The effort is there and the goals are not.
How many times can I say this? Seems the story of the season far, no?
Penguins were blanked in Hartford this afternoon 2-0, via a 35 save shutout by Jason Missiaen. An ECHL call-up. But that wasn’t the story of the day….
Interesting moves made by the Penguins today in the wake of NHL salvaging a season and reaching the structure of a new CBA. Eric Tangradi, Beau Bennett and Robert Bortuzzo were all healthy scratches today. Alex Grant was a healthy scratch as well, but he wasn’t part of the “wink, wink. nudge, nudge” trio of Bennett, Bortuzzo and Tangradi. Benn Ferriero was an injury scratch with what Tom Grace called a “tweak” and is listed as day-to-day. Drawing in for those out were Philippe Dupuis, Simon Despres, Dom Uher and Brian Strait. All saw action for the first time today.
Brad Thiessen vs. Jason Missiaen. Missiaen is 6’8 and the tallest goaltender in any level of hockey anywhere.
First Period: Nice back and forth between the two teams with the Whale getting the better of the shots early on. Thiessen looked sharp making saves and not giving up any rebounds. Finally, on the only power play awarded by referee Jarrod Ragusin, Kyle Jean was able to get one in past Thiessen while Micheal Haley was providing a screen on Thiessen, who never saw the puck until it was in his net. Whale didn’t let off making Thiessen make some more saves.
Second Period: Can best be described as one of the most frustrating periods of hockey for the Penguins of recent. Jason Missiaen is a ECHL call-up and an unconventionally tall goaltenter. He has a +4 GAA and a .850 save percentage. He didn’t play that way in the period. He makes a save in the crease when he flubs a kick save then the puck goes under his pad while flopping on the ice like a beached whale (pun intended) — then, a Simon Despres point shot he leaves a big rebound to. Bobby Farnham collects the puck and fires it. Missiaen, and his entire 6’8 frame, gets over and makes the save. Later, Brad Thiessen and Joe Morrow get their signals crossed behind the WBS net. A turnover happens and it leaves Thiessen woefully out of position for Kyle Jean to swoop in and score his second goal of the game on a wide open net. It was Connecticut’s first shot on goal in the period. Penguins would get a late power play that they didn’t manage a shot on goal on.
Third Period: Run support just was not there for the Penguins, who took 11 shots in the period. The Whale only took three. Missiaen was on his head all period too, making saves that were or could best be described as highlight reel. Pens had a crack at the power play late, but with how poorly that’s been running were never able to get one past the Whale netminder.
Three Stars: 3) Kris Newbury 2) Kyle Jean (2 goals, +1) and 1) Jason Missiaen (35 save shutout)
Around the Division: Norfolk lost to Charlotte 3-1. Hershey lost at home to the Worcester Sharks 2-1. The Binghamton Senators lost in Albany 5-2. Syracuse was off. Collectively, a terrible day for the East Division.
Standings: Same as they were yesterday, Syracuse 49 — Binghamton 45 — Hershey 34 — Penguins 33 — Norfolk 30.
Conference: 1) SYR (49) 2) SPR (43) 3) POR (42) 4) BNG (45) 5) WOR (39) 6) BRI (37) 7) PRO (36) 8) MCH (36) 11) WBS (33)
Wheeling Update: The Wheeling Nailers lost 3-1 in Reading, PA to the Reading Royals. Royals goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 of 28 shots and was named first star of the game. Why mention a Royal here in a Wheeling Update? Grubauer is Braden Holtby’s heir apparent, a really good goaltender and a name which will be soon all too familiar to Penguins fans when he is in Hershey.
SendToNews Highlights: Are here. Nothing really to see, unless you are a Whale fan.
Stay tuned to the Twitter and Facebook feeds on any news which may break regarding call-ups to Pittsburgh for training camp. Pittsburgh plans on having 24-26 players in camp. Who, isn’t known yet but you can pretty much rest assured we have seen the last of Eric Tangradi and Robert Bortuzzo. As for the rest, remains to be seen. Jonathan Bombulie blogged his thoughts on who may be on the way up for good as well. He’s more of an authority on these matters than I will ever be.
If anyone does get the call, I’ll have thoughts on the blog as news breaks this week.
Let’s Go Pens!