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Insider Only MORNING PENS BUZZ

MORNING PENS BUZZ

Sidney Crosby last night on Brandon Dubinsky cross-checking him in the neck.

“I’m probably not surprised, if I was going to get one of those shots, it would be from him.”

.@BDubi17's post game interview –> https://t.co/5mfVHaIVoK #CBJ pic.twitter.com/YJouKsysLR

— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) November 28, 2015

Dubinsky has a phone hearing with the league this morning at 11:30 a.m., so if there’s a suspension it will be 5 games or less.

Last season Dustin Byfuglien got four games for cross-checking J.T. Miller in the neck.

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I believe the league will determine Dubinsky’s cross-check was not as forceful or malicious as Byfuglien’s was last year when he got four games, so if Dubinsky gets anything more than three games it will be a surprise, especially with how the league suspends based on how whether a player is injured or not.

On the Byfuglien ruling, the league ruled there was no play in front of the net as the Jets had possession of the puck and were clearing the zone, meaning “the threat of Miller getting another scoring chance clearly passed” as the Department of Player Safety stated in their ruling.

That’s another reason it will be pretty surprising to see a Dubinsky suspension hit the four or five game range as going off how the league often rules, they will likely declare with the Penguins still having possession of the puck in the offensive zone, Dubinsky had a right to defend Crosby in front.

For Dubinsky he might have an argument that he tried to make last night in that there was no intent to injure but what’s Dubinsky’s argument for cross-checking a defenseless Crosby while he’s laying on the ground? I have a bigger issue with that than anything. That’s deserving of a suspension itself for one game.

I’ll predict three games.

BLUE JACKETS 200 FT GAME > PENGUINS 200 FT GAME

Lost in the Dubinsky-Crosby hoopla, was the Penguins being outplayed for the second time this month by the Blue Jackets. The score was again much closer, 2-1 Blue Jackets OT win, than the game really was. This wasn’t some 50-50 type game despite it being a 1-1 game in OT and the Penguins taking a 1-0 lead in the third.

The Penguins were extremely fortunate to get a point. Pittsburgh was outshot 43-25 in the loss, including 37-21 at even strength, 30-21 5 v 5. Aside from two odd-man rushes early in the game, the Penguins had continues problems in breaking out of their zone cleanly against the Blue Jackets aggressive forecheck. Unlike Wednesday night vs St. Louis, the Penguins were not getting through the neutral zone effectively as the Blue Jackets were forcing a lot of pucks up the wall.

The Crosby line was horrendous in possessing the puck, Crosby on the ice for 11 shot attempts, 21 against at even strength. Continues to be a problem that has everything to do with Crosby’s linemates than Crosby himself.

At somepoint Mike Johnston is going to have to go away from being married of keeping Perron – Malkin – Kessel together. Crosby badly needs someone on his line who can make a skilled play. If you don’t want to break up Malkin – Kessel, Perron has to become an option as the coaching staff doesn’t feel Bennett is good enough defensively to play with Crosby over an extended period.

PLAYER NOTES

— In a rough physical game, Beau Bennett became invisible, playing just 7:15 and getting benched in the third period. Good opportunity tonight vs Edmonton for Sprong to get in.

Phil Kessel’s tentativeness in the corners and along the wall was eye-popping in a game against a physical team that had a playoff feel to it.

— What has changed for Sergei Plotnikov? He’s now a player who’s going out and playing with no expectations. That’s been a great thing for him. He’s always been a 4th line type player but the Penguins botched his role early in the season by management pushing for him to play with Evgeni Malkin and trying to make him into something he’s not Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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