Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sportsology: Penguin third-line strength

By Rick Morris

Courtesy of our good pal Russ Cohen at Sportsology and Hockeyology, we bring you this excellent analysis about the depth that the Pittsburgh Penguins will bring to bear in the Eastern Conference Finals that begin on Monday. As a lifelong Clevelander and a rabid Detroit Red Wings fan, I fervently hope that Russ’s sense that this line could be instrumental will be wrong! Alas, but Russ rarely is. Oh, but, on Russ’s point about this third line being the best in the league? Daniel Cleary, Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson say hi!

Penguins’ Strength is in the Locker Room and The Third Line
By Russ Cohen

The current Pittsburgh Penguins are known for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Sergei Gonchar and Jordan Staal. As a matter of fact Staal, Tyler Kennedy, and Matt Cooke are a big reason this team has been hard to match up against. They may be this team’s third line but they would be many other teams’ second lines for sure.

“It’s obviously what our line wants to do, and the more we play in their end, the better it is for our team,” said Kennedy. “I just want to get better and get better next round and go on.”

I’ve had a chance to witness the funny part of the locker room, mostly on the road, where Max Talbot, Kennedy, and Staal yuck it up, before and after games. They have terrific chemistry and so far this year there hasn’t been a team that could match the Penguins third line.

“It shows we have a lot of depth and a lot of guys,” Kennedy said, until Staal blew up the interview.

Kennedy: What? (as he looked towards Staal). I thought everybody played well. (Staal is laughing and trying to distract his teammate in the next locker over).

Russ: Does Staal always rip on you?

Kennedy: Yeah, it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing.

Staal: (Generally mocking Kennedy with smirks and sounds)

Kennedy: I think my interviews are sweet.

When the Hurricanes matchup against the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals a lot of the talk will center around the brothers’ Staal, and a fair amount of talk should be said about the club’s entire third line. Many times they tire the opposing teams out thoroughly.

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