Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pregame | March 22, 2012 | vs. Predators

Sorry for the break in pregames, we're back though.  The Penguins can clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win or with a Washington loss.


If the season ended today:
4 Penguins (45-21-6) (96 P)
5 Flyers

4 Red Wings
5 Predators (42-23-8) (92 P)

Odds of making playoffs:
Penguins: 100%
Predators: 99.97%

Most likely playoff matchups:
61.9% chance the Penguins face the Flyers
63.7% chance the Predators face the Red Wings

Games remaining:
Penguins: HOME: 6 AWAY: 4 TOTAL: 10
Predators: HOME: 4 AWAY: 5 TOTAL: 9

Penguins point streaks:
Dupuis    7 games    (6 G, 3 A, 9 P)
Malkin    5 games    (5 G, 7 A, 12 P)

Injuries (Games missed)
Brent Johnson, undisclosed (13)
Joe Vitale, undisclosed (2) What to Watch For

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Look Back: The Civic Arena

This evening the Pittsburgh Penguins will be taking on the Winnipeg Jets at CEC at 7 pm EST on Root Sports.

However, less than an hour from game time my attention is not focused solely on the Pens and their push for first place in the east.  Instead, with only months remaining on Old Lady Mellon's clock, I have come to the sobering realization that sooner rather than later she'll be gone.

The Civic Arena was a magical place for all, but not because of the building and the nacho smell that wafted through every corner.  We as people have the tendency to attach our memories and feelings to buildings and inanimate objects.  Believing and hoping that maybe someday things can return to how they once were.

However, at the end of the day, it was magical because of the people.

I'm sure we all have stories of ushers being unimaginably nice, getting to know fans from outside the area,  and all of the things that makes being a hockey fan in Pittsburgh so great.

In reflection of the old barn, I thought I'd put together a compilation of things I'll miss most from Mellon.


Many of us had the pleasure of hearing a legend, Vince Lascheid, tickling the ivories.  Today is the 3 year anniversary of his passing, and his effect on me has never lessened. I remember my first Penguins' game in 1995 hearing that organ, which inspired me to beg for piano lessons that I would then take for the next 10 years of my life.  Of course, at the time I didn't know who it was who was playing, but I will never forget Vince, and all the service he put in for both the Pirates and Penguins.


John Barbero, what more can be said?  He, being another legend that graced Lady Mellon, brought a certain style and charisma to public address announcing that no other can match.  He defined an era in Pittsburgh with his patented goal calls and his fantastic attitude.  He passed on July 26th, 2010 due to an inoperable brain tumor.  However, his legacy lives on in each and everyone of us who had the pleasure of attending a game.


The "Cotton Candy Man" defined the fan experience in Pittsburgh.  The voice that carried "COTTON CANDY HEERE!", "LEMONADEEEE!", and "COKEEE HERE!" gathered one of the largest followings, one even larger than players.  Ken's commitment to his work is something we can all appreciate as a blue collar city. Sadly, Ken passed away on May 9th, 2011.

As Lady Mellon falls in May, we must make certain not to forget those who brought us so much joy, happiness, and those that defined our experiences at The Civic Arena.  Our memories are as much of them as they are of the games that took place.  I leave you with this video.

We will be keeping our twitter open for any remarks you'd like posted, and feel free to comment.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pregame | March 15, 2012 | vs. Rangers

The Penguins look to extend the NHL's longest active winning streak to 10 games.


If the season ended today:
4 Penguins (42-21-5) (89 P)
5 Flyers

1 Rangers (44-18-7) (95 P)
8 Capitals

Odds of making playoffs:
Penguins: 99.996%
Rangers: 99.9999999%

Most likely playoff matchups:
70.6% chance the Penguins face the Flyers
30.9% chance the Rangers face the Capitals

Games remaining:
Penguins: HOME: 7 AWAY: 7 TOTAL: 14
Rangers: HOME: 8 AWAY: 5 TOTAL: 13

Penguins point streaks:
Jordan Staal 8 games (3 G, 8 A)
Pascal Dupuis 3 games (3G, 2A)

Injuries (Games missed)
Brent Johnson, undisclosed (10)
Paul Martin, illness (2) What to Watch For

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sidney Crosby's First Game Back? In New York? YES

UPDATE x2: Playing Thursday!

All signs point to Sid returning in the very near future.  The Pens hit the road for three division games starting Thursday in New York, before returning home the following Tuesday for a game against the Jets.

All of his opponents for the first few games are charted out at the end of this post, but read on!

Throughout his career, Sidney has absolutely torched the Rangers so maybe waiting until Thursday would be the best idea.  If this is the case, Sid would have a full week from today to prepare for his 2nd debut.

As always, we'll keep you updated on any and all Sidney Crosby updates through our Twitter.

And for your viewing pleasure, here's a chart of what would be Sidney's first few games and how he has done against those teams throughout his career.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Look at the Penguins Playoff Scenarios

No matter if New York wins or loses tonight the Penguins are still 2 points back and find themselves in 4th place.  We're going to take a look at various situations here and their probabilities of occurring.  A huge thanks to SportsClubStats for the work they do to keep their site updated.

  • Right now the Penguins have a 99.998% probability of making the playoffs.
  • They current have the highest probability of finishing the season with a 8-5-1 record giving them 106 points.
    • If this is the case they have a 80% probability of finishing in 4th place, a 17% probability they finish in 5th, and a 2% probability they grab the 1 spot.
    • This also gives them a 67% probability they play the Flyers and a 26% probability they play New Jersey.
    • Also, this probability I don't see much use for, but this gives them a 8.6% probability of winning the Cup.
      • Take this probability with a grain of salt, as there really is no "probability of winning the Stanley Cup."
  • Overall there is a 56.6% probability the Penguins will play the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs while the probability that they play New Jersey are 21.0%.  All other teams have less than a 10% probability.
Here is more info on possible seeding:
  • The highest probability of winning the Stanley Cup in the Eastern Conference is given to the Bruins at 16.8%
    • Again, do not take this probability seriously at all.
  •  The Penguins have a 61% probability of finishing in 4th place in the East.
    • The Flyers have a 21% probability of finishing 4th.  The Rangers have a 14% probability and the Devils have a 5% probability of finishing 4th.  So there is your 100%.
  • The Penguins have a 20% probability of finishing 5th.
    • The Flyers have a 51% probability of finishing in the 5 spot.
    • Overall, the website is giving the Penguins a 9.0% probability of winning the Stanley Cup.
And here is the one you're all interested at this point:
  • The Penguins have a 13% probability of finishing 1st.
    • The Rangers have a 84% probability of locking up the 1st seed.
The average finishing position of the Penguins right now is 3.9.  That is simply the arithmetic mean of running simulations over and over.

In addition to the probabilities mentioned, the Penguins also have a 5% probability of finishing in 6th place.

UPDATED: Monday, March 12, 2012 1:00 PM

Pregame | March 9, 2012 | vs. Panthers

The Penguins look to extend the NHL's longest active winning streak to 9 games.


If the season ended today:
4 Penguins (41-21-5) (87 P)
5 Flyers

2 Bruins (40-24-3) (83 P)
7 Senators

Odds of making playoffs:
Penguins: 99.99%
Bruins: 99.99%

Most likely playoff matchups:
63.6% chance the Penguins face the Flyers
64.3% chance the Bruins face the Senators

Games remaining:
Penguins: HOME: 8 AWAY: 7 TOTAL: 15
Bruins: HOME: 6 AWAY: 9 TOTAL: 15

Penguins point streaks:
Jordan Staal 7 games (3 G, 7 A)

Injuries (Games missed)
Sidney Crosby, concussion-like symptoms (40)
Brent Johnson, undisclosed (9)
Kris Letang, symptoms (5)
Paul Martin, illness (1) What to Watch For

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pregame | March 9, 2012 | vs. Panthers

Marc-Andre Fleury will be back in net tonight as the Pens take on the Panthers trying to extend their winning streak to eight games.  The Penguins current seven game win streak is the longest active streak in the NHL.


If the season ended today:
4 Penguins (40-21-5) (85 P)
5 Flyers

3 Panthers (31-23-12) (74 P)
6 Devils

Odds of making playoffs:
Penguins: 99.99%
Panthers 77.2%

Most likely playoff matchups:
67.6% chance the Penguins face the Flyers
27% chance the Panthers face the Devils

Games remaining:
Penguins: HOME: 9 AWAY: 7 TOTAL: 16
Panthers: HOME: 8 AWAY: 8 TOTAL: 16

Penguins point streaks:
Jordan Staal 6 games (3 G ,6 A)

Injuries (Games missed)
Sidney Crosby, concussion-like symptoms (39)
Deryk Engelland, lower body (2)
Brent Johnson, undisclosed (8)
Kris Letang, symptoms (4) What to Watch For

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sidney Crosby Roughed Up By Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi

Well I take back what I said about Sid having the day off because clearly he did not.  This video shows Sid puck handling like no other around stickless Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi.  DJ and ET were doing their best Zdeno Chara impersonations by not playing the puck and only playing the man.  Sid took a tumble in this video but got right back up and was doing his thing.

Update: According to Shelly Anderson of the Post Gazette, media was not invited to today's practice session for Sid, Dustin, and Eric.

Article: Sidney Crosby gets knocked around by his Penguins teammates
Source: Toronto Star

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pregame | March 7, 2012 | vs. Maple Leafs

The Pens take on the Maple Leafs tonight on Mario's day.  They have won 6 straight and look to make it 7 tonight with Brad Thiessen in net.


If the season ended today:
4 Penguins (39-21-5) (83 P)
5 Flyers

Maple Leafs
Points Behind 8th: (WPG): 5
Behind Div. Leader: (BOS): 14

Odds of making playoffs:
Penguins: 99.99%
Maple Leafs 13%

Most likely playoff matchups:
70.9% chance the Penguins face the Flyers
9.8% chance the Maple Leafs face the Rangers

Games remaining:
Penguins: HOME: 10 AWAY: 7 TOTAL: 17
Maple Leafs: HOME: 7 AWAY: 9 TOTAL: 16

Penguins point streaks:
Evgeni Malkin 8 games (6 G, 6 A)
Jordan Staal 5 games (2 G ,5 A)
Paul Martin 3 games (0 G, 4 A)
Zbynek Michalek 2 games (1 G, 0 A)

Injuries (Games missed)
Sidney Crosby, concussion-like symptoms (38)
Deryk Engelland, lower body (1)
Brent Johnson, undisclosed (7)
Kris Letang, symptoms (3)

PensTV: What to Watch For

Le Magnifique in Pictures: Mario Lemieux's Statue Unveiled

Billy Guerin and his wife arrive

Pittsburgh media and such

Crowd starting to fill in

More of the crowd

Mike Lange

Lange once again

The Man

Last picture of statue covered up

Removing the cover

Le Magnifique cheesing after the unveiling

66 talking after the unveiling

Statue from the side

CEC with its new addition

Le Magnifique

Old lady Mellon

The Mating Game: The Search for Sid's Perfect Match

Welcome to The Mating Game:

Sponsored by:
Tonights game features a Mr. Sidney Crosby, Center and Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins:
Sidney has already won every major scoring award and championship in professional hockey and is unanimously regarded as the best player in hockey. However, after a long layoff Sid is looking for a new winger to tap in some gimmies after his former line-mate ran away with another man.

Well, let's get this underway folks, time to meet our contestants:

Possible Linemate Number 1:
What are your best qualities?
PL1: Being a well rounded forward who is capable of playing both sides of the puck, who has a history of 20+ goal seasons.

Center/Winger- Jordan Staal

The story: Last year, Jordan was thrust into the role of a top-line center right off of an injury and it showed.  While, he did some impressive things he was eventually replaced with Letestu on the first line.  This season, however, he has had somewhat of a re-emergence in a second line role behind Evgeni Malkin.  Staalsy is having a fantastic season with 21 Goals in 45 Games even after missing 5 weeks this season with a knee injury.

The good: Staal has shown an improved shot this season and is on a career-best pace for goals.  He has also proved thus far this season that he can be a top-6 goal scorer.  Along with the emergence of Joe Vitale and Richard Park, the 3rd and 4th line center positions would have adequate fillers.  Staal would be able to help fill in the size that was lost on Sid's wing with the departure of Chris Kunitz.

The bad: The possibility of Jordan Staal: Stone Hands re-emergence.  There is nothing more frustrating than when Staal fires a puck completely wide of the net when in a prime scoring area.  Fans had become accustomed to this over his career, but it seems he has solved that problem this year.

Possible Linemate Number 2:
What car would best describe you?
PL2: A 1961 Jaguar E-Coupe, a vintage sports car with speed left to burn.

Winger- Steve Sullivan

The story: An early season whipping boy for many fans who were still bitter about #jagrwatch, Steve Sullivan has more than lived up to his billing of 1.5 million this season.  He has helped transform a power-play that was ranked 25th last year (15.8%), into one of the NHL's top 5 power-play (20.1%).  And while some would be willing to attribute that to the Penguins spending the last months of last season without their top 2 offensive players.  It was painfully obviously that even with Geno and Sid, the power-play was not performing as it should with two of the top players in the world.

The good: Sully has the skill and speed to keep up with Sid when he's at 100%, and has the ability to cash in on open space.  While his shot still isn't what it used to be, he has shown this year that he has sufficient talent to still perform in a scoring role.  He is on pace for 16 Goals and 30 Assists in 81 games, and is one of the hottest Penguins right now with 8 points in his last 5 games.  Sully has also been uncharacteristically healthy this season. (knock on wood)

The bad: Steve Sullivan has looked much better since being moved off Evgeni Malkin's line earlier in the season.  However, that raises questions of his ability to perform for long stretches on a top line.  That, coupled with the grind of playing a projected 81 games over this season, I would be concerned with his stamina through the playoffs.

Possible Linemate Number 3:
If you had to use one word to describe your playing style what would it be?
PL3: Shoot-first.

Winger-Tyler Kennedy

The story: TK has taken a lot of flack this season for not performing as a top-6 winger, while some of the criticism is deserved, some is not due to his injury riddled season.  It's fair to say that TK's strongest attribute is his willingness to throw the puck to the net, and his ability to get it there.

The good: TK's willingness to shoot and get the puck through would help Sid by creating rebounds that Sid could bang in, and Sid would be able to open up space for TK to hopefully get back to 20 goal form.

The bad: Most would be willing to agree that TK is a 3rd liner, and he is good in that role.  While, he did vastly out-perform his 3rd line role last season, it's not something he will be capable of doing season after season.

Sid's Choice:
J. Staal helps provide Sid with the size needed to replace the Koon.  He has also established himself as more than a 3rd line center and he has established himself as a top-6 finisher this season.  While, not only being a threat for Sid, Staal also has experience with Pascal Dupuis.  His chemistry with Dupuis, and Dupuis' chemistry with Sid should provide for a fantastic 2nd scoring line.

(this prediction is based off the idea that the 1st line stays together, and Dupuis is on Sid's other wing)

Let the games begin.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sidney Crosby's Résumé

In case you have forgotten, here is a brief rundown of Sidney Crosby's career thus far. 

Position: C
Shoots: Left
Ht: 5-11
Wt: 200
DOB: 8/7/87
Birthplace: Cole Harbour, NS
Acquired: Drafted by Penguins in the first round (1st overall) of the 2005 Entry Draft.

• In 6 NHL seasons, has already won the Stanley Cup (2009), Hart Trophy (MVP - 2007), Art Ross (scoring champion - 2007), Rocket Richard (goal-scoring champion - 2010 - tied with Steven Stamkos), Ted Lindsay (outstanding player as voted on by peers - 2007) and Mark Messier Leadership Award (2010).

• Alternate captain of Canada’s 2010 Olympic gold-medal winning team, scoring the medal-deciding OT goal against the U.S. in Gold Medal Game.

• Started the 2010-11 campaign by scoring 32 goals and 66 points in first 41 games before missing the rest of the year with a concussion.

• Posted a 25-game scoring streak from Nov. 5 to Dec. 28, 2010, totaling 50 points (26G-24A). The 25-game run is 3rd longest in team history and tied for 8th longest in NHL history. Only 5th player in NHL history to average a goal per game in a streak of 25 games or more (Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Steve Yzerman & Bryan Trottier).

• Also recorded a 19-game scoring streak from Oct. 6 to Nov. 17, 2007 for 30 points (11G-19A).

• Posted 100-plus points, 50-plus assists 4 times in career.

• Notched 30-plus goals 5 times in career.

• Became youngest captain in NHL history (19 years, 9 months) and youngest captain in NHL history to lead his team to a Stanley Cup title (21 years old).

• Career average of 1.32 postseason points per game ranks 3rd in NHL history behind only Wayne Gretzky (1.83) and Mario Lemieux (1.6) - minimum 40 games played.

• 3rd-youngest player to reach 500 points (22 years, 244 days) in NHL history: Wayne Gretzky (21 years, 52 days); Mario Lemieux (22 years, 172 days).

• Set 3 career milestones Oct. 18, 2008 vs. Toronto with his 100th goal, 200th assist and 300th point.

• Tied NHL single-season playoff record by scoring the 1st goal in a game 6 times (2009).

• Youngest player in NHL history to reach 200 points (19 years, 207 days) with a goal March 2, 2007 vs. Carolina.

• In 2007, became youngest scoring champion (120 points), youngest Ted Lindsay recipient and second-youngest league MVP (Wayne Gretzky).

• Ranked 5th in NHL scoring (102 points) as 18-year-old rookie in 2005-06 and youngest player in league history to reach 100 points. His 102 points surpassed Mario Lemieux’s team rookie record of 100 points (1984-85).

• Represented Canada at World Championships (2006) and World Junior Championships (2004, ‘05). Won gold in ‘05 and silver medal in ‘04 tournament.

• Youngest player to lead World Championships in scoring with 16 points (8G-8A) in 2006 (18 years old).

• Played 2 seasons with Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2003-05.

• Was named Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year and won scoring champion in each of his 2 seasons of CHL play (2004 and ‘05).

• Led Rimouski to QMJHL title and Memorial Cup berth in 2005.

• His 135 points in 2003-04 were 2nd most by a 16-year-old in CHL history behind Wayne Gretzky (182, Sault Ste. Marie, 1977-78).

• Averaged 2.51 points per game with Rimouski, the 2nd-highest average in CHL history behind Mario Lemieux (2.81).

• Holds 2nd-highest single-season points per game total (2.71, 2004-05), behind only Mario Lemieux (4.03, Laval, 1983-84).

• Father Troy was a goaltender for Verdun of QMJHL and was drafted by Montreal in 1984.

• Won ESPY award for Best NHL Player 4 years in a row (2007-10).

• Top-voted player in All-Star Fan Balloting for 4 straight seasons (2007-10).

• Lists Steve Yzerman as hockey idol.

• Signed through 2012-13 season.

Goals: 3 (5 times), 2/1/10 vs. BUF
Assists: 5 (1 time), 12/13/06 vs. PHI
Points: 6 (2 times), 1/19/10 vs. NYI (2G-4A)
PIM: 21 (1 time), 1/3/09 vs. FLA
SOG: 9 (4 times), 1/3/10 at FLA
Hat Tricks: 5, 2/1/10 vs. BUF (3G)
Goal Streak: 6, 12/5/06-12/15/06 (6)
Assist Streak: 9, 12/20/07-1/8/08 (13)
Point Streak: 25, 11/5/10-12/28/10 (26G-24A)

Mario Lemieux Statue: Leaked Photo UPDATED

Via Rich Walsh's Twitter here's is a leaked photo of what the Le Magnifique statue will look like:

UPDATE: Here is the goal that this statue depicts: December 20, 1988 (Lemieux from Errey & Quinn)

If this is the case, boy what a disappointment.  Here would have been my picks for photos to model the statue of:

What do you think?  Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

According to the Pittsburgh Penguins website:
“Le Magnifique,” a spectacular statue honoring the career and achievements of Mario Lemieux, will be unveiled on Wednesday, March 7 at CONSOL Energy Center, the team announced.
The unveiling will take place at 12 noon in a ceremony open to the public. The statue will be located in the plaza just outside the Trib Total Media Gate at CONSOL Energy Center, near the intersection of Centre Avenue and Washington Place.
The statue was created by nationally-acclaimed bronze sculptor Bruce Wolfe ( James Frederick of James Gallery in Pittsburgh’s West End Village was the art consultant on the project.
“Mario Lemieux is a unique figure in the history of Pittsburgh – a Hall of Fame athlete who went on to buy the Penguins and become the first player-owner of the modern era, and also a community-minded citizen who continues to raise millions of dollars for cancer research and neonatal research,” said David Morehouse, CEO and President of the Penguins. “This statue will be an everlasting tribute to his legacy.”
The statue was funded privately by the Penguins’ ownership group, local labor organizations and members of the Pittsburgh business community.
The Penguins host the Toronto Maple Leafs that night at 7:30 p.m. at CONSOL Energy Center. The game will be televised nationally by NBC Sports Network and in Canada by TSN.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Crosby, Malkin, and Staal Graphical Analysis

Here's a spreadsheet and some charts on the Penguins Big-3 since Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin's rookie season. All I can say is, once the Pens get all three healthy, watch out NHL.  Do with these as you please, if you use them elsewhere, please credit @GotKasparaitis.

Thank you!

Pregame | March 5, 2012 | vs. Coyotes

The Penguins have won 5 straight games and look to make that 6 tonight against the Coyotes.


If the season ended today:
4 Penguins (38-21-5) (81 P)
5 Flyers

3 Coyotes 33-23-9 (75 P)
6 Blackhawks

Odds of making playoffs:
Penguins: 99.98%
Coyotes 83.6%

Most likely playoff matchups:
73.4% chance the Penguins face the Flyers
22% chance the Coyotes face the Blackhawks

Games remaining:
Penguins: HOME: 11 AWAY: 7 TOTAL: 18
Coyotes: HOME: 8 AWAY: 9 TOTAL: 17

Penguins point streaks:
Evgeni Malkin, 7 games (6G-5A)
Steve Sullivan, 7 games (3G-8A)

Injuries (Games missed)
Sidney Crosby, concussion-like symptoms (36)
Brent Johnson, undisclosed (5)
Tyler Kennedy, high ankle sprain (11)
Kris Letang, symptoms (1)

PensTV: What to Watch For

Pens are 3rd in the NHL's Power Rankings (Up from 7 last week)
Nice paragraph about Brad Thiessen as breaks down the best goalie prospects in the Eastern Conference

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pregame | March 3, 2012 | @ Avalanche

The Penguins have won 4 straight games and look to make that 5 tonight against the Avalanche.


If the season ended today:
4 Penguins (37-21-5) (79 P)
5 Flyers

9 Avalanche (33-28-4) (70 P)
Points Behind 8th: (DAL): 3

Odds of making playoffs:
Penguins: 99.9%
Avalanche 20.4%

Most likely playoff matchups:
56.0% chance the Penguins face the Flyers
9.3% chance the Avalanche face the Canucks

Games remaining:
Penguins: HOME: 11 AWAY: 8 TOTAL: 19
Avalanche: HOME: 8 AWAY: 9 TOTAL: 17

Penguins point streaks:
Evgeni Malkin, 6 games (5G-5A)
Steve Sullivan, 6 games (2G-7A)
Pascal Dupuis, 4 games (2G-2A)

PensTV: What to Watch For