Friday, December 21, 2007

A Gordie Howe Hat Trick and a WIN!

In his effort to be like his landlord (who once fought a man named Brad Ference), Sidney Crosby dropped the gloves with a man named Andy Ference in his first career fight. Sid acquited himself well, but it was the result of choosing an equal partner. We think if it was the monsterous Zdeno Chara harassing him, Mr. Bing probably doesn't drop the gloves.

Speaking of Chara, he fought Georges Laraque twice. You could tell both men were not used to fighting an opponent so big and so strong, because it looked more awkward than my 7th grade dance. Perhaps the caution could be expected, you could tell both men respected the other's power.

By the way, in post lockout seasons the Penguins have had 35 and 33 fights....They have 22 fights already through just 34 games so far, well on pace to smash the previous marks. Just a little fact I found interesting.

``Horrible blowing a 4 goal lead, it looked like the Pens mailed it in after jumping up to such a big lead so early in the contest. But no lead is safe when Ty freakin Conklin is in net. But at the end of the day it's not how you do it, it's if you do it. The Pens took two points on the road.
``By virtue of surrendering 4 goals, the Penguins became the 2nd non-South Leastern Eastern conference team to break 100 goals allowed so far. The other is Toronto. Not good company to be in.
``With two points in the standings the Pens are in 7th place in the conference (tied with Florida but with a game in hand). But don't be fooled: every team behind them (except Washington) is within 4 points. So the win was one badly needed to get to the head of the pack.
``Sidney Crosby has 12 even strength goals. His production without the man advantage has been fueling the team. Vinny Lecavalier is having a great season--he's got 53 points compared to Sid's 46, and deserves the praise he's getting, but Crosby is playing excellently too.
``Speaking of the top line, will the Therrien haters give him credit for stacking the topline of Malkin-Crosby-Armstrong? Obviously they won't, but it was a good choice. This trio combined for 3 goals and 4 assists (all at even strength) is the first 12 minutes of the game!
``Colby Armstrong had his finest game of the year, 3 assists, played 20 minutes and was a +4. Hard to believe he was in the doghouse and a healthy scratch just a few weeks ago. The rise and fall of a long hockey season is something else, isn't it?
``As crappy of a season as you'd think he's had judging from the fans, Ryan Whitney is now 22nd in the entire league in defensemen scoring (and tied for first in PP goals).
``Is there a better team in shootouts than the Penguins? I don't have the resources (or time or mindpower) to analyze records across the league, but it really seems like the Penguins pretty much win almost every time they shootout. And Kris Letang is getting the confidence (a perfect 3 for 3), he's a weapon on it. It's not Malkin (0 for 4) and Crosby (1 for 5) that pull the Pens to victory, it's guys like Letang and of course the shootout maestro Erik Christensen (who's now 4 for 5).
``Another thought: we often hear how the NHL nowadays focuses a lot more on scouting, and pre-game prep time like coaches watching video. If not the head coach, couldn't at least goalie coaches start notifying them that Christensen really only has two variations (on the same deke) that he pulls every. single. time. And just as sure as the Penguins win, he scores them. Every time. Just sayin'.
``I guess that's why the Penguins always win; with EC going first and being pretty much automatic that's a huge relief right there. Plus now with Letang scoring every attempt all the goalie has to do is prevent one goal from going in and the shootout is practically over.

Better to win

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