Latest Pens Buzz: Coaches making decision easier for management on Fehr, Fleury

 

Latest Penguins Buzz What was most telling from the Penguins 7-0 stomping Monday night of the lowly Arizona Coyotes wasn’t the final score, it was the personnel decisions prior to the game. If there was an opponent to start Marc Andre Fleury and try to boost his confidence, it was the Arizona Coyotes. If there was an opponent to get Eric Fehr back in the lineup to try to get his game going, it was the Arizona Coyotes. Fehr was scratched for a third straight game and Murray made his third straight start and fourth straight appearance. Tonight it will be status quo against the Boston Bruins. Murray will be in goal, eyeing his fifth straight win, while Fehr sits for the fourth straight game. Has Mike Sullivan finally reached the point where he’s going to start rolling with Murray as his No. 1 the rest of the way andRead More »

Current group built to be highest scoring Penguin team in Crosby era?

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins entering tonight on a four game winning streak, have 24 goals over their last four games. Per Jonathan Bombulie of the Tribune-Review, it’s the Penguins “greatest goal output in a four-game stretch since they scored 26 in wins over Edmonton, St. Louis and the Rangers and a loss to Buffalo in March of 1996.” That 1995-1996 team led by a group of forwards in Mario Lemieux (69 goals-169pts), Jaromir Jagr (62 goals-149pts), Ron Francis (27goals-119pts), Petr Nedved (45 goals-99pts), Tomas Sandstrom (35 goals-70pts in 58 games), averaged 4.41 goals per game, the only team in the NHL to average 4 goals per game that season and interesting enough, 20 years later they remain the last team to average 4 goals per game in a season. Washington came closest in 2009-2010, averaging 3.82 Goals/G. Unless the salary cap is abolished and a Super team is put together, 20 years fromRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Handling of Pouliot; Habs tracking Bonino heavily this season?

 

Latest Penguins Buzz Derrick Pouliot and Jake Guentzel were reassigned this afternoon to Wilkes Barre/Scranton. With Guentzel falling out of the lineup with one bad game, it was inevitable he would be sent down this week to get playing time this weekend. The Pouliot situation takes another twist. The player is as frustrated as can be and as mentioned on Monday, so are his representatives, league sources say. Aside from his role, where there’s some contentions has been the Penguins odd handling of Pouliot’s injury. He was injured on October 20 with the Penguins publicly saying on October 22nd that he was out “long-term.” Pouliot started skating again on Nov 14. Despite being fully cleared to play in Wilkes Barre and having no setbacks following a conditioning assignment around Thanksgiving, Pouliot was told by the team early last week he still needed to come off long-term injured reserve before heRead More »

Pens-Senators Fallout: “Powerhouse”, “Fire Power” & Buyout Talk emerging for Fleury

 

Powerhouse Penguins The Penguins are playing wide open hockey like its the late 1980’s. Creating a ton of chances, giving up a ton of chances. Senators coach Guy Boucher called the Penguins a “powerhouse” after his hockey team surrendered a 4-2 lead in losing to the Penguins 8-5 on Monday night. “This group has provided enough evidence that regardless of what happens, we have the firepower, the talent level, the capability to win games,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “There’s a belief that regardless of what the score is, we can win.” The Penguins were big beneficiaries of poor goaltender from Craig Andersen, just as the Senators were beneficiaries of awful goaltending from Marc Andre Fleury who was pulled before the mid-way point of the second period in allowing 4 goals on 16 shots. Still even as the Penguins fell down 4-2 and were taking penalty after penalty, theyRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Sudden Change in Goalie Rotation; Pouliot future murky in PIT?

 

Penguins Morning Skate Buzz Pittsburgh will dress the same lineup tonight vs the Ottawa Senators. Conor Sheary – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist Carl Hagelin – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel Chris Kunitz – Nick Bonino – Bryan Rust Scott Wilson – Matt Cullen – Eric Fehr Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang Olli Maatta – Trevor Daley Ian Cole – Justin Schultz That means no Jake Guentzel and no Matt Murray. Fleury getting a third straight start is certainly a key development and will be a talking point today. It will be the first time Fleury has made three consecutive starts since October, prior to Matt Murray coming back from injury. The rotation has suddenly tilted towards Fleury. Question remains whether it’s actually because of Fleury’s play or other things at play. Reality it’s a little bit of both as this coaching staff has pressure on them to play Fleury. Mike SullivanRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: More skill needed around Cullen; Fehr being showcased to West teams? + Scouts Buzz

 

Western Conference teams scouting Fehr? The expected return of Chris Kunitz tonight will see Tom Kuhnhackl come out of the lineup and Jake Guentzel remain in the press box. Kunitz as expected will go right back into his second line role with Evgeni Malkin. Prior to his injury, Kunitz had 9 points in his last 11 games. While his goal scoring ability is no longer of a top-6 winger, Kunitz still thinks the game so well and the little things he provides with zone entries and keeping plays alive remain strongly valued by this coaching staff. Kunitz is still one of the Penguins best nine forwards. The more pressing issue is the Penguins dressing the best 12 forwards as Pittsburgh’s depth scoring has not been good this season. Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, Eric Fehr, Tom Kuhnhackl, Scott Wilson have combined for 11 goals in 111 total games combined between theRead More »

TIOPS Friday Takeaways: Crosby’s Shooting Percentage; Trusting Youth; Latest Fleury Trade Talk

 

Sidney Crosby with 16 goals in 18 games, has a 25.0 shooting percentage. His career shooting percentage is 14.7%. Crosby is not shooting the puck more than he has in the past. What is different from a couple years ago is the Penguins system and Crosby getting chances in the high danger areas below the dots on a more consistent basis. Crosby hovering around a 25.0 shooting percentage isn’t going to be sustainable but somewhere in the 18-19% range is certainly possible over the course of this season. Under Mike Sullivan (regular season), Crosby has 46 goals on 233 shots — 19.7 shooting percentage. — Under Mike Johnson (regular season), Crosby had 34 goals on 316 shots, a 10.7 shooting percentage, well below his career mark. Crosby’s most prolific goal scoring season was 2009-2010 when he scored 51 goals, a career high with a 17.1 shooting percentage. His most dominantRead More »

Looming Expansion Draft impacting decisions to sign extensions now or wait

 

Latest Expansion Draft Talk With the official rules now in place, the Penguins’ brass have just begun in the last week to 10 days examining the expansion draft much closer. The Penguins learned in mid-November by the NHL the following players have to be automatically protected: Sidney Crosby Evgeni Malkin Marc-Andre Fleury Phil Kessel Kris Letang Based off the structure of their roster, when the time for the expansion draft comes, the Penguins seem to certain to take the Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender option than the Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender option. Projecting who the Penguins will protect is kind of pointless in December because the Penguins could still shake up this roster a bit between now and the trade deadline and obviously have the goaltender situation to sort out between now and June. However, my sense of the situation that if the draft were today,Read More »

Penguins – Islanders Fallout: Lack of awarness/focus in d-zone continues from forwards

 

In Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the Islanders, the Penguins trailed after the second period for the 11th time in 23 games. Then the Sidney Crosby show in the third period fueled a comeback only to see the Penguins fall short on a breakdown in front of the net as Anders Lee was left all alone for a redirection goal with 26 seconds left in regulation. Despite the third period surge, the Penguins got the result they deserved. What this game showed is who the Penguins have been for much of this season. Some dominant stretches but largely an inconsistent effort with poor play away from the puck. The Penguins are really struggling right now with their lack of awareness defensively. “We’ve got to have some awareness of where people are on the rink,” Sullivan said. The Lee goal was a prime example where Nick Bonino doesn’t slide down but itRead More »

Penguins – Islanders: Odd-man Out with Hornqvist’s return

 

Penguins – Islanders The Penguins take on the last place New York Islanders tonight in Brooklyn. The Islanders are 21st in goals per game (2.4), 23rd in Goals Against (3.0), 24th in shots per game (29.0) 27th on the Power Play (12.9), 23rd on the PK (80.0). The Islanders not only look like a last place team from the eye test, just about every stat backs up where they currently sit in the standings. They are 29th in the NHL in SAT% and 22nd in the NHL in 5-on-5 save percentage. In a deeper Metropolitan Division than last season, the Islanders look cooked as the calendar hits December 1 tomorrow. The goaltending matchup tonight, Thomas Griess goes for Islanders while in the first game of a back-to-back situation, the Penguins will start Matt Murray in goal. Word is despite Fleury’s best performance of the season coming against the Islanders thisRead More »