The On Deck Circle

The unofficial home of Real Talk

Gary Roberts Wednesday - Max Talbot

Posted by Blake Murphy on June 4, 2008

This article has been submitted by Stu Wilkinson.

Two weeks ago Kris Letang was featured in this space and then immediately afflicted with the infamous Curse of Gary Roberts Wednesday, only seeing the ice for Games 1 and 2 of the Finals before making the joyless trip to Healthy Scratchland. Of course, this turn of events made me swear I wouldn’t throw another Penguin into the GRW mix, but that was before LeMoyne’s own Maxime Talbot slammed home a game tying goal against the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals. With thirty seconds left. In an elimination game.

I’d be lying if I said I liked Mike Therrien’s decision to throw Mad Max on the ice as Pittsburgh’s extra attacker during the last minute of regulation in Game 5. In fact, I recall wondering at the time why the heck Ryan Malone wasn’t on the ice (I didn’t review the videotape after the game, so he actually might have been). I guess my doubting of Therrien is another addition to the growing list of reasons why I’m not exactly a shoe-in for the coaching vacancy in Toronto. Unlike me and many other Pens fans, Coach MT knew that Talbot would be money in the bank in the event of a scramble in front of Chris “Elroy” Osgood. Money in the bank he was, ripping home the tying goal from about one and a half feet out.

The goal against Detroit was great – some may call it a season saver – but Max is no one hit wonder. In these playoffs he’s netted two other big goals: A game tying goal against Ottawa in Game 3 of the first round, and a game winner against Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference Finals (assisted on by Gary Roberts). He’s even rolled out some late game heroics in the regular season, notching a huge goal in Pittsburgh’s four goal comeback against the Capitals earlier this season.

The 24 year-old Talbot is rarely mentioned as one of Pittsburgh’s young stars, and with good cause. He’s not a top six forward for the Pens, although he could develop into one in the future, possibly supplanting Pascal Dupuis alongside Sidney Crosby if Ray Shero brings him back. Right now, however, he’s a speedy pest willing to throw his body around and take punishment (he got decked three times in Game 5 by my count) to get the job done. That, and he’ll bury the occasional wrister from the slot or two-footer from the side of the cage.

But while Max hasn’t exactly lit up the scoreboard in situations where his team’s season isn’t on the line, he’s still a very important cog in the Penguins machine. During Game 5, Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury were referred to as the top pranksters on the Penguins. My favorite Mad Max Moment: In Toronto he took the ice for a pre-game skate wearing Sidney Crosby’s gear, tricking many little children into thinking he was Sid the Kid. I guess you had to be there.

But seriously, Talbot’s presence keeps Marc-Andre loose (check out the dynamic duo goofing off together before taking the ice every game) and contributes to the great chemistry that this Pittsburgh team has on and off ice. Hopefully the next two games that the Penguins play will not be his last, as he must be resigned in the summer. I honestly think that Marc-Andre would cry for about a week if Talbot was let go, so it will be best for all parties involved if he’s back in Hockeyburgh next season.

Inside the Numbers
4 game winning goals in the 2006-07 season (1 more than Sundin)
46 goals in one season in the QMJHL
1 World Series of Poker appearance
2 QMJHL Playoff MVP awards
1 YouTube moment

This article has been submitted by Stu Wilkinson.

2 Responses to “Gary Roberts Wednesday - Max Talbot”

  1. Uncle Pat Says:

    If anyone has not seen that commercial from which the top right picture was taken, go youtube it right now. It is awful and halarious all at the same time.

  2. Uncle Pat Says:

    If anyone has not seen that commercial from which the top right picture was taken, go youtube it right now. It is awful and halarious all at the same time.

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