Over the past couple seasons, the Pittsburgh Penguins third and forth lines have become more indulged with talent. Recently in the past two seasons the Pens third line has really made a name for themselves. Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke, centered by Jordan Staal have become “The Sesame Street Line.” The most obvious “Sesame Street” character name is Cookie in “Cookie monster” for Matt Cooke, Jordan Staal has been called “Big Bird” but that hasn’t really stuck with him and Tyler Kennedy has been called, well, Elmo? But I see no resemblance. Just with in the first 5 games, Tyler Kennedy leads the line with 4 goals and 1 assist, Jordan Staal has 3 goals and 1 assist, and Matt Cooke has 1 goal 2 assists. The third line is tied with the KGB line with 12 points, pretty nice from a third line eh? Besides a great physical presence from Cookie and sometimes Jordo and the speed of TK, oh and not to mention the shut down PK unit between Staalzy and Cooke, how good is this third line really?
Well, let’s do a comparison. Right now, according to NHL.com, the top 5 teams in the league (in order from 1-5) are, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, and the Chicago Blackhawks. Out of the five teams, 2 have third lines with over 10 points, the Pens with 12 and the Rangers with 12. Next in line are the Kings with 10, the Flames with 8 and the Hawks with 5; give and take a few player line switches with these. A side from putting up a couple game winning goals or checking someone into next Tuesday, Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke are a part of the Pens top PK unit, as I mentioned before. If a puck is cleared down the ice on the PK, it’s more than likely being cleared by one of these two. Without a well balanced array of talent from the defensive to offensive perspective, a team really has nothing to work with. In the Pens case they have 3 lines that are fully capable of producing just that and with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy only in their 20s, look for them to only get better.
And despite my sisters killer photoshop above, Damian just had to do a parody of his own...