Crosby and Penguins need to put frustrations aside

Crosby5.jpgI’ve written before how Sidney Crosby’s obvious frustration was a
good sign for the Canadiens
, and as the series has worn on you’re seeing
that frustration more and more. Crosby was able to get his first goal
of the series in Game 6, although he was held to just three shots in the
game and overall has just five points in the series.

Not that big
a deal if the rest of the team was picking up the slack, but with
Crosby and Evgeni Malkin struggling we’ve yet to see the secondary
scoring of the Penguins truly step up.

At the heart of the matter
is the emotional makeup of the Penguins as they gear up for tonight’s
big game and whether Crosby’s outbursts have been a detriment to the
team. The Penguins have played at times like a team that is scared to
make a mistake while the Canadiens continue play loose, knowing that
they were never expected to make it this far.

The pressure is all on the
Penguins at this point, and it’s showing.

This isn’t so much
about the Habs’ ability to keep Crosby in check as it is about some of
the troubled signs we’ve seen at times as he’s been continuously
frustrated by the Canadiens. There’s no doubt that the Habs are playing
Crosby as physical as they possibly can and those that feel that the NHL
and the officials are all on his side don’t have much of a leg to stand
on as he’s constantly grabbed, hit and taken down to the ice.

seen Crosby unleash a two-handed slash with his stick at the goalpost,
angrily throwing the broken stick away. Last game we witnessed Crosby
take on a few Canadiens after time had expired in the team’s 4-3 loss.

I think his complaints to the officials are a bit overblown — every
player in the NHL does the same thing — the issue here is how visible
Crosby is and how every action he takes on the ice is intensely

He’s an incredibly talented player who has been
elevated to divinity status in the hockey world, aided by being named
captain of the teams he’s on. Winning the Stanley Cup and an Olympic
gold medal as captain have seemingly made Crosby into an infallible
leader on the ice, where no matter what he might do it’s perfectly fine.
He’s won a Stanley Cup and a gold medal, there’s no use in questioning
his leadership ability.

But this is a new season, a new team and a
new run for the Stanley Cup. What he’s done before was great, but
seeing him come close to falling apart at times has been troubling.
There’s no way to tell whether his actions are affecting the rest of the
team but we’ve yet to see the Penguins come completely apart. But as we
approach tonight’s game, and the feeling of how each team is
approaching the game, you have to wonder if the pressure is getting to

The Penguins, like the Boston Bruins, need to put use their
emotions more efficiently. It’s fine to be angry, it’s fine to be ultra
competitive and frustrated, but when you aren’t putting that energy
towards your actual play on the ice is when the problems start.

Edmonton Journal has a good blog entry today on this subject, taking
excerpts from the book Simply the Best: Insights and Strategies from
Great Hockey Coaches. I
thought this quote was exceptionally relevant:

Pat Quinn:
“I think body language and self-talk are really
important and revealing. I used to watch a young Trevor Linden in
Vancouver come to the bench like it was the end of the world, and I’d
say, ‘Wake up. If you’re afraid of mistakes, don’t show the rest of the
world.’ Davey Keon was not much older than me when I first started
playing in Toronto, but he was very accomplished at a young age. One
night I came back to the bench and banged my stick after a shift that I
didn’t like. Dave told me, ‘If you do that again, I’m going to give you
the stick. You don’t show 20,000 people that you’re unhappy with
yourself, and you don’t show the other bench either.’ It made a lot of
sense to me.”

Well said.

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    Don’t glare: Heritage Classic start time delayed

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 22: Cam Talbot #33 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during practice in preparation for the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic alumni hockey game on October 22, 2016 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Oilers play the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 23, 2016. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    Update: Puck drop is now scheduled for 4:53 p.m. ET.


    It’s not a familiar situation for the NHL, but it has happened before: a weather delay for a hockey game.

    The Winnipeg Jets confirmed that the start time for their Heritage Classic game against the Edmonton Oilers has been delayed. The glare of the sun appears to be too much.

    At the moment, it is not yet known how severe the delay will be. Puck drop was originally scheduled for just after 3 p.m. ET.

    That’s a bummer, but at least it inspired a joke that would probably make Ilya Bryzgalov smile:

    Warm-ups were moved to 4 p.m. ET. PHT will keep you posted if there are any other changes.

    Great news: Jacques Demers back at home after hospital stay

    MONTREAL- NOVEMBER 22:   Former Montreal Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy embraces his former head coach Jacques Demers during his retirement ceremony before the game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on November 22, 2008 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 3-2 in a shootout.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
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    OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers is back at home after going to a hospital Saturday.

    Demers’ Senate office would only confirm that the 72-year-old Demers, a Canadian senator, was at home Sunday, but didn’t provide any details about the reason he went to the hospital.

    Demers had suffered a stroke in April, but he was at the Canadiens’ home opener Tuesday night, smiling in a wheelchair while handing a torch to captain Max Pacioretty to close out a pregame ceremony.

    Demers led the Canadiens to their most recent Stanley Cup in 1993. He also coached the Quebec Nordiques, the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues.

    Demers was appointed to the Senate in 2009 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but later left the Conservative caucus in December to sit as an Independent.

    At the time, he said he was uncomfortable with some of the fallout from the Senate expenses scandal and didn’t like to have to vote the Conservative party line all the time.

    Goalie nods: Talbot vs. Hellebuyck vs. the elements

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 22: Cam Talbot #33 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during practice in preparation for the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic alumni hockey game on October 22, 2016 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Oilers play the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 23, 2016. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    So, let’s assume that the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will eventually play in the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field on Sunday.

    Every indication is that Cam Talbot and Connor Hellebuyck shall get the nods for their respective teams. Most assume, with the firepower on hand, that this could be a high-scoring game.

    Hellebuyck isn’t flustered about all the goals the Jets have allowed so far, as he told

    “It’s not something you’re really worried about,” Hellebuyck said. “It’s early in the year, it happens to a lot of teams. If you look at the trends in the past 10 years, there’s always a lot of goals being scored at the beginning of the year.”

    They’re not just facing dangerous offenses. They’re also dealing with the conditions, as the game was already delayed by the glare of the sun.

    Goalies are already accustomed to having their views compromised by screening forwards. Will Hellebuyck and Talbot squint through the Heritage Classic?

    Elsewhere …

    Wild at Islanders – Darcy Kuemper vs. Thomas Greiss

    Coyotes at Rangers – Louis Domingue vs. (probably) Henrik Lundqvist

    Canucks at DucksRyan Miller vs. (likely) John Gibson

    Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 22: Morris Lukowich #12 of the Winnipeg Jets alumni moves the puck in front Steve Staios #24 of the Edmonton Oilers alumni during the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic alumni hockey game on October 22, 2016 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or at 3 p.m. ET.

    With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.

    • Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
    • The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game.’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
    • No doubt about it, the futures of both franchises will be on display, from Connor McDavid to Patrik Laine.
    • The league’s PR department tweeted out some silly facts: 425 lbs. of cheese curds “will top poutine” during the event and 2.5 kilometers (about 1.55 miles) of hot dogs and “smokies” will be consumed.

    (Imagines one enormous cheese dog.)

    Now that you have important food facts in mind, here are a few fun photos as promised.

    Should be a great time.

    Oh, and in case you missed it, here is a recap of Saturday’s wonderful alumni game: