Penguins Notebook: Goligoski sets scoring record in strange way
Sidney Crosby faces off agsint Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood last night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
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DETROIT -- Penguins prospect Alex Goligoski set an American Hockey League playoff record yesterday.
No real surprise there, given Goligoski's big-time offensive talents.
Except that he wasn't in a game when he broke the record.
Or even in the AHL, for that matter.
A scoring change by the league office resulted in Goligoski being awarded an assist on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's first goal in its 4-2 loss to Chicago in Game 2 of the Calder Cup final Sunday.
That became his 26th point -- four goals, 22 assists -- this spring, breaking the record of 25 for a defenseman set by former Penguins minor leaguer Chris Kelleher in 2001.
The real twist is that Goligoski got the point a few hours after participating in the Penguins' morning skate before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final against Detroit last night at Joe Louis Arena.
Goligoski was brought up on emergency recall Sunday after rookie Kris Letang left the team to attend the funeral of a close friend, Vancouver defenseman Luc Bourdon, in New Brunswick. Although Letang was back before game time, the Penguins wanted to make sure they had a defenseman on hand in case Letang was delayed.
The promotion cost Goligoski what would have been a day off, but he didn't seem to mind.
"It's definitely better coming up here and being part of what these guys are going through," he said.
The Baby Penguins trail Chicago, 2-0, in the Calder Cup final, but Goligoski said he remains confident, particularly with the next three games scheduled for Wilkes-Barre.
"Going home, we'll have a little more intensity, and I think that's what we need right now," he said. "We've been a good home team all year. I don't think winning three at home is at all out of the question."
Especially if Goligoski's teammates can perform at the level he reached in Games 1 and 2. The Baby Penguins got six goals in those games; Goligoski scored one and assisted on the other five.
Goligoski will tie an AHL record for playoff points by a rookie if he earns two more. Longtime NHL forward Mike Sillinger set the mark with 28 while playing for Adirondack in 1992.
Running on empty
Despite numerous calls -- nearly all from outside the organization -- to ratchet up Sidney Crosby's ice time with the Penguins facing elimination last night, Penguins coach Michel Therrien was adamant about not wanting to use him too much.
"We've got a team concept, and that's the No. 1 reason we're here," he said. "We believe in our team concept. Our team concept brought us to the Stanley Cup final. Our team concept helped us win the division, because without any team concept, with the amount of players we lost through the course of the season, important players, we wouldn't have been here.
"We believe in our structure. We believe in our system, and we're not going to change, like this," he said, snapping his fingers. "That's not the way it works. It's our responsibility to try to bring the best of the players, and a guy like Crosby, I believe he's playing great ... and he's got energy.
"For me, it's important for him to [have] energy when he's on the ice. Because if he doesn't have that energy, it's going to be difficult for him. So that's my responsibility, that every time he steps on the ice, the tank is full. It can't be half full, because he won't be able to succeed."
Crosby, for his part, said he expected to be running on fumes by the time Game 5 ended.
"I'm definitely going to empty the tank," he said. "I'm not going to save anything. I think that's going to be the case with all the guys."
Former Penguins winger Colby Armstrong, who worked for a Canadian TV network for Games 3 and 4 at Mellon Arena, declined an offer to do likewise for Game 5 and returned to his offseason home in Saskatchewan to begin training for 2008-09. ... The Penguins and Baby Penguins are the first parent club and AHL affiliate to play for league titles in the same year since 1999, when Buffalo and Rochester did so. The Sabres and Americans lost in the final round.
First Published June 3, 2008 1:11 am