Tony Ferrante of The Confluence of the Three Rivers put together a roundtable discussion on hot topics surrounding the Pens going in to training camp. Here is a list of those that took part in the discussion and well as their site links:
Sean Leahy (SL) – Going Five Hole
Matt Bodenschatz (MB) – Faceoff Factor
Hooks Orpik (HO) – The Sweater Ted
FrankD (FD) – Pensburgh
Joe Sager (JS) – Pittsburgh Penguins Director of Content/Publication
Chris Yarbrough (CY) – Taking One for the Team
Chris Wassel (CW) – The NHL Arena
Chris Gates (CG) – Pittsburgh Puck Talk
Seth Rorabaugh (SR) – Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Empty Netters
Tony Ferrante (TF) – The Confluence of the Three Rivers
The discussion is on nine different topics. Below is topic number one.
Here we go:
1. Once again, Sidney Crosby has an opening available on his wing after the departure of Marian Hossa. In fact, some might say that he should actually get TWO new wings this season, in reference to the lukewarm performance of Pascal Dupuis last season. Who do you think should get the nod to be Crosby’s linemates this year ??
(SL) I’d love to see Satan with Sid. I think given the chance, Satan could benefit greatly from Crosby’s playmaking ability. On the other wing I’d try Pesonen out as well as Dupuis. I’d keep Dupuis on a short leash as he showed during the playoffs that he has a finishing problem.
(MB) Well, at this point, it’s difficult to say who “should” get the nod, as I am a firm believer that roster spots and placement within the roster should be earned. If I had to guess – and I would assume this is a very logical guess – Miroslav Satan is as much of a lock for Crosby’s right wing as Petr Sykora is a lock for Evgeni Malkin’s right wing. Left wing, though, is a bit more complicated. Personally, I see three primary competators, with two outside shots. Ruslan Fedotenko has the size, grit and scoring ability, but he’s inconsistent. Pascal Dupuis provides a defensive presence, but he can’t handle a pass and really seemed snake-bitten last season. Then there is Jordan Staal, who seems more likely to flank Malkin’s left side. The first outside chance goes to Janne Pesonen, who has speed, skill, and a supreme shot – but will that translate to the NHL, where the game is much more physical and played on a much smaller ice surface? The second goes to Matt Cooke, who has underrated skill and a very solid defensive presence. If Dupuis was worthy last year, Cooke can’t be counted out this year. In short, Ruslan Fedotenko ultimately snagging the job, with the assignment of using his big body to screen the goalie in front of the net.
(HO) I think for the most part observers might not know who Sidney Crosby has had for linemates. In the beginning (other than Ziggy Palffy) Crosby’s had to deal with Colby Armstrong (30 goals in 127 games with the Pens) and an aging Mark Recchi to be his line-mates. No doubt Marian Hossa is the most skilled player to line up with Sid (other than Geno) but the fact is Miroslav Satan is being overlooked. Satan had a poor year on Long Island last year but he’s scored 25+ goals in nine seasons. He’s got hands and skill to keep up with Sidney. And though Bing doesn’t have the “Hoss” anymore, there’s no doubt that Miro Satan will be the most skilled winger he should have for a whole season.
(FD) I think almost anyone would agree, Penguins fans especially, that whoever you put on a line with Malkin and Crosby will erupt into a scorer. Did many people expect Sykora to have a year like he did last season? Sure, we all hoped it would happen, but now we have our proof that it can. He and Malkin really clicked last season (and hey, Malone too for all it’s worth), so I guess you can say I have Sykora hopes for Fedotenko and Satan. If either one of them can step up like Sykora did last season, Penguins fans will be saying “Hossa who?” by March.
(JS) As we all know, the lines constantly change. But, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fedotenko and Satan open camp on Crosby’s wings. But, ultimately, who knows how the chemistry will develop with those three. I think those two will provide the scoring punch the Pens need between Sid.
(CY) I put Satan on Sid’s right and Jordan Staal on his left. That line would have a ton of offensive talent to go along with plenty of size and defensive awareness. Those three put together could be one of the top 3 lines in the NHL this season.
(CW) This one is so tough I am going to put my Stimpus J Cat thinking cap on for it. I still think Petr Sykora on the RW would work really well. He still can play and can feed off top line talent (circa the EA Sports line in New Jersey). Now for Left Wing, this is infinitely tougher but I have a feeling that Ruslan Fedotenko will temporarily end up on this line to start the season till maybe someone steps up like a Minard or maybe even Matt Cooke at this point but that is not bloody likely either.
(CG) I think Crosby might have his best season of his career this season because he has the chance to play on a good line for an entire season. No more Colby Armstrong and Nils Ekman. I believe Satan will be there on his wing, no doubt. I also think that Ruslan Fedotenko will be on his line.
(SR) I would go with Jordan Staal and Miroslav Satan. I see Staal having the potential of being a Rick Nash type of player. He can skate in traffic with the puck. He has the ability to finish. And he has such a big body. He just needs to be a little bit more physical. Satan was brought in pretty much to be a 30-goal type of guy. The only way heʼll do that is if heʼs on Crosbyʼs or Malkinʼs wing.
(TF) I’m just frustrated we have to keep having this conversation. Anyway, I think Satan is locked in on one of the wings. Dupuis has the speed, but I’m not crazy about the finishing, or lack thereof, and you need someone who can put the puck in the net on the 1st line. I think Fedotenko is suited to take Malone’s place on the 2nd line, and I wouldn’t separate Sykora from Malkin. This could be the opening for Jordan Staal with Sid.
I will continue to post each question in the coming weeks so be sure to stop back and add your opinion to these responses.