Penguins notebook: Centers drawing attention
TAMPA — Sidney Crosby is again threatening to do some serious damage during an NHL season.
A 103-point pace is impressive, but not compared to the 2,132 faceoffs he was on target to take as of Saturday.
Two years ago, when an 82-game regular season was last staged, Ottawa's Jason Spezza paced players with 1,700 faceoffs.
The Penguins took 4,957 draws that season. They were on a 5,453 pace before facing the Lightning at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
That would represent a lot of low work near ice level. The Penguins were second in the NHL at 59.3 percent on faceoffs as of Saturday.
“Now, with our team the way it stands, we have three guys … who can be really strong,” coach Dan Bylsma said before the Penguins played the Lightning at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Those guys are Crosby (61 of 104, 58.6 percent), Brandon Sutter (28 of 49, 57.1 percent) and Joe Vitale (26 of 39, 66.7 percent). Even Evgeni Malkin, who has never finished at 48 percent on draws, had gone 23 of 41 for a 56.1-percent success.
Right winger Matt D'Agostini (lower-body injury) remains on target to resume practicing either Wednesday or Friday, Bylsma said.
D'Agostini, out since mid-September, skated with a small group of teammates Saturday morning. Bylsma sacked the regular game-day skate after the Penguins' loss at Florida on Friday.
Defenseman Kris Letang (lower body) also worked out Saturday morning, and he again took contact. There remains no set date for Letang to play.
Right winger James Neal (upper body) is not on the trip and remains week-to-week.
Defenseman Olli Maatta played in his fifth game on Saturday. He can play in no more than nine before this season would count as the first on his entry-level contract.
A junior player cannot play in the minors.
Maatta, 19, could play in the SM-Liiga, the top league in his native Finland. He would need permission from London, his junior club.
Even though Maatta could play against older players in SM-Liiga, Penguins management favors him with London, a perennial Memorial Cup contender, if he does not stick in the NHL.
Around the boards
Defenseman Deryk Engelland played for the first time against Tampa Bay. He replaced Robert Bortuzzo in the Penguins' lineup.
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.
- Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
- Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
- Sutter: Staal effect felt on 3rd line with Penguins
- New Pens winger Fehr ready for defense-first role
- Reliving the moment a decade ago that shifted the Penguins' history
- Penguins bring in analytics expert from Carnegie Mellon
- Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
- Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
- ‘Warning track’ makes Pittsburgh debut at Southpointe’s Iceoplex
- Pens assistant GM Fitzgerald leaves for Devils
- Penguins notebook: Rutherford proves savvy in deal