Archive for February, 2009

Trade Winds…Episode #2!

February 26, 2009
Whitney to Anaheim.

We should all wish him all the good wishes in the world. He was a great guy and a great player for this organization, but we just got too deep in the defensive standpoint. I don’t want to get too into Whitney here because I want to cover our newbie.
Chris Kunitz.
He reminds me alot of Ryan Malone, only with more skill. A great fit for Sidney Crosby. He seems like a gritty guy that isn’t afraid to throw his body around in defense of his teammates. He is a 20+ goal scorer and 20+ assists as well as a + player. He gets his share of PIM as well. Another thing that keeps getting mentioned is that he plays better with better players. What that means is that if he is on a fourth line, he plays like a fourth liner, first, first-liner. He might be the right person for the job of grit and scoring touch. He plays on the power play and the penalty kill as well. I think this is a good deal for the Pens. Sid should be happy. This hole needed filled.
Height/Weight: 6-0/194
Birthdate: 09/26/1979
Birthplace: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
College: Ferris State
NHL Experience: 4
Salary: $3,500,000
Honestly, after reading all the upsides, I would have been happy to see this straight up. Whitney for Kunitz. It gets better though! We also received in the deal a high prospect in Eric Tangradi. He is second in the OHL behind highly touted John Tavares. This looks really good for the Pens.

Height/Weight: 6-3/214
Birthdate: 02/10/1989
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Draft: 2nd Round, 42nd Overall

On an additional note, Chris Minard was released today. I like this move, he didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. I believe the organization gave him all the chances in the world, but he just wasn’t working out.
I am officially excited for the next week. Who knows what is next. We got a winger for Whitney and a bonus as well. Are we still going to trade Staal? Also, think about this, if we got all this for Whitney, imagine what we can get for Staal. Who knows, Kunitz could be Malkin’s other winger with Sykora and something bigger is in the works for Sid.
I try not to talk about every game individually, but this was a necessary point to talk about.
Kudos to Dan Bylsma.
His system finally worked the way he said it would.
I know it was the New York Islanders, but we have been having trouble with everyone we play and they were no exception. If it wasn’t for Yann Denis, I believe it could easily have been 5 or 6 to nothing. This style is exciting and fun, it works only because our players are very skilled. Seriously, could you see a team that has half the firepower offensively be able to control the puck like we can? I don’t think so. Bylsma saw the skill and speed we have and knew we could play this style and win. I think if we are as successful in Chicago on Friday, Bylsma will be almost on God status in Pittsburgh. I am finally excited to see what happens next. I have been watching the standings and the teams that we need to lose are losing and we are finally winning. This should give us quite a bit of confidence going into the stretch run.
Let’s Go Pens!



Current State of the Unions Address (Pens Style!)

February 24, 2009
Besides the fact that I missed the last two games for a very good reason…I was drilling with my National Guard unit…I did get to see all the highlights and lowlights from the weekend. I have come to many conclusions here. My first thought is that I love the offense, when we want to have it. It seemed that we were flying so high after that win against the Flyers, our big, in-state rival. We then went into Washington and looked as though we died. Back to back games against these particular two teams is one thing, but for us fans to expect the Pens to win both of them on the road is a significant issue.

I read alot of blogs almost bailing on the Pens after that loss. For instance, read the last sentance in Experiencing the Evolution,”One thing is for sure, if Ray Shero isn’t considering the Penguins as deadline sellers after this afternoon’s performance, he never will.”, Staal Tactics wasn’t too encouraging, The Pensblog is as positive as you can be considering all things, and Pensburgh did a good job putting it into perspective. Washington is a very good team, they have a home record of 24-5-1 now. Hell, Philly is 17-8-3. Both those records are brilliant. To go into both towns and win would have been borderline miraculous. Especially considering how we have been playing on the road this year. We are 13-14-4. To pull off two really emotional upsets to days in a row should not be expected from anyone in our position. It was an exhausting couple of games and the schedule wasn’t kind. The nice thing is that now we have a couple days to regroup and now we play the New York Islanders Wednesday night.

It is a good team to rebound against. Now, I know the last time we played them, we lost in that shootout. It was, if you remember, the day after Therrian was fired. Bylsma did not have any time to get the team organized to where he wanted them. We should come out with alot of energy. We should also see Kris Letang back on the ice. I would love to see Hal Gill riding the pine simply because of the new style of play. He just doesn’t have the speed to keep up. I would also like to see Bill Thomas out there instead of Chris Minard.

I am still keeping up on the possible trades and improvements to this team. It is down to the last week till the deadline. I love this time of year, just to see who thinks they are contenders and who don’t think that. I also like to see what teams are willing to do to win the cup. Last year, we gave up alot for a Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis. It was a blockbuster trade, but a bust nonetheless. Dupuis does fit in nicely, but we gave up our first rounder and our latest prospect in Angelo Esposito. At the time, it wasn’t too much, but now, it seems that the energy has been zapped from this team because of Hossa. He was like the Terell Owens of the NHL. He hung us out to dry, until there was no way we could keep some of the important pieces, and then left. Onto better thinking. I would like to see what we do at the deadline. I know we have Ryan Whitney and Jordan Staal on the block. Like I have said in previous blogs, I know I would love to see both Staal and Whitney in a Penguins uniform next year, but they bring too much in return right now and we can’t overlook that. Staal is essentially a third line center on the team, but he would be a first or second line center on others. This is because we have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin running those lines. I am really looking forward to seeing what Shero does this year.

What we have now is the opportunity to get into the playoffs. We need to win twice as many games as we lose. In other words, go about 14-7 from here on out. I know we are capable of doing this. If Marc-Andre Fleury will play like he is capable of, then I believe we will be fine. All our hopes fall on his performance. It is alot of pressure, I know, but he has been here for five years now and has won alot and lost alot. He knows how to shake it off to be a winner. It is time for that Fleury to show up.

Here is to the playoffs!

Let’s Go Pens!