Penguins notebook: Blackhawks' penalty kill their Achilles' heel
CHICAGO — The obvious explanation, Joel Quenneville conceded, for the Penguins' power play's No. 1 NHL ranking is world-class skill.
But the Chicago Blackhawks coach said the Penguins' 25.8 percent conversion rate heading into Saturday night's game at Soldier Field goes beyond merely throwing Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal on the ice together.
“The personnel on it really complements their success,” Quenneville said. “Knowing their play recognition, patience with the puck, movement (of it). A lot of different looks and a lot of different set-ups, entries, in-zone (looks), (and they're) not afraid to shoot it, as well.”
The Penguins' power play concerned Quenneville because if the defending Stanley Cup champions have a weakness, it's their penalty kill. Chicago entered Saturday with the 24th-ranked penalty-killing percentage in the league at 79.8 percent. The Blackhawks had the second-worst rate at home (75.7).
The Penguins have played in three of the 10 outdoor games the NHL has staged over the past seven seasons. Few of those who played Saturday, though, had been part of all three.
Only Crosby, Malkin and Brooks Orpik participated in the New Year's Day Winter Classics of 2008 (at Buffalo) and 2011 (at home versus Washington) in addition to Saturday's game at Solider Field.
Crosby, Malkin and Orpik joined Craig Adams as players tying the NHL record for most outdoor games played (three). Adams was with the Blackhawks when they hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field on Jan. 1, 2009.
Ice time adjustments
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said the extra stoppages and down time associated with a game played amid heavy snowfall allows him to adjust player ice times.
Extra breaks for snow sweeping or shoveling, a Zamboni use or teams swapping ends affords opportunities for top players to get some rest.
“You can try to take advantage of a shift change or a matchup if it's possible, and this is just another one of those that may be in the game due to the wind or the snow that's coming down,” Bylsma said.
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.
- Penguins notebook: Team hires director for Lemieux Complex
- Penguins’ Adams not returning to team
- Penguins GM: Team not disciplined enough, buyouts possible, Bennett handled incorrectly
- Starkey: The Penguins’ perpetual question
- Penguins notebook: Malkin says he’s fine, but scoring touch isn’t
- Penguins’ Pouliot learns from rookie season