Subiect: the 58-year-o
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading to the playoffs for an eighth straight year. Barring an epic collapse, a Metropolitan Division title is all but clinched. What happens after that, however, is anybodys guess. Dominant in the beginning but dismal at the end, the Penguins let a chance to clinch their second straight division crown slip away in a 4-1 loss to Carolina on Tuesday night that left Pittsburgh just 8-8-2 since returning from the Olympic break. Not exactly the kind of momentum a Stanley Cup contender wants to bring into the final days of the regular season. "If youre not 100 per cent, they can expose you and make you look pretty silly," Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik said. "Thats what happened here tonight." Carolina rookie Elias Lindholm scored twice for the first multi-goal game of his career, Eric Staal and Justin Faulk also scored while Jeff Skinner added two assists. Anton Khudobin stopped 30 shots as the Hurricanes avoided being swept in the season series by Pittsburgh for the first time in 18 years. "I thought we kept it simple and kind of slowly frustrated them as it went on and it was a win we needed," Staal said. Chris Kunitz scored his 35th goal to give Pittsburgh an early lead, but the Penguins crumbled over the final two periods. Sidney Crosby picked up an assist to push his NHL-leading point total to 100, but the Penguins appeared to lose interest after failing to bury the Hurricanes during a frenetic opening barrage in which they appeared ready to run Carolina out of the arena. "We all felt like the first 10 minutes we were carrying the play ... for whatever reason we got away from that," Crosby said. "Maybe we thought that came easy or we could get away with cheating. And it didnt work." No, it didnt. Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves, but received little help playing behind a sloppy defence. The Penguins turned it over 13 times, including a series of miscues the Hurricanes were only too happy to turn into goals. "I think we started mismanaging the puck and started having turnovers in the neutral zone," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. The Penguins appeared to right the enigmatic final third of their season with a spirited 4-1 victory over Chicago on Sunday night. Two days later, the sense of urgency evaporated when the Hurricanes -- who are about to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year -- failed to roll over. Pittsburgh recorded 12 of the first 14 shots, including Kunitzs wrist shot from the left circle that Khudobin never saw. Crosby picked up the secondary assist to lift his point total to the century mark for the fifth time in his career, drawing a roar from the usual sellout crowd at Consol Energy Center. It had all the makings of a blowout. One developed, just not the one the Penguins were expecting. Carolina steadied itself late in the first, evening the game on a knuckling slap shot by Faulk that gave the Hurricanes the confidence boost they needed to get back in it. The Penguins malaise did the rest. "That goal from (Faulk) really evens it up and then we kind of just took a deep breath, got our legs going better and then I thought we just started moving better and playing a much smarter game," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. Lindholm put Carolina in front to stay 9:24 into the second with a power-play goal that included a pretty feed from Skinner, who threaded a pass between Pittsburgh defenceman Olli Maattas legs right to Lindholms stick. Fleury never had a chance. The goaltender was equally helpless five minutes later when a turnover by teammate Deryk Engelland handed Skinner and Lindholm a breakaway that Lindholm converted into the first multi-goal game of his brief career. Any late push by the Penguins ended when Staals tip-in eluded Fleury with just over 8 minutes left. Instead of skating off the ice with their fourth division title since Crosbys arrival in 2005, Pittsburgh trudged to the locker room wondering when the consistency that propelled them to the top of the Eastern Conference before the Olympic break will return. "Theres not much good to take out of it," Crosby said. "So weve just got to make sure we respond the next game." NOTES: Carolina played without F Alexander Semin, who was scratched due to an illness. ... The Hurricanes return home to face Dallas on Thursday. ... The Penguins fell to 45-8-4 this season when Crosby scores a point. Custom Dallas Mavericks Jersey . He made that dream a reality Wednesday night. Olt, who grew up in Branford, Connecticut, attended UConn and made a nearly 2 1-2 hour trek to Boston a handful of times to watch the Red Sox, belted a two-run homer, one of four hit by Cubs in a 16-9 rout that completed a three-game interleague series sweep. Kostas Antetokounmpo Jersey . Rodgers was ruled out on Friday by Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. Matt Flynn will make his second consecutive start for the Packers. http://www.officialmavericksfanstore.co … s-jersey/. Granato was an assistant for the Pittsburgh Penguins for the last five seasons, and he was also part of Team USAs staff at the 2014 Olympics. Dennis Smith Jr. Jersey . - Carter Verhaeghe scored the winner with 41 seconds to go as the Niagara IceDogs edged the North Bay Battalion 3-2 to even their first-round series at a game apiece in Ontario Hockey League playoff action on Sunday. DeAndre Jordan Jersey .And although FIFAs investigators are preparing to release the findings of a World Cup corruption probe, Hassan Al Thawadi dismissed any chance of Qatar losing the showpiece event.TORONTO - It was very early in the Maple Leafs tenure of Jonathan Bernier and he had noticed that his new goaltending coach, Rick St. Croix, was lingering quietly in the background, doing his best to thoughtfully calibrate an assessment without much interference. "At one point, I told him Rick, You need to tell me things that you see that Im doing wrong," Bernier recalled in conversation with the Leaf Report. "Some goalies dont like to get judged or anything like that, but I like to know where Im at in my game. I like when the goalie coach will push me to get better." No single aspect of the Leafs season at the midway point has been quite as reliable, and at times brilliant, as that of the goaltending. And the quiet, driving and highly influential presence behind the recently found success is the 58-year-old St. Croix, now in his second season with the team. Between Bernier and 25-year-old James Reimer, the Toronto tandem ranks fourth in the NHL with a .924 save percentage - after finishing seventh-best last season - and third-best with an even stingier .942 mark at even-strength - of critical importance considering the bloated number of shots the team has allowed this season. Years of futility, which plagued the Leafs crease following the departure of Ed Belfour (see table below), are finally being forgotten under St. Croix, who captured a Stanley Cup with Belfour in Dallas in 1999 and found later success with the Vancouver and Winnipeg organizations. "He really understands the position because he played it," Reimer told the Leaf Report of St. Croix, who played in the NHL with the Leafs and Flyers, "and thats really valuable." The goalie coach is equal parts teacher, motivator and therapist, a sounding board for the games most solitary position, a leaning post in times of turmoil and success. "A goalie coach is a resource to help the goaltender in his area of need and it might be off the ice, it might be on the ice, it might be just going post to post, it might be how he reads the game, maybe its stuff related to flexibility," said St. Croix, shortly after he replaced Francois Allaire as the teams goaltending coach in the fall of 2012. "Im a resource to help them become a better version of themselves." He has found quick success in that regard where his predecessor could not. Dubbed at one point by former Leafs President and GM Brian Burke as "the best goaltending coach on the planet," Allaire, who owns two Stanley Cup rings, never found much success during his three years in Toronto. His rigid style of goaltending - a blocking approach that was highly successful in the slower pre-lockout era - rarely translated into fewer goals against with the Leafs. It also allowed for little in the way of creativity or athleticism. [Allaire is currently working as the goaltending coach for the Avalanche, where has rediscovered considerable early success with Semyon Varlamov and former Leaf Jean-Sebastien Giguere.] St. Croix, in definite contrast, employs a considerably more accommodating approach to the position, a hybrid style that is dependent on accentuating the strengths of the individual. "I think with his style of coaching maybe theres more flexibility in there, a little less rigidity," said Reimer, an Allaire loyalist who is careful not to compare the two coaches. "You can play around with stuff a little bit more maybe [under St. Croix]. Maybe it allows you to be a little bit more athletic." "Its all your style of play and hell see your game and see those little things that will affect your game and itll be different than what he might tell Bernier in essence." Bernier, who worked with the highly lauded Bill Ranford previously in Los Angeles, agrees that St. Croix is "pretty open on techniques" and will advise, rather than demand, his goaltender on potential tweaks for game situations. "He wont change my style, wont change my position - thats who I am," said Bernier, whose .938 even-strength save percentage ranks behind only Ben Bishop among regular NHL starters this season.dddddddddddd Unlike Allaire, who could be unyielding in his approach to goaltending, St. Croix is intent on molding the shape of the individual to a better version of itself. Reimer, who finished eighth in the NHL in save percentage last season, his first with St. Croix, and sits 12th this season, concedes that his goalie coach has "just allowed whatever it is that makes me good to rise to the top per se". "Its like a skilled player being able to make a few mistakes," Reimer explained of the increased flexibility being afforded under St. Croix, who was not made available to be interviewed for this story. "If you tell him as soon as he gets across the red line that he has to dump the puck youre going to take away a bit of his [talent]. He might be a solid player and he might still be great, but when you allow [him] to cut back or toe-drag every now and again then something [special] comes out. With Ricky, I think maybe thats what its allowed me to do." Goaltender and goalie coach meet after every game to review that nights work, determined to assess the good and bad on video. St. Croix, in such situations, is looking not just at the individual goals allowed but at the bigger picture, intent on finding tendencies and trends that may need strengthening. "If you let in a goal here," Reimer said, "you look at it and say, Was it a freak thing? Did you do something wrong? And if it was, is it because we havent practiced it or is just because you made a mistake? Either way you work on it." Prior to games, he and the two goaltenders will assess the incoming opponent, trying to better understand how they generate offence and what situations may be on deck that night. In addition to the teaching and advisement is the equally important role of motivator and therapist. "Its funny that you say that because I think thats the biggest thing for a goalie coach," said Bernier. "Hes almost a therapist in a way just because hes there for you mentally and keeps you positive. You dont want to be too high or too low and hes there to help you find that right level of emotion." Bernier needed such a pick-me-up from St. Croix earlier in the year, the losses piling up in rapid succession for the Leafs despite continued performance in goal. And because he has a history of playing the position at the NHL level, St. Croix carries a certain credibility for his two young netminders, an understanding of the often solitary life in goal. "You can say stuff to him because hell understand," said Reimer, "whereas if you said it to somebody else [they] would be saying Oh my goodness, youre thinking that? but in the goalie world thats just normal." A big believer in the role of a goaltending coach, Bernier actually approached Leafs VP of Hockey Operations, Dave Poulin, early in the season and requested that St. Croix be with the NHL club more often. "I think its important as a goalie to have a goalie coach," Bernier said, "and talk to someone about [goaltending], bring your confidence up. He helps you to get that routine in your game and in practice which is really good. "Hes been really good mentally to keep me positive … And working on little things he sees in my game. I think more and more were going to get adjusted to each other, more comfortable. I think were making a big step." A look at the considerable leap in Toronto goaltending under St. Croix in the past two seasons. Season Save Percentage 2013-14 .924 2013 .917 2011-12 .901 2010-11 .907 2009-10 .896 2008-09 .887 2007-08 .897 cheap falcons jerseys cheap ravens jerseys cheap bills jerseys cheap bears jerseys cheap bengals jerseys cheap cowboys jerseys cheap lions jerseys cheap texans jerseys cheap colts jerseys cheap jaguars jerseys cheap chiefs jerseys cheap rams jerseys cheap dolphins jerseys cheap vikings jerseys cheap saints jerseys cheap giants jerseys cheap jets jerseys cheap eagles jerseys cheap steelers jerseys cheap 49ers jerseys ' ' '