets all the praise and attention … and wins nothing.

>> My weekly appearance on TribLIVE Radio will be today at noon.

63 Comments

  1. At the trade deadline, the pens are assumed to make a minimal splash. I think if crosby came back healthy and also TK. My other 3 lines would be as follows:

    Dupuis-Crosby-Sullivan
    Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
    Adams-Vitale/Park/Jeffery-Asham

    I am keeping the 4th line center option open if the pens try to move one of them to bring in Harding which has been reported. Where the pens are, their greatest deadline aquisition was getting Staal back. Crosby has a solid chemistry with Dupuis, who can apparently play any position besides goalie (and i’m not too sure that he can’t). Its amazing that the one penguin player who hasn’t missed considerable time is Steve Sullivan. The guy is finally starting to gel and show some of the puck movement/positioning skill he was acclaimed. I think that Sully and Crosby, granted health is a major concern, could work well together.

    DK: Welcome, Andrew. One-size-fits-all on the straitjackets here.

  2. Last season it was Crosby who had the “line.” Crosby was burning up the score sheet to the tune of 1.61 points per game with Kunitz and Dupuis as linemates. The pundits lamented if only he had a legit scoring winger, he would be averaging over 2 points per game. [Which is hard to argue against given Dupuis ‘shoot from anywhere, hit nothing’ mentality.]

    This season, Malkin, averaging 1.38 points per game with top scoring threat Neal and Kunitz, and he suddenly has an ‘untouchable’ line vs Sid??

    Rrrighttt.

    Remember that when Sid was doing his 1.61ppg magic, Staal was out and Sid was also shutting down the competition’s top lines. Sid is a great (and perplexing unrated) defensive forward, as well as scoring threat. Putting Sid and Staal on a line puts the teams to top defensive centers on a line which neuters Staal’s strength. Malkin on the other hand is prone to defensive lapses. That was the reason Staal centering Malkin made a lot of sense two seasons ago, and still makes more sense than Staal and Sid together.

  3. David Backes is one of my favorite players. He’s a hard-nosed, gritty player that Bylsma/Shero love. I think he’d be an automatic hit in Pgh; but to bring him, St. Louis would want a king’s ransom: I.e. Jordan Staal.

    DK: It was a joke. I’m sure someone soon will suggest giving up Paul Martin for him.

  4. DK, for a 3rd line center, just bring back Letestu… And then trade Michalek to Detroit for Darren Helm. Is this Yinzer enough for you?

    DK: Your overall point was made quite well.

  5. The only thing that makes the Mario and Malkin goals comparable are that the two players both are wearing black, gold and a penguin crest. Malkin had a great goal a really great goal, but comparing it to Mario, especially Mario’s signature goal on the world’s biggest stage is crazy.

    DK: Welcome to you, too, Lisa.

  6. Even though its a tough decision, I think I would move Kunitz back to the Crosby line, along with Dupuis…

    Neal-Malkin-Sullivan
    Dupuis-Crosby-Kunitz
    Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
    Adams-Vitale-Park/Asham/Jeffrey

    I think the even bigger question is what happens with the PP once Sid is healthy… I am very leery about reworking the PP at this point.

  7. The Lemieux goal against the North Stars stands alone as the greatest I have ever witnessed. I was 15 at the time and remember it like it was yesterday. Weird to see the Igloo with so few fans in black and gold. Times have changed, for sure. Hockey gear/shirts not so prevalent back then. Didn’t remember that part…

  8. Both goals were awesome to watch. Obviously the impact of Mario’s goal is far greater. But I don’t know why you were putting down Malkin’s goal … “Bolts barely wiggle sticks at him skating by.” Same can be said of #5 defenseman for the North Stars. Splitting two defensemen isn’t so impressive when one of them essentially gets out of the way.

  9. If we get 1 not-too-crazy add at the deadline, make mine Steve Ott–for 3C.
    Then, the lines:

    1: Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
    2: Staal – Crosby – Dupuis
    3. Cooke – Ott – TK
    4. see below – Vitale – Adams

    for 4LW: Tangradi, Asham, Park, Jeffrey.

    The Firing Line must stay intact.
    Crosby has proven chemistry with Dupuis and I’m sure Big Gronk would gel quickly.
    The Checking Line would be NASTY. Ott is strong on faceoffs, too.
    The 4th line would be the same as we’ve seen all season, and they’ve done well.

  10. The only way I see the Pens making a deal tomm is if it is a depth deal for a guy like Adam Hall or Mark Eaton.. people who know the Pens systems and will do the dirty work needed to win. The team is deeper at forward than most think even minus Sid, and the ransom that average forwards like Ott and Grabovski could go for show that even if you needed a forward, this year is not the time to do so.

    Mario’s goal on so many levels is superior to Geno’s. Mario’s goal vs Boston in the 92 Conference Finals in Game 4 is even better than Saturday’s effort. Geno’s best effort is the sick backhander vs the Canes in Game 2 ’09… The stakes of the goal is scored does matter, and on Saturday.. Geno split the D without resistance and put a puck behind a goalie who the rest of the Pens torched for 8… Hasek he was not.

  11. I think Kovalev is still available. He’d be a good pickup.

  12. Our best 4 scoring threats are Malkin, Neal, Staal, and Crosby. Dejan makes a great point- if Shero has any chance of keeping these 4 together, they’ll all need to take less than market value (which they all have at this point). To do that, they have to be willing to buy into the Pens system and believe that their best opportunity to succeed and contribute is in Pittsburgh. Telling Staal that 2-goal-per-game pace isn’t enough to play on the top 2 lines isn’t likely to inspire that type of selflessness.

    Asking Staal to go back to a penalty killing, defensive-minded center would be insulting; can you imagine asking Crosby or Malkin to do something like that? Granted, Staal isn’t quite on their level, but I think he has narrowed the gap significantly. He won’t want to do it, he shouldn’t have to do it, and I don’t think Shero drafted him 2nd overall and pays him 4 mil a year to do it.

    He needs to be in that top 6, and I think Dejan hit the nail on the head with the Nash comparison. If my 2 cents are worth anything, I think Staal/Dupuis provide the sameof abilities that Kunitz/Neal do, respectively. Staal might not have the shot that Neal does, but he is tougher on the boards and might be the hardest player on the roster to get the puck off of. Furthermore, during Crosby’s crazy success last season, he centered Kunitz and Dupuis. Staal has a far better head for the game and much more finishing ability than Kunitz. Assuming he’s healthy, 87 could easily find himself with even more space and time (because of the defensive attention Staal should draw) than he had last year, which is scary. And Staal DOES have the 35-45 goal upside that Neal does- he scored 29 playing wing his rookie year. The Pens could potentially finish a season (if the ever can stay healthy) with 4 30-goal scorers.

    Staal has been known for his defensive contributions. I don’t think that this move would necessarily neutralize those, however. As fans in Pittsburgh know, Crosby is a severely underrated defensive forward. Pairing him with a perennial Selke candidate wouldn’t be as crazy as it seems- just look what the Red Wings do with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. That line, in it’s prime, was their both their top scoring threat AND their best defensive line. Dupuis/Crosby/Staal would likely prove to be the same type of universal threat- being shifted against the opposition’s top offensive line usually means they’re also against their worst defensive line. Think +/-, folks.

    Lastly, this move creates a glaring hole at the 3rd center position. Again following Dejan’s mantra, I believe the answer to this question is within the organization: Dustin Jeffery. As of late, he his offensive production has picked up- as his knee gets stronger, I expect this to continue trending upward. He has flashed some play-making ability and always seems to be around the net. Putting him between some combination of Cooke/Kennedy/Sullivan/Tangradi could provide surprising offensive contributions as well as a decent amount of grit. Or, Shero could make a deal using the pieces he has (Tangradi, Jeffery, Kennedy) for another face-off specialist, a la Derek Roy, perhaps?

    All in all, I concur completely with Dejan- Staal needs to be given an opportunity to showcase his skills. That means top 6 minutes, starting his shifts in the offensive zone, and, eventually, PP time. Otherwise, whats the point of having such an asset?

  13. JAL’s Summertime Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Yahoo Free Agent Tracker

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AvN8KLXkNW0TcRjzSCagLIMBbgM6?slug=jp-passan_ultimate_free_agent_tracker_baseball_110211

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2012

  14. 6 Rumbunter

    Spring Training Bench Battles for the Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/02/27/spring-training-bench-battles-for-the-pittsburgh-pirates/

    Pittsburgh Pirates Caffeine: Videos and Pics from Spring Training

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/02/27/pittsburgh-pirates-caffeine-videos-and-pics-from-spring-training/

    Videos: Pirates Charlie Morton’s Bullpen Session

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/02/27/videos-pirates-charlie-mortons-bullpen-session/

    7 Change for a Nickel

    High camp, lowdown, Feb. 25: Something’s fishy

    http://tomsinger.mlblogs.com/2012/02/25/high-camp-lowdown-feb-25-somethings-fishy/

    8 Bucs Dugout

    Reimagining The Pirates’ 2002-2007 Drafts

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/2/27/2827356/reimagining-the-pirates-2002-2007-drafts

  15. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES

    9 Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Slimmer Diaz looks for return to form

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2012/02/26/slimmer-diaz-looks-for-return-to-form/

    10 Columbus Dispatch

    Baseball: Indians’ Perez out 4-6 weeks

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/sports/2012/02/27/perez-out-four-to-six-weeks.html

    11 Baseball Prospectus

    Collateral Damage

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16115

    12 USA Today

    Tigers’ Octavio Dotel: Baseball’s travelin’ man

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/tigers/story/2012-02-26/tiger-dotel/53260042/1

  16. 13 Bradenton Herald

    Pittsburgh Pirates fans attend third annual pep rally

    http://www.bradenton.com/2012/02/26/3901499/old-main-street-was-black-and.html

    Spring Training 2012 | Pirates alter fitness plan for long run

    http://www.bradenton.com/2012/02/26/3901476/pirates-alter-fitness-plan-for.html

    14 Chasing the Dream

    Chasing The Dream – The Zack Von Rosenberg Story

    http://chasingmlbdreams.com/2012/02/24/265/

  17. Steelers Blogs

    19 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Threat of Concussion Issue Bringing Down the NFL Very Real Possibility

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/2/24/2817819/why-football-fans-should-be-very-concerned-about-the-issue-of

    Five Burning Questions: Free Agency Edition

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/2/25/2818645/steelers-salary-cap-free-agency-arians-haley-rooney

    NFL Scouting Combine Open Forum: Possibly Looking for the Next Dennis Dixon

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/2/26/2825748/nfl-scouting-combine-2012-draft-projection-steelers-quarterback-wide-receiver

    20 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers GM Kevin Colbert Explains Importance Of NFL Combine Interviews

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/02/steelers-gm-kevin-colbert-explains-importance-of-nfl-combine-interviews/

    21 Steelers Gab

    Colbert Says Casey Hampton Will Be Back with the Steelers in 2012

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/02/24/colbert-says-casey-hampton-will-be-back-with-the-steelers-in-2012/

  18. Pitt Blogs

    22 Pitt Blather

    4-Year Scholarships Survive

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/02/25/4-year-scholarships-survive/

    23 Cardiac Hill

    Featured FanPost: Who’s Gonna Take The Weight? Players Vs. Coach Dixon

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/2/25/2824429/whos-gonna-take-the-weight-players-vs-coach-dixon

    WVU Blogs

    24 Metro News

    Beyond Frustration

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=51185

  19. 25 WV Illustrated

    Future Mountaineer Terry Henderson Wins State Title

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/17019397/future-mountaineer-terry-henderson-wins-state-title

    Former WVU Guard Alex Ruoff Rehabbing Torn ACL in Morgantown

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/17019624/former-wvu-guard-alex-ruoff-rehabbing-torn-acl-in-morgantown

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    26 Pensburgh

    Welcome to the NHL, Brad Thiessen. Pens shoot down Blue Jackets 4-2

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/2/26/2826131/welcome-to-the-nhl-brad-thiessen-pens-shoot-down-blue-jackets-4-2

  20. Title song Summertime by the Sundays. 1990 Considered Alt-rock they put out three albums from 1990 to 1997. Lead singer Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin married and seemed to have settled in to raise their children. Summertime was a big hit in the UK. Their biggest hit in the US was Here’s Where the Story Ends.

  21. I get really tired of people bashing/underestimating Staal. I know, no one here is bashing him, but it happens all the time. The kid does exactly what is asked of him…and then more. He is so veratile, it’s amazing. He’s been given more room to score this season, and score he has. It’s hard to score 30 goals when you’re on a checking third line. YES! he’d be fantastic with Sid. Dupuis also has shown chemistry with Sid. Or you can plug in Sullivan. With Gronk the Monster for size, Sid drawing defenders like a magnet, that would allow Sully to sneak in some shots too.
    Leave Kunitz with Geno and Neal. You shouldn’t try to fix what isn’t broken, or you may break more.

    Lines:
    Kunitz/Malkin/Neal
    Staal/Crosby/Dupuis (or Sully)
    Cooke/TK/Asham
    Adams/Vitale/insert winger here…there are plenty

    I remember the Cooke/TK/Asham line giving other teams fits with their grit.

    With the system DB and the pens employ, the guys can play on a number of lines. If one goes down, someone else can fill in.

    If we can sign someone at a bargain, fine. If not, our roster is just fine.

  22. Dejan,

    As well as Malklin & Staal & of course Fleury have been playing, What about Letang? I think a healthy Kris Letang is as important to the Pens’ success as anything. And why did it take Bylsma so long to change defensive pairings?

    Staal & Crosby? Fantastic.

  23. Man that video made me miss that old, loud building.

  24. My lines:
    1A. Neal Staal Malkin
    1B. Kunitz Crosby Sullivan
    3. Adams or Jeffrey, DePuis Cook
    4. Park Asham Kennedy

    Kennedy will have some difficulties getting it back after injury. Stall completes the Malkin line with Neal better than Kunitz. Kunitz works well with Sid already, and Sully looks like he is ramping it up for the playoffs.
    Stuart

  25. DK, enjoyed the article today and yesterday’s feature was really well done too. As for Crosby, I have a hard time seeing him come back, and we all know and have seen that coming back for the playoffs with this much time off does not make for a solid Crosby. It is understood that even a 90% Crosby is better that most in the league, but we have seen in the past that the playoffs is not the place to try and get your feet back under you. I would love to see Sidney play again this year but I am not sure that is possible given the time until the playoffs. Additionally, I am on the other side and think that the Pens can win the cup without Crosby, and this will be the year Geno carries this team on his back to another Cup victory. But I am an optimist!

    DK: Thanks, IC.

  26. Im venturing into sacrilegious territory but does anyone miss Sid?

    I dont say that from the perspective that the Pens dont need him.

    But hes been gone for basically 14 months with no return in sight – I just never think of him returning. If he comes back great but the time that I used to spend worrying about his returning a yr ago has been replaced with thoughts of the current team..Out of sight….Out of mind…

  27. Sarcastic Sword…sorry, but once Sid comes back, you’ll realize just how much we’ve missed him. (This is assuming he doesn’t have to go out again after the first good check.) I agree with DK: No Sid = No Cup. Nothing against this awesome bunch of Pens we have on the ice right now, but…

    DK’s “Moneyball” line….beautiful!

    And once again, how lucky are we as Pens fans? We get to debate which of those two goals in question was better. What are Blues fans comparing? Brett Hull and Bernie Federko sniping from the faceoff circle. Flyers fans? A Schultz fight versus [insert name of any post-1975 Flyer goon who provided countless fight highlights but, alas, no Cups]. Coming up on 30 years of having the world’s best players showing off in downtown Pittsburgh all winter. Unreal.

  28. I didn’t need the reminder, but it’s still always nice to see.

  29. One more thing…

    Just read DK’s analysis of the Firing Line. What makes Kunitz’s play all the more admirable is that he isn’t playing like this in a contract year. He’s played like that since he got here, and even after signing the new deal, nothing changed. Little wonder his name is on the Cup twice and could very well be on there again soon, if a certain missing Pen makes it back for the playoffs.

  30. The Elite 8 round of the Best Pittsburgh Sport Blog Tournament is underway. Vote for your favorite Pittsburgh sports blogs at http://seanramblings.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-pittsburgh-sports-blog-tournament_27.html.

  31. Dejan’s Lunatic Nation – at the Trib,
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Austrailia – Mackay
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba
    Colorado – Ft Collins
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford
    Costa Rica
    Delaware. Newark
    District of Columbia
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor
    Iowa – Bettendorf
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore
    Massachusetts – Boston
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing
    Mississippi – Biloxi
    Nebraska – Omaha
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon
    New York – New York, Smithtown
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh
    North Dakota
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, DuBois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradfordwoods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, DuBois, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilks-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncanville, Newville, Sheppton
    The Phillipines
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield, Virginia Beach
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville

    151 locations represented in the blog,

  32. One opening In Yahoo League 7903, password is 1203
    4 opelnings in league 7962, password is 12034 open in 7989, 12034 in 8050, 1203

    As of last night, can’t check it from here.

  33. Sorry but Staal and Malkin are centers. Centers are guys that play with the puck. No way do I put either Staal or Malkin at wing.

    18/71/26
    9/87/14
    24/11/48
    27/46/45 or 12

    no 48 and I slide 45 into that spot.

  34. I’m with Jandy, I like Staal on the wing, at least try it. that was the tentative plan at the beginning of the year. I’d love to see them give it a try.

    I love Malkin, but comparing him and his goal to Mario and his goal is like comparing Dave Parker to Roberto. Both played the same position exceptionally, but only one transcends time.

    Oh, and add Charleston SC to the locals represented on the blog

  35. Biz, great job with that lunatics list…keep up the good work ;)

    P.S. Duncansville is 10 minutes away from the Altoona Curve field.

  36. Malone to the Pens? Just a rumor I’ve heard a couple of times, no good source

  37. Biz, quit teasin me with that. I’d LOVE to have him back!

  38. Sean, I don’t see DK’s blog on there, and you expect us to vote on that?!! Just sayin…

  39. “Assume a healthy Crosby.” You know what happens when you assume.

  40. Jandy – Dejan’s blog isn’t eligibile since he would win. I know that sounds silly but the tournament is designed so that the blog’s primary author cannot regularly write and get published in a newspaper. This is the Dejan Kovacevic Rule (and it’s really called that). This is not to diminish all of the work that Dejan and other writers/bloggers at the Trib, PG and other publications do but they also have much greater access to players, executives, etc. as well as resources for in-depth stories than your typical blogger.

    DK: You really call it that, Sean?

  41. @ Sean ~ so it’s to give other “little” guys a chance too, ok gotcha :)

  42. Staal would be a great wing for Sid, but it’s not worth losing the elite level of defense he brings in the middle.

    I think this team is capable of winning a cup without Sid, but not with the current level of defensive play. A large physical presence is needed on the blue line and barring any trades today, a healthy, nasty, Arron Asham is needed in that lineup. Don’t think it is happening, but I agree with Jandy- would love to see Ryan Malone back in black and gold.

    Biz row, you can add me to the lunatic list- Estes Park, CO

  43. One. Staal + Crosby is a great idea. Hope it works, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. The Staal-Malkin experiment is all but dead, but I think it’s due to the fact that Malkin, even when he’s on, needs specific compliments with him in order to succeed – hence making the argument to keep KuMaNeal together even stronger – but the fact that Crosby has shown during his time off of the IR that he is incredibly flexible, when given proven finishers he can play the playmaking center role, but when given gritty speedsters (here’s lookin at you, Duper), he can be the one to tickle the twine instead. With Staal, I’m not even sure Crosby would need to change all that much – he’s shaping up to really be the complete package. Gritty big-bodied hard-hitting on the boards, power forward with great puck protection, silky smooth passing with the eye of an eagle, and soft hands with a hard shot to keep the netminders guessing every time he approaches the 4×6 – tell me again how Crosby can’t work with this?

    Two – love the Moneyball line. Heyyy-ooooo!

    Three – Thiessen had a great start yesterday, though I’m not sure he performed “better” than Johnson. Even if he did, it was a single game against a team at the bottom of the standings (not an unskilled team though, mind you), and it was a single game. If anything, this gives Shero reassurance that getting a backup at inflated prices now is really not what he wants to do – make Thiessen the unofficial B2 backup, and give Johnson a few starts before the playoffs to hopefully get his mojo back.

    Was nice to know we have a capable backup backup, though.

    Four – as with everything I think people are quick to elevate current happenings – such with the Malkin goal. Give it a week or two, and most of these same people won’t remember the “Malkin goal” they poured out affection for.

  44. With the uncertainty of Sid’s return, I have not heard suggestions of putting him on IR for the rest of the season. I don’t know if there are any money dumps available to pick up in trade in the next two hours, but that would give Shero the cap flexibility needed. And in the end, Sid is still eligible for the playoffs – but the cap is not in effect, so there wouldn’t be money issues. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong…)

    Perhaps Sid is ready a couple weeks before the playoffs, but is it critical that he gets into any regular season games? I’m not sure it matters whether he comes back on March 15 or April 15, he’ll still be dominant. Look what he did in the 8 games he played – does he really need “game action”??

    I know the kid wants to play ASAP, but as long as Mario is willing to pay a couple extra dollars, it could allow the team to pick up an upgrade for the strecth run.

  45. Thanks for signing in, 153 as of now

  46. wow. Wings trade Commodore to the Lightning for a conditional 7th round pick. Sad stuff…

  47. Pens make no moves at the deadline for the 1st time since 1989. Assume a 25 year old Rocket Richard falls out of the sky wearing a Penguins uniform …

  48. Milo, it was a very quiet trade deadline day. Nash stays put.
    Washington doesn’t seem to have done anything either.

  49. Jandy,

    Yes it was a very quiet day. Except in Nashville where they actually practiced subtraction by addition by doubling their total of Kostitsyns. A wise man once said, never send a Kostitsyn to do a man’s job.

  50. DK wrote: You really call it that, Sean?

    Absolutely. I’ve mentioned it every year since this silly little tournament started back in the “old” days when you wrote the PBC Blog. I’ll send you the links as proof!

    DK: That’s pretty neat. Thanks.

    To be honest, there are so many differences between a blog like this and one that’s privately run that they really aren’t the same thing at all. It’s a good distinction to make, no matter which is your preference.

  51. I agree with Staal and Duper with Crosby. Not sure how any team can match the strength and speed of the two top lines we would have. Vitale should center the 3rd because of his face-off skills and he is a good defensive center. Naturally Cook and TK would be the wings. 4th line could be Jeffrey with Adams and Asham or Adams centering Asham and Tangradi for some added size and grit. Park and Sully are odd men out, along with either Jeffrey or Tangradi. Sully doesn’t fit on 3rd and 4th liine and the top six are better with Duper than Sully. He will be great insurance for an inevitable injury. I don’t think the Pens will bench Sully, and will likley drop Duper to 3rd and Cook or Tk to 4th.

    Would like to see Lovejoy get more games. He is certainly not a liability and arguably as good as 3-6 defensemen we currently are playing.

  52. I’m late to the party today. Not going to post lines. I’ve seen several combos I think would be terrific. I just want to chime in and say that I disagree that no Sid=no cup. First, I think that’s an enormous insult to the rest of the team, who have proven that they’re capable of beating the best teams in the league. But second, and perhaps more important, if the Pens are not set up to win the Cup it’s because their defense has been weak all year, not because they’re missing Sid. Since no moves were made to shore up the defense, Sid’s return would not improve that situation.

  53. “The “Moneyball” movie now has something in common with the A’s: It gets all the praise and attention … and wins nothing.”

    HA HA HA……..that’s all I have to add, I know nothing about which lines should be where…….unfortunetly.

  54. With you on that one, Ryan. I don’t know one line from the blue line, but that is a great line. That movie was good, but Brad Pitt made the movie, not the content.

  55. I don’t follow hockey, but the few times I watched games in which Mario played he was one of the very few pro athletes who even to an untrained eye was markedly better than anyone else in the contest. Love the clip, which I had never seen.

    Biz, you can add Algonquin, IL (a northwest suburb of Chicago) to your list.

  56. Hi.

    Just checking in for the first time. Pittsburgh native, been out of the town though since going off to college, so we’re at about 18 years. That time has flown by…Lots of family in town still, so back on a regular basis.

    Bizrow can add another to the Richmond, VA tally.

    Been reading with interest over the last few weeks and decided now’s the time to finally post. I truly enjoy the commentary and camaraderie.

    Anyway. Glad to see the Pens sit tight this year at the deadline. Didn’t need another Poni or Kovalev experiment this time around.

    As for line combos, I can see Staal jumping up to team with Sid. I don’t necessarily like the Duper / Sid / Sully combo. Maybe not enough “big bodies” on that line, IMO.

    Maybe the best option would be to swap out Kunitz back to Sid’s line with Duper and put Sully up with Malkin & Neal? Reunite Cooke/Staal/Kennedy? Hmmm…tough one. I really don’t want to split up the “firing line” though since they have been crushing it since they have been put together. Oh well, that’s why Bylsma and Shero and paid the big bucks and I am here writing on Dejan’s blog. I just don’t have the answers….

    Looking forward to reading more.

    Have a good night everyone.

    R.

    PS. Malkin’s end to end goal was great, but Mario’s had ALL of the elements, especially the setting in the SCF. Love to see Geno repeat what he did the other day come this June!

  57. > The “Moneyball” movie now has something in common with the A’s: It gets all the praise and attention … and wins nothing.

    A nice zing at Moneyball and Oakland. However, since 1992 the Athletics have had 9 winning seasons and have been to the post-season 5 times (all since 2000) in that span. That includes playing for the American League Pennant a mere 6 years ago. All this was accomplished with relatively poor attendance in the league’s worst stadium, by far.

    As for the cinema. Unless my movie memory is incorrect, no film shot primarily in Pittsburgh has won an academy award since the 1991 horror masterpiece Silence of the Lambs. Pittsburgh’s cinematic history since the pivotal 1993 line of demarcation is uneven at best. That time period includes dreadful clunkers like Milk Money and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (no knock at the exceptional novel intended). However, that time period has seen some pleasant surprises including Kingpin and the underrated Zack and Miri make a porno. If my recollection is correct some of the cinematic garbage known as Mr. 3000 was shot in Pittsburgh.

    I love Pittsburgh and the Pirates but Oakland need not hang its head for either its ballclub or Moneyball.

    DK: I missed the part where I compared anything to Pittsburgh or the Pirates.

  58. Oh does that stadium suck……..

  59. DK,

    I like how your article makes no mention of how that weakens us defensively. We need Staal to be shutting down the other teams top line. Who is going to step into those shoes? Joe Vitale?? I realize Staal is now your number 2 and Vitale and the 3rd line probably do more of that than I realize but having Staal at center still gives you the option to deploy him that way. I think the thing people miss about Staal is how important that side of things truly is. When you look at teams like the Rangers and Bruins the goal differential is the reason those teams are atop the standings. Now clearly there is merit to the idea, but I think 3 great centers can get us another cup. Lastly, the whole argument is basically irrevelant because Crosby will not play again this year. If he does someone will bump him again and he’ll be shelved for the rest of the year. That’s a bit insensitive I realize, but it’s rooted in more reality than him playing again and staying on the ice…let alone Jordan Staal being his winger.

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