Big day in hockey news.
- Per Head Coach Dan Bylsma’s presser after the Pens practice today, Tyler Kennedy has been listed as a game time decision for the weekend games against the Dallas Stars and the Carolina Hurricanes.
- Sidney Crosby has been ruled out for the two weekend games. Crosby Watch will promptly resume following the end of the third period in Raleigh on Saturday.
- Eric Tangradi has been recalled to the Pens from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the weekend. After a less than stellar training camp and pre-seaon, Tangradi was cut from the Pens roster. In 12 games with the WBS Pens, Tangradi has 7 goals and 5 assists on the season. I’m extremely intereted in what we see from Tangradi in the event that Kennedy does not play. Tangradi performs well with the Pens AHL team, but falls short at the NHL pace with skating and using his size to his advantage.
- The Pens will play the Dallas Stars tomorrow, the team we acquired James Neal and Matt Niskanen from in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski. Goose has had significant success with his new team, but it seems the Pens absolutely robbed Dallas blind on this deal with he way Neal and Niskanen have been performing. However, Dallas, who just missed making the playoffs last season, are currently in first place overall in the NHL, with a record of 11-3-0. They are one point ahead of the second place overall Pens.
- Also, tomorrow will be a welcome back to Eric Godard, who went to Dallas via free agency in the off-season. “Godard’s off the bench!” I will never, ever get tired of hearing those words.
Why You No Forecheck?:
Last night the Lightning and Flyers played a game that was well… you tell me. The Bolts HC Guy Boucher routinely uses the 1-3-1 defensive trap strategy, making it nearly impossible for any team to advance into the zone without forcing a turnover. The Flyers employed a tactic that the Capitals used last year against the Bolts: they simply refused to play and hung around in their own end. Take a look:
It’s an effective tactic, but leads to an incredibly boring hockey game. While both teams stood on the ice playing a virtual game of chicken (who is gonna make a move first), the clock continued to wind down. Waiting thirty or more seconds in a hockey game to do something is an eternity in this sport. Hockey is a game where 30 seconds can make or break the game. Teams have scored multiple goals in that time.
Click here for highlights from the Caps v Bolts game on 2/14/11.
I’ve been reading a lot of hockey and actually basketball blogs today about the 1-3-1 trap. This one best illustrates how to beat the trap. Pro Sports Blogging: Beating the 1-3-1: A Step by Step Guide
Other NHL News:
- Toronto goalie, James Reimer, is expected to return soon from an undisclosed injury.
- The NHL released the names that will be on the All Star Game Ballot this year. Voting begins on November 14th. Six players from the Pens are on the ballot: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, James Neal, Kris Letang (Who got into the game via a massive write in campaign) and Marc-Andre Fleury. My brother and I are proposing a Zybenek Michalek write-in campaign for this game. Pens will turn this into Occupy All Star Game. This is Neal, Staal and Letang’s first time on the ballot, but like I said, Letang made it to the game via write-in. You can check out the full ballot here.
- Mark Letestu scored a goal in his first game as a Columbus Blue Jacket tonight. It was a power play goal, but the Blue Jackets lost 6-3 to Chicago. Fire Ray Shero.