Posts Tagged ‘Craig Adams’

Lightning 5, Penguins 3: When You Play Tampa, You Just Have To Contain Teddy Purcell

October 28, 2010

My brother, a hockey fan who despises the NBA even more strongly than I do, has long made the argument that part of the NHL’s struggle for publicity stems from how fundamentally different the roles of its stars are from those of the stars in the NBA. If you attend a Lakers game, you know almost unequivocally that Kobe Bryant is going to score 20 points with a shot at 30 or 40, and he’ll have the ball in his hands on nearly every possession throughout the entire game, whereas if you attend a Penguins game — such as the Pens’ unimpressive 5-3 clunker in Tampa Wednesday night — you very plausibly might see Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin manage just one secondary assist between them.

The disparity in star power between NHL players and NBA players isn’t solely a factor of the sports’ differing popularities or the way that they’re promoted, but also results from this primary, fundamental difference within the sports themselves. If you’ve never seen a basketball game, you’re still not going to watch a Heat game without noticing LeBron James; if you’re not a serious hockey fan, though, you very well could’ve missed Sidney Crosby Wednesday night.

I’ll save the finer points of this argument for another day, but it’s a nice, general, roundabout segue into my minorly disgusted reaction to the Pens’ loss to Tampa, in which Sidney Crosby played possibly his worst game of the year, managing 3 shots and a Minus-1, providing absolutely zip on the power play, and turning the puck over with Cutleresque frequency. The Pens managed to lose a game in which they scored two shorthanded goals on the same Tampa power play, got goals from Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, and Craig Adams, and managed to chase the clueless-looking Mike Smith just 12 minutes into the game.

Fleury did his part too, allowing 4 goals on 30 shots (.867 SV%) including the first shot of the game for his second straight start, this time on a harmless wrister along the ice from Tampa’s most dangerous sniper, Dana Tyrell. The equally unstoppable Teddy Purcell added a goal on an untipped wrist shot from above the circles (the Pens had a tough time containing the notorious -Ell Twins), Vinny LeCavalier threw an unstoppable power play one-timer past Fleury to tie it, and Marty St. Louis forced a breakaway through two Penguin defenders and chipped the winning goal over a failed Fleury poke-check. Stir in another sweet 0-for-5 on the Pens’ power play and voila! A regulation loss after being up 3-1.

Jordan Staal is allegedly slated to return Friday against Philly. If his weight still isn’t up to par, he has my permission to eat Mike Comrie.

This Is What Gets Written When The Penguins Don’t Play For Four Days

February 5, 2010

Really? A Column about Craig Adams approaching the coveted 100-point career plateau?

I know the Pens have some down time this week, but you really couldn’t come up with something more significant things to write about? Some examples:

- “Fleury Still Alive”

- “Crosby Improving On His Face-Offs Since Our Piece Last Week About Him Improving On His Face-Offs”

- “Malkin Loving Earth”

- “Staal: Young!”

- “Super Bowl”

Blackhawks 2, Penguins 1 (OT): Pens Salvage A Point From Antti Niemi’s Highlight Reel DVD

December 7, 2009

Pierre LeBrun has the Blackhawks at #1 on his latest NHL Power Rankings, along with the justification:

Statement win in Pittsburgh on Saturday night, and wouldn’t that be a dandy of a Stanley Cup finals matchup?

By “Statement Win,” I assume LeBrun means, “Barely pulled-off overtime win against team missing the hottest player in the NHL thanks to ridiculous performance by backup goalie?”

The Penguins (who LeBrun ranks 6th, incidentally) dominated the second period and most of the third against the Blackhawks, but after Antti Niemi’s pad save on the Letestu-to-Gonchar one-timer in the final minute of the second, it was clear this game was gonna be one of those “The other team’s goalie is playing out of his mind and sometimes there’s nothing you can do about that” games.

Even if the Pens had lost in regulation, I wouldn’t have been discouraged by their performance against Chicago — every team loses a handful of games a year to a crazy opposing goalie performance, and like a baseball team getting shut out by Roy Halladay on a great night, you just kind of have to accept it — but the Pens still tied the game in the final minute to salvage a point, and they were missing the hottest player in the NHL and likely Art Ross trophy winner, Chris Kunitz. If the Pens play this exact game against Chicago seven times — even without taking into account their missing players — they win five of them. Getting the point in the final minute was gravy.

Mark Letestu played probably the most impressive single game by any of the Pens’ many AHL callups this season, setting up numerous scoring chances and cleanly winning the faceoff that led to the game-tying goal. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Pens continue to give Letestu a chance over these next few weeks, even if Crosby and Kunitz come back; his offensive performance and random faceoff prowess made him instantly more valuable than Craig Adams and Eric Godard have been for the majority of the year, and certainly worth at least rotating him in as the go-to 13th forward in case of injury or the need to healthy scratch anyone.

I was also highly amused by the Mellon Arena fans’ reluctant on-and-off booing of Marian Hossa; it was clear that fans recognized a conscious obligation to boo him when he had the puck, but now that the Pens already got the ultimate revenge on Hossa in last year’s Cup Finals (and the fact that he now plays for the Red Wings’ archrival), the booing is so half-assed. If you’re keeping track at home, Hossa’s goal now gives him one in the last eight games against the Penguins. Dang.

Penguins Re-Sign Craig Adams To 2-Year Deal, Literally Win Cup Again

June 29, 2009

The Penguins literally won the Stanley Cup again today by re-signing fourth-line forward Craig Adams to a two-year deal.

Ray Shero was cautiously optimistic about the signing, proclaiming “With this move, we have literally just won the Stanley Cup again, which is awesome.”

The city of Pittsburgh has planned another Stanley Cup victory parade to honor the Adams signing, scheduled for Thursday, July 2nd. Five million people are definitely attending.

3/5/09: Penguins 4, Panthers 1

March 6, 2009

This was the most satisfying overall win of the Penguins’ season so far, with the possible exception of the January 13th win in Philly (mostly because I was in attendance in my highly conspicuous blue ‘Malkin‘ jersey). The Penguins pelted 47 shots on Tomas Vokoun (which is closer to around 70 shots in Penguin currency), Fleury only allowed one bizarre goal on 32 shots including numerous quality chances, and the Pens remained up-tempo and aggressive when leading in the third, a trait that’s been frighteningly absent this season even during their recent win streak.

Furthermore, the Kunitz and Guerin acquisitions have completely transformed the depth on the Penguins’ lines; instead of clinging on as underqualified top-line wingers, players like Pascal Dupuis, Max Talbot, and Tyler Kennedy are now serving as perhaps overqualified 3rd and 4th liners, providing Pittsburgh with the basic depth required of any legitimate contender. Craig Adams skated hard, never got caught out of position, and randomly even generated some scoring chances; he looks to be a welcome addition even if he never recaptures his dynamic 7-goal potential.

The Pens’ four-game win streak coming into this game was built on a sleepwalking victory over a Long Island expansion team, a game in Chicago they tried to throw several times, a win over Dallas about an hour after the Stars just played another game, and a win over a Tampa team with nothing to play for. A win’s a win, but tonight, that win came on the road against a playoff-caliber opponent who embarrassed the Penguins in January, and it came in a wholly convincing fashion.

Pssst…also, now that he’s out of the room…can we all admit that Kris Letang is better than Ryan Whitney, both offensively and defensively, and still more than four years younger? Ok, cool.


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