NHL Insider: Iginla in the Fedotenko role
Jarome Iginla may be the new Ruslan Fedotenko.
It worked for the Penguins in 2009, when they won the Stanley Cup with Fedotenko — a big, but not exactly bruising winger — taking up space on the left side of the ice as center Evgeni Malkin and forward Max Talbot, playing on the right side, parlayed their off-ice chemistry into on-ice magic.
Malkin and James Neal are proven firecrackers together on the ice — they combined for 90 goals playing together last season — and coach Dan Bylsma wants to light their fuses in the playoffs.
After all, as Malkin has gone — 24 goals and 58 points in 44 playoff games during the 2008 and 2009 Cup Final runs — so have the Penguins in the postseason. His points-per-game average was 1.32 in 2008 and 2009. Otherwise, when healthy, he is at 0.96, and the Penguins have won one series.
Getting Malkin going is essential to the Penguins, who despite their envious depth, need him to dominate while captain Sidney Crosby (broken jaw) is out or works his way back into form after a month away from playing.
For this reason, Iginla might make sense as the left winger on a line with Malkin and Neal, even though Neal has previously played three NHL seasons as a left winger.
Iginla has experimented with that position for a bit more than three weeks.
“There are other aspects of our execution that playing the off side is beneficial, and we've seen that in those areas — coming across the ice — and he's kind of gotten more comfortable with that and where those areas are,” Bylsma said of Iginla, a right-handed shot, playing on the off wing.
There is a popular presumption — not one ever confirmed by Bylsma or Iginla — that Iginla's role is to be a goal scorer for these Penguins.
His role is likely not that limited.
During the 2009 run to the Cup, the Penguins set up their trio of talented centers — Crosby, Malkin and Jordan Staal — with left wingers who brought a physical element, either in front of net, deep in the zone or along the boards.
Kunitz (corners) and Matt Cooke (end zone) pummeled defensemen near the boards to create space for Crosby and Staal, respectively. Malkin had space created for him by Fedotenko taking up real estate in the slot.
Iginla is a punishing power forward, but at this stage of his career he is better suited for tight-quarter physicality than hits near the boards. He and Kunitz are by far the most physical top-six wingers.
Could the Penguins win the Cup with Iginla scoring seven goals and producing 14 points?
They did in 2009, when Fedotenko posted those statistics.
Crosby led that postseason in goals, with Kunitz as his winger.
Malkin led that postseason in points, with Fedotenko as his left winger.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hollidaysburg native Lafferty relishing his chance with Penguins
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Despite management change, familiarity reigns for Penguins prospects
- Penguins sign Despres to 2-year deal
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title