MORNING PENS BUZZ
Devils – Pens Fallout: What stands out with the New Jersey Devils dating back to last years playoff run is how well coached they are. Peter DeBoer has emerged as one of the best coaches in the game and he prepares his hockey team so well at exploiting the weaknesses of other teams. “It’s a testament to our character,” DeBoer said on last night’s win. “I think a lot of people thought that maybe our run last year was accidental and I think you’re seeing the depth of this team and how they play.”
The Devils are not the early 2000’s trapping style Devils under DeBoer. While everything they do, they are thinking defense first, New Jersey’s offensive game is based on puck control and they are one of the best teams in the NHL in that critical area.
“They did a good job of taking away opportunities for us to get things going by playing in the offensive zone,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “We spent a lot of our energy playing defense.”
Bylsma sticking with Boychuk?: Zach Boychuk is pointless in six games and has 1 shot or less in five of six games as a Penguin. To make matters worse, the Boychuk – Malkin – Neal line has zero even strength goals or points together. While the eye test says Boychuk has been a better fit than Tangradi due his speed and vision, the line of Tangradi-Malkin-Neal had 3 even strength goals together in five games sparingly together.
The Penguins are off today and Bylsma at least talked after yesterday’s game that he’s not ready to pull the plug on Boychuk as the second line LW. “He’s been able to create for that line,” Bylsma said. I think he has added and does add that to the line.”
With Bylsma not seeming to be a believer in Dustin Jeffrey being answer with sources saying he doesn’t feel Jeffrey is quick enough, speculation of when Beau Bennett is going to get the call is only going to increase in the coming weeks. It’s a foregone conclusion the Penguins will give Bennett a look at somepoint before the trade deadline. However, there’s always concerns about ruining a young forward who’s not ready.
Third line winger a priority? While all of the focus is on a second line winger and yes it’s need, but If Penguins see what others are seeing, most notably scouts I’ve heard from, then the team should also be looking hard at potential third line winger options leading up to the deadline. The Penguins have to replace the size that Jordan Staal use to give them, making them such a hard team to matchup against on the bottom two lines. Scouts feel the Penguins are not tough enough to play against on their bottom two lines.
They have a player to build around on the third line with Brandon Sutter down the middle but the Penguins don’t have the other two pieces right now. Matt Cooke has to get back to being the pest he use to be and if Steve Ott goes on the market in a potential fire sale in Buffalo, the Penguins should be all over him. He’s the type of player they need to go after. A guy who can bang, make it tough on the opposition and chip in offensively.