What a Finish (Early End of Season Report)

What was once thought to be unthinkable has happened. The Penguins have put together a run that puts them at the top of the league over their last 10 games. The Penguins have the top powerplay in the league since February 1. The Penguins just might be working themselves out of the 48% chance at Ovechkin. Lots of the talk here in Pittsburgh is surrounding that last point, and many people are calling for the team to somehow tank the rest of the season and secure the best shot at Ovechkin.
Before I get into my views on that, let me give the current team their proper due. Their play late has been phenomenal. This might be one of the hardest working teams in years that has played here in Pittsburgh, and it is finally, FINALLY starting to come together for them. The bright spots on this team are many despite what all the “no better than an AHL team” naysayers have been saying all season long.

1)The Play of late- 9-3-2 in the last 14 games! The team has been rolling to say the least! A win and tie in back to back games against the Isles, a shutout of a streaking Dallas team, a win in Toronto, highlighted this stretch that has included a 6 game unbeaten streak, and win streaks of 4 and now a current win streak of 2 games. The team has scored a powerplay goal in ten straight games, and they have gotten great play all around!

2) Dick Tarnstrom – I myself was guilty of saying the Pens should deal him if the offer was right, and I must say that I am so happy that CP didn’t listen to me or many others this time. With his two points on Sunday against the Rangers, his powerplay total for the year is up to 37, tops among all NHL defensemen, his point total of 50 (15+35) has him second among NHL defensemen, and his Average Time on Ice puts him around 15th among that same group. The statistic that everyone will point out is the his -35. I say that it basically tells of nothing. Tarnstrom has probably played the most minutes out of any Penguin this entire season, the team has given up 15 shorthanded goals, and often times, Tarnstrom plays all 2:00 on the powerplay, meaning that probably 10 of those minuses comes from shorthanded goals alone. It’s been a long time since anyone with even a minus rating of anything (-3 for Blake in 1998) won the Norris, and I don’t think that Tarnstrom necessarily deserves to be discussed as a candidate, but I don’t think his play can be overlooked any longer! His defensive play this season hasn’t been shutdown caliber, but at the same time, you can’t expect that from a guy as offensive minded as him and he hasn’t made many mistakes that have really severely hurt the team. I don’t see how there is any way that his status as a top powerplay quarterback can be questioned any longer. As I mentioned, the Pens have the best power play in the league since Feb 1. (about 26%) and Tarnstrom is clearly the catalyst of that unite, and he has been all season long. Thankfully, CP recognized his talent and made him a deadline day “untouchable” on a team where there haven’t been many of those in recent years. Tarnstrom should have an even better season next year with the overall improvement of the team and the return of Mario Lemieux and the what I will even say “likely” return of Alexei Kovalev.

3)Ric Jackman for Drake Berehowsky- WOW! I mean how else can you say it? Jackman has had 19 points (6+13) in his 19 games as a Penguin! The Ric and Dick connection has had a huge role in the turnaround experienced here in Pittsburgh over the past couple weeks. Jackman has been solid defensively, has made great first passes, seems to be playing great with Tarnstrom, and has been nothing short of perfect. All I heard was a rumored disagreement with Rick Ley, a coach in Toronto, was a possible reason that they shipped him out, but this sure was a great acquisition for the Penguins, and stands to reap benefits for years!

4)Goaltending. The Pens signed Sebastian Caron to a three year contract this offseason, quite a committment for the team who later traded up to get Marc-Andre Fleury in the draft. Aubin seemed to be the odd man out, and Andy Chiodo, another draft pick, seemed to be a project at the very least. All but Caron have played above expectations. No one expected Chiodo to see an NHL game probably, and he came in and played spectacular in most of his starts, Fleury terrorized the league early in his campaign and is now playing great back in Cape Brenton, Aubin has shown that he can, and I think will make a strong NHL back up in his career being able to take over the starting job for a couple weeks if he needs to because of injury. Caron has been inconsistent to say the least, but he has shown signs of some solid ablilty. I was not a big Caron fan when they signed him this offseason, and on most nights I still think he needs quite a bit of polishing before he can approach being an NHL starter. The situation with 4 goaltenders definitely is not one that a team minds having. Decision day will probalby be at some point in the offseason, where I think the Penguins owe it to J.S. Aubin to deal him to a team that is interested. Aubin has been kind of slapped in the face by the organization a few times, and as a result, I really think his confidence was hurt, but I think the guy can honestly be a very solid NHL back up. If not this offseason, at least by next off season, if not mid season, the Pens will probably look to deal either caron or Chiodo. With Bobby Goephert available as the AHL goalie next season, a Flery Chiodo tandem would be just fine for the Pens, and maybe they could get a nice return for a young promising goalie like Caron.

5)Milan Kraft and Aleksey Morozov- Both of these guys will be looking for new contracts from the Pens this offseason, and there play of late has all but assured them that they will both be staying in Pittsburgh. Kraft has had the best month of his career and is now fourth on the team in points, and Morozov has scored in 5 straight games, including back to back OT winners after going almost 40 games without a goalie earlier this year. Kraft has improved his faceoff work, his backchecking and overall defensive responsibility, two of the biggest knocks on his game. His skating could still use work, but his offensive skills will hopefully offset that deficiency. I credit this turn around almost entirley to the change from ‘Kraftster’ to ‘MAniac29’! Morozov has looked like a sniper lately. He has three overtime winners this season, and is looking like he’ll be a perfect fit on Mario’s right wing next season with the confidence he is playing with right now!

6)The Trio of Rookies- Ryan Malone should be the third candidate for the Calder, hands down. He has had a far more consistent season that Trent Hunter, and although he currently trails Hunter by a few points, his overall play this entire season has me sure that he will be that third nominee. Malone has 3 SH goals, 3 OT winners (tying a rookie record), and he has probably been the best foward over the entire sesaon for the Pens. He is a perfect power foward mold of a player and has scored goals that deserve to be on season highlight reels for probably 40% of his goals this season! He has deceptive speed because of his size, as is evident by some of his more power drive to the outside goals that he has scored, add onto this the fact that he has great strength and hands around the net, and he is the perfect left winger for Mario and Morozov next year. Brooks Orpik will probably be the future captain of the Penguins. You can see this develop if watch Penguin games over the entire season. I am not kidding that he is probably at this point, the most promising Scott Stevens mold player in the NHL. After paying his dues in the minors, the former first round pick is really starting to gain his footing in the NHL, tallying almost one big hit per game recently. Konstantin Koltsov may never score more than 15 goals in a season, but he will sure work harder than almost everyone on the ice. Koltsov has never really scored much at any level of hockey, but he is probably the fastest player in the NHL, I kid you not. He’s a smallish foward, but he bangs, will go to the net, and is a great puck pursuer. His strong anticipation skills go along with his speed and make him a future penalty killer as well that will be dangerous shorthanded.

7)The coaching- Eddie Olczyk has done a strong job with these guys this season. He kept them up during the 18 game winless streak, and I mean they went hard every shift, every night. Some coaches can’t even say that about their playoff bound teams. I think most importantly, he has admitted mistakes, he has learned from them, and he will grow with this team of young players for years. I would imagine Olczyk will be the coach without a doubt for two more seasons, and probably long after that. I am not saying he will be a future great, but when he has a team that is reasonably competitive, talent wise, I think we will see that he has a strong career ahead of him. Additionally he has surrounded himself with a knowledgable staff that has done wonders for many individuals on the team this season.

8)The Prospects- Ryan Whitney is regarded as one of the best defensive prospects in college hockey, if not the best. Taken sixth overall two years ago, Whitney lead BU to an upset of BC in their three game series just last week, and seems that he might even be ready to make the jump to the NHL next season. The Terriers finished poorly in his senior campaign, but he had a pretty strong season, rebounding from a season of injury. Noah Welch is another of the top defensive prospects in NCAA hockey. He has had a great season as a senior on a weaker Harvard team. Welch will likely be in WB next season competing hard as one of the top Defensmen there. Ben Eaves rounds out the Collegiate hockey A prospect list of the Pens. The elder brother of much higher touted Patrick Eaves was injured this season, but still finished fourth on BC in scoring, and is gaining acclaim as a great set up man. Ondrej Nemec, a Czech defensemen who followed Whitney in 2002’s draft has just been brought over to play for WBS Pens over the final couple weeks of the season. He is a probably a B prospect and will really get seen first hand for the first time in the coming weeks. Paul Bissonnette nearly made the NHL team this preseason the same year he was drafted, and remains a strong defensive prospect in the system. At foward, Maxim Talbot and Stephen Dixon, both of whom appeared in the WJC this season are scoring lots of points in the QMJHL and may be seen a little bit closer next season in WBS. Sergei Anshakov played on par with Ovechkin in the WJC and according to some, even outplayed his Russian teamate. Michel Ouellet, a former 100+ QMJHL player is leading all rookies in the AHL in goal scoring with 28 goals. Colby Armstrong and Shane Endicott are both showing signs of improvement in their games as they finish the season with the WBS Pens. Andy Chiodo is playing great down with the Baby Pens since his demotion as well. The team has turned it around, and as was the plan by Patrick, will make the playoffs, and hopefully make a strong run at the Calder Cup. I need only say Marc-Andre Fleury’s name and that is enough. The kid has unreal anticipation and poise for his age. He will be the franchise goalie the penguins drafted him to be.

When I originally began writing this article, it was only going to be about the recent run, but it has turned into more or less a season report, so I figured I’d add the “()” to the title, and give an evaluation of some of the players I haven’t touched on, since I doubt any Pens fans will feel like repeating much of the stuff I have already gone over. Besides, with the publicity they are getting with this run, maybe more than bishop and guinsfan will care to read through this long piece of Penguins writing.

Rico Fata: Rico began the year on fire, and has since cooled off dramatically. He showed signs of being capable of contributing 20+ goals at the NHL level, and should only improve in the off season. His speed is by far his greatest asset, and when his hands are caught up to his feet, he plays strong, but he still needs to do this on a more consistent basis.

Tomas Surovy: A pure sniper. Surovy has played extremely well on the offensive end of the puck this season, and he has even made strides in his defensive game. He is showing based on his dialogue with the team after his recent demotion that he is willing to work hard to stay with the NHL club next season. Mario compared him to a young Peter Bondra, and some of the goals he has scored this season speak directly to that.

Tommy Kostopolus: Still young enough at age 25, the guy works hard, and has a nose for the net. His hands below the hashmarks are very strong, and there don’t seem to be many holes in his game. He plays a pretty consistent game every night, chipping in the occasional big goal. Hopefully he can find a place as a solid third liner on the pens for the next few years.

Rob Scuderi: Similar to TK, Scuderi is just a solid defensmen. Brookis Orpik, his teamate of three years at BC said that he does nothing exceptional, but does everything he needs to very well. Scuderi had a brief stint with the NHL Pens this season, and impressed so much by his solid defensive play that he was all but assured a held roster spot next season by CP, a guy who is normally quite mum on such subjects. Not a bad departing gift from the GM of the big squad.

Matt Murley: The former RPI standout seems to have a bit of trouble adjusting to the speed of the NHL game. He has had a couple stints in the NHL this year, and at times has shown promise as a strong offensive player. Needs to improve skating and overall fluidity in every area.

Matt Bradley, Lasse Pirjeta, Ramzi Abid, Landon Wilson, Jon Sim, Mike Eastwood are a group of which a couple will probably be out of a job next season. You could see Abid or Bradley drop to the WBS pens, but the others would probably be unemployed. Bradley’s got speed and overall quickness, but has overall given a poor offensive season, far below expectations. Abid shows some promise, but like Fata, seems to lack the consistency, though this may come with more consistent playing time. He has a big body which the Pens have got to like. Somehow Jon Sim seems to be what the Pens were missing all season, he has about a 5-1-1 record as a Penguin and Landon Wilson has been a Penguin for each of the games over this 14 game stretch of improvement. These guys are a little bit older and will probably need to step it up in the preseason to keep their roster spots. Pirjeta was acquired in the Holzinger deal on deadline day, and has played pretty well, he is a big guy at 6’4″ and if he can prove to be a face off winner may grab a roster spot next season. Eastwood has really turned his game around and has been a solid faceoff winner, penatly killer, and veteran guy towards the end of the season, but his age might mean his time is up, as is the same with Kelly Buchberger, who finally, over this stretch recorded his first point of the season.

Martin Strbak: pretty solid performer since coming over in the Straka deal, has been consistent, and probably more than antyhing else, shown a very quick first pass that is usually pretty accurate. Never more than a 4th or 5th guy, he’s got size, and isn’t the best skater, but is an NHL player nonetheless.

Joe Melichar: has rebounded fairly well from insessant shoulder injuries to have an average season where his play of late is far surpassing his early season mistake making.

Dan Focht: will really have to come to camp prepared if he wants to keep his roster spot after the strong play of Rob Scuderi.

Now to the question of whether the Pens ought to be more concerned about losing games right now. First, let me say that I don’t think you can call yourself a professional organization if you would ever in the least ask a team to lose or throw games. Personally, I was very worried about losing the pick at the beginning of this stretch, but as it has continued, my feelings have changed. When you look at the team that is taking the ice now, you see a totally different group of guys than you did a month ago, and I’d like to see this same group of guys come out next season. I think for this to happen, you have to let them continue this roll. Seeing how happy these guys are to be playing the game right now after all that they’ve went through, I can’t possibly root against them. I was exstatic to see them come back and tie the game late today and then win late in overtime. Eddie Olczyk clearly wants to be a winner, as they scored the GW today with the goalie pulled in OT. You’ve gotta love that call, I don’t care if it means the difference between ovechkin or not. I am a proponent of the play as hard as you can now, play for the win every night, and let the draft chips fall where they may. The Pens will likely not work themselves out of a shot for Ovechkin completely, and if the Hockey Gods continue to shine on this team as they have been recently, even at the fifth spot, the team will win the lottery. As a Pens fan, this is just great to see, and the team looks very promising. With the drastic cut in ticket prices, there is no reason why, if the team comes out of the gate next season as they have played over the last few weeks, with a big number 66 centering the top lline that every game shouldn’t be close to a sell out!

Let’s Go Pens!


37 Responses to What a Finish (Early End of Season Report)

  1. -MJ- says:

    the penguins are a young team, with a bit of potential, but i think that hard work is more cause for their past 10 game production, rather than the idea of the team turning themselves around. eddie o ain’t no quitter…subsequently, neither is his team. maybe in a few years the penguins will be respectable…with a few key draft picks, and a new rink…in WINNIPEG!!!!

    -MJ-

  2. cedrick says:

    You know, this streak by the Pens sort of reminds me Of the Ottawa Senators…

    Certainly not the current Sens, but think back a good couple of years, when they were an expansion team, and when they also completely sucked! They would often finish the season with a Bang, even begin the following season with a bang, but ultimately they would go back to sucking…

    Give them a couple of years, and the Penguins might come back on top, but it wont be next year… maybe the year after…

  3. skandelousHABSfan says:

    Malone isnt going to be a candidate for the calder. It going to be Ryder, raycroft and Hunter…. with Ryder hopefully winning..sorry dude, but the rest of em just have better stats than your boy…….

  4. hockeyscarfo says:

    To defeat tanking seasons, and uncompetive play, everyone should try and make the play-offs, they can do this by once the seasons over randomizing who ever didnt make the play-offs for the draft so if u come in 9th, u still have the same chance as last, get it? to bad if youve been in last the whole season, that doesnt mean you get to ruin players like Fleury now does it? Maybe they can throw a few extra names in the hat for the last place teams…. but if u get my point and what they should change, post 1

  5. d_only_Flames_Fan says:

    you speak the truth, but I might include patrice bergeron in that statement.

  6. d_only_Flames_Fan says:

    its a good idea, but its the least of the nhl’s problems at the moment

  7. MAniac29 says:

    1) Ryder will not win. Think back about 4 seasons ago to Brad Richards’ rookie season. Richards recorded 62 points (21+42) and he lost the Calder race to Nabakov. Raycroft is outplaying Nabokov of that season, and Nabakov won the Calder.

    2) When it will probably come down to two or three points between Hunter and Malone, the consistency of Malone’s play and his more valuable to his team status should bump him in. Malone has 17 points since the break, while Hunter has only 11 and of those, I think only like 2 goals. He is struggling lately, and the game is about consistency too. Look at the ice time that Malone plays, his role on his team, his 5 GWG, and I don’t think it gets as nit picky as 2-5 points when it comes down to nomination time. Not to mention the GM’s league wide that have praise Malone this season…

    I think it’s at least closer than you are making it sound without any statistics inside the statistics…

  8. MAniac29 says:

    Next year certainly won’t be on top in the sense of the cup, but I think they’ve got a shot at the playoffs! I’d certainly love similar growth as the Sens had!!

  9. MAniac29 says:

    what do you mean “that hard work”? I’ve been watching the Pens all year and this hard work is not just of late, this has been a trait all season long, but now things are just kind of starting to click!

  10. MAniac29 says:

    Bergeron’s play has really fallen off of late. I mean hell, the kid’s 18 years old, but has played himself out of the Calder race, even as a nominee!

  11. MAniac29 says:

    Additionally, probably 40-50% of Ryan’s goals have been self made, great individual efforts!

  12. MAniac29 says:

    No, I don’t get your point? I do understand what you are saying, but to me that idea would help ruin the game. Don’t you see the correlation between rebuilding teams and getting the pick that corresponds with your place among the other teams!?

    What are you even talking about “doesnt mean you get to ruin plaers like Fleury now does it?” First of all, I don’t get that, and second the Penguins didn’t ruin fleury. Fleury has like 1 loss in 11 games since being back in Cape Brenton. He faces nothing near what he faced here there. His skills obviously didn’t suffer, and now he gets to be part of a QJMHL playoff run. If he lands on Colorado because they get your random 1st overall pick, he’s buried behind Aebischer for years, and he gets ruined because he doesn’t even play….this makes no sense, and I have no clue why someone agreed with you!

  13. MAniac29 says:

    How in the world is it a good idea???

  14. MAniac29 says:

    Using your logic, shouldn’t teams be randomly assigned to seeds in the playoffs as well?? I mean to avoid a team playing for a particular matchup, shouldn’t they just reshuffle, where the 8th team has a chance at a number one seed and home ice??

    Oh wait, that would be stupid…

  15. MAniac29 says:

    Also, who’s tanking seasons???

  16. MAniac29 says:

    I am terribly sorry about the “exstatic” misspell, oh my, what is going on! I hate that so much when I see misspellings like that….ouch….sorry…haha

  17. kidhenry1 says:

    What can you say about the hard work put in by this team all season. They may be lacking in talent, but Eddie Olczyk is one of the hardest workers out there and his team reflects his personal effort.

    Also, I was really impressed with the way Chiodo played when I got to see him shut down the Islanders. Dick Tarnstrom is a great player to build a defense around. Give the Pens two or three years and they can really go places.

  18. shotnthdark says:

    Only problem is that +/- only counts even stregnth goals, not shorthanded or powerplay (in regards to Tarnstrom)

  19. shotnthdark says:

    Scratch that…I am not fully functional and forgot how to run my brain properly…

    Forgivaness please

  20. Primis says:

    First off, it’s nice to see a Pens article by a Pens fan that doesn’t necessarily need to be summed up with “AUUGHHH! I need to find some Drain-o to drink!”.

    I think it will be a shame if the Pens play themselves out of the #1 overall though. It looks like they more than any team could use the #1.

    With that in mind, especially if they don’t get #1 overall, I think the Pens need to explore the possibility of grabbing an extra 1st-rounder this year. Some teams will probably be fielding offers for theirs…

    The Pens also look like they’ll have a goalie to deal, so the cupboard’s not bare.

    — Primis.

  21. TheDarkhorse says:

    I believe that a few things could be done to greatly increase scoring and help the league gain more fans. First off, contraction is very necessary and I know I’m going to make people mad with this comment. There are a few teams that simply need to be eliminated. The first to go should be Vancouver. That whole organization from top to bottom is a disgrace to hockey. Burke and Crawford…what a joke. The whole team is a bunch of choke artists who simply cannot win big games. Their fans are fareweather and they make so little money, they should be gone. Other teams to eliminate would include the Florida Panthers. Let Luongo go to a real team. It’s a sad waste of talent to have him in Florida. It’s like the Marlins winning the World Series. Other teams to consider: Atlanta, Carolina, Pittsburgh, (yes, Pittsburgh,) Pheonix, and Columbus. What has Gretzky done since his playing days. He’s a freaking whiner and doesn’t know jack about operation an NHL team. Much like Burke, Gretzky whines about everything. He’s the old grandpa who wants the game like it was when he played but can’t accept that is just isn’t. I’d be in favor of eliminating some older teams like Chicago and the Rangers, simply because they’ve proven they can’t compete even in a big city. Even Minnesota could stand to be ousted because even though they have a rabid fan base, they play that hideous trap that everyone thinks has destroyed the NHL. Get rid of them.

    Next, put Detroit in the Eastern conference so that it isn’t that laughing stock of the NHL, much the NBA eastern conference. The east may have more teams than the west with higher point totals, but it’s kind of like the difference between college and the pros. If the pros play each other, they will inevitibly beat each other more often. When high school sissy teams play each other…ala eastern conference teams, the same result occurs. This is why Toronto sucks every year and will yet again lose in the first or second round of the playoffs this year. They don’t stand a chance against the West. The flyers? Same thing. I hate that team. If Detroit was in the East, everyone could get what they really wanted…a Colorado Detroit Final. Not this Western conference final that always ends up being the Stanley cup final since the East always sucks.

    One more note on scoring. Since the east is so bad, I think their lack of quality forwards is the reason scoring is down.

    Also, to Toronot fans who can’t wear their uniforms in the Ottawa building…I love it, I love it. I think you should get ketchup thrown on you instead.

  22. skandelousHABSfan says:

    The problem with Malone is that he has a horribly plus-minus. I know he is on a much much worse team than the rest of the potential candidates, but that is sitll a fact that i think will end up keeping him out of the consideration for the calder…

    the thing about you conparison of Richards to Ryder, is that Richarsd was playing in T-bay, where at the time there was virtually no hockey interest, whereas in Montreal hockey is life, therefore everyone around the league knows abuot Ryder. That will be the besiding factor if he wins, that he is in a major hockey city……not that Boston isnt. But i figure that Raycroft will probly get the american votes, and Ryder will get the canadian, unfortunatly that will ultimatly end in Raycroft winning…….shame

  23. Lint07 says:

    I have a friend who appears to be an “Hardcore Pens fan” and doesen’t stop telling me about how Alex Kovalev (As he prefer to be called) will return play for Pittsburgh after this season.

    I do know that he’ll never forget Pittsburgh and still has many friends there and likes to go back there whenever he has the chance but surprisingly enough, he seems to get happier by the minute here in Montréal and I wouldn’t be much surprised if he’d decide to sign with us instead next season…

    Here’s an little interview that RDS.ca did with him, I translated it in english:

    ALEX KOVALEV LOVES THE HABS’ PHILOSOPHY

    Sunday March 21 – (RDS) – The Montréal Canadiens can’t stop winning and the atmosphere never been this good in the locker room. One player who seem very happy is Alex Kovalev who say he absolutely love the Habs’ philosophy.

    “Everything is based on the team, it wasn’t the case with the Rangers.”

    Kovalev’s reaction when he scored his first goal as a Hab said much about what he think of his presence in Montréal (Note: After scoring an empty netter on saturday he got near the glass and cheered with some fans, he then lifted both his arms in the air with a big smile on his face, looking extremely happy.)

    To be honest everyone agrees that Kovalev seems extremely happy here and seems to be in love with his new team, which he respect very much.

    “You can’t imagine how happy I am to be part of an organization with such history”, said Kovalev.

    “It’s the image that transpires, he seems happy and works hard”, said José Théodore. “He adapted very well with the players. We know that it can be difficult to adapt to a new system and new teammates, but I think he gets better game after game and he’ll definately be a key player for us in the playoffs.”

    Claude Julien always said that it was Kovalev who had to adapt to the team and not the contrary. The Russian player appreciates very much this philosophy.

    “There are no superstars. Everybody is at the same level. That’s the way it always should be”, explained the number 27.

    “I think he adapted very well. He’s a player that seems to be excited about playing in the playoffs and to join a team with a good spirit. I think he arrived at the right time”, said coach Julien.

    Alex Kovalev is also taking care of Andrei Markov. Markov didn’t have any other fellow Russian to relate to after the departure of Oleg Petrov one year ago.

    “A fello Russian is a fellow Russian. I only try to help Andrei as much as I can”, explained Kovalev.

    Kovalev was the most used forward by coach Claude Julien saturday night against the Devils, playing over 19 minutes.

    There you go. Hope it was a good read…. I think it’s gonna be between Montreal & Pittsburgh, depending on what happens here in the playoffs.

  24. MAniac29 says:

    Thanks Lint, that was an interesting read….and I agree completely with your sentiment that it will be Montreal or Pittsburgh. I don’t think that Kovy is going to be out to take on some uncharted path this offseason. I also agree that it will be at least secondarily, if not primarily dependent upon the success in the playoffs…

  25. kolezlaw says:

    I concur with just about everything you said. The thing is, all I read is about the 48.8% chance from the big media, right? But the #1 pick the last four or so years HASN’T gone to the team who finished last in the standings. Carolina finished with 61 points last season, us with 65, and we got Marc-Andre. Second place, anyone? Doesn’t look too bad to me. It’s a lottery, the chances are up in the air. A near-50% chance apparently wasn’t good enough last year, and it doesn’t guarantee us the world this season. Media’s getting all worked up about the future, when look at how far we’ve come (in a short time — it took that one win, and now it’s been a sort of domino effect) with the boys we have now. Worst-case scenario: Ovechkin rolls into town on a red carpet and screws up the chemistry we’ve got going, either blows everyone away or gets in the middle and blows us apart. At any rate, put Rico on the wing and if Ovechkin comes, let him come, but he won’t take the place of my Leksey.

  26. guinsfan4life says:

    Yeah I think it will all depend on how the CBA works out to if Kovie will come back. Don’t forget, if he does come back, he’ll have the chance to play alongside Mario, so that may swade his chances of coming back. But like he said, Montreal is a great place to play so it should be a tossup.

  27. guinsfan4life says:

    I believe the first team only has a 42% chance of landing the first overall pick, not as high as the article suggests. We traded up to get Marc Andre’ so that is why it wasn’t like we got that cause the lottery landed there. Plus, the pick this year wont’ be traded, you can guarantee that.

  28. hockeyhead says:

    he’s been hurt for the last 15 games or so.

  29. hockeyhead says:

    you don’t think that razor deserves to win the calder, that is a shame. he is a goalie right? winger is probably the easiest position for a rookie. then centre, defence and goalie. raycroft is clear cut.

  30. MAniac29 says:

    As guinsfan pointed out, we traded up to get Fleury, and also as he said, you can rest assured, the number one pick will not be traded this sesaon. I don’t think you realize how good Ovechkin is. Imagine Bure/Kovalchuk/early Selanne scoring skills, equally special playmaking, size, and the ability to play D…..this kid is the best prospect since Mario, no doubt! I like Morozov too, I think his turnaround is a great story, but trust me, Ovechkin could replace “leksey” right now. I don’t like your chemistry argument either. I really like almost every guy we put on the ice right now, save for maybe the recent pick ups of Sim and Wilson, but I would take Ovechkin over Matt Bradley if I had the chance in a second. I really like Bradley, but I’d still do the swap, I’d do it for Rico in a second too. His play has be horribly inconsistent. However, as I said in the article, I am all in favor of letting them win every remaining game, not that management could do anything to make them lose, but still, in principle, I am enjoying this streak, and I think in the long run it helps!

  31. MAniac29 says:

    wow, if voting is that messed up, I lose all weight in the value of the awards. I couldn’t imagine that would really be how it happens, I mean come on….

  32. skandelousHABSfan says:

    anothing thing he said in that interview, which they dont mention, is that he mention that it isnt about the money. that is a great thing to hear a superstar say, wheter its true or not, i donno, but we can only hope that he believes this, because there will be a lot of demand for him next year.

    If the playoffs go well, i would be surprised if he signs with the habs before he even becomes a free agent.

  33. kolezlaw says:

    Oh, thanks for pointing that out, that we traded up, I didn’t realize. But Matt Bradley? Kelly Buchberger? Mike Eastwood? We have so many expendable guys when it comes down to getting a player like [Ovechkin], I agree. I’ve read up on Ovechkin so much I’m just sick of hearing about him, especially if he doesn’t end up here. As for the chemistry I’m just going crazy with superstitiousness and it’s blinding me. Why tamper with a good thing? Not that it’ll last, or do any good come next season if something big doesn’t happen, I don’t think. Ahh, phooey. Let ’em win, is all I’m saying.

  34. MAniac29 says:

    haha, yea, I know what you mean, and I hear you man!

  35. IceColdSoda says:

    There’s one thing that you forgot on the list, and that’s the fans. I’ve been to 7 games this year, 3 during the losing streak, and everyone has been nothing but supportive. Even though they only get 10,000 fans a night, it’s just as loud as it was with 16-17,000. And during the losing streak, you never heard any boos directed towards the Penguins (unlike teams such as the Flyers…their fans boo at a faceoff loss…). That is why, I believe, Pittsburgh has one of the best fan bases in all of hockey. With fans like us, they were BOUND to win.

  36. IceColdSoda says:

    Sure, it looks like he likes Montreal, but then again, what’s he going to say in an interview? “This place sucks”?

    I think the pens still have an upper hand. It’s just a premonition.

  37. hockeyhead says:

    you are crazy. you think that the west is better this year? wow. look at conference records. the bruins kicked the crap out of the west. two wins vs. detroit, beat avs, dallas, kings, oil, and so on. all on the road i might add.

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