Monday, September 22, 2008

Others Also Confident in Pesonen

In his regular Penguins Q&A feature of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, Dave Molinari was asked, "How well do you think, realistically, Janne Pesonen will do, if he even makes the team?"


It's a little early to pass final judgment on Pesonen -- after all, he's only had a few practices and one exhibition game in the NHL -- but he looks like a reasonable bet to start the season in the NHL and, because of the shortage of skilled left wingers on the depth chart, possibly to move into a more prominent role.

He played on the third line, with Kris Beech and Bill Thomas, in the Penguins' 5-4 shootout loss to Tampa Bay in the preseason opener Saturday, and got some work with the second power-play unit. During one man-advantage late in the second period, he appeared to score a goal when he collected a rebound near the bottom of the left circle and rapped it past goalie Karri Ramo. The goal subsequently was waved off when it was ruled Tampa Bay had gotten control of the puck before it went to Pesonen.

That near-goal didn't require exceptional ability -- Pesonen just had to make sure the puck didn't get away from him, then throw it into a largely open net before Ramo could scramble across the crease -- but not every player exploits such opportunities when they arise during a game.

While Pascal Dupuis does a lot of important blue-collar work on the No. 1 line with Sidney Crosby and Miroslav Satan, if coach Michel Therrien decides that he wants a better set of hands on that unit, Pesonen should be a top candidate for the job.

Most of what he just said is what I've felt all along -- well, as of Saturday night anyway (as have other Penguins fans) -- but it's always nice to fing out that someone who's "in the [sports] biz" confirms your way of thinking!

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