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Another rough night at Consol…

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Greetings, frustrated Pens fans.

For the first time all season, it appeared the Penguins had found “their game,” as they’re so fond of saying. But then the Boston Bruins exploded for five third-period goals, silencing the Consol Energy Center crowd and making speculation that something is simply wrong with this team a little louder.

Here are some postgame thoughts.

 

- What exactly were the defensemen doing this evening? The Penguins’ blue line was a complete train wreck. D Alex Goligoski’s hesitancy on Boston’s fifth goal, in which he jumped into the play late and gave the Bruins an odd-man break, was the most memorable of mistakes on this evening, but it wasn’t the only one. D Ben Lovejoy returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for three straight games and was a minus-3, which probably wasn’t the impression he wanted to make. D Paul Martin and D Zbynek Michalek haven’t been awful, but also haven’t distinguished themselves. The Penguins’ defense core looked like a unit playing without any structure against Boston, which isn’t a good thing.

 

- C Evgeni Malkin had quite the eventful evening. He had two assists in what was without question his best performance of the season. Malkin was simply electric every time he touched the puck.

The downside to Malkin’s evening is that he was injured twice. He fell awkwardly in the second period in a non-contact situation, and hobbled to the bench. Then, in the third period, he collided with Boston LW Shawn Thornton and stayed down for a few tense seconds before slowly skating to the bench. Malkin returned to the game shortly after going to the bench.

Malkin was nowhere to be found in the locker room following the game, though there appeared no reason to fear he was injured seriously.

Speaking of Malkin, he’s been at center the past four games and suddenly looks like Malkin again. Just sayin’.

 

- C Sidney Crosby remained on fire with three more points, including his 10th goal. Crosby did, however, lose six of seven faceoffs in the nightmarish third period.

He is now second in the league in scoring with 22 points, two points behind Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos. Oh by the way, Crosby and Stamkos will do battle Friday at Consol Energy Center.

 

- On a night when you score four goals against Tim Thomas, you need to win the game. Plain and simple. And the scary part tonight was that none of those goals could be directly traced to G Brent Johnson. It was a horrible night for the blue line, and Stamkos is coming to town. Uh oh.

 

Until next time, you stay classy, Pittsburgh.

 

Josh Yohe

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Comments

  1. joe says:

    Malin’s best game was without a doubt in Nashville but his best home game was likely tonight.

    DB must go. his “system” that he fully implemented at training camp following the cup win clearly does not work. the effort was there tonight, they got 46 sog against one of the best defensive teams in the league but this penguins team is absolutely clueless defensively. i do not think it is necessarily the pens dmen themselves because on paper this is one of the best D’s in the league. there is no structure in this system. the players are taking unnecessary chances especially with a 2 goal lead, and how many 2 goal leads have they blown under the DB regime? say what you will about MT, the team at least knew how to close things out in the 3rd period under him. i just hope Shero doesn’t wait to long to get rid of Bylsma and hope the pens don’t dig themselves too deep of a hole.

  2. Joe says:

    Why is it that whenever Fleury gets scored on it’s always his fault, that he needs to make the big save to help his team but it’s always the teams fault when Johnny lets one or six in?

    Total BS, Johnny is a fine backup but that’s it, time to give Flower a few games to get in the groove. Really, there are more problems with the boys right now except when # 29 is in goal, then it’s all on him. Just ask Disco Dan and Jay Caulfield!

  3. Jack VanLuit says:

    This team is done. They are actually a non play-off team that may need to consider rebuilding. Since going 10-0 t begin their season last year, they have become one of the lesser teams i the league. With all that talent and to play this bad you have to question their character, heart and willingness to do what it takes to win. Each player must be looked at, Sidney Crosby needs to be a leader and take a position that the play of this team for the past year is unacceptable, and start questioning the other players comittment to win and a coaching change may b needed too. Now I’ll wait and see if management shows if they are committed in putting together a play-off team because this team isn’t

  4. tomas says:

    Playing without any structure is something we never had to say while Michel Therrien was here coaching. Performances like the one Goligoski put out tonight is why you don’t rely on him and play him in a limited role unlike the big four.

  5. GC says:

    I am happy to see them win a game any more. I don’t remember when there last winning streak was (more than 2 or 3 games). The Penguins have been playing like this for a long time. I hope it gets corrected soon. I love watching them play like they did for the first two periods. You can take a loss if they played like that a whole game, but if they did, they probably wouldn’t lose most of the time.

  6. Shawn says:

    If I’m Ray Shero, I walk into that dressing room after the game and remind those players that Michel Therrien is still under contract with the team.

    There are so many “issues” with this team right now that I have no idea where to start.

    Discipline and accountability seem like good places. But when half of your team doesn’t show up on any given night, then a different half doesn’t show up the next…what can you do?

    Last year, my least favorite Pen was easily Goligoski. He just made braindead play after bonehead play. I saw someone call him “Alex in Wonderland” and thought it was perfect. This year, up until a week ago, he was great. Both ends. Smart, solid play. Then some hints of the old Alex started showing up last week and exploded last night. The indecision, the insecurity, back and as crippling as ever.

    But, I started with Gogo to contrast him with Paul Martin. Perhaps because he is new, but I have heard zero criticism of Martin when in reality he’s been, maybe, our 4th or 5th best D man (highest paid). Recchi’s goal last night was the result of a Gogo-like play by Martin. Go back and watch a lot of the bad goals we have given up this year and you will find Martin near our net. Also, his refusal to shoot the puck makes him terribly predictable and one-dimensional.

    To say Michalek has been even pedestrian would be very kind. He’s got two good excuses, new team and he’s still not 100% with that shoulder. However, he is making a consistent mistake that has no excuse. He seems intent on proving that he’s got offensive talent. He does not. He has been caught out of position several times this year trying to “showcase” how he’s MORE than JUST a shutdown D-man. He’s not. And in doing so, he’s been less useful to us than a man who makes 1/8 of his cap hit in Derek Engellend (who aside from a bad game in Phoenix I have nothing but good things to say about).

    I’d really like to see Martin do more and Michalek do less.

    Accountability falls at the feet of the Captain and the coaches.

    I love Sidney Crosby. He is my favorite player of all time…besting Mario and Kovy and all the others because of how hard he works. His leadership by example is off the charts. But that appears to be the only tool in his Captain’s toolbox. He UTTERLY refuses to call anyone out, he OBSESSIVELY finds the positive in every loss and will never admit when the team plays bad, only that they need to do better.

    The man who should wear the C on this team, Brooks Orpik, even tacitly called him out on it last year when he said something to the effect of “I’m tired of hearing how well we played after every loss.”

    As far as the coaching, there are a lot of questions.

    Why move Geno out of the right circle on the power play? Geno in the right circle on the power play is the Penguins best weapon. You NEVER disarm your own best weapon.

    Why has Max never been given another chance to play with Geno? That combo was more responsible for our Cup win than any other forward duo.

    If you are going to move Geno, the best #2 center in hockey to wing…why not put him with the #1 center in hockey? Almost every team in the league loads up the top line these days. SJ tried to spread it out, and very quickly went back to Marleau Thornton and Heatley, for example.

    I love Bylsma’s system. When played well, there is no better way to play hockey. But so far, the coaches have shown no hint that they have a real plan B. Plan B is always to keep trying Plan A until it works. The players are not on the same page. Last night the D were pinching while the forwards were trapping and 5 goals later…

    I have real faith in every person on this team, front office and coaching staff…except for Godard who should be waived and Comrie who should be in the press box…that they can and will turn this around.

    But they need something.

    Maybe a little life from the 9-1 WBS Pens or maybe Shero can find a deal. We have Martin, Michalek, Letang, Orpik and Gogo signed for the next few years, and most of our better prospects are D men with no room here. Maybe we can trade some D prospects for some O prospects and find someone to play in this top 6.

  7. PenguinsSupporter says:

    I believe Sid (who had domintated in faceoff circle until the 3rd period) was victimized by a lissless team as well…remember, the wingers aggressively getting to pucks is a big part of faceoff wins…and unless he was literally knowing the puck back to a stick, no one was going after the 50/50 pucks..hence the losses. I think Sid was the only one who showed up for the 3rd period.

  8. Last night was very frustrating, however this is no longer new and can traced back to last year. In my humble opinion this is not a slump but a trend. There are some real similarities between Bylsma and Mike Tomlin. First, both inherited very talented teams and proceded to win with other coaches core players. The most disturbing likeness comes from the fact that neither team can play consistantly and/or finish off games that should have been won(in fairness though the Steelers are 6-2). It seems that these

  9. Lisa says:

    This team stinks right now and I will start at the top:
    the coaches.

    No time out, Bylsma, in the 3d after the Bruins scored that second goal?!? That is inexcusuable! Unacceptable! He needed to do something to stop their momentum and did nothing but stand there, listliss as always. He always looks like he is winging it.
    Oh, and he really is NOT cut out for being an NHL coach. He took a well coached and disciplined team that MT had built and rode their coat-tails to the Cup. They quit working for MT for whatever reason; Bylsma comes in and tweaks a few things; the team was ready for new blood. They would have listened to WHOMEVER Shero brought in as new head coach.

    Where is our D? Two turnovers by Gogo–by far the Pens weakest link on D=2 goals for Boston.Brooks Orpik said it best:

  10. Ed-Johnstown says:

    This not a slump but a serious problem that needs to be fixed soon or it will be a Pens-less postseason!

  11. Maria says:

    God we need help. Where to start?
    Coaching. D. Goal tending.

    The only player to play a full 60 minutes was Sid.
    he cant do everything. He could use a little help.

    The way they are playing they will be lucky if they are the 8th seed come spring….and that is pushing it.

  12. Ryan says:

    Great point regarding what Orpik said last year. I, for once, want to hear Crosby say they played horribly. To say “we played a little risky” is not even close to describing the horrific level of play they displayed in the 3rd.

    I agree that both coaches inherited other incredibly talented core players; however, I still think that DB is a solid head coach. The only downside I see is that the only player he is willing to discipline is Fleury (he is too much of a player’s coach). I want to see him pull a Therrien and rip this whole team a new one – they need it!

    If I have to hear the phrase “get to our game” any more, I will flip out. I feel bad for the Pens reporters like Rossi who probably get that answer to every question asked. During the postgame last night, I noticed DB borrowed the phrase “the standard” from Tomlin. Knee-jerk reactions are not needed, though.

  13. pghphantom says:

    So another breakdown another loss… where the PP still doesn’t work (For numerous reasons), and now the defense cannot concentrate for a full 60 minutes. Where will the Penguins go from here? Some think the ship will right itself and that the panic button doesn’t need to be pushed… others blame Danny Boy or now Crosby should now man up. But a strange thing has happened as one poster pointed out. These penguins have allot of bad habits for being such talented bunch of players. Where last year it was the second period lull that would cost them games or require twice as much effort in the 3rd to win, Now its a mental breakdown or lack of consistent effort for a full 60 minutes. Mind you a team cannot be perfect every game they play and some players are still learning how to play in the NHL. Its the lack of fundamental decision making, concentration (Fluery’s apparent issue) and recognition of what their current role in a game situation is (Alex G) that’s frustrating. Injuries aside, because teams always have injuries, even role players learn these skills from the coaches and the star players. So what should the Penguins do? Try something different… unconventional I’m not the coach but recognize that there is a problem and its been there far longer than this season because what you have been doing isn’t working and if something isn’t done to change the work ethic these Pens can expect a long road and an early exit if they make the playoffs.
    And finally for those who think Jordan Staal is the manna from the sky that will solve these problems when he hopefully returns in Dec… he also played during last season and the playoffs and they still lost to Montreal due to the aforementioned issues. You can only cover up bad tendencies with talent for so long before the tendencies ruin the talent for good.

  14. espo33 says:

    Here is hoping they are skating hard today in practice…

    Bylsma needs to do his part now as a coach and realize this isn’t working with the D units. I don’t understand what is so hard with Martin/Orpik, Letang/Michalek, Gols/Lovejoy or Engellend. And with Gols and Michalek play last night they need to be benched. They were awful. You need to send a message that crappy play won’t be accepted.

    And Ross, so Crosby is 2nd in scoring, but still not a top 5 MVP player, got it. And were yes Lovejoy was a -3, but I guess you didn’t watch the game and see that none of those goals were because he was playing bad D or was a result of his play.

  15. espo33 says:

    And I hope Shero understands that this team is not good. Nothing against Asham, but they already had Cooke, Rupp, Talbot, Godard and Adams. Plus the guys in the minors that could/should be playing here. If they wanted Asham then trade someone else. They have too many players that same and that is not a compliment. They don’t have enough goal scorers on the top lines and with them up against the cap they are screwed. Dupius, Kennedy, Kunitz are only going to get 15-18 goals, Cooke will be lucky to get 15 again, which means Crosby and Malkin need to get 45-50 each. Staal is maybe going to be able to get 15 when he finally comes back.

  16. JY says:

    This team definitely needs some work, but I wouldn’t hit the panic button yet. The most glaring problem was D in the horrendous third last night. When you get the lead, especially coming in to the last period, more emphasis should be on how to protect the lead. The defense don’t need to be acting like forwards. Look at the first two periods when the Pens were actually playing the system how strong they looked. They need to work out a better system for D so we’re not constantly giving up so much space for the opponents and hanging the goalie out to dry- regardless of who’s in net. That being said, I fully expect this team to be able to pick themselves up. All these issues are certainly a test for the team. I rather have these problems come up earlier than later in the season so we have a chance to get better.

  17. Vinny V says:

    To start,

    The consensus on this blog seems to be that, either, the penguins make a desperate move and rid themselves of Dan Bylsma, which by the way is a rediculous notion, or, that Sid needs to start calling out his own teammates in the media to somehow light a fire under their behinds. I’m not sure which theory is more outrageous.

    Your telling me that you want to kid Danny to the curb after 16 games?? Get real here people. Bylsma is a solid coach and he’s certainly done enough for this team to keep his job after some bad team performances. If NHL seasons, some of the longest in professional sports, were decided in the first month, none of the most recent Stanley Cup winners would still have their names engraved on the trophy.

    This is a LONG season, and withouth the underapreciated contributions of Jordan Staal, this team is undeniably struggling. But to say that Bylsma’s system doesnt work, or that his

  18. harp says:

    Gogo was on the ice for 3 or 4 goals and totally was burnt. Michalek is not looking like the player worth 4M when they picked him up. Oddly Engelland was scratched. I think he’s playing better D then both of them right now for a fraction of the cost.
    The pens have too many offensive D and not enough shut down types. Michalek needs to stay back and cover his other partner, Martin needs to do the same.
    Besides Crosby, Letang and Geno most others did not have the effort. Dupuis played a great game but was on the ice for 3 goals himself.
    Most can say this was Johnson’s worst game but look at the goals, they were perfect shots in the top corner and most if not all goalies would probably miss those.
    Letting Chara skate right down the middle and roof one was pathetic, where was everybody?
    I am not sure where to start but the pens better change their tune quickly or they will have to claw their way back just to make the playoffs.

  19. dwf says:

    Goligoski reminds me of Ryan Whitney…only even worse! How many offensive minded “D” that can’t play defense do the pens need? I say try and unload Goligoski and attempt to get something back in return that resembles a goal scoring wing! I AM SICK AND TIRED OF WATCHING ODD MAN RUSHES!!!

  20. Nathan says:

    Holy moly I can’t read past the third comment, ridiculous.

    The Penguins played a great game while Martin, Michalek, and Goligoski played mostly horribly (which happens, they are humans, two are on a new team (which has a lot more stock than a lot of people would like to admit), the other is in his 2nd full season (defenseman take a long time to mature in hockey)). The three goals that are directly attributed to them were all just one mistake by each, born of indecision.

    The team made six mistakes and they all ended up in the net (up until the middle of the third).

    The players should be a lot more concerned than we are. Don’t need to panic, the structure, yes the strucutre is there.

  21. Nathan says:

    *the rest of my comment didn’t get published for some reason, and there’s too much to re-write.

    Basically I say all these fans are silly with their attitudes, Goligoski, Martin, Michalek, and Kunitz made the mistakes, the structure is there, it’s just that those four players made mental mistakes that are easily fixed, and I’ll worry later if this stuff continues.

  22. Ryan says:

    Orpik is one of the longest tenured Penguins on this team, and he does not sugar-coat a loss. Orpik calls games – losses & wins – as he sees them. He does not call out individual players but the whole team.

    Crosby is an excellent Captain and leader considering everything that he handles (granted, it comes with the territory and his 8.7 mil contract); however, I personally prescribe to the Therrien style of criticism (hard nosed, un-PC, I don’t care if your feelings get hurt).

    Kind of like the Geico commercial with the Drill Sergeant as a therapist; OLD SCHOOL!

  23. espo33 says:

    Gols is playing himself off this team in the years to come. Guys like Robert Bortuzzo or Brian Strait will replace him next year or in a few years Carl Sneep or Simon Despres.

  24. Jack VanLuit says:

    As long as the talanted team Crosby is playing on is this bad, he can not be considered one of the top 5 players in the league, leadership factors have to be taken into account

 
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