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Pensburgh Ups and Downs: January 2015

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Another month has gone by so we take another check to see who's trending up, down and who gets the dreaded band-aid for performances in January

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Check out the previous ups and downs:

The Penguins had just a 5-4-3 record in January, their worst of the season so far, including losses to both New York teams, Washington by a combined score of 15-5. Wasn't pretty but let's dive right in to examine the individual performances for the month.

Goalies Performance Comments
Marc-Andre Fleury http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Some nasty stats for the month: 3-4-2, 3.02 GAA and a .893 save %. The team in front of him didn't do him a lot of favors, but Fleury had his worst month of the season in January and should be looking forward to turning the page for next month to get back rolling again.
Thomas Greiss http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Greiss played pretty well; 2-0-1, 2.75 GAA and a .910 save % on the month. However, he only started 3 out of the team's 12 games. Hopefully he gets the chance to play a little more to lighten Fleury's load.
Defensemen
Robert Bortuzzo http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png 11 games, 0 goals, 1 assist and a -6 on the month. The physical part (30 hits, 15 blocked shots) were there, which is a good thing, but when Bortuzzo plays, the puck is usually in his own end to the point where he has to hit and block shots more. The puck ending up in the wrong net is troubling.
Simon Despres http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png 4 points (1g, 3a) in 10 games on the month, and now a chance to play on the top pair with Letang. Despres might never get a better opportunity in his career to establish himself, and if he can keep playing like he did vs New Jersey on 1/30, he's going to be A-OK.
Christian Ehrhoff http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Wasn't having the greatest month (1g, 2a, -6 in 11 games) before his head hit the ice after a routine looking collision during the Washington game on 1/28. Hopefully Ehrhoff's concussion-like symptoms clear up ASAP and he will be back sooner than later, the Pens need him back there.
Scott Harrington http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Gotta keep remembering that Harrington is 21 and in his first professional season. Almost no defensemen can make it to the NHL at that stage and play well, and neither really is Harrington (5 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, -4, little offensive output). But his day will come.
Kris Letang http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Team high 15 assists and 16 points in the month for Letang, including assists on the Pens last 7 goals of the month. He's playing a ton of minutes, generating all the offense. If he can stay healthy he's going to be in the running for the Norris trophy as the league's top defenseman.
Olli Maatta http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png In Novemeber Maatta surgery to remove cancer, in December he had the mumps and in January Maatta had another shoulder surgery. At least now he should get a break for February, right?
Paul Martin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Returning from injury on 1/7 vs BOS, Martin scored a respectable 5 points (1g, 4a) in 10 games, blocked a team high 22 shots on the month and was one of the few defensemen to be on the ice for more goals for than against at even strength. Throw in some great work on the PK and Martin is back to his normal, quiet solid play.
Derrick Pouliot http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Only played 2 NHL games in the month (1/2 vs TB, 1/21 vs CHI) but started to show a lot of good flashed in the Chicago game, where he played 20 minutes. Pouliot was recalled on 1/31 and should be a bigger part of the Pens team with some of the injuries they have. Now it's just a matter of seeing if he is ready to swim in NHL waters.
Rob Scuderi http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Scuderi's playing very well on the penalty kill, and his +3 on the month was best on the team among defensemen. His offensive contributions (0g, 0a and only 8 SOG in 12 games) is non-existent, but Scuderi's at least playing every night and filling a role with success.
Forwards
Craig Adams http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Well, at least he didn't get in any fist fights with his own teammates this month. Adams still held on to play all 12 games of the month, as usual producing very little (0 goals, 2 assists, even plus/minus). Maybe one day he'll no longer be playing so much.
Mark Arcobello http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Quite the month for Arcobello, who started January with Edmonton, got waived 1/3 and claimed by Nashville, playing 4 games there before being waived again on 1/14 and picked up by Pittsburgh. The Pens portion of Arcobello's month saw him play 6 games (0g,1a), get a healthy scratched 1/28 vs. Washington before getting back in on 1/30. Where does Arcobello fit on the Pens if and when they get healthier? If he doesn't pick it up, there might not be room for him on this NHL roster.
Beau Bennett http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Upon returning from his latest injury 12/31, Bennett played the first 11 games of the season before being held out as a healthy scratch in the last game of the month. Bennett only scored 2g, 1a on the month and certainly needs to raise his game if he wants to be a big part of the team down the stretch.
Blake Comeau http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Comeau missed all month with his broken wrist, but Comeau has been skating recently and should be a candidate to return to the lineup in the first half of February, hopefully ready to pickup right where he left off with 11 goals in his first 32 games of the season.
Sidney Crosby http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Crosby's all-star absence was the talk of the hockey world, with everyone having an opinion on Sid's injury. He also scored 14 points (4g, 10a) on the month with an impressive 40 shots in 11 games. Of concern: Crosby's faceoff % has dropped every month of the season so far, and it was down to 47.4% in January. It will be interesting to track if he can get that back above 50% again.
Steve Downie http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png As always with Downie, you gotta take the good with the bad. The good was a season-high on the month with 4 goals, 25 hits and 2.0 shots per game. The bad was going to the box in 6 games this month, including a late game penalty 1/16 vs NYI that ended any hope of a comeback.
Pascal Dupuis http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Dupuis remains around the team as he continues the blood thinning regiment until at least May and he is also filling his time by joining Twitter, so check him out!
Andrew Ebbett http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png 3 points (1g, 2a) in 7 NHL games for Ebbett this month, including a great game (1g,1a) on 1/2 vs TB when injuries forced him up to a line with Malkin. Otherwise, Ebbett was mostly quiet but for a replacement level player that usually plays with Sill and Adams, that's not unexpected.
Bobby Farnham http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Only 2 games this month for Farnham, who might be about gone for now as the team returns to health. He got some Philly fans jammed up though, which is always fun.
Marcel Goc http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Played 8 games with the Penguins before being traded to St. Louis. So long, Marcel. I wish you would have scored more and brought a little more to the table from the 4th line center role. "Passive" was the perfect word to describe Goc.
Patric Hornqvist http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Came back from his foot injury on 1/27 vs WIN and scored a goal in that game. Getting him back for the Pens is huge, who will need his net-front presence and power play prowess.
Chris Kunitz http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Working back from an injury, Kunitz played all 12 games of the month with decent overall results (4g, 3a). But 5 of his 7 points were on the PP, showing that beneath the surface things aren't as rosy as it seems with only 2 ES points in 12 games on the month and a nasty looking -8. Kunitz deserves the benefit of the doubt for how productive he's always been.
Maxim Lapierre http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Liked how Mike Colligan summed up the 1/27 trade that brought Lapierre to the Pens: "At 6-2, Lapierre brings size, speed, intensity, physicality, playoff experience, and faceoff skills". Let's hope so, all those traits are badly needed for the 4th line.
Evgeni Malkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Malkin's production (3g, 7a in 8 games) is good, as it usually is for the star center. But how's this for an under-the-radar nugget. 0 PIMs in January for Geno. That's gotta be a first. His shots on goal per game (3.6 in Jan) remain very encouraging. Malkin's shaking off a groin injury that kept him out of the final two games of the month and expecting to play on the upcoming trip in Western Canada.
David Perron http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Few things in life are as good as advertised. Perron (6g, 3a) in his first 11 games as a Penguin since being acquired from Edmonton on 1/3, might even be better than advertised. The Pens have long needed skilled wingers, and finally they add one.
Zach Sill http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png 1 goal and 1 assist in 10 games on the month, which would be pathetic for anyone else, but is a career month for Sill. He remains a very bad NHL player who somehow retains a spot in the lineup every game. Hopefully not for long.
Nick Spaling http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png A fairly non-descript but marginally useful month for a player that's just the same. Spaling doesn't jump off the page, but with 5 points in 12 games and a +1, he had better numbers than most the forwards on the team this month. He does a little of everything just enough to help, but not enough to really stand out on.
Brandon Sutter http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png It's becoming a bad season for Sutter. His metrics stink (though, to be fair they usually do). His production in January (2g, 1a) was not good. His faceoffs (46.4% on the month) weren't much better. He's bleeding shots and goals against while on the ice. The Pens need more from a bunch of players, but they arguably need Sutter to play more towards expectations more than any other guy right now. Unlike past years, poor linemates can't be blamed. Sutter's playing with better players, now he needs to play better.