Here’s the latest flaw that’s been invented for Sidney Crosby: He’s played his last 22 playoff games without scoring in the third period.
Thing is, in those 22 games, Crosby put together 10 goals and 15 assists. In Game 2 of the current series vs. Ottawa, he netted three times over the first 40 minutes, thereby minimizing the need for a third-period goal.
People love to invent a weak spot for a superstar, then pick at it like it’s a scab. Lies, damned lies and statistics.
In the interest of full disclosure, however, Crosby has just three third-period assists (and one overtime helper) over that 22-game span. Perhaps a breakout third period is in order.
Crosby has always been one to rise to a challenge. No denying Crosby gives maximum effort for 60 minutes and, when necessary, beyond.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
Check out the shirt this guy is wearing while being interviewed by CNN in the middle of the devastation in Oklahoma. CLASSIC.
God bless the tornado victims. Pittsburgh is so lucky: Some occasional flooding, and we have to put up with Franco Harris. THAT'S IT, THAT'S THE LIST.
Dejan Kovacevic wrote about it in the Trib. Here’s an exclamation point.
It’s time for Coach Dan Bylsma to stop screwing around and assemble his top two lines thusly (from left to right): Pascal Dupuis-Sidney Crosby-Jarome Iginla, Chris Kunitz-Evgeni Malkin-James Neal. Only Dupuis switches wings, and he’s never had a problem doing it. Everyone is in a place he perceives to be proper.
Now, not so much. Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis is fine, and Crosby prefers that. But Byslma is the coach, and Crosby can prosper with anyone.
Neal-Malkin-Iginla (or Iginla-Malkin-Neal, whatever it is today) just isn’t working. Neal is much better at right wing than left wing. For Iginla, the situation is more extreme. He just can’t play left wing. He's lost there. Iginla has played right wing for 16 years.
Now is not the time for experimenting. The situation is particularly aggravating because Bylsma briefly tried the right combinations – THEY WORKED – then, out of nowhere, he went back to the wrong combinations.
This is horrific misuse of Iginla. Whether or not Iginla re-ups past this season is of zero concern. But it’s of utmost importance that he produces now.
Iginla has 10 points in nine games. But four of those points came on the power play. Iginla has just two goals. His stats are good. But are they good enough? Iginla’s play doesn’t pass the eye test. Not at left wing.
Neal, meanwhile, has just a goal and two assists in seven games. Neal is streaky. But jumping from wing to wing has him discombobulated.
Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis is perceived as the best line in hockey. But last year, Kunitz-Malkin-Neal was the best line in hockey.
Is this about having the best line in hockey, or about winning the Stanley Cup?
Is this about being right, or about winning the Stanley Cup?
You can’t fault the Penguins’ production. They’re averaging 3.78 goals per game, best in the playoffs. But they could have used one more goal this past Sunday.
There are still 10 more games to win. How much would a red-hot Iginla contribute to that task? Or a more productive Neal?
Crosby, Dupuis and Kunitz are chameleons. They can adapt to anything, and play with anybody. Iginla, Malkin and Neal need a comfort zone. Provide it.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
The Ottawa Senators were ALL DONE. In last night’s game, in the series against the Penguins, for the season.
Then Dan Bylsma stopped thinking. His team did, too. Suddenly, it’s a series.
Consider the key components to last night’s game-tying shorthanded goal by Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson with 28.6 seconds left in regulation:
*There was no need to have a power-play unit on the ice. You’re up 1-0. The instant Ottawa pulls the goalie, you’re playing at even-strength in terms of skaters. That’s just common sense. You don’t need to be Herb Brooks to know that. You needed third-line grit and sensibility, not man-advantage flash.
*Kris Letang and Paul Martin got clustered right. Insanity.
*Evgeni Malkin watched the puck. His man, Daniel Alfredsson, went to the net and scored. Chris Kunitz could have helped there, too.
There’s a perception that I pick on Malkin. If that’s so, it’s because Malkin often hurts as much as helps. The Penguins have lost three playoff games this spring. Defensive-zone miscues by Malkin have helped lose two of them.
For more thoughts on Alfredsson’s tally, click HERE.
Want to play the blame game? Vote, please, in the poll at left.
Raffi Torres of San Jose has been suspended for the remainder of the Sharks' second-round series with Los Angeles after targeting Jarrett Stoll's head with this check.
Torres - then with Phoenix - got suspended 25 games (later reduced to 21) during last year's playoffs for targeting the head of Chicago's Marian Hossa with a more vicious and malicious hit.
Torres pledged to clean up his act after the Hossa episode, and took only 17 minutes in penalties during the regular season. But now, this.
No one ever bought a ticket to see Torres play. At what point does the NHL get rid of Torres for good?
Matt Cooke has cleaned up his act. But at some point, Cooke will relapse. Bet on it. Guys like that DON'T CHANGE.