Good morning one and all!
The Pens are still in Toronto, where they are practicing and bonding. Every time they mention a team-bonding trip, I remember how Petr Nedved once said "a lot of bondage happens on these [trips]".
Pens practices are getting shorter and much more focused and competitive. No more mustache boys, which doesn't explain the face of Simon Despres, who still looks like Hercule Poirot.
Pens defense is already seeing some changes with Harrington's recall, though when exactly he will play remains to be seen. The penalty kill is still an issue, and hopefully something they can work on in the next couple of days.
Here is the latest installment of Crosby Unplugged, an in-depth chat with the captain before the visit to Toronto.
Sidney Crosby is off to the hottest start of his career and is getting a head start in the scoring race. He's the first Penguin since Lemieux, Francis and Jagr to start the season with back-to-back 3-point games.
As great as Sid has been thus far, the first two games of the season gave us a glimpse of even greater heights. Now that we've seen some stretches of it, the natural question to ask is can he consistently take his game to the next level?
Sid hasn't had a right shot on his right side very often in his career, but now that Patric Hornqvist's there, early returns have been excellent. Hornqvist has posted 4 points (2G, 2A) and 13 SOGs in his first two games.
On his left is still one Chris Kunitz, whose productivity seems to be there regardless of who he plays with. His longevity and nose for the net are his greatest traits. We love our honey badger.
We discussed the recently instituted new rules in the NHL, but here's an article looking specifically at how some of these rule changes might impact the Penguins.
Bill Guerin was once Crosby's linemate and now gets to watch him every day as the Pens assistant GM. What does he see as the key difference in Crosby today compared to when he played with him?
Henrik Lundqvist had a rocky start last night against those same Maple Leafs, and ended up allowing five goals in the second period alone, getting replaced in the process. Here he is, stunned after bring pulled. The Leafs finally earned their first W of the season.
The role of an enforcer in hockey is ever-shrinking. Kevin Westgarth is one of the smartest athletes you'll ever run across, so I can't imagine he'll be unemployed for a long time. Even the Flyers are going in a different direction (does that mean Zac Rinaldo is there to play hockey?).
Speaking of goons, this happened over the weekend, and it is quite simply savagery. I don't have another word for the actions of Trevor Gillies. I don't understand why that lowlife is still out there and allowed to play hockey.
Nikolay Kulemin is making a strong impression in his new role on a checking line with the Islanders.
Carolina has placed Jeff Skinner on IR with a concussion courtesy of Matt Niskanen, and called up Zach Boychuk. Two seasons ago we picked up this guy off waivers to play on Malkin's left wing. I'm still having a hard time forgetting that.
In the third period of Pens-Leafs game on Saturday, a disgruntled Leafs fan tossed his jersey on the ice, to negative reactions of players from both teams. Nazem Kadri said they didn't need fans like that, while Pascal Dupuis called the action "classless". What does everybody think? Breach of fan protocol, or something a fan's entitled to?
On that note, if you are north of the border, have a very happy Canadian Thanksgiving!