...who are Sid and Malkin passing to?
I will admit, this thought crossed my mind the other day. However, I didn't really consider approaching the topic until we played the month out and got a better look at how things transpired for the Pens. But, since John from InLouWeTrust touched up the topic in his NHL Full Access piece, I guess he leaves me no choice.
Ever since Sid first hit the ice for Pittsburgh...OK, better yet, ever since fans and members of the media got a look at Sid on the ice in Pittsburgh, everyone started to make their own conclusions about his fellow teammates. "Put anyone on the ice with him" they said, "and he'll get them the goal."
This is true, of course to an extent. If you watched the Maple Leafs game Saturday night it would've taken an extreme effort on Petr Sykora's part to screw up that one beautifully laced passed to the front of the net that beat Curtis Joseph blocker side. The same can be said for instances in the past when sub-par wingers like Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen had to simply put their stick out to get a goal.
I'll let John's post on Full Access take the heart of the argument, written prior to Monday's game:
The Pittsburgh Penguins offense is led by superstars Crosby and Malkin. In 6 games this season, they have 8 and 7 assists, respectively. While assists are good – it means somebody is scoring – no one on the team really sticks out as a main benefactor of these passes. It can’t be either of them as the two have 3 goals combined this season. Miroslav Satan leads the team with 3, which isn’t too much to write home about either. Scoring on this team is spread apart like something that’s spread apart. It’s not even worth an analogy.
I'll pose my own analogy. This is an example of the double-edged sword that is the Penguins. Anyone who is anyone knows Malkin and Crosby can put up the goals. But what makes the situation so much more dangerous, and ideally what makes the Penguins the Penguins, is that they don't always have to score. Sure, the two of them are off to a slow start in the goals category, but they also have the eye to play the percentages. If Malkin and Sid are mobbed by two defenders, who is wide open? If Sid is on his backhand but Sykora is wide open in front of the net, who has the better percentage shot?
I'm not so much refuting John's work as I am clearing it up from a Penguins' fan's perspective. He's right - the Pens' scorers are spread out across the board. But as evidenced in my earlier piece about Miroslav Satan, goals come in bunches and soon enough Malkin and Sid will get theirs.
And then what?