Gameday #1: Philadelphia Flyers

pens-flyers

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS at Philadelphia Flyers

Game Time: 3:00PM, NBC

It’s here. You may not want to care, but guess what, it gets under your skin. You start to think about last year’s playoff series. You start to feel the hate. You start to see Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, gloating. You see the Jagr betrayal. You see Briere offsides, and thats when you start to feel it. This isn’t just a game. This is a passion, this is a way of life, and if you don’t see it that way then face it, you aren’t a fan.

You can be bitter about the lockout. In some ways WE are, but that just proves that you are a fan. You’re such a fan that you believe that the private business negotiations of a private business and their employees somehow has something to do with you. It would be like Chipotle suddenly closing and you viewing it as a personal affront to your being.

But its over now, and in fact, it picks up right where we left off last year. If you needed any motivation to get up for this game, look no further.

48 games, 99 days. It all starts today. The NHL has literally recreated the playoff environment three months ahead of schedule. There isn’t going to be any opportunity for a midseason slump. Every game is war and every war is the battle of all against all. There’s no more time to psych yourself up. It starts today and you have to prepare yourself everyday from now until late June. There will be high points, there will be low points, but you can’t get too cocky or too depressed. This is the NHL, and if you’re here reading this, you need to be ready for it.

Both teams have changed, gone from the Penguins are Steve Sullivan, Zbynek Michalek, Arron Asham, and Jordan Staal. In their place are Eric Tangradi, Simon Despres, Tanner Glass, and Brandon Sutter. The Flyers are different too, out is Jaromir Jagr, James van Riemsdyk, Matt Carle, and Sergei Bobrovsky, in their place is a bunch of defensemen. And let’s be real, that is a point blank challenge to the Penguins, they believe that Claude Giroux and company are good enough to score all the points they need, and they believe this because of what they did to the Penguins in the playoffs last year.

All rights reserved, thePensblog.com

All rights reserved, thePensblog.com

Remember how he got himself suspended for their elimination game in the semifinals last year? What a joke…

It’s time to prove them wrong. If you don’t think so, you’re just not ready.

Go Pens.

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Pens Lock in 23 Man Roster

The Pens have officially whittled their roster down to 23 today. Jayson Megna, Beau Bennett, and Phillipe Dupuis (who I literally didn’t know was called up) have all returned to the Baby Pens. The Pens also tried to pass Brian Strait back down to the minors, but the Islanders decided they wanted him instead.

Good luck and god speed Strait, we hardly knew ye

Gonna miss that beard.

It’s a shame that he’s gone but this is his opportunity to stick at the NHL level and I’m happy that he’s got that opportunity. I’m not here to suggest that there is blood in the water between Bylsma and Shero, but I’m sure Shero would have preferred to send Simon Despres back to the AHL and keep Strait in Pittsburgh. I’m sure Bylsma feels like the Pens will be best served by playing the more talented but less polished Despres. During the Cup run years in 08 and 09 Kris Letang played smaller minutes, but when he did he was a huge X-factor: it seems obvious to me that Bylsma thinks that lightning can strike twice in that sense.

It’s no secret that if the Pens were forced to send Strait or Robert Bortuzzo back to the AHL there would likely be interested parties in taking them off of waivers. The only guaranteed solution to keeping him in the Penguins organization would have been to keep him in Pittsburgh. The Pens didn’t do that and there’s nothing we can do or complain about.

You may be bummed that Bennett got sent back down to the AHL, but you have to remember this, he’s never played PROFESSIONAL hockey before this season. There’s no doubt that he has talent, but as an American college player he needs time to develop in a way that CHL guys often times don’t. As we wrote about earlier this week, he’s well ahead in his development but he needs to get bigger and stronger, and until he does he probably won’t be an ideal fit with the big club.

According to Rob Rossi the Pens plan to use both Tanner Glass and Eric Tangradi on the left wing with Malkin and Neal. Big Dawg will play with them when the Pens are looking for goals and they’ll change to Glass when they’re guarding a lead late in a game. That sounds like a beautifully simple plan to deal with a frustrating problem. Game day is literally minutes away.

I don’t often care for Rossi but another interesting article here.


Penguins Season Preview: Centers

t’s finally here, we are actually previewing the actual guys who will be donning the Pittsburgh Penguins sweater this year. Back on Monday we previewed the goalies, on Tuesday we shifted our focus to defense, yesterday we covered wingers, and today the centers, before finally making our BOLD predictions for the year.

We’ve attempted to look at each player from a point/counterpoint perspective–that’s not to say that we are going to totally disagree on each player, far from it, we want to examine both the statistical expectations for each guy AND express our “feel” or read of the player.

We hope you enjoy and we would love for you to get back to us with your thoughts and feelings. If you haven’t read them yet, please check out our series on Advanced Hockey Statistics: Goals Versus ThresholdPoints per 60 Minutes, and Player Usage Charts (including Corsi numbers). Get the business after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


Recap: Black and Vegas Gold (White) Game

We’re not doing a real recap of this non-real game. I’ll be honest I didn’t really watch the entirety of the game and it was pretty disorienting to try to tell who each player was with so many AHL guys filling out the rosters. Below will just be a few thoughts on the guys who jumped out the most last night.

Sorry we didn’t do our winger previews yesterday, Mike is dealing with the illness that seems to be hitting everyone and I’m just not prepared to take this on all by myself. One way or another we’ll publish the wingers, centers, and predictions before 3:00PM Saturday. Can’t say it enough: thanks for bearing with us for this thing. Read the rest of this entry »


Penguins Season Preview: D-Men

t’s finally here, we are actually previewing the actual guys who will be donning the Pittsburgh Penguins sweater this year. Yesterday we previewed the goalies, today we move onto defense, and yet to come are wingers, and then the centers, before finally making our BOLD predictions for the year. We’ve attempted to look at each player from a point/counterpoint perspective–that’s not to say that we are going to totally disagree on each player, far from it, we want to examine both the statistical expectations for each guy AND express our “feel” or read of the player. We hope you enjoy and we would love for you to get back to us with your thoughts and feelings. If you haven’t read them yet, please check out our series on Advanced Hockey Statistics: Goals Versus ThresholdPoints per 60 Minutes, and Player Usage Charts (including Corsi numbers). Get the business after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »


Penguins Season Preview: ‘Tenders

It’s finally here, we are actually previewing the actual guys who will be donning the Pittsburgh Penguins sweater this year. Today we’re starting with the goalies before moving out to defense, wingers, and then the centers, before finally making our BOLD predictions for the year. We’ve attempted to look at each player from a point/counterpoint perspective–that’s not to say that we are going to totally disagree on each player, far from it, we want to examine both the statistical expectations for each guy as well as our “feel” or read of the player. We hope you enjoy and we would love for you to get back to us with your thoughts and feelings. If you haven’t read them yet, please check out our series on Advanced Hockey Statistics: Goals Versus Threshold, Points per 60 Minutes, and Player Usage Charts (including Corsi numbers). Get the lowdown after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »


Your 2013 Pittsburgh Penguins Schedule

It’s officially official, the NHLPA ratified the new CBA late last night and the Pens will be in training camp before the end of the day today! What a relief! Look at all these exclamation points! And with the ratification, the schedules have gone up, and if I’m honest, things could be a lot worse. Here is the Pens schedule:

2013PensSched

After the break we’ll breakdown what it means and how it plays into the Pens’ favor. Read the rest of this entry »