Stud of the Week 02/20/13Posted: 20/02/2013
We created this award to recognize the best player for the Penguins in the past week. This doesn’t have to be the leading scorer or anything like that, this is the guy who contributes the most to victory–it could go to a guy who was dominant in the faceoff circle, who drew a bunch of penalties that resulted in goals, or laid some game changing hits.
Pens went 3-0 this week and, generally speaking, they won three games they should have won. Admittedly none of these were that simple: Ottawa, especially before losing their two best players, were occasionally dominant, and still ought to be considered a playoff contender. Playing the Jets in Winnipeg is never easy and coming from behind with less than 10 minutes left in the game is no mean feat.
With that said there does not seem to be one guy who stood above all others this week, so what follows are several strong candidates.
Pascal Dupuis: 5 goals in the last 7 and the game tying goal in the Buffalo game, suffice it to say that Duper is getting back to his game from last year. On Sunday NBC analysts pointed out that Duper was the only player last year to score 25 goals without scoring any of them on the PP. And that’s the thing about Duper, even when he isn’t scoring that much, he’s still a valuable player, killing penalties, providing energy and leadership. Even if the Pens hadn’t acquired Marian Hossa in the deal, Dupuis for Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen looks like a great deal 5 years on.
Paul Martin: the “Real American Hero” from Sunday’s Hockey Day in America celebration netted the GWG with barely 2 minutes to go, he continues to eat 25 minutes per game, and his mere presence has turned the power play into possibly one of the best in the game. Paul Martin for president.
Matt Niskanen and Kris Letang: they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and for as good as the Pens young defensemen have looked, it was impressive to see how well Nisky and Tanger work together, predict each other’s actions, and contribute in all three zones of the game. Also, really love that Letang is the first new guy onto the ice during the power play, creates a real wrinkle that teams will have to figure out.
This week though we do have a winner, and he’s the first to win the award without actually scoring.
Evgeni Malkin: in part we’re giving this award to Geno because (warning don’t click this link unless you want to feel violent) Ron Cook is an inept buffoon, but the rest of the story is much more complex. Throughout the past week Geno has been dominant away from the puck. He’s commanded the respect of top defensemen, and although he didn’t register a point, he seems to have worked out his defensive game registering more hits and blocked shots than he has in forever. When you talk about doing little things to contribute to a win, just remember Geno’s play this week and smile.