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Penguins Blog: Goaltending, Jeff Carter, and Playoff Matchups

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Casey DeSmith, NHL Trade

It’s a light-hearted day as Christians the world over celebrate the resurrection. On Saturday, it was a sour day in Pittsburgh Penguins land as the team dropped yet another tight game to a good team. The playoffs are looming, and goaltending will be a significant issue, as well as the Penguins’ middle-six.

Of course, struggle also means the social media competition increases to be right about the impending Penguins’ doom.

If one more person uses the phrase, “I’ve been saying since…” regarding a Penguins first-round loss, I may be forced to Dox you. The fatalists sometimes make this job drudgery and the comments section unbearable. Relax. There’s no points system for most dire predictions.

(Doxing was sarcasm, by the way).

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be an underdog in their Round One series. That’s just a fact.

On Saturday, we learned Tristan Jarry would be out week-to-week. Dave Molinari and Mike DeFabo finally confirmed the story on Saturday night that Jarry has a broken bone in his foot. That means Jarry isn’t out for a week or two, but probably several weeks, which pushes into Round One or beyond.

Now, here’s where it gets ironic.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins Playoffs

The Penguins are battling the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metro Division. The winner will presumably play the New York Rangers, right? Many readers have asserted that falling to the wild-card spot would be good because the opponent would be the Carolina Hurricanes, with whom the Penguins are pretty competitive.

However…that’s probably wrong.

New York is red hot and about to overtake Carolina for the top spot in the Metro. The Boston Bruins have tied the Penguins in points (97) and have two games in hand. Combine those, and the Pittsburgh Penguins winning third place is probably vital to their survival. Third place probably means the Carolina Hurricanes in Round One, and a wild card means…the Florida Panthers.

Florida is a beast. They are rolling four lines with ill-intent and destroying teams. No one will predict more than a five-game series if such a matchup with the Penguins occurs. We’re talking Dexter’s table here.

However, should the Penguins get third place, it appears Carolina may be in a similar injured spot as the Penguins. Frederik Andersen had to leave the game after a scary injury on Saturday night. He caught a skate blade, or his leg buckled–it was a solo act, no contact. He had to be helped off the ice.

The Penguins have a fighting chance against Carolina. Get healthy, get some momentum. Who knows where it leads. Draw Florida in Round One…that’s like me drawing Bob Pompeani in Round One of Joey Bag of Donuts’ annual media personalities pool. (Last year, he gave me Mike Lange in Rd. 1. He’s evil).

2. Jeff Carter

The Penguins need more. A lot more from Big Jeff Carter. On Saturday, the Penguins second line accounted for one shot and zero scoring chances. That’s been a recurring trend lately. Since signing a two-year contract on Jan. 26, Carter has 16 points (7-9-16) in 35 games, which isn’t bad, but he is a minus-nine in that time.

Carter has been a minus in every game in April and is a minus-10 this month.

The team cannot continue to be a one-line team, relying solely on Sidney Crosby and the power-play for offense.

Jeff Carter has played 71 games, and maybe the 36-year-old center needs a break before the playoffs?

3. Funny Feelings

I’ve had a funny feeling all season that Louis Domingue would factor into the Penguins’ destiny, and in a good way. The training camp story still feels like yesterday. If you don’t remember, Domingue alluded to struggles over the last couple of years, and his wording was a little bit surprising. I asked him to clarify because I didn’t want to put words in his mouth and say he had lost motivation. Instead, he said it. And much more. And he also talked about the fire that new Penguins goalie coach Andy Chiodo gave him.

 

After his stellar preseason (he stole a game with the Penguins AHL lineup against Buffalo’s starting lineup) it was a surprise to me that neither Buffalo nor Edmonton snagged him on waivers. Especially Buffalo.

When he got his NHL chance in January, bad luck befell Domingue after a brilliant road win over the San Jose Sharks. He stopped 40 of 41 shots and stole two points for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was slated to start the next game back in Pittsburgh but suffered a broken bone in his foot during the morning skate.

I don’t believe in good luck but in preparation and hard work. And harder work. Domingue has been on a course all season to reassert his NHL career. He has a .924 save percentage with the WBS Penguins and has been very, very good by all accounts.

I am NOT opining that the Penguins push Casey DeSmith aside.  I’ll never use the phrase, “see what he’s got.”

He’s played 141 NHL games in his career. The Penguins management watches the WBS Penguins closely. They know what he’s got. That’s kind of their job.

It would protect DeSmith just a bit by playing Domingue in a couple of the Penguins’ final games. The smaller the book the Round One opponent has on DeSmith, the better. And maybe, only maybe, Domingue is the cinderella story you’ve been waiting for.

Readers’ Qs…

Of course, if DeSmith or Domingue doesn’t perform well, our comments section will be full of people writing, “I’ve been saying since….they should have traded for a goalie!”

For the record, PHN looked into the goalie market last summer. The prices were exorbitant. Recall the Colorado Avalanche’s ransom for Darcy Kuemper (solid prospect Connor Timmins, a first-rounder and conditional third-rounder).

Journeyman Scott Wedgewood (fourth-rounder), a faded Carter Hutton (future considerations), and minor leaguer Andrew Hammond (minor league player) were the only backup goalies dealt near the deadline.

Editor’s note: We added the word backup to clarify the premise.

None are better than what the Penguins currently have. Could the Penguins have traded for a goalie? No, not really. It just wasn’t feasible.

And, if you’d like to subscribe to PHN+, for Easter Sunday only, I’ll take pounds of Swedish Fish or DOTS.

Subscribe to PHN+

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Paul
Paul
7 months ago

Cue the track . . .

Lou-ie Lou-ie, ohhhhh nooo
Sayin’ we gotta go, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Said Lou-ie Lou-ie, ohhh ba-by
Said we gotta go . . .

(I’m in good spirits. And Pens fans should be, too!)

Last edited 7 months ago by Paul
Paul
Paul
7 months ago

The time to face the Panthers is round one. They’ll soon discover that the regular season and postseason are not one and the same. In fact, they’re two different games. The 1992-93 Penguins had far more talent and experience — and we know what happened to them.

Last edited 7 months ago by Paul
RYAN
RYAN
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Yep…definitely see the 1993 comparisons 🙄

Rhodepop
Rhodepop
7 months ago

Yesterday, was the first time I saw the Pens live (from the last row of the balcony at TD Garden). My observations are 1) they struggled to exit their defensive zone with poor decisions and sloppy passing; 2) they missed Geno, especially on the PP; 3) they have the “one too many passes” approach again. I am not sure if #1 and #3 are a common theme this year. Hopefully, they can tighten up the D in front of Casey and Louis. And shoot the puck rather than look for the perfect pass. Happy Easter.

Jay95
Jay95
7 months ago
Reply to  Rhodepop

1 isn’t necessarily a common theme. But, 3? Yeah, they will over pass at times. They’ve kinda always done that though. It is frustrating.

Katz
Katz
7 months ago

I just cancelled my membership. The threat of Doxing is in my opinion censorship and quite frankly an intimidation. Doxing is bullying and can lead to unintended consequences. I never signed up for this. It was not part of my agreement. Happy Easter, Happy Passover and I wish all good Health. Bye.

Last edited 7 months ago by Katz
Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly
7 months ago
Reply to  Katz

That’s the best piece of candy in my basket

Ethan
Ethan
7 months ago
Reply to  Katz

I guess Katz doesn’t have 9 lives. Not sure what doxing is but good on you Dan for whatever he thinks you did. Guy rubs me the wrong way. Habitually bets against team–well that is brave–you only have a 31/32 chance of being correct. I’m sure Vegas pays about a penny for those odds. Don’t forget when Carter ate those two Islanders all at once!!!! Well hope the Pens stay mostly healthy and catch a thermal!

Ethan
Ethan
7 months ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

Copy that. Maybe he does have 9 lives. But I think of Paul as the old crank at the bar while picturing Katz in the aluminum foil hat.

Wasnt
7 months ago
Reply to  Katz

Don’t bail Katz. I actually like your input and kind of look forward to your insight.

Rob
Rob
7 months ago
Reply to  Wasnt

He only comments after penguins losses with the same recycled complaints from 4 years ago. Never has any new material

Cal
Cal
7 months ago
Reply to  Katz

Hey Katz,
Keep posting on the non membership posts. I’m also entertained by your views and it’s refreshing to see you expressing your opinion. We all have them. And I have agreed with many of them! I’ve been watching, playing, coaching, and being involved in hockey for over 50 years and many times you are bang on! Take care to you and all, Happy Easter!

Rob
Rob
7 months ago
Reply to  Katz

Womp womp

Wasnt
7 months ago

Doxing??? Really…..not cool. I’ve had my comments removed but harrasment….Dan you may have gone to far and hopefully it’s just some sarcasm. You may need to take some time off to avoid the drudgery though.
I personally like the comment section good bad and the ugly.

Kris
Kris
7 months ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

Was it? Really?

Uros
Uros
7 months ago

Well, Darcy was obviously worth it and we should’ve done something in the off season. That something wasn’t Domingue. Anyway, I do understand, with all due respect to the man, that GMJR dug a hole that was way too deep. We couldn’t because we were put in this situation with some bad trades. Now, instead of saying “I’ve been saying since…”, I’ll say that I’ve been asking since I don’t even remember when, what will we do when a goalie gets injured for the playoffs just like it happened countless times before? I guess we’ll find out now. I do… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago

Just want to ensure that we all ‘enjoy’ the 16th straight year of making the playoffs, reminding everyone that just about every ‘hockey writing source’ out there as the season was to begin had the Pens for the first time in 16 years not making the playoffs. We did, and there’s something to be said of that. There’s also something incredible about watching those games, although they become fewer and fewer each year, where Sid or Geno just dominate. I’ll continue to enjoy that, and realize that we’re still a good team, but, there have been others who have become… Read more »

Jay95
Jay95
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

I feel like Geno’s dominant games have become fewer and fewer. But, Did still pretty much dominates every game. It’s incredible to me.

Mary L
Mary L
7 months ago

Looking forward to seeing Domingue play. Hoping he gets the start Thursday and Sunday. I’ll be at Sunday’s game in Philly, would like see a right catching goalie, reminiscent of the Tom Barrasso days. LGP!

Pete Hoffman
Pete Hoffman
7 months ago

What I noticed (AGAIN) on Sat night. When Pens have puck in the O zone big D-men are all over them, smothering the play. When BOS ( or WAS or NYR, or CAR) are in the O zone the Pens D-men just skate parallel with them trying to stay between them and the net. There is no physical play clearing people away from the net. Both goals just had BOS players camped in front. I don’t care who our goalie is, until we get some physical D-men we aren’t going deep in the playoffs. I would love to be wrong.… Read more »

Frank
Frank
7 months ago

No complaints from me about what Carter did on arrival last year. He is a pro with a great career. But for the most part he has been ordinary this year and it just seems to me he is just about out of gas. No criticism but he has had a long career and played lots of hockey and it is showing. I would not have given him two more years and then continued to cry about limited cap dollars. How a 38/39 year old guy fits into future Penguin plans escapes me. Adding a veteran like Cullen made sense… Read more »

Ethan
Ethan
7 months ago
Reply to  Frank

I don’t think Carter contract is much of a problem. It might be an en vogue talking point all the sudden, but guy just destroyed two players at once–the hit of the year. Tired… sure, who isn’t (Well probably Malkin now)? But he is affordable and can still retire whenever he wants–might want to coach a bit as well. Yes Pens need younger centers–aka McCann should have been protected/or Bennett acquired–but the real problem has been Petterssen and Zucker type contracts–those eat up the cap and no other team seams willing for even a nibble. People bagged on me for… Read more »

Jay95
Jay95
7 months ago
Reply to  Ethan

I’m fine with the Zucker contract because when healthy, he’s worth it. But, yeah, were going to have to move a D man and hopefully Kapanen.

ric jefferies
ric jefferies
7 months ago

The whole sports fan thing IS irrational (particularly hockey) that’s why we follow the game- takes us out of our own life for a while. Misery LOVES company