There wasn’t a lot to like from the Penguins in their return from the Olympic Break. The Penguins had the benefit of scoring some weak goals against a backup goaltender playing back to back games, were not sharp defensively, goaltending was poor from Marc Andre Fleury and you had situations of the Canadiens getting under the Penguins best players skin with a retaliation penalty from Evgeni Malkin and Crosby getting frustrated with Douglas Murray.
Even the officiating was very poor and I felt that way before Tanner Glass was called for a five minute major.
The good for the Penguins was again the power play. The Penguins were 2 of 5 on the power play, getting power play goals from Sidney Crosby and Olli Maatta, and the puck movement from the first unit continues to be at a very high level.
Matt Niskanen who played a game high 27:27 of ice time, gives the Penguins a more steady presence as a pointman than Kris Letang does when healthy and I like the fit of Niskanen there over Paul Martin when he’s healthy because of the shot factor Niskanen gives that Martin doesn’t.
— Speculation is buzzing on Simon Despres that the Penguins might not play him until after the trade deadline. Bylsma to no surprise opted to play Deryk Engelland over Despres vs Montreal. It was funny to hear Bylsma talk after the game that Simon needs to get in there when he’s the guy who makes the call there. “He wasn’t in there tonight, but he’s a guy we need to get back in there,” Bylsma said. “He’ll get that opportunity sooner than later.”
— I asked one scout yesterday on his thought’s about the Penguins blueline with Kris Letang likely done for the season. One of his responses: “{Rob} Scuderi looks old to me.”

— Some Penguins players really seem to be dreading Saturday’s outdoor game in Chicago. In a game that features two of the premier teams in the NHL, the league has no buzz surrounding the game and NBC did them no favors by not marketing the game during the Olympics, including the Gold Medal Game.
Crosby was asked by Joe Starkey yesterday about the NHL’s obsession with outdoor games and you could tell Crosby isn’t really looking forward to the game. “Yeah, I mean, I don’t know, six every year? I don’t know,” Crosby said. “That might not be the way I would organize it. But as long as they’re selling out and everybody’s happy about it, that’s ultimately the most important thing.”