Last week there was not a Heroes and Goats article due to a combination of the holiday, and the great month in review article by Hooks. If you have not looked at that article do yourself a favor and check it out now. Since my last article right before Thanksgiving the Penguins have gone through a series injuries that have seen the lineup transformed from a respectable NHL lineup to a hybrid NHL/AHL mashup. With that in mind I tried to be kind, and avoid picking on the youngsters.
The Biggest hero of the past week and a half has to be Evgeni Malkin. With injuries to the Pens top offensive players, and Sidney Crosby going through a rough patch, Malkin has stepped his game up considerably. Against the New Jersey Devils he had the game winner, against the New York Rangers his line took over the third period. With the team struggling through the injuries it is nice to see Geno put the team on his back.
We are seeing Ehrhoff start to feel comfortable in his own skin again. After an uneven start to the season Ehrhoff has been a considerable force offensively in the past week. His rocket of a slapper against Ottawa is the primary reason for him being here. With injuries to Maatta and Letang, Ehrhoff's presence in the lineup has been vital to the Pens success this past week.
Yeah I am getting creative here but if you look at the injury bug that has hit the Penguins, and the fact that the vultures were swirling around the team after the Patric Hornqvist injury, Rutherford's decision to make a "hockey move" instead of a desperation move was a major moment in this young season. A week ago Hooks wrote a terrific article about not making a damaging trade to solve a short term problem. Rutherford avoided just that with this trade. Additionally when you take into account that Klinkhammer drew two penalties in his first game, including one that lead to a powerplay goal, and that he will fill out a spot in the bottom six, it appears as if the Pens did quite well in this trade.
Just when you think the "Zach Sill as an NHL player" thing couldn't get any worse: 4 minute double-minor for a high stick in the offensive zone. Still has 0 career points in now 44 games. Can't wait to see what's for an encore.
He was kicked out of the Senators game on Saturday, which was more of a bad call than a bad play, but Sill simply is not contributing in any meaningful way right now.
I am not really knocking his on-ice performance here. I really want to see what Scott Wilson can do in the NHL. But as Hooks said
Shame that Wilson seemed to get dinged up somewhere along the way in his first NHL game. Hopefully it's not too bad, players only get so many chances at NHL opportunities and this could be a golden one for Wilson, but you can't make the club from the tub.
You really hate to see the youngster have bad luck in his first game in the NHL. Here's hoping Wilson can get healthy and get another chance to display his skill set at the NHL level.
Okay, I know I said I would not pick on the youngsters, and then I turn around and do that very thing. However, when you look at the Pens situation right now they need these youngsters to contribute and take advantage of their opportunities. Right now Dumoulin is not making the most of his opportunity with the big club. Against the Vancouver Cannucks he was chasing the puck around when the Sedins found themselves on ice against him. Is this really his fault? No, but it demonstrates how much development he still has to make to be ready for big minutes in the NHL. Then his game against the Rangers was one to forget. He had several awful plays in his own end that led to goals against. Dumoulin will undoubtedly grow as a player with time, but right now he is struggling.