Yeo Be Gone

Assistant coach Mike Yeo, a favorite whipping boy of fans this past season, has left the Pens to become head coach of the Houston Aeros, Minnesota’s AHL affiliate. Yeo was in charge of the Pens’ power play, a unit that struggled mightily pretty much all season long. The common theory was that it had to be Yeo’s fault the PP was performing as badly as it was. Considering the amount of talent the Pens put out there with the extra man (Crosby, Malkin, Gonchar, etc.), how else could you explain it?

There’s no doubt Yeo deserves some criticism for his handling of the power play, but the players have to share in that blame. Could he have done a better job? Sure. But let’s remember that Yeo was a key member of the staff that helped turn this ship around back when Michel Therrien took over in December 2005. And he was an assistant when the Pens hoisted the Cup in Detroit just last year. Bottom line: Yeo did some good things in his tenure with the Pens.

Congratulations to Yeo, a career minor-leaguer who worked his way up the ladder the hard way. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see him behind and NHL bench again in the near future – only this time as the man in charge.

I have no clue who the Pens will tab to replace Yeo. I do know that he better damn well know how to coach the power play, an area the team must improve on next season.

Home Games Starting at 7:00!!!
I’m not going to hide my feelings. The decision to move the starting times of home games in 2010-11 to 7:00 pissed me off. I loathe the 7:00 game time – always have, always will. It’s a pain in the ass for a number of reasons. When you get home from work around 5:30, there’s just not enough time to get stuff done before the puck drops. Thank God for DVR. And if you’re actually going to the game, it makes it even harder to get there on time.

But, as usual, it looks like I’m in the minority. According to the Pens’ website, 16 of the other 23 U.S.-based teams started their games at 7 last season, including the other four in the Atlantic Division. (All that pretty much explains my disdain for the start time.) The Pens cited that trend plus fan feedback as factors in making the change. I guess I’ll get used to it (no choice), but I’ll never grow to like it.

Preseason Schedule
The Pens will play three home games this preseason at the brand-new Consol Energy Center. Detroit (how appropriate) will open the new arena on Sept. 22. The other home exhibition games will be Sept. 25 against Columbus and Sept. 28 against Cup champs Chicago.

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