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 dominant stretch in a season was 2010-2011 when he had 32 goals in 41 games. His shooting percentage that season was 19.9, right around where it is in 70 career regular season games under Sullivan.

Crosby vs McDavid

Conor McDavid (11 goals – 23 assists – 34 points, 1.36 PPG)
Sidney Crosby (16 Goals – 9 Assists – 25 Points, 1.39 PPG)

5 v 5 Points/60

Conor McDavid (3.47)
Sidney Crosby (3.45)

Kunitz close, Impact on Guentzel

Chris Kunitz is a lot closer to returning to the lineup than the Penguins imagined he would be early last week. Kunitz skated again today.

With Jake Guentzel a healthy scratch last night, the discussion has suddenly centered around him with Kunitz close to getting back in action.

Another question is whether the Penguins will handle the situation properly.

This is a kid with 3 goals in five games, averaging 3.87 points/60 at 5 v 5.

Sullivan’s reasoning for scratching Guentzel was this:

“One of the hardest things for a young player is sustaining the level of intensity and the level of play game in and game out. We thought, in the last games that Jake played, he didn’t have quite the sustained performance that he’d shown in the first handful of games that he played in. By no means are we discouraged by it.”

Sullivan added “We’re ecstatic with what he’s brought to the table so far.”

The best thing Guentzel can do is handling the benching like a Conor Sheary did last season when it happened and not like Derrick Pouliot did as Pouliot’s pouting behind the scenes has never helped his cause.

On the flip side, the worst thing teams can sometimes do with a young player is scratching them after one poor game and it starts to mess with the players head in being scared to make a mistake. We saw it last season with Sprong and Pouliot.

Source: Hypotheticals discussed, no formal offers made for Fleury yet

— Western Conference team considering Fleury as long-term option? —

Marc Andre Fleury’s strong performance vs the Stars Thursday night should earn him a second straight start Saturday night vs the Red Wings.

Even Fleury knows one good start doesn’t change the uncomfortable situation.

“It’s different than I’m used to,” Fleury said. “It feels like every game, it feels a little rusty. When you play a lot you feel like you’re in a groove.”

General Managers and executives who know Jim Rutherford, weren’t surprised to see Rutherford come out this week in comments to Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette, admitting the goaltending situation is not working out as well as he envisioned.  “That’s how Jim rolls,” one source said. “He doesn’t sugar coat anything.”


Although Rutherford’s read of the situation has changed in recent weeks, going into what’s been described as “listening mode”, talks with teams (Carolina was one of them) have only reached the hypothetical stages as the Penguins have yet to receive a formal offer.

Penguins officials believe a better market could still develop much later in the season from a team or two that would have more interest in Fleury next season than now.

One rumor flying around is the Vancouver Canucks have had internal discussions about Fleury as a long-term option to replace Ryan Miller, despite the contract they gave Jacob Markstrom.

At the end of the day, it’s unlikely the Penguins are ever going to receive an offer that matches what this ownership group thinks Fleury is worth.

And there’s going to be a handful of quality goaltenders available via trade or free agency.

Meanwhile, TSN’s Bob McKenzie had some lengthy thoughts on whether Fleury will be dealt before March 1 when appearing on TSN Radio 690 on Wednesday.

“It’s possible,” said McKenzie via Chris Nichols. “More so now than I would have said at the beginning of the season. I think at the beginning of the season Jim Rutherford’s attitude was ‘Let’s be very patient here. Let’s see how this plays out. Let’s see if the health of both goalies is maintained. And obviously Murray was injured, and for awhile Fleury was the go-to guy and was actually playing pretty well. So they were thankful that they didn’t make a move too soon with him. But obviously now that Murray is back and playing well, and Fleury is not playing particularly well, I think Jim Rutherford can see that this is maybe not a situation that’s going to be a positive.”

“Marc-Andre Fleury is a very popular guy in the room. Very popular with his teammates. And it might affect a lot of them that he’s not playing or not playing well when he does play. And in the nuts and bolts of it, it’s a salary cap team that wants to try to address some needs. Paying as much as they are to Marc-Andre Fleury – if they could re-allocate some of those dollars and in the process get something in return for Marc-Andre Fleury, would they possibly be a better team now that they have the confidence in Matt Murray? The answer, of course, would be yes. The flip side of that is that if Fleury is not playing particularly well right now, maybe that affects the market. And the market right now for goaltenders is in a state of flux. I’m not sure what the goaltending market is like because I’m not sure how many goalies may or may not become available before the deadline with the expansion draft looming. And other teams are in similar situations. What’s Tampa ultimately going to do with Ben Bishop. What’s Detroit going to do with the Jimmy Howard-Petr Mrazek situation.”

“So there’s a whole bunch of these across the National Hockey League, and the goaltending market could get flooded here between now and the trade deadline. But then how many people are looking for goaltenders. How many people can take on a goaltender making the money that Fleury is making. And how eager are teams to give up a significant asset for a goalie who is under contract for a significant amount of money, at a time when a lot of these guys are going to become available in an expansion draft anyway.”[/hide]