Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Such is the dance a NHL team dances over the course of a long season:

--Jordan Staal. As we mentioned in the live blog, Staal is almost a point per game player [2g, 3a] in the 6 games since Crosby’s been hurt.
--Ryan Malone. Once known as Mr. Inconsistent, Malone’s a contributing member on the 1st line and one of the biggest goal scoring threats on the team right now.
--Max Talbot. He’s playing a top 6 role and playing it well. Beautiful passes and he’s showing a lot of skill.

Stepping backwards:
--Ryan Whitney. On the powerplay he doesn’t look nearly effective without Crosby. In his own end he’s about as forceful and aggressive as a dead cat. And the coach called him out on it.

Mixed bag:
--Erik Christensen. He’s producing points and actually playing well down in the corners, which has always been a knock on him at the NHL level. But he’s taking costly penalties of the pointless variety and doesn’t seem like he’s always fully in sync.

And now, news that the Penguins have called up rookie and former 2nd round pick Alex Goligoski from Wilkes-Barre. 12 players who were in the Baby Pens opening night lineup have now spent time in Pittsburgh in the course of this season, a franchise record.

Goligoski was not thought to be NHL-ready this year but has enjoyed a measure of success this season, he made the Team USA All-Star team in the AHL and has improved his game greatly. He’s said to be a good skater, puck mover but needs to work on his strength and positioning in his own end to really make an impact in the NHL.

We wonder why the callup.
  • Did Rob Scuderi suffer some kind of unplayable injury after being hobbled by getting hit with a shot in the foot last night? Or is someone else hurt sick?
  • Are the Penguins so unhappy with someone like Whitney or Brooks Orpik that they intend to give him a game breather and yield to Goligoski?
  • Or are the Penguins simply continuing to showcase younger players before the deadline; giving potential suitors a chance to see a peek at our young talent playing a game or two in the NHL?

Whatever the yet to be seen reason, there sure won’t be any shortage of interest or speculation until some news comes out about Thursday’s lineup.

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