After a long time without a Penguins ticket and no article, I’m finally back with a new report. The Penguins have now lost 2 in a row and their record is 8-9-3-2. The Black-And-Gold lost against Vancouver last Wednesday and got beat 5-0 by the Nashville Predators yesterday. The Pens definitely need to shake the team up and score some goals. The powerplay simply has no success, with all the offensive players in Pittsburgh an 8.2 PP% for the last place in the NHL is such a dissapointment. Let’s see what’s happen game by game:
Wednesday, November 21, 2001
Vancouver Canucks VS Pittsburgh Penguins:
A known face was in goal for this game, Peter Skudra who just signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks played 3 years in the Steel city. Skudra won two games against his old team last year and was searching to repeat his success. At the opposite end, Johan Hedberg was between the pipes.
Led by the good work of Ed Jovanovski, the Canucks played a really good defensive game and made only a few mistakes in this game. That’s the key of the game, they shut down most of the opportunities and their captain led the team for the offense. This captain is an ex-Pen, Marcus Naslund (one of the only bad trade by Craig Patrick). Instead of the 2 goals by Naslund we have to notice the two-points game for Justin Kurtz and the 3 assists for Trevor Linden who is a new player for the British Colombia team. Vancouver 4 – Pittsburgh 1
Friday, November 23, 2001
Pittsburgh Penguins VS Nashville Predators:
Welcome to the capital of country music! The crowd is singing AUBIN, AUBIN, AUBIN, YOU S*** and the Predators are on fire! The Preds were wearing their new jersey for the second time and for now it has been successful. Intimidated (or put to sleep?) by the mustard jersey, the Penguins watched the Predators skating the whole game and paid the price. The young and fast Tennessee team dominates the Penguins and wins 5-0.
Young and prospect performance:
Milan Kraft: Only 2 goals for the young Czech this season, but like the others young Penguins his game is going to be better and better every game. Healthy Scratch for the Nashville game Kraft could be on fire for his come back. Kraft has the skills but not the numbers for now, and the rumor that Kraft is the new Aleksey Morozov is completely false.
Michal Rozsival: Now an active member of the big 6 for the Pens, Rozsival really showed his flaws and his assets. Then Pens’s #28 (do not confuse him with #29) has good passing and shooting skills. #28 can made a strong first pass. #28 can play physically. #28 can play better defensively. #28 absolutely has to clear the net and take his man in the defensive coverage.
Toby Petersen: Petersen is a small guy with good speed, a hard (and precise) slap shot and a lot of heart. After his incredible hat trick against Ottawa he didn’t score again but recorded some assists. Toby has an impressive 57 shots on goal this season.
Kris Beech: Hard to believe but Kris Beech didn’t score his first NHL goal yet. Beech has a tons of shots and sooner or later that’s gonna be the same thing with the goals. Beech is a hard worker and we can only see improvement by him. Notice his 9 assists this season.
Josef Melichar: Forms a good duo with Rozsi, Melichar is the defensive aspect of the Czech pair. Melichar is a good defensive player for two main reasons: he can play the man AND the puck effectively. Not too many young defensemen can do that. Offensively Melichar is still really quiet.
Jan Hrdina: Jan Hrdina’s future is really uncertain now. Originally drafted for his offensive assets, he is now transforming in a 2-way/defensive player. Hrdina has 2 game-winning and 2 powerplay goals this season. Is he that good in the clutch?
Justin Kurtz: After 4 years of IHL/AHL/ECHL Kurtz seems to be ready for the big league. He plays a good all-around game and show some offense with 3 goals and 3 assists this season. Kurtz is rarely out of position and his skating is at the NHL-level. However, Kurtz has to work on his shot precision and his first pass in the defensive zone.
The Sedins twin: both has a decent ice time against the Penguins but didn’t look so great. Both has only one shot and no point. The Sedin’ has good stickhandling but they have to upgrade their skating (especially Henrik) for succeed in the NHL. Henrik is a better play maker then his brother but Daniel has the best set of skills.
David Legwand: I can pass hours and hours speaking about prospect like David Legwand. Legwand is really good with the puck in all aspects and has a huge offensive potential. Legwand is simply one of the NHL’s best young talents. Like I said above Legwand is amazing with the puck, but he has to learn how to play without the puck.
Scott Hartnell: Wow! Is Hartnell the franchise players of the Nashville Predators? He’s only 19 and plays like an 25 years old veteran. Hartnell is a tremendous defensive player, a recognized leader since his juniors days, a hard-worker who likes to do small things and now he showed a really good offensive potential to the Nashville fans. I really don’t think he has bigger potential then Legwand but I see a Peca-Yzerman type in Hartnell.
Andy Delmore: Delmore was really impressive against the Penguins. With his great speed he was carrying the puck very well and with his really hard shot he was a big aspect on the powerplay. Andy already has 4 powerplay-goals in 01-02. However, his defensive game his below-average and his decision making is sometimes not very good.
Martin Erat: The young rookie is another big part of the future in Nashville. He is really impressive in the corners for his small size (5 hits against Pittsburgh) and his stickhandling/speed combination is really good.
Denis Arkhipov: Arkhipov is a strong center who has a bunch of skills. He his really versatile (can play all 3 forward positions) and has a goal-scorer instinct. Arkhipov has to be better in the neutral and defensive zone. Still made adjustment to the North America style of hockey, Arkhipov will also be a big part of the Predators in the future.
By Marc Lapointe