Welcome to Pittsburgh Penguins News & Rumors, where we cover all the hot topics about the club and dive into more than just box scores. Get ready for some rapid-fire headlines that will run us through all the noise surrounding Pittsburgh’s beloved Penguins.
Penguins Backup Struggling to Find His Game
It’s been a rough season for Penguins’ netminder Casey DeSmith and the last straw may have been pulled when head coach Mike Sullivan yanked the goaltender on Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Number one starter Tristan Jarry came in the game in relief after playing the full 60 minutes the night before against the Ottawa Senators. The backup’s job is to keep his team in the game each night he plays, give his counterpart a rest when he needs it, and not let in any backbreaking goals. Unfortunately, DeSmith isn’t checking off many boxes these days.
The fan base is calling out for the team to find some insurance. The last thing the Penguins want to see is Jarry taking a step back because he’s overplayed. Pittsburgh is lucky to have veteran Louis Domingue close by, but he’s only played two NHL games since 2019-20 and that’s not ideal insurance. Half of the crowd yells Marc-Andre Fleury, the other half screams Braden Holtby.
While Brian Burke mentioned the team wants to stop the trend of dealing away assets, he still wants to do whatever he can to improve the hockey club. He and general manager Ron Hextall are two of the hardest working guys in the business. It’s likely we can expect a move at some point before the trade deadline.
Penguins Legend Still Has Plenty of Game
It seems like everybody loves to remind Sidney Crosby about how old he is and how many seasons he’s played in the NHL. While some will argue he’ll eventually slow down because of his style of play, a little bit like what we saw out of Peter Forsberg, I’m on the side of, because of the way he plays, he’ll sustain success until the bitter end of his playing career. Sure, the 100-point seasons may be few and far between but the impact on the game, I feel, will always be there.
It was great to see his hat-trick performance on Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. A team like many across the league the Penguins captain seems to own:
After a bit of a slow start this season, Crosby has picked up his game in a major way, tallying 31 points in 28 games including six points in his last three games.
Geno’s Making It Look Easy Since Return to Penguins
When Evgeni Malkin mentioned his knee felt better than ever before, some questioned if he was just saying that to get back on the ice. Turns out he wasn’t lying at all as the Penguins great has rejoined the team and is proving to the rest of the league he’s still capable of being a game-changer.
It’s starting to feel like a reoccurring issue of Malkin not having enough support on his wings. While Kasperi Kapanen and Jason Zucker were supposed to be penciled in, Zucker can’t stay healthy and has underperformed, meanwhile, Kapanen continues to be inconsistent and as Josh Yohe mentioned, continues to be shuffled in the lineup. Look for Evan Rodrigues to get an extended look over the next few weeks as head coach Mike Sullivan continues to try and find the perfect trio before the postseason.
So far in six games, Malkin has recorded six points, playing over 17 minutes of ice-time a night. Needless to say, he’s back, and back in a major way for the Penguins. The 35-year-old hasn’t shown any ill effects of his knee surgery and the points are likely to keep flying each and every night. Good thing he’s a rich guy, his next contract will be a complicated one for management.
Penguins Head Coach Doesn’t Get Enough Credit
Pittsburgh continues to have issues with the injury bug as this may be one of the trends management want to look into. Season after season, for many different reasons, man games are lost and the coaching staff is working overtime early and often. The times are a bit different now of course, so this season, players are missing games for multiple different reasons. That’s where head coach Mike Sullivan comes in. His fingerprints are all over the team’s win column and while the fans love to chant names like Jarry and Crosby, they may want to mix in a Sully!
The Penguins continue to impress as they sit one point out of their division lead and have played this many games without that type of talent. It all comes back to coach Sullivan and his ability to motivate and push the right buttons. Pittsburgh is lucky to have him and we’ll see how his numbers stack up for some Jack Adams votes at season’s end.
The Winnipeg Jets come to town on Sunday afternoon in what should be an entertaining game. The Penguins go for five-in-a-row as they look to continue their trend of adding two points after each game.
Shane covers any and everything to do with the Toronto Maple Leafs & Pittsburgh Penguins. A constant contributor to the THW family, his passion and unique perspective on the game results in some diverse content. Certainly versatile, you can also find him contributing at NHLTradeRumors.me, BaseballRumors.me & BBallRumors.com. Follow along on Twitter @ShugMcSween