Penguin Notes: Paul Coffey, Christian Ehrhoff, Evgeni Malkin

IMG_9899Marc-Andre Fleury with career win 300

Whenever the Penguins go into a regular-season slump, it’s good to keep in mind that their worst season winning percentage since 2006-07 was the year they also won the Stanley Cup.

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I’m convinced the guy who put the Pens over the top and really turned them into a perennial Stanley Cup contender is Paul Coffey. Coffey was the first winner acquired by Pittsburgh during the Mario Lemieux era and gave the team some legitimacy. It’s hard for fans to understand now, but when the Pens traded for Coffey the organization had missed the playoffs five straight seasons – and this was in a league where 16 of 21 teams make the postseason!

In 1983-84, the Penguins won 16 games total over six months. Less than 10 years later they’d win 17 games straight!

The defenseman with three rings from his days with Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers did not disappoint. He brought a winning attitude with him and he took pressure off Lemieux.

Coffey’s first game for the Pens was 27 years ago today, on Nov. 25, 1987 against the Quebec Nordiques. He’d go on to tally three assists in a 6-4 win. Click here for the box score.

As newly-minted college graduates, my old roommate and I tried getting tickets for the game but the scalping business was brisk and we decided to watch the game at a bar by Duquesne University. A guy at the bar said he could get us into the arena for free, so after the first period we walked up to the Civic Arena with him. He led us into a side door. As soon as we got in, he went one way and a security guard starting yelling at my roommate and me. We probably could’ve started running and gotten away from the guard, but I decided not to be a criminal outlaw and just went back out the side door.

We watched the rest of Paul Coffey’s first game as a Penguin from the same bar.

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Listened to Phil Bourque talk about Christian Ehrhoff on Monday during the Mark Madden show (which was hosted by Dejan Kovacevic). The two-time Stanley Cup winner spoke of Ehrhoff’s plus-13 rating being head and shoulders better than Craig Adams’ plus-7, which was second best on the team. Bourque defended Ehrhoff while Kovacevic said he’s gone back and forth on the offseason pickup.

Bourque noted that the defenseman probably isn’t worth $4 million per year, but said that is what the market paid him.

Ehrhoff and Paul Martin are similar players. Ehrhoff has a better shot while Martin seems better with the stick in his own end. It will be interesting to see what happens with Ehrhoff working on a one-year deal, Martin in the final season of a $25 million contract and prospect Derrick Pouliot oozing with offensive potential but honing his defensive game at Wilkes-Barre.

PS — Bourque and Kevin Stevens, both Boston area natives, took money grabs with the Bruins following their successes with the Pens (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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Jokingly, Evgeni Malkin says he scores on “every shootout” against Marc-Andre Fleury. Click here.

This sequence says differently, haha.

IMG_6934IMG_6936IMG_6937IMG_6938

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Links ‘n at

Should the Penguins be looking at a star winger?, Hockey Buzz’s Ryan Wilson reports.

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30 thoughts: Financial woes not unique to Johnson, by Elliotte Friedman.

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Fleury collects career win No. 300 in crucial game against Bruins, Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

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Statistically speaking: Mason standing tall for Flyers, Scott Cullen of TSN reports.

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Treasure Life!
JT
@JohnToperzer

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