TIOPS DAILY FIVE
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. Mike Johnston
says the right things after games when being critical of obvious flaws that popped up against Edmonton Thursday night and Detroit Sunday night, which is always good to see, and he has brought the right mindset to the table, but is his message getting to the players? Not even the “great Mike Babcock”, who some feel could walk on water, would change this core in how they act like immature brats on the ice.
Two major question marks the Penguins have right now is — 1. Whether they are mentally strong enough to stay composed when dealing with adversity during a potential long playoff run and adversity is going to happen a lot in the playoffs and 2. Where are the goals going to come from? The Penguins have been fixated on becoming a stronger puck possession team, and the numbers are improved, but goals are what matters and even scouts seem to be fooled on what the Penguins identity is right now offensively.
“Everything is to the outside, rarely do they generate offense [consistently] through the middle of the ice, ” a scout said on Saturday afternoon.
Pittsburgh has become more of a dump and chase team of late with the stretch pass coming back, and when attacking on the rush, it’s often with a D activating down the boards and taking a low percentage shot from the outside and goaltenders kicking the rebound to the corner.
2. Tribune-Review Columnist Rob Rossi
reported over the weekend that Chris Kunitz
is dealing with an iron deficiency problem that he has had trouble with since after the Olympics. Kunitz is one of my favorite guys in that room from the standpoint of just being a great guy but the hands are starting to go in around the net and that continues to look more like an age thing than anything else as he is getting to the right areas and just can’t finish like he once could.
That said, anyone in the local media mocking Kunitz medical situation is going too far and pretty embarrassing to see. It sounds like someone is a little upset the Penguins didn’t “plant” the story with them.
3. Steve Downie with 221 penalty minutes in 61 games is the first Penguin since Rick Tocchet (252 penalty minutes) and Ulf Samuelsson (249 penalty minutes) in 1992-1993 to record over 200 penalty minutes in a season. All summer long we heard the Penguins wanted to get tougher, play with more of an edge and all Steve Downie has done is go out and be Steve Downie with some improved secondary scoring (12 goals) and now he’s a concern to the Penguins coaching staff. This is what Steve Downie is. Playing with an edge and sometimes out of control.
4. There was a belief from some outside of Pittsburgh that the Steelers would find a way to get Ben Roethlisberger
at a bit of a discount and his new deal has ended up being nothing of a hometown discount; Opens little to no cap space, $31 million signing bonus, $60.75 million guaranteed, a record $65 million in first three years of deal. Ed Bouchette of the PG also reports today Roethlisberger will get $53 million in the first two years of the deal. It’s a big time deal.
5. If Kentucky goes undefeated to win the National Championship, John Calipari
will deserve to get recognized as doing one of the greatest coaching jobs ever. One of the hardest things in today’s era with how teenagers are is getting everyone to buy in. Calipari has potential top NBA draft picks getting six, seven shots a night and all of them have bought in. Teenagers are wired these days where everything’s about them. Calipari’s found a way to get players to be about the team first over their own stats. Something extremely difficult for coaches at all levels whether it’s basketball or hockey.
— Check out the TIOPS Daily Five Monday – Friday’s —