In looking back on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ preseason finale against the Carolina Hurricanes, a few things jumped out to me as noteworthy. Here are my…
Points of Emphasis
Daniel Sprong Is Ready for the NHL
However, it may not be ready for him just yet.
Sprong, the Dutch second round pick from this past draft, may not make the team this season. That would have more to do with the current lineup ahead of him more than a reflection on his play thus far.
Injured during what looked like a knee-on-knee collision, he seemed to be in a great amount of pain before he finally was able to skate off the ice under his own power. Whether it was just the suddenness of the impact or a “funny bone” style reaction, Sprong returned to the ice with the start of the third period.
“It was pretty painful the first five minutes, then it went away and I got back to the game,” Sprong said. He said that he knew right away that it wasn’t his knee; it was his thigh.
As for the collision, “It was a reaction,”
Head coach Mike Johnson said after the game, “He didn’t stick out his knee but the knee went forward, so I thought it was the right call on the ice.”
Sprong also believed that the hit probably looked more malicious than it really was, but he’d have to see the replay.
[pull_quote_right author=”Mike Johnston”]
“I liked our back-check, I liked how we played in the offensive zone. We just missed some really good looks. We had some great chances coming down the gut on passes from the corner and we missed on some great opportunities.”
Adam Clendening Struck Two
Clendening, acquired in the Brandon Sutter trade, made some noise during the game with his powerful shot. He rang the puck off the post twice, and showed seemingly no fear in winding up and letting the puck go.
David Perron’s Blurred Lines
Used on the fourth line as well as the third line Friday, Perron did his best to make a case for as much ice time as possible. He played with the first power-play unit and looked like he belonged, but playing with Bobby Farnham and Matt Cullen is a far cry from the likes of Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel. The difference showed, and Perron isn’t the type of player who can lift someone like Farnham into mediocrity. Instead, Perron is the one who seems to need a boost.
If anything, a bit more time to adjust to this new role is in store before he can turn the corner on his way back up the depth chart.
More on Perron in a bit.
Power Play Lines
Here are those aforementioned power play lines:
- PP1: Crosby / Kessel / Kunitz / Perron / Letang
- PP2: Malkin / Hornqvist / Plotnikov / Maatta / Clendening
…And Now a Few Words From the Hurricanes
After Crosby got involved with Nathan Gerbe along the boards, well…
The Hurricanes' video feed would like to remind you: pic.twitter.com/HmwyExJira
— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) October 3, 2015
Perron came out in the third period skating alongside Nick Bonino and Pascal Dupuis. The line found success, as Dupuis potted a backhand shot.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 3, 2015
Perron versus Michal Jordan
They dropped the gloves but it was little more than a shoving match. In fact, each player was given two minutes for roughing instead of 5 for fighting.
That's Perron's first fight since the 2009-10 preseason (STL's Danny Irmen), his only other entry on http://t.co/KtZ5Spym78.
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) October 3, 2015
“I like when [Perron] plays with that emotion,” Johnston said, “as long as his emotion doesn’t go overboard into penalty trouble. He played a hard game tonight. I thought he played physical, he played with energy, and that’s the way he’s got to play. When you play like that, your skill is going to take over.”
Johnson added, “We need that passion, that energy, that compete from him every night.”
Lee is a contributor here at The Hockey Writers as well as at Pens Initiative. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, he worked an internship at VH1 Radio in NYC and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Penn State – New Kensington campus student newspaper, The Nittany Pride. You can visit Lee’s website here: leecjsobotka.com.