Jim in VT: Has there ever been a better "throw in" in a trade in recent memory than Pascal Dupuis? Quite the late blooming value!
Shelly Anderson: Not sure I would call Pascal Dupuis late blooming. Perhaps people are just recognizing his value. He has been a steady linemate for Sidney Crosby (when healthy) for a while now. But if you consider him a great throw-in, how about Matt Niskanen? Penguins general manager Ray Shero doesn't seem the type to just go for warm bodies. He goes on some pretty good info when crafting trades. On the flip side, "throw-in" Eric Tangradi just couldn't find his spot here.
Jordyn: Do any of the pens wear kevlar socks? What are your thoughts on making things like kevlar socks, visors and helmets during warm-up mandatory?
Shelly Anderson: PG colleague Dave Molinari addressed that a couple of days ago. Apparently, James Neal, Dustin Jeffrey and Beau Bennett wear the protective socks designed to stave off skate blade cuts. A lot of players think they are uncomfortable, or they simply are unwilling to make equipment changes, even if it means some level of risk. Whenever there is a notable injury, equipment issues come up. At one time, helmets were not mandatory. Visors still are not. They all would seem to be most valuable in games, but it does seem a bit risky to go out for the pregame warmups bare-headed, as a decent number of players do.
Mary: Why does Chris Kunitz have so many goals and assists taken away from him? Is it the way he shoots or his position in front of the net?
Shelly Anderson: Ha. You hit on one thing, Mary. Chris Kunitz is willing to man the front of the net, and last season he had a few instances where goals were nullified by what the officials thought was too much contact with the goalie. As far as assists, that's simply the official scorers taking a look at video to help determine which players actually touched the puck before a goal was scored. Remember, he had a goal awarded to him a day after a game in Washington earlier this season. It had originally been given to Paul Martin, but Kunitz tipped the shot.
Chris: What is your review of Beau Bennett after the first 2 games? Seemed a little timid to me at first but started to get in to it a little more by the end of yesterday's game. Looks like he is cherry picking out there and should get involved in the D zone a little more.
Shelly Anderson: I haven't seen anything outrageous in any part of the rookie's first two NHL games. He told me he was nervous for a couple of shifts in his first game but settled down. Anyone with high potential and a "first-round draft pick" tag no doubt is going to play a safer game initially. I have not asked anyone exactly what his responsibilities are as a winger; perhaps he is supposed to be the first to head up ice. But in the Penguins' system, defensive deficiencies have a way of standing out. I'm looking forward to see more of Beau Bennett's skills as he gets more comfortable.
Shelly Anderson: OK, it's a holiday and a lot of people are off work, where we figure most of you are when you take a breather to join the chat (your bosses are Penguins fans, right? Or you guys are the bosses, right?) Anyway, we are short of questions this week, something that seems to only happen on Monday holidays. Fire away, folks.
Mary: Has a Penguins announcer or Post-Gazette writer ever missed a game because of bad weather or cancelled flight?
Shelly Anderson: Not that I'm aware of, but there have been some close calls. The broadcasters, though, generally travel with the team, so if the team is there, the broadcaster should be, too. If I were a superstitious hockey player, I would be knocking wood right now.
alan: after the islanders game a few yrs ago, you think big mac gets called up for the enxt ottawa game? i hope the pens learned their lesson.
Shelly Anderson: Not sure what lesson you mean. The Penguins and Senators play once more, and that's not until April. As far as the play where Matt Cooke's skate cut the heel of Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson, there is no doubt that was an accident. Will there be any carryover? I can't say for sure. Will the Penguins call up enforcer Steve MacIntyre specifically for that game. I highly doubt it.
Matt: Do you think Malkin is struggling to readjust to the smaller ice surface in the NHL or is there some other reason for the drop in his production. I would have thought the fact that he had been playing for months would have helped speed up his game compared to those who haven't. Also, have you heard any names mentioned in regards to acquiring a winger for Malkin and Neal?
Shelly Anderson: Evgeni Malkin said a few weeks ago that there was an adjustment -- opposing players are all over you more quickly on the smaller ice surface -- but that he prefers the NHL game. He surely would benefit from a regular left winger who could develop strong chemistry with Malkin and James Neal. I have not heard anything substantial in terms of trade talk. The Penguins did pluck Zach Boychuk off of waivers, but he has, as of now, been replaced by Cooke on that left wing spot.
Jay: Do you think Kris Letang will ever get his spot back on the top power play unit? I know that Martin has been doing well there, but Letang does have a better shot fromt he point. Also, does that cause Letang to feel frustrated with his losing his spot?
Shelly Anderson: I have not sensed any frustration on Letang's part. Coach Dan Bylsma explained that, as of last week, Letang was the first player off the bench during a power play, regardless of which player/position comes off. It would be great to see Letang and Martin on the points, but then which forward do you take off of the top unit? If the power play hits a dry spell, it could mean some changes, perhaps at the point(s).
Chris: You mentioned superstitions in your one answer here today, and we all know Sid is very sutperstitious. Who is the most superstitious player you have covered for the Pens and what were some of his eccentricities?
Shelly Anderson: Hmm. Don't hang out with them to really get to know all their quirks. Sidney Crosby would have to be up there, though. He likes to have everything just so.
Matt: Do you expect to see Vokoun this weekend or is he likely only to play in a back to back situation as long as Fleury stays hot?
Shelly Anderson: Good question. When the schedule is really cramped, it's more likely that coach Dan Bylsma will turn to Tomas Vokoun. But things are a little lighter for right now and Bylsma said during those times he has the option of riding a hot goaltender without worrying too much about burning him out. At the same time, Vokoun is a former starter and probably shouldn't sit for too long and still be expected to be in top form. I imagine, one way or another, we'll see Vokoun over the three-game homestand coming up.
howard: Don't they need to be more thick-skinned than they are? It seems like they take a lot of penalties out of frustration or retaliation.
Shelly Anderson: We saw a couple of those Sunday at Buffalo. The question of trying to rein in the emotions to avoid penalties based on retaliation has been around forever in hockey. You want the emotion, but you want players to still be smart about things. It's been an observation or complaint for years that often the initial infraction is overlooked, but the player who retaliates gets the penalty. Better to, as you say, develop thick skin than to put your team at a disadvantage.
Shelly Anderson: OK, everyone. Thanks for the questions. Now go and recite the presidents in order.
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