It turns out there is ONE "pre-existing condition" that Obamacare can't help you with. If you happen to be a democrat running for re-election ... put your affairs in order.
-The NCAA men's basketball tournament today. It's one of the best postseasons in any level of sport. In our opinion, part of the charm of this tournament is the randomness of the matchups. Third seed Iowa State and 14th seed North Carolina Central have little if any history of note but will face each other in the first round. Could something similar work in the Stanley Cup playoffs?
-Before we dig too deep into this, let's be clear the NHL wants divisional rivalries in the early round of the playoffs. That's not going to change. Any suggestion of change is purely theoretical.
-At one time, the NHL's playoff structure was a 1 through 16 seeding process. After the NHL merged with the remnants of the WHA in the late 70s, the NHL used this format for the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons. The first round series were best of five series while the final three rounds were best of seven. After the first round, the tournament was reseeded with the lowest remaining seed facing the highest remaining seed and so on.
Via Wikipedia, here's how the 1980 playoffs looked:
-And the 1981 playoffs:
-The Penguins were low seeds each of those seasons and were eliminated in the preliminary round each time. In 1981, Mike Crombeen scored a goal in the second overtime of Game 5:
-The following season, the NHL went to a divisional format with the top four teams in each division squaring off in 1 through 4 seedings. In 1994, the league went to a conference format with 1 through 8 seedings. That format was used until the NHL realigned to the current quagmire with wildcards and so forth.
-The biggest issue with a 1 through 16 format (as well as the 1 through 8 conference format) is travel. Could you imagine how ugly the travel for that Sabres-Canucks preliminary series in 1981 was? The league went to its current format to reduce travel so clearly, a 1 through 16 format isn't on the radar.
-A 1 through 16 format would sure add a ton of intrigue to playoff races however. One of the casualties of the current format is that it has really eliminated the races you saw with the 1 through 8 format. Some nights, a win could bump you up three seeds. An idle night could drop you out of the playoff race.
-Another piece of intrigue in a 1 through 16 format is the potential for rivals meeting in the Stanley Cup final. Imagine seeing the Penguins or Flyers or the Maple Leafs and Canadiens battling for the Stanley Cup. A Stanley Cup final between the Penguins and Sharks would be some pretty entertaining hockey, but would it be as intriguing as Penguins-Capitals?
-If the NHL had a 1 through 16 format and the playoff started today, the Penguins, as a No. 6 seed, would draw the No. 11 Wild in the first round.
-Getting to more immediate concerns, by way of the invaluable ShiftChart.com, we were able to take a look at how the Matt Niskanen-Brooks Orpik defensive pairing was used against the Stars' top line Tuesday:
(Click here for a higher resolution image.)
-A lot of talk goes into how the Penguins don't stress matchups and Dan Bylsma has said as much in the past, but that's looks like a pretty determined effort to put Niskanen-Orpik up against what is decidedly the Stars' top line. Niskanen had a few hiccups, including a turnover which led to a goal by Tyler Seguin which was the Stars' only score in a 5-1 win by the Penguins.
-Keep in mind, it might be easier to matchup against a top heavy team like Dallas which gets a lot of offense from its top line. Even if the Penguins are the road team and don't get the last change before faceoffs, something similar might happen tonight considering the Red Wings are dealing with some significant injuries up front.
-Speaking of notions of the past, the Red Wings will wear their white jerseys at home while the Penguins will wear black:
-The Penguins assigned Jayson Megna to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton yesterday. The lack of playing time he has gotten at the NHL level this season, when healthy, has been confusing. As The Pensblog points out, he has scored a fair amount of goals for relatively little playing time. The only thing we can think of is that he is hardly a large (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) body or all that physical. With holes on the bottom-six wings, the team could use players with a little more six or grit in those positions. That said, he's clearly offered more in terms of producing offense than the likes of Joe Vitale, Taylor Pyatt, Craig Adams, Tanner Glass and others. Jayson Megna doesn't make or break this roster, but he has earned playing time while clearing a bar which has been set pretty low.
-Another consideration could be playing time. The team could see more benefit in his long-term development by having him play some higher-end minutes in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-Tonight's game is in Joe Louis Arena which has some notoriously springy end boards. The Maple Leafs took advantage of them earlier this week as Morgan Rielly set up teammate Jake Gardiner with a pretty neat bank play:
-The Penguins' starters are Jussi Jokinen, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Deryk Engelland and Taylor Pyatt.
-The Red Wings' starters are Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, David Legwand, Danny DeKeyser, Kyle Quincey and Jimmy Howard.
-Their scratches are Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, Dan Cleary, Pavel Datyuk, Jonathan Ericsson, Darren Helm, Tomas Jurco.
19:39: Neal flings a wrister form the right half wall. Howard fights it off.
19:27: Off a give and go with Alfredsson, Franzen lifts a wrister from the right circle over the net.
19:00: Kronwall corrals a puck at the left point and chops a slapper. It hits Scuderi and hobbles him a bit.
18:30: Crosby flings a backhander from the right circle. Howard fights it off.
18:11: After the great Joe Vitale forces a turnover in Detroit's slot, he has a chance in tight but can' get a clean shot off.
18:03: Robert Bortuzzo and Vitale each have shots blocked.
17:38: Vitale chops a slapper from the right point which hits a body in front.
17:29: Tomas Tatar races up the right wing and pops a slapper. Bortuzzo chases him down and goes stick-on-puck wit his pool skimmer of a stick and blocks it.
16:29: The Penguins will get the game's first power play as Malkin was tripped up by Legwand at the penguins blue line. Malkin, Niskanen, Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Neal take the ice.
16:00: Niskanen swipes a one-timer from center point. It deflects off the end boards and is cleared down ice .
15:43: Taking a pass from Crosby, Neal grips and rips a wrister from the right circle. Howard eats it up.
15:33: Neal lifts a wrister from the right circle which is blocked.
15:26: Malkin lifts a wrister from the left circle which is blocked. The rebound hops to Crosby to the right of the cage and he whips it over the cage.
15:08: Short-handed, Cory Emmerton whips a wrister from the left wing which Fleury denies.
14:53: HUGE save. Crosby fumbles a puck at the left point and that allows Luke Glendening to create a short-handed breakaway. He goes with a backhander which Fleury kicks out.
14:40: Maatta cranks a one-timer from center point. Howard kicks it out.
14:29: The Legwand minor is killed. The Penguins were pretty aggressive with that power play.
14:18: Maatta whips a wrister from the left point which deflects over the cage.
14:06: Franzen whips a wrister on net from the right half wall. Fleury eats it up.
13:05: Franzen lifts a backhander from the slot wide of the cage.
12:39: The Red Wings strike first. Franzen coasts into the offensive zone down the slot and taps a drop pass to Alfredsson trailing off the left wing. Alfredsson takes the pass above the left circle, moves into the circle then the slot, fakes a shot then pumps a wrister by the glove hand of Fleury. What a release. The Penguins did a poor job of eliminating the space the Red Wings could work with on that play. Franzen and DeKeyser get assists. Red Wings 1-0.
11:17: The Red Wings keep pressing. Teemu Pulkkinen leaves a drop pass for Franzen in the left circle. Franzen pumps a wrister on net. Fleury fights it off. Franzen tries to bat the rebound out of the air but ends up hitting it with a high stick. Play is blown dead.
11:00: Matt Lahshoff pounds a slapper from the left point over the net.
10:12: Quincey chops a one-timer from the right point wide to the far side.
9:50: Quincey chucks a wrister from the left point. Fleury saves. Riley Sheahan is able to push the rebound on net and Fleury smothers it.
9:45: Drew Miller pumps a quick wrister from the left circle wide to the far side.
9:01: Lee Stempniak has a wrister in the left circle blocked.
8:30: Jokinen hustles out of the right wing corner and has a has a low wrister denied by Howard.
8:17: Corralling a puck at the left point, Bortuzzo winds up and fires a slapper from the half wall. Howard eats it up.
7:15: A one-timer by Brendan Smith from the right point sails well over the cage.
6:37: Vitale slams Landon Ferraro into the right wing corner of the Detroit zone.
6:08: Kuniz sneaks a pass from the right circle to the slot. Stempniak crashes in and taps it wide.
3:52: Off some give-and-go passing with Kunitz, Crosby has a one-timer from the right circle blocked.
3:43: Bertuzzi snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Fleury eats it up. A few small scrums break out but nothing happens.
3:11: Orpik chucks a wrister from the left point. Howard steers it away.
2:17: Brandon Sutter chips and chases a puck up the right wing and whips a low wrister on net. Howard fights it off.
0:30: Adams is on a line with Goc and Jokinen.
0:20: Smith chucks a wrister from the right point on net. Fleury's right leg kicks it out.
0:00: End of period. Red Wings 1, Penguins 0.
-That was a pretty brisk period. There was quite a bit of skating and relatively few stoppages.
-The Red Wings did a much better job of limiting the Penguins' time and space in the offense zone than the Penguins did to the Red wings. Just about every shot by the Penguins was contested with a body or two in front of the net. The Red Wings seemed to have an easier time getting their shots on net.
-The Penguins were fairly aggressive with their only power play and that seemed to open t hings up for the Red Wings with a few short-handed chances.
-The Penguins have an 11-8 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 20-19 lead in attempted shots.
-Neal, Crosby, Alfredsson and Franzen each lead the game with two shots.
-DeKeyser leads the game with 7:55 of ice time.
-Niskanen is right behind him with 7:54.
-The Red Wings have a 7-5 lead in faceoffs (58 percent).
-Legwand and Glendening are each 2 for 3 (67 percent).
-Sutter is 2 for 2 (100 percent).
-Scuderi and Bortuzzo each lead the game with two blocked shots.
18:18: Alfredsson has a wrister in the right circle blocked by Scuderi.
17:17: Off some hustle by Gibbons along the Detroit end boards, Gibbons and Craig Adams each have a chance in tight but can't put the puck behind Howard.
16:36: Off a feed by Tanner Glass, Niskanen strikes a one-timer from the right point. Howard eats it up.
16:13: Battling for a puck behind the Penguins' net, Niskanen drops Tatar with a hit from behind. That's two minutes for boarding. Scuderi, Orpik, Sutter and Adams take the ice.
15:52: After Adams fails to clear a puck, Alfredsson snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Fleury snags it.
15:25: The Red Wings increase their lead with a little luck. Taking a pass low to the right of the cage, Nyquist forces a pass to Franzen above the blue paint. Scuderi is on his knees after being shoved by Franzen and has his stick flat to the ice. It hits off Scuderi's stick and deflects into the cage. Oof. Nyquist gets credit for the goal. Alfredsson and Kronwall get assists. Sweden Red Wings 2-0.
14:41: The hole gets a little deeper for the Penguins as Neal is called for cross checking against Glendening. He got the stick up into the face of Glendening. A successful kill here is a must. Adams, Goc, Orpik and Scuderi take the ice.
14:05: Kronwall whacks a one-timer from center point which hits a skate in front. The Penguisn clear the rebound.
12:54: Pulkkinen hammers a one-timer from the left circle. Fleury kicks it out.
12:48: Pulkkinen chops a slapper form the left circle. Fleury fight sit off.
12:41: The Neal minor is killed. That was important for the Penguins.
12:02: Stempniak rips a wrister from the right circle. Howard eats it up.
11:17: Another penalty for the Penguins. Kunitz slammed Smith to the ice in the neutral zone away from the puck. That's a holding minor. Sutter, Adams, Scuderi and Orpik take the ice.
10:21: Off some great puck movement, Alfredsson lifts a shot from the slot. Fleury fights it off.
9:54: Things are evened up as Bertuzzi thumped Maatta to the ice away from the puck in front of the crease. That's an interference minor. There will be 37 seconds of four-on-four play.
9:30: Smith rips a wrister from the left point. Fleury fights it off.
9:23: Another penalty. Jokinen is nabbed for cross checking Sheahan to the ice along the boards. The Red Wings will have a brief four-on-three power play.
9:17: Play returns to four-on-four. It will be that way for 1:22.
8:50: Crosby and Malkin are teamed up in the four-on-four situation along with Niskanen and Maatta.
8:07: Circling around the offensive zone, Malkin tees ups a slapper from the right circle. Howard fight sit off.
7:53: The Red Wings go on a five-on-four power play for 30 seconds.
7:23: The Jokinen minor expires. Back to five on five.
5:56: A wrister by Nyquist from the left circle is wide of the cage.
5:39: Maatta tees up a slapper from the right point which deflects wide.
5:11: Off a turnover by Kunitz, Bertuzzi has a chance in tight. Fleury denies it.
4:43: The Penguins get dirty and get a goal. Taking a pass from Bortuzzo, Kunitz chucs a wrister towards the net from the right point. Stempniak has position on Kronwall in the slot and deflects the puck by Howard's right leg with his backhand. What a subtle play by Stempniak. Kunitz and Bortuzzo get assists. Sweden Red Wings 2-1.
4:26: Niskanen rockets a one-timer from the center point. Howard eats it up.
4:18: Tie game. Jokinen wins a faceoff in the Red Wings' right circle. Malkin takes the puck, swoops around the right wing corner and deals a pass to the crease. Neal can't get the initial shot on net but manages to get it back to the crease. Malkin sneaks in from behind the net and cleans up the garbage by poking the rebound by Howard's blocker. Another ugly goal. Neal gets the only assist. Penguins 2, Sweden Red Wings 2.
3:47: A backhander by Malkin from the right wing is fought off by Howard's blocker.
3:18: Another penalty. Tatar hold up Sutter behind the Detroit net and dropped him. That's two minutes for holding. Malkin, Niskanen, Neal, Crosby and Kunitz take the ice.
3:06: A one-timer by Crosby from the right half wall is snagged by Howard.
2:58: Robbery. After some great puc movement, Neal rips a wrister from point blank range in the slot. Howard does a split and fights it off. Wow.
2:12: Things get worse for the Red Wings as Ferraro chucked a puck out of play from his own zone. That's two minutes for delay of game. The Penguins will have a five on three power play for 54 seconds. The Penguins must score here.
2:09: Off an offensive zone faceoff, Malkin booms a one-timer from above the left circle. Howard fight it off.
2:02: Evgeni Malkin to the rescue. Corralling a puck at the right point, Malkin backpeddles to the high slot and cranks a wicked slapper by the glove hand of Howard was looked to be screened on the shot. Neal and Jokinen get assists. The Penguins will still have 1:50 of a five-on-four power play to work with. Malkin, Neal, Crosby, Kunitz and Niskanen take the ice. Penguins 3-2.
1:08: Neal lifts a wrister from the left circle. Howard fights it off. Kunitz can't get a clean handle on the rebound.
0:42: Neal chucks a wrister from low in the right circle. Howard smothers it. The J.V. power play takes the ice. It is composed of Goc, Jokinen, Stempniak, Maatta and Despres.
0:12: The Ferraro minor expires.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Sweden Red Wings 2.
-What and odd, disjointed period. The special teams seemed to break up any momentum for either team.
-The Penguins' skill, particularly from elements on the second line, just kind of took over the latter stages of the period.
-The biggest area of concern for the Penguins that period is that they were still giving the Red Wings few remaining skill players a ton of space to operate with.
-The Penguins have a 26-18 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 39-33 lead in attempted shots.
-DeKeyser leads the game with 16:59 of ice time.
-Niskanen leads the Penguins with 15:57.
-The Red Wings have a 20-17 lead in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Sutter is 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Glendening is 7 for 12 (58 percent).
-Scuderi leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Smith leads the Red Wings with two blocked shots.
19:34: A backhander by Nyquist from the right wing is kicked out by Fleury's right leg.
18:36: Off a feed by Crosby, Kunitz lifts a backhander from a bad angle on the left wing. Howard fights it off.
18:26: Stempniak chucks a wrister from the right half wall. Howard knocks it dead and smothers.
18:11: The Penguins all keeping play in the Detroit zone. Neal fires a wrister from deep on the left circle wide of the cage.
17:20: A spinning wrister from Nyquist in the right circle is kicked out by Fleury.
16:59: Adams pitch-forks a pass from his own right wing wall to spring Sutter on a breakaway. Sutter walks in from the neutral zone and goes forehand after Howard's five hole. Howard sprawls and kicks it out. Huge save.
15:48: Kunitz loses a puck in his skates in the neutral zone and is popped with a nice, clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Kunitz staggers to the ice. He appears fine.
15:09: Another penalty. Malkin tripped up DeKeyeser behind the Detroit goal line. DeKeyser crashes into the end boards feet-first. That's was kind of scary but thankfully DeKeyser is fine. Malkin is called for hooking. He protests but the call is legit. Sutter, Adams, Scuderi and Orpik take the ice.
15:02: Pulkkinen hammers a one-timer from the left circle. Fleury fights it off.
13:43: Off a steal by Gibbons, Sutter has two chances in tight but can't beat Howard.
13:09: Play returns to five-on-five. The Red Wings didn't offer much of a threat.
12:03: Neal rips a wrister from above the right circle to the far side. Howard's blocker punches it out.
11:26: Hustling his way off the right wing boards, Malkin has a wrister blocked. He's hooked on the play and the Penguins go on the power play again. Smith is called for hooking. Crosby, Neal, Malkin, Niskanen and Kunitz take the ice. A goal here could end this game.
11:06: Yet ANOTHER penalty. Glendening loses his stick int eh Detroit lot. Neal, shuffles it away to the left wing boards. Neal gets an interference minor. That's an odd application of that rule. We'll see 1:40 of four-on-four play.
10:01: Tie game. As the Red Wings push the puck out of their zone, Maatta collides with Scuderi at the red line and falls over. That opens up space for the Red Wings. Sheahan races up the left wing with the puck. As Scuderi hustles back and dives at Sheahan, Sheahan saucers a pass to Tatar just to the right of the crease. Tatar swipes the puck by a sprawling Fleury and into the cage. That was just an ugly play for Maatta and Scuderi. Sheahan and DeKeyser get assists. Penguins 3, Sweden Red Wings 3.
9:25: Lashoff strikes a one-timer from the right half wall wide on the near side.
9:06: Play returns to five on five.
7:43: More rotten luck. After Bortuzzo fumbles a puck behind his own net, Bertuzzi clings the puck at the cage from the left half wall. It hits off the body of Maatta and deflects into the net by Fleury's glove hand. Oof. The goal is unassisted. Sweden Red Wings, 4-3.
6:40: Bortuzzo gains the offensive zone at center point and lifts a wrister. Howard snags it.
5:43: Craig Adams scores? Okay. Sutter controls the puck behind the net, emerges to the right of the cage and taps a backhanded pass to the slot for Adams. Adams has position and chips a puck behind Howard's blocker. It's Adams' first goal in 65 games. Sutter and Gibbons had some solid work down low to help create that goal. Sutter and Gibbons get assists. Penguins 4, Sweden Red Wings 4.
4:23: Off a feed by Neal, Malkin has a chance in tight but can't get a clean shot off.
3:46: Dumb, dumb, dumb play. After battling for a puck, Legwand sticks the butt end of his stick into Malkin's midsection. Malkin doubles over in pain. Legwand gets a spearing major and a game misconduct. The Penguins will get ample time to claim the lead. Malkin remain int he bench in pain. Maatta, Niskanen, Crosby Neal and Kunitz take the ice.
2:20: Despres pumps a slapper from the right point. Howard punches it away.
1:43: Maatta drives a slapper from the right point. It hits a body in front.
1:28: Kronwall gets a big clear from behind his own net.
0:42: Malkin has a clean chance in the right circle but can't get a clean shot off.
0:08: Niskanen has a slapper from the center point blocked by Emerton.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 4, Sweden Red Wings 4.
-The Penguins have a 39-26 lead in shots on net.
5:00: The Penguins will have 1:14 of power play time to start the period. Malkin, Crosby, Neal and Kunitz take the ice.
4:46: Malkin whacks a slapper from above the right circle wide to the far side.
4:07: Off some "hot potato" passing, Neal rockets a one-timer from the right circle. Howard knocks it dead and smothers it. The Penguins call a time out to get organized for the remainder of their power play.
3:58: A one-timer by Niskanen from above the left circle misses the mark.
3:47: The major is killed. What an effort by the Penguins.
3:39: Franzen rips a wrister from the left point wide of the cage.
3:24: Smith pounds a slapper from the right point. Fleury kicks out.
1:59: Franzen snaps off a pass from the left half wall to Alfredsson above the point. Alfredsson chops the puck wide.
1:07: Off a feed by Crosby, Kunitz chops a one-timer from the left circle. Howard boots it out.
0:55: Neal chucks a wrister from center point on net. Howard scoops it up.
0:00: What!?!? After Malkin wipes out in the offensive zone and with Scuderi pinched in really deep, the Red Wings generate a three-on-one against Maatta in the final seconds. Alfredsson lugs the puck up the right wing and chucks a wrister on net from the right circle. Fleury fights it off. The rebound hops up and deflects into Scuderi hustling back to his net. The bounces into the net just as the clock his zero. It passed over the goal line with approximately 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock. A video review confirms the goal. The goal is unassisted. Wow. End of game. Sweden Red Wings 5, Penguins 4.
-Where do you start with this wild, crazy game? There are so many layers to dig through. We'll start by simply pointing out this was one of the few opponents in the NHL the Penguins have advantage over in terms of injuries. The Penguins have been hit hard by injuries all season but the Red Wings recent rash of ill health have them short-handed to a degree which dwarfs the Penguins. In other words, this was an inferior opponent and the Penguins played down to their level.
-The Red Wings were missing $31.05 million of salary cap hits out of the lineup. The Penguins were "only" missing $15.7 million.
-Did the Penguins have some rotten luck? Absolutely. There's no other way to sum up three own goals as anything other than a freak occurrence. But they had a major in the final stages of regulation and the early part of the overtime frame. They looked lost at time with that chance. What made it inexcusable was the fact the Penguins had a four-on-three advantage for the first 1:14 of overtime. With the skill the Penguins have, they should have exploited the Red Wings only having three skaters on the ice. Instead, they struggled to even hold on to the puck and allowed the Red Wings to kill off the major and generate momentum.
-Another turning point was Brandon Sutter's breakaway early in the third period. If he scores there, its a 4-2 game for the Penguins. Give Jimmy Howard credit for coming up with a clutch save but Sutter failed to give his team a two-goal lead at a key moment.
-Rob Scuderi and Olli Maatta had a nightmare of a game. Three of Detroit's goals were own goals - two by Scuderi and one by Maatta.
-The overtime goal by Alfredsson was an own goal by Scuderi. The bounce itself was a fluke. What was the most objectionable part of the play was seeing Scuderi pinch in like he was Bobby Orr on an ill-fated rush by the Penguins. Why would the Penguins go full throttle in the final stages of overtime instead of just going for a shootout?
-A lot of fantasy hockey general managers are going to look at the box score of this game and assume Marc-Andre Fleury was to blame. Nothing could be further from reality. Maybe he could have robbed Daniel Alfredsson of the game's opening goal but generally speaking, giving a future hall-of-fame player an acre of ice to work with near the ice is a bad idea. Those types of players will bury those shots. Three of the five goals Fleury allowed were own-goals and the fourth was off a two-on-one rush in which Maatta fell into Scuderi. Fleury didn't have a prayer tonight.
-As we mentioned above, the Penguins failed to capitalize on a power play late in play. Beyond that, their power play looked flat most of the night. It wasn't a coincidence the only power play they scored on was with a two-man advantage.
-Give the Red Wings credit. They have been gutted by injuries, particularly up the middle. Things didn't get better when David Legwand was given a game misconduct. They shook off those injures and the wide open nature of the game and went right at the Penguins' superstars. They weren't intimidated.
-This game wasn't bereft of any positive for the Penguins. Getting two goals from Evgeni Malkin was a sight for sore eyes. He hasn't had nearly as much success in terms of scoring goals as he has in years past. His line with James Neal and Jussi Jokinen looked sharp.
-The new fourth line showed quite a bit of chemistry. Sutter, Brian Gibbons and Craig Adams had a solid game as a unit.
-The use of Gibbons as a penalty killer seems to have some wheels. For the second consecutive game, he helped set up Sutter for a quality short-handed scoring chance.
-We're not sure the Marcel Goc-Tanner Glass-Joe Vitale line offered nearly as much.
-Officiating certainly had an impact on the game. The officials seemed to have quick whistles most of the night.
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 43-30.
-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 65-51.
-Neal lead the game with 10 shots. Yeesh.
-Gustav Nyquist led the Red Wings with seven shots.
-Matt Niskanen led the game with 27:55 of ice time.
-Niklas Kronwall led the Red Wings with 27:05.
-The Red Wings have a 30-28 lead in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Luke Glendening was 13 for 22 (59 percent).
-Sutter was 7 for 10 (70 percent).
-Robert Bortuzzo and Scuderi each led the game with three blocked shots.
-Glendening and Brendan Smith each led the Red Wings with two blocked shots.
-Alfredsson now has 68 career points in 66 games against the Penguins. He's a hall of fame Penguin Killer.
-Chris Kunitz (273 points) moved ahead of Bob Errey (272) for 25th place on the franchise's career scoring list.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University’s athletic department released the framework Thursday for its $106 million proposal for renovations throughout the athletic campus, including upgrades to Milan Puskar Stadium and WVU Coliseum.
The athletic facilities master plan, which was already approved by the University Planning Committee, now moves to the Board of Governors finance committee, which will discuss the proposal at its March 28 meeting.
The linchpin of the plan is an $85 million bond package, about $75 million of which would be earmarked for athletic facilities improvements. In addition, the plan draws $25 million from private Mountaineer Athletic Club funding efforts and $6 million from its multimedia rights contract.
The bond package is made possible, according to the athletic department’s proposal, by guaranteed annual revenue from IMG, West Virginia’s official media partner, and the Big 12 Conference.
Big 12 member schools received a payout of $26 million in 2013. In contrast, West Virginia’s annual payout from the Big East in 2012, its final year in the conference, was approximately $8 million.
In November, West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen said the wish list he had delivered to the administration included proper weight-training, meeting and practice facilities. He had already gotten one, as the weight room was renovated last summer.
“I don’t think I’m being unreasonable with the requests that I’m asking for,” Holgorsen said at the time. “We’re working hard on trying to get out there to raise the money that we need to make some of this stuff a reality.”
A new team meeting room is priority No. 1 in the proposal, the first of several initial projects that center on the football program.
The plan also calls for the renovation and expansion of the concourses, restrooms, entrance gates and concession areas at Milan Puskar Stadium, all funded by the bond.
Other initial projects include IMG-funded installation of four LED video boards, additional graphic coverage of the walls surrounding Mountaineer Field and a video marquee at the corner of Monongahela Boulevard and Patteson Drive beside WVU Coliseum.
Iowa City-based Heery International has been contracted to do the design work. The corporation has led projects at Southern Mississippi’s M.M. Roberts Stadium, Albany’s Bob Ford Field and Georgia Dome and Turner Field in Atlanta, among others.
The proposal lists a number of additional projects that are under consideration but are not immediate priorities should the finances be approved.
Foremost among the secondary projects are the renovation of WVU Coliseum restroom and concession areas, the expansion of Coliseum concourses and the addition of inner concourse suites and box seating.
Other potential projects across the athletic campus include: renovation and new indoor track at Shell Building; addition of varsity sports locker rooms and weight rooms; renovation of WVU Natatorium; renovation of varsity tennis courts; repurposing of Hawley Field, the Mountaineers’ former baseball field.
In October, the athletic department broke ground on a $20 million package secured through state legislature and county-approved tax increment financing districts to build the Monongalia County Baseball Ballpark.
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A preview of the Red Wings.
When and where: 7:30 p.m. EDT. Joe Louis Arena.
TV: Root Sports (Pittsburgh market), Fox Sports Detroit (Detroit market), NHL Network (rest of the United States).
Record: 31-24-13, 75 points. The Red Wings are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division.
Leading Scorer: Henrik Zetterberg, 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists).
Last Game: 3-2 home win against the Maple Leafs, Tuesday. Gustav Nyquist scored two goals for the Red Wings.
Last Game against the Penguins: 4-1 home loss, Dec. 14. Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves for the Red Wings.
Red Wings Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Daniel Alfredsson (above). He has 65 points in 65 career games against the Penguins.
Ex-Penguins on the Red Wings: Mikael Samuelsson, RW; Tyler Wright, director of amateur scouting.
Ex-Red Wings on the Penguins: Chris Conner, LW; Don Waddell, professional scout; Warren Young, amateur scout.
Useless Red Wings Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Detroit's Jimmy Howard has played 275 career games, second most of any goaltender selected in the 2003 draft. The Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury has the most with 521.
Best Red Wings Video We Could Find: The Red Wings are polite hosts ... to a point:
Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (34-15-3, 2.34 GAA, .916 SV%) for the Penguins and Jimmy Howard (15-16-10, 2.62 GAA, .912 SV%) for the Red Wings.
Injuries: For the Penguins, right wingers Beau Bennett (hand/wrist), Chris Conner (foot), Pascal Dupuis (knee), defensemen Kris Letang (stroke), Paul Martin (hand) and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Red Wings, goaltender Jonas Gustavsson (groin) is probable. Centers Joakim Andersson (foot), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Darren Helm (concussion), right wingers Daniel Cleary (knee), Tomas Jurco (ribs) and left winger Justin Abdelkader (leg), are out. Right winger Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder), center Stephen Weiss (hernia) and left winger Henrik Zetterberg (back) are on injured reserve.
Potential lines and defensive pairings: According to the team's Web site, the Penguins' lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:
14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 22 Lee Stempniak
36 Jussi Jokinen - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 18 James Neal
15 Tanner Glass - 57 Marcel Goc - 46 Joe Vitale
49 Brian Gibbons - 16 Brandon Sutter - 27 Craig Adams
44 Brook Orpik - 2 Matt Niskanen
3 Olli Maatta - 4 Rob Scuderi
47 Simon Despres - 41 Robert Bortuzzo
-The Red Wings' lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:
93 Johan Franzen - 17 David Legwand - 11 Daniel Alfredsson
21 Tomas Tatar - 15 Riley Sheahan - 14 Gustav Nyquist
20 Drew Miller - 41 Luke Glendening - 44 Todd Bertuzzi
29 Landon Ferraro - 25 Cory Emmerton - 56 Teemu Pulkkinen
55 Niklas Kronwall - 2 Brendan Smith
27 Kyle Quincey - 65 Danny DeKeyser
23 Brian Lashoff - 4 Jakub Kindl
-The last time the Penguins played the Red Wings, this happened:
-Neal has 399 career games.
-Adams has 99 career assists.
-Kindl has 199 career games.
-Miller has 98 career points.
-Our live blog, direct from our couch, begins at approximately 7:15 p.m. Please tune in.
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It’s not the easiest sell in 2014: Solo acoustic versions of “God Save the Queen” and “Pretty Vacant” ... sung by any Sex Pistol let alone one who is not named Johnny Rotten.
Glen Matlock wasn’t even around for the recording of “Never Mind the Bullocks,” having been replaced in early 1977 by Sid Vicious, but the bassist was with the Pistols in the band’s formative years and played a big role in writing the songs on that one and only album.
He’s currently on a Punk Goes Acoustic Tour with Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls, making that a double bill of un-frontmen.
Matlock was an art student who worked at Malcolm McLaren’s London store Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die (later Sex) when he was recruited to play in the Strand with guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook. With the addition of snarling frontman John Lydon (Rotten) in ‘75 and the re-branding as the Sex Pistols, McLaren’s creation became the trailblazers of the British punk scene.
They debuted in February 1976 and by July were joined by The Clash and The Damned. The Pistols’ revolutionary first single “Anarchy in the UK” dropped in late November, followed in December by the infamous TV interview with Bill Grundy and the riotous Anarchy Tour.
In February, Matlock was replaced for Vicious, who couldn’t really play but looked more the part of an evil twin for Rotten. Matlock went on form the Rich Kids (77-79) with Midge Ure, among other bands, along with being a hired gun for Vicious White Kids (led by Vicious for all of one show) and the Faces reunion (2010).
Matlock, now 57, has been back as the Pistols bassist for reunion tours since 1996, running up until the most recent in 2008. His most recent album was 2010’s “Born Running” with the Philistines.
His tour with Sylvain Sylvain stops at the Hard Rock Cafe on Tuesday (8 p.m.; $12/$14; www.ticketfly.com)
So you’re out with Sylvain Sylvain. How did you hook up with him?
We have been mates for some time. This is the second time we’ve done a tour like this together. We’re in similar boats: Known to be sidemen a little bit, but we’re also songwriters, and it’s a good way of getting our stuff across.
How influenced were you by the New York Dolls and New York punk, in general?
Quite a lot. I think Steve Jones was the one who was more influenced by [Johnny] Thunders and stuff. My thing that got me going was all the early rock bands in the early to mid ‘60s — the Kinks and the Who and the Small Faces. That was my yardstick. But I remember going to see the Faces in about 1973 or something and I didn’t really know or care who was on the bill. The New York Dolls were supporting, and that was fantastic, a real watershed moment, coupled with, I used to work with Malcolm McLaren, before the Sex Pistols, in the store, and I heard them talking about [the Dolls] and it all came together in the melange of what was going on. The Pistols were hip to the Dolls and the Stooges and things like that, and the New York punk scene, although we hadn’t heard it at the time because no one had made any records. It seemed to be filling both sides of the Atlantic at the same time. When the Ramones first came to England, the Pistols all went and we were quite shocked that they were on the same page as us without us hearing them or them hearing us. It was kind of funny. I think everybody got fed up with the same old influences and took a step further back.
Back to the early ’60s rock ‘n’ roll, even the mid ’50s.
Yes. There’s a lot of Eddie Cochran in the Pistols stuff and the Dolls stuff and the Ramones stuff. It’s that little 3-minute-30-second vignette of what’s going on in teenage life with a good beat and a good riff and a good tune — all connects into one. That’s what the best rock was to me. What was going on prior to punk with all the prog-rock bands and operas and stadium rock, that was all very remote from what we were trying to do or what was affecting our lives. People were singing about hobgoblins. I mean, there’s not many hobgoblins in London, I can tell you.
And you guys of course brought that brash political element to it. Were you comfortable with that part of it?
I was very comfortable with it. London was a complete dump in the mid ’70s and [inaudible] were on strike all the time, there was rubbish piled high in the streets. There was a real air of despondency, and the song ‘God Save the Queen,’ although the words were never changed, originally it was called ‘No Future.’ And it really seemed like there was no future. But we wasn’t celebrating that fact. We were trying to point out that you don’t let the wool be pulled over your eyes, you do something about it for yourself. And I wrote ‘Pretty Vacant,’ that’s my lyric. It was about that air of despondency, but we don’t care, we’re just going work through this somehow and come up with something. And it wasn’t a literal thing. Hopefully, the music and the lyrics were more than the sum of the parts. You’re attacking some esoteric thing that you can’t necessarily write out in an article or letter to somebody.
Was there a defining moment with the Pistols where you saw that it had taken off and people were behind you?
Yeah, we did this famous TV show, the Bill Grundy Show, and we thought it would be no big deal one way or another, but it turned us into Public Enemy No. 1, and the next day everything changed. And all these bands popped out of the woodwork almost overnight, because they were looking for something. Everybody always knows what they don’t want, but they don’t necessarily know what they want until it’s put in front of them, and we were put in front of them in a big way. Prior to that we’d been on the pages of a lot of the music papers so we’d already been making inroads there. But, I always aspired to be a songwriter. I always dug people like Ray Davies who’d written these fantastic vignette/slice-of-life songs, and that’s what I continue to do, so while the Pistols, I’m proud of that, it was a long time ago and it’s just one thing to my boat.
Watching you do your own thing, I’m reminded more of a Nick Lowe type approach.
Possibly so. I like Nick. I don’t try to be like Nick. There’s other people I prefer more. But I am a singer-songwriter. That’s what I’ve always been and when we do our set, we both do songs from all aspects of our career, but they actually hang other. A Pistols song against a Rich Kids song against something I’m doing now, they all hang together because it was written on an acoustic guitar and they have my same kind of sensibility all the way through. The main thing that does kind of change is the lyrical content. I saw a good interview with John Lennon, where he was talking about ‘Double Fantasy’ or something, and they asked him, ‘Are you still trying to write for kids?’ And he said no, but he thinks he’s writing for the kids who grew up with him, and I suppose I’m doing the same kind of thing. As you get older and go through life, you have a different set of life experiences that you don’t have when you’re 17, 18 years old.
Jumping back, was it difficult for you to leave the Pistols when you did?
No, it was just so intense. It was the right thing to do. And then we did reform in ‘96, of all the bass players in the world they could roust about, they asked me, so I feel I had the last laugh.
How did you only play on 'Anarchy'?
Because most of the record was made after I left, but the majority of them were my songs. Certainly the first three singles. I didn’t write them all, but all the riffs and all the tunes ... and ‘Pretty Vacant’ was my song, so if anybody in the world had those songs, they’d be doing all right.
How long have you been doing acoustic versions of them?
I’ve been doing acoustic sets for the past 15 years. Not all the time. A friend of mine, who’s now a top lawyer in Dubai, he used to live near me and to celebrate his birthday, about 17 years ago, he said why not do a few numbers for him in the local pub where I live in London. And it went down really well, and people started asking me to do it. I was a bit nervous about doing it at first, because I’d never really done that. You’re really on the spot when you’re doing acoustic shows. It’s just you. I get far more nervous doing an acoustic show than I do playing in front of 20,000 people with the band. But that’s a reason to do it, it’s a challenge, and I got better and better at doing it and I think I do a pretty good job. It’s fun. I’m not a po-faced musical musician. There’s some serious content in my songs, but when I play, I like to have a laugh with the audience and I like everyone to go home with a smile on their face. Which they do normally ... unless they’re miserable old gits.
Has Johnny ever given you a hard time for doing these acoustic versions?
You know, I haven’t spoken to Johnny for years and I’m not that interested what he thinks, to be honest. Good luck to him in what he does and hope he thinks the same of me. He’ll probably moan, because he’s a moaning kind of bloke, but I’m not really interested in what he has to say. Sorry, but do you think because Johnny thinks I shouldn’t be doing it that I shouldn’t be doing it? Then you’re very wrong, mate!
What did you think of the decision not to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction [in 2006]?
I think it was a unilateral decision by Johnny Rotten and I don’t agree with it. So there you go. I would have done it. What got me is, we turned that one down and then about two weeks later there was an English one that he went and accepted, so draw your own conclusions from that.