Thursday, March 23, 2006

News Roundup

The Post-Gazette has an article on Jani Rita. Basically, Dave Molinari says that Rita has great potential and tremendous physical skills, which is why he's on the top line with Crosby and Armstrong. He's still quite young (just 24), so it could take some time and patience to allow him to develop into a complete player that can contribute consistently. Fortunately, the Penguins are in a position to deliver both (time and patience). To me, he's a more talented version of Rico Fata, Max Talbot or Koltsov.

The Trib has an article on Alain Nasreddine, who I've really liked since he's been here. He seems to be a great stabilizing force on the blue line for the Pens. Alain is a +2 in six games (he hasn't been a minus in any game yet), and is playing a reasonable amount of minutes as well. Of course, this is mostly by necessity these days, since Ryan Whitney hasn't been playing, and Eric Cairns has a habit of getting kicked out of games. But if Nasreddine can continue his solid play, he can earn himself a spot on the team, I think. He and Rob Scuderi can fill the defensive defensemen type of role, while allowing Gonchar and Whitney to jump into the play more offensively. Orpik and Melichar, I guess, would fill the tough, physical guy role.

Overall, I like the defensive balance now a whole lot more than I did early in the year when we had Jackman, Tarnstrom, Whitney and Gonchar all on the blue line.

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