Here's [WB] Penguins Insider Jonathan Bomboulie's take on why the Penguins chose Minard over Pesonen (which I'll buy into and allows me to live comfortably with a Pessi-free Pens team another day for now):
Pittsburgh had a grand total of 11 shots in a 2-1 loss to San Jose on Tuesday. Minard's greatest strength, by far, is shooting the puck. In the AHL, he's almost fanatical about it. So it's a good fit. Pesonen, to me, is more of a playmaker.
If Minard does get the spot on Crosby's line, people will scoff. They'll say Pittsburgh must be desperate if they're putting a career minor leaguer in that role. They'll note that Minard is 26 and was never drafted and played in places like Pensacola, San Angelo and Anchorage on his way to the AHL. That, to me, is snobbery at best and bigotry at worst. What difference does it make where he came from? If he can play, he can play.
People will say Minard is too slow to keep up with Crosby, but that's not true. When WBS did its skills competition last year, Minard was second in the fastest skater contest, by one-thousandth of a second, to Jonathan Filewich. He can skate.
I'm not saying Minard is going to become an NHL all-star. In fact, I wonder if he can get his shot off against stronger, quicker NHL defensemen. But he's done
everything he's been asked to do the last year-plus. At a time when the parent
club's offense is struggling, it's worth giving him a chance in a scoring role.
Who knows? He could become Crosby's Robbie Brown.