TK Rage Reaching Top Level

By Stevie

Today it appears that TK Rage is at an all time high. I don’t like TK. It’s not a secret.

You know what the rage is over though? No, not his poor performance this year in the wake of a breakout season. The rage is that during practice today, TK is on line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis while Matt Cooke has been moved to the second line with Jordan Staal and Steve Sullivan. People are legitimately livid on Twitter today, but no one can provide an actual reason why this is bad.

The argument is that Cooke should stay with Crosby and TK move to the Staal line since Cooke has been productive with Sid since his return, tallying three 2-goal games. Cooke has a total of five 2-goal games this season.

Of those 3 games, Crosby had the primary assist on two of the goals. Know who had more? Tyler Kennedy. TK was the primary assist on 3 of those goals and had an assist on 4 total. Sid was secondary on 1. By this mathematical logic, It makes more sense to keep Kennedy and Cooke on the same line than  to separate them. Cooke has 10 points total since Crosby returned to action.

Now all things being fair, Kennedy is showing signs of life with Sid centering him. He has 7 total points since March 15th, 3 of which were goals. Crosby was the primary assist on 2 of them, Cooke the secondary. His other goal was set up by Sully and Staal.

Yes, Kennedy’s style isn’t exactly what people are used to seeing alongside of CrosbyTK is a grinder. but he is trigger happy, which isn’t exactly paired with accuracy.

Also, consider that both of Sid’s goals since his return were assisted by Pascal Dupuis. Previously, Duper and Chris Kunitz were Sid’s linemates when he played on the first line.  With Kuni stealing lives winging for Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, there is no need to move him at this time.

There are seven games left in the season. The anger over TK playing with Sid in PRACTICE and still in games is irrational. Sid plays well with just about everyone and if he can help TK out of his scoring slump and help him to take his time shooting, then what is the harm is leaving them on the same line just awhile longer? In 7 games, the difference between TK and Cooke is 3 points, not 30 (as people seem to believe). We already know how Sid plays with Dupuis (and mind you, Duper was having a successful season without Sid), so Duper and TK on line with Sid for tonight’s game isn’t the end of the world.

It makes sense to play with the lines now before the playoffs since the Pens finally have a full, healthy roster of forwards. Additionally, Head Coach Dan Bylsma has been line rolling during the games as well. The Pens are 5-1-1 since Sid returned. Bylsma has not kept strict lines during the games in that time and the scoring has been off the charts: 34 goals in 7 games.

What Bylsma has going here is clearly working. Crosby has 13 points in 7 games. So why are we worried about Tyler Kennedy winging for him? What’s more is that our next two games are against the Islanders, who are sitting in 14th place in the East, only 2 points ahead of Montreal. I’d say right now is the time to mess with lines before going into the last week of the season where the Pens will face the Flyers twice, the Bruins and the Rangers.

This team is stacked. I personally don’t care who is on Sid’s wing as long as the team is winning. But complaining because Cooke went to a different line in practice (with Staal whom he is used to centering mind you) is irrational.

Stats for TK, Cooke, Sid Last 7 Games

Assists on Cooke Goals:
1. Kennedy
2. Kennedy, Staal
3. Crosby, Kennedy
4. Kennedy, Crosby
5. Engelland
6. Crosby, Martin

Assists on Kennedy Goals:
1. Sullivan, Staal
2. Crosby, Cooke
3. Crosby, Cooke

Assists on Crosby Goals:
1. Asham, Dupuis
2. Michalek, Dupuis

Lines at Practice Today

14-71-18

24-11-26

9-87-48

25-27-45
(15, 12)

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6 responses to “TK Rage Reaching Top Level

  1. As you can imagine, Cookie’s recent scoring jag has me thrilled beyond belief, but as long as the Pens win, I don’t mind where he plays. I would like to see him get a 20th goal.

  2. You know, I am going to assume that you are a Pittsburgh Fan. But You know I don’t understand that as a ‘respectable’ Pittsburgh fan, why don’t you like TK. Kennedy is apart of the team.

    Also on his trigger happiness. He gets goal, and He gets assists. As you showed before, he is pretty high in assists. and the he is perfect with Cookie, a good shooter, and Crosby, a daredevil of sorts.

    You should lay off TK, try to be a fan. He’s on our team and he deserves the respect he gets

    • I am a Pittsburgh fan. I am a hockey fan. I cheer for many teams and players throughout the NHL, but the Pens are my #1 and hometown team. I’m sitting here actually wearing a Patrick Kane shirt as we speak.

      I don’t understand how not liking TK makes me a poor fan though, as someone who enjoys and understands the sport both as a game and as a business.

      If you really paid close attention, you would have noticed that I defended keeping Kennedy with Sidney Crosby. The outrage online that I am writing about was not from me, but from the fanbase on various websites and social media outlets.

      I do not think that TK is worth $2 million in cap space. His talent and stats do not support his salary and I wished that Shero had not resigned him (not for that price anyway…). However, being on this team for the time being, I wish that he would perform better. I’m sorry, but being a fan of the team does not mean that I have to be a fan of every player on the team. That makes little to no sense to me. I want the Pens to be the best team and I believe that they would be better with a different player in place of TK or they need to find him a suitable linemate and someone who can help him work on his game.

      I don’t root against TK. I do cheer for him to do well when I am at games, but that does not mean that I have to like him or be his personal fan.

      And he is not very high in goals. Crosby has more assists than him and has played a fraction of the season. Yes, Sid is an elite player, but for the money TK is earning, he needs to produce. He peaked last year. He has 181 shots on goal and 10 goals. That’s not good.

      And for the record, I have a TK shersey…

      I do thank you for visiting the site and appreciate your commentary, but I respectfully disagree with your opinion on this matter.

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