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March 20, 2019
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
Well, that pretty much went as expected.
Those filthy Detroit Red Wings came into Pittsburgh Sunday and clubbed the Penguins, 3-0. Ty Conklin made 25 saves to shut out his former club, while King Douche Marian Hossa scored the backbreaking goal, putting Detroit up 2-0 at 11:09 of the third.
The Penguins couldnít get anything going offensively. Michel Therrien skated Kid Crosby and Geno Malkin on separate lines most of the game. While Geno rolled with Petr Sykora and Matt Cooke, Crosby was treated to Pascal Dupuis and Tyler Kennedy. Iím sorry. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Itís always nice when the best playmaker in hockey is saddled with a third-liner and a minor-leaguer. But, hey, Jordan Staal sure has a lot of potential. Yippee.
Anyway, Mike Babcock employed Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Nicklas Lidstrom against Crosby most of the afternoon, although Detroitís Big Three did see a few shifts against Malkin. Crosby, who never met a shot he couldnít pass up, only registered one puck on net in 23:21 of ice time, but he did make some nifty plays to free Dupuis and Kennedy for glorious scoring chances. And you can pretty much figure out what happened.
Oh, and the power play was once again dynamic, going 0-for-4. Pittsburgh now has the 24th-ranked power play in the league, despite boasting the NHLís top two scorers. How is that even possible?
The Penguins have failed to score a power-play goal in 24 of their 55 games. Last season, over the entire 82-game slate, the Pens failed to score a power-play goal 25 times.
And itís not all Sergei Gonchar. Power plays fail for two main reasons: questionable work ethic and a lack of defined roles. Either way, it comes down to coaching. Thereís simply no excuse for a power play with Crosby and Malkin to be this bad.
At the other end of the ice, Marc-Andre Fleury struggled with rebound control, setting the table for both Datsyuk goals. The Flower needs to be better.
This game simply reaffirmed Pittsburghís place in the league. The Penguins, as theyíre currently constructed, are entirely incapable of competing with the leagueís elite. Sure, they can handle Tampa Bay (barely) and Columbus on home ice, but thatís about it right now.
Somethingís gotta give. Ray Shero needs to make a decision, and he needs to make it now. Heís got three optionsÖ
1. Fire Therrienís sorry ass and replace him with Pat Quinn.
2. Trade Staal and Ryan Whitney in order to add the necessary pieces to strengthen the wings. Like I said, the Pens need at least three wingers, two bangers and a goal-scorer. Possible candidates include Milan Hejduk, Chris Neil, Alexander Frolov, Erik Cole, Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, and, dare I say it, Ilya fín Kovalchuk.
3. Do nothing, let the season run its course, and build for next year.
Option three is unacceptable, yet with each passing day, itís beginning to look more and more like Shero is willing to punt. Itís shameful.
And one final note about the Detroit debacle. How can Marian Hossa make it through that game without getting punched in the face? Luca Caputi or Bill Thomas could have become instant Pittsburgh sports legends with one act of barbarism. Letís go, boys. Itís like youíre not even trying.
If Avery gets claimed, his new club would only be responsible for half his salary and half the cap hit. The Stars would be on the hook for the other half. Avery would have to be claimed by the March 4 trade deadline to be eligible for the playoffs.
Dallas could try and trade Avery, but that would likely mean taking on just as much salary in return, so thatís not gonna happen. The re-entry thing is their best bet. The Stars have no intention of letting Avery back in their dressing room. So if they canít find any takers, theyíll simply make Avery a healthy scratch the rest of the way and then buy out his contract over the summer for $11.6 million, which would be two-thirds of his remaining contract. That $11.6 million would then be spread out over the next six years against the cap, meaning the Stars would be wasting a little more than $1.9 million per year.
Without Avery, the Stars continue to roll and are now alone in fifth place in the Campbell Conference. And how about the Steve Ott? Heís riding his second three-game goal-scoring streak in his past seven games. Ott now has eight goals and 15 points over his last 12 contests. Avery who?
But while Weber has fallen by the wayside, Mike Green has gone nuts, ripping home seven goals in his last six games, notching at least one red light in each contest. Green now has 19 goals and 46 points in 41 games. Thatís quality.
And you know whoís loving it? This guy! Iíve got Green on my fantasy team. So hereís some clips of Green being GreenÖ