The Pens are in New York for yet another Wednesday rivalry game. I've now sat through two consecutive 6-1 and 5-1 floggings in MSG. A win would definitely be nice, but I'll settle for a real game in which both teams show up. Here's the game preview from Penguins Sauce.
Another player is on IR and another called up from Wilkes-Barre, but what else is new? Jayson Megna was placed on IR following a hit by Jonathan Bernier on Monday night, and Brian Gibbons is back in Pittsburgh.
None of the top four defensemen will be returning imminently. The team projects that Letang and Scuderi, who seem closest to a return, will still be out until after Christmas.
Joe Vitale is thriving in his new role as a winger. Former 4th-line center is now on Sutter's wing and has registered points in 5 of the last 8 games.
Craig Adams said on his show yesterday that Marc-Andre Fleury has been the Penguins best player so far this season. Hard to argue with that.
Deryk Engelland has an in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety today. He most definitely won't play tonight because he'll get more than the one game he already served.
The Pittsburgh Penguins holiday video is, well, judge for yourselves. But at least it's short.
There were 12 games on tap last night and lo and behold there were several bad hits and ejections. Kyle Quincey was ejected for boarding Ryan Getzlaf. If that didn't impress you, the next one sure will. 19-year-old rookie Tom Wilson, whom the Caps kept in the NHL rather than send him back to juniors, amazed us with this raging charge on Brayden Schenn, which was as reckless and vicious as any I've seen recently.
All of the above means the fighting in hockey conversation is back on the front burner. Should fighting stay, should it go, should someone have fought to preclude or pre-empt any of those, you know the script. How about this: just respect your fellow human beings and take it from there.
I was looking to leave you guys with something interesting for the end, so here it is. An absolutely genially conceived Venn diagram of hockey hate. Two current Pens are on it. Sidney Crosby is found exactly where you suspect, in the overexposed and we-hate-him-just-because overlap. The other one, James Neal, is adorning the cheap-shot gallery, together with Emery, Torres, Bertuzzi, Thornton, Kaleta, Marchand, Lapierre... I felt a pang of disappointment that it's come to that. Nealer will be back tomorrow night against the Wild and what better than a reunion with Matt Cooke to mark a new beginning and arrival of James Neal 2.0.