Wasted effort

Feb. 15, 2008

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A 42-save performance by Dany Sabourin is wasted in a 4-2 loss at Carolina.

PREGAME

-Paul Steigerwald reminds us that Eric and Jordan Staal are brothers.

-Steigerwald and Bob Errey appear to be broadcasting from a staircase of some sort.

-Tyler Kennedy and his Chief Wiggum nose returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 18. He has been suffering from mononucleosis.

-The Penguins scratched Erik Christensen who was run over by Zdeno Chara the night before and injured his shoulder. Marc-Andre Fleury and Alex Goligoski are the other scratches.

-Hartford scratched Joe Corvo, Tim Gleason and Bret Hedican. All three were out with various illness or injuries.

-Casey Borer, Tim Conboy and Joey Mormina were recalled from Albany of the AHL to take their place. To make room for those three, the Whalers placed Matt Cullen, Patrick Eaves and Dennis Seidenberg on injured reserve.

-Cullen is still suffering form distorted vision stemming from a hit by Rangers forward Colton Orr in a Dec. 26 game in New York

-Dany Sabourin gets the start in net. Ty Conklin deserves a break after the way he played the night before.

FIRST PERIOD

18:36: Rod Brind'Amour is lying on the ice in pain. He was sandwich by a dual check between Georges Laraque and Nathan Smith. Brind'Amour leaves with the assistance of a trainer and heads to the locker room.

18:04: FSN Pittsburgh gives us the re-tooled lines:

FORWARDS

Malone-Malkin-Sykora

Talbot-Staal-Kennedy

Taffe-Beech-Armstrong

Ruutu-Smith-Laraque

DEFENSMEN

Scuderi-Gonchar

Sydor-Whitney

Orpik-Letang

17:21: Steigerwald tries to go all HockeyDB.com on us as he points out Glen Wesley is one of three players still active from the 1987 draft. The others are Colorado's Joe Sakic and Ottawa's Luke Richardson. He forgot Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan though. Steigerwald also notes that Zarley Zalapski was the Penguins' first round draft pick that season. Chris Joseph was actually their pick that season. Zalapski was picked in 1986. Who dug up that "fact" for Steigerwald? Paul "The Butcher" Alexander?

16:53: Jordan Staal gets called for tripping

16:47: That didn't take long. Right off the faceoff, Ray Whitney blasts a one-timer from the point. The puck hits Erik Cole in the slot and deflects past Sabourin. Thousands of empty red seats celebrate. What sounds like a combination of Blur's "Song 2" (the Woo-Hoo! Song), Ric Flair's "Wooo!" and that noise Chewbacca makes is played. Whalers 1-0.

16:23: Rob Scuderi makes a terrible turnover at his own blueline. Ray Whitney grabs the puck, sneaks in and whips a wrister on net. Sabourin shuffles it away with his blocker.

14:28: Cam Ward covers a loose puck in the crease. Nathan Smith and Tim Conboy get into a disagreement over if Nic Cage looks better with or without a moustache and try to rip each other's faces off. The officials hold them off of each other for whatever reason. Both players get sent to the box. Four-on-four hockey.

12:33: Coming back from commercial, a pretty goal scored by Cole against the Capitals last week is replayed:

11:37: Errey compares Evgeni Malkin to Milli Vanilli.

We always felt Milli Vanilli was always more like Robert Lang. Lang put up nice-looking statistics, but deep down, you just knew they didn't really mean anything.

10:45: The Whalers get called for icing after Sergei Gonchar all too-casually "chases" a puck cleared into the Penguins' zone.

9:46: Coming back from commercial, we see video of Sidney Crosby towing the team's strength and conditioning coach around the ice like a plow horse. What ankle sprain.

8:35: Sabourin makes a bad play behind the net and turns the puck over. The Whalers get a shot on net, but Sabourin is able to recover and kick the puck out.

7:52: Laraque and Wade Brookbank decide to fight. They drop the gloves, hesitate for a moment and both reach in, with Laraque getting a better grip. He pops Brookbank a few times in the back of the head and forces Brookbank to his knees. Brookbank is able to wrestle Laraque down to the ice as well and deliver a few blows. Let's call this fight a draw.

7:00: Colby Armstrong slides a puck from the corner to the point to Brooks Orpik who quickly fires a shot on net that beats Ward low. Steigerwald reacts as if Abraham Lincoln just rose from the grave and told him Jessica Simpson wanted to take him to Hoss's and let him eat all the garlic bread he could gobble down because it's the first goal in 181 games for Orpik. Errey seemingly takes credit for the goal because he said he referenced the drought the night before. Malkin grabs the puck and gives it to Orpik. Steigerwald apologizes for reacting as if he walked in on someone using the bathroom. Whalers 1, Penguins 1.

5:50: Frantisek Kaberle whips a nice wrister on net which is shuffled away

4:40: A puck is fed into the Penguins crease where Ryan Bayda has a clean shot at an empty cage. He pushes the shot just wide however.

4:08: Errey informs us Brind'Amour will not return for the rest of the night.

1:54: Ray Whitney is called for hooking. Errey refers to him as a fiddler.

0:59: Jordan Staal blasts a slapper from the point that drops Jeff Taffe. Taffe limps to the bench.

0:00: End of period. Whalers 1, Penguins 0, Staals (surprisingly) 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-As the teams leave the ice, Orpik can be seen holding the puck he scored the goal with. Armstrong give him a pat on the head.

-Hartford is dominating the shot totals, 14-6.

-Dan Potash interviews Brook Orpik who has a dazed look that would put Amy Winehouse to shame.

-The Staals are brothers.

-Steigerwald mentions Brind'Amour suffered a knee injury.

SECOND PERIOD

19:49: While discussing the injury Boston's Aaron Ward suffered the night before in Pittsburgh, Steigerwald says "There's probably a few people out there tonight Bob that wish I would bruise my larynx." Errey simply offers a giggle.

18:17: Trevor Letowski takes down Kennedy and Staal and is sent to the box. If you're going to get penalized

17:59: Cole tips a puck past Gonchar and generates a two-on-one against Ryan Whitney with Eric Staal. Cole elects to keep the puck and shoots low. Sabourin is able to kick it out.

17:39: Eric Staal goes one brings the puck down the right side one-on-one against Ryan Whitney. Staal shoots low and Sabourin is again able to kick it out.

17:23: Gonchar passes the puck from the point to the goal line to Malkin. Malkin simply tries to center the puck into the slot and it gets kicked up and over Ward for a garbage goal. Penguins 2-1.

16:47: Kaberle sends a cross-ice pass to Ryan Bayda who rings a shot off the post.

16:05: Taffe tries to come across the slot with the puck and gets his bell rung by Joey Mormina who pops Taffe in the face with his shoulder. Given the alleged new standards the NHL has in regards to shot to the head, that should've been a two minute penalty at least for Mormina. He clearly went after Taffe's head. Taffe stumble to the bench in a daze.

15:01: As Scuderi is sent off the ice for holding, Penguins trainer Chris Stewart is seen working on the nose of Taffe whose face is bloodier than either Butch Coolidge or Marcellus Wallace. Steigerwald references a hit to the head Francois Leroux delivered to Pat LaFontaine several years ago.

11:03: On a power play, Jordan Staal clips Scott Walker in the face with his stick. Two minutes. The Staals are brothers.

10:10: Cole and Gonchar each are sent to the box with off-setting minors.

9:24: Ray Whitney blasts a slapper from the far boards. It gets stopped by Sabourin, but Eric Staal is able to fish it out traffic and roof it over a prone Sabourin. The Blur/Flair/Chewbacca song is played. Whalers 2, Penguins 2.



Either Eric Staal is jumping really high or Jeff Hamilton is really short.

9:03: The Staals are brothers.

5:31: Jeff Hamilton fires a slapper on net and Sabourin eats it up. Kris Letang and Brookbank tussle a bit. Laraque comes over and reminds Brookbank that

3:18: The puck gets played behind the Hartford net and is pinned against the boards by a skate for over 14 seconds. That seriously should've been a delay of game penalty or something.

3:04: What a horrible call. The puck gets played into the Pittsburgh crease and Sabourin gloves it. Andrew Ladd bears down and pressures him forcing him to hold on to it. The officials refuse to blow the whistle and Sabourin for some reason skates behind the net with the puck. The officials call him for delay of game.

0:27: Sabourin deflects a shot from the slot by Ray Whitney out of play with his blocker.

0:00: End of period. Whalers 2, Penguins 2, Staals 3.

SECOND INTERMISSON

-Hartford is crushing the Penguins in shot, 33-15.

-We get some Mike Yeo before the third period for the second night in a row. Who do we thank for that decision?

THIRD PERIOD

16:51: Maxime Talbot is sent to the box for holding.

16:15: Eric Staal pushes a puck from the boards to Ray Whitney in the slot. Whitney uses Scuderi and Cole as a screen and slides the puck into an empty cage past a helpless Sabourin. Whalers 3-2.

15:57: Malkin hammers Glen Wesley in the corner with a big hit.

15:27: Ryan Whitney makes a brutal turnover while trying to make a pass from his own corner. Samsonov picks the pass off and fires a slapper. Sabourin is able to eat it up and bail out Whitney.

14:42: Errey announces Taffe will not return to the game due to a broken nose.

14:13: Kaberle and Kennedy wrestle for a loose puck. Kennedy appears to get away with a bit of a dive.

12:10: Letang appears to be in some discomfort on the bench with a leg injury.

10:04: Cole brings the puck down the right side, uses Orpik as a screen and zips a shot on net. Sabourin is able to kick it out.

8:21: Ryan Bayda? Ryan flipping Bayda scored? With the Penguins making a change, Walker forces the puck through traffic and centers it into the slot to Bayda who rockets a shot that rings off the post and into the net. Whalers 4-2.

7:35: As Malkin appears to show how far his English has progressed by muttering a French word, replays show Cole getting away with holding Malkin's stick.

7:07: Bayda gets sent to the box for scoring despite a lack of skill.

5:27: Cole generates a breakaway shorthanded, bears down on the net and misses the net. Way to be clutch.

5:12: Kris Beech chases after a loose puck and is dumped by Wesley. It's a clear case of interference. Beech leaves the ice with a wrist injury as he hit the boards in bad way. Staal hits Wesley to "defend" Beech but and is called for charging as he slightly left his feet. Errey is incredulous to the idea that Staal would be penalized, but sorry. He left his feet to deliver a hit. Wesley should've been kicked out of the game based on a new rule the NHL instituted regarding interference this season:

56.4 Major Penalty - The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a major penalty, based on the degree of violence, to a player or goalkeeper guilty of interfering with an opponent (see 56.5).

56.5 Game Misconduct Penalty -- When a major penalty is imposed under this rule for a foul resulting in an injury of an opponent, a game misconduct shall be imposed.

Beech was injured as the result of interference. Why wasn't Wesley kicked out? Are we misunderstanding the rule?

4:47: Malkin is sent off for tripping.

3:35: Eric Staal grabs the puck in the slot and fires a shot on net. Sabourin stops it. Staal grabs the rebound and fires into the net. The officials immediately wave it off ruling Cole interfered with Sabourin. It's a weak call. Cole's contact with Sabourin was minimal. He made contact with him, but not to the point that he was interfered with his ability to make the save. Hartford coach Peter Laviolette holds his hands up and shakes his head at the call.

2:51: Walker walks in and tries to jam a puck past Sabourin. The Penguins goal keeper holds it out. Samsonov pokes his nose into the crease hoping to grab a rebound. Orpik throws him to the ice.

1:09: Niclas Wallin hugs Ryan Malone behind the net and gets two minutes. Michel Therrien calls a time out to organize the power play and a Pictionary tournament. We think.

0:59: Gonchar lobs a wrister on net that Ward swallows up.

0:53: Off the faceoff, Gonchar throws another wrister on net. The puck gets kicks around and comes to Staal who fires a shot off the crossbar.

0:00: End of period. Whalers 4, Penguins 2, Staals 3.

POSTGAME

-What a contrast in losses. The night before the Penguins couldn't get through the trapping Bruins who stymied them with relentless defense. Tonight the Whalers just attacked, attacked and attacked. The Penguins couldn't keep up with them.

-The Whalers were three-for-six on the power play.

-The Penguins were out-shot, 46-23. Inexcusable.

-The officiating was inconsistent to be kind. We're not blaming it for the Penguins' loss by any means. The Whalers out-played them cleanly. But it left a lot to be desired.

-You can't really blame Sabourin for this. He faced 46 shots. His defense left him out to dry just like it did with Ty Conklin the night before.

-It sure seemed like they dominated the faceoff battle, but the Whalers owned a mere 33-29 advantage in faceoffs.

-Rod Brind'Amour will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. What is it about the Penguins injuring Carolina Hurricanes? It's not like the Penguins are the Flyers and trying to intentionally injure anyone in another uniform.

-We hate Penguins-Hurricanes games for the same reason we hated Penguins-Devils games in the mid-1990's. You have two pairs of players with the same last name playing and it's a pain in the butt trying to distinguish them. Right now you have Ray and Ryan Whitney and Eric and Jordan Staal. Back then you had to deal with Claude and Mario Lemieux and Kevin and Scott Stevens.

-Ryan Malone seemed to have an awfully quiet night.

-Thank goodness Wade Brookbank is earning an NHL paycheck. He logged a whooping 2:56 of ice time.

-Glen Wesley went all Mike Ramsey and blocked six shots.

-Beech's received x-rays to his wrist following the game but no word on his condition was released. He will be re-evaluated today.

-The Staals did a horrible job of being brothers. They were only brothers three times by our count.

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights.

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-Tyler Kennedy's play in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earned him a quick trip back to the NHL.

-Craig Patrick should've tried to pick up R.J. Umberger.

-At NHL.com, Dan Rosen has a pretty good piece about Ryan Malone.

-In case you didn't see them, here were Ty Conklin's two huge saves against the Bruins Wednesday late in the game:

-In case you haven't seen Marc-Andre Fleury in his white pads, you can take a look at them here.

-A re-broadcast of a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton-Hershey game played last Saturday is scheduled to be shown today at noon on NHL Network. Hershey won the game, 5-3.

-On Penguins fan gave us an in-person report on Fleury's return to action:

"We are members of the Steelers Nation, or in this case the Pens Nation. We live down in Virginia and went to see the first game that Marc-Andre Fleury played last night at the Norfolk Scope. He looked good but the Norfolk Admirals are not a good measure of talent. He did let in one goal on the power play and there was some traffic in front of the net, but he seems to have worked on his puck handling skills and moved the puck pretty well, skated well and had good vision. He seemed to be very puck aware and saw the puck really well no matter the angle. There were about two or three flurries of shots that he turned aside. A decent start for his comeback. Not a huge challenge but a safe start.

We were able to get his autograph on a rookie card right as he was called for one of the stars last night and there were a lot of Pens fans in the house as well. Got to see Denis Bonvie too but he's just a beast that we love to watch play. The NHL Pens need to call him up for the next Flyers game."

-Greg Moore, Virginia

Atlantic Division

-Bryan Berard had a goal and two assists for the Islanders in a tight 5-4 win at Toronto.

-The always resourceful ladies at Interchangeable Parts did the nearly impossible and found ways to love the Devils.

Northeast Division

-Boston defenseman Aaron Ward left a Pittsburgh hospital after suffering a throat injury Wednesday in a 2-1 defeat of the Penguins.

-The Bruins used to own Boston.

Southeast Division

-Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists to lead the Lightning to a 5-3 win at Philadelphia. Tampa Bay has won eight consecutive games in Philadelphia. The loss extended a losing streak to five game for the Flyers.

-Panthers forward Richard Zednik is healthy enough that he's wolfing down buffalo wings.

-Thrashers forward Marian Hossa isn't optimistic that he'll sign a contract extension by the trade deadline.

Central Division

-The Blackhawks reached the six-goal mark for the second consecutive game in a 6-1 win at Nashville. Forward Jonathan Toews had two goals and an assist for the Blackhawks.

-Manny Legace made 39 saves while David Backes had a goal and an assist for the Blues in a 4-1 win at Colorado. Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth returned to the lineup for the first time in 18 games since suffering an ankle injury. He had five shots.

-Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski will miss a game Friday against the Blue Jackets with a groin injury.

-Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios wants to play in the 2010 Olympics. No word yet if the IOC plans on adding bingo to the Olympic format by that time.

Northwest Division

-Shootout goals by Brent Burns and Mikko Koivu gave the Wild a 5-4 win at Vancouver.

-Mathieu Garon made 28 saves and led the Oilers to a 3-2 win at San Jose.

-Colorado defenseman Brett Clark, one of the top shot-blockers in the NHL, is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

Pacific Division

-Radim Vrbata had a shorthanded goal and two assists for the Coyotes in a 5-2 defeat of the Stars. Ilya Bryzgalov made 32 saves in the win.

-The Coyotes recalled forward Mike Zigomanis from San Antonio of the AHL. In his place, they demoted former Penguins forward Matt Murley.

-Ducks general manager is still mad at the Oilers.

Wales Conference

-Old-Time Hockey YouTube Find Of The Day: Former Islanders coach Al Arbour, then a defenseman with the Detroit Red Wings getting into a fight with Maple Leafs forward Pete Conacher in 1957:

(Kudos to Greg Wyshynski for the find.)

There's nothing really remarkable about the fight, but how about the fact that they had to serve their penalties in the same penalty box? Could you imagine Jarkko Ruutu, Steve Downie or Sean Avery sitting calmly in the same enclosed area for five minutes without issue?

-James Mirtle takes a look at an interesting group of unrestricted free agents.

-Free agent center Peter Forsberg is suing a Swedish race track.

-The NHL and other sports leagues will have their day in Congress so a bunch of crusty old politicians can look like proud moral warriors on television. (Not to be critical.)

-Ever wonder how Todd McFarlane empties our wallet with his McFarlane figurines? Here's how:



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