SOME MORNING PENS BUZZ TIDBITS
- Some in the Boston media just won’t let the Matt Cooke hit die and the reporting from some Boston writers is really going overboard. Some of them are coming off as huge homers. Cooke was hit with a five minute major and came out Sunday and admitted he deserved a penalty. I’m not sure what else people want from him. Yes, it was a dangerous hit as all boarding penalties are, and a five minute major and ejection is a pretty significant penalty for a playoff game. Cooke got what he deserved, people need to just move on now.
- The Boston Bruins look to take a 2-0 series lead and coming off a 3-0 shutout loss in Game 1, will Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma make some lineup changes? We’ll address the goaltender situation in a second (I don’t expect a goalie change) but one area to watch is on the blueline tonight. Mark Eaton’s play has slipped in the post-season, which was always going to be a concern as to be honest he was playing over his head in the regular season and he could be a candidate to sit tonight with Simon Despres or Deryk Engelland coming into the lineup.
- The Penguins upgraded their blueline with the addition of Douglas Murray at the trade deadline and Murray has paid dividends with his ability to clear the front of the net on the penalty kill but at even strength he’s really a No. 3 pairing type defenseman. One area the Penguins have viewed as a top priority since last summer is finding a d-partner for Kris Letang. It’s something the Penguins were not able to accomplish this season, though it’s not easy to find or acquire top-4 defensemen. The Penguins have gotten by with pairing No. 5/No.6 type guys like Eaton, Simon Despres and Matt Niskanen with Letang all season, but when Letang has a bad night like he did in Game 1, it usually spells trouble for the Penguins.
- We could soon be reaching the point for Joe Vitale to become reinserted into the lineup as I feel a 4th line of Brenden Morrow, Vitale and Craig Adams would be a more effective 4th line with Vitale than Jussi Jokinen from a physical, speed and forechecking presence. That said, the Penguins will be hard pressed to take Jokinen out of the lineup due to his faceoff ability in the left faceoff circle.
- Many are fixated on the goaltending situation for tonight. I wouldn’t expect a goaltending change and It would still be a surprise to see Bylsma throw his first wrinkle of the series and turn to Marc Andre Fleury tonight. “We don’t get this win, but the win and the loss isn’t necessarily an indicator of what we’re going to do with the goaltending situation,” Bylsma said on Sunday. “Tomas, I thought, played real well in the game, was strong in the game, made big saves,” Bylsma said.
- Vokoun wasn’t spectacular in Game 1 but he didn’t have a poor game. The one goal I thought Vokoun was a bit at fault was the Krejci third period goal where he failed to stop the dump-in around the boards. I think the Penguins have bigger worries than him. Fleury has not played since May 7, a span of 26 days.