Penguin Notes: Crosby, Letang, Giroux, George Clooney

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Even when Sid’s bad, he’s really, really good

By John Toperzer

Sidney Crosby’s blind clearing pass behind his own net into the slot Tuesday was one example of a rough night the game’s best player was having. That play led directly to a Vancouver goal. He’d taken a stick to the neck on a faceoff and briefly left the game after taking a puck off his right instep courtesy of an Evgeni Malkin shot. It just wasn’t Crosby’s night — or so it seemed.

The Vancouver Sun’s Ian MacIntyre even went so far as to send out the following tweet after the Canucks turned a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead.

Superlatives don’t do Sidney Crosby justice for his efforts Tuesday night. Let’s just say he’s the best player in the NHL.

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Speaking of the best player in the NHL, former Flyers coach Peter Laviolette proclaimed Claude Giroux as the best around after Philly knocked Pittsburgh out of the 2011-12 playoffs.

Now? Giroux can’t make Team Canada and Laviolette is Penguins coach Dan Bylsma’s assistant for the Olympics. Funny how things work out.

Pens-Flyers Rivalry aside for a second, don’t be surprised if Giroux serves as an injury replacement before it’s all said and done. He’s playing great hockey right now.

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Letang stock soaring. Not even a leaping Tom Sestito check or a Kevin Bieksa slew foot could derail Letang’s manic play Tuesday. Letang has a history of concussion, sinus problems and migraines – if Letang can survive those plays, then you know he’s back. The offensive defenseman glided with ease on the well-manicured Vancouver ice sheet… if Pittsburgh’s ice was only half as good.

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The Penguins play one game in Week 16 after concluding a Western Canada road trip.

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For the life of me, I can’t imagine what Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey talked to George Clooney about for “20 minutes” at a Vancouver restaurant Monday – but I’d like to know.

Errey: “I loved you in ‘The Facts of Life.’”

Steiggy: “This sock-eyed Salmon is great, isn’t it?”

Clooney: “Check please.”

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Game-winning goals should only count when they break a third-period tie. How often does a player get credit for a game-winner that was of little significance earlier in the actual game?

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Little was said or made of Pittsburgh GM, Ray Shero, in attendance at the Pens-Canucks game. Nothing wrong with a general manager scouting potential trading partners.

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Is there a Penguin who gets less respect from the refs on penalty infractions than Simon Despres?

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Bob Grove relayed an interesting comment during Tuesday’s post-game show. Grove said that Mike Lange believes teams which pull their own goalie late in games usually score about one time in every 10 tries. The Penguins scored twice with an empty net behind them to turn a 4-2 deficit into a tie Tuesday. How extreme are those odds?

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Should Penguins fans be a tad nervous about how Evgeni Malkin will play post-Olympics?. Malkin admitted to struggling with the Pens after skating 37 KHL games for Metallurg last year. The difference between the large European ice surfaces and the small North American ones is great.

As much as I enjoy the Olympics, I’d prefer another Cup in Pittsburgh over anything that could possibly happen in Sochi.

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Some folks don’t like seeing Deryk Engelland take a spot in the lineup, but he serves a tangible deterrent purpose.

Col. Jessep, from the movie “A Few Good Men.”

“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.”

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin don’t need enforcers like Wayne Gretzky did, but Engelland helps to keep opponents honest the way no other player on Pittsburgh’s roster can.

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Coach Dan Bylsma is now the winningest coach in Penguins history with 233 regular-season victories. Congratulations to Bylsma, but why is it wrong to question or doubt a coach that has totaled three playoff series wins in the last four seasons? Bylsma’s unwillingness to match lines or adjust his defense prior to this year would’ve gotten a lot of coaches fired.

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Bob Errey should never ever try to pronounce Kevin Bieksa’s name again.

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Treasure Life!
JT

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