Happy Veterans Day
— Thank You to all of our veterans and to the Men and Women currently serving —
PENGUINS, RANGERS GOING IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS FOR NOW
The surging Pittsburgh Penguins look for their eighth straight win tonight against the New York Rangers. A rematch of last years second round matchup, the Penguins and Rangers are going in different directions for now with Henrik Lundqvist calling the Penguins the best team in the NHL.
The Penguins are playing dominant hockey under new head coach Mike Johnston, while the Rangers ravished by injuries, are off to one of their usual slow starts. With Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle sidelined due to injuries, the Rangers have been hindered by a lack of puck movers as the first pass is such an important concept in Alain Vigneault’s system.
New York, though, has some positives going with Rick Nash tied for the NHL lead with 11 goals and some young guys emerging upfront. By seasons end this will be a team that finishes second or third in the Metropolitan Division and will be a team built to win in the post-season like they’ve been the last couple years.
130 POINT TALK AGAIN FOR CROSBY
Sidney Crosby’s hot start, 24 points in 13 games, has started the 130 point talk for Crosby again. No NHL player has hit the 130 point mark since Mario Lemieux (161) and Jaromir Jagr (149) did in 1995-1996.
Crosby started last season with 21 points in 13 games and finished the season with 104 points in 80 games, averaging 1.3 points per game.
Over the last three seasons (2013-2014, 2009-2010, 2008-2009) Crosby has appeared in 77 games or more during a season, Crosby has not averaged over 1.35 points per game.
For Crosby to get to 130 points, realistically he will need to sustain a point per game average of over 1.60 points per game. Something that hasn’t been sustainable over 82 games for Crosby.
In 2010-2011, Crosby averaged 1.61 PPG in 41 games, 1.68 PPG (22 games) in 2011-2012, and 1.46 PPG (36 games) in 2013 lockout shortened season.
Assuming he plays close to 82 games, whether Crosby has any chance of pushing the 130 point mark, he’s likely going to need to pick up over 60 power play points based on his even strength points per game numbers when he has appeared in 77 games or more in the regular season.
Crosby is averaging 0.92 power play points per game this season, a number that will be impossible to sustain.
Last season he averaged 0.46 power play points per game, 0.47 in 2013, 0.50 in 2011-2012, 0.46 in 2010-2011, 0.42 in 2009-2010, 0.52 in 2008-2009, 0.51 in 2007-2008, 0.77 in 2006-2007, 0.58 in 2005-2006.
Crosby’s career best season was 2006-2007 with 120 points in 79 games. That year Crosby picked up 61 power play points. Crosby hasn’t topped more than 40 power play points in a season since.
Like they’ve always been, the chances remain low of Sid topping 130 points.
GONCHAR REUNITES WITH THERRIEN
A typical early season bad player for bad player trade happened today with Canadiens forward Travis Moen being shipped off to Dallas for 40 year old Sergei Gonchar.
Gonchar reunites with Michel Therrien. Gonchar played the best hockey of his career under Therrien in Pittsburgh, though, that was a pretty long time ago.
This could, however, be a trade that benefits the Canadiens, who were getting nothing out of Moen and if they can hide Gonchar defensively, he can still give them something on the breakout and on the power play.
AGENT TALK FROM MARTIN’S CAMP
If Paul Martin ends up traded this season, something the Penguins would only be interested in if it was a true hockey trade, one thing the Martin camp doesn’t want is it looking like he wanted out and wasn’t interested in resigning.
It’s why few should be surprised that Martin’s agent Ben Hankinson came out publicly this week and said they would be open to contract talks.
Martin’s agent, Ben Hankinson, told the Tribune-Review that Martin is “committed to playing hockey” right now, but the defenseman is “open to contract talks as long as they aren’t a distraction to the team.”
One source called Hankinson’s comments as “agent talk” which means, his comments mean nothing.
The facts are neither side is committed to a deal at this point in time despite what might come out through the media. Both prefer to play things out and go from there.