Tyler Kennedy was a lightning rod of criticism all year. He made irresponsible plays, missed the goal on most of his shots, and simply didn’t live up to the money that he is under contract for.
When he got benched late in the season and early in the playoffs the move was applauded among those watching the Penguins. There was even talk of trading him just to unload salary near the trade deadline, so why now are we hailing T.K.?
The Penguins were floundering against the New York Islanders, and something needed to change. Enter Tyler Kennedy into the lineup. Most people shrugged and said “why not?” Not much was expected of Kennedy when he re-entered the lineup, but he turned into a spark that helped the Penguins move on to round 2.
Kennedy scored the first goal of game 5 and injected energy into the team that helped them execute a dominating performance to a 4-0 win over the Islanders.
In game 6 the Penguins struggled for much of the game, but again Kennedy was a bright spot in the lineup matching the Islanders stride for stride with great effort and enthusiasm.
We can’t say that Kennedy singlehandedly won the series for the Penguins, but he did go a long way towards helping them survive the Islanders onslaught.
Kennedy dug himself out of the dog house and maybe even saved his career in Pittsburgh.
So for all of his faulted during the regular season, Penguins nation owes T.K. a huge thank you.
Written by Greg Thornberry
Editor-in-chief of www.hypeduphockey.com