Penguin Notes: Crosby, Fleury, Niskanen, Neal


Funny thing is …

I’m not even sure this was Dan Bylsma’s worst coaching job. If he gets fired, then it will be because of the obvious cumulative effect of the past few postseasons, starting with the loss to the Flyers in 2011-12.

It’s fair to ask whether the window is closing on a Sidney Crosby-led team winning another Stanley Cup. Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky won their final Stanley Cups at ages 26 and 27, respectively. Crosby will turn 27 years of age on August 7.

Pittsburgh really built Matt Niskanen’s value by putting him in a position to succeed. The organization didn’t give up on him when he struggled and the public called for him to be traded. In 2013-14, he put together a career year. He deserves to more than double his $2.3 million salary, but not with the Penguins. It only takes one desperate organization to overpay Niskanen. Look no further than Andrew MacDonald, who is the same age as Niskanen, to see what he got from Philadelphia – six years, $30 million.

The Penguins went 1-for-20 in the last three games against the Rangers. Wasn’t New York the team supposed to struggle on the man advantage?

Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma are pretty much tied together at the hip. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist, Dejan Kovacevic, wrote an Olympics column (click here) highlighting the close relationship between the two hockey minds. If Bylsma goes, will Shero follow?

Only five of the NHL’s 30 teams finished with losing records in 2013-14.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury compiled playoff marks, including a 2.40 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, which mirrored his regular season numbers – 2.37 GAA and .915 save percentage. Had more of his teammates performed similarly, they’d be preparing for the Eastern Conference finals right now.

Sidney Crosby scored three goals in his last 23 games, dating back to the regular season. The book on him is to play physical and get him to show emotion. I wrote about how he goes unprotected back on April 1st. Click here in “Penguins lack of well, anything, Tuesday simply unacceptable.” I’m dumbfounded how the NHL could sit back while New York’s Marc Staal assaulted Crosby, only to fine goalie Henrik Lundqvist for squirting a water bottle at him.

James Neal is probably average at best everywhere on the ice, when he’s not scoring goals. He took another bad penalty in Game 7, just when his team got a first-period power-play chance against the Rangers. Neal’s reputation hasn’t quite reached Matt Cooke levels, but its close. The forward has four more years on a six-year, $30 million deal. His deal is too good to simply look to move him at any cost. Forty-goal goal scorers don’t grow on trees.

Trending Up: Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Gibbons, Jussi Jokinen, Matt Niskanen, Brandon Sutter and Tristan Jarry.

Trending Down: Craig Adams, James Neal, Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi.


Dan Bylsma:

Sidney Crosby:

Evgeni Malkin:

Rob Scuderi:

James Neal:

Matt Niskanen:

Brian Gibbons:

Alain Vigneault:

(Courtesy, Pittsburgh Penguins)



Team Notes:

· The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers combined for a series total of 29 goals. It was the lowest combined total in Penguins franchise history, in a 7-game series. The previous total of 31 goals was set in 2009 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.

· The Penguins allowed 15 goals in the series. It was the fewest goals allowed by any Penguins team in a 7-game series ever.

· The team who scored first in the Penguins and Rangers series was 7-0.

Player Notes:

Evgeni Malkin tallied his 8th assist of the playoffs, surpassing Ron Francis sole possession of fourth place on the franchise’s all-time postseason assist with 69.

Malkin tied with Sidney Crosby and Paul Martin for the team lead in assist during the playoffs with 8.

Jussi Jokinen scored his 7th goal of the postseason, leading all Penguins in goals. Jokinen currenlty ranks 2nd in the NHL, 1 behind Marian Gaborik of the Los Angeles Kings.

Olli Maatta notched an assist on the Jokinen goal, giving him 4 assists during the playoffs.

Attendance: 18,635 (334th consecutive sellout)

(Courtesy, Pittsburgh Penguins)


Treasure Life!


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