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Old 02-15-2007, 12:12 AM   #1011
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Penguins Notebook: Olczyk talks about first visit back to Mellon Arena

Thursday, February 15, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

With a delayed flight in and another out right after the game last night, former Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk only spent a matter of hours in Pittsburgh and at Mellon Arena, but it was an emotional chunk of time.

"It is hard," said Olczyk, who was fired as the Penguins' coach in December 2005 and returned to do color for the Chicago Blackhawks television broadcast. "It's the first time I've been in here. It will be 14 months exactly [today] since I cleaned out my office."

Not that he's keeping track or anything.

An hour or so before he went on the air, Olczyk talked passionately about his time as coach, which started with the 2003-04 season, and, before that, as a Penguins broadcaster and player.

Olczyk said he and former general manager Craig Patrick were thwarted last season by decisions made by Penguins CEO Ken Sawyer, including a reluctance to keep Marc-Andre Fleury on the roster because the young goaltender became eligible to earn $3 million in bonuses if he played in at least 25 games.

"After the lockout, the organization's plans changed," Olczyk said. "We aborted some things. There's no quick fixes. I'm not surprised [at the Penguins' success this season]. I think Craig and I had a lot of the same visions and a lot of the same ideas, but, unfortunately, I don't believe Ken was on the same page when it came to dispersing of funds.

"That's the hand that's dealt. There's no question I think about it -- what could I have done differently? -- and I take full responsibility. I walked out the same way I walked in, and that was with my head up high and with respect for Mario [Lemieux] and the game. People on the inside know what was going on. Unfortunately, it didn't happen as quickly last year as people would have liked, and the coach is the one to take the blame."

It's not Canada

Snow-covered roads, school closings and weather bulletins the past couple of days had a strong effect on some of the Penguins.

"It's pretty funny," said winger Colby Armstrong, who grew up in Saskatchewan, a province in the western Canadian prairies where winters are fierce but where school closings are unheard of.

"Never, We had to go outside for recess when we were little unless it was, like, 40 below. It took us 10 minutes to get our snow suits on and then we'd go outside for five minutes."

Armstrong said he had trouble finding a restaurant open for dinner Tuesday night.

"It was, like, what the heck is going on?" he said "The stores were closing. The whole city pretty much shut down because of the snow.."

Armstrong and winger Michel Ouellet agreed they are not used to snow remaining on the roads like it did yesterday.

"In Canada, they have that big truck, that plow," said Ouellet, who is from Rimouski, Quebec. "It's funny, you turn on the TV here and you see that school is canceled just because of a little bit of snow. We needed a lot, like 20 inches, to get the schools to close."

Time for Thibault

Therrien considered giving backup goaltender Jocelyn Thibault, a former Blackhawk, his 10th start of the season, but instead stuck with starter Marc-Andre Fleury because the Penguins had not played since Saturday and don't play again until tomorrow.

"It would have been too long of a break for Marc-Andre," Therrien said. "There's no doubt Jocelyn is going to play this weekend."

The Penguins have three games in three cities in four days, starting tomorrow at New Jersey.

Oh, baby

Penguins defenseman Alain Nasreddine missed the game after the birth yesterday morning of a son, Alec.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07046/762338-61.stm
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Old 02-15-2007, 12:14 AM   #1012
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Collier: Third, fourth line keeps Penguins' streak alive
Stars aren't out, but Penguins win again


Thursday, February 15, 2007
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Max Talbot streaked into the offensive zone, veering right, with Ryan Malone in the penalty box behind him and a puck, the very puck that had just got rung off the post next to Marc-Andre Fleury, dancing on his blade.

Though the third-line Penguins center was very much in control of this particular short-handed situation, the rate at which he flew around Chicago's Martin Havlat toward the goal mouth made it seem otherwise. It seemed too fast for conditions, with Talbot resembled a PAT bus ready to turn hard on Black(hawk) ice, but there went the 25T Uptown, roaring in on Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, beating him soundly to the far side.

That was the night's third essentially outsourced goal, the one that put the Penguins ahead, 2-1, little more than four minutes into the second period, the one that overturned an early Blackhawks lead courtesy of Craig McDonald, another third-line center, and matched by the Penguins' Ronald Petrovicky, the fourth-line right winger.

There was clearly a lesson in here somewhere.

The stars weren't out last night. At least not until very, very late.

They were in the penalty box, where Sidney Crosby and Malone did time, but they weren't on the score sheet until barely five minutes remained in a delicious little winter riot with a rare Western Conference opponent. Neither was the red-hot Jordan Staal terribly conspicuous, nor, for most of this episode, Evgeni Malkin. Even Fleury, the best player on the ice for large chunks of this stunning 12-0-2 march of the Penguins, recovered poorly on a rebound from the rear boards to account for that McDonald goal.

But serious contributions from the margins of this Penguins roster are part of the necessary calcification of a bona fide winner, an accepted wisdom rarely so evident as it was last night.

"A lot goes into winning these games," Talbot was explaining in a glowing Penguins locker room 15 minutes after Malkin's shootout goal iced another victory. "I think if you look at it, right from the time the winning streak started, that was when we started getting some offense from our third and fourth lines. It takes a little pressure of Sid and those guys."

Everyone in the old opera house knows how this team is supposed to win. Everyone in the National Hockey League and over most of hockey's continent knows what to expect from them. They expect the Penguins to generate so much heat from the brilliance and resultant opportunities created by Crosby to carry them well past the spring thaw, to rely for momentum on the near equally gifted young impulses of Malkin and Staal.

That's their story line, but the Penguins are not sticking to it. Not entirely. At least not for the moment.

While Crosby misfired through an eighth consecutive goal-less event, the longest of his two NHL seasons, the usually reliable Pittsburgh power play collapsed into a series of misadventures. On its first opportunity, a centering pass to Mark Recchi high in the slot slipped through the old guy's skates and floated clear across the blue line. Seconds later, Crosby positioned himself on the right dot for a dead-on wrister at Khabibulin, but fired it wide.

Maybe Sid should try shooting from his butt again. Or does that only work in NHL cities where ice does not occur naturally, like Phoenix? Lasse Kukkonen cleared Sid's misfire and, a second later, Radim Vrbata put it on McDonald's stick for a short-handed goal. Ten minutes later in that same first period, with the Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook off for hooking, Crosby won a face-off by raking the puck back toward his defenseman, but the biscuit snaked between Sergei Gonchar and Mark Eaton into the neutral zone.

So went the league's fourth-best power play.

"I didn't much like the special teams tonight," said coach Michel Therrien. "That will be addressed in the next few days. But I thought Talbot's line, and Dominic Moore's line, really brought a lot of momentum for us tonight. You need every line to contribute defensively, but when those third and fourth lines score, that brings a lot of momentum."

Malkin finally appeared from a cloud-covered constellation deep in the third period, taking a pass from Crosby, firing it on Khabibulin, then poking it past the Blackhawks' goalie when Khabibulin looked in the wrong direction for the rebound. Up 1-0 in the eventual shootout, Malkin slid a clinching backhander past Khabibulin. But the young Malkin knew as well as anyone the genesis of this latest Penguins success.

"Sometimes the top lines don't have the greatest nights," he said through his Russian interpreter. "Sometimes things don't go the way they should. When you get third- and fourth-line guys scoring, that's very important."

When you win when things don't go the way they should, you're becoming a very dangerous hockey club.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07046/762372-150.stm
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Old 02-15-2007, 12:21 AM   #1013
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HOCKEY IS A FAMILY TRADITION FOR PENGUINS

by Shannon Boyle
pittsburghpenguins.com
02/14/2007

For the Pittsburgh Penguins, hockey is a family game.

With the Chicago Blackhawks in Pittsburgh tonight, two brothers go head-to-head as Pittsburgh’s Jarkko Ruutu’s battles his younger brother Tuomo Ruutu of Chicago.

Tuomo was drafted by the Blackhawks in the first round in 2001. This year marks his third season in the NHL wearing a Chicago sweater. The 6-foot, 200-pound center has 28 points (12+16) on the season.

And, there is third, Mikko. He’s the middle middle brother of the three. He was drafted in 1999 in the seventh round by Ottawa. Mikko does not currently play in the NHL. He played several seasons in his native Finland.

Like the Ruutu brothers, there is another group of three hockey siblings that were drafted.

Penguins center Dominic Moore has two brothers that played in the professional ranks. And, they all were teammates once.

Mark Moore, Dominic’s older brother, was drafted by the Penguins in 1997 in the seventh round. He spent part of the 2000-01 season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He also played for the Wheeling Nailers.

Mark, a defensive player, had an almost-perfect SAT score of 1590 and wrote a book “Saving the Game.” He currently lives in Toranto and helps with a summer hockey program for children.

Steve Moore was drafted by Colorado and spent parts of three seasons with the Avalanche. He played in 57 games in 2003-04 with 12 points (5+7) before he was severely injured.

Dominic got to skate one season with both his two older brothers while at Harvard in 1999-00.

Mark attended Harvard from 1996-2000, Steve attended from 1997-2001 and Dominic from 1999-2003.

Steve and Dominic are they only two brothers to be captains for Harvard.

There are more Penguins players with hockey in their blood.

Jordan Staal, the Penguins’ first-round pick in 2006 (second overall), has two older brothers who are members of the NHL family.

Eric Staal was drafted second overall by Carolina in 2003, one pick after Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury. The 22-year-old center won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and recently traveled to Dallas to participate in his first All-Star game. Jordan went along for the trip also, as he was a member of the Eastern Conference YoungStars team.

Eric currently has 23 goals and 25 assists on the year.

Marc Staal was picked 12th overall in 2005 by the New York Rangers. He currently plays in the OHL Sudbury Wolves. He has 27 points (5+22) this season.

Jared, the youngest Staal brother, might lace up his skates in the NHL someday also. He is a highly-touted prospect in the OHL.

Other Penguins that have brothers in hockey players are Brooks Orpik and Colby Armstrong.

Brooks’ younger brother, Andrew, plays for Boston College. He was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in 2007 in the seventh round. The forward has played in 22 games for Boston College this year and has six points (2+4) on the season.

Colby’s younger brother, Riley, was signed as a free agent in December 2004 by the San Jose Sharks. He currently plays for the Worchester Sharks in the AHL and has 21 points (13+8) this season.

Like father like son, or at least in the Crosby family.

Sidney Crosby’s father, Troy, was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1984 in the 12th round. Troy, a goalie, never played in the NHL.

In the Malone family, being a Penguin is tradition.

Ryan Malone’s father, Greg, was selected in the second round by the Penguins in 1976. He played with the Penguins from 1976-83. Greg also served as the Penguins’ head scout for 16 seasons. This is his first season working as a scout for the Phoneix Coyotes.

On Dec. 15, Ryan had his first career hat-trick against the Islanders. His dad had a hat-trick almost 20 years prior for the the Penguins in 1978-79. The Malones are the second father-son pair to record a hat trick for the same franchise. Ken Hodge Sr. and Ken Hodge Jr. did it for the Bruins.

Ryan is the first Pittsburgh-born and trained player to play in the NHL.

Mark Recchi’s brother might not be on the ice, but he is a member of the hockey community.

Mark’s brother, Matt, is in his second season as an amateur scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins. His primary focus is on players in western Canada.

Hockey really is in these Penguins’ blood.

http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com/te...rts/2331.0.php
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Old 02-15-2007, 07:12 AM   #1014
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http://post-gazette.com/pg/07045/762313-100.stm

Penguins rally past Chicago, 5-4, in shootout

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


The Penguins didn't make it look easy last night.

Quite the opposite, really.

But despite failing to protect a multiple-goal lead for the third game in a row, they finally did find a way to defeat Chicago, 5-4, in a shootout at Mellon Arena to extend their current streak to 12-0-2.

Erik Christensen beat Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin for the deciding goal; Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins, while Sidney Crosby was stopped.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury of the Penguins denied Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski.

Penguins rookie Jordan Staal was held without a goal for the first time in six games, while Crosby failed to get one for his eighth game in a row, the longest such slump of his pro career.

Although a standing-room crowd of 17,051 was announced, team officials estimated that about 15,400 fans actually attended the game.

Craig MacDonald gave Chicago a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 8:29 of the opening period, when he chipped a shot past Fleury from the right side of the crease.
WOO HOO!!!! Way to go Pens! I didn't get to see the game as I fell asleep around 7 PM after all of the shoveling and snow-blowing, but it seems I missed a great game!

I think 15.400 people braving the weather here yesterday was a definite indication of how much our Pens are loved here in this city.
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Old 02-15-2007, 07:20 AM   #1015
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Penguins Notebook: Olczyk talks about first visit back to Mellon Arena

Thursday, February 15, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

With a delayed flight in and another out right after the game last night, former Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk only spent a matter of hours in Pittsburgh and at Mellon Arena, but it was an emotional chunk of time.

"It is hard," said Olczyk, who was fired as the Penguins' coach in December 2005 and returned to do color for the Chicago Blackhawks television broadcast. "It's the first time I've been in here. It will be 14 months exactly [today] since I cleaned out my office."

Not that he's keeping track or anything.

An hour or so before he went on the air, Olczyk talked passionately about his time as coach, which started with the 2003-04 season, and, before that, as a Penguins broadcaster and player.

Olczyk said he and former general manager Craig Patrick were thwarted last season by decisions made by Penguins CEO Ken Sawyer, including a reluctance to keep Marc-Andre Fleury on the roster because the young goaltender became eligible to earn $3 million in bonuses if he played in at least 25 games.

"After the lockout, the organization's plans changed," Olczyk said. "We aborted some things. There's no quick fixes. I'm not surprised [at the Penguins' success this season]. I think Craig and I had a lot of the same visions and a lot of the same ideas, but, unfortunately, I don't believe Ken was on the same page when it came to dispersing of funds.

"That's the hand that's dealt. There's no question I think about it -- what could I have done differently? -- and I take full responsibility. I walked out the same way I walked in, and that was with my head up high and with respect for Mario [Lemieux] and the game. People on the inside know what was going on. Unfortunately, it didn't happen as quickly last year as people would have liked, and the coach is the one to take the blame."
I loved Edzo, but it was obvious from early on that he just wasn't tough enough to get the job done and didn't want to give the players that kick in the rear that they needed.

As for the Fleury situation, all I can say here is WOW.
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Old 02-15-2007, 08:52 AM   #1016
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I loved Edzo, but it was obvious from early on that he just wasn't tough enough to get the job done and didn't want to give the players that kick in the rear that they needed.

As for the Fleury situation, all I can say here is WOW.
I remember the Fleury situation - I kept wondering why they refused to keep him up here, even though he clearly was the best goalie we had even then, and then it came out that it was due to money. The Pens' brass at the time tried like hell to out penny-pinch the Nuttings, but unlike Dumb and Dumber, they at least had an excuse for not spending gobs of money. Still though, Fleury should have been the #1 guy back then - I think it only would have helped his development.
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Old 02-15-2007, 09:17 AM   #1017
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WE WIN!!!!! HEY REFS YOU CAN RIP US OFF ALL YOU WANT! WE STILL WIN!
Amen to that. We go down and we battle back. Not only were the refs off their game last night, but we can't keep blowing these leads. I'm all about the "as long we get the two points" type of attitude, but that **** won't fly come playoff time in my opinion. I can't imagine Therrien being exactly proud of the fact that they have been blowing leads as of late and climbing back to get the points. Hopefully we can work on that before playoff time (fingers crossed).

On thate note, being one of the "supposed" 15,400, it was worth the cold and idiot drivers. Strange though, only a handful of us actually saw the six men on the ice during the Ruutu goal. More were upset with the Crosby "slash" than anything else. Also purchased playoff tickets yesterday. Expensive little buggers this year. Back in the early 90's they would cost around $70 the first round, around $80 the next round, etc. etc. Now they are $90 a piece for every round. That's $180 a game. I'm not complaining, just a little surprised. Oh well times have changed and the bangwagon is filling, it's worth every penny though.
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Old 02-15-2007, 10:06 AM   #1018
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I remember the Fleury situation - I kept wondering why they refused to keep him up here, even though he clearly was the best goalie we had even then, and then it came out that it was due to money. The Pens' brass at the time tried like hell to out penny-pinch the Nuttings, but unlike Dumb and Dumber, they at least had an excuse for not spending gobs of money. Still though, Fleury should have been the #1 guy back then - I think it only would have helped his development.
I agree, but it all worked out in the end. Fleury has been pretty darned good in goal and has been much improved on the shootouts. I used to dread them, but I don't any longer.
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Old 02-15-2007, 10:19 AM   #1019
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I agree, but it all worked out in the end. Fleury has been pretty darned good in goal and has been much improved on the shootouts. I used to dread them, but I don't any longer.
Well, the last 3 games shouldn't have even gone to overtime or shootouts - they blew 2 and 3 goal leads in all of them and were lucky to come away with wins. Fleury though has been a big reason why they have been able to win them - in the 3rd period and OT of all the games, he has stood on his head. That save on Havlat last night was a thing of beauty! I still dread the shootouts, though not as much as I used to.

BTW, the check's in the mail for our playoff ticket package, just to let you know! I missed out on the playoffs the 2 seasons they made it since becoming a season ticket holder, and I was not about to miss out on them again. This team has a chance to do some great things should they get in, and I want to be there to see it first-hand!
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Old 02-15-2007, 10:38 AM   #1020
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Craig MacDonald gave Chicago a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal at 8:29 of the opening period
We also have to cut down on SH goals. It seemed Chicago put on more heavy pressure while on their PK than when they were 5 on 5.
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