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Old 02-07-2007, 05:09 PM   #911
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Well Said by the great Myron Cope!
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:11 AM   #912
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Penguins digging deep

By Keith Barnes
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, February 8, 2007

When the Penguins practice, Sidney Crosby is usually the first player on the ice and the last to leave.

So, it somewhat surprising Wednesday when the first two players to hit the ice were Dominic Moore and Ronald Petrovicky.

"We just got lucky to be the first couple of guys out there," Petrovicky said. "Sid's got a passion for hockey, and you can see it all the time, and he's a prime example of a hockey player that's doing the right thing every time."

It wasn't the first time Crosby yielded ice time to Petrovicky, Moore and their linemate, Jarkko Ruutu. They've been taking an average of 13 shifts and nearly 10 minutes a game away from the top three lines during the Penguins' 9-0-2 streak that has them residing in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

And the league's leading scorer doesn't mind a bit.

"They've been playing great," said Crosby, who has a league-high 86 points. "They've been playing physical and chipping in, and we need everyone."

It may not seem like much, but with a backloaded schedule that has the Penguins playing 29 games in the next 59 days, including 17 games in March, the players will take every break they can get.

"You just stay fresh as a team, they feel a part of it, and it's a big thing," Penguins forward Mark Recchi said. "Last year, going to Carolina (during the Hurricanes' Stanley Cup run) we had a very effective fourth line that we could throw out there anytime to do a job and play with energy, a little fire in their bellies and make it hard for the other team."

Unlike the many teams that limit playing time for the fourth line, the Penguins roll theirs out as part of their normal rotation. Only power plays and penalty kills interrupt the cycle and keep the fourth-liners planted on the bench for any length of time.

Even late in games, when many coaches think of shortening their bench and reducing play to three or two lines, the Penguins remain faithful to their four-line philosophy.

"There's a lot of hockey to be played, and those guys deserve to be on the ice as well," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Our goal is to go with six defensemen and four lines with everyone involved, because we know that we're going to need everyone if we want to make the playoffs."

Playing the fourth line certainly proved beneficial Saturday. Stuck in a scoreless game with Washington, Petrovicky broke down the right wing side into the Capitals' zone, hesitated, then beat goaltender Olaf Kolzig for the winning goal in a 2-0 decision.

"Every time you score a goal and your hockey team wins, you feel good," Petrovicky said. "(Tuesday) we had a few chances to score, but we didn't, and we'll just keep working hard and hopefully we'll keep doing the same thing."

Scoring from a fourth line is generally considered a bonus, but the Penguins have been reaping consistent benefits of late. Over the past 11 games, the checking line has notched six goals, 12 points, one game-winning goal and an even plus-minus rating.

"I think when you look at successful teams, you can't have two lines or three lines going, because, in the end, in the playoffs, you need everybody," Ruutu said. "You have to trust everybody ... and I think there's a lot of advantages, because you're way less tired and you're fresher toward the end of the game."

More important, the Penguins may be fresher at the end of the season as they try to secure their first postseason berth in six years.

"Not that you want to save anything; you don't," Crosby said. "But you have to make sure that you're taking the time when you can to rest, and playing four lines is a big part of it."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_492218.html
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:13 AM   #913
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Well, at least we know they haven't thrown in the towel yet...

Sides still talking in Pens' arena negotiations

By Andrew Conte
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, February 8, 2007

Everything is negotiable and nothing has been agreed upon in the closed-door arena talks among the Penguins and public officials, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato said Wednesday.

The two sides talked on a conference call Monday, but Onorato said they still have not reached an agreement on how to pay for a new Uptown arena.

"We're still negotiating, and I still feel optimistic we'll get it done," Onorato said at a luncheon hosted by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania.

A Penguins spokesman declined to comment.

The two sides have been negotiating over the details of an arena plan since first meeting Jan. 4.

Gov. Ed Rendell's initial proposal called for $14.5 million a year in slots money, with the team paying $8.5 million up front and $2.9 million a year, while forgoing $1.16 million a year in naming rights.

The team's contribution has been substantially reduced, Rendell has said, but he has declined to say how much the Penguins would pay.

Onorato reiterated yesterday that the deal will not include any local money from Pittsburgh, Allegheny County or the county's Regional Asset District, which collects a 1 percent sales tax.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_492214.html
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:17 AM   #914
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Hey, don't hurry back on our account, Melichar - the team's done just fine without you! Also, so what if Gonchar has scored most of his points on the power play. Sheldon Souray and Dion Phaneuf score the majority of their points on the PP - do you see anyone complaining about them?

Notebook: Pens' Melichar on verge of return

Thursday, February 8, 2007

• Josef Melichar has been out nearly a month with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and is back skating in full practices with the team. But it is unclear when the veteran defenseman will dress for a game. "The doctor said it's my call, and I'm almost ready, but it's a tough situation," Melichar said Wednesday. Melichar will make the trip with the team to Philadelphia and Toronto. Coach Michel Therrien was noncommittal about whether Melichar would make his return tonight against Philadelphia. "He's ready to play," Therrien said. "But we'll see."

• Even though Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin don't play on the same line anymore, the Penguins centers are currently the best twosome in the NHL. Crosby leads the league with 86 points; Malkin is 14th and leads all rookies with 26 goals and 59 points. Their combined total of 145 points is the best of any teammates in the league, three points higher than Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier (142), who are second and third, respectively, in scoring. "I don't really think about it, but I think that we're both trying to contribute as much as we can," Crosby said.

• Sergei Gonchar has been one of the best players in the NHL this season on the power play and is tied for fourth in the league with 32 power-play points. At even strength, however, Gonchar has been anything but powerful. The Penguins defenseman has only nine points at even strength, which ties him for 83rd in the league among defensemen.

Digits

0 - Goals scored in the NHL this season at 3-on-3.

2 - Goals scored this season in the NHL in 3-on-5 shorthanded situations, including one against the Penguins.

27 - Difference in the plus-minus ratings for Sidney Crosby (plus-13) and Alexander Ovechkin (minus-14) this season.
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:34 AM   #915
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Great story on the Pens from NHL.com:

Young Penguins coming of age much faster than expected
Canadian Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz doesn't want to play Pittsburgh in a couple of years. The way these growing-up-fast Penguins are performing, maybe he should amend that to a couple of months.

With their four top players all 22 or younger - including NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby, who is all of 19 - the Penguins anticipated going through a transition season before developing into one of the league's better teams.

Right now, that learning curve looks more like a straightaway.

After beating Trotz's NHL-leading Predators 4-1 on Tuesday, the Penguins are 9-2-0 in their last 11 games and are closing in on the top four in the Eastern Conference. Unless there's an unanticipated breakdown in their final 29 games, the Penguins are well on their way to making the playoffs for the first time since Mario Lemieux's comeback season in 2001.

"I'd hate to play them two years from now," Trotz said. "They're building something very special in Pittsburgh, and the city should be pretty excited."

No doubt their fans would be more revved up if that building plan included a new arena - the team and Pennsylvania state are negotiating how to pay for a replacement for 45-year-old Mellon Arena, but an agreement has not yet been reached.

But the Penguins' improvement has been so rapid, and young stars such as Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury are playing so consistently well, it's easy to overlook their shabby surroundings.

With a 27-9-17 record and 63 points, the Penguins have surpassed the 58 points they had during a fourth consecutive Atlantic Division last-place finish last season. They had no more than 69 points in any of those four seasons.

"We're happy with the way we're playing," Crosby said. "We're doing a great job of competing right now."

With four players drafted No. 2 or higher since 2003, the Penguins are long since removed from those days a few years back when they were dumping players such as Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka and Alex Kovalev for financial reasons.

Crosby, arguably the league's best player, has 86 points in 50 games and is on pace to have the most points of any NHL scoring leader since Lemieux's 161 in 1996. Joe Thornton's 125 points last season are the most since then.

Just as Jagr complemented Lemieux in the prime of his career, Crosby has plenty of help.

Malkin, the No. 2 pick in 2004 behind Washington's Alexander Ovechkin, has a team-high 26 goals going into Thursday's game at Philadelphia. Jordan Staal, the 18-year-old brother of Carolina star Eric Staal and the No. 2 pick last year, is one goal away from 20 - and he wasn't even expected to make the team when training camp began.

"It's amazing what he's doing," teammate Mark Recchi said. "I think he's gone beyond all expectations."

The biggest difference in this team from the Penguins who had won only 12 games at this time a year ago is the 22-year-old Fleury, the No. 1 draft pick in 2003.

More mature, confident and in control, he has been the Penguins' best player during their current hot streak and is on the verge of becoming one of the league's top goalies. His 2.74 goals-against average is down half a goal a game from last season, and he has all but two of Pittsburgh's 27 wins.

"He's been the difference in so many games," Crosby said of Fleury, who is 11-3-1 in his last 15 starts.

Helping bring all of this youth together is the 39-year-old Recchi, who starred for the Penguins' first Stanley Cup-winning team in 1991 before later playing for the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers. He re-signed with the Penguins this season after being dealt by Pittsburgh to eventual Stanley Cup champion Carolina late last season.

To Recchi, these Penguins lack only the overall depth of those Hurricanes - and new general manager Ray Shero could address that by the Feb. 27 trading deadline.

"The guys are learning how to win in this league, doing the right things," said Recchi, who recently had 10 points in three games. "We're starting to know what it takes to win. The effort is there, and now we're doing smart things every night. We're getting the puck deep when we have to, we're winning battles.

"If you continue to do that, and use the speed and skill we have, we're going to be tough to play against," he said.

Coach Michel Therrien's structured system was played by many of the current Penguins at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the minor AHL, where the one-time Montreal Canadiens coach was working until replacing Eddie Olczyk in Pittsburgh 14 months ago.

As Therrien constantly rolls four lines, the system relies on controlling the puck as much as possible, playing intelligently at both ends of the ice, taking plenty of shots on the power play and always being properly positioned in the defensive end.

"Everybody has bought into it, what we're trying to do, and everybody feels good in their roles," Recchi said. "Everybody is getting minutes, and everybody feels part of it. We're growing as a team right now."

The Predators aren't the only team wondering what the Penguins might become very soon.

"You knew that, with all that talent, it was just a matter of time," Washington's Chris Clark said.

http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid...e&service=page
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Old 02-08-2007, 07:47 AM   #916
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
Hey, don't hurry back on our account, Melichar - the team's done just fine without you! Also, so what if Gonchar has scored most of his points on the power play. Sheldon Souray and Dion Phaneuf score the majority of their points on the PP - do you see anyone complaining about them?
I would think at even strength, Gonchar is concentrating more on playing defense, which is what he was signed to do. His goal scoring abilities are a bonus.

I could care less if Melichar ever returns to the team. Why the Pens keep him on the active roster is beyond me. I'd rather have Nazzy on the roster than him.
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Old 02-08-2007, 08:58 AM   #917
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Pens fans.......go get Todd Fedoruk. He's an UFA at the end of the year and would be a real good pickup for the Pens.

Crosby has to have that "Dave Semenko" on the team like Gretzky had or he's gonna take more and more abuse.

That or Crosby should just drop the gloves....I know, I know, you don't want him fighting but he's got to stand up for himself ESPECIALLY if the Pens FO doesn't pick someone up to protect him.


and just not Crosby....Malkin and Staal also.
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Old 02-08-2007, 09:20 AM   #918
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Pens fans.......go get Todd Fedoruk. He's an UFA at the end of the year and would be a real good pickup for the Pens.

Crosby has to have that "Dave Semenko" on the team like Gretzky had or he's gonna take more and more abuse.

That or Crosby should just drop the gloves....I know, I know, you don't want him fighting but he's got to stand up for himself ESPECIALLY if the Pens FO doesn't pick someone up to protect him.


and just not Crosby....Malkin and Staal also.
Personally, I don't want to see a trade of any kind. Why mess with something that's working? We are rolling over four lines beautifully and I really don't see the point in bringing in a goon in order to mess that up. We have a pack mentality.

We don't like players going after Sid? Take out the opposing teams best man. See how they like it. At this point, I wouldn't change a thing. I don't think fighting changes much of anything in the new NHL. Hitting/checking does. Pens vs Habs game. The Habs took liberties. Armstrong laid out Koivu and we end up with a 10 minute PP in which we scored two PP goals. After scoring those two goals I can't imagine many on that Hab roster thinking to themselves "Boy, that was smart of us to go after Sid like that" while also watching their star player laid out on the ice courtesy of Colby Armstrong. I'll take that over two goons punching each other in the head. Don't get me wrong, I love a good fight, but between the pack mentality (fight or crush their best man) and our lethal PP I'll be more than happy to take what we have right now.

Just my opinion but I guess we will see if Shero goes out and picks up a goon in the next 19 days.
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Old 02-08-2007, 07:08 PM   #919
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

This is REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL UGLY! The Pens are down 2-1.
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Old 02-08-2007, 07:20 PM   #920
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Yeah, not going our way. Our PK on the road has not exactly been stellar. The night is still young though. Malkin and Staal are on a mission tonight.
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