Home > Uncategorized > 10/28/09-Canadiens vs. Penguins: 6-1 W

10/28/09-Canadiens vs. Penguins: 6-1 W

Well it looks like the injury to Evgeni Malkin will keep things interesting for the next 2-3 weeks, as if Gonchar’s injury wasn’t enough. With Malkin’s shoulder problem the Penguins put even more of a load on Crosby’s…..er, shoulders. The good news is he looks primed to take on the task. His hat track puts him at 9 goals for the year which is a nice pace.

Also good to see if the Penguins still playing great team hockey and really stifling just about every opponent they’ve played. Obviously they have a couple losses but they’re simply cleaning up against teams that have any apparent weaknesses. Montreal just doesn’t seem to have it this year, as was expected by many from the start. Andrei Markov missing from an already weak defense really hurts their chances. I’ll still stick by my #7 ranking of them though, simply because I don’t see anyone else taking charge and earning that spot at year’s end. The Rangers are making an interesting case though………

One thing the Penguins can’t afford is another impactful injury. For as much talent as they have everyone has their breaking point. Brent Johnson shouldn’t be trusted to play every night if Fleury goes down simply because of his past back problems. Also, if Jordan Staal gets hurt all of a sudden the Penguins have one legit NHL center in their entire lineup. Not good.

Speaking of Staal, even with the above being said some people need to temper their expectations of him, at least at this stage in his career. Just because the Penguins have elite talent in the first two center spots doesn’t automatically mean that Staal would be a 2nd or 1st line center somewhere else. Let me rephrase that: It MIGHT mean that he would be, but he wouldn’t be good at it. A second line center? Okay I’ll buy that I guess, only because you can be an effective second line center and get 60 points in a season, which I think Staal COULD do if he was getting a lot of PP time. First line center? Absolutely not. People tend to forget he can’t pass worth a lick.

I could write a book about Staal (as well as many others I know!) but the truth is we should all still be in the “wait and see” phase when it comes to his potential. He’s still very young, and for every streak like the one he had to start the year there’s a streak like the one he’s in the middle of now (invisible for 3 straight games). Say it with me: let’s wait and see.

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