• Q: Is there a reason Sidney Crosby insists on trying to make the perfect pass almost all the time? Many of his passes that go awry are shots that the Penguins do not register.
MOLINARI: This might sound strange to say about a guy who had 84 goals in his first 174 NHL games, but Crosby is, first and foremost, a playmaker.
It's not that he's unwilling to shoot -- after all, Crosby had a team-high nine goals in 14 games before the Penguins played Philadelphia last night -- but his inclination most of the time is to try to get the puck to a teammate rather than putting it on goal. Part of the reason might be that he has a somewhat limited scoring range; you're not going to see Crosby routinely carry the puck across the blue line and lash a 55-foot slap shot past the goaltender. He does most of his damage from relatively close to the net.
Then again, so did another guy who was best-known for his playmaking but once got 92 in a season and became the most prolific goal-scorer in NHL history.
• Q: Do you believe the Penguins should look into bringing over a forward from Europe? Say, one the caliber of former Penguin Aleksey Morozov?
J.P. Perrine, Reading
MOLINARI: Returning to Russia just might have been the best career move Morozov ever made, because fans have mentioned him far more often as a potential impact player for the Penguins during the past few years than he ever gave any indication of being when he was on their payroll.
Morozov has ascended to his usual spot atop the Super League scoring race -- he has 13 goals and 14 assists in 24 games with Ak Bars Kazan -- and has been a dominant offensive force there since returning home after the 2003-04 NHL season.
Since leaving the Penguins, however, he has qualified for unrestricted free agency, which means the Penguins -- who have shown no meaningful interest in bringing him back -- have no more claim to Morozov than any of the other 29 NHL clubs. They all had a chance to lure him back to North America last summer and, while a few are believed to have at least explored the possibility, clearly none was willing to make the kind of contract offer needed to convince him to leave Russia.
• Q: When the puck goes in and out of the net so quickly that play goes on until there is a stoppage so that it can be reviewed, what would be the ruling if the first stoppage would result from a goal scored by the other team? Would both goals count, or would the second goal be disallowed?
Eli Peich, Aliquippa
MOLINARI: We almost got a chance to watch such a scenario play out last Saturday, when referees Eric Furlatt and Dan Marouelli failed to notice a Tyler Kennedy shot carom off the inside of the net frame after eluding New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro. Consequently, they allowed play to continue for nearly two minutes before there was a stoppage, which means both teams had a couple of offensive forays after Kennedy's shot. After play stopped, there was a video review which quickly determined that Kennedy had scored.
Had the Islanders (or the Penguins, for that matter) gotten a goal after Kennedy's shot, it would not have counted. Once a review determines that the sequence in question resulted in a goal, the game clock is reset to the time at which the puck entered the net and everything that happened between then and the stoppage is rendered moot. (Except for penalties, which must be served regardless.)