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Pens/Rangers thoughts…

Just when it appears the Penguins are on their way, another disappointing finish takes place at Consol Energy Center.

- What a crazy night. For about 58 minutes, the Penguins did everything but solve Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist, who was terrific. And then Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke ignite a wild scene at Consol Energy Center with two late goals, and surely the game was over. How in the world did the Penguins let anyone, let alone a defenseman, get off a shot in that situation? It was totally inexcusable, quite honestly. Protecting a one-goal lead with a power play in hand for the remainder of regulation should equal a slam dunk victory. Instead, a frustrated Penguins team dropped what could be a meaningful point down the road.

- You will notice that the Penguins dominate a lot of games, and out-shoot a lot of teams, but often come away talking about how well the other goaltender played. Could it be that the Penguins, other than Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, simply don’t possess the skill at forward required to bury the majority of the opportunities they are earning? Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. We saw it in last season’s Monreal series. The Penguins have a number of wonderful grinders, and there is something to be said for this. But on nights like Monday against the Rangers, it was once again evident that the Penguins don’t have much in the way of snipers. It’s a problem.

- Marc-Andre Fleury was pretty good against the Rangers. He’s taking baby steps. The first two Rangers goals were deflections, and the game-winner off Ryan Callahan’s stick was a very poorly played two-on-one by Paul Martin. Tough to blame the goaltender for any of those goals. Monday didn’t see Fleury as his best, but the last three outings have been encouraging for the slowly blooming Flower.

- Will the Penguins end up leading the league in fighting? I’m thinking they might. One thing is certain: GM Ray Shero did not put together a roster that lacks for toughness.

- Wednesday night should be interesting here at the Consol Energy Center. The Vancouver Canucks are one of hockey’s most talented teams. This should be a terrific measuring stick for the Penguins, who are clearly playing better in the past week but still don’t have the look of a true contender.

Until next time, you stay classy, Pittsburgh.

- Josh Yohe

Comments

  1. PenguinsSupporter says:

    Sick of Malkin making stupid plays. He is a defensive lapse waiting to happen. It’s no accident that he is a minus player…and his steady linemates are minus players….He is TERRIBLE on defense. However, I also have to question the coaching decisionmaking. Bylsma should have his head examined putting his offensive unit in as if it was a regular powerplay. Clearly the KILL unit was called for, as the Rangers pulled the goalie and played 5-5.

    This was a game where Bylsma was clearly outcoached. A little coaching savvy, and the Pens have two points.

  2. Shawn says:

    If you remember who his father was…it’s really not surprising that Ray Shero would assemble a “tough” team…and as much as I want him gone…I won’t hold my breath on the team dumping Godard any time soon.

    As far as a lack of finish on the wings…I’ve been thinking about this lately…what team has a worse collection of wingers (skill wise) than we do? I have yet to identify that team.

    We may have to make a deal. The only marketable assets we have, as far as I can see, are Alex Goligoski and some of our D prospects. Maybe Dustin Jeffrey. We have our top 5 d-men under contract for this year and the two after it. We need a guy with hands.

    Now that Flower has rebounded (very nicely) the teams biggest individual problem is the abysmal coaching on the power play. Abysmal.

    Most of the year, they have been using that Rube Goldberg machine of a power play with a 1,000 moving parts that end up doing very little. Has any team even once seem confused or concerned by the Pen’s movement on the power play?

    Or they have had players in spots they simply shouldn’t be….Geno on the left point while GoGo is in the slot….huh?

    Last night, virtually all night they had Gogo at the left point and Letang on the right. No one timers, just wasting extra time cradling the passes and sending weak far shots on net. Terrible. On the last powerplay where Kunitz scored, they finally switched them back. This would seem to suggest that they know that this setup is the one that has the best chance to score. Why did we only see that setup at the very end of a game when we had MANY PP oppportunities?

    I”ve said it before and will say it until they do it or score enough PP goals another way to shut me up….Letang at the top of the left circle, Geno at the top of the right, GoGo at the top of the umbrella, Sid down low, Kunitz or whoever at the top of the crease. This is the best powerplay set up.

    Also, can GoGo please stay after practice a few days to work on feeding guys for one timers on the PP. He is awful at it. We have to pass up 3 out of every 5 one timer opportunities because the shooter has to reach for the puck.

    Finally, every time Zbynek Michalek tries to prove he is a good offensive d-man, he proves that he is not. Please, please, please stay at home.

  3. VRP says:

    Rangers 3!………Penquins/Refs 2. Imagine if fowls like the slewfooting of opposition goalies by Cindy got called.

  4. PabloPenguin says:

    I remember not too long ago Sid saying something like “We’re not a one-timer powerplay.” Well, Sid, it definitely shows.

  5. Barrett says:

    We have no wingers?….really???….THIS JUST IN?????? Glad to see the light bulb finally went off in your head, Rossi. Most of us fans who know a lick about hockey have been saying this basically since Sid arrived. They won a cup without any wingers (I’m still not sure how they did that) and somehow were arrogant enough to think they could just carry on that way and become a dynasty. And this issue goes to Shero….he gets too much of a free ride from you folks in the media and everyone else. He should have found a good scoring winger for Sid and Gino by now. I think they might have someone who might be able to score goals on one of those lines (albeit more in a net crashing manner than as a sniper) in Tangradi, but they don’t keep him on the club due to the rediculous two-way vs one-way contract nonsense that Shero should have had figured out. It is clear that Shero made a mistake in signing these two supposed all-world defensemen for so much money (and obviously associated cap space). They clearly aren’t worth it. All that we heard about in the offseason was the Pens won’t have to worry about defense this year…they should have the best blue line in hockey….RIGHT!!! And if he found 2 defensemen for half that money (which is about what these guys are worth), then he would have had some cap money to go get a winger.

    Also as other posters have eluded to already on here, when are all of you going to figure out that Bylsma is not ready to be a head coach in this league…at least not a head coach for such a taleneted team. I know that sounds nuts for someone who won a cup out of the gate (although during a truncated season which is a very important aspect of that). But honestly that appears to have been some kind of fluke. I think the players a couple of years ago were so happy to get away from the aweful manner that they were treated by his predecessor that they just played lights out for a couple of months as kind of a show of appreciation for the change. Once they got off that emotional high, then Bylsma kind of had to more demonstrate his coaching abilities to motivate the talent and provide true x’s and o’s of the game….he failed miserably at both last season and has done so again thus far this season. Gino is the most unmotivated superstar I’ve ever seen. How does he get away with performing like the best player in the world (and he is the most skilled player in the world in my opinion) only like 3 out of 82 games….because of the coach, that’s why. And as other posters have said, Bylsma has no clue about defensive structure on a hockey team. You can’t run a power play like a fire drill with no clear defensive reponsibilities and putting forwards in such uncomfortable defensive situations. And you can’t end a game on a power play with a one goal lead less than 2 minutes and not put proper personnel on the ice to close the game out…but instead but skilled players in a defensive situation.

    Finally speaking of players that Bylsma can’t motivate, why are you saying that the Flower’s funk is over? How can you declare that after like 2 games? You won’t know that for like a 10 to 15 game stretch. It’s not fixed in one game. His issue is focus. And he can focus for a period…a couple of periods…sometimes a couple of games…and then he is back to daydreaming. We aren’t anywhere near knowing if he is FINALLY going to become a consistently dependable goalie. He really hasn’t been since we’ve gotten him. He has been spectacular for stretches obviously, but he has never shown sustained focus and dependability akin to someone like Brodeur.

  6. Todd Katres says:

    I never thought I would say this, but I miss Scuderi, Whitney, Eaton, Gill, Hossa, Adam Hall, and even Therrien. At the time, I thought Shero made good moves based on players skills/salaries.

    Those decisions look horrible now and Martin, GoGo & Michalek contracts will limit what can be done to fix situation.

  7. Donny says:

    Jordan Staal is missed more than anyone seems to realize. He is the cog that makes the wheel turn, his defensive prowess is not replacable by any-one of the forwards. Goals not allowed are just as precious as goals scored, although less glamourous, and that is just what this team needs, not to mention his leadership skills. Mark my words, when Staal returns, this team will improve DRAMATICLY. I can’t help but wonder how much lower the team goals-against avg. would be if Jordan had started the season.

  8. espo33 says:

    Can the coach please bench Michalek for 1 game? He is playing dreadful.

    There is no reason for Malkin to ever be on the ice with less then 1 minute remaining when the team is up. He doesn’t play D and has no concept of it.

    This team was out coached at the end of the game.

    And Ross, your right, other teams goalies always seem to be outstanding. We just don’t have guys who can score. I think everyone knew that though except Shero when he put this team together.

  9. Allie says:

    Jesus. It amazes me how stupid and spoiled Pens fans have gotten.
    Maybe, if some of you people would read, you would know that it was Josh Yohe who wrote this blog post instead of Rossi.
    The overreaction by fair-weather fans never ceases to amaze me.

  10. Shawn says:

    It’s not as one sided as VRP said, but I have to say…and not in a sour grapes kind of way because the Pens probably did get away with a bit more than the Rangers…but this was the absolute worst officiated game I have seen in the NHL in 20 years.

    No exceptions.

    Colin Campbell should send out emails about how bad these officials were…and seriously, I have watched a lot of non-Pens games this year as well…the level of officiating in general has been terrible.

    I never thought I’d miss Fraser, Gregson, McCreary, etc. but the new guys are awful.

  11. Lisa says:

    Re: Penguin Supporter, Shawn, and Espo33.

    Your comments are spot on. Can’t add much more then that.

    Just feel sorry for Sid who always plays with his heart, 110%.
    I bet when he goes to sleep at night he dreams of a Winger…

  12. Onetimer says:

    The Pens are a poorly coached team without an effective system….Watch other teams….1) Everyone is yelling to shoot the puck..but when they do, it deflects or something and turns into a clear or a short handed goal….there is an art to “crash the crease” that the Pens lack. This is a coaching issue. 2) there is an art to the powerplay…which was clicking at about 70% the last two months of the season last year…only to be revamped into utter ineffectiveness this season. 3) The defense is sloppy. It is not the players…it is the system and coaching.. This is clear after seeing how this years defense looks like last years but with all different players. 4) poor coaching decision making gave the Ranger game away. 5) The MYTH of Geno needs to move on. Geno has one burst of speed and everyone oohs and aaahs … but Geno gives up more goals than he scores.

  13. Tim says:

    the penguins, bylsma included, need to know when its okay to play defense and forego offense. that goal by staal was inexcusable. the OT goal was a shame. michalek falls, what are you going to do? but martins play was a little thin. need to stay on your feet for that. not all that impressed by either one of them yet, but that can change. but that staal goal, damn.

  14. j says:

    Thanks to Donny who seems to recognize the Pens’ biggest problem/obstacle this season – No Jordan Staal. They need Staal desperately. He is the team’s MVP – not the best player – but without a doubt the Pen’s most valuable. Without him you have a .500 team. And guess where the Pen’s are – .500! It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Jordan can rebound from these injuries. Don’t be too surprised if this season is “lost” while he regains his hockey legs. But again with Staal, I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes all of about one period before he’s “back”! It’ll be interesting to see if they go with the original plan this season of Staal centering the second line with Malkin on wing. I love that idea and it just might be what the Pen’s need to put them at the top.

    -”You will notice that the Penguins dominate a lot of games, and out-shoot a lot of teams, but often come away talking about how well the other goaltender played”
    I’m glad to see this is being recognized also, thanks Josh. I had this exact conversation most recently with a friend who’s a Rangers fan after this past game. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a team control the puck, make “unbelievable” passes, and shoot so often, but hardly ever score. No way that each goalie plays their best game everytime the Pens are playing him.

    Most of thoughts about the power play are pretty damn accurate. It’s horrible. For the second season in a row. No Mikey to blame this year…

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