Bad start

Feb. 29, 2009

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The re-tooled Penguins get off to a bad start by not only losing to Boston, 4-2, but they also lost forward Marian Hossa to a knee injury.

PREGAME

-Zdeno Chara's tall.

-The Penguins scratched Dany Sabourin and Rob Scuderi.

-Boston's scratches were Bobby Allen, Petteri Nokelainen and Peter Schaefer.

-Ty Conklin gets the start in net for the Penguins.

-Tim Thomas is Boston's goaltender.

FIRST PERIOD

19:40: Hossa's first notable play with the puck sees him fall in the neutral zone.

19:22: Jordan Staal slides a backhanded pass to Hossa who fires a shot from the right faceoff circle. Aaron Ward blocks it. Hossa get the puck back and fires another shot. Thomas knocks that away with his blocker.

18:33: The Pascal Dupuis era begins with Zdeno Chara rubbing out Dupuis along the boards.

17:36: Our first look at Hal Gil sees him hold up Phil Kessel in the Penguins zone with a bit of a high check.

16:53: Evgeni Malkin brings the puck up ice. He jives and jukes around three Bruins, including Zdeno Chara and throws a backhander on net. Thomas makes the save.

14:54: Kris Letang springs Jeff Taffe on a bit of a breakaway. Taffe switches to the backhand and tries to poke it through Thomas' five hole. No dice.

14:49: Petr Sykora snaps a wrister off in the slot and Thomas eats it up. FSN Pittsburgh gives us a look at the new lines:

FORWARDS

Dupuis-Malkin-Sykora

Malone-Staal-Hossa

Taffe-Talbot-Kennedy

Ruutu-Minard-Laraque

DEFENSEMEN

Orpik-Gonchar

Sydor-Whitney

Gill-Letang

14:41: Seeing Hal Gill with that No. 2 on his back is so foreign to us. We still see Josef Melichar when we see that digit.

13:43: Conklin gets tested for the first time tonight as Glen Murray blasts a slapper from the slot. Conklin knocks it down and covers it up.

12:49: Milan Lucic drops Sergei Gonchar behind the Penguins net.

12:23: Kessel brings the puck up ice and sneaks a wrister on net by Gonchar. Conklin is barely able to make a toe save on it.

11:43: Chara bombs a slapper from the point. Conklin eats it up.

11:18: Brook Orpik runs over P.J. Axelsson along the boards.

11:08: Gonchar fires a shot from the left faceoff circle. Thomas makes a nice save and kicks it out.

10:11: Chuck Kobasew throws the puck on net from the point. Marco Sturm is to the right of the cage and re-directs it through Conklin's five hole. Gill did a pretty poor job of covering Sturm on that play. "Kernkraft 400" by Zombie Nation is played. Bruins 1-0.

9:27: Kessel fires a shot low from the right side. Conklin absorbs it. Coming back from commercial, FSN brings it with a fantastic list of the tallest players in Penguins history:

PlayerHeightSteve McKenna6-foot-8Hal Gill6-foot-7Eric Cairns6-foot-6Francois Leroux6-foot-6Dan Focht6-foot-6John Jackopin6-foot-6Peter Popovic6-foot-6Kjell Samuelsson6-foot-6Gilles Lupien6-foot-6Chris Wells6-foot-6Mike Wilson6-foot-6

Outside of Samuelsson and Gill (we'll withhold judgment on him until he gets a few games under his belt), all of those players stunk.

7:54: Sturm's feeling it tonight. He comes down the left side and simply blows a slapper by Conklin by his glove on the far side. Bad goal by Conklin to give up. Bruins 2-0.

6:47: Georges Laraque is called for hooking.

5:10: Gill shows he's willing to pay the price as he drops to the ice to block a shot by Ward. The puck deflects out of play.

4:42: As the power play expires, Kessel comes up ice and rings a shot off the post.

3:37: Malkin takes a pass from Dupuis in the neutral zone, weaves through the defense and fires a shot on net. Thomas makes a toe save.

3:03: Marc Savard goes to the box for slashing.

2:48: Malkin tips a puck up in the air in the slot and tries to out-race Chara for it. Chara pokes it away and checks Malkin into the Boston goal. Malkin crashes into the net and dislodges it.

0:25: Maxime Talbot dishes a pass to the left side to Dupuis. Dupuis fires a quick slapper that Thomas knocks away.

0:02: Steigerwald mentions that Hossa labeled the Penguins a professional organization due to the fact that a private jet was sent to bring him to the team.

0:00: End of period. A small scrum ensues along the boards. Bruins 2, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-Boston out-shot the Penguins 12-10.

-Tom Fitzgerald, the Penguins director of player development steps into the broadcast booth with Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey. He blows a slapper from the booth that beats Conklin and Tom Barrasso.

SECOND PERIOD

18:52: Lucic gets away with a trip on Gonchar.

18:22: Lucic runs over Dupuis along the boards.

17:39: This is getting ugly. Chara takes a pass at the top of the slot, winds up and fires a slapper. It appears to get re-directed by a body and totally fools Conklin beating him for a goal. Conkin gets pulled in favor of Marc-Andre Fleury. We get to see Fleury in his non-descript white pads for the first time. This game is breaking a lot of new barriers for the Penguins. Bruins 3-0.

14:45: Listening to Fitzgerald and his "Bahstun" accent gives us an urge to pop "The Departed" into our DVD playah.

(We tried to use "Good Will Hunting" with this joke, but you have no idea how hard it is to find a YouTube clip of that movie without bad language.)

9:48: Zdeno Chara is whistled hooking and exceeding clearance.

8:33: Sykora works the puck in from the side and tries to jam it by Thomas. Nothing doing.

8:03: Taffe fires the puck from the left faceoff circle. Thomas makes the save but can't control the rebound. It gets kicked around and a scramble ensues. The puck eventually is covered up by Thomas.

7:30: Ryan Whitney is called for "hooking." Apparently the new definition of "hooking" is having your stick anywhere near someone's mid-section. Whitney expresses his displeasure with the call by muttering an expletive.

6:41: Dennis Wideman blasts a slapper from the point. Fleury blocks it and gloves the rebound.

3:59: Letang hammers Savard in the corner. Shawn Thornton grabs the loose puck and throws it on net. Axelsson is there to bang it in past Fleury. Gill, who wasn't even on his skates, was totally out of position on the play. Ugh. Bruins 4-0.

2:54: Errey mentions, "We have seen comebacks in the National Hockey League," as if the concept were totally foreign to viewers at home.

2:27: Gonchar throws a puck at the net. Thomas eats it up.

1:45: Andre Ference fires a slapper from the point. Fleury stops it. The rebound gets kicked around before Fleury covers it. scum ensues. It results in Darryl Sydor shoving Kessel to the ice. A pair of "fights" between Laraque and Chara are replayed:

0:54: Errey mentions Hossa is not on the Penguins bench.

0:00: End of period. Bruins 4, Penguins 0.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-Amazingly enough, the Penguins are only getting out-shot, 20-19.

-A statue of former Celtics coach Red Auerbach is shown outside. It's a nice statue, but it's not as good as the cigar-chomping statue we have in Pittsburgh.

-Replays show Glen Murray hitting Hossa with a knee-on-knee hit. It's nothing dirty. It's kind of like Jarkko Ruutu's hit on Ilya Kovalchuk a few weeks ago. It's just unfortunate.

-Hossa will not return for the night. Fire Ray Shero.

-Is it us, or does Hossa kind of look like Cate Blanchett?

THIRD PERIOD

18:33: Laraque tries to get Lucic to fight. Lucic wants nothing to do with Laraque.

17:27: Vladimir Sobotka blocks two shots in a row and limps to the bench in quite a big of pain. He has a lot of guts.

16:24: Staal bring the puck into the offensive zone and has an open. He rockets it well over the net however.

15:17: Kessel bring the puck into the offensive zone and Gill makes a nice play by poking the puck away.

14:43: Glen Metropolit fires a shot on net. Fleury traps it freezes. Malkin is sent to the box for hooking.

14:03: Wideman ropes a wrister on net. Fleury grabs it.

12:28: Potash reports Hossa suffered a sprain to his MCL. Vomit.

10:00: Tyler Kennedy brings the puck into the offensive zone and whips a wrister on net. It "clacks" off Thomas' mask.

9:24: Talbot shoves Wideman from behind into the boards. Chara shoves Talbot. Talbot is held back by the officials. Chara, Wideman and Talbot each go to the box. Errey and Steigerwald romantically wonder what a fight between Gill and Chara would be like. If you're into seeing Hal Gill get his brains beat in, it would be awesome.

6:57: Pascal Dupuis displays why he was the centerpiece of the trade with Atlanta and scores a goal. Taffe controls the puck in the corner and snaps a pass into the slot. Dupuis is able to bang it home through traffic. Bruins 4, Penguins 1.

4:47: Sykora feeds a puck into the slot. Malkin re-directs it on net. Two Bruins and Tim Thomas each give him a few shots. A scrum ensues. Ryan Malone jumps in. Malkin emerges without his helmet. Malone and Ward each get sent to the box for roughing. Four-on-four hockey.

4:00: Did anyone else's screen go to this bland, generic black and white screen with the time, score and penalties on it?

2:29: Jarkko Ruutu pops Lucic along the boards and shoves him. The two drop gloves and go at it for a pretty long tilt. Lucic peppers Ruutu's midsection with several body shots. Ruutu (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) manages to hold the much larger man at bay for the most part. Lucic (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) lands a few big rights to Ruutu's head. Ruutu jabs him a bit with a few punches to the chin. The officials finally step in after allowing the two to fight for a pretty long time. Lucic leaves the ice waving his hands up to the crowd slapping five with several fans near the Bruins bench. Errey timed the fight at 1:45. It's fair to say Lucic controlled the fight and Ruutu just hung on.

2:11: On a power play, Mark Stuart blasts slapper from the point. David Krejci is in the slot and re-direct it by Fleury. Bruins 5-1.

1:34: Malkin is sent off for tripping Ward.

0:02: Staal dances around Chara and makes a power move towards the net. Thomas denies him.

0:00: End of game. Bruins 5, Penguins 1.

POSTGAME

Geez was this a brutal game. Perhaps they were a little discombobulated by influx of new players, but the Penguins looked totally out of order.

-Hal Gill looked horrendous for the most part. We understand it was his first game with a new defensive partner, but he looked like a big, untalented oaf. All those jokes we've said at Derian Hatcher's expense could apply to Hal Gill tonight.

-We wonder if all of Rob Scuderi's critics all of a sudden miss his presence in the lineup now?

-Alain Nasreddine would've done a better job tonight than Gill.

-We haven't had a whipping boy in EN for quite sometime. Since the Penguins opted to not bring back Josef Melichar or Michel Ouellet, we've been without someone to beat on. Hal Gill might be able to fill that void.

Gill was actually a stand-up guy following the game and took the heat for his mistakes. Gill said, "I was a few steps late on some of those goals, and it cost us."

-Is it too late to void all these trades?

-We actually liked what we saw out of Dupuis. He brought a decent amount of energy to the ice.

-Hossa gets an incomplete grade obviously. He's expected to miss a week.

-This was the play he was injured on:

-The Penguins were out-shot, 31-28.

-The Penguins' deficiencies in the faceoff circle showed again as they were beaten, 38-22.

-We bet Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen would've combined for five goals that would've put the Penguins over the top tonight.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-You really can't give Conklin or Fleury grief over this game. Other than Sturm's second goal, the defense left the goaltenders out to dry.

-It's pretty obvious the officials have been "reminded" to call hooking and obstruction calls.

-Earlier in the day, Marian Hossa threw out the possibility of playing again with Zdeno Chara.

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights.


EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-Penguins general manager Ray Shero thinks the NHL should schedule an off-day during the trade deadline.

-The Penguins will honor Myron Cope at Sunday's game versus the Thrashers. Fans are asked to bring Terrible Towels.

-People aren't taking the departure of Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen well:

-Here's the introduction the Penguins used on the Jumbotron earlier this month:

Atlantic Division

-Mike Knuble had two goals for the Flyers in a 3-1 defeat of the Senators. This was head coach Bryan Murray's first game back behind the bench with Ottawa which has only scored one goal in its last three games.

-Nigel Dawes had two assist for the Rangers in a 4-2 win against the Hurricanes.

-Trent Hunter's overtime goal gave the Islanders a 5-4 win at Atlanta. Colby Armstrongs wore No. 19 for the Islanders had a one assists and was a minus -2. Erik Christensen wore No. 9 and did not record a point. He was a minus -3.

Northeast Division

-Things seem kind of messy in Ottawa.

Southeast Division

-Colby Armstrong totally dissed Pittsburgh's shopping scene. Jerk. This is a pretty good piece actually. Mark Recchi actually gave Armstrong and Christensen his truck and let them check out Atlanta for a few hours.

-FireWaddell.com.

-Former Penguins forward Len Barrie is trying to buy the Lightning.

-The Capitals will start new goaltender Cristobal Huet tonight against the Devils. (Registation required.)

-Olaf Kolzig's agent is really mad the Capitals picked up Huet. The Capitals were apparently really mad Kolzig stunk so badly this season.

-The Capitals assigned forward Chris Bourque to Hershey of the AHL.

-Much like us, Capitals forward Brooks Laich had a Sergei Fedorov poster on his wall when he was a kid. Unlike us, Laich is playing with Fedorov on his line.

Central Division

-Blackhawks forward Martin Havlat injured his shoulder again.

-The Red Wings activated defenseman Niklas Kronwall from injured reserve. Defenseman Kyle Quincey was assigned to Grand Rapids of the AHL.

-Here's further proof Nashville is a bad hockey market. The girls that come and clean the ice during stoppages in play don't even remember to take their skate guards off:

Northwest Division

-Ales Hemsky scored two goals and an assist for the Oilers who edged the Kings, 5-4.

-Avalanche center Peter Forsberg is having some immigration issues.

Pacific Division

-Brad Richards had an O.K. start to his career with the Stars. He tied a franchise record with fives assists and led Dallas to a 7-4 defeat of the Blackhawks.

-Ilya Bryzgalov made 41 saves and led the Coyotes to a 2-1 win against the Blues.

-The Sharks have the salary cap room to hang on to defenseman Brian Campbell.

-The Kings activated defenseman Rob Blake from injured reserve. He had missed 11 games due to an ankle injury.

-San Jose recalled forward Devin Setoguchi from Worcester of the AHL.

Norris Division

-What's the deal with no-trade clauses?

-The New York Times had a pretty good piece about the rise of the Russian Super League.



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