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Old 03-21-2007, 11:41 PM   #1491
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Penguins would be wise to sink Islanders

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Penguins remain in hot pursuit of Ottawa, New Jersey and Buffalo, but tonight on Long Island, the idea will be to deny the guys behind them.

At least it ought to be.

For while the relative merits of a potential playoff series against the Senators, Lightning, Hurricanes or Rangers could be debated from now until the series actually starts, this much the Penguins know for certain:

They can't beat the Islanders in the postseason.

At least they ought to have that figured out by now.

The Penguins tried that in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s.

The Penguins lost all three series in agonizing fashion.

It doesn't matter that Sidney Crosby wasn't even born for the first two and was 6 years old at the outset of the third.

Enough's enough, already.

The Penguins need to avoid the Islanders at any and all costs.

The Islanders were cooperating, sort of, as of yesterday. They stood 11th in the Eastern Conference overall, but where just two points shy of tying the seventh-place Rangers.

That's too close for comfort.

And that's why the Penguins need a regulation victory tonight.

Otherwise, they're just asking for trouble, the kind they found in ...

? 1974-75: The Penguins bolted to a three-games-to-none lead over the Islanders in the quarterfinals before becoming just the second team in NHL history to blow such a seemingly insurmountable advantage (joining the 1942 Detroit Red Wings). The collapse was completed when the league's No. 3 scoring team lost Game 7, 1-0, at home.

Ed Westfall scored the series-winning goal with 5:18 remaining in regulation.

The Islanders eventually went on to win four Stanley Cups.

The Pens went on to declare bankruptcy immediately.

? 1981-82: The heavily-favored Islanders won the first two games of the best-of-five at home, 8-1 and 7-2, prompting Pens owner Edward J. DeBartolo to offer refunds to anyone who had purchased a ticket to Game 3 but no longer cared to attend. The Pens made amends by winning Games 3 and 4 at home and led, 3-1, late in Game 5 back on Long Island before goals by Mike McEwen (at 14:37) and John Tonelli (at 17:39) forced overtime.

Tonelli won it at 6:19 of OT, and the Isles went on the win their third of four consecutive Stanley Cups.

The Pens went on to consecutive sub-50-point seasons.

? 1992-93: The heavily favored Pens won an NHL-record 17 straight games to close the regular-season defense of their second straight Stanley Cup. But in the second round, the Islanders staved off elimination in Game 6 and then stunned the Penguins by winning Game 7, 4-3 in OT.

Considering all of the above, the Pens should just as soon not risk positioning themselves to find out who might become this year's David Volek.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_498916.html
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Old 03-21-2007, 11:43 PM   #1492
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Pens can tie for division lead tonight

By The Tribune-Review
Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Penguins players may not be Toronto Maple Leafs fans, but the Leafs did them a favor Tuesday night by beating the New Jersey Devils. That means that the Penguins have another chance to tie the Devils for the lead in the Atlantic Division with 94 points if they beat the New York Islanders tonight at Nassau Coliseum.

"There's no doubt we know (today)'s a big one." forward Sidney Crosby said.

? At practice in Rye, N.Y., the Penguins players got a visit from members of the Army hockey team and First Sgt. J.B. Spisso, who led the Penguins players through "boot camp" at West Point in September.

"It seems that they're Penguins fans," coach Michel Therrien said. "They like the way we play, and we discussed our team and discussed their team. They did really well this year from what we hear. It's nice to see those guys are following our team and want us to have success."

Spisso also has attended other Penguins games this season, including games in New Jersey and Pittsburgh.

? For the second time in three days, Penguins goaltender Jocelyn Thibault caught a puck in the neck during practice. The first was Monday in the skate before the game against the New York Rangers. Yesterday, a shot from Colby Armstrong hit him in the throat, causing team doctors to come on the ice and check on Thibault. He soon got up and resumed practice.

"It's fine," Thibault said. "It's a little tough to swallow, but it's OK." Many goalies wear pieces of plastic that hang from their helmets for the purpose of protecting their throats. Thibault doesn't because he said he doesn't like to. "I haven't gotten (any pucks in the neck) all year, and I got two the last two practices," he said. "I guess they come in a bunch. But I'm OK."

Digits


4 - Penguins wins over the Islanders in seven games this season.

120 - Goals scored by the Penguins on the road this season, third-most in the NHL.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_498917.html
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Old 03-21-2007, 11:53 PM   #1493
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Opposite styles make Orpik, Whitney good partners

Thursday, March 22, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- It's not that Brooks Orpik and Ryan Whitney don't have a lot in common.

There are plenty of parallels in their private and professional lives.

They attended the same prep school. Played big-time college hockey in Massachusetts, make their offseason homes there and entered the NHL as first-round draft choices of the Penguins.

But for all the traits they share, it is their differences that make them an effective defensive pairing for the Penguins, who will face the New York Islanders tonight at Nassau Coliseum.

Orpik plays a physical game with a strong emphasis on being effective in his own zone. He finishes most nights with more hits than shots, let alone points.

Whitney has a more offense-oriented, finesse style, as evidenced by the 11 goals and 42 assists he has put up in 73 games. That was good for a tie with Anaheim's Chris Pronger for seventh place among defensemen going into last night.

"We obviously bring different things to the table," Orpik said. "That's what they were hoping for."

While coach Michel Therrien could have matched Orpik with another stay-at-home type in an attempt to create a shutdown pairing, or Whitney with another skilled defenseman such as Sergei Gonchar -- his partner on the points of the No. 1 power play -- to create a menacing offensive tandem, he opted for the synergy that comes from contrasting styles.

"It's a good combination," Therrien said yesterday. Similar thinking, he added, prompted him to play Mark Eaton, and later Josef Melichar, with Gonchar.

Therrien's thinking reflects the conventional wisdom among most coaches, who like to have balance in their defensive tandems.

When a team puts two offensive defensemen on the ice together, there's a decent chance there will be a goal scored -- at one end or the other. Deploy an offensive guy with a partner who's content to hang back, however, and the latter can get involved in the attack without worrying about leaving his goaltender exposed.

"We complement each other pretty well," Whitney said. "He's a defensive guy, so I can hop into the play."

Good thing Orpik isn't often tempted to try that.

"He's thinking offense first all the time, so, if I jump into the play, I can't really know that he's going to be behind me all the time," Orpik said. "Whereas when he jumps in there, he knows I'm going to be back."

The Orpik-Whitney partnership has been intact for quite some time, so even though Therrien isn't shy about reconfiguring his forward combinations or defense pairings, it's likely they will be together when the playoffs begin.

Orpik said it's critical for defensemen to be comfortable with their partners, and that learning the nuances of another defenseman's game takes time.

"You develop a chemistry where it's even more important than with forwards," he said. "You can mix and match the forward lines. With defensemen, it's a lot more important to have more consistent pairings.

"He and I have gotten to a point where you don't even have to talk as much as you would with someone else. You just read off each other, know each other's tendencies."

Orpik and Whitney have known each other for years -- Whitney was a freshman at Thayer Academy in Braintree, Mass., during Orpik's senior season there -- and they were teammates briefly when Whitney joined the Penguins' minor-league team in Wilkes-Barre for its playoff run in 2004.

Although both played in Hockey East -- Orpik attended Boston College, and Whitney went to Boston University -- they never crossed paths in college, because Orpik left after his junior season to turn pro, which means he departed the conference just as Whitney was about to arrive.

The lack of head-to-head confrontations in college doesn't detract from the passions that flare when the Golden Eagles and Terriers share a slab of ice.

"They play each other quite a few times all year," Whitney said, "so we'll give it to each other here and there."

College rivalries aside, they have obvious respect for each other's style. Orpik allowed that "maybe sometimes it would be nice to be a little more offensive," the way Whitney is, and Whitney volunteered that he has high regard for Orpik's skating and hard hitting.

"Obviously, he's a different player," Whitney said. "And that's why it works."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07081/771607-61.stm
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Old 03-21-2007, 11:57 PM   #1494
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Scouting the Islanders

By The Tribune-Review
Thursday, March 22, 2007

Today's game

Penguins (41-22-10) at New York Islanders (34-27-11)


When, where: 7:30 p.m. -- Nassau Coliseum

TV/radio: FSN Pittsburgh/WXDX-FM (105.9)

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (35-14-8, 2.92 GAA); Rick DiPietro (30-19-8, 2.61 GAA)

Notable: DiPietro returned from a head injury suffered a week earlier to play Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the Islanders fell, 4-3, in overtime. That dropped them to 11th in the Eastern Conference. ... Captain Alexei Yashin was demoted to the fourth line during the game against the Lightning. The Islanders went 10-2-4 without him in the lineup while he recovered from a knee injury and are 1-4-1 since. ... The Islanders have lost seven of nine games in March, including two in overtime and one in a shootout.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_498918.html
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Old 03-22-2007, 07:49 AM   #1495
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Bring on those pesky Islanders!!!!

I don't believe in that superstitious stuff regarding our playoff history with the Isles. Different era, different team.
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Old 03-22-2007, 11:59 AM   #1496
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"Let the players play. Let the coaches coach."

That pretty much sums the Crosby/Therrien/Murray incident.

On that note, I can't wait to put the Ottawa Senators in the ground on the 5th. Out of all the games remaining on our schedule, I hope Sid get's a HT during that meeting.

Murray can keep talking all he wants, just ask Philly what happens when you piss Sid off....

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Old 03-22-2007, 04:39 PM   #1497
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Got to worry about the Islanders first. Speaking of, let's sink the islanders ship!
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Old 03-22-2007, 07:10 PM   #1498
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

ARMSTRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1-0 PENS!
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Old 03-22-2007, 07:37 PM   #1499
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Trent Hunter ties the score at 1-1 early in the 2nd. C'mon Pens - let's get a couple more scores!
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Old 03-22-2007, 07:40 PM   #1500
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DAMN IT!!!!! Down 2-1. Come on guys. PULL IT TOGETHER AND SCORE!!!!!
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