Found April 08, 2013 on
Steel City Sports Report:
New York Rangers
New York Islanders
The Penguins have a few needs heading into the playoffs; Evgeni Malkin dominating isn't one of them.Does Malkin need to play better? Absolutely. He has more penalty minutes than points, and is averaging barely over a point per game. That is not the level of play everyone expects from a two-time MVP.But Evgeni Malkin dominating games in Sid's absence wont matter if the rest of the team doesn't improve in the process. We saw Geno dominate most of last season while Crosby dealt with concussion symptoms. In the end, the team faltered down the final stretch of the regular season before crumbling in the first round.Malkin needs to play better. But so do Brooks Orpik, Brandon Sutter, Matt Niskanen, and, yes, Jarome Iginla. Other than the first few games of this season, Orpik has been atrocious over the last two years. There have been plenty of games where he has been the biggest liability on the ice, defensively. Look no further than two games ago against the New York Rangers. His poor performances tend to get overlooked by the media because he spends a lot of time in front of a microphone throwing stones at his team's defensive effort. Hypocritical but, hey, if it sells papers...Brandon Sutter hasn't registered a point since his goal against the New York Islanders on March 22nd. He's also had a rough time in the face off circle this month, including a face off loss last game that led to New York's only goal.Matt Niskanen has been a turnover machine and proven not to be a power play quarterback in the absence of Paul Martin and Kris Letang. Then there's Iginla. He's a future hall of famer. He's a goal scorer. He's a fan favorite. But right now, he's not producing. To Iginla's defense, he is still new to the team and the system. When you look at his passes, it is pretty clear Iginla is use to playing with guys who are significantly slower than Evgeni Malkin. Iginla should have things figured out by the playoffs, but until he does, he's an average player.This isn't about deflecting attention away from Evgeni Malkin's struggles. This also is not an expectation that the aforementioned players should elevate their game to the same level as Malkin. Mainly, the healthy players remaining on the roster need to play better, or suffer another early exit in the playoffs.At any rate, Malkin's struggles seem noticeable enough without anything being said. He's an elite player, he needs to play like one. But his play in April won't necessarily determine the path of the team in May. For the Penguins to go on a deep run, they need everyone to tighten up in the defensive zone, like they did in March, and pressure in the offensive zone. The defensive play has been shoddy this month, including last game's 2-1 shootout victory. Marc-Andre Fleury did a lot to cover up his teammates' defensive lapses that led to odd-man rushes and golden chances in front of the net. Just like last year.Sidney Crosby should be back by the opening round of the playoffs. Maybe missing a player of that offensive talent should have the Penguins thinking about defense instead of leaning on a player who has carried them multiple times over his short career.Don't get me wrong, the Penguins do need Malkin to play better. And with the next three games coming against some of the Eastern Conference's worst teams, it may be an opportunity for Malkin to get back on track. But they equally need to get their defensive play back to last month's level.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
After the Penguins practice today, Sidney Crosby gave his first interview since getting hit in the face with a slapshot. He did not take place in the practice but says he’s feeling much better. He has not been able to eat, is having a hard time keeping weight and is not setting a timetable for returning to the ice. His plan is to rely on the Doctor’s opinion about the...
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby remains sidelined indefinitely and has not been cleared to practice. He remains on a liquid diet as he recovers from a surgically repaired broken jaw, which he sustained against the New York Islanders on March 30.
CHOMPING AT THE BIT
The face of the NHL is finally the face of hockey. Sidney Crosby, who took a puck to the kisser last month, finally showed off his toothless smile in a PensTV interview, as pointed out by Puck Daddy. Crosby, said “it’s just one of those things that happens” and that he’s “not too worried” about his teeth anyways. Asked how many chompers he actually lost and how many teeth...
Evgeni Malkin was in a frustrating slump.
Evgeni Malkin broke out of a frustrating slump.
The Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t sure when Sidney Crosby will return from his broken jaw, but the team is greatly relieved he isn’t suffering concussion symptoms.On the other hand, the team is monitoring winger James Neal closely after he took a knock-out elbow from New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto. “It was a tough hit to watch,” right winger Pascal Dupuis told...
Beau Bennett and Evgeni Malkin scored 13 seconds apart in the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched the Atlantic Division title by beating the free-falling Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Brenden Morrow scored his first goal with the Penguins, Robert Bortuzzo added a goal, and Pascal Dupuis had an empty-netter and two assists.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves...
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ injury issues continued this past weekend, and the club revealed some more bad news Monday.
The Penguins announced that forward James Neal will not accompany the team on an upcoming three-game road trip after he was diagnosed with a concussion. Neal took an elbow to the head from Michael Del Zotto during Pittsburgh’s game with the New York Rangers on...
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby’s broken jaw is healing and showing no signs of post-concussion syndrome. But he remains, as does elite winger James Neal – who is recovering from a concussion suffered against the New York Rangers.That is forcing the Penguins to shuffle their lines and give bigger roles to newcomers Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Jussi Jokinen during...
PITTSBURGH — Lacing on hockey skates is going to have to wait. At this point, Sidney Crosby would settle for a meal that didn’t require a straw.
The Pittsburgh Penguins star and his surgically repaired mouth remain on a liquid diet as he recovers from a broken jaw sustained in a win over the New York Islanders on March 30. The NHL’s leading scorer remains sidelined indefinitely...
Sidney Crosby says he's feeling pretty good but still isn't certain when he'll return from a broken jaw.
The Pittsburgh Penguins star addressed reporters Monday for the first time since taking a redirected slap shot off his face in a win over the New York Islanders on March 30. Crosby underwent dental surgery and spent two days in the hospital. He says he's not quite...
poll by twiigs.com
With apologies to Jussi Jokinen, how can Evgeni Malkin have fewer goals (6) than Jokinen (7)? Whatâs going on with Malkin this year? No Penguins player has a higher number of shifts starting out in the offensive zone than Malkin (66.2 percent). That numberâs even higher than last seasonâs (65.9), when he won the Hart Trophy and...
Via the Pens:
Penguins winger James Neal has been diagnosed with a concussion.
“James Neal has a concussion and will miss the (three-game road) trip,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. Neal was elbowed in the head by New York Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto halfway through the third period of Pittsburgh’s 2-1 shootout victory Friday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
The visiting Pittsburgh Penguins will still be without a few key stars when they take the ice Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.
With the way the Hurricanes have struggled lately, it might not matter.
Pittsburgh, recently receiving a spark from former Hurricane Jussi Jokinen, will try to hand Carolina a 13th loss in 14 games and top the only Eastern Conference team...
Pittsburgh Penguins (29-10-0) @ Carolina Hurricanes (16-20-2)
ROOT, FS-CR - 7:00 pm/et
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
Staal. Staal. Sutter.
Also, Jokinen returns to Carolina against his old team.
Season Series: 0-1-0
Last meeting that counted: February 28, 2013. Penguins lost 4-1.
What we said in our recap:
The Penguins aren't a bad...