So I’ve decided that every Monday morning, I will put out a weekly series giving my takes on the Penguins with some opinions. Starting next week, I’ll also address some tweets I find throughout the week regarding the Penguins. I hope to have a staff member or two helping me and giving their tales weekly as well.
– Of course, Carl Hagelin is one of the fastest skaters in the NHL currently. I’m very displeased with his play as of late. He’s having a rough time getting on the scoresheet and that’s something he’s always struggled with. But he was playing on a line with Sidney Crosby and hadn’t seemed to be doing enough so he was demoted. The line was pretty inevitable. One of the fastest skaters in the league playing with the best player in the world. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t working.
– I’ve been kind of wrong about Conor Sheary. After watching him in the playoffs last year, aside from the Tampa Bay series, I didn’t see much to say that Sheary should’ve stayed on Crosby’s line. Sheary has actually thrived playing with Sid. He drives play well and compliments the speed of Crosby perfectly. He’s a small guy and doesn’t seem to have the finesse to score tons of goals, but I’m completely okay with what I’ve seen out of him.
– Right now, it’s pretty obvious that Matt Murray is playing out of his mind right now. Or is it really within his capabilities? I really think we are seeing the type of play from Matt Murray that we are going to see forever. He really is just that good. He’s so poised and big in the net that it’s tough for teams to find space behind him. I’m a huge Marc-Andre Fleury fan but if the day soon comes where the Penguins plan to lean 100% towards Matt Murray, I won’t be any less confident leaving the goaltending of the team in Murray’s hands full time. Speaking of MAF…
– This dude’s still got it. That sequence of 5 minutes in OT on Saturday when he had to make six saves and none of them were at all ‘gimmes’ showed me all I need to know. Flower doesn’t plan on giving up that net easily even though the odds are stacked against him. Say what you want about the lack of defense or the not clearing of the rebounds around his net, but Flower has struggled. He’ll bounce back. He always does. Even though it’ll be tough for either goalie to get into rhythm, if both goalies can hit some kind of stride this team will enjoy themselves a nice little ride.
– You’ve got to respect the early season role reversal that Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel have enjoyed. Crosby is scoring at an elite rate (28% of his shots have gone in to be exact). That’s a highly unsustainable number even for the best player in the world. Kessel is dishing out assists like no other. I’ve seen tweets bashing Kessel for his lack of goals this year. Who cares? He’s still showing up on the scoresheet and the team is winning. I’ll pay Kessel to score 4 goals and push this team to wins as opposed to paying him that much to not show up on the scoresheet and lose. Back off, he’s a Stanley Cup Champion after all.
– “Goodness gracious Geno.” I often find myself saying this more often than not lately after one of these patented Geno penalties hes taken throughout his entire career. It’s nothing new. A pissed off Geno is a Geno that’s fun to watch. He’s capable of taking over games. I know this was an unpopular opinion with some people when I tweeted it a few days ago. If his penalties continue to hurt the team…do you consider healthy scratching him? Obviously it’ll never happen because of the negative rapport it would have throughout the room. But it’s something that would piss Geno off. I guarantee he’d respond with a hat trick the next game.
– One guy that’s flying under the radar is Olli Maatta. Maatta is one of those players that, if you’re not hearing his name, he’s doing a fine job. Ever since the early part of the season, I’ve rarely heard his name spoken. He’s finding himself again and playing a lot better with Trevor Daley. He’s a guy I want to see playing exceptional hockey to the point where he gets more recognition. But with the type of player he is, he’ll never get recognition. You can bet your bottom dollar he will get negativity his way if he plays a bad game, though.
– Justin Schultz is a guy I’ve quietly fallen in love with. He’s such a sound defenseman who can skate and generate offensive opportunity. He deserves time on the top powerplay. It’s never easy with the star power the Penguins have and they value Letang’s work in that spot, but I like what Schultz brings. Him and Ian Cole have meshed very well together to create a nice, reliable shutdown third-pairing. Schultz came from an Edmonton team that makes high draft picks look like me trying to skate. It doesn’t go well. Given the right style and playing conditions, Schultz thrives.
LTP Three Stars of the Week:
- Sidney Crosby
- Matt Murray
- Phil Kessel