The Pens hate second periods

11-2. Wow. Opponents have outscored Pittsburgh 11-2 in the second period. And when the Islanders recorded three unanswered goals in the middle frame last night, it didn’t make it much better.

It didn’t matter that the Islanders had only won one game in Pittsburgh in their last 14 outings, they still put the Pens in their place last night.

New York anticipated passes, made the Pittsburgh power play look like that of a midget program, and forced Paul Martin to screw up really bad for the first time this season.

It doesn’t really matter if you outscore opponents 9-2 in the first period if you allow even more in the second.

Nisky Business

We all knew it wouldn’t take long for the first big injury to hit the Penguins. Now Matt Niskanen might not be the cog that holds the machinery together, but an injury to any top-six defender in a shortened season like this could be detrimental.

Niskanen will be out for 2-4 weeks with what is being called a lower body injury. Fortunately, Simon Despres played one of his better games last night, even though no one else did. It would be nice to see him step up and take over Nisky’s business.

ROOT Rants

In case you didn’t know, it’s cold in Winnipeg.

P.K. Subban

As long-time readers know, Subban is no stranger to the Report. But this one is for the supporters d’Habitants (excuse my Frenglish).

Subban finally resigned with Montreal earlier this week, committing to a two-year, $5.75 million contract. There’s no doubt the contract has it’s pros and cons for Montreal. It’s a low cap hit, but it doesn’t secure young talent for long.

What boggles me is why Subban couldn’t agree to this deal sooner. You can’t tell me he didn’t know the Canadiens wouldn’t want to give him a big deal, especially with the lockout looming after his contract expired. Everyone saw the writing on the wall that player contracts would be changing severely, so P.K. could’ve cut out the majority of this process and kept his image intact in Montreal.

Sure, the Canadiens went 3-1 without him. But that’s beside the point. Don’t change the subject.

The NHL hates boarding

We’ve all seen the league cracking down on boarding penalties so far this season. And I hope it continues. For years, hitting from behind or launching at players near the boards has been the one problem the NHL could have nipped in the bud. Unlike open ice hits and the more controversial hits to the head, there is little gray area when it comes to boarding.

Better late than never when it comes to this enforcement.

Shanahanagans

On January 23, at 5:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Director of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan issued the first suspension of the season. As the video clearly shows, Shanahan reentered his little studio and detailed the illegal hit issued by Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn on Anton Volchenkov the night before.

When we pause the video, it is clear that Shanahan has regained control of various image-enhancing features in the studio, including the spotlight tool and freeze cam.

To summarize: This was Shanahan’s first attempt at a suspension video this season. And, although he is a repeat explainer, Shanahan kept his voice to the usual monotonous tone, and did not trip over any words.

The office of Brendon Shanahan analysis has decided not to criticize Shanahan for this suspension video.

99 picks Rangers

Wayne Gretzky did his usual preseason (or close to it) interview with the NHL network on what to expect this season. You may recall that the Great One went with New Jersey last year, which was confusing at the time, considering the season the Devils had the previous year. Lo and behold, New Jersey went to the Stanley Cup finals.

This year? Gretzky predicted the Rangers raising the Cup. But it’s safe to say the guy knows a thing or two about the sport of hockey.

Marleau Magic

Speaking of Stanley Cup predictions, since San Jose wasn’t picked by Barry Melrose (at least not in the one of many picks he does every year that I saw), they seem to be doing just fine. At the center of all that success is Patrick Marleau.

In his first five games of the season, Marleau recorded nine goals and four assists, unthinkable numbers. It’s amazing what a guy can do when he gets Melrose off his back.

Consol Energy Center
I understand the acoustics are much different in CEC than they were in the Civic Arena. That place rocked. End of story. But most of the silence heard in Consol Energy Center on nights like last night can be drawn to lack of fan interest. Hardly even any boos.

To be honest with you, it’s embarrassing.

Fans at CEC are going to stay on the list until that place gets loud consistently, and not just when Malkin or Crosby touch the puck or the 1990s “get loud” meter comes on.

Well that does it for this week’s Humpday Hater Report. Be sure to come back next week for more.

Until then, happy hating!