This week, I'm going to borrow the Elliotte Friedman (30 thoughts) approach for my Sunday commentary.
1. Evgeni Malkin: Malkin played over 45 minutes in two games, that's why he was looking visibly tired during the power play in overtime against the Blue Jackets. After making some strides in the faceoff circle over the last two years, Malkin is struggling badly this year. Saturday night, Malkin was 3-11 (27%) and for the season, 42.6%.
2. Robert Bortuzzo: Penguins are missing Olli Maatta for a couple of weeks, now they'll be without Bortuzzo as he left in the second period to an undisclosed injury. I would expect Brian Dumoulin to get the call over Scott Harrington or Derrick Pouliot.
3. Thomas Greiss: It is probably unfair to compare Greiss to Fleury but on Saturday night, it was a glaring difference in their goaltending differences as Columbus beat Greiss three times on penalty shots/shootout attempts. The penalty shot awarded to Boone Jenner was disappointing considering his Bobby Orr embellishment to draw the call against Simon Despres.
4. Stan Savran: Speaking of disappointing, there's not much else one can say after Savran's mouth opened up comparing the Penguins first period to that of "I can't breathe" shirts. Savran or someone at Root Sports Pittsburgh quickly realized the mistake and upon coming back to the studio, Savran offered an apology on the air and followed it up on Twitter as well. There's no taking back the comments but hopefully Savran, a long-time reporter in Pittsburgh, was able to step above the political correctness and insensitivity of his comments to own his mistake.
5. Steve Downie: 29 penalty minutes on Saturday night, 20 as result of two different 10-minute misconduct penalties. Downie is on pace for over 350 penalty minutes this season. It used to be 2-minutes for being Matt Cooke, now it is 10-minutes for being Steve Downie. Head Coach Mike Johnston didn't look particularly pleased with the second misconduct penalty.
6. Kris Letang: It wasn't pretty for the first two periods for Letang as he struggled to get the puck up the ice on the power play and misfired on a number of passes. The opposite was true in the third period as Letang scored twice, once short-handed and the other with Greiss pulled from the net. The short-handed goal was all about Letang reading the play and using his outstanding skating ability to join Craig Adams on the odd-man break. Every game, Letang is able to flip the ice because of his ability to expose the weak-side defense.
7. NHL Fear: Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman in his latest 30 thoughts had this wonderful bit... "The Canucks were steaming when Anders Lee eventually got a hearing for elbowing Carl Gunnarsson, but Stephane Robidas didn’t for his shot to Shawn Matthias. The biggest complaint (and the Blues had it too) was that if a player is responsible for accidents with his stick, shouldn’t he also be responsible for accidents with his body parts? I’ve asked about this before, and the response is usually something along the lines of, "Then teams will complain there are too many suspensions." For a sport played so quickly and without fear, the league sure has a way to live in their fears.
8. Embellishment: On September 11th, NHL announced rules changes for the 2014-15 season, one being Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment).. The supplementary discipline penalties associated with Rule 64.3 (Diving/Embellishment) will be revised to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Fines will be assessed to players and head coaches on a graduated scale outlined below. It should surprise no one, the league hasn't announced a single fine and most games, the acts are rarely whistled without an even-up call.