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Old 03-08-2007, 09:21 PM   #1351
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

It just stinks when your playing a depleted Jersey team and you can't grab the two.

Hats off to Fleury, Talbot and Malkin tonight. I thought they played hard all night.
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Old 03-09-2007, 12:08 AM   #1352
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Pens lose to Devils in shootout

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, March 9, 2007

Another Penguins game, another Penguins shootout.

At least that's how it's starting to feel after Thursday night, when the Penguins went to a shootout for the third game in a row, the fourth out of their last five and the 14th overall (8-6). Only the Minnesota Wild have had more games decided in shootouts (16).

But after seven straight shootout victories, the Penguins were on the losing end last night against the New Jersey Devils at Mellon Arena, 4-3.

It came down to the Devils' third shooter, Patrik Elias, who circled far to the right before cutting back in to beat goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.


"Usually, guys don't go that far that way, but I still have to save it if we want to win, though," Fleury said.

The Penguins (36-21-10) at least got a point in a game they trailed, 2-1, going into the third period.

Fleury was one of the biggest reasons for the point.

After being pulled after the first period against the Ottawa Senators two nights earlier, Fleury made 36 saves in regulation and overtime.

The Penguins needed third period goals from Sergei Gonchar and Michel Ouellet to make it to overtime. Evgeni Malkin played one of his best games of late and had a goal and an assist on the tying goal.

Gonchar scored a shorthanded goal after throwing the puck at goaltender Martin Brodeur from the corner. Somehow, it found its way into the net.

"We were shorthanded, and I'm sure he didn't expect me to shoot," Gonchar said. "That's probably why I did it, to catch him by surprise."

Devils center Travis Zajac scored to give his team the lead again, but with just over two minutes left, Malkin stole the puck from Scott Gomez next to the Devils' net and threw it up to Ouellet for a one-timer to tie it, 3-3.

"It's a one-goal game," said Sidney Crosby, who got an assist for his 99th point of the season. "We want leads. It's a lot easier to play that way, especially against (the Devils). They're a different team without the lead. It's not a good habit (to fall behind), but we still have to find ways. It's going to happen. It's one goal."

The Devils had lost three in a row (0-1-2) going into the game, including a 5-4 overtime loss to the last-place Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. They held a seven-point lead over the Penguins in the Atlantic Division going into the game.

They also utilized only 16 skaters in the game, after winger Brian Gionta was scratched because of a groin injury and defenseman Colin White was hurt in warm-ups.

Malkin gave the Penguins the lead at 6:48 of the first period on the power play.

Mark Recchi was stationed to Brodeur's right and Malkin to his left. When Crosby sent a crossing pass to Recchi, Brodeur committed and left Malkin open to get the puck from Recchi and score.

Malkin leads all rookies in goals (30) and points (70).

Devils defenseman Andy Greene scored his first NHL goal to tie it early in the second period on a power play with a rising slapshot on which Fleury was screened, and Sergei Brylin gave them the lead before the period was over.

The game nearly got out of hand in the final two minutes of the third period, beginning with Malkin and Brian Rafalski going at it along the boards, followed by a late hit on Recchi and ending with a gigantic hit by Colby Armstrong on Brad Lukowich that left him lying on the ice for several minutes.

Neither referee Paul Devorski nor Chris Rooney made a single call throughout.

"I thought we deserved a power play at the end, but for some reason they didn't give it to us," Gonchar said. "In my opinion, we should have gotten one."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_496888.html
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Old 03-09-2007, 12:15 AM   #1353
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Penguins Notebook: More at stake for Malone, Recchi if team moves

Friday, March 09, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Every Penguins player had at least a minor stake in the arena negotiations between team executives and various elected officials yesterday, but none had more on the line than forwards Ryan Malone and Mark Recchi.

Malone is a Western Pennsylvania native and the first player trained in this area to play for the Penguins, while Recchi put down permanent roots here several years ago.

Malone describes himself as "a huge Penguins fan growing up," and noted yesterday that he is part of a wave of players from the region who have turned up in NHL rosters and draft lists in recent years.

"A lot of us are making it to the NHL now," he said.

Despite his strong, long-standing emotional ties to the team, Malone said he understands the position in which primary owner Mario Lemieux and his partners have found themselves in recent months.

"Mario, I think, has been patient enough," he said. "We all see that.

"He's got to do what's right for the team."

Recchi said he intends to play next season, regardless of where his current club is based.

"[Even] if the team leaves, I'll definitely want to play," he said.

"This is what I do. It's my job. It's what I like to do. I'm not quite ready to pack it in yet."

Therrien's father dies

Penguins coach Michel Therrien's father, Gerry, died yesterday in Montreal after suffering a series of strokes. He was 77.

Therrien was behind the bench for last night's game against New Jersey but is returning to Montreal and will miss today's practice as well as tomorrow afternoon's game against the New York Rangers.

Assistant coaches Andre Savard and Mike Yeo will oversee the team in his absence, with Savard designated as the assistant-in-charge.

Therrien drove from Ottawa to Montreal after the Penguins' 5-4 shootout victory Tuesday against the Senators to visit with his father but returned Wednesday to Pittsburgh.

Eighteen is enough

Devils defenseman Colin White was a late scratch after being injured in the pregame warmup.

His absence, coupled with that of right winger Brian Gionta, who did not play because of a groin problem, forced New Jersey to get by with 18 players.

That presumably didn't create a major headache for New Jersey coach Claude Julien, who had said after the game-date skate that he wasn't concerned about being down one man.

"You just have to deal with the players you have at hand, and not worry about what you haven't got," he said. "That's all I can do, and that's all the players can do.

"They have to go out there and perform. I don't see any [reason] why you can win with 18 [skaters] and not with 17."

Gionta missed eight games because of his groin injury, then aggravated it in a 5-4 overtime loss Tuesday in Philadelphia. Because he is so valuable to the Devils, they are not likely to rush him back into the lineup.

"It's important for us to make sure he's 100 percent for the stretch run," Julien said.

Gomez's drop off

New Jersey center Scott Gomez stunned a lot of people when he scored 33 goals in 2005-06 -- he had gotten more than 14 only once in any of his previous seasons -- but has reverted to form since last fall. He entered last night with 10 goals in 59 games, and none in his previous 11.

Slap shots

Michel Ouellet, who sat out the Ottawa game, returned to the lineup last night, while defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski made his Penguins debut. Forwards Nils Ekman, Ronald Petrovicky and Chris Thorburn and defenseman Alain Nasreddine were healthy scratches. ... Devils winger Cam Janssen completed his three-game suspension for a hit on Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle. ... Penguins all-star center Sidney Crosby, on whether he's been thinking about where the franchise will be based next fall: "Obviously, I want to stay here, but you can't afford to let your mind wander [to] what's going to happen next year. It's not going to help."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07068/768142-61.stm
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Old 03-09-2007, 12:39 AM   #1354
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VETERAN BROADCASTER EMRICK REMAINS IMPRESSED WITH PENGUINS

by Joe Sager
pittsburghpenguins.com
03/08/2007

Mike ?Doc? Emrick logs more frequent flyer miles than some small birds.

As the lead television play-by-play analyst for the New Jersey Devils, Versus and NBC, the NHL?s 30 arenas become homes away from home for Emrick.

Mike 'Doc' Emrick lived in Beaver Falls and was a Geneva College professor.

It?s been that way for more than 25 years for the legendary broadcaster.

He doesn?t mind it, though. But, when the league and televisions schedules are released, there are a handful of dates every year he circles on the calendar ? the games in Pittsburgh.

That?s because Emrick, who lived in Beaver Falls from 1969-1971, got his start in hockey here. As a professor of speech and broadcast at Geneva College from 1969-71, Emrick got his first experience of the NHL covering the Penguins as an unpaid correspondent for the Beaver County Times newspaper.

?At the time I covered them, Red Kelly was the coach and it was 1970-71 and they had a player named Glen Sather. That and I think Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President,? he said with a laugh. ?First of all, there aren?t many people I have talked to in the broadcast circuit who don?t like coming here. A lot of it has to do with the tradition of having good teams is back. That went away for a while, but now it?s even more reason to come.

?The other side of it that has nothing to do with hockey is that there?s no more scenic city in the United States,? he continued. ?And, this is a like a Midwestern town even though it?s in an Eastern state. I grew up in the Midwest in a town of 600 people. Pittsburgh has a friendliness that most Eastern big cities don?t have just because of the nature of putting so many people in such a tight area. That?s not to trash the other cities; it?s just that Pittsburgh is special that way.?

While the area will always have special meaning for Emrick, also a Pirates fan, he is excited about watching the young Penguins continue to improve on the ice.

?This team has been better than I ever imagined,? he said. ?I thought they would be good. I didn?t know they?d be real good, projecting down they road they?d be really great. I have been pleasantly surprised. I can?t speak for the NHL, but franchises around the league are paying attention to Pittsburgh now.

?Unless you?re anti-Pittsburgh, and I don?t know many of those people, I think many people ? even if they are neutral ? have to be thrilled about what?s going on,? he continued. ?But, if you have any feeling in your heart for Pittsburgh or for the trials this franchise has been through, it must make you feel so much better to have seen now what they are on the threshold of becoming. These guys are going to do nothing but succeed.?

Emrick believes the Penguins got even better at the NHL trade deadline with the addition of Gary Roberts, Georges Laraque and Joel Kwiatkowski to their roster.

?To have somebody like Roberts come in, who won [the Stanley Cup] in Calgary in 1989 and has been a playoff-type player is huge. It?s a different game at playoff time. The games are rougher and you?re starting to see that now,? he said. ?Georges Laraque is a guy who can play as well as fight. His problem is that he?s a heavyweight fighter and can?t get many fights. Guys don?t want to mess with him. As a result, if you watch a game that he?s playing, he?d go in the corner and guys would give him at least three feet of room. So, he could play along the boards and nobody would knock it away from him. That is another advantage ? Georges not only could fill a lineup, but he could play a shift and he could play regularly.

?I think, in the long run, the more-important thing to me is, not only is the team better and potentially great, but the franchise hasn?t been on this solid of ground with its assets since Jagr, Lemieux, Francis and all those guys were here 15 years ago,? he continued. ?At a time that is so critical to the franchise?s future, to have assets that anyone can recognize are terrific is outstanding.?

The Penguins? biggest asset ? Sidney Crosby ? continues to amaze Emrick as well.

?You hesitate to go overboard [in talking about him], but he is worthy of going overboard,? he said. ?That?s the thing about Sid that is remarkable. Not only can he play, but he?s a better person than he is a player.

?And, now I am not speaking officially for the NHL, but recognizing what the NHL desperately needed. We needed somebody because, from the time Wayne [Gretzky] handed over his stick in 1999 at Madison Square Garden, we have not had anybody. To not have an ambassador and to not have someone people can identify with and who they perceive as being friendly because he is ? we had that for half a century before Wayne retired because we had Gordie Howe from the late 1940s-on. Then we had Orr and then we had Gretzky. We had them all and then we had nobody,? he continued. ?It?s been a long absence, but we have that person now. If we get more ? great. There are all kinds of debates about who the best young player is. Great. I am glad there are debates because that means we have more than just one of them. I remember sitting here 20 years ago and the debate was who was better ? Gretzky or Lemieux. Who cares as long as we have them both to watch. They are both great satellites in the same solar system.?

Emrick has been impressed with the Penguins? two young rookies, too ? 18-year-old Jordan Staal and 20-year-old Evgeni Malkin.

?And they are such old players, too,? he said with a smile. ?Malkin is great. He?s young and you can?t teach size, which he has. Staal is well-skilled and certainly big. He comes from a great family. The Penguins are going to have these guys for a while and that?s terrific.?

http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com/te...rts/2376.0.php
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:43 AM   #1355
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That was one helluva game last night against the Devils, but the Pens fell short unfortunately. I thought when Ouelette tied the game, we were going to win it with how fiercely the Pens were battling for the puck as the third period ticked away. I'll take the point though I would have much preferred the two against the division leader. The Rangers and Faaaaagomir are next up - hopefully the Pens can win at home tomorrow afternoon and we can pick up a couple of much needed points with that race still being so tight.
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:47 AM   #1356
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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07068/768143-61.stm

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_496888.html

2 of the same......hmmm.

Anyways, nice to get the point but still hurts to lose to a weak Devil team. Time to bounce back against the Rangers and grab two. Still waiting for that Laraque vs Orr fight. I wonder if Hollweg will play after Chris Simon's chop to the throat last night?
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Old 03-09-2007, 09:01 AM   #1357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
Thank you for calling this to my attention. I deleted the second thread on the same topic.
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:09 PM   #1358
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Erratic Penguins in search of 60 solid minutes

Saturday, March 10, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jarkko Ruutu probably hasn't done the math.

That means he might not realize the Penguins have taken 39 of a possible 50 points out of their past 25 games. That they've lost consecutive games just once since Jan. 9-10. That, before last night's games, their magic number for clinching the franchise's first playoff berth since 2001 had shriveled to 20.

What Ruutu does know -- and what he knows matters most -- is that, going into their game against the New York Rangers at 1:08 p.m. today at Mellon Arena, the Penguins haven't put together 60 minutes of quality hockey in weeks.

And that if they don't correct it, the Penguins shouldn't assume they'll hold onto a spot among the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference, let alone stick around the playoffs long enough for anyone to notice them.

"You can't fool yourself," Ruutu said yesterday. "You have 15 games left and if you think you're in, you're wrong. You have to win games."

That actually hasn't been much of a problem for the Penguins, who are 18-4-3 in their past 25. Those numbers don't reflect the inconsistency in their play of late, however, how they haven't played three strong periods since a 4-1 victory against Nashville on Feb. 6.

"We realize we have to be better," defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "It comes down to winning battles and stuff like that. Basically outworking the other team, which is what we've really gotten away from."

Although the Penguins regularly have shown remarkable resilience and ability to perform under pressure -- they overcame two- and three-goal deficits, respectively, in their two most recent victories -- some of their most severe problems have been self-inflicted.

The focus and attention to detail that figured so prominently in much of their 14-0-2 run from Jan. 13 to Feb. 18 have been missing a lot of the time, often returning only when the Penguins need a surge to get back into a game.

"We've been sloppy," Ruutu said. "Sometimes, you get the feeling that because we have so much skill, we just rely on the skill and don't really play as a team. That's one of the things we have to get better at."

Many of the Penguins' failings have had a ripple effect, with an impact that goes far beyond the obvious. For example, when they take needless penalties, it not only puts a strain on the penalty-killers, but impedes the coaching staff's ability to roll four lines and keep all 12 forwards involved in the game.

Whether some of the Penguins' issues are a byproduct of these being the "dog days" of the season, as one player suggested, or evidence that their game has slipped significantly out of sync isn't clear.

"For whatever reason, we're just not playing with the same intensity we did for that [14-0-2] stretch," right winger Mark Recchi said. "We have to get it going now.

"We can't sit there and say, all of a sudden, 'It's the playoffs. We have to play 60 minutes.' You have to do it now."

Center Sidney Crosby believes that regaining the proper mind-set is critical -- "It starts with discipline, then it's just attitude," he said. "You have to make sure that the want is there, and the desperation is there" -- and that there are pluses and minuses to the way the Penguins have continued to pick up points even when the caliber of their play has slipped.

"For sure, you never want to lose, or lose points," he said. "But at the same time, sometimes it takes that to learn a lesson. Hopefully, we're responsible and show enough maturity to not have that happen."

Ruutu, meanwhile, is adamant that the Penguins should not expect their regular-season success to carry over into the playoffs unless they make a renewed commitment to responsible two-way play.

"It's always great to get points even though you're not playing well, but I don't think you can get fooled by it," he said. "If you think it works in the playoffs, you're wrong.

"You're not going to get anywhere with that. That's one of the things we have to understand, that the playoffs are a different game."

Many of the Penguins don't have firsthand knowledge of that reality, at least at this level. And while Whitney contends his teammates recognize the challenge facing them, he sounded as if they are candidates for a 12-step program to rehabilitate their game. ("My name's Sergei, and I'm a hookaholic ...")

"When you have a problem, you first have to admit it," Whitney said. "That's something I think we've done. We just have to start going out and fixing it."

Today's game

Who: Penguins vs. Rangers.

When: 1 p.m. Mellon Arena.

TV: FSN Pittsburgh.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07069/768411-61.stm
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:10 PM   #1359
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Penguins Notebook: Teammates join Crosby in scoring slump

Saturday, March 10, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Much has been made of Sidney Crosby's goal-scoring struggles in recent weeks, and understandably so.

When a player who is leading the league in scoring and is just one point shy of 100 -- as Crosby is going into the Penguins' game against the New York Rangers at 1:08 p.m. today at Mellon Arena -- has only two goals in his past 19 games, it's tough to overlook.

Crosby, though, is not the only Penguin whose scoring touch has deserted him lately.

A couple of his teammates broke out of extended dry spells during the Penguins' 4-3 shootout loss to New Jersey on Thursday -- Evgeni Malkin got his first goal in nine games, Michel Ouellet his first in 10 -- but a number of others, including one in a prominent role, haven't found in the net in a while.

The most conspicuous slump belongs to first-line right winger Mark Recchi, who doesn't have a goal in eight games.

Some blue-collar forwards have had problems, too. Maxime Talbot, for example, has gone nine games without scoring, Georges Laraque's streak has reached 17 and Jarkko Ruutu is up to 10.

The Penguins don't seem to be panicking about the lack of offensive output by some players, mostly because their record hasn't suffered much.

"As long as the team's winning, we're happy," center Jordan Staal said.

Assistant coach Andre Savard said he isn't worried that high-profile guys like Crosby and Malkin haven't scored much lately.

"You see that often with skilled players, where they get hot and sometimes they're not as hot," he said. "I don't think you can stay hot where you're scoring almost all the time"

Recchi agreed there's no need to panic.

"We're playing a lot of hockey," he said. "Sometimes, it just keeps escalating a little bit when you haven't scored. Guys get one, and they settle down."

Line changes

The Penguins broke out some new -- and some old -- forward combinations during practice yesterday.

They were: Ryan Malone-Crosby-Recchi, Staal-Malkin-Ouellet, Ruutu-Talbot-Laraque and Gary Roberts-Erik Christensen-Colby Armstrong, with Ronald Petrovicky, Chris Thorburn and Nils Ekman as spares.

Savard said coach Michel Therrien finished the New Jersey game with "pretty much these combinations," and that they will remain intact against the Rangers. Early in the game, anyway.

Rangers surging without leader

New York is making a strong bid to sneak into the playoffs, and the Rangers' recent surge is all the more impressive because they're doing it without all-star left winger Brendan Shanahan.

He had a concussion after a Feb. 17 collision with Philadelphia forward Mike Knuble , and has not been given a timetable for returning to the lineup.

"I always felt our team would have to scratch and claw to get into the playoffs," Shanahan told the Rockland Journal. "And I always believed we would then be a more resilient, tougher team to face come playoff time. So here we are, and I'm not allowed to be a part of it. Now I'm a spectator. It's awful.

"I understand [the inability to set a target date for his return] and respect that these guys know what they're talking about. It just doesn't sit well with me sitting when I could be helping. It's not something I've ever done or had in my career. I've always been the guy when they say six weeks, I'm back in three."

While the Rangers obviously miss Shanahan, Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney believes his absence has had a positive impact on his teammates.

"They've kind of rallied around that," he said. "It's pretty impressive."

Slap shots

Savard said defenseman Alain Nasreddine likely will return to the lineup today. Joel Kwiatkowski took his place against the Devils. ... Therrien, in Montreal for his father's funeral, will miss today's game, but Savard said the assistants' duties will not be affected. He will continue to change the defensemen, while Mike Yeo handles the forwards. ... Crosby, on the baseball-style blow New York Islanders winger Chris Simon delivered to the jaw of Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg on Thursday: "It was pretty vicious. You see a stick across a guy's face like that, that's pretty startling."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07069/768410-61.stm
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:13 PM   #1360
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Pens' Crosby's pace slows down

By Keith Barnes
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sidney Crosby has been the NHL's scoring leader since Dec. 13, when a career-best six-point night against Philadelphia vaulted him to the top of the race for the Art Ross Trophy.

That night he became the youngest player to lead the league in scoring and, with 99 points on the season, the 19-year-old is poised to become the youngest player to have two 100-point seasons under his belt.

It's not a question of if Crosby pushes his scoring total into triple digits but when. The way things have been going for him lately, however, it may take a longer than earlier projected.

Crosby has been in a scoring slump for the last few weeks. Heading into today's game against the New York Rangers, he has only one goal in his last 10 games and two in his last 19, while being held without a point six times in that span.

"You have to keep doing the same things and, obviously I have to finish my chances when I get them, but I'm not going to change anything," Crosby said. "That's the way it goes. That's hockey, and sometimes it's not always perfect and it's not always fair in the way it goes, but you have to deal with it and play through it."

Crosby has never gone longer than three games without a point in his two-year career, and that happened only once, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 2005. But over the last six games, he has gone scoreless in back-to-back games twice and has only one goal and an assist.

"I don't think it's going to take much to snap out of it if he keeps working hard and doing the things he's doing," Penguins right wing Mark Recchi said. "He's getting a lot of great chances right now, and they're just not falling in the net. If he keeps doing those things, driving the net and being aggressive, things change and it's just a little burp in his young career."

While Crosby has slumped, his lead in the NHL scoring race has dwindled. He still holds an eight-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning tandem of Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, but Ottawa's Dany Heatley (87), Atlanta sniper Marian Hossa (87) and defending scoring champion Joe Thornton (84) of San Jose have clawed their way back into the race.

"He's the leading scorer in the league, he's on a pretty good track, and you're not automatically going to get points every game," Penguins assistant coach Andre Savard said. "There are great players who go through stretches where they don't get as many points, but that's the way it is. Sid competes so hard, and it's going to come back."

In the Penguins' game Thursday against New Jersey, Crosby may have been trying a little too hard to force the play and jump-start his scoring. In the third period, he tried to make a move between the circles in the Devils zone. When he was shut down, he threw a blind pass backward toward the blue line that was intercepted and turned into a breakaway chance for John Madden.

Though the puck rolled off Madden's stick before he could get a shot on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, that play is a microcosm of how Crosby is forcing the play.

"Maybe a bit, and I think it's only human to want to do good, especially when things are a little bit difficult," Crosby said. "I think the competitiveness in me wants to make something happen and maybe I'm pressing a little too much instead of just keeping it simple."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_497020.html
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