Good morning one and all!
Islanders again tonight. This is like Groundhog Day.
While in Florida, the Pens caught up with Tomas Vokoun, who's doing well, still on warfarin therapy, and still planning to give comeback a shot if and when he's cleared to play, whenever that is. Meanwhile, we'll stick with Chatty Zatty, which is as fitting a nickname as a player ever had, apparently.
Geno was named first star of the week in the NHL second week in a row, and it looks like a sure bet he'll be the first star of the month. Hopefully this motivates Sid to one-up Geno, and when they're both going like that, we won't bemoan the "top-heavy" lineup much.
The Pens PK is back to being good again, even with all the injury fill-ins. That to me is more encouraging than the power-play clicking at 12% better with James Neal back at doing what he does.
The Islanders post-Vanek trade are worse than pre-Vanek. That's not good, although John Tavares is still doing his part, with 30 points in 27 games.
A couple games on tap last night. Winnipeg put up four goals on whoever that was in the NYR goal (not Lundqvist so clearly I wasn't paying attention), plus added an ENG for good measure. PK Subban saved Carey Price's bacon, and the only thing missing was the triple low five (I kind of miss it).
Minnesota Wild shut out the Flyers. Too bad Steve Mason doesn't score any goals, then they'd be all set. Matt Cooke is now playing on the line with Kyle Brodziak and Torrey Mitchell. Check out this save by Josh Harding.
World Juniors are around the corner, and the rosters are starting to take shape. Derrick Pouliot is one of three Portland Winterhawks on the list of players invited to Team Canada's national junior team selection camp, If you scan this list you immediately notice the omissions of Max Domi and Darnell Nurse. No Tristan Jarry either. Connor McDavid will be the first 16-year-old since Sidney Crosby in 2004 to play in WJC. Let's see if he, indeed, is better than Crosby as touted in Joyce's SN article.
Russia has also named their extended roster, which includes Valentin Zykov (read about him here) and Denis Gorbunov from Baie-Comeau, as well as 2014 draft-eligible Ivan Barbashev (Moncton).
The defending world junior champions, USA, have chosen Minnesota Golden Gophers' head coach Don Lucia to succeed Phil Housley and try to lead American juniors in the defense of their title in Malmo, Sweden from 12/26-1/5. Team USA selection camp will take place from December 15-18 in Minneapolis, and the players invited will be announced this week.
Speaking of USA Hockey, the enshrinement ceremonies for USA Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2013 took part in Detroit yesterday, and Ray Shero, Jason Botterill and several other members of the Penguins organization made the trip to help honor our very own Billy Guerin.
Nice story about Zach Boychuk. After playing for half-dozen teams including ours in the truncated 2012/13 season, he's back with the Charlotte Checkers, hoping to climb the roster ladder. Some good insights from his time in Pittsburgh, including the hospitality of Brandon Sutter and Sidney Crosby, who is always good for picking up dinner tabs.
The Pensblog builds off of our Pens Ups and Downs to look at more interesting numbers and projections based off what happened in November.
Islanders tonight. Here's your official game preview. Let's go Pens!