Found September 25, 2013 on The PensNation:
Pittsburgh_penguins_v_9af8
Welcome back Pens fans! If you’re new or have forgotten what I do in the postgame thoughts, here’s a quick introduction/recap. Speaking of, don’t expect recaps. It’s purely thoughts and analysis of specific plays and players. I hate +/-, so I do my own goal assessments and award a “+” if a player contributes to a goal for and a “-“ if a player is at fault for a goal against (or is in the penalty box for one). I ignore PP and PK situations. There will be a running tally through the regular season. Also, I’m going to try to add something new this season and evaluate penalties as well. The plan is to judge them as a good penalty to take (necessary to negate a prime scoring chance), bad/unnecessary, inconsequential (coincidental minors and such), or a bad call by the ref. I’ll keep a tally on those as well through the season. If you have any thoughts, comments, or ideas, feel free to let me know!! (Pictures and nice formatting will return in the regular season) – Meesh Shanmugam (@HockeyMeesh) *Intro will disappear after preseason is over* Preseason Game 6: Pens 5  Red Wings 1 Goals Jokinen (4) (PP) from Niskanen, Fleury Dupuis (1) from Crosby, Kunitz Adams (1) from Malkin, Scuderi Kunitz (1) unassisted Kunitz (2) from Crosby, Malkin There would normally be a Stat Leaders section and a Video Recap here, but neither are available. Both will return during the regular season. Goal Assessment 1st Goal For (Jokinen): + for Niskanen – brings the puck up from the defensive zone and passes it to Jokinen as he’s sliding behind the defense Jokinen – receives the pass and scores on a breakaway on Mrazek 2nd Goal For (Dupuis): + for Dupuis – starts the play by wrapping the puck around the boards in the defensive zone and then streaks up the middle of the ice, takes Crosby’s pass in the slot and beats Mrazek Kunitz – chips the puck up out of the defensive zone Crosby – knocks the puck forward in the neutral zone as he beats out one defender for the puck, then carries it into the offensive zone and draws the other defender over, finally passing the puck across to Dupuis wide open in the slot 3rd Goal For (Adams): + for Adams – takes the puck in the defensive zone and passes it up the boards to Crosby, then streaks up the middle of the ice, circles behind the Wings net, and stands in the slot with his stick down, ends up tipping Malkin’s shot from the point past Mrazek Crosby – skates the puck deep into the zone, pulls up in the corner, and passes it back to Scuderi at the point Scuderi – waits until Malkin enters the zone and gives him a no-look pass at the point Malkin – one-times a shot towards the net 1st Goal Against (Miller): – for Engelland – goes for a hit on Miller in a 1 on 1 situation, takes himself and Orpik out of the play as Miller skates alone with the puck Fleury – makes a high risk decision to slide out after the open puck after Engelland’s hit and gets beat when Miller chips the puck over him 4th Goal For (Kunitz): + for Kunitz – steals the puck at center ice and takes it in on a breakaway, scores on a slapshot where he hesitates on the shot for just a split second 5th Goal For (Kunitz): + for Crosby – recovers the rebound off of his own blocked shot, winds up for a shot at the point, but decides to pass the puck down to Kunitz on the crease instead Kunitz – turns the puck from his backhand to his forehand on the crease and beats Mrazek Penalty Assessment Malkin (tripping): Bad, goes for the puck but takes out a player’s skates instead Neal (roughing): Bad, away from the play and after the whistle, negated a powerplay the Pens were about to get on an interference call Engelland (interference): Bad, completely away from the play as the Penguins are moving the puck to the offensive zone Crosby (hooking): Bad, gets his stick parallel and under the arms of Smith so it’s an obvious call Bortuzzo (fighting): Inconsequential, it was a meaningless fight late in the 3rd period as Bortuzzo and Abdelkader got sick of each other Player Assessment Good Chris Kunitz – Kunitz is apparently improving with age based on his performance tonight. He looked very strong in the defensive zone, showed quick hands on a goal in the offensive zone, and also a new level of deceptiveness on his slapshot goal. He was great all over the ice tonight. Pascal Dupuis – Dupuis joined Kunitz with an impressive performance and a goal of his own. He had takeaways in both the defensive and offensive zone (offensive even on the PK) and was perfectly positioned through most of the night. The top line is ready. Matt Niskanen – Niskanen’s vision and pass to Jokinen for the opening breakaway goal were quite impressive. He’s always had the ability to be a solid two-way defenseman and he showed it tonight with good awareness all over the ice. Rob Scuderi – Scuderi had his most comfortable game of the preseason, playing strong 1 on 1 defense and even adding an assist on offense. He wasn’t challenged by any insanely talented players, but it was a good game for Scuds to get into a rhythm with Letang and the team. Malkin and Crosby – They were very Malkin and Crosby-like tonight. Noteworthy Robert Bortuzzo – Bortuzzo had a solid game overall. He didn’t do anything too flashy, but he made all of the right plays and showed off his willingness to fight at the end of the game as well. He has absolutely shown his ability to replace Engelland at this point. Beau Bennett – Bennett had a relatively quiet game but still showed off his new physical side. He had a couple of big hits in the offensive zone, one of which led to a takeaway, and also drew an interference penalty due to his willingness to skate through a hit. Brandon Sutter – Sutter also had a rather quiet but sound game. He was good in the defensive zone and had a couple of key poke checks on the defensive blue line. Bad Deryk Engelland – Engelland played his worst game of the preseason at the wrong time for his lineup chances. He was a little careless with the puck, took a bad interference penalty away from the play, and also made a foolish hitting attempt on a 1 on 2 that led to Detroit’s only goal. Engelland may have been trying to do too much to keep his spot. Misc Thoughts Level of Competition: While it was nice to see the Pens actually come out strong for once this preseason, it’s still worth noting that the last game against Chicago and this one against Detroit featured mostly depth players and minor leaguers. The same way we wrote off those preseason losses as “who cares, it’s preseason”, this win should be written off as well. On to West Point and then the regular season, then we’ll see how much of this mattered, if any of it. 2nd/3rd Line: The buzz this afternoon was Jokinen on the 2nd line and Bennett on the 3rd line. My two cents: I like the decision. Bennett is young; he’ll have plenty of time in his career to be a 2nd and 1st line winger in the future. At the current time though, there is a bigger drop-off between how Jokinen plays in the top 6 vs bottom 6 than in how Bennett plays in top 6 vs bottom 6. Jokinen has proven himself to be rather worthless as a bottom 6 player. It’s one of the things that forced Carolina to GIVE him away and it’s also why he died off in the playoffs for Pittsburgh. Bennett can be an impact player on any line. His increase physicality this preseason also makes him a strong candidate to produce on the 3rd line in a variety of ways (energy, scoring, defense). Their combined potential is higher with Jokinen on the 2nd and Bennett on the 3rd rather than vice versa. It will likely change as the season goes on, and both players will likely be rotated on the 2nd line anyways. As for now, I’m pro-Jokinen on the 2nd and Bennett on the 3rd.   Final Preseason Thoughts I’m a fan of Chuck Kobasew but I’m not sure he’s worth the contract for this team. The Pens could use the forward depth, but have to be picky with their salary cap situation. Matt D’Agostini earned his spot and showed more potential to me than Kobasew. I would probably let him walk at this point. Bortuzzo has earned a 3rd D pair spot and it will be questionable at best if Engelland is somehow in the starting lineup. Zolnierczyk had a good showing in preseason and earned a spot on the team in my mind. He could be very useful as an energy guy throughout this season. I wasn’t impressed by either Jeffrey or Vitale as a whole throughout the preseason. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up rotating through as the 4th line center depending on who has played best (or worst) in the most recent game. It could be a frustrating year for both of them. The PK is still a slight concern.  The Penguins’ willingness to leave players alone on the crease to screen their goalies, try to tip pucks, and win rebound battles is a problem.  I’m guessing changes will be required rather early in the season. Thanks for reading! Regular season opener is October 3rd vs. New Jersey, 7pm!
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Pittsburgh Penguins prepare for season ahead

Starting next Thursday the puck will drop on a new season for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Much like preseason in any sport, it gives the fans a taste of what to expect from the team and give a look at some younger talent.  The Penguins are 2-2-1 with their final preseason game Wednesday against at the Detroit Red Wings. Despite his age, Derrick Pouliot could be NHL ready. Penguins...

Reloaded Penguins ready to make another run

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't panic when the bitter disappointment of last spring's sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins wore off. If anything, the Penguins went the other way. While other NHL powers underwent substantial roster overhauls, Pittsburgh did what it could to keep the core of one of the league's most consistent winners in tack. The Penguins awarded coach...

Pens’ Vokoun out of hospital, no timetable for return

On Wednesday the Penguins announced that goalie Tomas Vokoun had been released from hospital after undergoing a procedure to dissolve a blood clot in his pelvis. Vokoun 37 underwent the procedure on Saturday after noticing swelling in his thigh following practice. The decision was made for an immediate operation and it was later announced Vokoun would be out indefinitely. This...

Wings' worries as season nears

Regardless of what happens during their last two preseason games, the Red Wings have played an uneven brand of hockey. Some of Detroits inconsistencies can be attributed to a swollen roster, resulting in a mishmash lineup of inexperienced players laced with proven veterans. Injuries have played a factor, too, but in reality, they'll allow the Wings to become cap compliant...

Preseason Gameday: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Detroit Red Wings

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Detroit Red Wings Root Sports, NHLN-US, FS-D+ - 7:30 pm/et  Joe Louis Arena - Detroit, MI This is the Penguins' final preseason game. It looks like we're going to see something that resembles an actual NHL line-up tonight, so that's pretty good. STATS, INFO & NOTES: Records: Detroit (2-3-0 - Preseason) / Pittsburgh...

Roose: Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader’s left hand required stitches after a scrap

The Red Wings' "C Team" put forth a worrisome effort in a 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night, and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose notes that a needless fight between Justin Abdelkader and Robert Bortuzzo may have left some lasting damage: Justin Abdelkader was injured during a fight with Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo late in the game...

Crain’s Detroit Business’s Shea: Kroger, Flagstar Bank filling Amway’s void as Red Wings sponsors

As noted yesterday, the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar reported that the Red Wings and Amway chose not to renew Amway's status as the Wings' "presenting sponsor"--the team is now technically presented by AT&T, and the massive Amway signs near the scoreboard have been replaced by Kroger banners--and today, via RedWingsFeed, Crain's Detroit Business'...

Justin Abdelkader, Red Wings bring back ‘Red Wings for Reading’ program

Per the Red Wings' community relations department: JUSTIN ABDELKADER CONTINUES SECOND ANNUAL “RED WINGS FOR READING” PROGRAM … Michigan Elementary Students can win Tickets to Red Wings Games by Reading Abdelkader’s Favorite Children’s Books … Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings and forward Justin Abdelkader announced today the second annual Red Wings...

Red Wings Tuesday practice post: Mrazek starts Wed, Alfredsson close, Gustavsson ‘day to day’

The Detroit Red Wings returned to practice after a full day off on Monday, preparing for a three-games-in-four-nights slate of games to conclude their exhibition season (Wednesday vs. Pittsburgh on FSD Plus/NHL Net U.S., Friday vs. Toronto, Saturday at Toronto on the CBC and NHL Net U.S.), and the Wings' beat writers delivered a familiar slate of, "Good news and bad news...

The Rivalry Is About To Begin

from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, The Penguins and Red Wings never have had a rivalry — they just happened to have great teams that produced two consecutive classic series in 2008 and 2009 — but, because of realignment, one finally might develop. They will meet three times every regular season, including twice at Joe Louis Arena this season. Detroit goalie...

Red Wings-Penguins pre-season wrap-up/overnight report: a shaky loss, Mrazek and Atlantic previews

The Detroit Red Wings' 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins marked the Wings' third consecutive home loss--the team's been out-scored 11-4 over the course of losses to Boston, Chicago and now Pittsburgh, all in front of fans paying regular-season prices to witness incredibly uninspired and unfocused efforts--and while the Wings' immediate concern involves Justin Abdelkader...

Is There A Little Cat And Mouse Game Going On Here?

from a Bill Roose update on the Wings today at their website, Babcock said he expects that Daniel Alfredsson will make his home debut for the Red Wings in Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Penguins. “He’s got to play eventually here, like anything, I’d like to get him going,” Babcock said, referring to Alfredsson. “I’d like to play him (Wednesday) and...

Devils sign free-agent F Brunner

The New Jersey Devils have signed Damien Brunner after reaching a professional tryout agreement with the free agent forward earlier this month. Terms of the deal with the 27-year-old Brunner reached Tuesday aren't being released by the team but it was reported by multiple outlets that the deal is for two years, $5 million. After joining the Devils on a tryout basis on Sept....

General Managers And Coaches Pick The Top 50 NHL Players

Who's Missing? Goaltender Carey Price: Ranked No. 51 Goaltender Corey Crawford: Stanley Cup-winning goalie Goaltender Craig Anderson: 2012-13 NHL-leading save percentage: .941 Left winger Chris Kunitz: First Team All-Star in 2012-13 Defenceman Francois Beauchemin: Second Team All-Star in 2012-13 Teams With the Most Players on Top 50 Chicago: 5 (Toews, Kane...

John Jaeckel: Hawks Drop One In OT

Follow JJ on Twitter @jaeckel! Sorry, for the late bog today; had to deal with the sudden passing of a close friend and a true hockey fan: John J. "Jack" Ford, 1936-2013, may he rest in peace. Again, it's so hard to use the preseason as a measuring stick. Playing mostly prospects and rookies last night against a Penguin roster that included Sidney Crosby, Evgeni...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.