Former NHL referee, Paul Stewart, penned an article Crosby’s on-ice behavior needed correction shortly after Crosby showed up officials with his stick slamming Nov. 15 against the New York Rangers.
Stewart said of Crosby.
“In Saturday night’s game in Pittsburgh between the Rangers and Penguins, Sidney Crosby pushed the envelope a little too far — twice — in his treatment of the officials. Referees Kelly Sutherland and Graham Skilliter showed the patience of Job in not bagging Crosby with an unsportsmanlike conduct let alone the misconduct he deserved.
I do not blame Kelly and Graham for their handling of Crosby. Every official has his own threshold for how much is too much. What I am saying, from my chair, is that the NHL does the game no favors by allowing certain players to become bigger than the game itself.”
The Pens have been awarded 11 power-play chances in their last seven contests (including Nov. 15). In the previous seven tilts they went on 30 power plays.
Granted, some of the difference might be explained in the team’s lack of current work ethic. There are some times when the Penguins haven’t moved their legs the way coach Mike Johnston demands.
In the end, Pittsburgh won’t receive an overabundance of power plays in the playoffs, so the recent outage of opportunities might just be a good thing. After all, Johnston’s stated intent from the first day of training camp was to prepare his team for the postseason — perhaps not just this way.
Crosby on Friday’s loss.
“We didn’t play well, they work hard, pressure the puck, still battle us, do the right things, we didn’t play well at all.”
It’s our work ethic, they just outworked us, it’s not fun saying that after a game. That’s just something that can’t happen. We gotta make sure we work harder.”
A view from the November/December 2014 Scientific Mind
“Practice Doesn’t Always Make Perfect”
Science does not bear out the popular idea that nearly anyone can succeed with enough practice. It takes many thousands of hours of hard work to get to the top – yet time alone is not enough if you lack the other attributes necessary in your discipline, according to a study.
… reviewed 157 experimental results connecting total time spent practicing to ability in sports, music, education, and other areas. On average, practice time accounted for just 12 percent of the variation in performance.
Of course, working hard is a prerequisite for winning in the NHL, but maybe there’s some truth to working smarter, too.
Friday’s loss is concerning if for no other reason than the team hasn’t built up much of a home-ice advantage. Many of the Pens’ worst showings have come at Consol, including three of five regulation losses. A common thread is opponents aggressively forechecking Pittsburgh and keeping the team on its heels.
At this point, the Pens have been forced to switch up lines due to injury. Before Beau Bennett and Marcel Goc got hurt, however, coach Johnston changed lines such as moving Patric Hornqvist back to Crosby’s line and Chris Kunitz to Evgeni Malkin’s. These are good things.
Coaches can’t be afraid to mix things up. It’s refreshing to see a coach have the final say on who plays with whom. Things didn’t work out under Dan Bylsma, unfortunately, and Johnston is showing there are different methods of approach. Coaches need to know what they have. Players gaining experience with teammates other than their usual linemates is also a good thing — who knows what injuries might strike in the postseason, making line shuffling necessary.
That said, it would be beneficial to get the Pens’ second-team power play some additional ice time late in games which have been pretty much decided. Johnston has stuck to putting the first unit out for 60-75 seconds before giving the second unit a chance.
Of course, the first team hasn’t been getting much of a chance lately, let alone the other unit.
It’s strange seeing Martin Brodeur in a St. Louis Blues sweater, but it’s not unusual in sport to see an aging superstar stay well past his welcome. Two players from baseball immediately spring to mind. After playing 20 years for the Cardinals and Phillies, pitcher Steve Carlton tried out for four different clubs his final three years with little success. Willie Mays was another such player who stuck around too long, (though he was a little before my time). There are plenty of stories of how Mays could barely move in the outfield.
If Brodeur wants to kick the tires one more time, more power to him. Sometimes the best way to find out you’re no longer good is by proving it.
- Post-Game Audio (courtesy of Pittsburgh Penguins)
Across The Ocean
Kasperi Kapanen now has six goals and 11 points in 13 games for KalPa Kuopio. Kapanen collected only 14 points in 47 games last season, so the difference between the two seasons is already palpable.
Oskar Sundqvist has scored six goals and 10 points with a plus-9 rating in 16 tilts for Skelleftea AIK.