I had an opportunity to ask five questions to the guys over at PensBlog and here are their answers.
- The Pens came into the season with very high expectations but have not necessarily lived up to those expectations thus far. Do you think the expectations were set to high or have the Pens underachieved?
The Pens definitely came into the season with all kinds of media personalities hyping them up, with The Hockey News even saying they were gonna win the Cup. We're not saying last season was a fluke, but the Pens did string together a 16-game winning streak or something to that effect. That kind of thing doesn't happen every season, and it definitely blurred their record a little bit.
The Pens are on pace to give up as many goals this season as they did last season, but they're unfortunately on pace to score about 30 less goals that last season, so the offense is definitely underachieving.
- The Pens have been without Marc-Andre Fluery recently. What is the time table for his return and do you expect the Pens to make a move to get a goalie?
The Pens should have MAF back in late January. He's still a couple years away from taking this team far, but by saying that, it definitely means the Pens aren't going to be mortgaging an offensive star or two in order to get a plugger goalie until he gets back.
The two-headed monster of Sabourin and Conklin is keeping the Pens afloat. They have to do it for another 15 games or so.
- Earlier this season the Penguins placed Mark Recchi on waivers and they have forced Darryl Sydor to sit in the press box as a healthy scratch. Do you think that as we approach the deadline the Penguins will try to get younger and get rid of the older guys like Sydor and maybe even Gary Roberts?
They got rid of Recchi because he simply wasn't producing here. He was getting points, but he was hurting the offense from scoring more goals. We have no clue why coach Therrien put Sydor up in the press box for a few games, although the emergence of Kris Letang definitely had something to do with it.
They brought in Sydor and Roberts to bring the cliched veteran presence into the locker room.
We definitely don't see the Pens pushing Roberts anywhere, unless they give him the Recchi treatment and trade him to a contender if the Pens aren't making the playoffs.
- Jordan Staal played outstanding last season, forcing the Penguins to keep him on the roster, but he has been mostly non-existent this season. Do you think that management may have made a mistake keeping him in Pittsburgh last year? and also what are your expectations for him moving forward?
We looked at numbers and noticed that teenagers usually perform well in their first season, then taper off for a year or two. Watching Staal play every night, we can tell he definitely belongs in the NHL. He got hot last season, but his niche this season has been his defensive play. He's gonna be a consistent 20-goal scorer in his career, while contending for the Selke every season.
- How fun is it to watch Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on a nightly basis? If I sound jealous it's because I am...I actually watch the Penguins whenever possible via NHL Center Ice because of the excitement those two guys provide.
We take Crosby and Malkin for granted. What else would you expect from a fanbase that has watched Lemieux and Jagr tear up the NHL for our entire lives?
But we kind of wish that we didn't have our black-and-gold glasses on, so we'd be able to sit back and look at Crosby from an outsider's standpoint, as far as the crybaby and diving allegations go.
I know it sounds ludicrous, but Malkin has been just as much a presence this season, if not more, than Crosby.