Change up

Nov. 16, 2007

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The Penguins make some changes to the lineup and come away with a 3-2 defeat of the Islanders.

PREGAME

-Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor was at the game last night and was interviewed by Stan Savran.

-Paul Coffey and the late Frank Scuilli, a former equipment manager for the Penguins, are inducted into the hall-of-fame.

-It's a classy move by the Penguins to honor people like Sciulli or A.T. Caggiano, another former member of the Penguins equipment staff. They're hardly names average fans will recognize, but in many cases, they were just as much a part of the Penguins locker room as any player in the teams' locker room.

-During the induction ceremony, on of Coffey's kids can be seen acting up doing some sort of weird shoulder hunch dance. Mrs. Coffey settles him down.

-By the way, Mrs. Coffey, uh wow.

-Ben Roethlisberger can be seen munching on potato chips in Mario Lemieux's suite.

-Are we the only ones wondering why Lemieux couldn't be bothered to come down to the ice to honor his teammate? That's fine that David Morehouse, Ken Sawyer and Ray Shero are down there to honor Scuilli and Coffey. But Lemieux had more to do with Coffey and Scuilli than those guys

-We realize Lemieux likes his privacy, but as a fan, who do you want to see shaking hands with Coffey? David Morehouse or Mario Lemieux?

-Coffey's kid is out of control. He's trying to make "armpit farts". Did he eat like a fishbowl full of Nerds before this thing or something?

-Paul Steigerwald introduces Coffey who receives a standing ovation that lasts 45 seconds.

-Coffey, who looks like he could still play, shows a lot of class by addressing Scuilli first in his speech.

-Coffey's stats are sick. He had four seasons with 30 or more goals, including one where he scored 48. And he was a defenseman! That's a goal total that would lead the NHL now. That was seventh best in the NHL in 1985-86.

-As we said before, The Doctor was sick.

-Tyler Kennedy was sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and recalled a day later. He will be in the line up and will play with Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal.

-Kris Letang will be in the lineup as well.

-The scratches are somewhat surprising. Mark Recchi, Darryl Sydor and Colby Armstrong. Armstrong's benching isn't surprising give that he's been scratched a lot as of late. Recchi and Sydor are surprising since they were two of the Penguins more notable offseason signings. That said, neither have been playing well.

-If you can find a better national anthem singer than Jeff Jimerson, we'll find you a better movie about a California surfer dude playing street hockey in Cincinnati than "Airborne." In other words, Jimerson is the best.

-There's a ceremonial puck drop by Coffey between Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin. As he leaves the ice through the runway leading to the Islanders dressing room, Islanders backup goaltender Wade Dubielewicz tries to say hi to the hall-of-famer. Coffey appears to totally ignore him.

-Marc-Andre Fleury is starting and he's using his old mask. It's the one with the Little Shop of Horrors plant and the uh... "exposed" Penguin. Chilly Willy is devastated.

FIRST PERIOD

18:24: We get a peek at tonight's line combinations:

Forwards

Malone-Crosby-Sykora

Staal-Malkin-Kennedy

Roberts-Christensen-Hall

Ruutu-Talbot-Laraque

Defensemen

Eaton-Gonchar

Scuderi-Letang

Orpik-Whitney

16:59: A lot of man collides when Georges Laraque (6-foot-3, 243) checks Andy Sutton (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) into the door to the runway leading to the Penguins locker room. The door pops open as a result of the collision. That door opens way too often. Eventually someone's going to get caught in that and get hurt. There has to be pretty simple way of fixing it. Have a big fat guy lean against it or something.

15:31: Brooks Orpik hooks Tim Jackman and rides him into the net. Orpik goes off for two minutes.

13:31: The Penguins kill the penalty, yielding only one shot on net, a fairly harmless slap shot by Sutton from the point.

9:36: During a television time out, Jarkko Ruutu and Jackman are both sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. Ruutu said something about him being a worse Jackman than Ric and Tim Jackman went crazy. We think. Four-on-four hockey.

5:43: After a turnover in the corner, Trent Hunter feeds a pass to Brendan Witt at the point. Witt throws a quick slap shot on net. It finds its way through traffic and beats Fleury. Mike Comrie gets credit for the goal. It's the fifth consecutive game the Penguins have given up the first goal. Islanders 1-0.

2:55: Sean Bergenheim runs into Fleury and gets two minutes for goaltender interference. Brooks Oprik shoves Bergenheim and a scum ensues. Orpik gets two minutes for roughing You can appreciate Orpik defending his goaltender, but he needs to display some discipline. Bergenheim had the penalty and the Penguins would've been on the power play. Orpik's actions nullified it. Four-on-four hockey.

2:54: Off the faceoff, Crosby appears to get away with a slash or trip on Mike Sillinger.

2:29: Bill Guerin, a noted goal-scorer, fires a pretty clean shot from the crease. Fleury knocks it away with a glove.

1:38: Evgeni Malkin swoops behind the Islander net with the puck. He feeds it to Sergei Gonchar at the top of the left faceoff circle. Gonchar takes the puck backpeddles with it and blasts a slapper from the top of the crease that beats Rick DiPietro. Jordan Staal set up a fantastic screen on the shot. Song 2 by Blur is played. (The woo-hoo song.) Islanders 1, Penguins 1.

(Kudos to EN reader Jason Bednik for spotting the video.)

0:56: Miroslave Satan gets sent to the box for a pretty weak interference penalty on Crosby.

0:42: Gonchar goes all Paul Coffey and tries to go end-to-end with the puck. After weaving through a few islanders, he gets a backhander off that DiPietro saves.

0:23: Trying to impede a shot by Petr Sykora in the slot, former Penguins forward Andy Hilbert is called for hooking. Five-on-three for the Penguins.

0:00: End of period. Islanders 1, Penguins 1.

-Even with the tie score, it's fair to say the Penguins controlled play that period.

-If you've ever been in the press box at Mellon Arena, you know that things are a little cramped up there. But if they were going to have Bob Errey demonstrate the hand symbols for penalties, why wouldn't they pan back to actually get him entirely in the shot? All you see it Errey putting his hands up in the air out of the picture.

-Paul Coffey's jeans couldn't be tighter if he painted them on. Bruce Springsteen not impressed.

-Was that a highlight of Coffey and the Penguins beating Jarmo Myllys!?!?! This is the best night ever.

-Coffey's in the booth with Errey and Steigerwald. He complains about his punk kid.

-If you're in Kitchener, Ont. anytime soon and you need to buy a Nissan, stop by and see Coffey. He runs a Nissan dealership.

-The Penguins will begin the game with a two-man advantage 1:04 on clean ice.

SECOND PERIOD

19:02: A shot by Gonchar from the point hits the boards behind the boards and caroms out to the other side of the net. Malkin grabs it and tries to game it in. The puck gets stuck along the post and Sykora is able to jam it past the goal line despite Radek Martinek's efforts. A replay confirms the goal. Penguins 2-1.

18:49: Still on a power play, Gonchar dumps the puck in from the red line and Coffey is verbally cringing as if someone poured battery acid on a hang nail. Coffey wants him to carry the puck into the zone. In all seriousness, Coffey's broadcast career is all of five minutes old here, but he's doing a wonderful job describing the play with a clean delivery. A broadcaster would be wise to see if Coffey would be interested in doing color commentary on a regular basis.

17:56: Letang shows off his defensive abilities, which have been questioned frequently. As Guerin fires shot from the point that Fleury gloves, Letang is sure to have his stick on Andy Hilbert's preventing the Islanders forward from pouncing on any potential rebounds.

17:46: The only highlight of the night for Erik Christensen is getting smashed along the boards by Andy Sutton.

16:40: Maybe it's the new mask, maybe it's because it's Paul Coffey night. Either way Marc-Andre Fleury is playing better. He easily glove a wrister by Bergenheim from the slot.

13:24: Coffey talks about shooting an episode of Pros vs. Joes. Hopefully's Coffey's show is a little bit more gentlemanly than Claude Lemieux's:

Only Claude Lemieux would high-stick someone on a reality show.

12:10: Coming back from commercial, we see some guy that looks like former Penguins goaltender Sebastien Caron baby-sitting Coffey's psycho kid. Bob Errey, in a very grandpa-esque way says that Coffey's kid will "figure out that YouTube."

11:09: Off a faceoff, Bruno Gervais, throws a puck on net that hits a body and bounces in front of the crease. Josef Vasicek settles it down and backhands it over a sprawling Fleury. We missed the goal while buying nachos. Online sports editor asks if Gervais is related to Ricky Gervais. Islanders 2, Penguins 2.

6:31: Rod Buskas and Zarley Zalapski are referenced within 21 seconds. Like we said, greatest night ever.

4:50: Cotton candy heeeee!!!! Cotton candy heeee!!!

3:46: Jordan Staal drives through the neutral zone with the puck. Coffey demands, "Skate, Skate, Skate!" The last thing in the world Coffey wants to see is a lame dump-in.

3:15: Perhaps the least likely goal-scoring combination on the Penguins strikes. Witt turns the puck over deep in his own end. Crosby steals it and spins in the right faceoff circle. He shakes Witt and snaps a pass into the crease to Laraque who goes top shelf on DiPietro. Laraque then celebrates as if he were an eight-year old who just got the U.S.S. Flagg, the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier on Christmas morning and bearhugs Crosby. It's his first goal in 40 games. Penguins 3-2.

1:50: Kennedy skates the puck through the neutral zone and Coffey whispers, "Go, Go." He hates dump-ins. To heck with car sales or broadcasting. Coffey should be the NHL commissioner. He obviously loves up-tempo play and has a mind for the game.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Islanders 2.

-Coffey should seriously do color commentary on some level. His one period of commentary was more insightful and entertaining than most of the of the hacks that do it on a national level for Versus or any of the national Canadian networks like TSN or Sportsnet.

-As we mentioned last night, some kind soul sent a text message to the big screen that said, "Hello Empty Netters." We can't thank you enough.

-The funniest part of that was right before we saw the message, EN college roommate Shawn Melvin said, "I can't believe they take these text messages."

-We ordered a WWGRD bracelet from The Pensblog and it was personally delivered to us right before he third period. Fantastic stuff.

-FSN has the obligatory shot of Mike Yeo http://cdn.nhl.com/penguins/bc/images/images/200608/5395.f.jpg.

THIRD PERIOD

14:47: Crosby tries to skate through the neutral zone but gets an elbow to the face from Vasicek. No call.

13:14: The Penguins have been getting a lot of help from the posts as of late. Hunter sends a pass from the left boards to Ruslan Fedotenko in the slot. Fedotenko fires a wrister that clinks off the cross-bar and out. No goal.

12:53: The iron then helps the Islanders out. Sykora fires a puck on a one timer from the slot and it hits the post. The puck ricochets out and under DiPietro who freezes it.

11:49: Gervais blasts a slapper from the point that hits the boards behind the net. It takes an odd bounce towards the net and Fleury is forced to go all Jack Wilson on it and glove it.

3:12: Kennedy hauls Hunter down to the ice and the Islanders get a power play late in the game.

1:10ish: At some point, the Islanders pulled DiPietro for an extra attacker.

0:36: From the neutral zone, Crosby tries for one of us but hits the side of the net.

0:17: Crosby gets hauled down by Bill Guerin. Two minutes. Penguins call a time-out. Cotton-Eyed Joe makes a late appearance.

0:06: The Islanders don't go down without a fight. Richard Park steals the puck off of Gonchar and feeds it to Fedotenko in the slot. Fedotenko's shot gets blocked and sails wide.

0:00: End of game. Penguins 3, Islanders 2.

POSTGAME

-Fleury didn't do anything outstanding, but obviously played well enough to win.

-The Islanders only had two power plays. And the Penguins killed them both.

-Crosby's point streak is now at 18 games, the longest in the NHL this season. Malkin's is at 12.

-Michel Therrien made a difficult decision to bench Recchi and Sydor. They're veteran players and they were two of the Penguins more prominent off-season signings. Additionally, Recchi is an assistant captain. Both players command respect in the locker room. It couldn't have been easy telling them that they would be wearing suits to watch the game.

-The best jerseys we saw: Numerous Paul Coffey's, Stu Barnes, Rob Brown and a Joe Mullen all-star jersey. That one was so obscure we couldn't find an image of it online anywhere.

-Gene Collier says the Penguins aren't over the hump yet.

-Paul Coffey was honored to be inducted into the team's hall of fame.

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights:

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-Someone found the video played at the Ron Francis' induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. You can view it here.

Atlantic Division

-Brendan Shanahan's goal in the shootout gave the Rangers a 4-3 win in Philadelphia. It was the Flyers' first home loss all season.

-Wednesday night, the Rangers denied Martin Brodeur a chance at his 500th career win and defeated the Devils, 4-2.

Northeast Division

-In a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals, Daniel Alfredsson's two goals led the Senators to a 3-2 defeat of the Sabres.

-Peter Schaefer scored two goals for the Bruins in a 5-2 defeat of the Maple Leafs.

-Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Reiger says the NHL needs to makes some rule changes in order to promote scoring.

-Former Penguins forward Tom Kostopoulos will get some time on Montreal's first line with Saku Koivu and Christopher Higgins.

Southeast Division

-Tomas Vokoun made 26 saves and led the Panthers to a 2-1 win against the Capitals.

-Vincent Lecavalier had a hat trick for the Lightning which blasted the Hurricanes, 6-1, Wednesday.

-Thrashers general manager Don Waddell will remain the Thrashers coach for the rest of the season.

-Hurricanes forward Erik Cole was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury.

Central Division

-Martin Erat's overtime goal gave the Predators a wild 5-4 win against the Blackhawks.

-Wednesday night, Rick Nash and Sergei Fedorov each had a goal and an assist as the Blue Jackets doubled up the Blackhawks, 4-2.

-At the end of the game, Nash and Blackhawks defenseman Jim Vandermeer got into a pretty good scrap that both players seemed to enjoy:

-Nash needs to take off his helmet if he's going to fight. It's one of those unwritten rules that you don't fight with a visor.

-It looks like the Blues will hang on to rookie forward David Perron. Much like Jordan Staal and Kris Letang for the Penguins last season, Perron is still eligible to return to junior hockey this season.

Pacific Division

Joe Pavelski scored two goals and Evgeni Nabokov made a whopping 15 saves as the Sharks romped the Coyotes, 6-0.

-Corey Perry scored two goals and an assist as the Ducks defeated the rival Kings, 6-3. The Ducks are on a three-game winning streak.

-The Ducks are trying to trade back-up goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Pittsburgh has been mentioned as a possible destination for Bryzgalov, who might be the best back-up goaltender in the NHL.

-It's so time to fire Ray Shero. Coyotes forward Daniel Carcillo, a former Penguins prospect who was traded to Phoenix last season for Georges Laraque, is opening hot dog stands.

Northwest Division

-A shootout goal by Ales Hemsky gave the Oilers a 1-0 defeat of the Canucks Wednesday. We watched this game and boy do we want those three hours of our life back.

-Canucks defenseman Sami Salo will wear a visor after sustaining some facial injuries.

-Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

West Division

-Robert Morris plays Ohio State tonight in the Pittsburgh College Hockey Showcase. You can listen to it on WBGG-AM (970).

Robert Morris signed coach Derek Schooley to a contract extension.

-Going Five Hole spent quite a bit of time looking over the offical Web site for the NHL Officials Association. There's actually a Don Koharski wallpaper available.



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