TIOPS Inside Buzz Report
*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. The comparisons to the 2009 Penguins are mounting for this Penguins hockey club. Even Dan Bylsma see’s some similarities.
“I do. I do see a lot of similarities in how they’re playing and the way their team is playing,” Bylsma said via the Tribune-Review. “Frankly, that’s a little bit scary. Should be scary for a lot of people. “They’re playing with a ton of speed. They’re really testing teams with the length of which they play and the speed of which they play. Right now, you watch (Sidney Crosby) and (Kris Letang) play, pretty dominant performances they’re putting in on the ice.”
The obvious similarity is with the coaching change of going from a defensive minded/structured coach to one that has the Penguins playing an uptempo pace and putting the stars in position to lead and succeed.
The 09 team went 10-1-2 in March and were 18-3-3 in their last 24 games.
What made that team so special for a four month stretch was a lot of factors, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin hitting the peak of their careers, Jordan Staal was a dominant third line center at age 20. The team was so deep that Pascal Dupuis was a 4th line player. The list goes on and on.
The critical championship quality, though, the 09 team had was the ability to deal with and overcome adversity.
From not imploding in Game 6 against the Flyers, to a Kris Letang overtime goal in game 3 against the Capitals to avoid going down 3-0, to the character the group had in the Cup Final from being down 2-0 and 3-2 in the series, they just had that ‘IT’ factor about them.
No Penguins club since has been able to get that quality back.
Whether this Penguins team has it, we won’t know until the playoffs.
2. Evgeni Malkin in the third week of a six-to-eight week injury, is skating this week in a good sign but it’s not a sign he’s ahead of schedule or anything to that matter. Being that he has an arm injury, it’s normal for a player with his type of injury to be skating at this point in the recovery. The injury, though, has been described as complicated.
The Penguins have been bracing for the worst, that the recovery time will be closer to eight to nine weeks than five to six weeks, but a source says team doctors have indicated they would know for certain around the four week mark whether he can return closer to six weeks or eight weeks.
Next week after another checkup the Penguins expect to have a pretty strong idea whether it will be possible that Malkin could return at some point in the first round. Door is not closed.
3. Penguins Assistant GM Bill Guerin is gaining momentum in NHL circles as a rising General Manager candidate. Guerin is developing a reputation around the league for a great eye in evaluating talent, something NHL executives and owners seek over somebody who might be a cap expert.
4. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is said to be making a bit more of a presence at pro days than in past years with a big interest in evaluating a deep cornerback draft. The Steelers love for Houston’s William Jackson III is no secret but if Daniel Jeremiah’s mock draft is any indication of what Jackson’s draft value might be, the Steelers may have to move up to get him.
5. Being a lefty has helped Jeff Locke not be in jeopardy of losing his rotation spot but there is still this belief in the organization that they can get him back to being the first half of the 2013 season Jeff Locke.
Ray Searage has worked miracles in the past, hasn’t he?