Penguins

Penguins Primed for Another Run… Idol’s Newest hit: Poni, Poni

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Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

Well, the trade deadline has come and gone and Ray Shero has again plugged the holes that he felt were in his line-up. The great thing for the Penguins is that he did it without losing a single roster player. Anytime you can add significant assets to your team without weakening your NHL line-up, you have got to be pretty happy.

Shero started his wheeling and dealing on Monday when he brought in Jordan Leopold from the Florida Panthers. Leopold already played his first game as a Penguin and looked good in doing so. Though he was a -1, he moved the puck effectively, play solid defensively and even blocked four shots. That was an aspect of his game I wasn’t very aware of, but I am thrilled about it. He will fit in great with this team, as he seems have a workmanlike approach to the game. Dan Bylsma seemed very pleased with his acquisition and was even more so after watching his first game on Tuesday night.

“I liked the way he played,” coach Dan Bylsma said following Tuesday night’s game. “He fit right in. He looked comfortable and solid.”

The Penguins general manager didn’t stop there, as he also brought in a top six winger to compliment his world class centermen. Alexei Ponikarovsky of the Toronto Maple Leafs was acquired for highly regarded prospect Luca Caputi. Poni, as he is called, generated much interest around the league, but in the end Shero pulled of the acquisition.

Shero felt that out of the available players in the trade market, Poni was the guy that best fit this team.

“He has size and he has a scoring touch,” Shero said. “He is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. He is very good down low in the offensive zone. He likes to go to the net. I think the way Sid and Geno like to play, they have good speed and they like to drive guys, he likes to go to the net too. He should be a good complementary player for us.”

Ponikarovsky agrees with his new general manager and is thrilled to be joining the Penguins.

“My style has always been to be hard on the puck,” Ponikarovsky told penguins.nhl.com. “I have some speed so I can take people wide and drive the net. I like to use my body down low. We will talk more about my role with the coach when I get there – what kind of game plan we will have and what I should be doing on the ice.

“It’s a totally different perspective in terms of the team and who you are playing with. It’s going to be really nice.”

The move leaves Dan Bylsma with something that he didn’t have before — options… and that has the Penguins coach pretty excited…

“He’s a 20-goal scorer,” Bylsma said. “He’s on pace for around 60 points right now. He’d be the third leading point-getter on our team right now. You’re adding a big body guy who goes to the net. … He’s good in the offensive zone and is good down low. He also has the ability to make a play to his linemates, and that’s what we think we’re getting with Alex coming in.”

Overall Shero looks to have his team in line for another long playoff run. The next problem will be contending with the fatigue that could creep in over the next few weeks from playing so many meaningful hockey games over the last two seasons. However, I am not so worried about that, as this group (Bill Guerin and Sergei Gonchar aside) still has pretty young legs!

* * * * *

This may be the cheesiest thing that I have ever written, but it is the first thing that popped into my head upon acquiring Alexei Ponikarovsky from the Maple Leafs Tuesday night. Billy Idol’s newest hit…

PONI, PONI

Here he comes now, he’s Poni, Poni
Shoot’em in, score now, come on Poni
He take the pass and score, help Geno Feel all right now
Come on you gotta shoot and score
And spark that light, yeah spark that light
I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Scoring wings make me feel
So good, so good, so good
So fine, so fine
It’s all mine, well I feel all right
I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Well, you could raise it, Poni, Poni
Stanley Cup and we’ll sign you Poni
Don’t stop scoring, cause Geno feel all right now
But don’t stop now, come on Poni
Come on yeah, I said, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Scoring wings make me feel
So good, so good
Well, he’ll score all night
He’s on Gene’s line, yeah Gene’s line
On Gene’s line and it feels so right
I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Burgh love you Poni, Po Po Poni
Burgh love you Poni, Po Po Poni, sure they do
Burgh love you Poni, Po Po Poni, sure they do
Burgh love you Poni, Po Po Poni, sure they do
Burgh love you Poni, Po Po Poni, sure they do
Burgh love you Poni, Po Po Poni, sure they do
Burgh love you Poni, Po Po Poni, sure they do
Burgh love you Poni, Po Po Poni
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Come on, come on
Come on, come on
Come on, come on
Come on, come on
Come on, come on
Gene feel all right, I said, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Shake it, bake it, Poni Poni
Up and down the ice, come on Poni
He take the pass and score, help Geno Feel all right now
I said, score another goal, come on Poni
Come on Poni, I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

Scoring wings make me feel
So good, so good, so good
So fine, so fine
It’s all mine, well I feel all right
I said yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah 

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About Brian Metzer

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Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live Weekly, a show that airs Saturday mornings on 105.9 the X and iHeart Radio. He serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, and is the NHL and Penguins correspondent for the Beaver County Times. Metzer is also a contributing writer for NHL.com and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

4 Comments

  1. Eddie Germy

    March 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Hey Metz always great stuff to read…ive followed your blogs on hockeybuzz for quite some time now and looking forward to your new stuff!!!!!

  2. Zach Boslett

    March 6, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Good stuff. Hope Poni and Leopold can re-sign since I can’t see Gonchar re-signing. In the long run the return at the draft for Gonchar might be worth losing him.

  3. Eddie Germy

    March 6, 2010 at 12:43 am

    If the pens lose gonch/guiren/fedo…then sign letang for somewhere around 3 to 3.5 mil then what are we looking at cap wise to go into july 1st with?

  4. Zach Boslett

    March 6, 2010 at 1:51 am

    looking at 41 mil with 13 players signed. There is a major need for talent on ELCs so maybe Shero moves Gonch at the deadline for prospects that can contribute now/soon.