Big Lead Sports Bar


Koz: Ruuuuuutuuuuuuu


Thursday's game against the Isles was supposed to be about Sidney Crosby's return, but it was all Jarkko Ruutu. Ruutu had three points, including a fancy wrap around short-handed goal. In addition to being the game winning goal, it also won $1,250 of Mark Madden's Money for someone in B15. Ruutu had four penalty minutes and established himself as public enemy number one on Long Island. He drew several penalties, including a tripping call in the third that earned a 8.0 from the Finnish judge for his frog splash dive (that wasn't called by the refs). The Pens pest was constantly under the skin of many of the young Islanders. He also rang a shot off the post which could have been his second SHG in the game. Total domination from #37.

The win puts the Pens at the top of the Eastern Conference again. Thanks to a Rangers win over New Jersey, the Pens control their own destiny for the Atlantic Division title in the next two games against the Blue Shirts. Both games of the Pens/Rangers home-and-home series will be nationally televised (NBC on Sunday afternoon and Versus on Monday night).

March Madness – Penguins style: Check out the Mike Lange Tournament of Quotes. I like “Never Teach a Pig to Sing” as my upset special in the classic 5 vs 12 seed matchup in the Ron Francis bracket. Take that to the bank!

Sophomore Slump Staal – Jordan Staal's... uh, “stall” in his second season is fairly well documented. In the recent games I've seen, Staal has had excellent scoring chances but ended up hitting the post, missing the net, getting robbed by a stellar save, or having chances wiped out by delayed penalty calls like Thursday night. He's just missing. But two stats I recently noticed are very concerning:

Rookie Year: Led team in +/- (+16) and shooting percentage (22.1%)
Sophomore Year (entering Thursday's game): Last in team +/- (-5) and lowest ranked active forward in shooting percentage (6.8%)

So is this just bad luck? Maybe, but these are concerning numbers that tell about two separate things. It's one thing to struggle scoring goals; it's another thing to be a minus player. Of course, all the short-handed goals last year helped the +/-, but to fall from first to worst? Not good. We can deal with a Staal scoring slump because the team is deep in firepower and many will cite #11's value defensively... but what kind of defensive specialist ranks last on his team in plus-minus?

Hockey YouTube of the Week - I recognize I'm getting at this a little late, but in case you missed it, here is Patrick Roy's son, Jonathan (#30 in red), going absolutely berserk in a QMJHL game last week. What a psycho. He was suspended seven games; I'm not sure that's sufficient.

Do not adjust your Internet, this video is in French.

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