Greetings from brisk and somewhat mild Pittsburgh. A marvelous day for late February. That said, it's one of those days where it's a big difference if you're in the sun or in the shade.
-The Souper Bowl on Fifth Avenue:
-And right caddycorner from that establishment is this little development:
-How much more business is Cafe Milano and the Souper Bowl going to do with Consol Energy Center right there on Fifth Ave? How many of those boarded up store fronts along that street will be transformed into a viable business? If you ever go to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., there are just tons of restaurants, bars and other shops right there across the street from the building. Before MCI/Verizon Center, that area was devoid of any of that. Let's hope Consol Energy Center can do the same here.
-Anyone know where the tool shed is?
-We believe part of the negotiations for CEC included a private exclusive four-story studio for Jeff Jimerson. This building will be that studio. We think:
-The current barn:
-One of the water bottle holders on the net:
-The Penguins are seemingly starting to steer away from those dreaded blue uniforms:
-They are marketing tainted water however:
(Dude, we have a Dell.)
-This is completely off topic but we were watching ESPNews today and rapper 50 Cent was on wearing a Devils hat:
-Ironically enough, he confessed to being a Rangers fan in the interview. He just said the hat matched his shirt.
-There's a joke about the Devils not liking to shoot somewhere in there.
-Since it always seems to of some interest, the Blackhawks and Oilers have scouts. So clearly the Penguins will trade Chris Minard to Chicago for Patrick Kane and the Oilers are sending Erik Cole for Philippe Boucher. Create your own irresponsible rumors in the comments.
-The scout here for Chicago is former defensman Steve Smith. He of course is sadly best remembered for:
-A few sights around Mellon Arena. A Bob Errey jersey:
-This is pretty sweet. A Mike Bossy Islanders jersey:
-Evgeni Malkin team Russia:
(We need to clean our BlackBerry lense.)
-Marc-Andre Fleury Team Canada. He wore No. 1 several years ago in the World Junior Championships:
-We're pretty sure this is a jersey foul:
(As if that wasn't bad enough, he had a lady friend with the same jersey.)
-We have to think about validity of a jersey foul with this one. Obviously, this is an homage to the Clark Griswold 00 jersey from "Christmas Vacation." But is it a jersey foul? By the rules yes, but do you waive them for the spirit of Clark Griswold?
-The Penguins' scratches are Sidney Crosby, Janne Pesonen and Ryan Whitney. Some fans cheer at the announcment of Whitney's scratch. That's pretty classless if you ask us. The guy's out of the lineup due to a family matter. Regardless of how poor he's played, he doesn't deserve that given the circumstances.
-Richard Park is the Islanders' lone scratch.
-Fleury and Yann Danis get the starts in net.
-It's a great day for hockey apparently:
-Jimerson sings along with an Air Force color guard:
19:40: Kris Letang stops Kyle Okposo dead at the Penguins' blue line with a nice check. The hit separates Okposo from his stick
19:17: Brooks Orpik tosses a wrister on net from right poing. Danis punches it out with his blocker.
17:32: Dean McAmmond Roman-Greco wrestles Jordan Staal to the ice in the corner. That's two minutes. Miroslav Satan, Petr Sykora, Malkin, Kris Letang and Sergei Gonchar are on for the power play.
17:28: Malkin fires a one-timer from the right point. It hits a body in front. Satan and Sykora are each there for the rebound but can't get a stick on it.
16:56: Satan fires a slapper from the left faceoff circle. Danis eats it up.
15:49: Malkin whips a wrister from the left faceoff circle. It gets deflected in front.
15:40: Letang slides a pass over to Gonchar at the right point. Gonchar fires a one-timer which Danis eats up.
15:32: As McAmmond's penalty expires. Matt Cooke fires a slapper from the right poing. Danis fights it off.
14:25: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
14:00: We haven't seen line combinations, if there truly are any, but Satan started the game with Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko. He's about to take a shift with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy.
13:33: Staal carries the puck into the offensive zone and whips a wrister from the right faceoff circle. Danis is there again to absorb it. Danis has been sharp so far.
12:25: Brendan Witt grabs a puck on the left wing and snaps a quick rising wrister on net. Fleury traps it against his chest for his first save.
11:47: Hal Gill takes a pass from Maxime Talbot at the left point. He fires a shot just wide.
11:26: Staal pushes a backhanded pass into the slot. It hits off Joe Callahan's left leg and goes juuuuust wide of the cage. Staal could've used a garbage goal there.
10:35: Just after Witt drops Staal in the front of the net with a cross check (no call), Trent Hunter gets a pass from McAmmond in the Penguins' crease and pushes a shot wide.
9:38: Sykora snaps a quick shot from the corner. Danis hangs on for the save.
8:58: Sykora slides a pass into the slot for Letang who over skates it.
8:47: Okposo chases down a puck in the corner. Seeing Letang pursue him, he puts a shoulder into Letang's chest that drops the Penguins defenseman. Okposo takes a tumble too, but he won that battle.
7:36: Cooke mashes Callahan into the boards with a check in the neutral zone.
6:38: Jack Hillen lumberjacks Talbot's stick behind the net breaking it in half. No call.
5:41: Satan pushes a shot just wide from the left wing.
5:31: Satan snaps a quick wrister off from in tight. Danis appears to get a piece of it. Satan getting a ton of playing time tonight and a ton of chances. He can't accuse Dan Bylsma of not giving him an opportunity tonight.
4:58: Gonchar throws a puck towards the net but an Islanders defender gets a piece of it and it deflects up into the netting.
3:02: HIllen picks up a pass on the left wing and snaps a wrister high to the far side. Fleury gloves it. A scrum develops behind the Penguins' net.
2:09: Talbot dishes a feed to the slot. Dupuis moves and and chops it wide.
1:04: Mark Streit hammers a one-timer from the left point. Somehow Fleury is able to see it despite 443 bodies in the crease and makes the save with a "thud."
0:04: Witt steps up and fires a slapper that hits a Penguin and deflects into the corner.
0:00: End of period. Islanders 0, Penguins 0.
-Not a lot there for either team to brag about. Neither team really seemed to have too much going on offense. Overall, it was a pretty bland period of hockey.
-So far so good for each goaltender. Danis has been tested a few times so far.
-Satan's played solid offensively. He's gotten a few pucks on net.
-The Penguins have an 8-6 lead in shots.
-Satan leads the game with three shots.
-Jack Hillen is tops for the Islanders with two.
-New York has an 8-7 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-McAmmond and Staal are each 2-for-3 (67 percent).
-Letang's getting some serious playing time his first game back from his benching. He leads the game with 8:33.
-Gonchar is right behind him with 8:27.
-Radek Martinek leads New York with 7:35.
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
-Regarding an online video feed of tonight's game, we can't find anything. If you can, please be kind and share a link with your fellow readers in the comments.
-What we can find is:
-By the way, while we were getting some Goldfish in the press box, Ray Shero got a bowl full of pretzels. Pretzels are German. That must mean the Penguins will acquire Bruins winger Marco Sturm, a native of Germany, even though he's pretty much done for the season with an injury. Don't second guess our logic.
-We get a bit of a delay here as the officials seem to be inspecting the quality of the ice. It was a fairly warm day today. perhaps the ice is a little choppy.
19:04: Josh Bailey pushes a shot wide of the net.
18:38: Malkin jabs a backhander from the corner off the side of the net.
18:11: Bill Guerin takes a shot from the slot. Scuderi is there to block it. The puck flutters up over the net and into the glass.
17:47: Witt gathers a puck in the neutral zone, moves by the Penguins' blue line and snaps a low wrister. Fleury knocks it down and covers.
17:08: Hillen works his way out of the corner with the puck and tries to jam it by Fleury. No dice. This has very much been the Islanders' period so far. They've out shot the Penguins, 3-0, so far in the second.
16:19: Kennedy dishes a pass into the slot to a charging Gonchar. Gonchar has an open net to shoot at but Jeff Tambellini makes a nice back check and breaks up the play.
15:38: Letang fires a slapper from the left point. Danis closes the gates. Malkin gets dumps in the slot.
15:09: Cooke has a clean shot form the left wing. He instead forces a pass to Pascal Dupuis in the slot who can't cleanly take the pass.
14:32: Bruno Gervais is called for tripping. A small scrum develops behind the Islanders net. Malkin, Sykora, Letang, Gonchar and Satan are on for the power play.
14:16: Gonchar golfs a slapper from the right point that sails over the net.
13:43: A version of the "Whitney Play" is run with Letang. He gets a pass on the left wing, hesitates a bit and rips a wrister. Danis is able to slide over and make the easy save.
13:09: Letang tees up a half slapper from the top of the slot. It hits something in front and deflects off the post with a "clink."
12:42: Malkin takes a pass on the right wing and shoots low. Danis makes the save but gives up a rebound. Malkin chases it down but slides into Danis. An Islander picks up the puck and clears it away.
14:32: New York's penalty is killed. Nothing much going on for the Penguins there.
12:24: Martinek has a chance in tight and puts a shot off the cross bar.
11:35: Guerin has a chance in tight and snaps a loose puck on net. Fleury makes the save. Orpik was right there on Guerin but wasn't really challenging him. You would hope Orpik would've leveled him but instead he was doing the equivalent of massaging his back.
10:29: The ever dangerous Rob Scuderi whips a puck on net from the right point. Danis fights it off.
10:09: Attendance is announced as 16,975. It's the team's 97th consecutive sellout.
10:00: Gonchar blasts a slapper from the right point. Danis knocks it away with his glove.
9:14: Letang tees up a slapper from the right point. Danis fights it off with a solid stick save.
9:00: The Islanders try to Oklahoma Drill a puck by Fleury. Fleury and approximately 238 of his teammates keep it out.
8:25: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
8:01: GIll is called for hooking. Staal, Cooke, Gonchar and Orpik are on for the penalty kill.
7:39: Blake Comeau has a chance in the slot but Orpik kneels to down to block his shot.
6:01: Gill's penalty is killed. He's actually almost set off on a breakaway as he leaves the penalty box. He probably would've gotten to Danis by the start of the third period.
4:24: Fedotenko makes what we believe is his first appearance of the game and is called for high sticking. Cooke, Staal, Gill and Scuderi are on for the kill.
3:22: Comeau pushes a shot through the crease and wide of the cage.
2:34: Staal wrestles an Islander off the puck and chips it up off the boards into the neutral zone. Cooke chases it down into the offensive zone and fires a wild slapper on net from a bad angle. Danis makes the save and plucks the rebound out of the air.
2:25: Off a faceoff win, Malkin chips a shot into the North E balcony.
2:22: As Fedotenko's penalty expires, Danis makes another save off a faceoff.
2:05: Frans Nielsen is denied by Fleury in tight.
1:31: Kennedy gets a pass from Satan, kicks it to his stick and whips a wrister on net. Danis fights it off.
0:00: End of (yawnnn...) period. Islanders 0, Penguins 0.
-That was another really boring period of hockey. Just very little going on offensively for either club. And there's very little of the nasty stuff. Not a lot here to really be impressed by from an entertainment standpoint.
-The effort is there for the Penguins, but the just seems kind of out of it. We know Crosby's injury is huge, but it shouldn't be the cause of Yann Danis pitching a shutout. They need a little bit more urgency to their game.
-It would be a stretch to say Danis and Fleury have been tested, but they've each been sharp.
-The power play is still a wreck.
-The Penguins have an 18-17 edge in shots.
-Jack Flipping HIllen leads the game with four shots.
-Letang and Satan lead the Penguins with three each.
-The Penguins have a 21-15 lead in faceoffs (58 percent).
-Malkin and Staal have stepped it up in faceoffs with Crosby absent. Malkin is 11-for-15 (73 percent) while Staal is 5-for-7 (71 percent).
-Bailey is 5-for-10 (50 percent).
-Gonchar leads the game with 16:54 of ice time.
-Streit is right behind him with 16:53.
-Orpik leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Streit leads New York with two.
-"Rosy" Ruslan Fedotenko is apparently sporting the late 90s Leonardo DiCaprio floppy hair look:
-Is the most important period of the Penguins' season from here on out? Does the result of this game dictate if this team is a buyer or seller at the trade deadline?
19:45: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
19:07: Hunter whips a wrister from the right wing that sails over the net.
18:10: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
17:25: Talbot pushes a shot on net from in tight. It hits a stick and deflects wide.
17:03: Eric Godard makes an appareance and throws a shot on net. Danis steers it away.
16:30: Andy Hilbert has an easy goal but puts it off the far post behind a prone Fleury a big scrum develops with a few Islanders shooting a puck into a mass of bodies. Play is stopped. Godard is called fo hooking. Staal. Gill, Scuderi and Cooke are on for the kill.
15:12: Okoposo tees up a slapper at the left point. Talbot is there to knock it down with his stick.
14:33: Scuderi backhands a puck down ice and essentially kills off the rest of Godard's penalty. The Penguins penalty kill is working well tonight but this isn't exactly the 1983-84 Oilers their going against.
13:40: Satan steals a puck with a solid effort on the boards, moves in on net and puts a low shot on Danis. Danis kneels down and eats it up. Satan's played a nice game so far tonight by his standards. "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
13:14: Minards snaps a soft wrister on net from the right wing. Danis absorbs it.
12:13: Jackman chips a shot from the slot right into Fleury's chest. Fleury hangs on for a save.
11:45: Satan comes down the left wing, gets a pass and fires a slapper. Witt is there and gets a piece of the shot with his stick.
10:59: Callahan drives a shot wide from the left point.
10:46: Hillen fires a slapper from the right point. It appears to get deflected on the way to the net. Fleury is able to cover up despite a screen.
10:05: Fedotenko enters the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass for Malkin at the right point. Malkin unleashes a rocket. It hits an Islanders stick in the slot, deflects upwards and hits the cross bar. It then ricchocets directly down into the crease and away from the net. The goal horns sounds fans cheer but officials immediately wave it off. So close.
9:00: Minard gets a pass in the slot and has a bit of a breakaway. He inexplicably leaves a drop pass for Staal who is surrounded by two Islanders. Staal gets teh puck but is hooked by Jeff Tambellini. Staal tries to recover and shoots backhander off the side of the cage. Tambellini gets two minutes. What was Minard thinking there?!?! Staal, Malkin, Gonchar, Letang and Sykora are on for the power play. Big two minutes here.
8:35: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
8:02: Letang drives a one-timer on net from the left point. Danis is there for the save. Staal is there but can't get a stick on the rebound. He needs to do something there with the puck.
7:49: Danis covers a loose puck in tight. Staal gets shoved down to the ice by Witt. WItt then gives him an extra shove. That's the type of player the Penguins need on defense. Witt owns that crease and he lets everyone on the other team know it. He's just a nasty player.
7:42: Letang blasts a one-time on net from the left point wide.
7:25: Sykora grabs a loose puck in the slot and whips it on net. Danis just robs him with a great glove save. Danis's been really good tonight.
7:18: Eaton fires a slapper from the left point wide.
7:00: As Tambellinis's penalty is killed. Danis has trouble with a puck on net from Minard. He makes the save but it trickles just wide. Malkin is there but can't punch it in.
6:10: Talbot fires a puck on net from the slot Danis fights it off.
6:02: Orpik comes in deep and drops Bruno Gervais in the corner. This game has picked up. We can't keep up with it.
4:02: Talbot smacks Streit at the Penguins' blue line. Streit stands his ground and drops Talbot.
3:52: The ever dangerous Rob Scuderi dries a slapepr on net from the left point. Danis is able to kicks it out.
3:40: Sean Bergenheim is denied from in close by Fleury. Gill gives Bergenheim a shove for being around the net.
3:18: Hunter flops to the ice and covers a puck shot by Sykora. The officials halt play. That should be delay of game. That's well.... a delay of the game and it slows down play.
2:37: Witt drops Sykora in the crease. Witt's just brutal in front of the net.
2:28: Better late than never. Gonchar gets a pass on the left point and actually skates into Malkin in front of him. Almost using him like a blocker for a running back, Gonchar moves towards the net and tosses the puck into the crease. Sykora knocks the puck down and punches it into the net behind a helpless Danis. Sykora is right there in the crease and bangs it home by a helpless Danis. Sykora skates over to the boards and jumps into the glass. Malkin follows him and actually lays a pretty good hip check into Sykora by accident. After seeing Sykora is fine. He does a body slash onto him. Funny stuff. Gonchar and Malkin get assists. We kind of feel bad for Danis who has played well tonight. The "Hey Song" is let out of the cage. Penguins 1-0.
1:14: The Islanders call a time out to rest up. Danis is puled for an extra attacker.
1:01: From the neutral zone, Cooke backhand chips a puck wide of the empty cage.
0:47: Staal forces a pass to Dupuis in the slot but he can't punch it into the empty cage.
0:10: Okoposo trips up Malkin in the neutral zone. No call.
0:00: End of game. The "Woo Hoo" song is played. Penguins 1, Islanders 0.
-It wasn't pretty, but the Penguins will take it. Things probably should've been easier but it's two points regardless of how they got it. And it's a big two points with Carolina, Florida and Buffalo all losing last night.
-A much more thorough effort will be needed in Chicago Friday night. Dan Bylsma likes to play up and down hockey? He'll get plenty of that from the Blackhawks.
-He wasn't tested a great deal but how about Fleury? How big is a shutout for him? After a few shaky efforts and an early hook Sunday in Washington, he needed something like that just for the sake of confidence.
-He isn't on the score sheet, but we really were impressed with Satan. He's only valuable if he produces points but he was given more chances tonight, particularly on the power play and did nothing but get pucks towards the net. He needs to do more than that, but it's a step in the right direction.
-We won't say much more about the power play than it's still bad.
-Letang was solid in his return. We don't know if his benching did him any good or not, but his game didn't decline.
-We neglected to mention Bill Thomas returned to the lineup as well. He did very little in 7:01 of ice time. He was also 0-for-4 for in the faceoff circle.
-We really were impressed by Danis. He only faced 28 shots, but quite a few of them were quality chances. He kept a far superior team at bay for most of the night. Sykora's goal wasn't really his fault.
-The Penguins led in shots, 28-21.
-HIllen, Sykora, Letang and Satan each led the game with four.
-The Penguins did dominate the faceoff cirlce, 35-21 (63 percent).
-Staal was 10-for-13 (77 percent). While he still needs a ton of improvement in his offensive game, he has quietly improved a somewhat in the faceoff circle. Before tonight he had won 48 percent of his faceoffs. Last season, he was successful in 42 percent. As a rookie in 2006-07, he only won 37 percent of them.
-Malkin was 14-for-21 (67 percent).
-Comeau (1-for-1) was the only Islander over 50 percent.
-Streit led the game with 26:59 of ice time.
-Gonchar led the Penguins with 26:26.
-Oprik led the game with five blocked shots.
-Streit led New York with three.
-Is anyone else surprised by the fact that this was Fleury's first career shutout of the Islanders? He has two against every other team in the Atlantic Division.
-The Penguins are now 2-0-0 this season with two shutouts in games without Sidney Crosby this season. Trade him to to the Maple Leafs for Pavel Kubina and Nik Antropov NOW!