So, I'll keep going on down the line, and though all the really good stuff is about a week old, I still have a few random thoughts.
Another trade deadline, another slew of great moves from GM Ray Shero. When I first heard about the Ponikoravsky deal, I thought it was for Tangradi, who I hold in fairly high regard; so I was not all that excited. But then I found out it was for Caputi and thought it was a good enough deal.
I like Caputi, I actually haven't heard any negative reports on him, but when you realize that his ceiling is probably more like a 50 point winger (nothing to sneeze at), then this trade is a bit of a no-brainer. I wish Caputi Pants the best going forward, but it seems like Ponky Tonk (that's the nickname I'm using so far, even though I do really like Poni, or more appropriately, the Poni Express) is already melding well with Geno and Tenk (2 points in 2 games). Plus, who knows with a guy who has never really played on a quality team, Ponky might want to stick around after he becomes a UFA following the season. Here is a reaction coming from a Leafs blogger about Ponky.
The Leopold for a 2nd rounder is the real steal; if Leopold can stay healthy (big if), then he is probably our best two-way defense man outside of Letang. He hasn't looked fantastic in his first few games, but I think it's tougher for a defender getting used to the team's system and more importantly, their partner. I kind of agreed with Mark Madden's reaction; let Gonch go after the season, resign Leopold (2-year deal) and ink Letang to a big contract, so that by the time Leopold is ready to leave, Letang is hopefully ready to be the number one guy on D (outside of the ever solid Brooks Orpik). Here's another link to PensBurgh and their very good look at Leopold (I love any hockey analysis involving sabermetrics).
There's very few holes on the Pens roster right now, although we could always hope GoGo finds his form and starts positioning himself better in his own zone. It actually creates a bit of a problem for when Billy G. gets back; do we move Pascy off the top line where he has been so productive? Who sits? Other than that, the only other question to ask is are the Penguins sacrificing too much of tomorrow, for what's happening today? I always say a win today is worth more than a win a year from now (except when we're talking about the Pirates and that win only takes them from 75 to 76 wins, and the win next year takes you from 85 to 86), and in hockey, it's harder to gauge as opposed to baseball. But when you already have such young established talent up the middle (Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Fleury), then you really only have to worry about selling the farm until those guys reach their peaks or are past their prime (needless to say, that shouldn't be for quite some time). No top prospect is a sure thing (Angelo Esposito, ahem), and although I'd like to see the Pens hold on to Tangradi and see him develop into the winger that Sid has always deserved, if he's the part in a trade that improves the Pens chances of winning another Cup, then you really can't complain.
Lastly, the Matt Cooke hit. Here's PensBurgh's look, and the PensBlog has their take in the game recap. I was watching the game live (the only game since the Olympics I've been able to catch, shame on me), and right after the hit I texted my buddy, "See ya, Matt Cooke." I don't think it was one of the worst hits I've ever seen, but there are a few issues I do have with it. When the head is stuck out like that, you just can't aim your shoulder at it; Cooke needs to make sure that his shoulder is aimed at Savard's shoulder. You can say that it was Savard's fault that his head was down and got in the way of Cooke's skating line, but that's not a good excuse.
Head shots are becoming more and more of a problem in all of sports (GQ had a great feature on the study of brain injuries due to football careers from just a few months ago), and hockey is starting to take exception as well. In no way was Cooke's hit as bad as Patrice Cromier's hit in Juniors this year, and to that extent it wasn't even as bad as Mike Richards hit on David Booth from October, but I think the NHL is ready to make an example out of someone and Matt Cooke is the perfect target; he's a repeat offender and has a reputation of dirty play. I think that's why it's taking so long for the NHL to come out with a suspension (that and I think Colin Campbell knows he is sort of a joke when it comes to hockey suspensions and their rhyme and reason), and I think it should be about 5 games, but don't be surprised if it's more like 8-10 (I'm not saying that's what he deserves, just that it wouldn't surprise me).
Although on a more positive note, even Mike Milbury doesn't think the hit was a suspendable offense, so maybe I'm way off. Although this is coming from the same guy who went into the stands in an NHL game and beat a man with his own shoe. Although Milbury does bring up a good point about retaliation, which was similar to something I heard Madden talking about the other day; when Cooke does something like this, he is opening up the door for other players of Cooke's ilk to take runs at our top guys (head up, Sid).
And before I say anything about Savard, I don't wish any injury upon anybody, especially a life threatening injury to the head, but since he appears to be okay, F' Marc Savard.