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Old 02-16-2007, 12:56 AM   #1031
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Crosby, Malkin ratchet up intensity

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, February 16, 2007

You could tell by the fury in his stride. You could tell by the look in his eyes. Evgeni Malkin wasn't about to be denied.

And he wasn't the only one.

"I was on the ice when they scored the fourth goal," Malkin said late Wednesday night through his interpreter, George Birman. "Everybody saw Chicago had six players on the ice. Everybody got upset and found something extra."

What Malkin found was more than the Blackhawks could handle.


He re-tied the game a mere 71 seconds after Chicago had taken a 4-3, third-period lead on a goal the Penguins contend was scored just after the Blackhawks should have been whistled for too many men on the ice.

Then, with a chance to register a knockout in the subsequent shootout, Malkin delivered again, beating countryman Nikolai Khabibulin like a rented Russian mule.

"Malkin was flying," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "(Sidney) Crosby was flying."

And when Therrien began playing them together in the third period, after a 3-1 lead had degenerated into a 3-3 stalemate, the pair really got airborne.

Malkin will be back between Jordan Staal and Michel Ouellet, and Crosby with Mark Recchi and Ryan Malone tonight when the Penguins visit the New Jersey Devils.

But as the Blackhawks were reminded, Crosby and Malkin remain a gut feeling away from being reunited and potentially tilting the ice profoundly in the Penguins' favor.

"Yes, it's a feeling," Therrien said, "but you have to see how those guys are playing."

Crosby and Malkin were regular linemates briefly this season but eventually separated in the interest of creating a more balanced attack.

The results speak for themselves.

The Penguins, seemingly as balanced as they've been unbeatable in regulation during their current 12-0-2 surge, ranked tied for third in the NHL with 195 goals before Thursday's games.

Crosby, with 25 goals, 63 assists and 88 points, had a 12-point advantage over the Tampa Bay tandem of Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis in the scoring race.

Malkin, with 28 goals, 36 assists and 64 points, was even further ahead in the rookie scoring race (the Kings' Anze Kopitar trailed by 14) and tied for 12th overall.

So Crosby and Malkin have thrived on separate lines. And they play together regularly on the power play.

Still, there are times when Therrien feels compelled to load up and go for broke.

"When you see they're on top of their game, they're skating well, and you need a goal," Therrien said.

Wednesday night was another one of those times.

The two never practice on the same line. And there couldn't be less verbal communication between them.

"None," Crosby said. "We watch each other, and sometimes that helps. For the most part, it's just hockey out there. It's the best way, reading and reacting off each other.

"When we're thrown together, we know the message is to create something or make something happen. Especially when you're down by a goal, the urgency seems to go another notch up."

Imagine how opponents must feel once Crosby and Malkin begin gaining altitude simultaneously.

"We want to be the guys that make the difference," Crosby said. "I think it's important for every guy to want to be that. There's no reason we don't want to be those guys.

"You're put in those situations and you get used to it and you thrive on it."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_493425.html
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Old 02-16-2007, 08:58 PM   #1032
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Beautiful win. I saw no reason to doubt this team before this win and I see no reason to doubt them against Washington or NYI.

Nice win Pens. Dominic Moore, you played your heart out tonight. Bring on DC and keeping the faith SCM.
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:00 PM   #1033
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That was an exciting win!
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Old 02-17-2007, 12:22 AM   #1034
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Penguins deal with Devils

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, February 17, 2007

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The last time the Penguins were at Continental Airlines Arena, they trailed the New Jersey Devils by five points and were fourth in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference.

That was 53 days ago.

After last night's 5-4 win over the Devils, the Penguins (31-17-9) remain five points behind the Atlantic Division leaders, but now they are second place in the division and fourth in the conference, after gaining two points on the idle Atlanta Thrashers and Ottawa Senators.

The team that was struggling to get into the playoff picture in late December is now the hottest team in the NHL, with 35 points in the last 21 games and a streak of 13-0-2.

"A couple months ago we never thought we'd be in this situation, and now that we're chasing (the Devils) it's a good feeling," said rookie Jordan Staal, who scored his 24th goal of the season in the win. "We just have to keep it rolling."

Sidney Crosby scored his first goal in nine games - ending the longest drought of his career - and his first points at New Jersey this year. Jarkko Ruutu scored twice for his first multigoal game of the season, and Rob Scuderi got his first goal of the year.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for his 29th win of the season. He's now tied with Tom Barrasso for the third-most wins by a Penguins goaltender in a single season.

"He's playing like a veteran goaltender," Staal said.

When the Devils and Penguins last met, Brodeur made 26 saves and registered his 85th career shutout in a 3-0 win that brought his team's record to 3-1-0 in the season series.

Last night, he gave up two goals on the Penguins' first three shots, as the Penguins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period with goals from Ruutu on a tip from in front of the net, Scuderi from the point and Staal.

"That's a tight team. You never expect to get a big lead like that," Crosby said. "Not saying we sold ourselves short, but you expect it to be tight all the way through."

Brian Rafalski scored to put the Devils on the board 7:39 into the second period, but Crosby scored three minutes later.

The NHL's leading scorer won a faceoff in the Devils' end to start a power play, then got the puck back from Sergei Gonchar, skated it in and beat Brodeur with a wrist shot from the right circle for goal No. 26 on the season.

"It felt nice to see it go back in the net," Crosby said. "It had been awhile, so it's nice to get that monkey off your back."

The Penguins nearly watched another third-period lead slip away, as the Devils closed the gap from three goals to just one when Zack Parise and Travis Zajac scored six minutes apart early in the third. But one goal was on the power play, prompting Crosby to say that it's not something they're going to dwell on.

"We don't want to make (letting teams back in) a habit," Crosby said. "But this game was a little different than the ones before. We got into penalty trouble. The games before, it wasn't so much penalties as us letting up a little bit. (Last night) was different, so I don't think we're going to look into it too much."

The win ended a string of three victories in overtime.

"I think it was a good measuring stick for us," Ruutu said. "I think when we do the things we're supposed to do, it showed we can play against whoever."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_493663.html
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Old 02-17-2007, 12:24 AM   #1035
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Notebook: Pens' Therrien may be candidate for coach of the year

Saturday, February 17, 2007

• Coach Michel Therrien, who earlier this season faced criticism and even rumors that his job was on the line, is being frequently mentioned as a strong coach of the year candidate. But much the way that Sidney Crosby brushes off suggestions of his winning the league MVP trophy, the scoring title or both, Therrien said he's not thinking about the possibility of winning the Jack Adams Trophy. "I've got a job to do with those young kids," Therrien said Friday. "We took those young kids last year and tried to get better, and we're improving as an organization and a team. That's my main focus. We'll see what's going to happen at the end of the year. But I'm fortunate to work with some good young players who want to try to get better."

• Center Chris Thorburn and defenseman Alain Nasreddine were scratched against the New Jersey Devils last night. Thorburn was a healthy scratch, while Nasreddine was allowed to remain in Pittsburgh to be with his wife and son, who was born on Wednesday morning.

• Rob Scuderi's first-period goal was his first of the season, leaving fellow stay-at-home defensemen Mark Eaton and Brooks Orpik as the only two players on the team without a goal.

• "That's not our focus right now, to finish in first place in our division. We want to stay focused on our goal for the season, to put ourselves in a good position to make the playoffs. That's our goal. We'll take it game by game and see where we're going to end up. But right now the focus is on our team and to make sure we're going to perform well." -- Coach Michel Therrien, before yesterday's game, on whether the Penguins can catch the Devils in the Atlantic Division.

Digits

7 - Goals the Devils allowed against the Penguins in their first four meetings.

3 - Goals the Devils allowed against the Penguins in the first period last night.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_493678.html
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Old 02-17-2007, 12:31 PM   #1036
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

After blowing $100 last year on Center Ice, I am pleased as punch I got it again this year.....nobody expected them to do squat this year....this is all gravy to me.....

The best thing is, it's not all Sid and Malkin. If somebody told you Ruutu would score 2 goals in a game, or the 3rd and 4th lines would be winning games, you would have called them a liar.

I say it's all good. Fleury is a God.

Just keep shooting the damn puck!
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Old 02-17-2007, 04:28 PM   #1037
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer View Post
After blowing $100 last year on Center Ice, I am pleased as punch I got it again this year.....nobody expected them to do squat this year....this is all gravy to me.....

The best thing is, it's not all Sid and Malkin. If somebody told you Ruutu would score 2 goals in a game, or the 3rd and 4th lines would be winning games, you would have called them a liar.

I say it's all good. Fleury is a God.

Just keep shooting the damn puck!
All of the elite teams can put 3rd and 4th lines out there who not only crash and bang, but can put the puck in the net. That's why there was no panic with the first line struggling a bit and Sid going 8 games without a goal - everyone else was picking them up. Thus, Sid's and Malkin's lines can relax and play their games without feeling like they have to win the games all by themselves. Also, their production will allow Therrien to keep rolling those lines over, which will keep the top 2 lines relatively fresh for the stretch run - they play 20 games in the final 38 days of the season - and into the playoffs. That will be very, very important if they have any hopes of going deep into the postseason, assuming, of course, that they make it.

It really has been great to see the progress this team has made this season - I know I wasn't expecting them to do much at the beginning of the season, at least not enough to be a playoff team. They are well on their way to being one of the elite teams in the NHL for many years to come, and hopefully there will be a few more Cups in their future. Now, if Mario will just keep the team here...
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Old 02-17-2007, 05:35 PM   #1038
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

I must say, I'm very suprised about the performance of the 2006-07 Penguins. I'm going to admit, I'm not a super-diehard hockey fan, but I have quietly followed the Penguins these past few years, from the playoff run in '00 to the lockout. The Penguins are a team on fire right now and I (Like everyone else) don't want them to leave Pittsburgh. They are a young, exciting team. Crosby and Malkin look like the next Lemieux/Jagr, just my opinion of course, and I'm fond of Staal and Recchi as well.

Go Pens!
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Old 02-17-2007, 05:45 PM   #1039
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Well, I feel sure about saying that we definately have a solid team, and these past wins are proof for all the doubters.

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Old 02-18-2007, 07:00 AM   #1040
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Collier: Trade Deadline game probably not for Penguins
Sunday, February 18, 2007

By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nine days remain until the National Hockey League trade deadline, but, as far as I can tell, there is no actual rule that says you must re-jigger your roster by Feb. 27.

Not in the board game anyway.

Trade Deadline Hockey, the honest-to-God board game ($29.99 Canadian), includes an electronic scorekeeper, 99 player cards, 33 game cards, 4 card stands, 4 player pucks and 1 die. But Trade Deadline Hockey, untrue to its name, imposes no real deadline. It's OK to play on Feb. 28. It's OK to play on July 28. It's for ages 8 and up, meaning even Jordan Staal and Sid The Kid can play.

But there's no virtual reality version available, so we'll just have to make due with the actual reality version, the one Penguins general manager Ray Shero and his 29 NHL counterparts have waded into with varying degrees of inspiration, trepidation, agitation, perspiration, et al.

In the board game, you simply must roll the die. In the NHL, you needn't, indeed, sometimes, you musn't. Given the philosophical bedrock and relaxed demeanor of Pittsburgh's first-year GM, I'm thinking the March Penguins will look amazingly like this morning's rookery, even if they're on a much more prominent ice flow that anyone anticipated.

"Trade-wise, there are not many players out there," Shero said at the approach of the weekend. "There are many more buyers than sellers, and nobody is on sale. From that standpoint, I don't anticipate a lot of major moves."

But in only the second year of the salary cap, the new NHL is still adjusting to its new balance of power and the attendant fresh political realities. No longer can the wealthier teams take on payroll and talent for an extended playoff run. Every move has serious cap implications. At least theoretically, someone such as Peter Forsberg was as readily available to the Nashville Predators as he was to the New York Rangers.

As such and what-d'ya-know, the Predators won the Forsberg sweepstakes Thursday, sending two players and two draft picks to Philadelphia to chip loose one of the world's top two-way centers, but it happened just as much because Shero's former boss, Predators GM David Poile, rolled the dice. Poile concluded, by most any analysis, that Nashville's time is now, it's June appointment with Lord Stanley, if not penciled in, more than the stuff of sweet dreams.

Makes you wonder, at least, what time it is in Shero's Mellon Arena office, assuming there's a working clock somewhere in the old barn. Is it, perhaps, dice-rolling time?

"That's premature," Shero said flatly and convincingly. "We've got hard games coming up. We've still got to grow as a team. We can still improve on our performance, even in games we win. We're ahead 3-1, then we're down 4-3. How can you manage your game better? You have to remember that everything they're going through in terms of development, that this is the first time these guys, whether you're talking about Marc-Andre Fleury or Ryan Whitney or Sidney Crosby or Jordan Staal or Evgeni Malkin, this is the first time they've played any meaningful games in the National Hockey League."

The issue is that, for a bunch of first-timers, these callow Penguins are pretty electrifying. It's more than just the fact that, 10 months removed from the Eastern Conference slums, they're occupying that statistical real estate where home ice advantage in the postseason is openly discussed; it's that they've begun to develop a certain cache.

"They're hungry," Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said Wednesday. "They were hungry the whole game. ...They're very good down low, below the circles, protecting pucks and finding that soft area. We addressed that ... but they still found a way."

If you think these Penguins are hungry, their fans are certifiably ravenous, having not witnessed a playoff game since Crosby was at the eighth-grade picnic, literally. Shero, to his great credit, brings an objective eye to all of it.

"What I wanted to see, and what we've demanded from the start, is that this team get better every month," he said. "In early December, we were playing the Rangers, Atlanta, Washington and a had a losing streak, and at that point, I didn't want to be judging this team on streaks because you're not as good as you think you are when you're winning, nor as bad as you think you are when you're losing.

"I think what's been good is that they just play so hard together. Obviously we've got some top end skill people, but we've had contributions from a lot of different areas, which is what you need to improve as a hockey club."

Doesn't sound like a man reaching for the dice, and that's likely prudent. The Penguins are due for a kind of market correction, and a March schedule thick with desperate teams could still lead to Pittsburgh entering its first playoff season since 2001 in the sixth, seventh, even eighth slots.

All that said, someone like bruising Phoenix winger Georges Laraque might add an intriguing element. I mean, if you can get him without having to purchase the board game.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07049/763124-150.stm
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