After the 'Nightmare in Nashville', Mike Sullivan made it quite clear, he wasn't pleased by telling the media, "Listen, we're dealing with injuries just like every other team in the league. We had a capable lineup in the lineup tonight, we didn't get it done."
It is still early in the season but a few trends are starting to rear their ugly head, none more concerning than the individual performances by Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta, and Trevor Daley.
Dumoulin hasn't been good around the net, last night's first Nashville goal by Viktor Arvidsson is a good example.
Then Maatta's lack of ability to be in the right position happens again...
If you want to see a game breakdown of this nightmare by Terry Crisp and Nashville's broadcast.
While hindsight is 20/20, Sullivan's decision to start Fleury again in the team's sixth game in ten days wasn't exactly a smart move with a more than capable backup goalie in Mike Condon. Fleury's performance since the opening the season in the first two games stopping 73 of 77 shots is going to push the goalie rotation even more now that Matt Murray is about ready to play.
Everyone Gets a Shot
After the last four games, Fleury's save percentage is an unsightly 90.4% but as Sullivan rightly indicated, this is a team effort as the team is giving up way too many shots on goals and scoring chances.
Through six games, Penguins are third worst in the NHL giving up 34 shots per game, just behind Arizona's 36.5 and Columbus' 35.3 in their first four games. A little too much 'fun' for watching the Penguins.
50 Years of Lineups
While the Penguins are celebrating 50 years in the NHL, this is my 30th year watching hockey. It started with the 1986-1987 season seeing guys like Mario Lemieux, Dan Quinn, Randy Cunneyworth and Bob Errey lose more often than not. Much of what we'll see over the celebrations are the highly thought of alumni, especially the members of the 1991, 1992, 2009 and 2016 Stanley Cup teams.
All these celebrations had me thinking, what were some of the best lines on the Penguins over these 30 years.
It started with Lemieux, Errey and "Downtown" Robbie Brown during the 1988-1989 season that saw Lemieux score 85 goals, 114 assists for 199 points with the defensive conscience Errey getting 26 goals and 32 assists while Brown wowed the league with 49 goals and 66 assists.
The other great linemates that Lemieux played with over the years included Kevin Stevens, Mark Recchi, Rick Tocchet, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Martin Straka, Alexei Kovalev, Jan Hrdina and Tomas Sandstrom.
The Penguins have been more than just Lemieux over the years, those other recent history lines included:
|Kip Miller - Jan Hrdina - Jaromir Jagr|
|Martin Straka - Robert Lang - Alexei Kovalev|
|Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis|
|Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal|
|Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy|
Who were your favorite lines or maybe least favorite over these 50 years?
Penguins 2016 Draft Pick Update
Filip Gustavsson (Goalie - 2nd Round, 55th overall) - Ranked as one of the top goaltenders of his draft class, it was a surprise to see the Penguins select Gustavsson as their first draft pick in 2016 considering their depth with Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Murray, and Tristan Jarry in the organization but the Penguins felt pretty strong to draft the best available player. So far this season, Gustavsson has appeared in a few games for Lulea and will eventually compete for a spot for Team Sweden in the World Juniors under 20 tournament.
Kasper Bjorkqvist (Winger - 2nd Round, 61st overall) - The Finnish winger decided to play college hockey for Providence instead of going to Canadian Juniors or staying in Finland has missed the start of the season for the Friars due to an upper body injury that occurred during an exhibition game against Acadia University.
Connor Hall (Defensemen - 3rd Round, 77th overall) - The Kitchener Rangers defensemen played in one game during the rookie tournament for the Penguins and didn't play well. He's played in four games in the OHL since missing the start of their season due to an injury with one assist and minus-1 rating.
Ryan Jones (Defensemen - 4th Round, 121st overall) - The second of four defensemen drafted in 2016 by the Penguins is playing for the University of Nebraska-Omaha, former college team of Jake Guentzel. He's appeared in two games, scoring one goal and assessed ten minutes in penalties.
Niclas Almari (Defensemen - 5th Round, 151st overall) - The third European drafted by the Penguins in this class is playing in Finland for HPK Hameenlinna in SM-liiga. He's appeared in nine games, scoring one goal and collecting two assists.
Joe Masonius (Defensemen - 6th Round, 181st overall) - Final pick is playing for University of Connecticut, appeared in four games, no points and a minus-3 rating.