Guest: Trying to remember what Letang injury could be lingering?? Any thoughts?
Shelly Anderson: Kris Letang missed three games in February. The Penguins never revealed the injury, but we believe it was a groin, hamstring, something along those lines. It's not clear whether the problem that he aggravated Sunday that forced him to leave the game against Boston was the same injury. It could be something newer that had been bothering him and just became unsafe to play on after he got tangled with Marchand in the first period. In any case, the indications are that Letang isn't expected to have something serious or long-term, although the team has not confirmed any of that.
mike: has 9 wins in a row tempered the need for a defenseman? they 8 guys that they have seemingly bought in (or maybe got used to the changes) to the system...or is a guy like hal gill still needed to clear out in front of the net?
Shelly Anderson: I think the Penguins would still look for a tough, high-level defenseman, although those are hard to come by and aren't cheap. You might want the play that Hal Gill brought during the 2009 Stanley Cup run, but it's highly unlikely it will be him. He's a few years older and has dealt with some injuries. As you mentioned, the team has played better defensively -- although Letang's absence was noticeable for two periods against Boston -- so it might not be imperative to add a defenseman.
mike: whats up with the 4th line shelly? are they just getting used to each other or what, they are finally keeping the puck down in their end and generating some good chances
Shelly Anderson: It's hard to say why, but the line of Tanner Glass, Joe Vitale and Craig Adams is performing as prescribed lately, and even chipped in the winning goal from Vitale against Boston. It's not the only stretch this season when that line has played well. It's been a bit up and down.
mike: true or false, the pens need to nab somebody like iginla to win the cup. if false, i assume the front office is satisfied going into the playoffs with bennett in the top 6
Shelly Anderson: You never know what might strike general manager Ray Shero's fancy as the April 3 trade deadline approaches, but it would seem that a top-six forward is losing a lot of priority right now. Regardless of what you think of the wingers, the Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis line is one of the best in the NHL this season. Why break it up. Evgeni Malkin is not considered to have a long-term injury. No reason to separate him and James Neal (who, by the way, has fallen off just a bit without Malkin). That leaves the left side of Malkin's line. While experience would be great, rookie Beau Bennett has probably earned a shot to stay there heading into the playoffs -- assuming, as I said, something fantastic doesn't present itself to Shero for the right price. As for Jarome Iginla specifically, I don't see it. He plays the right side. He has a no-movement clause. He makes $7 million. He could cost a lot in return.
JJ: Curious if you think you'd ever get a straight answer from any NHL players regarding any reluctance they may have signing with the Bruins because of the hard line stance taken by Jeremy Jacobs? Or do you think that money talks and trumps all else regardless?
Shelly Anderson: I think it's somewhere between. There might be a few guys who would avoid a team owned by someone who seems to have a lot of sway in the league and was heavily involved during the lockout. Others who aren't front-line players might need to go where a job is, Most, I would think, try to look at the big picture and weigh a lot of things, but mostly how they would fit in on the ice and -- your point -- what the paychecks would look like.
Murph: Why would the Pens seek a rent-a-defenseman instead of working Depres and Bortuzzo into that role? Trying to keep Malkin and Letang will be hard enough without additional hi price contracts.
Shelly Anderson: A rent-a-defenseman would be one who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. As long as the Penguins didn't re-sign him, he wouldn't affect future contracts for Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang or anyone else. As for Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo, they have not earned regular playing spots in the coaches' eyes, so having a proven defenseman with a lot more experience would be appealing going into the playoffs. That's not to say the two haven't played well; just that young defensemen can get overwhelmed in the playoffs.
Pablo: Is there anything to suggest that Malkin will be out longer than anticipated? Or do you expect him to return some time this week?
Shelly Anderson: I can't make a prediction. Malkin has been skating in full gear fairly regularly, but if he has a shoulder injury, as suspected, it will probably be more about getting into practice and having some contact. The original prognosis would have him back by the weekend.
JamesinNYC: Any injury updates?
Shelly Anderson: Not today. The Penguins shuffled their original schedule and took today off. No practice, no interviews, no updates. We will see who is on the ice Tuesday at the morning skate. Alex Ovechkin and Washington come to town that night.
mike: a cold streak by the top two lines in the playoffs will spell doom for this team....or do their 4 defensemen that can jump up cover for the lack of goals at the bottom of the line up?
Shelly Anderson: A cold spell by most team's top two lines would be tough to overcome in a playoff series.
Joe S.: Come playoff time, does Vocoun continue to share time with Flower? Or will they simply use him to spell him late in the season and keep the Flower fresh for the playoffs?
Shelly Anderson: One main reason the Penguins signed Tomas Vokoun as their backup goaltender was to have someone who could play enough games in the regular season to keep Marc-Andre Fleury fresher for the playoffs. The idea would be to ride Fleury in the postseason, only using Vokoun if needed. But they also wanted a goalie strong enough to insert in the postseason if necessary without angst. Vokoun is a former starter who -- other than one short rough patch -- has looked like he fits all the Penguins' criteria.
Steve from San Antonio: What was Ray Shero's thinking when we let Aaron Asham go and signed Tanner Glass. Asham is a much better player and seemed like a good guy. I don't think a difference in salary of a few hundred thousand dollars was worth it.
Shelly Anderson: They are both good guys. No tiebreaker there. Asham has a few more years on him, looked as if he might be more prone to injury (he is out now with a back problem) and his play has been suspect at times in the regular season. The Penguins management also might have soured on him for a few ill-advised penalties. Glass hasn't had as strong a first season with the Penguins as he wanted, and at times it seems he's trying to do a little too much, but he has a good pedigree for his role. That fourth line has played fairly well lately.
Clint: When Malkin is out, who serves as the 2nd Asst Captain for Pens?
Shelly Anderson: Easy. Brooks Orpik and Chris Kunitz were sharing the other "A" at home and on the road, so they both can be alternate (it's not assistant) captains while Malkin is out.
Wild Bill: Hello Shelly, I have been very impressed by Bennett. It feels like he is making strides with every game and doing little things that many veterans don't or can't. Do you see what I'm seeing?
Shelly Anderson: Yes. For a first-year pro who otherwise would have been a college junior and whose sophomore year at Denver was mostly wiped out by wrist surgery, Bennett has looked like the first-round draft pick that he was. I've seen good plays at both ends and flashes of skill. He's not polished yet, but he's got the tools and the smarts.
dave: Do you think Tyler Kennedy has been playing better the past few games?
Shelly Anderson: Yes, I do. At least, I have noticed him being involved more. Before, he was pretty invisible.
James_Pittsburgh: Do you see the Penguins maintaining their high level of defense?
Shelly Anderson: If they want to keep winning, they will. All teams have lapses, but this is a talented and savvy enough group to shore it up. We did get a glimpse of Letang's importance, though, when Boston was able to set up shop in the Penguins' end after Letang left Sunday's game.
Elisa: Hi Shelly! Everyone said when we got Brandon Sutter that he was going to be "no Jordan Staal". But now, with they way he's been playing and the clutch goals he's had lately, do you think he's stepped up and is starting to give the team just as much as Jordan did?
Shelly Anderson: I wouldn't go as far as saying that Brandon Sutter is quite as good as Jordan Staal, but he's been a great replacement and fits better as a third-line center. Staal wasn't going to be happy here and probably would have left via free agency. Ray Shero did a fine job on that trade.
Shelly Anderson: OK, everyone. Lively today. Sorry if i didn't get to your question. Got to most of them. Please join us again next week.
|< Prev||Next >|