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Amusing musings

Think of this sort of like my version of Peter King's "Things I think I think".....But without all the pretentious notes about coffee, the joys of walking around a city or complaining about hotels.

--Atlanta's trading a second player picked #1 or #2 in the draft in less than a week, ouch.  Could you imagine Pittsburgh doing that?  Just goes to show, it's not always about picking high, it's the players around when you do pick high (thinking about bust #1 Patrick Stefan too).  Can't help but feel sorry for the die-hard Atlanta fans, hopefully their management can finally turn things around and put a solid product on the ice for them.

--It wasn't too long ago there was serious debate who'd have the better career: Kari Lehtonen or Marc-Andre Fleury.  Injuries to Lehtonen and MAF's Stanley Cup have about stopped that one dead in it's tracks, huh?

--Now that Dallas has Lehtonen, what does this mean for impending UFA Marty Turco?  A team like Philadelphia can't really be placing their hopes in Ray Emery (maybe surgery again) and Michael Leighton, can they?  My gut is telling me that Tampa Bay -- right in the thick of the hunt -- might be interested too as a sleeper team looking for a proven upgrade.

--Who would have guessed Anssi Salmela, a throw in for last week's trade, would have more goals than Ilya Kovalchuk at any point on the New Jersey Devils?  Ok so it's just to games but still.

--An ankle sprain has put Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf status for the Olympics in doubt, even though it appears he has dodged serious injury.  The next in line reportedly is Philadelphia's Jeff Carter.  A lot of Pens fans might wonder about Jordan Staal, but even though J-Staal has arguably been playing the best hockey of his career these past 15-20 games, I don't think he's on the radar.  With Steven Stamkos (32 goals), Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards (who quietly has 63 points this season), Canada's depth shows itself again.  Carter would likely make any Olympic roster right off the bat except Canada.

--Rumors are swirling, probably of the wishful thinking variety, that Pittsburgh may be interested in acquiring Nashville's impending UFA Dan Hamhuis.  Well of course, they'd be interested, but don't count on Nashville trying to trade Hamhuis.  They'v got more to gain by keeping him, even if it means likely losing him in June.  Every dollar counts in Nashville and using Hamhuis down the stretch is a better bet to make it to the playoffs than trading him away now.

--Everyone ought to read Elliotte Friedman's 30 thoughts; look at bullet 15.  Marek Svatos cap hit is just north of $2 million and he's on the smallish side, but with two seasons of 26+ goal seasons he's got some skill.  Is it going to happen for Pittsburgh?  Probably not.  But in this climate with almost every team in playoff contention, there's not going to be that many choices out there.

--Friedman also mused what might have been if Montreal had acquired Marian Hossa back for 2008 playoffs.  I'd venture to guess in that alternate world the Pens probably don't make it to the Stanley Cup finals in '08.  Without that valuable learning experience of losing to the Detroit Red Wings, would Pittsburgh have "known" how to win in 2009?  It's not a stretch to think Detroit would be the two-time defending Cup champions right now if the Pens didn't trade for Hossa.

--Worth keeping an eye on: the collegiate players that have slipped through the cracks and will be UFA's.  I must admit, I don't know yet who any prospects are for this season, but you look at how the New York Rangers signed Matt Gillroy (11 points, +4) from Boston University and the Colorado Avalanche added BU teamme Brandon Yip who has 18 points (and 11 goals) in 22 games in the NHL.  Pittsburgh's gone this route with guys like Brad Thiessen and John Curry before, it'll be bear watching if they can go gold-mining for an offensive minded winger.

--It's worth reminding for every Yip there's a Janne Pesonen though, so there's no guarantee that high-risk, high-reward chance doesn't always pay off.  Then again, if you can't buy a lottery ticket, there's no chance of winning big. 

--Been mentioned, but worth repeating that Sidney Crosby is sitting on 39 goals this season, tying his career single-season high.  Crosby's got 54 goals in his past 82 games (dating back to the start of the 2009 playoffs), which really shows how his game has evolved now into one of the game's top goal scorers.

--After he scored a hat-trick on December 3rd, our favorite noted goal scorer Mike Rupp only has 3 goals in his last 31 games.  Maybe some rest over the Olympic break will help him get back into a groove.

--Reason for the Pens sitting solidly in the top half of the Eastern Conference so far this season?  They're 10-2-0 against division opponents not named the New Jersey Devils.