Last night showed how Michel Therrien has improved as a coach. When the Penguins were down 5-2 with 15 minutes left in the second period, Therrien would have pulled Marc Andre Fleury in the past.
Even if Jordan Staal only scores 13-15 goals this season, his performance last night shows the kind of potential he has and enhances his value when he becomes a RFA following the season.
Matt Cooke and Mike Zigomanis are proving to be two of Ray Shero‚Äôs most under-rated acquisitions since he became the Penguins General Manager in May of 2006. Zigomanis who couldn‚Äôt stay in the Phoenix Coyotes lineup, is the Penguins best face off specialist since Jan Hrdina. Pittsburgh ranked dead last in the NHL last season in face-offs and the Penguins finally have a face-off specialist who can win a crucial face-off like Zigomanis did yesterday that led to the Penguins tying goal
Jarkko Ruutu was very popular during his time in Pittsburgh but I would take Matt Cooke over him any day of the week. Cooke has not only played very well on the ice but he has provided leadership off the ice and is highly respected in the Penguins locker room . Cooke is an absolute bargain at $1.2 million per season
Ranking the Penguins top 5 performers this season
1. C Evgeni Malkin (5 goals ‚Äì 19 assists ‚Äì 22 points)
2. G Marc Andre Fleury ( 7 wins ‚Äì 3 losses ‚Äì 2.76 G.A.A.
3. C Sidney Crosby ( 4 goals ‚Äì 15 assists ‚Äì 19 points)
4. RW Miroslav Satan ( 8 goals ‚Äì 6 assists ‚Äì 14 points)
5. D Kris Letang ( 0 goals ‚Äì 8 assists ‚Äì 8 points)
Around the NHL
The Tampa Bay Lighting lost to the Florida Panthers 4-0 Wednesday night and end their 5 game road trip going 1-3-1. New ownership is not patient and Barry Melrose remains on the hot seat. Ryan Malone only has three points this season but Mark Recchi is second on the team with 10 points. Many of the Lightning’s top acquisitions have struggled this season but the Lighting have received superstar production from Marty St. Louis (11 points) and Vincent Lecavalier (11 points)
Former Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke is free to sign with anyone. The Toronto Maple Leafs are a potential landing spot but two dark horse teams that could pursue Burke are the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers
The Boston Bruins have offered Brendan Shanahan a 1 year – $1.6 million contract according to a source