Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kunitz Already Paying Out Dividends

Last night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks was a great win for the Penguins and the start they needed to begin the five-game road trip they have ahead of them.

It appears that trading Whitney was worth it for us (probably more so than for the Ducks) and was pretty immediate in providing benefits for the team in last night's win. Kunitz was projected to play on the top line with Crosby, but since Crosby was out of the lineup, he was put on the second line with Staal and Kennedy which turned out to be a good move.

In just one game, Kunitz tallied two points (1 goal, 1 assist) within the first 10 minutes of the game and played a total of 18:13 minutes on the ice (26 shifts); that's more than Whitney tallied with more time on the ice (same number of shifts) in his first game and I suppose you can argue that Kunitz is a forward and Whitney is a defenseman, but let's just overlook that right now for the sake of argument. And to be fair, this was only one game for each player, but doesn't it at least get you to start thinking positively about the Pens immediate future? It does for me.

Does that mean there goes Sid's potential winger? If Kunitz can elevate Staal's level of play like he did last night, it wouldn't be such a bad idea; however, neither Staal or Kunitz are third-line players (which is where Staal will play once Crosby returns). What may be worth trying is urging (i.e., "highly recommending") Staal to become comfortable as a winger and try him on the top line again with Sid along with Kunitz. At this point, anything is worth a try and with how these two played together, it may just be the spark both Sid and Staal need (Kunitz may be beneficial for both of these players).


Life_As_A_Redhead said...

"What may be worth trying is urging (i.e., "highly recommending") Staal to become comfortable as a winger."

You all know I agree with this. When someone is paying you, it doesn't really matter which position you "want" to play. It's you JOB to play the position they want (need) you to play.

Molly said...

i agree with you two also.
Staal is incredible, and kunitz brought the best out in him.
i think Kunitz-Crosby-Staal would be incredible, to say the least!

Penguins Pride said...

I agree moving Staal to wing on that line would be worth a try, but Who exactly would be the trigger man on that line. Crosby is a set up man, Staal is clearly not a sniper he constantly misses the net from 10 feet out, and Kunitz is a gritty player that is suppose to open up space for sid. But as the roster is now Staal or Satan are probably as good as it is going to get to complement Crosby and Kunitz. I would still not be surprised if Staal is moved at the deadline, and after the way he played last night we should be able to get a huge return for him. The only way it is worth keeping him is if he proves he can score from the wing. If he cant do that he is way to expensive for a third line center no matter how good he is.