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Glen Sather once said a fire hydrant could get 50 goals playing with Wayne Gretzky.

Somewhat insulting perhaps to the Great One's wingers over the years but we get his point. Now, if a fire hydrant gets 50 with Gretzky what would one get with Crosby? Well, thanks to the injury to Pascal Dupuis and the absolutely decimated Penguins roster - we actually get to find out. 

 

Here is a list of the fire hydrants vying for the most coveted wing in hockey.

 

Joe Vitale

 

I remember Joe when the two of us ran a racket down on the Eastside. The son of hard working Italian immigrants, Joe was always one to make the most of his opportunities and so I like his chances here. If he gets a few games with Sid, he should get a few points and will certainly add to some of his multi-cat stats. It's only been one game at the time of writing but Frozen Pool showed Vitale as having the early inside track on Dupuis' spot - and even Sunday when James Neal tallied five points - Vitale saw almost as many shifts there.


14.18% EV 27 ADAMS,CRAIG - 15 GLASS,TANNER - 38 SILL,ZACH
13.06% EV 87 CROSBY,SIDNEY - 14 KUNITZ,CHRIS - 18 NEAL,JAMES
9.7% EV 49 GIBBONS,BRIAN - 12 KOBASEW,CHUCK - 16 SUTTER,BRANDON
8.96% EV 87 CROSBY,SIDNEY - 14 KUNITZ,CHRIS - 46 VITALE,JOE

 

Keep on going Joey Joe Jo, all the fellas at the plant are still rooting for you!

 

Chris Conner

 

Ever since Chris Conner lost his "best soap opera name on the Penguins" identity to Beau Bennett he has been a shell of his former self - and his former self was better at selling sea shells by the sea shore than putting pucks in the net. It is a sign of how terrible the injury woes for the Penguins are that Chris Conner is even in this discussion. However, what Crosby's line doesn't really need is more offence. It needs a solid two - way guy, with some hustle, and the ability to create some space. Maybe Conner is that guy.

 

Chuck Kobasew (25%)

 

This is an option which brings some legitimate offensive upside. As unimpressive as Kobasew's career has been offensively, he looks like an all star next to Joey Joe Jo and Chris Conner. Even if he doesn't fit the bill to be the speedy hard-nosed guy next to Sid, he is going to move up in the lineup simply because they are desperate.

 

Jussi Jokinen (2%) 

 

Moving out of fire hydrant territory here since Jussi actually has some skills. I don't see him on Sid's line, but at the end of the day he may be the one who benefits from the Malkin injury since he is now virtually guaranteed some quality power play time. 

 

James Neal (72%) 

 

Frozen Pool shows Neal has actually been playing with Kunitz and Crosby much of the time. Possibly the only scenario where Neal's point totals don't take a dip in Malkin's absence is this one. How good is it to be James Neal right now?


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hockeyplayer168 said:

hockeyplayer168
... I like Vitale in that spot. He has good speed and enough awareness to get up or get back quickly and contribute on both sides of the puck. I think he's better at these things than the other fourth liners or worse options. As far as what the Penguins actually do, I see Jokinen on his own line. It's probably going to bounce 50/50 between Vitale and Neal based on game situation, Vitale being the more conservative option. That is, until the next injury...
December 31, 2013
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