-At every NHL arena, there are seating charts in the press box for media, arena and team staff, scratched players and scouts. It is posted on a wall or a bulletin board clear as day and there isn't any attempt at disguising who is watching the game for what team. At Consol Energy Center, a list is posted on a desk near the elevator where you step off. There are copies of the list throughout the press box.
-Often times, copies of this list are tweeted out and it usually adds to rumors involving trades. Rumors involving the Penguins and Blue Jackets grew last season when several members of Columbus' management team scouted a few games at Consol Energy Center.
-One things many people seem to never consider when mulling out which scouts are at a game is the fact most times, scouts are there to to check out an future opponent. They're not there to see if that right winger or that backup goaltender might be a good fit for their employer. They're there to see if that right winger or that backup goaltender might be a tough matchup for their opponent two nights later.
This was a copy of the seating chart of Monday's Oilers-Sabres game in Buffalo which was tweeted out:
-The Penguins and many other teams (including the Russian Hockey federation no less) had scouts there. While it's no secret the Oilers and Sabres will be sellers at the trade deadline, the fact that Derek Clancey was there should lead you to no other conclusion than he racked up a few Marriott points. We'll say this; It's far more likely that Clancey was there to provide a report to the coaching staff than he was to provide a report on any trade targets.
-It is funny to note the number of scouts there for that game. Those two teams stink and will almost certainly be sellers at the deadline. When you get games like this, scouts flock to them. It's like group of sharks picking away at a dead whale floating in the ocean.
-Former Penguins all-star forward and head coach Rick Kehoe is almost always at games in Consol Energy Center. It's not because the Penguins and the Rangers are going to make a trade. There hasn't been a trade between the these division rivals since 2003 (Rico Fata, Mikael Samuelsson, Richard Lintner and Joe Bouchard came to Pittsburgh in exchange for Alex Kovalev, Dan Lacouture, Janne Laukkanen and Mike Wilson). Kehoe is usually there to scout the Penguins and the opponent on behalf of the coaching staff.
-Kris Letang will skip another game tonight as he deals with his undisclosed illness. So many ridiculous and absurd rumors have popped up. We don't have an early clue as to what the exact nature of his ailment is but if it was anything extremely serious, we have doubts we would be seeing casually walk around the team's dressing room and other facilities at Consol Energy Center as we did yesterday.
-What a marvelous statistic:
-The Penguins' starters are Tanner Glass, Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Chuck Kobasew, Kris Letang and Taylor Pyatt.
-The Sabres' starters are Brian Flynn, Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons, Christian Ehrhoff, Alexander Sulzer and Ryan Miller.
-Their scratches are Zenon Konopka, Ville Leino and Tyler Myers.
18:44: Rob Scuderi and Robert Bortuzzo have a miscommunication with a puck retrieval behind the Penguins' net and it ends on the stick of Matt D'Agostini. D'Agostini fails to get a clean shot off however.
18:23: Off a drop pass by Malkin, Neal rockets a wrister from the left circle over the cage.
17:17: Jamie McBain chucks a wrister on net from the right point. Fleury fights it off and smothers the rebound as Matt Ellis battles Olli Maatta in the blue point.
16:51: Ehrhoff booms a slapper from the right point over the cage.
16:46: Zolnierczyk pokes the puck by Sulzer at the left point and chases it. Zolnierczyk is tripped up by Sulzer and tumbles to the ice. That's two minutes. Malkin, Neal, Crosby, Kunitz and Niskanen take the ice.
15:48: After Mike Weber fails to clear a puck from his own zone, Crosby plays a pass to the cresae. Kunitz tries to jam it in but Miller sprawls to keep it out.
15:40: Niskanen whacks a one-timer from the left half wall wide of the cage. The puck hits the right corner boards and ends up clearing the offensive zone.
15:17: Jokinen lifts a wrister from the right circle on net. Miller eats it up.
14:55: Off a cross-ice pass by Olli Maatta, Jokinen fires a one-timer from the right circle. Miller reads the play and eats up the shot.
15:46: The Sulzer minor is killed. That wasn't really all that impressive of a power-play for the Penguins.
14:02: The Sabres strike first. After Fleury plays a puck from behind his net and turns it over, Tyler Ennis tries to jam in a forehand wraparound shot from the right of the cage. The puck roles around before Drew Stafford is able to clean up the garbage from the right of the cage. That was ugly. Ennis gets the only assist. Sabres 1-0.
12:39: Flynn swoops around from behind the Penguins' cage, turns a n
12:23: HUGE save! Off a feed by Flynn, Girgensons attacks the net. He cuts across the front of the crease and tries to tuck in a forehand shot but Fleury sprawls and denies him with his glove hand. Wow.
11:15: After Gibbons digs out a puck from the end boards, he deals a pass to Kunitz in the left circle. Kunitz lifts a wrister which Miller fights off.
11:07: A one-timer by Niskanen from the right point is blocked.
11:02: Crosby cranks a slapper from the left point. Miller turns it away.
10:06: D'Agostini lifts a wrister from deep on the right wing. Fleury fights it off.
10:02: Zolnierczyk pushes a puck up the right wing and is smacked into the boards near his bench by Ott. Zolnierczky is shaken up and heads to the bench in distress. He is attend to by an athletic trainer on the bench.
9:12: NBC showed a replay of Deryk Engelland challenging Ott to a fight after the hit. Ott declined. Zolnierczyk heads to the dressing room:
8:29: Ennis rips a wrister from the right circle. Fleury fights it off.
8:09: Ehrhoff strokes a slapper from the right point. Fleury eats it up despite traffic.
7:43: Off a neutral zone faceoff, Engelland and John Scott drop the gloves. Scott uses his size and mostly pushes Engelland around. Engelland primarily plays defense and lands a few shots. Scott lands the majority of the blows and officials step in. That wasn't the first these two have fought:
6:45: Malkin is skating with GIbbons and Kunitz.
5:51: Niskanen corrals a loose puck at the right point and whips a wrister to the far side. It clangs off the far post.
5:30: Another wrister by Niskanen from the right point is fought off by Miller.
4:39: A makeshift fourth line strikes. Zolnierczyk and Crosby chase after a puck in the Sabres' right wing corner againstStafford. Crosby is able to play the puck to Adams in the right circle. Adams controls the puck, draws in two defenders and sneaks a pass to Zolnierczyk driving to the front of the net. Zolnierczyk is able to lift the puck over his blocker and into the net to tie the game. That was a product of hard work. Adams and Crosby get assists. Penguins 1, Sabres 1.
3:25: Stafford coasts in off the right wing and tries to play a puck to the crease. Fleury smothers it.
2:30: Chad Ruhwedel jumps on a loose puck in the right circle and rockets a wrister over the cage.
2:22: The Sabres get a power play as Niskanen high stick Linus Omark while battling for puck behind the net. That's two minutes. Orpik, Adams, Martin and Crosby take the ice.
1:02: Sutter backhands a puck down ice from his own right circle to kill some time and get a line change.
0:23: Short-handed, Crosby pushes a puck up the right wing and taps a drop pass to Orpik in the high slot. Orpik rips a wrister which Miller fights off. that effectively kills off the rest of the Niskanen minor.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Sabres 1.
-The Sabres had a slight edge in that period. They spent most of the period in the Penguins' zone. They just don't have a lot of talent available to convert that possession into goals.
-Fleury seemed to settled own after allowing a leaky first goal.
-Miller seems like he's pretty tuned in.
-Zolnierczyk made a case to stick on this roster with that period. He drew a penalty then shook off a big hit to score the team's only goal thus far.
-The Penguins have a 13-11 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 25-18 lead in attempted shots.
-Niskanen, Kunitz, Jokinen, Orpik, Jayson Megna, Stafford and Ennis each lead the game with two shots on net.
-Ehrhoff leads the game with 9:06 of ice time.
-Martin leads the Penguins with 8:17.
-Faceoffs are even, 12-12 (50 percent).
-Sutter is 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Cody Hodgson is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Maatta, Ruhwedel and Weber each lead the game with two blocked shots.
19:33: A one-timer by Maatta from the left point is wide to the far side.
19:20: A wrister by Ehrhoff from the right point is snagged by Fleury.
18:27: Big save. Martin snaps off stretch pass to spring Sutter on a breakaway. Sutter attacks the net and lifts a wrister which Miller' fights off.
18:19: Batting for the rebound in the right wing corner, McBain trips up Sutter. That's two minutes. Malkin, Neal, Crosby, Niskanen and Kunitz take the ice.
18:02: Off a feed by Girgensons, Flynn re-directs a puck on net from the left circle. Fleury boots it out.
17:52: Death. Taxes and Sidney Crosby scoring on Ryan Miller. Taking a pass on the left wing, Crosby gains the offensive zone, cuts through Weber and Flynn and attacks the net. he lifts a wrister by the glove hand of Miller on the far side and into the cage. What a move and what a shot. There wasn't much room for error on that shot. Niskanen gets the only assist. Penguins 2-1.
15:54: Off a feed by Megna, Kunitz chops a one-timer from the slot. It hops up on him and strikes Weber near the face. Play is halted as Weber was penalized for holding Sutter's stick. Malkin, Neal, Crosby, Kunitz an dNiskanen take th eice.
15:43: Malkin strokes a one-timer from the center point on net. Miller eats it up.
15:18: Off a cross-ice feed by Crosby, Malkin leans down and puts a one-timer on net from the right circle. Miller says no.
15:13: Niskanen pumps a one-timer from the right point on net. Miller fights it off.
15:03: Crosby is denied down low by Miller.
13:54: The Weber minor is killed. The Penguins put a few low percentage shots on net.
11:49: Off a neutral zone turnover by Scuderi Ennis whacks a one-timer from the right wing. Fleury knocks it dead and covers.
10:15: Wheeling around the offensive zone, Malkin lifts a wrister from above the left circle. Miller fights it off.
9:54: A backhander by Neal from the slot is fought off by Miller.
9:49: Orpik strokes a loose puck on net with a slapper from the left point. Miller eats it up.
9:26: Malkin whacks a one-timer from the right circle out of play.
8:39: Ott cuts around a sliding Maatta in the left circle and rips a wrister wide of the far side.
8:10: Ehrhoff tees up a slapper from the left point. It hits a body in front and deflects out of play.
8:04: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Ehrhoff flings a wrister from the right point which is deflected wide.
7:04: Martin taps a pass from the neutral zone to Neal on the left wing and springs him on a bit of a breakaway. From the left circle, he snaps off a wrister which is wide to the far side.
6:35: Off a feed by Malkin, Neal rips a wrister from the slot. Miller fights it off but a rebound hops behind him. Ruhwedel pokes it out of danger.
6:29: A one-timer by Niskanen from the left point is fought off by Miller.
6:13: Things have opened up. Omark pushes the puck up the right wing on a two-on-one against Niskanen. Omark deals a pass to Stafford who whacks a one-timer from the left circle. Fleury stretches to his right and appears to get a piece of it.
6:03: A slapper by Ehrhoff from the left point is blocked by Neal.
5:54: Racing up the right wing against Henrik Tallinder, Crosby lifts a backhander which Miller fights off.
4:13: Hodgson has a chance in right but his stick is denied up by Orpik and he's denied a shot.
3:39: Sutter rips a wrister from the right circle which Miller fights off.
2:55: Maatta has a wrister from the right point blocked by Ellis.
2:21: A slapper by Girgensons from the left point buzzes Fleury's tower and misses the cage.
2:12: Malkin creates his own offense. Stealing a puck at the left point of hte Penguins' zone, he steers his way by McBain and generates a breakaway. He attacks the net, goes forehand/backhand/forehand and tucks a forehand shot by Miller's right leg. What a display of dominance. The goal is unassisted. Penguins 3-1.
1:41: A slapper by Weber is wide of the cage.
0:40: Play is halted with a scrum in front of Fleury. Crosby and Ott are in the middle of it.
0:26: off the endsuing faceoff, Scott mixes it up with Glass. They each get unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Sabres 1.
-Play opened up quite a it that period. Each team exchanged chances. As a result, the Penguins' skill came through and took the lead.
-The Penguins look like they haven't hit full throttle int his game. They could be up by a few more goals.
-Give Miller credit. He's kept the Penguins in check most of the night.
-Neal's shot seems like it's a bit off once again. He's not really picking corners.
-The Penguins lead in shots on net, 28-20.
-The Penguins have a 48-37 lead in attempted shots.
-Malkin leads the game with five shots.
-Stafford leads the Sabres with four shots.
-Ehrhoff leads the game with 16:25 of ice time.
-Martin is right behind him with 16:14.
-The Sabres have a 22-21 lead in faceoffs (51 percent).
-Hodgson is 6 for 10 (60 percent).
-Crosby is 10 for 17 (59 percent).
-Weber leads the game with four blocked shots.
-Niskanen, Maatta and Martin each leads the Penguins with two blocked shots.
20:00: The period will begin four-on-four with Glass and Scott in the penalty box.
18:30: Play returns to five-on-five.
14:57: After a few stagnant minutes, Weber buries Glass with a strong hit into the Buffalo's right wing corner.
14:40: Game. Set. Match. Sutter beats Ott cleanly on a faceoff in the Sabres' right circle. Gibbons jumps off the left wing and rips a wrister over the left shoulder of Miller on the near side. What a shot! Sutter gets the only faceoff. The Penguins just need to sit on this lead the rest of the way. Penguins 4-1.
13:50: A wrister by Ehrhoff from the left point is deflected wide by Ott.
11:20: A slapper by Ehrhoff is blocked.
8:26: Foligno whips a wrister from the right wing. Fleury fights it off.
7:48: The rout is on. Off a give-and-go with Neal, Malkin gains the offensive zone ont he right wing and leaves a drop pass for Neal above the left circle Neal cuts to the high slot and rips a wrister through traffic by the blocker of a hapless Miller. Malkin gets the only assist. Penguins 5-1.
4:56: A slapper by Ehrhoff is off the mark.
2:39: A slapper by Tallinder from the left circle hits the side of the cage.
0:58: Off a turnover by Adams in his own zone, Scott steals a puck and lifts a wrister. Fleury steals it. Adams owes Fleury a beer.
0:47: Ellis is called for boarding Scuderi in the Penguins' left wing corner. That's two minutes. Engelland, Glass, Neal Maatta and Martin take the ice.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 5, Sabres 1.'
-There wasn't much drama to that one. The best team in the Eastern Conference beat up the worst team in the Eastern Conference. It was a clean two points and a few players got to pad their stats.
-The best things the Penguins got out of this game, aside from the win, was the fact that a few players generated some offense who were in some "slumps."
-Sidney Crosby got a goal after five games without one. James Neal got a goal for the second consecutive game after going eight games without one. Brian Gibbons got a goal for the second consecutive game after going five games without a goal. Harry Zolnierczyk got a goal after being marooned in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since December. This game could provide a confidence booster for a handful of players.
-Zolnierczyk really offered a spark for the Penguins with a strong first period. He drew a penalty, bounced back from a big hit and scored their first goal. He gave management something to consider as it tries to figure out the bottom six forwards.
-Marc-Andre Fleury bounced back after allowing a leaky first goal. He wasn't challenged a great deal as the game wore on but he had to come though with a few tough saves while the game was still tight.
-The Sabres played about as well as they could within their limitations. They skated hard and gave the Penguins some issues early on with their hustle. Eventually, the Penguins' overwhelming advantage in talent won this game.
-They weren't facing the 1983-84 Oilers by any means, but Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin came through with another relatively clean game as a defensive duo. They didn't allow the Sabres much in the way of offensive chances and even chipped in in terms of helping create some offensive chances.
-Say what you will about fighting but the Penguins stood up to the antics of that ogre John Scott. Deryk Engelland and Tanner Glass in particular didn't back down from the Sabres' enforcer.
-The Penguins' special teams hummed along with one power play goal on four chances and one successful kill on as many chances on the penalty kill.
-We wouldn't draw many conclusions on Ryan Miller based on this game. He was tortured by a Penguins offense which ripped his defense apart. Miller doesn't deserve this much abuse.
-There's so much talk about who the Sabres will trade but are there many pieces on this team which can help a playoff contender? This is a rotten group of players.
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 34-25.
-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 60-52.
-Evgeni Malkin led the game with five shots.
-Drew Stafford led the Sabres with four shots.
-Christian Ehrhoff led the game with 23:59 of ice time.
-Matt Niskanen led the Penguins with 22:21 of ice time.
-Faceoffs are tied, 26-26 (50 percent).
-Crosby was 11 for 18 (61 percent).
-Cody Hodgson was 6 for 10 (60 percent).
-Mike Weber led the game with four blocked shots.
-Martin led the Penguins with three blocked shots.
-Orpik (131 points) moved past Al McDonough (130) for 66th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list.