Sidney Crosby came into his first road game of the season with most of the hype, which isn’t surprising considering his connection to the Montreal Canadiens. A different Pittsburgh Penguins All-Star ended up being the focal point, though, as Saturday proved to be Kris Letang’s night.
The first major moment came when Max Pacioretty likely broke Letang’s nose with a hit that is almost certain to get a look from Brendan Shanahan. (“Dr. Mark Recchi” will likely smirk when he hears that Pacioretty finds himself on the other side of a controversial check.)
That happened in the third period, but as wobbly as Letang looked after bleeding all over the ice, the telegenic defenseman got his revenge in overtime. Habs fans will likely complain that the play should have been whistled dead, but Letang snatched a puck from underneath Carey Price and fired it into Montreal’s net, giving Pittsburgh a 4-3 win.
In other words, the game packed plenty of excitement wrapped in controversy. So, let us know how you feel: does Pacioretty deserve a suspension for that check, which wasn’t penalized? If so, how long should he sit? And will he make eye contact with Zdeno Chara at imaginary Controversial Check Club meetings?
Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.
It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.
His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:
These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”
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It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.
Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.
You can see and hear his full comments below:
If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.
Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.
Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.
Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.
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