This video hits the nail right on the head.
So the NHL is in a state of lockout right now. The rumors are flying at a rapid pace and hopes of only missing the preseason games are made out to be the goal. Whether that becomes a reality or not is yet to be seen. What seems pretty clear is the league has between now and December for a deal to be struck. If the Winter Classic falls under jeopardy, that would be the only time I could see the owners buckling to a short deal they may not find supremely desirable. If the Winter Classic is lost, the entire season is truly threatened to possibly be lost.
The Players Association released a video to the fans as a sort of “I’m sorry and please support our side” type gesture. As nice as it is to see David Backes, Sidney Crosby, Gabriel Landeskog, James Reimer and Jonathan Toews speak out about how much they just love playing and they love the fans, when talking revenue and labor disputes, the fans don’t play much of a factor in the decision making. We’ve already heard semi-snide remarks from the Owner’s about how the fans aren’t even a thought in any of this, outside of being a dollar amount. It’s always good to know that the top players in the league aren’t money-hungry, greed hounds (Pens fans definitely know that about Crosby with how he handled his new contract), but fan support right now will not sway accounting numbers and general cost economics in the leagues.
The video below reinforces a lot of what we’ve already heard; “I’m just a player and all I want to do is play. Boardrooms and contract disputes are the absolute last things on our minds.” Check it out. You might as well considering it was made specifically for you to see. NHL Lockout.. Let the waiting game begin.
I sent this into Steve Mears on Penguins Live today. I asked him some loaded questions today. Feel free to give me your thoughts too.
Jedi Master Mears!
Happy Monday. Rough loss yesterday but some interesting turn of events that look like they will set the scene for the playoffs. I have a few things to say and a question for you.
You’ve mentioned this on the show before and I’ve talked about it on a number of occasions as well, the Pens haven’t been doing a good job stepping up to answer the cheap shots taken on their stars. Yesterday they did. Vitale did it with class, laying that awesome and perfectly clean, open ice hit. Asham and Engelland followed up with making their fighting presence known that looked to say “the cheap stuff just wont fly anymore”. The crosscheck that Crosby took coming off the ice, long after play had stopped, was just flat out unnecessary. In another light, if Cooke pulls that on someone’s star player, he gets tossed and we all know that’s the truth.
Goal tending hasn’t been what we’re used to, but the defense and turnovers seem to be even worse. Uncharacteristic things for the Pens, like Crosby making blind passes across the front of the net and tons of pucks being turned over in the neutral zone – they’re killing us. Letang and Orpik being split to babysit Z and Martin is just nerve-wracking because teams seem to have figured out how to take advantage of that now. Where do the Pens start cleaning it all up? How do you see the Pens being able to get back to their game on all ends of the ice, but especially on the defensive end of the red line?
LETS GO PENS!!!
-The Pittsburgh Jedi
Hey Jedi Master Mears,
I don’t know what it is about when we play the Jets but that’s now 2 in a row that have been pretty confusing. Watching my facebook and twitter feeds during the game, I could tell I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Once we gained the lead, the Pens looked like they had the game under control. They were clearly out playing the Jets. All of a sudden, the game is tied or a 2 goal lead was cut to 1. Its wasn’t until the 3rd period that the Pens really ran away with it. I don’t know what kind of game mentality the Pens have when they face the Jets, but they need to clean up their defense. Lets make this the last one of those types of games.
I’ve listened to a lot of analysts and talked to a lot of fans and the common trend seems to be… teams who have multiple players exceeding expectations and breaking career highs all at the same time, are teams that win cups. Check this out and correct me if I’m wrong…
Kunitz – 21 goals. 2 behind his career high.
Duper – 21 goals. career high.
Cooke – 16 goals. career high.
Geno – 43 goals. 4 behind his career high.
Neal – 35 goals. career high IN A BIG WAY.
Staal – 22 goals. 7 behind his career high and tying his goals for the 08-09 season.
Crosby – honorable mention with 19 assists in 12 games on the season. Sid ‘the assist kid’ Crosby.
Look at those numbers. We still have a month of games left to play. How awesome is that!?!? I don’t think we have our full team chemistry worked out yet but there’s no doubt, we’re definitely making it work. I can’t wait for the playoffs. If the Pens can keep this up (and I believe they can), Lord Stanley seems all but moved back into Pittsburgh.
LETS GO PENS!!!
-The Pittsburgh Jedi
HAPPY SAINT PATRICKS DAY, PITTSBURGH!!!
Thursday night was the game all of Pittsburgh and pretty much every hockey fan on the planet, were waiting for – the return of Sidney Crosby. At Madison Square Garden against the Rangers, the game couldn’t have turned out to be much more of a high stakes situation. The Rangers lead the Eastern Conference in points, leaving the Pens trailing 6 behind, in a must-win situation if they plan to catch the Rangers in the points race. In addition to the Eastern Conference standings, looking for their 10th win in a row and 3 wins in a row against the Rangers, the Pens traveled to New York City with a lot on the line. Accompanying Crosby back to the lineup was all-star defenseman, Kris Letang. For the first time in what seems to be an eternity, the Penguins are completely healthy with the exception of backup net minder, Brent Johnson.
Even though Crosby was the evening’s much awaited spectacle, much of the spotlight ended up on Matt Cooke with 2 goals and Kris Letang with a plus-5 rating. You can never leave out Marc Andre Fleury and his hot glove hand, wracking up 29 saves on the game. Crosby was far from left with empty pockets, ending up with an assist and a plus-3 rating on the ice. Even though, at times, the Pens looked like there were too many cooks in a kitchen with all the star power the team possesses, they were able to commandingly trump the Rangers with a final score of 5-2. Accompanying Matt Cooke on the scoreboard were wingers, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, along with center and assistant captain, Evgeni Malkin. A huge win on a huge stage.
Health has been a massive issue and concern for the Penguins for the better part of two seasons. With Sidney Crosby out of the lineup, due to what turned out to be a major concussion coupled with spinal fractures, the Pens haven’t had a healthy roster for the equivalent of over a full regular season. If the Pens can keep themselves healthy and off of the injured list, the road to the Stanley Cup doesn’t seem so treacherous. Possessing a team with the two best players on the planet, multiple all-star caliber players, a number of players knocking on the door for career highs in goals, and one of the best goal keepers in the league today, the Pens have little to fear. It goes without saying that the Penguins’ depth extends far beyond their NHL roster, with the multitude of AHL players they have brought up to contribute to this season’s success.
When other teams look to matchup against the Penguins, they are essentially matching up against 3 first lines and a talented 4th line of hybrid grinders/fighters/scorers. Evgeni Malkin and the rest of his red hot first line, used to be the main shutdown focus. Now Crosby is back on the ice with his unbelievable ability to be a goal scorer and a playmaker, who can make any player around him substantially raise the level of their game. The Jordan Staal line has been anything but ineffective as well. Every coach building a strategy against a lineup like this, would see it as an absolute nightmare to figure out. You have to imagine them finally coming to a decision, walking away from the drawing board and knowing the game plan they’re about to announce hangs on a hope and a prayer… and a flimsy one at that.
The Pens are on the road to face the New Jersey Devils this afternoon, and the stakes are high once again. In recent history, the Devils have had a bead on the Pittsburgh Penguins and repeatedly found ways to shut down their goal scoring ability. Now, having to face a fully healthy, momentum riding, firing on all cylinders, Penguins squad, maybe the game wont look so typical to the Devils, this afternoon. Regardless, the Pens need to create some offense if they want to turn this 10 game win streak into an 11 game win streak. With a seemingly endless amount of firepower that the Penguins possess, it’s difficult to believe the Pens will find much trouble making that happen.
The Pittsburgh Penguins play away against the NewJersey Devils today at 1:00 PM Eastern. Tune into the game and live chat with me on facebook and twitter:
LETS GO PENS!!!