Friday, December 12, 2008

Penguins Go Off on the Hapless Islanders

Wasn't it just a week ago that Petr Sykora had his roughly 10 millionth 2-goal game, and people were lamenting how he just couldn't seem to get that elusive hat trick? Well.... so much for that, eh? Petr went off last night with a 4 point, 3 goal night against the Islanders whose goaltenders were so terrible I think they were considering signing Goldberg from the Mighty Ducks this morning to replace one of those bums.

And seriously, how pissed must Pascal Dupuis be? Obviously he's not ACTUALLY mad, but I mean he picked the wrong game to snag his first career hat trick, as everyone is too busy fawning over Sykora finally getting over the hump to notice that Pascal had a heck of an evening himself, doubling his season goal total in one night.

Anyway, I hadn't covered the Pens in too long, so here are some random thoughts on our beloved ice hockey squad.
-Just as I was getting ready to make a "can somebody please check Miro Satan's pulse?" joke after a dreadful 1 goal 2 assists over 9 games stretch, he goes and equals those numbers in last night's domination.

-Chris Minard, Jeff Taffe, Tim Wallace and John Curry all on the Penguins at the same time? Is it really any wonder why this team has been having a bit of a rough stretch prior to their game against the AHL's newest team, the New York Islanders. It seems like half the roster is on the verge of coming back from an injury, but until Whitters, Gonch, Fleury, Mad Max, TK and whoever else start returning, I think we may see some more struggles from the Flightless Birds. However, I will take a rash of injuries in November and December and guys being healthy in April and May over the opposite scenario any day of the week.

-The Consol Energy Arena? Mehh... Maybe it will grow on me.

-I'm still trying to figure out how in the world this happened considering how far back Sid and Geno originally were and how badly the Canadiens fans were stuffing the ballot box. Seriously though, you can't tell me something fishy isn't going on here, right? I mean look at the totals for the Eastern Conference leaders vs. the Western Conference leaders! Are we sure that the Western teams' fans even know the NHL has an all-star game? Whatever. Good job Pens fans, and let's keep it up, because nothing would be funnier than seeing Whitney and Gonchar win starting spots, even if they aren't eligible to play and Fleury winning a spot even though he's been out for quite a while and doesn't even have the best goalie stats on his own team.

-It looks like we are getting closer and closer to Ryan Whitney returning to the lineup. A little while ago I wondered how the Pens would handle the return of Whitney to the lineup, as they had so many good NHL defensemen already playing, but the last few games, prior to last night's game, most of those guys had really been struggling. Goligoski, Letang, Eaton (when he occasionally plays), Boucher, and even a little bit Scuderi have all looked like suitable guys to sit when Whitney returns. Certainly, Letang and Scuderi figure to both be safe on the roster, though I think they will see diminished ice time and the occasional night off as well. I think Eaton or Boucher if he is still having injury issues make the most sense to be demoted and scratched on a Darryl Sydor-like basis, and the wild card is Goligoski. Prior to last night's game, he had just 2 points (both assists) in his last 11 games, and although his +/- has been solid, I was beginning to wonder if his rookie hot streak was wearing off. He looked good last night, though, and his play in the coming weeks will be worth watching.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

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