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Empty Netter Assists - Recapping Penguins - Canadiens - 09-28-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Right winger Beau Bennett scored the Penguins' only goal in a 4-1 loss to the Canadiens in Quebec City.

-Highlights:

-A good look at Quebec City's Videotron Centre:

-The Penguins will face the Lightning tonight in Johnstown's Cambria County War Memorial.

-The Penguins' lineup for tonight:

Forwards - Josh Archibald, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Patric Hornqvist, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, Matia Marcantuoni, Kael Mouillierat, Sergei Plotnikov, Kevin Porter, Tom Sestito, Conor Sheary, Dominik Uher, Anton Zlobin

Defensemen - Adam Clendening, Ian Cole, Brian Dumoulin, Barry Goers, Ben Lovejoy, Olli Maatta, Reid McNeill, Steve Oleksy, Will O'Neill

Goaltenders - Matt Murray, Jeff Zatkoff

-"They [coaches] definitely haven't seen close to my best hockey so far." - Penguins defenseman Derrick Pouliot on criticism of his play by coach Mike Johnston.

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins assistant coach Jay Leach is hoping to follow the blueprint which has led other Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coaches to the NHL.

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins forward Jon Sim. Claimed off waivers from the Kings late in the 2003-04 season, Sim's Penguins career amounted to 15 games and five points that campaign. In the 2004 offseason, he joined the Coyotes as a free agent.

-After the Jump: SpiderMable!

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Top lineman Buccigrossi done for the season ...... N.J. QB died of lacerated spleen

Written by Mike White on .

One of the top offensive linemen in the WPIAL will not play again this season because of an injury.

North Hills senior Jake Buccigrossi, who is a West Virginia University recruit, will have surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum.

Jake BuccigrossiBuccigrossi said he sustained a dislocation and also a torn labrum this summer. He elected to try and rehab the injury in order to try and play his final high school season. Buccigrossi sat out the first few games. This past Friday against Seneca Valley, the shoulder was dislocated again.

Thus, Buccigrossi will have surgery and is done for the season.

Buccigrossi still plans to graduate early from North Hills and enroll at West Virginia for the spring semester. He is an excellent student and hopes to major in engineering.

Autopsy on N.J. player

A sad story out of New Jersey this weekend. A high school player died after being injured in a game. 

Evan Murray, in his third year as the starting QB for Warren Hills Regional, was hit during a play and walked off the field with some help from his teammates, according to reports. He then collapsed on the sideline but was able to put himself onto a gurney before being taken to a hospital.

Murray later died and the Morris County medical examiner's office said today that Murray died from massive internal bleeding caused by a lacerated spleen. After an autopsy, the medical examiner said there was no evidence of head trauma or heart disease.

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Penguins - Canadiens preview - 09-28-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins will face the Canadiens tonight in Quebec City's Videotron Centre. The preseason game begins at 7 p.m. There is no television coverage locally. 

We will not have a post-game blog since we will not be able to watch it

The Penguins' lines and pairings at today's morning skate in Cranberry were:

49 Dominik Simon - 13 Nick Bonino - 57 David Perron
19 Beau Bennett - 40 Oskar Sundqvist - 23 Scott Wilson
17 Bryan Rust - 39 Jean-Sebastien Dea - 41 Daniel Sprong
42 Tyler Biggs - 36 Matia Marcantuoni - 46 Dominik Uher

51 Derrick Pouliot - 58 Kris Letang
55 Sergei Gonchar - 44 Tim Erixon
4 Rob Scuderi - 5 David Warsofsky

-Right winger (No. 9) Pascal Dupuis (above) did not participate in the morning skate but did skate prior per his medical protocol. 

-EN Says: If we were to wager, we'd guess Dupuis will replaced Simon.

-Goaltender (No. 29) Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start with (No. 35) Tristan Jarry serving as his backup.

According to the team's Web site, the Canadiens did not have regular lines or defensive pairings. Here is the lineup they are dressing tonight:

 

Forwards - 25 Jacob De La Rose, 51 David Desharnais, 81 Lars Eller, 15 Tomas Fleischmann, 27 Alex Galchenyuk, 11 Brendan Gallagher, 54 Charles Hudon, 17 Torrey Mitchell, 14 Tomas Plekanec, 38 Nikita Scherbak, 13 Alexander Semin, 22 Dale Weise

Defensemen - 45 Mark Barberio, 28 Nathan Beaulieu, 74 Alexei Emelin, 32 Brian Flynn, 77 Tom Gilbert, 79 Andrei Markov, 26 Jeff Petry, 76 P.K. Subban

Goaltenders - 39 Michael Condon, 31 Carey Price

 

(Photo: J. Meric/Getty Images)

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Pouliot: 'They definitely haven't seen close to my best hockey so far' - 09-29-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

In Saturday's 4-2 preseason home loss to the Blue Jackets, Penguins defenseman Derrick Pouliot was on the ice for Columbus' first three goals, including two power-play scores in the second period. 

After the game, coach Mike Johnston was frank in talking about Pouliot when asked if he still needs to earn a roster spot entering the regular season:

“For sure he does because he's not a regular NHL player. He's a guy that's played games. The first period, he wasn't getting to loose pucks quick. Then the other thing about his game I see is that he's hanging onto pucks way too much. He's got to move it faster and move it cleaner.”

Pouliot, a former first-round pick in 2012, was expected by many to be on the NHL roster when the season began, perhaps even on the second defensive pairing. With Pouliot "immune" to waivers in regards to being assigned to the AHL, the prospect of him starting the regular season Oct. 8 in Dallas is questionable at best.

He'll get a chance to rebound tonight when the Penguins travel to Quebec City to play the Canadiens. In today's morning skate at Cranberry, Pouliot worked on a top defensive pairing with all-star Kris Letang. 

After the skate, Pouliot was asked about Johnston's remarks:

---

 Johnston offered a frank assessment of how you played Saturday. What's the reaction when you hear that?

"I think he's right. I'm not exactly what he said but I'm sure it was along the lines that I've haven't played my best. It's no guarantee that I'm going to be here when the season starts. I'm trying to correct what needs corrected. Put the other first two [preseason games] in the back of your mind kind of and start fresh. That's all I can do."

You played for him previously in Portland of the Western Hockey League. Has he always been that honest in assessing your play?

"He's very honest. In turn, he expects you to be honest with yourself. They [coaches] definitely haven't seen close to my best hockey so far. So, he's fair in what he's saying."

What details of your game would you say you need to improve?

"Overall [defensive] zone play I think. I've been out there for four or five goals against which shouldn't happen. Got to be sharper in that end. Harder on guys [with physical play]. And I thought my puck play has been below average. That's usually one of the strong parts of my game and it hasn't been up to par."

(Photo: Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)

 

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Three thoughts: West Virginia 45, Maryland 6

Written by Craig Meyer on .

https://usatftw.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/usp_ncaa_football__maryland_at_west_virginia_76256620.jpg?w=1000&h=600&crop=1

(Photo: USA Today)

West Virginia completed its 2015 non-conference schedule with a 45-6 rout of visiting Maryland last Saturday, a win that moves the Mountaineers to 3-0 for the first time since 2012.

Here are a few musings and observations, and one knee-jerk reaction, from that win:

1. This may be the start of something

I was originally going to put 'the start of something special', but the word 'special' is one used a little too liberally in sports. Very few things are special and those that are really, really stand out over the course of history. At West Virginia, the 1988 team was special. As was the 1993 squad. Ditto for the 2005 and 2007 teams that both won BCS bowl games.

At this juncture, I still don't think this Mountaineers team is as good as those, at least in terms of what it can accomplish in a given season. But it's hard to deny what it has been able to do through three games. Dana Holgorsen's team hasn't so much beaten opponents as it's destroyed them, winning its three games by a combined score of 130-23. The 44-0 shutout of a good Georgia Southern side was the first sign this team could be better than expected and a 39-point win against a Big Ten opponent, albeit a less-than-stellar one in Maryland, only heightens that sense.

This team's defense is as good as advertised, especially with an absolutely stacked secondary, and an offense that entered the season with question marks at major positions has quelled those doubts by averaging 43.3 points per game. The toughest challenges begin now, with a four-game slate against four ranked teams in October, but it's hard to not be blown away by the results so far.

2. The sting from the 2013 loss to Maryland was real

In the days leading up to last Saturday's game, the 37-0 loss to Maryland in 2013 was mentioned quite a bit by players and Holgorsen, the latter of whom said it was the worst loss of his head coaching career. It was fair to wonder if the sentiments were genuine. Yes, the loss undoubtedly hurt, but revenge talk like that can often be exaggerated to appease the fans, who want the players and coaches to feel the same pain they did, and by the media, which prefers that juicier storyline over a scripted 'we're just taking it one game at a time' line being repeated over and over.

From watching the game and talking with players about it afterward, the lasting impact of that loss was clear. Mountaineers players continued to cite it as a motivational tool they utilized to push them throughout the game. Though West Virginia took its foot off the pedal offensively in the second half, that lingering sting is one of the few things that could explain Holgorsen calling for a fake punt in the third quarter of a 38-point game. The Mountaineers beat the Terrapins last season, 40-37, but it wasn't the kind of thorough whipping they hoped to avenge. Saturday, they did just that.

3. The rushing attack West Virginia dreamed of may be coming to fruition

A lot was made of Rushel Shell's slow start to the season, and understandably so. It's not often you see such a highly-regarded, physically-imposing running back struggle like he was. If he's able to get back to where he was even last season, the win against Maryland may be viewed as a turning point, as Shell rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He also caught two passes for 33 yards.

Wendell Smallwood has been what many expected he would be this season, a dependable and incredibly versatile threat out of the backfield who is able to make plays both on the ground and through the air. But if Shell comes into form, the Mountaineers will have a thunder-and-lighting combination in the backfield that can complement what has been an accomplished passing attack through three games. In short, West Virginia would have as complete of an offense as it has had in some time.

My weekly overreaction

West Virginia will go 3-1 in October and will be a top-10 team by the end of the month.

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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