Greetings from a beautiful January day in Pittsburgh. It's 27 degrees and completely sunny. It's a same we're indoors today even if we are at a hockey game.
With a day game, we have a chance to show you what the arena looks like from the outside:
-Someone in line was wearing a Noah Welch Wilkes-Barre/Scranton jersey:
-We'll let the jersey foul with the hood slide on account of the autograph.
-The blue towels being given out today:
(We don't know how that grafitti got placed over the logo of that other total media company in town. Honest.)
-With Stephen Weiss, the Panthers' leading scorer, questionable due to an illness, Florida recalled forward Shawn Mattias from Rochester of the AHL.
-A few jerseys we've spotted:
-Jan Hrdina (solid):
-Jersey foul (but he does own the team):
-The Penguins' scratches are Mark Eaton, Eric Godard and Philippe Boucher and the great Mike Zigomanis.
-Tyler Kennedy will be added to the lineup. John Barbero's announcement of Kennedy draws a pretty loud cheer.
-Florida will scratch Noah Welch, Cory Murphy and Nick Tarnasky.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Craig Anderson are your starting goaltenders.
-One of the concourses:
-It just got blue in here:
-Jeff Jimerson with another Saturday appearance:
19:55: Radek Dvorak gets smacked to the ice in the neutral zone off the faceoff by Brooks Oprik
19:38: Petr Sykora fires a one-timer on net which Anderson kicks out.
19:30: Jay Bouwmeester is nabbed for hooking. And what do we have here? Two defensemen on the power play? Mike Yeo is reading Empty Netters! Ryan Whitney is joined by Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Kennedy and Sidney Crosby.
17:37: Alex Goligoski fires a one-timer from the right point which Dvorak blocks. Dvorak is a little gimpy after the block.
17:30: Bouwmeester's penalty expires without much an attack from the Penguins. We guess the Penguins need three defensemen out there.
16:49: Maxime Talbot steals a puck and pushes it up ice. he bears down on net with a partial two-on-one with Tim Wallace. He forces a pass to Wallace which is broken up. Talbot needs to take that shot.
16:22: Crosby chips a backhanded pass into the slot for Pascal Dupuis and sets him loose on a power play. Dupuis shoot but is stoned by Anderson's blocker.
17:18: Dustin Jeffrey steals a puck inside the Florida blueline and pushes it on net. Anderson covers it up. Anderson has made some big saves here early on.
15:24: Anderson covers a loose puck in the slot.
13:42: Kennedy works the puck up ice and flicks a wrister on net from the right wing. Anderson eats it up.
12:55: Bouwmeester pounds a slapper from the right point which Fleury fights off.
12:13: David Booth fires a one-timer from the slot. Hal Gill slides down to block it. That had to sting a bit.
11:52: Gill is called for interference. Whitney, Matt Cooke, Talbot and Orpik are on for the penalty kill.
11:10: After Cooke drops Bouwmeester with a nice check along the boards. Jordan Staal jumps on a loose puck in the Florida zone and fires a slapper which Anderson's fights off. We like seeing Cooke a lot on the penalty kill. He can help generate scoring chances like that shorthanded.
10:07: Keith Ballard fires a slapper from the left point. Fleury fights it off desptie traffic.
9:48: Just as Gill's penalty expires the Panthers strike. Ville Peltonen takes a pass near the right faceoff circle and roofs a wrister which Fleury wasn't exactly in good position for. Put that one on Fleury. Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton get assists. Panthers 1-0.
7:50: Miroslav Satan whips a shot on net. Anderson covers it. Officials refuse to blow the play dead though and Anderson is forced to pass it to a teammate. Why would the officials do that?
6:47: Kennedy weaves up the ice, enters the offensive zone, uses Staal as a screen and whips a wrister on net. Anderson is able to keep it out.
5:17: Sykora whips a wrister on net from the slot. Bouwmeester is there to block it into the netting.
4:51: Whitney fires a wrister on net from the right wing. Anderson punches it out with his blocker.
4:40: Ugh. So much for a slump buster today. With Whitney trapped too far up, Booth throws a pass up ice off the glass down the left wing. Horton takes it and comes in on Fleury alone. He fires a wrister which bounces through Fleury's equipment and into the net. Blame that one on Whitney. Panthers 2-0.
3:04: Cooke mashes Karlis Skrastins into the boards.
1:41: Crosby and Malkin will start in the All-Star Lame Game. More on this later. Pascal Dupuis is sent off for hooking. Cooke, Staal, Rob Scuderi and Gil are on for the penalty kill.
1:09: Bryan McCabe fires a slapper from the left point which is blocked away.
0:03: Orpik hammers Michael Frolik into the boards just before the period ends.
0:00: End of period. There's a bit of a scrum after the horn over Orpik's hit but nothing comes of it. Panthers 2, Penguins 0.
-The Penguins came out with a lot of energy and really controlled the first five minutes of the game. Anderson held them off until that momentum wore out and the Panthers took what opportunities the Penguins gave them and cashed in.
-Anderson is why the Panthers have a two-goal lead. The Penguins had a few quality chances early on and he blanked them.
-The Penguins have a 10-5 lead in shots.
-Satan leads the game with three shots.
-No Panthers player has more than one shot.
-The Penguins have a 10-7 edge in faceoffs.
-Malkin is 3-for-5 (60 percent).
-Horton is also 3-for-5.
-Whitney leads the game with 8:34 of ice time.
-Bouwmeester leads Florida with 7:57.
-Skrastins leads the game with two blocked shots.
-Fleury has been pulled for Dany Sabourin. Sabourin is sporting his old-school brown gear. Fleury wasn't all that sharp on that first goal.
-Anderson gets an assist on the second Florida goal.
19:04: Orpik fires a wrister from the left point that's blocked and sails into the netting.
18:44: Booth tries to hit Orpik in the corner. Orpik isn't having any of it and sticks Booth on his wallet.
18:23: It's probably about time the Penguins get a lucky bounce like that. Off a faceoff, Skrastins forces a puck behind the net. It bounces off the backboards and comes right to Ruslan Fedotenko on the right of the cage. He punches it by Anderson from an odd angle. It's a bit of a garbage goals but the Penguins take it. The goal is unassisted. The "Hey Song" is played. Panthers 2-1.
16:51: Kennedy comes up ice and snaps a wrister on net from the right wing. Anderson kicks it out. Wallace follows up on it and punches a shot on net. Anderson makes the save. The rebound kicks up in the air and Anderson swats it out of play with his stick. That's delay of game. Two minutes. Anthony Stewart will serve the penalty. Whitney, Letang, Malkin ,Crosby and Staal are on for the power play.
16:10: Malkin fires a slapper from the right point. Anderson fights it off. Crosby scoops up a rebound and tries to jam it in on the opposite side with a wraparound. Someone keeps it out. Skrastins drops Crosby with a solid check after the shot.
15:20: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
14:54: Sykora pushes a shot on net from the side of the cage. Anderson kicks it out.
14:51: Anderson's penalty expires. The Penguins were a little better there on the power play.
12:17: Satan is called for roughing. Dupuis, Scuderi, Staal and Gill are on for the kill.
11:57: Cory Stillman gets them again. The Panthers winger controls the puck to the left of the cage and sneaks a pass through the slot between Scuderi and Sabourin. McCabe is there to pound it by a helpless Sabourin. Scuderi or Staal could've done a better job accounting for McCabe there. Stillman now has 32 career point in 25 games against the Penguins. Panthers 3-1.
10:32: Sykora gets a feed int the slot and chips a rising shot on net. Anderson shrugs it away with a shoulder. The Penguins can't punch in the rebound. Malkin is called for interference. Talbot, Gill, Scuderi and Cooke take the ice.
9:25: Ballard rips a wrister from the point. Sabourin makes a save despite traffic.
8:36: This is getting ugly. With five seconds left on Malkin's penalty, the Panthers strike. From the right point McCabe fires a one-timer. Sabourin makes the save but gives up a rebound. Richard Zednik is right there to punch it. No one accounted for Zednik on that play. Michel Therrien calls a time out to organize... we can't even make a joke about watching "Summer School" at this point. There's a lot of booing in here. Panthers 4-1.
8:13: With Gregory Campbell chopping at it, Sabourin covers it up. Crosby gives Campbell the business and tries to give him a DDT. A scrum develops. Crosby and Campbell both are sent off. Campbell for roughing and Crosby for holding. Four-on-four.
5:27: Orpik gives Frolik another jolt in the neutral zone.
5:08: Weiss snaps a wrister from the left faceoff circle. A stick deflects it high.
4:19: Malkin and Sykora makes a pair of poor turnovers in the offensive zone.
4:16: Brett McLean comes down the left wing and blasts a slapper. Letang deflects a bit. Sabourin eats it up. Attendance is announced as 17,046.
3:17: Satan whips a wrister on net which is deflected and kicked out by Anderson.
3:14: Cooke gets dropped with a solid check in the slot.
3:01: Wow. You don't see that too often. The two players taking a faceoff getting into a fight. That's what Talbot and Campbell do as soon as the puck is dropped. They grab a hold of each other and swing around a bunch. Talbot lands a few punches but mostly they wrestle a bunch. The fight lasts a pretty long time before Horton pushes Talbot to the ice.
2:59: Wow! Crosby and McLean fighting off the faceoff?!? Crosby grabs a hold of McLean right off the faceoff as well and just mugs him. Crosby pulls his jersey over his head and just starts landing some rabbit punches. McLean was totally lost in that fight. It ends when both players fall to the ice with McLean's shirt over his face. Crosby walks off the ice. McLean has some blood on the bridge of his nose. McLean didn't look good there. Crosby gets seemingly every possibly penalty you can get in the rule book, including a 10-minute misconduct. The crowd is the loudest is has been all day until it's announced the Penguins are on a penalty kill. The Panthers will be on a four minute power play. Staal, Malkin, Whitney and Oprik are on for the penalty kill.
2:36: Malkin breaks loose on a breakaway and tries shooting on the stick side. Anderson stones him. Weiss is called for slashing. Four-on-for for 2:00 minutes.
1:54: Bowmeester and Kennedy collide in front of the Florida net. Kennedy falls in to Anderson and knocks the net off. A bit of a scrum develops.
1:29: This just gets uglier and uglier. Skrastins zips a fantastic pass to Horton at the red line and he's off on a breakaway. He comes in and rips a wrister by Sabourin on the stick side. Where was the defense on that? Panthers 5-1.
0:36: Weiss' penalty expires.
0:08: Booth fires a slapper from the right point. Sabourin eats it up. Fans applaud with a Bronx cheer.
0:00: End of game period. Panthers 5, Penguins 1.
-We don't know what to say about this game without using vulgarity. This is the ugliest we've seen this team in quite a while.
-He might've been trying to energize his team, but Crosby's mugging of McLean was pretty selfish. Why do something like that right after Talbot got into a fight. Talbot's brawl got the crowd going and generated a little energy. Crosby's might be frustrated, but there's a reason he has that "C" on his chest.
-Crosby's last minor will have 1:01 left when the third period starts.
-The Penguins actually have a 21-17 lead in shots in this mess if you can believe that.
-Satan leads the game with four.
-McCabe leads Florida with three.
-The Penguins actually have a 22-15 lead in faceoffs.
-Staal is 4-for-6 (67 percent).
-Weiss is 5-for-10 (50 percent).
-Bouwmeester leads the game with 17:47 of ice time.
-Whitney leads the Penguins with 17:19.
-Crosby's fight reminded us of this attack by Mario Lemieux several years against Florida's Brad Ference. Lemieux just got frustrated and went nuts, just like Crosby today:
-Therrien sticks Fleury back in net. What's the point? Why bother now?
-For the record, Crosby got a 10-minute misconduct, a fighting major, an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and an instigating minor.
19:09: Matthias comes down the right wing and snaps a low wrister on net. Fleury eats it up.
18:59: Crosby's second minor penalty expires.
18:20: Cooke pushes a puck on net. Anderson covers it up.
18:06: Zednik has a big chance for a one-timer in the slot. Malkin does a wonderful job on the back check and pokes the puck away. Malkin's still working hard in this disaster.
17:04: Skrastins fires a slapper from the third
16:52: Wallace pushes a backhander on net from the left wing. Anderson kicks it out.
16:11: Cooke hits a Panthers player into the boards.
15:55: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
15:46: On a delayed penalty, Florida strikes again. Stillman controls a puck in the offensive zone and moves a backhanded pas into the slot for Frolik who rips a shot by Fleury. Stillman gets the only assist. Panthers 6-1.
15:32: Booth is called for slashing. Malkin, Fedotenko, Sykora, Whitney and Letang are on forthe power play.
15:08: Anderson makes a save and covers the puck.
14:34: Whitney slides a puck over to Malkin at the right point. Anderson kicks it out.
14:18: Frolik pushes a puck up ice and moves into the slot. His wrister is blocked by Whitney.
13:33: Just as Booth's penalty expires, Kennedy whips a wrister on net which is blocked in the left faceoff circle.
12:56: Weiss was given credit for an assist on Florida's sixth goal.
12:38: Gill chips a shot on net from the left point. It hits a body in front.
11:22: Fleury kicks out a backhander by Weiss. Even though there aren't a ton of empty seats yet, this place is very quiet.
10:19: Staal pushes the puck up the slot and dishes a pass to Dupuis on the left wing. Dupuis zips in and fires a wrister. Anderson says no.
10:08: Gill is called for slashing. Jeffrey, Whitney, Talbot and Scuderi are on for the kill
9:57: Jeffrey fires a slapper on Anderson. We like Jeffrey. He might not have a lot of skills but he doesn't hesitate to pull the trigger.
9:42: A shot by Horton from the slot is deflected out of play.
8:51: Cooke's still playing hard. He drops Ballard with a check along the boards at the Penguin's blue line.
8:28: Booth punches a wrister high of the net.
7:33: Malkin fires a wrister from theright wing. Anderson makes the save. Talbot jumps on the rebound but can't cash in.
7:18: With a stoppage, plenty of folks begin to head for the exits. A scout up here in the press box even leaves early. Ugh.
6:48: Dupuis throws a shot on net from the corner. It clangs off the post.
5:29: Jeffrey generates a nice scoring opportunity as he works the puck into the slot and dishes a backhanded pass to Cooke. Cooke has an open net but can't quite control the puck. We're liking Jeffrey more and more. He won't make or break this team, but he does a lot of little things well.
4:44: Crosby is still sitting in the penalty box which is kind of funny.
3:06: Pretty much the only thing going on of any interest at this point is an unofficial Ric Flair "Woo" contest in the stands.
2:21: Stillman almost strikes again as he rings a slapper off the post from the left wing.
1:39: Frolik fires a spinning wrister which Fleury eats up. Crosby is finally allowed to leave the penalty box. Wow.
0:34: Goligoski blocks a big slapper in the slot and is stunned a bit. The last thing the Penguins need is a player
0:12: Somehow, someone is still chanting "LET'S GO PENS!"
0:00: End of game. Blach! Panthers 6, Penguins 1.
-Well, that was ugly. It's pretty clear something's wrong with this team. (No duh.) This isn't a slump or a bad stretch of games. Or even the result of injuries. This group of players just isn't a very good hockey team. We don't know if the answer is something minor like a benching or something a little bigger like a roster move or even a coaching change, But something needs to be done if the Penguins hope to reach the postseason.
-This game had "slump buster" written all over it for the Penguins. The Panthers came in with a four-game losing streak, question marks in goal and their top scorer, Stephen Weiss was battling an illness. If the Penguins can't beat this team, who can they defeat right now?
-Injuries can't be the issue anymore. Not to downplay the imortance of Sergei Gonchar or Mike Zigomanis, but the Penguins on paper have more than enough NHL caliber bodies on the roster. Even without Gonchar, players like Whitney, Letang and Goligoski can carry the load on offense. Gonchar's a huge loss, but his absence is nothing most teams couldn't overcome. And when you consider the depth the Penguins have at that position, it's inexcusable.
-At what point does Sidney Crosby begin to bear the brunt of the criticism? Regardless of his wingers, he's just not producing. He managed to find away to produce with the likes of Zigmund Palffy, Jani Rita, Colby Armstrong and others who are the equal or even lesser of Dupuis, Sykora and Satan. Crosby probably still needs some better quality players on his line, but it shouldn't be an excuse for his lack of production. He needs to produce on his own on occasion.
-The Penguins finished a 30-24 advantage in shots.
-Malkin led the game with five.
-McCabe led the Panthers with three.
-The Penguins edged the Panthers in faceoffs, 30-28.
-Staal was 9-for-14 (64 percent).
-Horton was 9-for17 (53 percent).
-Whitney led the game with 25:59 of ice time.
-Bouwmeester was right behind him with 25:57.
-Goligoski, Whitney and Orpik led the game with three blocked shots.
-Skrastins led Florida with two.
-The Penguins are now 1-3-1 in their blue uniforms this season. They've been outscored in them, 20-12. Considering how the Penguins were at best mediocre during their time in the 1960s and 70s with that color, it might be best to dump them regardless of the franchise's marketing strategy.
-Therrien called out Sabourin and Fleury. He even gave Sabouring grief for Thursday's loss in Boston.
"Goaltending was a big part of today's game. Bot of those guys didn't do the job. You can't win in this league without solid goaltending. In the game in Boston we gave up tree goals on three sots. We were beind te eight ball. Today I tough we were ready to play. We had a good first period, but we were down by two and we made the goalie change. By the time we got a chance it was 4-1. It's pretty tough to win."
-We're not sure we totally agree with that. Yeah, the goaltending was not good at all today, but it was hardly the only culprit. The defense was pretty bad today as were the special teams. And you're not going to win a ton of games scoring only one goal. In many ways, this was a complete team failure today.
-Highlights. (So to speak.)