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Old 02-09-2007, 12:16 AM   #931
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
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.
Well Therrien decided not to play him tonight, which was a good move on his part. Why mess up the team chemistry by letting him go out there and screw things up? Nazzy has been very solid since his call-up and deserves to be out there. I hope Therrien keeps that waste of skates in the press box the rest of the season, but it probably won't happen.
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Old 02-09-2007, 04:59 AM   #932
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

NHL schedule won't affect Penguins

By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, February 9, 2007

The National Hockey League's process of drafting a 2007-08 schedule will not mandate a quick resolution to the Penguins' uncertain future.

"While there are timing constraints posed by the scheduling process, we are not beyond any definitive 'cut-off date' for purposes of next season," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday.

The league also has not committed to a deadline for the Penguins to decide where they will play next season, Daly said. He added that the league is "capable of doing contingency scheduling" for the Penguins whether they play in Pittsburgh or another city.

Kansas City plans to open the new Sprint Center in October and has offered the Penguins free rent and partial revenue to relocate there. The Penguins toured that facility this past month.

The Penguins' lease at Mellon Arena expires in June. The team and public officials are involved in negotiations for a new Uptown arena that would secure the team's long-term future in Pittsburgh. Demolition of Uptown buildings to make way for a new arena could start next week, officials said yesterday. Work started in December to remove asbestos, windows and fixtures from buildings between Centre and Fifth avenues.

The NHL's schedule is usually released in mid-July, Daly said.

Colorado Avalanche vice-president of communications Jean Martineau said clubs receive a copy of a preliminary schedule for review "a few months" before the league officially unveils its final version.

Martineau's tenure with Colorado dates to the club's departure from Quebec City, Quebec, in 1995. He said the then-Quebec Nordiques were purchased May 24, 1995, by a group that ultimately relocated the club to Denver for the 1995-96 season.

The NHL Board of Governors did not approve the sale until June 1995, but the league's 1995-96 schedule was still released that July.

"It took just two months for everything to get done," Martineau said. "It was a smooth transition."

In their final season in Quebec, the Nordiques were an upstart team loaded with young stars such as Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Owen Nolan. They finished a shortened-NHL regular season atop the Eastern Conference.

Prior to the start of those playoffs, Quebec officials broke off talks with Nordiques ownership concerning a new building the team said it needed to stay in Quebec. The Nordiques' NHL swan song came in the form of an opening-round playoff loss to the New York Rangers in April 1995.

The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup during its first season in Colorado.

"A lot of people in Quebec would not believe that this would happen," Martineau said. "Until it really happened, people didn't believe it would. Then, the team moved and people were just shocked, stunned.

"The similarities with what is going on in Pittsburgh are there, for sure."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_492417.html
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:05 AM   #933
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You know, I wouldn't mind it if Fedoruk played for the Pens - he's the kind of enforcer we need - but he really needs to quit listening to the BS that other people say about Sid. He does NOT, nor has he EVER thought that he shouldn't be touched. The kid gets hooked, held, tripped, high-sticked, elbowed, and recently speared and butt-ended...but when have you ever seen him whine and cry about it to the media? Kiss my ass, Todd, and have another loss courtesy of the best player in the league, whether you like it or not.

Penguins Notebook: Petrovicky adds scoring to resume

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

PHILADELPHIA -- Ronald Petrovicky won't be bumped up to the Penguins' No. 1 line anytime soon. He isn't likely to turn up on the top power-play unit, either.

But he has demonstrated a bit of a scoring touch in recent weeks, with two goals in the six games before the Penguins won the shootout to beat Philadelphia, 5-4, at the Wachovia Center last night.

"I hit a few posts before that -- more than a few -- but they never went in for me," he said. "The last couple of weeks, they've been going in."

Petrovicky missed the first 13 games of the season while recovering from offseason hip surgery, then sat out four more before making his Penguins debut Nov. 18. He has moved in and out of the lineup since, although last night marked the seventh game in a row in which he has played.

And, even though goal-scoring is a relatively minor element in his job description as a fourth-liner, he acknowledged that failing to get one in his first 14 appearances this season was a bit troubling.

"If you don't score for an extended period of time, you wonder what's going on," he said.

That drought ended when he got a goal in the Penguins' 7-2 victory at Phoenix Jan. 27, and he picked up the winner in their 2-0 decision against Washington Saturday.

"Hopefully, I'll keep contributing to the team and we can win hockey games," he said. "Because it's a great thing when all four lines are playing well."

No spot for Melichar

Defenseman Josef Melichar, who has received medical clearance to resume playing after recovering from a sprained left knee, sat out his 12th consecutive game last night.

Coach Michel Therrien said he had no reservations about putting Melichar back in uniform last night, but that no one on the Penguins' defense had played their way out of a job.

"I'm not afraid to make changes," Therrien said. "But, at the same time, I have to respect the good work players do on the ice. I like the way our defensemen are playing. I have no reason to take any of those guys out."

Therrien went on to praise the way his defensemen consistently have been willing to absorb checks to buy the extra time often needed to make an effective pass.

"It takes courage to take a hit to make a play," he said. "They're ready to sacrifice themselves for the success of the team."

A nod to Crosby

The Bucks County Courier Times, a suburban Philadelphia newspaper, polled seven Flyers about whether they would rather have Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin on their team. Five chose Crosby.

Left winger Simon Gagne said he picked him because "he makes the players around him look good" and "Crosby is the kind of player who can win a game by himself."

Philadelphia enforcer Todd Fedoruk selected Ovechkin because, "Crosby is a player who doesn't think certain things should happen to him."

Ekman expects to return

Winger Nils Ekman intends to play again this season and seems optimistic he will be able to do it sometime next month.

Ekman's left elbow was dislocated Dec. 29 and, even though he is skating with conditioning coach Stephane Dube, he has not been cleared to work out with his teammates. He doesn't have a target date for returning, but suggested after his on-ice session yesterday that it should be a matter of weeks, not months.

"I'd be really surprised if I don't play in March," he said.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07040/760731-61.stm
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Old 02-09-2007, 05:14 AM   #934
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

A very, very interesting story here. The Pens becoming the NHL's version of the Green Bay Packers?

Public could buy Penguins, Dawida says

Friday, February 09, 2007
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The public should have the right to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, former Allegheny County Commissioner Mike Dawida argued yesterday, in a letter to the state's U.S. senators and three congressmen.

Mr. Dawida, a lawyer and candidate for Pittsburgh controller in the May 15 Democratic primary, said the public's investments in Mellon Arena give it legal standing to challenge any attempt by the team to move. Public officials or fans could go to federal court to seek the right to turn the team into a public asset.

Congress, he suggested, should pass a law eliminating any league bylaws that would prevent public ownership of a team.

The Penguins are considering a move to Kansas City if they cannot negotiate a satisfactory new arena deal here.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07040/760750-61.stm
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Old 02-09-2007, 07:50 AM   #935
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"Mr. Dawida, a lawyer and candidate for Pittsburgh controller in the May 15 Democratic primary,"

LOL, enough said. I can't believe the PPG even bothered printing this rubbish.

Dawida: Look at me! Look at me! I'm "trying" Pittsburgh..........

Anyways, both sides keep hammering out that deal and get it done. I have faith.
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:27 AM   #936
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Talks go on, but still no deal for Penguins arena
Ravenstahl, Onorato still optimistic club owners will keep team in the city

Saturday, February 10, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Despite some talking and a flurry of paperwork this week, the Penguins and state and local leaders still don't have a deal on a new arena, and development rights and the team's share of the construction cost still appear to be stumbling blocks.

Team co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle talked with Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato earlier this week by conference call, but the conversation ended without an agreement.

"Right now there is no deal. We're still trying to get to one," said Mr. Onorato, who continued to express optimism about the eventual outcome of the talks.

In an interview, Mr. Ravenstahl said the Penguins' share of the $300 million construction cost and the eventual development rights to the Mellon Arena site are among the issues still unresolved. Once a new facility is built, Mellon Arena is expected to be demolished to clear the land for redevelopment.

"There are a variety of issues that we're discussing and certainly the financial contribution is one of those and development rights are another," the mayor said.

Under the Plan B arena funding formula, the Penguins' share started out at $2.9 million a year for 30 years, plus $1.16 million annually from naming rights and $8.5 million upfront.

However, Mr. Rendell has said that the team's contribution was reduced under a revised Plan B and was "significantly below" the $2.9 million a year the Pirates contributed toward PNC Park. It's not known how naming rights factor into the equation.

"The deal we're talking about now certainly is different than Plan B and the pot has been sweetened, so to speak, from the original B but I don't want to get into specifics on what that is at this point," Mr. Ravenstahl said.

The city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, which owns the Mellon Arena site, has proposed that the Penguins and Pittsburgh casino winner Don Barden share development rights to that property once the Igloo, the oldest facility in the National Hockey League, is demolished.

Team officials have balked at that idea, and the two sides apparently have been unable to reach common ground. The SEA offered the rights to both the Penguins and Mr. Barden because both would contribute to the arena construction. Under Plan B, Mr. Barden is putting in $7.5 million a year for 30 years.

The Penguins have declined comment on all aspects of the talks. Without offering specifics, Mr. Onorato said there's still "legitimate detail" that has to be worked out before an accord can be reached.

Despite the snags, both he and Mr. Ravenstahl said they were still optimistic they would be able to wrap up a deal that would keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh under a new 30-year lease.

"I feel good about where the negotiations are. I'm still optimistic that this will get done," Mr. Onorato said. "I think the negotiations are moving in the right direction."

In addition to the conference call earlier this week, the two sides have been exchanging information and are in "constant negotiation," Mr. Onorato said. Mr. Rendell is expected to be back in Pittsburgh Thursday, but so far no face-to-face talks are scheduled. The last such session was Jan. 18.

One source close to the Penguins had indicated last week that team officials could step up their talks with Kansas City this week if there was not substantial progress toward a deal here. However, it doesn't appear that there has been any major movement in that direction so far.

Officials in Kansas City are offering the team free use of the new $276 million Sprint Center, to open this fall, no construction costs or upfront payments, and half the building revenues. Other cities in the hunt for the team could be Houston, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City.

Neither Mr. Onorato nor Mr. Ravenstahl would put a time period on completing a deal here.

Asked what was holding up the talks, the mayor replied, "I think it's just the natural process of negotiation. Any time you're dealing with this type of significant development and hundreds of millions of dollars, it takes time."

Besides issues like share of construction costs and development rights, the two sides must work out lease details, who pays for any cost overruns, arena management issues and an interim lease arrangement until the new building is ready for occupancy, expected in 2009.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07041/760949-61.stm
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:29 AM   #937
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Penguins Notebook: Therrien admits rapid progress is surprise
Saturday, February 10, 2007

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


TORONTO -- It's almost guaranteed that someone out there was convinced four months ago that the Penguins would have 65 points after 54 games.

But odds are it wasn't anyone on the team's payroll.

"We've kind of surprised the hockey world," coach Michel Therrien said after practice yesterday at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. "We all realized that we have some great young kids, but the progress is a little bit faster than people were expecting. And than we were expecting, as well."

The Penguins earned four points with 4-1 and 8-2 victories against the Toronto Maple Leafs, whom they will face at 7:08 p.m. today at the Air Canada Centre.

Despite the convincing nature of those victories, however, the Penguins are wary of proclaiming they have a clear edge over Toronto.

"You never know when you've caught them on an off-night," center Dominic Moore said. "When we've only played them twice, it's hard to gauge that."

The Penguins are on a 10-0-2 roll, but the Maple Leafs have been hot lately, too. They had a five-game winning streak before a 4-2 loss Thursday at Nashville.

"We have to be ready because they've won a lot of games lately," right winger Michel Ouellet said.

True, but the Penguins have an advantage in team speed, an asset they have used quite effectively of late. They also have developed a strong belief in their abilities.

"We know we're playing well now," Moore said. "We know we're confident. We expect to win every game we play, no matter who it is [against], if we play up to our capabilities and play the way we should."

Not so hot

Although Sidney Crosby scored the deciding shootout goal in the Penguins' 5-4 victory Thursday in Philadelphia, the Flyers shut him out in regulation and overtime for just the second time in 15 career meetings.

His linemates, Mark Recchi and Ryan Malone, didn't have terribly productive evenings, either.

Although Recchi got a goal, neither Crosby nor Malone was on the ice at the time, and Malone was one of only three Penguins skaters who failed to record a shot on goal.

"We're looked at to create offense, and we didn't do that," Crosby said. "We have to be better."

How slow is slow?

Watching Erik Christensen's shootout attempt Thursday was almost like witnessing a slow-motion replay.

In real time.

Christensen moved so deliberately that he seemed to be in real danger of becoming the first player ever penalized for delay of game on a penalty shot. He insisted, though, that he felt he was proceeding at a fairly normal pace before being denied by Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki.

"Everyone's saying that I was going in slow," he said. "I didn't feel like I was going in slow. The last couple [of shootout attempts] I'd had, I felt the same.

"I try not to go in with so much speed that I'm going to mishandle the puck, possibly. I sort of stumbled on a piece of ice right when I picked up the puck [at center ice] and it threw me off a bit, with my concentration. But that's not an excuse."

No time to agonize

The Penguins weren't pleased with their failure to protect a two-goal lead in the third period Thursday, but weren't agonizing over the point Philadelphia salvaged when Mike Knuble scored with less than two minutes left in regulation.

No surprise there, considering the Flyers not only trail the Penguins by 31 points in the Atlantic Division, but are a near-lock to finish last in the overall standings.

"It's not exactly like giving one to the [New York] Islanders or Tampa Bay," defenseman Ryan Whitney said.

Slap shots

Crosby attracted a large contingent of reporters and photographers to the Penguins' workout. ... Toronto is playing without agitator Darcy Tucker, who has made only one appearance since a foot injury Dec. 26 and is expected to be out for at least several more weeks. ... Penguins winger Nils Ekman, recovering from a dislocated elbow, skated with conditioning coach Stephane Dube again before practice yesterday.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07041/761024-61.stm
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:30 AM   #938
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Despite not scoring, Penguins' Armstrong has big hand in surge
Saturday, February 10, 2007

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


TORONTO -- His slump doesn't come up in conversation much anymore. Nowhere near as often as it did in the early weeks of the season.

Perhaps that's because there are more positive streaks on which to focus, such as the 10-0-2 surge the Penguins are on as they prepare to face Toronto at 7:08 p.m. today at the Air Canada Centre.

Or maybe because it lost its shock value a while ago, and has simply become part of the landscape of the 2006-07 season.

Colby Armstrong, who entered the season as the right winger on the Penguins' No. 1 line, does not have a goal in his past 10 games. Which makes this drought a lot like the ones of 22 and 12 games that he endured earlier.

Armstrong, who plays with Max Talbot and Erik Christensen on the third line, has six goals in 52 games, hardly the pace anyone anticipated when he had Sidney Crosby feeding him pucks toward the end of last season and in the early weeks of this one.

"It's something you have to battle through," Armstrong said.

How the struggle to regain his scoring touch will play out remains to be seen. Armstrong, though, maintains his place in the lineup -- and in the team's plans -- because of the other facets of his game.

"We want him to contribute offensively, like everyone," coach Michel Therrien said. "But, in the meantime, he's having a huge role on our team.

"Killing penalties, being a good checker, making sure he plays the system well, being a tough guy to play against. That's his bread and butter. As long as he does that, he's going to be fine."

Whether opposing players will be is another matter. Armstrong made that point rather emphatically nine days ago, when he laid out Montreal captain Saku Koivu with a crushing hit.

Koivu was focused on the puck behind the goal line and seemed oblivious to Armstrong closing in on him until a split-second before Armstrong drove his right shoulder into Koivu and sent him hurtling.

"I saw him coming around [the net] with his head down," Armstrong said. "It didn't matter if it was Koivu. I really didn't notice who it was at the time. I just finished my check on him."

Koivu had barely touched the ice when Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray went after Armstrong, picking up 27 minutes worth of penalties for his trouble,

Armstrong wasn't surprised that a Montreal player came after him -- "I was expecting that," he said -- but made it clear that he won't alter his game in any way because of such threats to his well-being.

"I have to play in-your-face," he said. "I can't stop doing that, or I won't be here. I have to keep playing hard."

That's a given with Armstrong, regardless of his role or line. But being bumped from the top line to the No. 3 unit stung. Not because it bruised his ego, but because it underscored that he was not generating the offense his teammates and bosses expected.

"It's obviously a little upsetting at first," he said. "Not because of going from first to third, but because of the stats and production, things I obviously wish could have been going a little better."

Therrien pointed out that Armstrong had similar scoring problems when they were together with the Penguins' minor-league team in Wilkes-Barre two years ago, and Armstrong noted that his touch eventually returned.

"It's part of the game, I guess," he said. "Once it got going, things started going pretty well. Hopefully, I can get a few bounces here, do it for a few games in a row. Just keep working, and, hopefully, things turn around."

It helps, he allowed, that Crosby, Jordan Staal and Mark Recchi, who moved into his old spot on the top line, and others are showing up on the score sheet regularly. And especially that the Penguins are accumulating points without any significant offensive contribution from him.

"It's great that [Staal] is still putting the puck in the net like crazy," he said. "[Evgeni Malkin], [Recchi], Sid. ]Ryan Whitney] has been hot. [Sergei Gonchar] is doing his thing."

And maybe, just maybe, Armstrong is doing his. It could be that he was miscast as a top-six forward, that his game is best-suited to filling a blue-collar role.

"We always figured that Colby Armstrong would become a good checker in this league, a good third-line guy," Therrien said. "That was the plan, and that's what he's doing right now.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07041/761025-61.stm
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:31 AM   #939
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Pens' playoff positioning drives need to excel

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, February 10, 2007


TORONTO - The Penguins played one of their worst games of the last month Thursday night in Philadelphia. They still got two points and moved up a spot in the standings -- from fifth to a tie for fourth with the Ottawa Senators.

The last time the Penguins were in fourth place or better in their conference this late in the season was 1999, the same year that Jaromir Jagr won his first Hart Trophy and his third Art Ross Trophy with 127 points.

Tonight, they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in a "Hockey Night in Canada" matchup, and a win would put them seven points ahead of the ninth-place Leafs.

It's a big game, but then again, every game for the last month has felt like a playoff game for the players. They expect the same to hold true over the final 27 games after tonight.

"I think the last month it's all been big games for us, just to be able to stay in the race," goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. "Hopefully, if we get those two points again (tonight). We'll be ahead, but not by much. There are so many teams involved in the race and not many points between them. Hopefully, we can just keep going like this and be at the top of the standings."

The Penguins are 10-0-2 in their last 12 games and are the only team in the league without a regulation loss in the last 10 games. The last time the Penguins lost in regulation was exactly one month ago, falling to the Florida Panthers, 5-2, on Jan. 10.

The Penguins' longest unbeaten streak is 18 games between March 9-April 13, 1993, when they won 17 in a row and earned a tie in the last game of the season.

But going into tonight's game, the Penguins lead the ninth-place Maple Leafs by only five points and the 10th-place New York Islanders by six.

"You look at the standings, and it's still incredibly close," center Dominic Moore said. "I think we just have to maintain our focus on improving. That's been our focus for most of the year. I think we play better when we're not watching the standings and we're just working on improving, and I think that's got to be our attitude. If we are looking at the standings, it's got to be looking up the ladder, as opposed to looking at who's behind you. I think that's the better way to approach it."

Thursday night's 5-4 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers was not one of their finest efforts of late, which every player in the dressing room will readily admit. The Penguins turned the puck over too much, got away from the team game they'd been playing so well, and they were only 3 for 5 on the penalty kill, for just a few examples.

But the Penguins (28-17-9) still found a reason to be even more confident going into tonight's game than, perhaps they would have been before.

"As much as it wasn't a great win, it's also a confidence booster in the sense that we didn't play well and still did it," Moore said.

Not that they're taking anything for granted.

"For the last 12 games, I think we've been playing pretty big games," center Maxime Talbot said. "A couple teammates and I were talking about how, if we'd won only half of the games we've won the last 12 games, we wouldn't even be in the playoffs. We'd be playing for .500. We're still battling every day for the playoffs because we're only five points out. Every game is huge."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_492580.html
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:33 AM   #940
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Notebook: Crosby still creates buzz in Toronto

Saturday, February 10, 2007


? This is Sidney Crosby's third trip to Toronto, but he was only slightly less mobbed by media than he was during his first trip last January. He had to have a news conference at the Ricoh Coliseum where the Penguins practiced for that trip, which was followed by his first NHL game in Canada. There was no news conference yesterday, but he was still surrounded by at least six cameras and two dozen reporters after he got off the ice following practice.

? After going 1-5 in their first five shootouts this season, the Penguins have won three in a row, including Thursday's victory over the Flyers. Credit goes to goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, center Maxime Talbot said. "Our success starts in one place, and it's in the net," Talbot said. "Yes, we talk about Sid and the best scorer and everything, and it's definitely nice to see, but it starts in the net, and lately, Fleury's been on his game. Nobody really wants to talk about it because we don't want to disturb him. He's just focused. You just want him to keep that state of mind because right now, he's relaxed, he's having fun and he's not feeling the pressure and that's when he's at his best."

Digits

4 - Goals in the past four games for rookie Jordan Staal, who has 20 this season.

2 - Number of games since the Penguins' last win in Toronto (0-1-1) on March 11, 2004.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_492583.html
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