#1 - Maybe I'm growing soft with age, but I'm not ready to call for torches and pitchforks for Mike Johnston not challenging this goal.
Mike Johnston didn't challenge this play. Clear contact made by Nashville player on Fleury pic.twitter.com/R4Y6Tmac5k— The Pensblog (@Pensblog) October 25, 2015
Marc-Andre Fleury is slightly bumped, but does that alter the course of the play? And Fleury is dangerously close to being totally out of his crease.
Either way, take the black-and-gold glasses off and ask; is there really enough there to conclusively over-turn the call on the ice? I don't really think the case is all that strong.
#2 - For all the bluster - and admittedly no one more blustery than myself - the Penguins used Bobby Farnham in about the best case scenario that they could. Played him 3 of the first few games of the season, which was necessitated by injuries to guys like Pascal Dupuis, Eric Fehr and Beau Bennett. Then, as soon as the team is getting healthy, they waived him. Not ideal, but close.
#3 - And, just an observation but the return of the three forwards mentioned above are just going to lengthen the odds that much more that Daniel Sprong sticks around in the NHL past his 9th game (which would trigger "burning" the first year of his entry level contract).
#4 - Where Fehr fits in will be most interesting. Nick Bonino has played well, but in his career has mainly been a center. Fehr started his career as a goal-scoring right-winger, but has changed his game to become a fine two-way center. Neither Fehr/Bonino will be the typical 8-9 minute a night 4th liner. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like any of the team's top right wingers - Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist - have any position flexibility. And the right-handed Fehr hasn't played much on the left-side. Ditto Bonino. Will the Pens try one of them anyways on the left in a scoring role? Or load Bonino-Fehr as 2/3 of a 3rd line?
#5 - The Pens schedule suggests there is a good chance to open up some offense in the very near future. The next 6 games are against Washington, Buffalo, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Their early season goals/against ranks are: 13th, 27th, 26th, 8th, 22nd, 28th, respectively.
#6 -It's difficult to make trades in today's NHL, but one team worth keeping an eye on as a potential trade partner for the Pens could be the Dallas Stars. From Todays Slapshot, the Stars have kept 8 defensemen with Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth being the extras. Both are young (22 and 23, respectively) and both made their NHL season debuts only last game. Both would require waivers to be
traded sent to the minors. Neither has a ton of NHL experience (Oleksiak 60 career games; Nemeth 30) but both are big (6'7" + 250 for Oleksiak, 6'3, 225 for Nemth) and would add some size/muscle to a Pittsburgh blueline that lacks that.
What Pittsburgh really needs is a tailor-made defenseman who can capably play top-4 minutes, but guys like that don't grow on trees and usually are not dangled for mid-season trades. Seeing a situation for a "change of scenery" guy might work wonders; as we've seen first hand with Matt Niskanen and Ian Cole in Pittsburgh.
#7 - Plug of the week - check out Bob Grove (simply a treasure) with Miller and Marshall on the Pensblog podcast. Good stuff there.
#8 - Wishful thinking, but maybe when prepping the PK for the Capitals PP, the Penguins could learn a thing or two for their own man-advantage. The Caps PP is 7-for-22 (31.8%) to start the season. They're moving the puck with authority, and it's not just revolving around Alex Ovechkin (who only has 1 PP point so far this season, and it was an assist, no less). Washington usually has a good power play year-in and year-out, and like the Pens they have an abundance of skill players on the ice during it. The Pens need to learn where they can to help improve.
#9 - I've talked about the importance of faceoffs on the power play many times before, but just noticed that NHL.com has the ability to track it now. The Pens (24 FO won, 29 FO lost) are at a -5, which is 26th on the league. A lot of the Penguins frustrations on the power play come from failing to set up their power play. Losing faceoffs makes it that much tougher to get setup.
#10 - Beau Bennett, in a "make it or break it" season for his future in Pittsburgh, knocks himself out of the lineup for 2 weeks celebrating a goal. Can't make it up in his long injury-riddled career. Moving on to the next one, I suppose.