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Introducing The Pens Mystery Blogger

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Mystery Blog is written by a rotation of hockey minds from within or around the Penguins organization. Get honest perspectives here from people who live and breathe Penguins hockey. Can you guess who this week's mystery blogger is?

I hate alarm clocks. That’s what I was thinking – again – when mine went off way before I was ready for it Thursday morning. But I got vertical, rallied, and headed for the coffee pot. And then it hit me: that whole Ryan Whitney-Wade Redden thing. . . did I dream that or did I really see that in Game 1?

Ryan Whitney heads to the penalty box during Game 1.

I mean, I remember Whitney’s first NHL fight back in December against Jeff Carter in Philadelphia, and that was ugly. In a really bad way. Wednesday night, Whitney absolutely rocked Redden after the Senators’ defenseman started messing with Sid in the third.

Talk about messages. It’s like: Touch Crosby; feel pain. And maybe it’s just me, but I sensed there was a little bit of venting going on, too: I will not (PUNCH) play (PUNCH) left (PUNCH) wing (PUNCH) again.

Fleury delivered a message, too. O is for Ottawa. O is for 4-O. Scary Gary delivered one, as he usually does against the Sens. So did Max, putting Marty Lapointe in a headlock after Lapointe started flapping his yap at Fleury. I really loved that for about a minute until they put Max’s minor on the board and the Pens had to play two men short. Then I started reconsidering, but now that it’s over and no damage was done, I’m back to loving it.

But the Whitney message said it all about the Pens’ attitude right now. George, you’re lucky you’re on Whitney’s team.

Just kidding, George.

Jen, T and The Screamer are all going back to the Arena with me for Game 2 Friday, and Jen said her crazy friend Sara is taking a carload down just to watch the game on that big screen outside Gate 3. Should be pretty nuts down there.

I’m going into Game 2 with four really strong feelings:

Number 1: Whitney is miscast as a skilled offensive defenseman. He’s really an enforcer.

Number 2: If Fleury keeps playing the way he’s been playing the last month, the Pens aren’t going to lose.

Number 3: Roberts for president. Is it too late to get him on the Pa. primary ballot?

Number 4: Somebody has to fix the power play. Seriously. Aside from that big win over the Flyers last week, the Everybody-In-The-Boat power play is listing. The Senators are missing three of their best penalty-killing forwards in Alfredsson, Kelly and Fisher, and the Penguins are icing like an All-Star team on the power play: Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Malone and Gonchar. And almost every night it produces nothing.

And, no, that wasn’t the first unit out there for the PPG in Game 1. I’m OK with having patience, but this is the playoffs. We need results. I think the Pens’ power play is an absolute key to this series, and that might be especially true Friday if the Senators come out trying to thug us. All it takes is one bad penalty by them early to produce a goal and change the whole direction of the game.

Right now I don’t have a whole lot of confidence we can deliver. That’s the only bad vibe I got from Game 1, but it’s nagging me a little more now. Normally I’d be all ballistic about Spezza winning 18 of 24 faceoffs, but we’ve been so bad at faceoffs for so long now that I’m kind of numb.

Sort of like Redden was as he skated off the ice Wednesday.

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