The Penguins end their four game home stand winning three of four after last night’s 2-1 shootout win over the San Jose Sharks. The Penguins players are calling it a statement game as they are one point out of the #8 seed and only 6 points out of the #4 seed.
The Penguins have a great opportunity to climb the standings with two upcoming games against rebuilding teams in Toronto and the New York Islanders. The downside is the Penguins have lost their last two games against the Leafs, 7-3 & 5-4 respectively. The Penguins have to win both games.
There has been a lot of talk about whether the Penguins missed out on Brendan Shanahan. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t but he’s in a much better role with the Devils than he would have been with the Penguins. Shanahan has 5 points in 10 games since signing with the Devils in January and the reason he has been effective is because he’s playing in a fourth line role not a top 6 role.
Playing on a line with Bobby Holik is much different than playing with Bill Thomas and Eric Godard. In Pittsburgh he would have been needed on one of the top three lines which at age 40 Shanahan is not made out to do anymore. Something to consider.
Let’s hope the coaching staff doesn’t mishandle Sergei Gonchar’s ice time right off the bat like they did with Ryan Whitney when he returned in late December.
A few notes from practice today
Sidney Crosby

did not practice today as he is still feeling the effects of an illness. Crosby is expected to play on Saturday.
All signs point towards Gonchar returning on Saturday.
Luca Caputi and Ruslan Fedotenko alternated on the third line today with Jordan Staal and Miroslav Satan. That is a sign that Fedotenko may play on Saturday. Therefore, Caputi would be sent down.
We will see which defensemen is the odd man out during Saturday’s morning skate. The coaching staff has been praising Mark Eaton to the media for the past couple weeks.
There’s talk that Mathieu Garon may start against the Islanders on Monday afternoon.
The Penguins have not been in on Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk. It’s just not going to happen and the Thrashers won’t be moving Kovalchuk until the draft.
Philippe Boucher has privately demanded a trade. Therrien and Boucher had a sit down last week with Boucher expressing his displeasure with not playing. The meeting did not get Boucher back in the lineup. Boucher is currently limited with a groin injury.
Tampa Bay, Montreal and Ottawa looking at Max Talbot. He has struggled this year but is a good locker room guy. The calls keep coming like they did last year for him.
Be sure to check out the Rumor Central links for the latest
Photo courtesy of Dan4th