Home > NHL > Lots to report from Pens/Bolts game

Lots to report from Pens/Bolts game

WARNING: What you are about to read is strongly opinionated, sometimes biased, and full of emotion. If you can’t handle that, get out while you still can. I try not to be such a homer, and to try to steer clear of my own favorite team when I sit down to write, but after last nights game, I couldn’t help but touch on a few things:

What the hell is happening to the Pittsburgh Penguins? The reining Stanley Cup Champions have been a favorite to return to the finals for the 3rd consecutive time, but they aren’t really playing like they are a championship worthy team. Yes, they are missing two important key players at the moment, but this is not the first time Sergei Gonchar has been missing from the lineup. Lately, as a fan, it seems like he is out more than he plays. The Penguins are making mistakes that they shouldn’t be making this late in the season. Brooks Orpik, who once voiced his opinions to the media, went on ESPN radio today and said that the team held a “players only” meeting to discuss what has been going down. Let’s hope they can come together in time.

And where the hell did this Lighting team come from? I hate seeing losses like this one this time a year. Ya know, the ones where a really good team loses to a really bad team. And not for the reason you may think. Why is the really bad team playing so well? Is it because they have nothing to lose? Well they wouldn’t have to play with nothing to lose if they had been playing this way all year. I know that changes are made at the trade deadline and some effort can account from that, and it cant erase the past mistakes that cost them all those points and a higher spot in the conference, but it just pisses me off when they can play so well right now but not then. Toronto too. They almost beat the Penguins as well, and they are the 2nd worst team in the NHL. As a hockey fan, I wanna see great hockey come out of every team, tight races, more difficulty to make that playoff cut. I wanna see teams like the Tampa Bay Lighting and the Toronto Maple Leafs busting their asses all season long, not just when they’re not making the post season.

Matt Lashoff’s hit on Ruslan Fedotenko– Maybe I am being biased, but did Matt Lashoff‘s hit on Ruslan Fedotenko look pretty damn similar to the one Alex Ovechkin took on Brian Campbell? Maybe not intended to be serious, but a brutal hit to a player in a vulnerable position all the same. Do I feel like it warrants a suspension? No. Do I feel like Lashoff should get suspended? Yes. You can’t very well suspend Ovechkin for the same thing and not suspend Lashoff. That would be picking and choosing who you are going to punish and as much as we know the NHL likes to play games, it needs to stop. Everyone can argue that the players need to protect the players and all that mumbo jumbo, but has anyone else noticed that since the league so inconsistently has gotten involved that there have been more and more injuries due to dirty hits?

Goaltender Mike Smith– Who is this Mike Smith character and why haven’t I heard his name before? I am one who strongly feels that in a 30 team league, some teams have gone through 3 or more goalies a season, way too many to keep up with. So if I have heard your name, you obviously had to have done something spectacular at some point. That’s kind of how I defend Cristobal Huet to Hawks fans in my home town. I know that name, he had to have been good at one point. But this Smith guy, wow was I impressed, and I was cheering for the other team. The Lighting took a 5 minutes penalty when Lashoff took that hit on Fedotenko, and Smith helped kill it off nicely. There were also several times where he could have been seriously burned with his out of net play, but it seemed as if he knew what he was doing every time. So he’s the back up I come to find out, okay, so maybe that’s why I haven’t heard much of him, he doesn’t always play. But I have seen Antero Niittymaki play and I was never as impressed as I was with Smith. Yes I say impressed a lot, I said it again. Smith’s numbers definitely don’t do him any justice, and if I were Niittymaki, I would seriously consider painting my name on that bench after last nights performance, if ya know what I mean.

Steve Stamkos is edging up on Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin- It’s no longer just a war between Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin for who will win the Rocket this year, we can now add Stamkos to the mix. After scoring last night, Stamkos is now tied with Ovechkin for the second most goals in the league, right behind Crosby. So why is a team like Tampa so low in the standings if they have a guy like Stamkos? Well, as much as we would like to believe it, one player can’t carry your entire team. But if Stamkos continues to play like this and can rub off some of his scoring touch on the rest of his teammates, Tampa Bay may be a team to look out for….next season. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that they won the Stanley Cup as well.

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