Because the Pens have a string of off days before heading out west, there's more time to digest what has happened over the first 13 games of the season. Today, the Post-Gazette reports on Steve Sullivan's goalless start to the season. Sullivan, who has 266 goals over his 15+ year career, has only three assists in the season's first 13 games and has failed to bury numerous chances. The good news about the quotes in the PG article is that no one is panicking, including Sullivan.
|"On my whistle, grind bitches down."|
First, the Pens are 8-3-2. If the Pens were 3-8-2, we'd not only be calling out Sullivan, we'd be having daily raw emotion podcasts where we called him a toxic disease on this, like, journey.
Second, Sullivan is playing well and is exactly the type of player the Pens need in the lineup, especially without Crosby and a with game-to-game Malkin. He's super quick which makes him an almost automatic fit into the Dan Bylsma system. (He's basically Alexi Kovalev, except the complete opposite). When we watch him play, we see a guy who knows what he's doing out there and who you actually expect will do something to will increase the Pens' chances of scoring a goal. (He's basically Mark Letestu, except the complete opposite).
Third, James Neal has 9 goals and he's played the entire season with Sullivan on his wing. Sure, Sullivan has only three points, but if you don't think that Sullivan's quickness and hockey sense are opening up space for Neal to operate, then just watch tape of last year where Neal's linemates were Mark Letestu and Alexi Kovalev. You'll see the thoroughbred Neal galloping around the offensive zone watching Mark Letestu politely turn the puck over and a 315-pound Kovalev intentionally sit down on the ice mid-play like a dog who has an undiagnosable stomach ache and doesn't want to go for a walk.
|Photo staged by same people who did the moon landing.|