Tag:Pittsburgh Penguins
Posted on: October 27, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Pens GM eyes home game for Crosby return

By Brian Stubits

It's getting so close, you can smell it.

"It" is Sidney Crosby, the Penguins superstar who has been out for 10 months with post-concussion syndrome. But General Manager Ray Shero is hinting that the time is nigh.

In an interview on Sportsnet's 590 The Fan in Toronto, Shero talked about the progress of Crosby, who has been quiet since he was cleared for contact. The first order of business: Has anybody hit Crosby in practice so far?

"He's had contact in practice. He took a stick to the chin," Shero said. "He ran into Kris Letang in practice the other day and unfortunately 58 [Letang] took the worst of it. He's had tough battles down low in a lot of our practices.

"As long as he's progressing and is doing OK, that's the main thing."

Hosts Darren Millard and Doug MacLean also asked Shero if the team had been trying to expedite Crosby's recovery recently. Considering the team hasn't rushed him at any point of his recovery, I don't see why they would now, and Shero confirmed that.

"We're not that interested in moving it quicker. It's going to go at the pace it needs to go."

But maybe the juiciest part was saved for the end. Straight up: Will Crosby play Saturday in Toronto against the Maple Leafs?

"No," Shero responded. "I'd like to play him at home first probably. Does it matter though, really? He's going to want to play. The thing with Sidney is that he really wants to play. If I say 'Listen, we want to hold you out until the following Friday because we have a home game' he's going to look at me like 'huh?!'"

You can read through that a little and get the impression that Crosby is almost up to day-to-day status.

The Penguins are at Consol Energy Center on Thursday night to take on the Islanders, but after that they venture on a road trip that keeps them out of Pittsburgh until Nov. 11. I don't think it will be long before odd are released by Bodog on Sidney's return date.

For what it's worth, Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review put his own odds on Crosby's return earlier Thursday. "Nov 11 Dallas 2/1; Nov 3 San Jose 8/1; Nov 15 Colorado 10/1; After Nov 30 5/1; Oct 29 in Toronto 25/1."

If the GM is saying things are going well and a guy that covers the team on a daily basis thinks there is a 2-to-1 chance Crosby plays on Veteran's Day, then I can at least say we're getting close.

Now sorry to Jeremy Roenick and all like-minded individuals. Bash away ...

H/t to Pro Hockey Talk

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Penguins PK fuels fast start

CA1By: Adam Gretz

The incredible run of injuries that arguably helped derail the Pittsburgh Penguins season a year ago has found a way to continue during the start of the 2011-12 season. Playing without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Brooks Orpik, Tyler Kennedy and Kris Letang (though, his recent absence was the result of a suspension) at various times, a group of players that adds up to nearly half of their salary cap commitments for the year, they have still managed to win five of their first nine games and earn at least a point in seven of them.

They've done all of this while being outscored during 5-on-5 play (18-14), and with a power play that has slumped down to a 10 percent rate over the past seven games, scoring on just three of its past 29 attempts. One of the most important aspects of their fast start has been a penalty killing unit that has been as dominant as any other group in the league. This isn't exactly a new development for the Penguins, as they finished with the top spot in the NHL last season at just over 86 percent. Through the first nine games this season they look to be even stronger.

Pittsburgh has found itself in a shorthanded situation 31 times this season and has only allowed one goal to the oppositions power play. That goal came during a 4-on-3 power play, typically considered a tougher penalty to kill than a traditional 5-on-4 due to the extra space the power play has to work with, in overtime during their loss to the Washington Capitals last Thursday.

Other than that? They've been perfect. Even more impressive is the fact the Penguins have already managed to score three shorthanded goals this season. They're not just stopping the other team's power play from scoring, they're flat out beating them on the scoreboard. At this point there is only one other team in the NHL on the "plus" side of the scoring while shorthanded, and that's Chicago which has a 2-1 edge during its 17 shorthanded situations.

When talking to opposing players after some of their recent games the one common theme everybody keeps bringing up is how aggressive the Penguins are on the penalty kill. And that's not really anything new. Every team says it wants to be aggressive, or take away time and space, or whatever other coaching cliche you can throw out there. But the Penguins seem to take it even further than most teams and never let up. Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell called them "relentless" following a performance that saw his team go 0-for-4 on the man advantage and surrender a shorthanded goal during a 4-2 loss last Tuesday.

Such an aggressive style while down a man has a potentially large payoff  -- like, say, a shorthanded goal -- but also carries some risk if you're not wisely picking and choosing your spots, which is something Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban brought up following Thursday's game -- they don't put themselves in bad situations.

"They pressure the right way and they pressure at the right times," Said Subban. "They play a smart game. They don't put themselves in trouble, they play smart, they limit your opportunities and they have guys that are willing to sacrifice."

Goaltenders generally get the most attention for a team's strong penalty kill, and Marc-Andre Fleury and Brent Johnson have both been excellent in shorthanded situations this season. But Pittsburgh also does a fantastic job of not allowing teams to even get an opportunity to create shots or establish any sort of presence in the offensive zone. Through nine games the Penguins are allowing just .768 shots per minute in shorthanded situations, a mark that is eighth-best in the NHL and well below the league average (at this point) of .857.

They're willing shot-blockers and do an excellent job of not allowing teams to gain a clean entry into the zone or get an opportunity to set up their power play, and that's a testament to the play of forwards like Jordan Staal, Craig Adams, Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke, as well as defenseman Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek. More than one Canadiens forward, including Brian Gionta, commented on Thursday night about his team's struggles to generate any speed through the middle of the ice

"I haven't seen many of their other games," said Gionta. "But tonight we had a hard time getting up through the neutral zone, and when you don't come clean through there and you're trying to win battles to get the puck back it's basically 50-50."

With players like Crosby and Malkin out of the lineup the Penguins aren't going to put up the type of offensive numbers typically seen from them, and they're going to have to keep grinding out wins. Completely shutting down the other team's power play is a good place to start.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 12:57 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 3:26 pm
 

Penguins to get Orpik back; Kennedy concussed

By Brian Stubits

The Penguins training room is looking more like an infirmary these days. In the beginning part of the season they have been without Sidney Crosby, Brooks Orpik, Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy for one or more games.

At least they will get one of the back for Thursday night's battle with Montreal. Orpik will return to the lineup the team announced. Also, a banged up James Neal -- the NHL's leading goal scorer -- is expected to play. That's the good news.

Of course there is bad news, too. Malkin's day-to-day approach will still have him out against the Habs as he is waiting for his knee to be completely ready. It continues, though, with Kennedy being diagnosed with a concussion, obviously meaning he's not playing. Finally, rookie defenseman Brian Strait, who hasn't played much in the early going, won't be available for a few weeks due to a hyperextended elbow.

Then add to the mix the suspension of defenseman Kris Letang and, well, the Penguins are just a little bit short against Montreal.

In Orpik the Pens get back a defenseman has been a fixture on their blue line since 2003-04. He has been a plus player each of the past five seasons while helping out a lot with the penalty-killing duties. Although Pittsburgh has been alright in that department without him; they have only given up one power-play goal while they have scored three short-handed.

Kennedy's loss will hurt as he has been growing into a more integral part of the Penguins offense. In the six games he played to start the season, he had five points (2-3). Now, with a concussion, there's no telling for sure when he might return. Pittsburgh knows all too well how that can go.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 6:14 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Hit reactions pour in, including Michael Buble

BubleBy Brian Stubits

You know how the new rules and Brendan Shanahan's regime keeps being referred to as a "work in progress?" Well there are a few people who think it needs a lot more work before they can progress.

One of the biggest criticisms that I've seen fans and commentators expressing about the strong new emphasis on hitting from behind is the accusation that players will turn their backs on a player hoping to draw a penalty. How a two-minute minor to an opponent is worth risking severe physical damage such as a concussion or worse is beyond me, but that's hockey players for you, I guess.

But now that there has been time to digest the new rules and for players to get a feel for them, the constructive criticism is becoming to come in from those who just so happen to be known for their hitting. (And then from one crooning minor-league owner, we'll get to that further down so stay tuned!)

Ben Meyer-Abbott of the Chicago Sun Times gathered some opinions from around the league. Let's just have a look.

“Guys are abusing the rule in the wrong kind of way and purposely putting themselves in vulnerable positions. You should never turn your back when you know someone’s coming to hit you. It’s the stupidest thing you could ever do. The league’s got to look at this.”

-- Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“I’ve felt for years a lot of guys turn their back when they’re going to be hit to draw a penalty. They know you can’t hit them when they turn their back.”

-- Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers.

“I’m not naïve, I have seen it and it is happening. At the same time. ... I’ve seen an awareness [about boarding and head shots] where you’ve seen guys, I don’t want to say necessarily pass up a hit, but not go for the big hit when a guy is vulnerable.”

-- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.

“Yeah, it was [my] game of the year actually [against the Winnipeg Jets]. [Johnny] Oduya did that. [He] had the puck on the boards and I had him lined up shoulder-to-shoulder and he rimmed [the puck away] and then as soon as I got there he turned his back and I had to come to a complete stop and I couldn’t finish him.

“It’s really difficult. The game’s so fast, once you start thinking about, 'Oh man should I make this hit, maybe I shouldn’t make that hit,' it’s not good -- especially for a guy like me who needs to make those hits to be an effective player."

-- Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo.

There were more than a few people who felt Alex Burmistrov might have turned away from Kris Letang Monday night in Winnipeg which drew a two-game ban for Letang. I don't think he did, but as long as the doubt exists, it will be an issue -- not in his case specifically, but league wide.

Herein lies the essence of all the naysayers to the systematic changes. You are threatening to take away an integral part of the sport. Again, nobody that I have seen has said they don't want to remove hits to the head, etc. They are unnessary, let alone very dangerous. 

The more timid players get for fear of a suspension, the less hitting you'll see in the game, obviously. That's the fine line.

But the integrity of players is being comprimised. Intentionally turning your back to either avoid a hit or draw a penalty? It's in the same vain as flopping, but worse, in my opinion. These are changes that are needed to the game, however the effort could be undercut by those looking to gain an advantage. It's a dicey situation, to be sure.

That brings us to Michael Buble. You know him, he's the guy who just hasn't met you yet. Where does he fit in the picture? Well he just happens to be a co-owner of the Vancouver Giants and considering he's Canadian, he knows some hockey.

Here's what Bublé told AOL Music.

"I find it hypocritical that men who made their money fighting or playing the tough guy are now telling people it shouldn't be part of the game. I think it's part of hockey -- no one's ever got killed fighting. I think there's got to be atonement on the ice. You take a shot at a team's best player, then you need to pay the price,"

"I honestly can't stand what's happening in hockey right now. I don't think the players know what they can and can't get away with. I obviously think the players should have more respect for each other when they hit each other, but I saw [NHL head of player safety Brendan] Shanahan suspend a guy two games for high sticking. That's just crazy. It can't go on like this."

He sounds very Don Cherry-esque there. Really. When I first saw what he said, I just thought the story was quoting Cherry's season-opening rant on Coach's Corner that got him in so much hot water. It's basically the same argument, except it comes from a guy who doesn't have a history of being a polarizing figure (or a history of awesome outfits).

Buble continued, though, by offering up his solution to the problem.

"They need a third party. You cannot have someone who works for [NHL commissioner] Gary Bettman making disciplinary decisions. Nor can you have someone who is part of the players' association. You have to have a third party who has nothing to do with either. So it's fair and balanced," he says.

"The game has never been as good -- its fast, it's exciting. But hockey has also never gone through a time as tough as this with these young guys who were fighters who have taken their own lives," he adds, acknowledging the subtext of the uproar."

This isn't the first time that the idea of a third, neutral party as judge has been thrown out there. It won't be the last, either. If the controversy surrounding the suspensions keeps up, it will be another point of contention in the growing list of them for the CBA negotiations that are set to start in earnest around the All-Star Game.

I like the idea of a mediator, if you will, but it wouldn't be without its questions, too. How well does the person really understand hockey? Are they really neutral? You have to think that even if said mediator does enter the picture as a truly neutral party, it won't stay that way. It is only natural to begin forming opinions that shape your thoughts, no?

Of course, not all players see this change as being so difficult. For somebody like Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman, it's a matter of respect for your opponent. I caught up with him earlier this season and here's what he told me regarding the new rules.

"For me I don't think it changes anything. I think the rules, the way they tweaked the rules and the way they changed it, that's the way it should be played," Wideman said. "I think when some one has got their back to you and they are in a vulnerable situation, you should lay off.

"We shouldn't have to change the rules. We shouldn't have all these suspensions. There has got to be that respect. I like what [Shanahan] has done and as long as he hopefully keeps it going and hopefully the guys start protecting each other a little more."

I was always told you can wish in one hand and, well ... do something in the other and see which comes true first. The fact is that it's not an easy transition, neither for the players nor for the sport. If it were as simple as saying "no more dangerous hits" it would have been eliminated years ago.

But as you can clearly see, the integrity of the game remains an issue. Hitting is such a fabric of the game that an official stat is kept just for it at every game you go to. It's a physical sport and hockey players are a typically tough breed. They and their fans by in large take a lot of pride in the physicality of the game. Scars are often badges of honor.

Fact of the matter is this is and will remain a very divisive issue. Players bating others into hitting them illegaly only compounds it. Players will always find ways to circumvent the rules, look for their shortcuts. The same applies here.

You work on one thing, that brings up a whole new second thing to work on, yada, yada, yada, the beat goes on. It makes progress pretty difficult at that point.

More NHL Discpline News Here

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 5:33 pm
 

Letang suspended 2 games, Shanahan explains

By: Adam Gretz

After a hearing on Tuesday afternoon for his boarding penalty on Winnipeg's Alex Burmistrov on Monday night, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was issued a two-game suspension by the NHL. As he has done since the start of the preseason, the NHL's new discipline chief, Brendan Shanahan, came out with a video explanation, breaking down the play and why the punishment was handed out.

Said Shanahan of the play that resulted in a two-minute minor for boarding during the Jets' 2-1 win, "Letang recognizes that Burmistrov will get to the puck first and Letang gets into an athletic, defensive position. At this point, this is no longer a puck that is up for grabs and Letang is going to play the man. In our opinion, Burmistrov's path to the puck is predictable, and there are no sudden movements just prior or simultaneous with the hit. In spite of the fact that Letang is looking at Burmistrov in the numbers, he finishes his check hard and with authority, and fails to minimize the check."

The NHL rule book (rule 41) says that "The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a vulnerable position and if so, he must avoid the contact," while also adding that the player on the receiving end also has some responsibility for not putting himself in a vulnerable position. In this case the NHL ruled that Burmistrov did not do that, and Letang should have made an effort to lessen the hit.

Here's Shanahan's complete explanation.



Letang was fined last April for a similar play.

He will now miss Pittsburgh's game on Tuesday against Minnesota, as well as Thursday's home game against Montreal. The Penguins, having played the most games of any team in the NHL at this point, are also dealing with a number of injuries and will be without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, Brooks Orpik and Letang against the Wild.

More NHL Discpline News Here

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 12:29 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 10:57 am
 

Early season surprises: Avalanche take the cake

By Brian Stubits

The Colorado Avalanche have shown a little pattern in recet years, so maybe we should have seen this start coming.

Three seasons ago they came off a conference semifinal loss by finishing with 69 points, bad enough to get the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, which they used to select Matt Duchene (good call). The following season they were in the playoffs behind Craig Anderson in goal. That was followed by another miserable season to give the Avs the No. 2 pick, which is where they grabbed Gabriel Landeskog.

It is still incredibly early, but if there were a surprise from the first two weeks of the season, it is without a doubt the Avalanche. Colorado lost its home opener before embarking on a five-game road trip to the East, including the Eastern Canada swing, and lo and behold, the Avs took all 10 available points. It was the first time in franchise history they won five consecutive road games. Not bad for a team with only three players over the age of 30 -- Jean Sebastien-Giguere, Milan Hejduk and Jan Hejda.

"Now what we have to do is take this kind of game we played on the road -- keeping it simple, doing little things -- and translating it to our home ice," Giguere said Monday night after beating his former Maple Leafs team. "This was obviously a great trip for us. It should give us confidence going forward."

Obviously winning at this rate won't last. That goes without saying. Considering their youth and inexperience, they are more susceptible than most to higher highs and lower lows. But the prospects of not finishing near or at the bottom of the Western Conference like many foresaw? Those seem pretty good right now.

A good chunk of the team's success has come from the goaltending duo of Giguere and Semyon Varlamov. Desperate to get a goaltender to take the reins this offseason, the Avs signed the veteran Giguere, but it was their move for Varlamov that took the attention.

Colorado was the heavy favorite to court and then sign free agent Tomas Vokoun. It seemed to be a perfect match. But a funny thing happened; the Avs didn't seem to want to go down that road. Instead, they spoke with the Capitals -- Vokoun's eventual landing spot, oddly enough -- and worked out a trade to acquire Varlamov, who said he was done playing in Washington. The price of a first-round pick in return seemed like a quality deal for the Capitals. After all, Colorado was the second worst team in the league a season ago. Talk to people around Washington and they are all aware of how talented Varlamov is. That was never the issue. If he can stay healthy -- now we have our issue -- it could be a coup for the Avalanche

However they are more than the goaltending, obviously. What really jumped out of the screen watching them play the Leafs on Monday -- and again, this was the fifth of five games on the road in another time zone, so the excuses to be sluggish where there -- was their speed and energy. I guess you can call that youthful exuberance. Whatever words you use to describe it, I call it impressive.

A lot of people might have been sleeping on the Avs before this season began, but Joe Sacco's crew has opened some eyes in a hurry.

Surprises

Toronto Maple Leafs: Despite losing to the Avalanche in overtime on Monday -- their first missed point of the season -- Toronto is out of the gate strong. Now this isn't something entirely new this time of year. Remember the Maple Leafs started 4-0-0 last season, then they won only one of the next 12 games.

One difference this time around, however, is James Reimer -- or his Twitter world nickname Optimus Reim, if you prefer. The young goalie is giving fans hope that they have finally solved the riddle in the cage. That and the so-far spectacular play of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf gives you reason to believe the Maple Leafs just could end their six-year playoff drought this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning: They are surprising, but not in a good way. The Eastern Conference runnerups from a season ago have looked, well, awful. They have picked up only four points from their first six games and given up four goals or more four different times already. Dwayne Roloson looks his age, which is now 42.

"Obviously, we're not happy," Steven Stamkos said Monday. "I wouldn't say we're in a panic mode, but we're worried. This isn't the start we wanted. We're taking way too many penalties."

They better figure it out soon because with some improved teams in the East this year, they don't want to fall too far behind.

Dallas Stars: So Brad Richards is winless with his new team while his old team, the Stars, are 4-1? That qualifies as a surprise to many.

Everybody wondered how Dallas would replace the loss of Richards. Signing Michael Ryder in the offseason didn't seem to be a void-filler. Maybe all they needed was another year for Jamie Benn, Mike Ribeiro, Brendan Morrow, Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson together. Oh, and a healthy Kari Lehtonen. Dallas is 4-0 when Lehtonen starts this season.

Then there is Sheldon Souray, who Edmonton couldn't get out of town fast enough. Dallas took a shot on the bought-out Oilers defenseman and so far it's looking like a good gamble. He has a goal and three assists as well as a plus-4 rating while averaging more than 20 minutes on ice per game.

Florida Panthers power play: Is this real life or is this just fantasy?

The Panthers had 35 power-play goals in 82 games last season. Let that sink in for a minute. As you would probably guess, that was the lowest in the NHL. Maybe it's the addition of Kevin Dineen and assistant Craig Ramsey, maybe it's the influx of new forwards, or, perhaps most likely, it's the arrival of Brian Campbell to run the show. Whatever the result, the Panthers have scored on eight of their 25 power-play attempts this season, including five in one game against the Lightning on Monday.

Heck, they even have a short-handed goal already, making them an even squad on the penalty kill.

No suspensions for hits: With how busy Brendan Shanahan was during the preseason, I was getting ready to request Shanny TV 24/7. It was like Hannukah, waking up every day for eight straight days to see the newest gift, or in this case video. But since the first puck was dropped in Toronto, the only suspension handed down was for the Wild's Marc-Pierre Bouchard and his high stick on the Blue Jackets' Matt Calvert.

But a funny thing happened when the season began, the suspensions stopped coming. That's because the head hits have stopped coming, which is exactly what everybody hoped to see in the first place, even the anti-Shanny crowd. I view it like Republicans and Democrats; everybody wants to get to the same prosperous place, they just don't agree on how to get there. This is the same. I have yet to hear one person say they want head shots to remain in hockey, just that they feel like Shanahan was going too far, or as Don Cherry and Mike Milbury put it, setting the bar too high.

The preseason over/under on the number of suspensions laid down by Shanahan was 40.5. That under is starting to look awfully tasty now.

But this could change later Tuesday after Kris Letang of the Penguins has his meeting with Shanahan.

Not surprising but still noteworthy

The Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings both remain perfect. But we wouldn't expect anything else from those two franchises these days. To the other hot starters like the Flyers and Ducks, consider it a compliment that your team isn't on here. They have rosters people thought were capable of doing just this.

Photos: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 18, 2011 9:30 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 12:18 pm
 

Pens' Letang has NHL hearing for boarding call

By Brian Stubits

It seems like it has been a while, but Brendan Shanahan is going to get another visit to his office.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Kris Letang has been summoned to a hearing for his boarding call against Alex Burmistrov of the Winnipeg Jets in Monday's 2-1 Winnipeg win.

With the Penguins trailing by one the entire third period, the game began to get very chippy and intense. Letang's hit didn't help settle the matters. The hit in question took place at the 13:08 mark of the third period and Letang did receive a penalty for boarding on the play.

Now a show of hands: Who thought Letang would be the first Penguins player to get a hearing this season? That's what I thought. Everybody has been waiting for Matt Cooke to slip up and revert to his old ways, but he has so far remained true to his promise to be a changed man.

If Letang is suspended, it will be the first for a hit to the head or boarding penalty, the two areas of focus this preseason, since the regular season began. But this one won't be easy.

As the rule states, the onus is on the player not to make a bad check, but the circumstances are considered. Among them is if the player being hit simultaneously or immediately prior to the hit altered his position. In this case Letang would have an argument that Burmistrov did, take a slight turn directly toward the boards just before Letang hits him, but not before Letang had already committed to the check.

Even with that considered, though, I'll guess Letang will receive some form of punishment, likely small. Shanahan will err on the side of too much punishment for the time being, I believe, to really make sure the message gets across.

Video: H/t to @JoeYerdonPHT

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 17, 2011 11:38 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 12:19 pm
 

Jets' home-crowd advantage on display vs. Pens

By Brian Stubits

Is there any doubt what kind of home-ice advantage the Jets will have in Winnipeg? There shouldn't be.

The only thing left for the Jets 2.0 to accomplish was a win, and they got it in Game No. 4 on Monday night back in the 'Peg. Before some fans were even in their seats, Kyle Wellwood tied a franchise record by scoring eight seconds into the game. The Hangar went nuts.

You'd think it was the Stanley Cup Finals with that kind of reaction.

But the sight of the night across the NHL on Monday will be the final minute in Winnipeg. It looked like every fan in the arena stuck around until the final seconds ticked off, and the place went nuts.

Watching on television, it looked awfully similar to the final few seconds of the Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid. Fans all standing, cheering their lungs out.

Former NHLer Bob Errey, doing color commentary for the Penguins' telecast, remarked in amazement that the MTS Centre was "as loud an arena as I've ever heard in the NHL. Unbelievable."

That's quite a difference from the last time the Penguins saw this team, the final NHL game played in Atlanta last spring. That's not meant to shovel any more dirt on the Atlanta hockey grave, right now the atmosphere in Winnipeg is putting every other city to shame.

Just wait until the Jets get good.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com