A little bit of this and a little bit of that after the jump...
-Crosby vs. Ovechkin for goals, who's got the edge?
-Pens faceoff woes
-New arena goodies
-Baby Pens playoff push
-Visor debate stirs up again
All for you and more, after the jump...
Peerless looks at Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin as they go down the stretch for the Richard Trophy -- what no love for Steven Stamkos? AO has one more game, but Crosby has current the one goal lead. Tend to agree with TPP (which is usually a good idea, btw), that the head-to-head matchup on April 6th could be the key. Ovechkin always seems to have goal scoring success against the Pens, but if they can shut him down -- and Crosby can net one or two -- that might be the difference when we get to the end of the regular season on April 11th. Of course, it could swing the ther way based off of that game, but who really wants to think about that scenario?
If you've watched the Penguins for any length of time this isn't news, but it's startling to see the data just the same: since the lockout no team has been worse in the faceoff circle than the Pittsburgh Penguins. Of course, they've used Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal to take a majority of the draws and they've thrown all three in, basically, since they've been 18 years old. Crosby's improved to one of the league's best, Malkin and Staal haven't gotten to the 50% mark. Where have you gone,
Joe DiMaggio Mike Zigomanis?
Wanna see what the Pens videoboard, currently in Japan, looks like? Of course you do. BackTeching is a must for the scoop behind all the new bells and whistles of the new arena We'll all miss the old barn, but stepping from Mellon to Consol is going to be like going from a horse-and-buggy to a brand new Ferrari. Or like watching Hal Gill skate compared to Evgeni Malkin. Your pick.
Congrats to Baby Pens goalie Brad Thiessen for earning AHL player of the week honors. Stopping 94 of 97 shots deserves a little recognition. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pens are in the hunt of the playoff chase, they were 1 point out of a playoff spot before Thessien's stellar three games, they're currently three points above the bubble. Thessien's basically taken over the #1 goalie job down there from John Curry, Thissen's started seven of the last ten games as the Baby Pens have made their push.
Still with the minor leagues with some players of interest to Pittsburgh fans: Eric Tangradi has 3 goals (but no assists) in 5 games back from returning from a concussion. Dustin Jeffrey has 5 assists (but no goals) in the last 5 games. Nick Johnson has 4 goals (but no assists) in the last 7 games. Mark Letestu has 4 assists (but no goals) in the last 7 games. Chris Conner breaks this trend of one but not the other, Conner has 2g, 6a in the last eight games.
Justin Bourne, who's opinion is surely in the know, makes his case for visors being manditory. On one hand, it seems inevitable: from the AHL down to juniors and below players are forced to wear visors (or more). At the recent Olympics they were grandfathered in and only players 35+ could go visor-less, if they so chose. Like it or not, everyone wearing visors is the way the world is moving on this issue.
Some will whine and fight it; but 30 or so years ago that same type of argument was made for players not wearing helmets at all. Nowadays would be foolish to consider not wearing a bucket at all when competing at the game's highest level.
Still, visors alone don't prevent all injuries or offer full protection from errant sticks and pucks to the face, so if we're gonna make a case for half visors for player protection, why not bite the whole bullet and talk full shields? Players won't like it and it'll be tougher to see faces and market the game, but if we're going for safety, there's no reason to half-ass it. Full cages are the only way to fully protect. Visors are a step in the right direction for safety, but it's not completing the journey, if that's the way the world is moving.
(For what it's worth, the previous three paragraphs were written by a low level bone-head who, when not forced to in college, didn't wear any visor/shield and got split open a handful of times to the point requiring glue or stitches.)
Let's use this thread as the day goes on for any more Penguins news or interesting topics you guys want to discuss in the comments...