"We were a pretty fragile group when he got here. I would have to say he's exceeded all expectations."
I think Gonchar is the one responsible for the way they are playing right now. They played with a lot of confidence when they had him in the lineup last year. As soon as he came back, they started to go back to their old ways. He's leading the charge on the power play. He's the guy to focus on.
Is there any chance the Penguins can employ Evgeni Malkin's parents? He plays so well when they are in town. There has to be a concessions opening somewhere.
"It wasn't a smart try. I thought I could hit a home-run pass to (Malkin). It was my mistake, but my coaches showed faith in me by putting me out there after I made it. They could have just kept me on the bench."
Perhaps my favorite Kunitz memory – and this is a little bit warped on my part – was the game against Nashville when Kunitz, barely provoked, dropped his gloves and started punching the closest guy to him – Marek Zidlicky. Zidlicky, bewildered at why he was suddenly in a fight, covered his face with his gloved hands to avoid the punches, but through some miracle in refereeing, both were given 5 minutes for fighting. I couldn’t stop laughing for the entire penalty.
"The last couple of games there were a lot of goals, and that's something that gets me mad when that happens. I've been working hard with Gilles (Meloche, the goaltending coach) on the ice and talking about some different stuff. I'm trying to make sure it doesn't happen very often."
That "core," as [Ray] Shero is fond of calling it, is viewed as the promise of future Cup champions in Pittsburgh. But Shero did not rule out moving a member of [the core] before the deadline to solidify the Penguins for this season.
[Sidney Crosby] passes the puck so well that you have to be careful. But with (Evgeni) Malkin, he gets in the 'gray areas' to score goals. He's got a lot of skills and he'll make you look silly, so you've got to be careful with both of those guys."
There is a lesson for coaches of all levels in this: it’s a game no matter how the stakes are perceived. It’s a game of motion, spontaneity and creativity. When the passion turns into stiff repetition, the fun is gone and the players respond accordingly.
"I wouldn’t say it’s a struggle playing with him, but Sid sees plays happening one or two steps ahead, and other guys don’t. It can frustrate him. I don’t think that by any means he gets on his linemates too bad, but he’s a superstar…."