Its Time for "Geno" To Earn His Money

by BnGBlitz | Oct 30, 2013 - 12:49 PM
I'm going to be honest, I've never been a big Evgeni Malkin fan. The man can play ice doubt, and I realize that he was and is a big reason for the Penguins' success past and future. However, his inability to perform when Sidney Crosby is in the lineup has always bothered me. It almost seems as if he is disgruntled when the Captain in on the ice and that he can't be "the star" that he wants to be. Again, brutal honesty here...I actually thought the Penguins should have traded Malkin instead of extending his contract last season. Before Pens fans across the globe rip my head off for such blasphemy, understand that trading Malkin would have given the Pens an unbelievable future investment in return. No need to even talk about that now, as it isn't going to happen, but what I would like to talk about is the fact that now that Malkin has his new contract...its time for Geno to start earning his "dough".

Malkin has, is, and always will be a very streaky hockey player. He isn't the Sidney Crosby type that will garner around a point or two a game and consistently be on the score sheet. Should he be? Yes, but is he? No. After 12 games this season Malkin has been extremely underwhelming. Geno apologists will point to his lack of wingers. Beau Bennett is injured, James Neal is injured, and even Chuck Kobasew is now injured. Malkin seems to mesh with Jussi Jokinen, but that other side remains a vacant position. Other Geno apologists will say that he is getting his chances, and eventually they will start to come. I see that as something similar to saying "Marc Andre Fleury was close to stopping that puck, but he just missed it. He will start making those saves eventually!" This is a "what have you done for me lately" industry now, and Malkin hasn't been doing much.

Just in 12 games Evgeni Malkin's stat line reads like this: 3 Goals, 7 Assists - 10 points. Plus/Minus = -3. His average time on ice is second amongst forwards, only to Sidney Crosby. Malkin does lead the team in a category...penalty minutes. I know that 10... [Read More]
    1 Reply | 6,264 Views

Is This the Beginning Of the End for the Steelers?

by BnGBlitz | Oct 29, 2013 - 12:09 PM
The loss to the Oakland Raiders still stings amongst SteelerNation. How could the Pittsburgh Steelers travel across country and leave with a loss against the Raiders, again?! Well, if you look at this team logistically you see some serious flaws. Not only this past Sunday, but this entire season. What once was a promising season has turned into a fiasco, and it could get worse. Some fans say, "Play for a draft pick." while others scream, "We should be better." Either way, what the team "should" be is not fixable with one draft pick. Plain and simple. Which brings me to the title of the article. Is this the beginning of the end for the most successful organization in the NFL? I'm starting to think that it very well could be.

There are alot of arrows that can point to the long term demise of the Steelers' organization, but there are a few that I am going to focus on. First, missed draft picks. One could point directly at the Steelers' 2008 draft class that consisted of 7 players that are not wearing black and gold except for fun in their free time. Then you can look at the 2009 draft class that has 9 players in that class, with 2 that are still in the Steelers' organization (Ziggy Hood and the oft injured David Johnson). To me, this isn't just about draft classes, but about drafting players high in the draft that simply were busts. Players like Jason Worilds (taken in the 2nd round in 2010), Mike Adams (2nd round pick in 2012), and a guy like Chris Rainey garnering a 5th round pick when it was well documented the off the field issues with that individual. When was the last time the Steelers had a pick that absolutely shocked everyone? Can't think of one can you...thats because the Steelers' draft picks have been unbelievably underwhelming and that is why although the team has talent, it lacks skill and depth at some of the most important positions on the football field. What is going to happen with Ben Roethlisberger leaves or retires? Landry Jones? That is laughable. The answer is nowhere to be found. It looks like the Steelers will be entering a new Mike Tomczak, Bubby Brister, Neil O'Donnell, and Kent Graham era if you ask me. That sound like success? Me neither.
... [Read More]
    14 Replies | 6,322 Views

Where is this team headed?

by battlingbucs | Oct 28, 2013 - 10:31 AM
The Steelers are in a tough salary cap spot but there is a need for a shake up this offseason. The most obvious way to go about doing that is to try and shed some big cap numbers but really the Steelers find themselves in a position where there is essentially no way to do that without completely gutting a part of the team.

Only 8 players have a cap number greater than 3 million headed into next season. The guy with the biggest number is Ben Roethlisberger. You can't get rid of a franchise quarterback as he is the piece you retool around. Also in this group of 8 are his two best weapons, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller. Again you can not take the best weapons out of this offense.

On the defensive side of the ball Woodley comes with the biggest cap hit and while he is in theory a player the Steelers could be in a position to let go releasing him actually causes a bigger cap hit than keeping him. Timmons who has the third highest cap hit on the team is in a similar position to Woodley. I'm not quite certain if cutting him causes a bigger hit against the cap than keeping him but it is close enough that the savings wouldn't be worth doing so. Two other players taking up large chunks of cap room are Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu. Coming into this season those two seemed like possible cap casualties but both seem revived and our key pieces of the secondary. Removing either or both of them likely cripples that unit.

All that leaves us with is the lowest of the 8 in Maurkice Pouncey. With his injury history it at least has to be considered but given the volatile nature of the Steelers offensive line removing him from the equation seems highly unlikely.

Outside of those 8 players there appear to be a lot of disposable pieces but none of them are really going to have much of an impact on the cap situation. The Steelers need to retool this team and start diverting cap space away from their increasingly aging core but removing any of the 8 players who are receiving the big money likely marks the start of a rebuild not a retool. This team is not as bad off from a talent stand point as it may seem. Sure they could use another playmaker on offense and an heir apparent to the aging Taylor and Polamalu. What they do lack though is the financial flexibility to start making the core of this team younger. The question is how do you gain that while not completely tearing down a team with some good talent.

To me... [Read More]
    14 Replies | 5,054 Views

The One With Neal Huntington (the GM) - The Postseason Episode

by cocktailsfor2 | Oct 25, 2013 - 4:39 AM
Here you go, kids - sorry it's not as timely as it should have been. Recorded it last Thursday and I should have had it up by Saturday at the very latest, but there've been some difficulties recently in the Cocktailsfor2 household, so...

Frequent-and-becoming-most-popular guest Neal H. goes over the 2013 season, AJ, Taillon, Wandy, Polanco, Hanson, Rule 5, 40-Man roster, AFL, and more. As usual, he's very generous with his time, and we certainly appreciate it.

Speaking of appreciation, I also wanna thank everybody on PSF who listens to the podcast - even if you don't leave a comment - Pirates fans are the best, and you're exactly why we do this. So thank you, and also a very big THANK YOU to Kipper & Steelreign for letting me post it up here.

As usual, there are technical glitches, this time mostly because lightning hit my building recently and screwed up my ethernet & modem. So a coupla times, conversations are just gonna stop mid-sentence. Not a lot I could do about that.

Your thoughts on the 40-man roster? Who's gonna be left exposed in the Rule 5 Draft comin' up?
    0 Replies | 6,019 Views

What is Pittsburgh's Best Sports Rivalry??

by BnGBlitz | Oct 17, 2013 - 1:38 PM
This was a questions I posed on Twitter immediately after the Penguins defeated the Edmonton Oilers. The next game on the schedule was the Philadelphia Flyers and I knew fans were looking forward to that game. Obviously, with the Penguins just wrapping up their game, the majority of fans responded with the Flyers and Penguins as Pittsburgh's best sports rivalry. However, the other two options I posted were the Steelers and Ravens, and the Reds and Pirates. Some might argue other teams should be involved (like the Cardinals), but in my opinion its one of those three. Question is, which is the best?

This is when the debate begins. What are the criteria for which rivalry is considered "the best"? Is it the longevity of the rivalry? If so, you have to turn to the Flyers and Penguins for that. Is it the teams that have had the biggest competition when it matters the most? If so, that would be the Ravens and Steelers that have met on the NFL's biggest stages within the AFC. Is it which rivalry is the most heated TODAY? If that is what you are following, then it easily could be the Reds and the Pirates with the Pirates and Reds not only playing each other 19 times a year, but the bad blood that runs deep between the two teams.

Anyway you slice it, these three options are all viable options as "the best". If you are asking me which rivalry ranks atop my list...well...the first to be eliminated is the Pirates and Reds. Plain and simple, this is just a budding rivalry. Keep these teams together and playing competitive baseball and they certainly could move up the list, but its just too fresh. Not to mention its difficult to put a non contact sport (yeah I know alot of batters were HBP this year) ahead of two sports that have physical contact woven into game play.

That leaves the Ravens and Steelers, and Flyers and Penguins. Some would argue this is more about... [Read More]
    20 Replies | 6,472 Views

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