Good morning on this balmy Christmas Eve,
The Pens finally had a clunker game in Ottawa everyone was afraid was coming, and more injuries to boot, with Pascal Dupuis going down early in the game on a Methot hip check that knocked Crosby into him. Sid wasn't happy about the low check, saying it almost blew out his knee, though I don't see anything wrong with it. Per Dan Bylsma, Duper will be evaluated in Pittsburgh before a prognosis is offered. Please let it not be anything that has letters "C" and "L" in it.
Anyhow, I only saw the third period last night, but from what I hear the Sens were going after Crosby every shift. It's hardly surprising, because with 11 Pens players missing, who else would you go after if you're the Sens? Erik Karlsson is back with a vengeance, leading all defensemen with 37 points going into the break.
The Pens Corsi picture looks exactly as you think it might, with the top 6 regulars looking pretty good, and the bottom 6 revolving door looking very inconsistent.
We are finally going to see some injured guys come back. Orpik and Glass will be back in the lineup Friday night against Carolina, which means Zolnierczyk and Samuelsson have been sent back to Wilkes-Barre. I will say this for Dirty Harry: I didn't hate having him around, because he had a pretty decent stint for an injury fill-in.
Given that the Pens were in Canada, much attention was paid to Crosby, Fleury and Kunitz. Canadians widely expect Sid the Man to be the captain of their love boat in Sochi, while neither Fleury nor Kunitz looked too great under the Canadian microscope last night. O Canada. Don't worry, you will still have your gold in curling.
At any rate, the Ottawa game only showcased how badly the Pens need a Christmas break, after which they hopefully start to get some injured players back. Meanwhile, the casualty streak has taught the Pens a lot about being a team.
My children will forever refer to the New York Jets as the New York Buttfumbles, obviously. Now Mike Smith will forever be known as Mike Buttgoal. It's a horrible way to lose an OT game, after posting a regulation shutout no less, but the Buffalo Sabres got their Festivus miracle. The puck went up in the air, fell down into Mike Smith's pants (this is why we have the tuck rule, Mikey!), and crossed the goal line therein.
Have a happy and stress-free Christmas Eve, Pens fans. Come back all week for the rest of Olympic previews - wrapping it all up this week.