Pens Points Monday: Pens Leaders Speaking Up

Justin K. Aller

Scuderi, Orpik, and Crosby speak up on recent defensive lapses. Injury updates, who's hot and who's not.

PENS

The Pens practiced today, and here's the lowdown: Bortuzzo still hasn't heard from the league; Vitale will be out for 3 weeks (wrist); Gibbons is week-to-week (lower body); Martin, Megna and Ebbett will be evaluated on Wednesday regarding possible return to play; Bennett is 4 weeks away (skating and holding a stick, but not able to receive passes yet); Kobasew is day-to-day, and Neal had a maintenance day.

Back in 2009, while he was playing for the Canucks, Taylor Pyatt's fiancee died in a car accident. He's moved through several different teams and cities since, but every return to Vancouver brings back painful memories.

Friday's game in Edmonton simultaneously showcased the best and worst that the Pens have to offer, prompting the Harlem Globetrotters comments from Rob Scuderi that were praised by some and criticized by others (due to his own mediocre play).

Scuds is not the only one highlighting the issue of defensive accountability. Brooks Orpik is also urging the team to resist pushing the puck at all costs. Sidney Crosby would like to see the team take their collective game to the next level, where they don't give teams anything.

James Neal is hitting a stride. The Pens' sniper is shooting more and better this year. He didn't make the Olympic team, but his impact on the Penguins is undeniable.

Right before his injury, Brian Gibbons has started to earn praise for his good play on the top line. He even reminds some of former Pen Marty Straka.

Matt Niskanen has been the unsung hero Of our defense this year. He didn't get any consideration for the US Olympic team, but if he keeps this up, we'll see his name pop up on some Norris ballots this year.

Excellent play from the guys in the top 6, Fleury and Niskanen notwithstanding, the injuries are continuing to take their toll. Not helping things in any way is a total lack of secondary scoring.

Not that anyone is relying on Craig Adams for any scoring, but he's no longer doing the few good things he used to do. I'm not necessarily endorsing every conclusion in this article, but his contributions have really fallen off a cliff.

Brandon Sutter finally addressed his inadvertent mother of all photobombs. He's taking it all in stride.

From the minor leagues, rookie Zlobin shows some offensive flair.

We end the Pens section with the second part of the Pittsburgh Magazine mega-roundtable, which discusses Dan Bylsma systems, playoff meltdowns, and asks if there's a void in leadership in the Pens locker room. There are different ways to lead, and there are good leaders in that room. Those guys will be alright.

NHL

From around the league, scores and stats from Sunday, including the hilarious Kaner own goal (with Quinnie's priceless face), the ridiculous Ryan Miller save.

Also worth checking out are Marty Brodeur's musings on his future (which clearly includes being in net somewhere), and Kevin Weekes' assessment of teams to watch in Sochi - Russia and Finland.

Many questions for the second half of the NHl season are asked and answered on this week's Down Goes Brown.

For the end, a really special make-a-wish story courtesy of the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres. This sick kid got his wish, including dropping the ceremonial puck at the Caps game and tossing Steve Ott from the faceoff dot.

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