Remember what Sidney Crosby told us a few weeks ago, when the Penguins were struggling to look even mediocre and Marc-Andre Fleury couldn't stop a long-range wiffle ball toss?
"We just need to keep working hard," he said (or, at least, he said something exactly like this), "Give our goalie a chance to find his game. We'll be OK."
Let's get out the GTOG Translator. Here's what he meant: "Remember when Lemieux and Jagr were in their primes, and they'd get a breakaway, and they were so money that you sort of started celebrating before the puck even left the stick? Get ready to feel that way again. I'm a 23-year-old superstar with the makings of a thin but noticeable mustache, and I'm about to put the team on my back. So relax. I got this."
Last night at Consol, the angels sang, the crowd managed to break its marathon stretch of silence to muster a couple of "Let's Go Pens" chants, and Crosby virtually single-handedly defeated a suddenly dangerous Atlanta team, prompting Thrashers' coach Craig Ramsay to say, "The boy is special. There's no question. Everybody knows that. When players like that get on a roll, it's scary to play against them."
- Does this hot streak mean Crosby can never shave that thing on his lip? I think it does. If we all have to feel a bit uncomfortable to keep this going, then that's just what we'll have to do.
- Has there ever been a wider gap between the contributions of Crosby and Geno Malkin? Not to say that Malkin played terribly, but until he turned it on for a few shifts in the final period, he didn't play particularly well. He's still galloping around the perimeter, but when it comes time to make a final play to create a good scoring chance, everything seems a bit telegraphed, a bit forced. And it's not quite working.
- The contributions to this stellar run of Chris Kunitz and Chris Conner should not be overlooked. Kunitz is finally looking like he deserves to be on the ice with Crosby, bringing not only physical play, but, dare I say it, at least sporadically soft hands. That pass to set up Sid's first goal was a real good one. The puck finds Conner on every shift. The other team's defense has to account for him on every shift. Until we see some reason to think otherwise, and we haven't, his tiny, delicate feet should see the ice every night.
- Is Max Talbot playing for a new contract or something? I'm being told that, yes, he is. And now I'm worried he's playing himself right out of Pittsburgh and into Toronto, where he will join Colby Armstrong, and they will make a combined $6 million per year. Because in Toronto, when you can devote more than 10% of your cap space to two role players, you have to do it.
Finesse's Division Crown Jinx Countdown: 12 out of a possible 12 points.
1. at Florida: W 3-2
2. at Buffalo: W 1-0
3. vs. Ottawa: W 2-1
4. vs. Calgary: W 4-1
5. at New York Rangers: W 3-1
6. vs. Atlanta: W 3-2
7. at Columbus
8. vs. New Jersey
9. vs. Toronto
10. at Buffalo