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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Penguins’ double-disappearing act


Brief and to the Point …

>> It’s Joe Starkey’s column day, and he focuses on the Penguins’ power play, which is now 1 for Infinity dating back to the playoffs last spring.

Here is where to find all of our coverage for the day.

I’ll share a few of my own Game 1 observations right here, and I hope you do, too …

>> Let me start with after the game: Exactly four Penguins made themselves available to the media –Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Craig Adams and Tyler Kennedy and credit to them. It’s not easy speaking after a tough loss, especially so soon after it ends so abruptly. Good for them.

But within no more than a couple minutes of the time the room opened, it emptied out. Most players wouldn’t even pass through.

Personally, I couldn’t care less. I had a specific set of questions that I needed to ask the Flyers, so I went over there. But I can’t imagine anyone could take it as some great sign that the dominant majority of the roster bolted the place as if it were on fire … after a Game 1.

That room’s made of tougher stuff than this. More guys needed to stand up, to speak up. If Fleury could do it after that comeback, none of them had an excuse.

>> Yes, the Flyers scored one goal clearly offside, and the Brooks Orpik penalty was iffy, though not definitively bad. But anyone blaming this loss on officiating is a) ignoring that one of the Penguins’ goals was scored on a play that should have been icing and b) in total denial over what actually happened.

The Penguins’ system and mindset is predicated on being aggressive. They stopped being that after the first 15 minutes or so, then tacked on that third goal for the three-goal lead.

Not good enough.

This team must play in the other team’s zone.

>> Sure, Kris Letang failed to intercept the pass on Jakub Voracek’s winner. It looked terrible from up here, and it’ll look just as bad on the highlights. But Jordan Staal paid zero attention to Voracek coming in from behind, part of a long evening of the Penguins watching the puck rather than looking for orange sweaters.

>> Only thing I’ll say about the power play: It’s one thing to have Sidney Crosby on the point, it’s quite another to have someone else taking faceoffs in the attacking zone. That needs to change. Dan Bylsma complained that the power play had “too little zone time,” and he’s right. All the more reason to do your best to maintain possession once there.

>> You know what they say about how your best players have to be your best players?

Kennedy was the Penguins’ best player. Even beyond the goal, he skated relentlessly and — unlike so many of his fellow forwards — took the middle of the ice on the breakout when it was available.

>> I didn’t count formally, but it sure looked like James Neal took more shots from the Flyers than anyone. And he took them up high. Maybe they know something we don’t about whatever kept him out in the past week. Remember, the Penguins described it as “lower body” at the time.

>> A lot of players were lousy, but Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek were really lousy. Together or split up, it just doesn’t change much. But I’m well past thinking there’s a solution for the Penguins at this stage. Got to go with ‘em.

>> It’s time to ditch the whiteout, especially with Winnipeg back in the league. The Jets began doing it in 1987, well before Penn State or anyone else. The Penguins look as silly doing this as other NFL teams do in trying to create their own versions of the Terrible Towel.

>> Turning to Steelers, if you thought Mike Wallace was nuts for discussing Larry Fitzgerald money, just wait until he tries a holdout against the Rooneys. That won’t end well. Not for the player, anyway. And especially not with Jerricho Cotchery reupping for two years.

Without getting into all the technicals, Wallace has to put in a year in the NFL to qualify for unrestricted free agency. Holding out doesn’t get him a year. Holding out through part or all of training camp doesn’t help him have a good year.

He and agent Bus Cook will fold, and the Steelers know it.

>> Our weekly chat will be today at noon. Hope you can attend.


  1. Tim says:

    Couldn’t care less about the media thing. Can’t say I’d handle it any better. More likely I’d handle it worse. I’m in Jersey, DVR’d the game, put it on about 10PM and NBCsports has the COLD WAR series going until 5 minutes left in first. Didn’t even see the first two goals. Jaggoffs. Letang had a tough night. So did Malkin line. They couldn’t get anything going. But the thing that scares me the most and has for a while is that D. You can say what you want to about Fleury’s GAA and save %, but man that kid see’s a ton of quality scoring chances. A ton. What’s happened?

  2. Adam says:

    Is it just me or does Martin appear terrified of corners? Lost an icing race cause he slowed up and shyed away, then did it again in mid-third resulting in a scoring chance.

  3. Eric Bowser says:

    A few comments
    – The Penguins didn’t get a gift call on the Dupuis goal, the linesmen furthest back waved off icing because Coburn, or was it Grossman, pinched at the Pens blue line and went to wall off Dupuis, hmm wall off what a theme by Philly, instead of playing the puck and that’s why the icing was waved off… correctly.

    – At the same time, if anyone wearing black and gold or cheering for them thinks the Briere goal cost them the game, it didn’t. Heck, it didn’t even given the Flyers more momentum than they already had as the Penguins were giving up the puck like it was a sell on turnovers at Giant Eagle.

    – The Penguins lost because they let off the gas, they stopped skating, stopped being aggressive. They lost because Dan Bylsma for the third playoff series in a row is getting outcoached from a tactical standpoint. All season long the Flyers have given the Penguins the boards in the first period, only to change and adjust their positioning defensively to wall off the breakouts from our defensemen. A simple chipping of the puck to the blue line or red-line doesn’t work against the Flyers. If Bylsma or players recognized this or maybe they did and there’s a refusal to change, it will cause them to lose again.

    – Not impressed by the no-shows for the post-game interviews. They need to handle adversity better than this. Maybe a timeout in the second or third period would have been nice to calm things down before the game-tying goal happened, maybe slowing the pace a little before Orpik was whistled for the interference penalty when the ice was tilting toward the Penguins.

    – Where was Malkin and Neal tonight? I know Kunitz had a few hits early but otherwise, those three did nothing. Flyers targeted Malkin and Neal with some slashing and physical play, it appeared to have paid off as neither got into the dirty areas to score goals or were overly aggressive themselves.

    – Last but certainly not least is the power play. You cannot win the Cup with a power play scheme that calls for Sidney Crosby at the left point and as DK points out, one that has Crosby not taking faceoffs. It is beyond reasonable to do it, so don’t do it. If the Penguins score just one power play goal, they win this game. Just one goal.

  4. Jumbo says:

    Did you delete the link about Jamie Dixon talking with LSU? Because I didn’t see anywhere in that article that even mentioned Jamie Dixon.

    DK: Yeah, NOLA apparently took a dive on it. No point even discussing it.

  5. Leah Backus says:

    I’m not ready to give up quite yet, but I think the Pens have set the bar exponentially higher to win this series. Mentally, a game like tonight can be an irreversible momentum changer for both teams.

    One of the reasons why I’ve been hesitant to jump on the “Pens are the Cup favorites” bandwagon is that the D has been so unreliable this season. That doesn’t magically change just because it’s the playoffs. I think we saw that in spades tonight. For the first time (I’m sure some will be astounded it’s taken me this long) I found serious fault with Martin’s game. He wasn’t finishing his checks and just seemed tentative and slow all night. I’ve decided that Martin is a guy who plays great when his partner plays great, not so great when his partner is having an off-night as Letang did tonight.

    I was also disturbed by some of the coaching choices. Why in the world wasn’t the first line out there at the beginning of OT, for example? In fact, where was that first line all night? Neal was hitting everything that moved in the first period, but other than that, they were largely invisible. (Speaking of invisible, did anyone else notice the lack of Arron Asham in the second half of the game?)

    On the plus side, if TK decides that now’s the time to get hot, I will table my complaints about his performance in the regular season. Fleury looked great, even though there was only so much he could do with his team once again hanging him out to dry. I actually thought Staal had a good game, though I’ve heard others say the opposite.

    My bottom line is that the Penguins have to play the rest of this series like they *want* it, not like they’re entitled to it. To my mind, they’re the underdogs now and they’re going to have to fight a lot harder than they might have before tonight’s performance.

  6. SD says:

    @Adam – right on about Paul Martin. I yelled at the TV when Martin lost that icing race – it was like he wasn’t even trying. I know it’s easy to make him the whipping boy, but I’m having a difficult time seeing his upside. Not good in corners, won’t hit anyone, won’t take a hit from anyone, no speed. I’m just so frustrated.

    However, it’s not only on him. The whole team took their collective foot off the gas. The PP is a mess. I think Bylsma needed to change things up a bit and maybe take a timeout to calm things down. It’s only one game, but these issues must be fixed and fixed tomorrow.

  7. Leah Backus says:

    @SD — The problem with asking for these issues to be fixed and fixed tomorrow is that Bylsma is inexplicably resistant to changing things that don’t work. It’s his one huge failing as a coach, IMO. He continues getting outcoached in playoff series because he can’t or won’t make necessary adjustments and course corrections mid-stream. If he’s not careful, it could cost him his job eventually.

  8. Gereme says:

    I am pretty sure the power play started out with Crosby low and taking faceoffs. I remember watching him lose a couple and being like man what is going on, and then Malkin came up and tried. That’s when they switched I suppose. Bylsma’s refusal to adjust even the SLIGHTEST bit is ridiculous. “We are going to play Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey, we are going to dictate the play.”

    Well guess what, the Flyers 2nd and 3rd period adjustments had them carrying the play. Can not keep sending 2 guys hard on the forecheck with out considering the situation. If the Flyers D men clearly have possession and are looking up to make a play why send 2 guys flying at him so that one pass beats both of those guys. Then they come with so much speed from the open neutral zone that they skate right by our D who have clearly not caught on that teams are smoking them with the stretch pass. I realize this team must stay aggressive to be successful. But you can be smart and aggressive at the same time. Send one guy hard. UNLESS the puck is up for grabs then go with the hard 2 man pressure.
    One more thing. WHY do all of the D have a green light to jump up ice especially in a 3-0 game. This isn’t the team that has no 87 and 71 that needs offense from everyone just to get 2 goals. This team is more than capable of producing enough offense to win games without the help of Paul Martins 1 goal per year. Martin was AHEAD of the play at one point when Kennedy didn’t even have clear possession of the puck, that led to Jagr’s break away. WHY ON EARTH does Martin think that is the time to join the rush (up 3-0), or better yet, why is anyone other than Letang allowed to make that decision at ANY stage of the hockey game.

  9. Amber says:

    Pens played outstanding hockey in the first. They fed off the crowd’s energy and produced some great chances. But I just wonder why they don’t see what they do when the lose games after having a big lead… they get too complacent almost. But I will say that Flyers played some spirited hockey there in the last part of the 2nd and the 3rd. They deserved this win…

    It’ll be interesting to see how the Pens handle this situation. We will see their mental toughness on Friday. This will either be good for them or bad…

    But Flyers deserved the win and Pens need to find a way to stay consistent through 60 minutes

  10. Patrick Nuzzo says:


    As I was asking on Twitter, what do you think about Letang playing the puck that close to Fleury? I know they’re trained on how to block a shot with the stick(angle of the stick,blade,etc), but when you’re in that tight and in overtime do you just let your goalie, who has played pretty well all night, take it?

    DK: It wasn’t really going on goal, so it’s not one you’d instinctively let your goaltender field. Plus, Letang’s stick already is on his forehand as the puck’s heading there. But you’d obviously better be sure. Ice was lousy all night. The puck bounced, Staal lost track of Voracek, and that was that.

  11. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    “It’s time to ditch the whiteout, especially with Winnipeg back in the league. The Jets began doing it in 1987, well before Penn State or anyone else. The Penguins look as silly doing this as other NFL teams do in trying to create their own versions of the Terrible Towel.”

    Truer words have never been spoken. Thank you.

  12. Deb says:

    Yohe and other Pitt media were scratching their heads and saying “Pens played poorly defensively like they’ve been doing for the past 3 weeks or so” and I laugh. As I have said before, the Pens 5 on 5 play has been run and gun all year. The stats prove it. Reporters who fail to recognize this fact clearly aren;t inclined to be bothered with research or looking at statistics.

    Goals Against Avg 5 on 5:
    Oct 2.076;
    Nov 2.833;
    Dec 2.714;
    Jan 2.666;
    Feb 2.615;
    Mar 2.8;

    Run and Gun doesn’t work in the playoffs. It sure doesn’t work when your supposed MVP doesn’t bother to show up for the game. I agree with leah, I don;t think the words “Malkin and scoring chance” was mentioned together all game. I also agree that Bylsma was again out coached. and When the Flyers scored the second goal, a timeout would have been nice.

    Regarding faceoffs, I watched several times as Sid won the puck cleanly on a face off, and a Flyer beat the Pen’s players to the puck. Faceoff wins are an exercise of two parts: First, Sid has to win the draw, then the Pen’s player has to grab the puck and obtain possession. The Pen’s weren’t even exerting effort to win faceoff pucks.

    We see who the true leaders on this Pens team are: Adams, TK, Flower and Crosby. I hope these 4 give the other players an attitude adjustment to sort out game 2.

    DK: What does Pitt have to do with it?

    (Sorry, longtime bugaboo when people refer to Pittsburgh as Pitt. That’s a school.)

    You raise many good points, Deb, and have for a while. But run-and-gun is oversimplifying, and I’ll try to address that in the Friday column.

  13. SD says:

    @Leah Backus I agree with you. I’m not sure if Bylsma is just stubborn or doesn’t know how to adjust. I think he’s a pretty smart guy, so I’ll assume he’s just stubborn. But he’s got to make those adjustment within the game. Shake the lines up if needed. Shake up the defense pairings, PP unit, whatever isn’t working. Do something.

    The Flyers were in trouble in the first period and Lavi started to juggle the lines until they started to work. That’s what a coach does.

  14. Richard says:

    I really dislike Philadelphia so this is really tough to admit, but the Flyers deserved to win that game. They never quit and kept coming all night. From the second period on you could feel the momentum shift to their bench. Up 3-0 the Pens coasted, while the Flyers were winning the battles to the loose pucks and key faceoffs Pittsburgh should know by now, after blowing multiple goal leads twice this year to Philadelphia, that it absolutely must choke the life out of that team because it doesn’t go away. If the Pens come out in game two and give a similar effort they’ll be down 2-0 in games real fast.

  15. BP Dave says:

    The issue is the Pens are back to dipsy doodle hockey for 2/3s of the game. Instead of dumping the puck in the Flyers end applying a strong forecheck. Why in the hell is Vitale not dumping the puck into the Flyers defensive zone instead of trying to carry it ithrough the neutral zone. In addition, the Pens power play is soooo predictable. No man in front of the goalie. Pass the puck around until (primarily around the perimeter) you get a one timer from the half wall. Disco Dan, this method has worked 1/47 in the playoffs. Hello, when is the lightbulb going to come on. Take Crosby and put him on the second line of the powerplay with Dupius and Staal (in front of the net). In regards to the defense, they outright stunk. Neutral zone turnovers were plentiful and Orpik and Martin were absolutely horrendous. This game could have been 5 or 6 to 3 Flyers if it wasn’t for Fluery. Bring Depres up and sit Martin. The guy has been pathetic the majority of the season. Doesn’t hit, afraid to go into the corners, continuously loses one on one battles, and absolutely no shot from the point. As for the Refs, The Flyboys clutch and grab tactics were once again permitted. I guess interference is only called in the regular season. Good Grief!!! On to game two.

  16. John G says:

    What is it about this team and not being able to win when they have a two or three goal lead on the Flyers? Where is the defense when they lose the lead? Yes the powerplay is a problem but when they had the long winning streak the defense was very good. This has happened three of the last four times they played the Flyers. The same pattern happens every time. They have the two or three goal lead, Flyers call a timeout, and it seems the Penguins immediately start playing not to lose. This is ridiculous and is making Flyers caoach Peter Laviolette look like a genuis. It seems every time they get a lead on the Flyers they start playing not to lose and instead lose. They better start playing a full 60 minutes of hockey or they will be one and done in the playoffs.

  17. Deb says:

    Sorry for offending the locals. I’ll use Pittsburgh in full henceforth.

    I agree that summing up the Pens failures on D as run and gun is oversimplifying. But heck, even the article Rossi did on Malkin quoted Geno saying he liked to cheat by hanging by the blueline…(i.e. ignore his defensive forechecking duties..)…and this method/style of play does rack up points…Ovechkin won a couple scoring titles using the same tactics. But it doesn;t develop the habits necessary to play disciplined team hockey which is what is needed to win the Stanley Cup.

    The ‘run and gun’ nets a lot of goals, and masks problems (teams winning right?) so it also doesn’t force the coaching staff to face hard strategy decisions, or coaching adjustments; just as Bruce B regarding Capitals…they won the Presidents Trophy using the same playing/coaching style. Playoff hockey is different.

    It’s like teams hold formal practice to hone skills to suceed in playing regular season games, which regular season games then in turn serve as practices to prepare for playoff games. If you don’t hone the skill set in workouts and practice needed to play regular season hockey, you’re benched or sent to the minors. If you don’t hone the skill set in regular season hockey games needed to win playoff games then you exit quickly to the golf course.

    Fleury performing miracle saves every game and the team scoring enough goals to mask major defensive weakness by Z, Martin and Malkin doesn;t help the team gain a true evaluation of weaknesses, and doesn’t help develop attention to details that win tight playoff games.

    I really look forward to your Friday Column to read your viewpoint.

  18. Deb says:

    Meant to add this to my earlier post as well but
    Players not showing up or leaving early is also unacceptable. Most of the team left in the second period, so no wonder the locker room was empty when the reporters came in.

  19. Eric says:

    Would it hurt to try Staal and Dupuis on the PP for a change? Keeping the 1st unit on the entire time just wears them down, the 2nd unit should include the above maybe with Asham up front and Engelland on the back.
    Dupuis has a great shot and they are not even using it, what a waste.

    Just shoot the puck, this fancy passing looks great but does not seem to produce many goals.

    Malkin and Neal should be half wall, Letang up top, Kunitz down low and Crosby wandering around looking for juicy rebounds.

    DK: You’re not addressing problem No. 1 which is gaining the zone. Sullivan needs to get back out there.

  20. Leah Backus says:

    @BP Dave — If I hear “Sit Martin and bring up Despres” one more time, I may scream. The idea that they’re going to sit a veteran defenseman in favor of a rookie was silly in the regular season. It’s downright ludicrous in the playoffs.It’s just not going to happen. Martin played no better and no worse than the rest of the defense tonight, just like he has pretty much all year (with the possible exception of Letang and even he was pretty awful tonight). The way Martin plays is the way he’s coached to play. He does, by and large, what he was acquired to do. I love the guy, I’m not going to lie, but I hope to god he gets traded in the off-season so I don’t have to argue about this anymore. It’s gotten incredibly old.

  21. Nate says:

    What’s being said tonight by the media and the players: the Pens lost tonight because they stopped being aggressive.

    So tell me…
    Did the players realize this in the 2nd and 3rd periods and overtime?
    What was Blysma telling the players to correct this?
    Since nothing changed during the last two periods, did the Pens just get worn out after coming out so strong?
    When the Pens stopped skating, did they stop because they were comfortable with a 3-goal lead or were they worn out?

    Answers like “we stopped being aggressive” are just cope outs. Why did you stop? Did you realize you stopped?

    I think the real answer is that when the Flyers play their game and ramp up their tempo (who are also an inconsistent bunch), they are too much for the Pens to handle.

  22. Brian Ferber says:

    My points:

    – I feel like I saw #87 taking draws, particularly with a few minutes ago and I envisioned a pull back to #58 for a rip. Lost. Flyers breakout.
    – For some reason, I felt the game change when #45 didn’t just go hard to the net and bowl over the goalie instead of trying to feather a pretty pass to #27, having it end up in his skates and resulting in a weak shot. Stop being pretty. We got pretty when #87 came back. Stop. Now.
    – It’s frustrating to have NBC commentators correctly point out that our team is getting outhustled and bumped off the puck.
    – Yeah, i’d like to see the boys stand up and talk to the media, but maybe they should run home and look in the mirror. #26 marveled in both papers about how the first practice was “business as usual,” as if this was a positive thing. Well, wake up. It ain’t being handed to you. No need to make it interesting.
    – The defensemen, across the board, looked like they had bad fish from the strip district and thought that they may vomit in trepidation when tracking down pucks in the corners, even #58. Maybe this is why all the D fled the room???
    – Playoff hockey is fickle. I like that.
    – I will don #58 on Friday. Let’s go Pens.

  23. PJ says:

    Are my eyes deceiving me but how can a veteran like Paul Martin who played well with the Devils be so terrible for the Pen’s and Bylsma and Shero continue to dress him ,he has been a defensive disaster all season and looked lost again last night , if you can’t do better than that we are in trouble , Fleury was not responsible for any of last nights goals against as he received little defensive help on them , i also still believe we are missing some of the little intangables that win big games ,we have NO big physical D men to help clear net and help Fleury , we seem to be missing the grit , toughness and at times leadership and on ice results that Max Talbot gave us and i will be 80 y/o and never understand why Shero let him walk and last but not least there are some in the line-up that need a very quick wake-up call or we are going to get swept right out of the playoffs by a very motivated Flyer team , hopefully it is not to late already

  24. Poz says:

    IAll I read, everywhere, before the game is how the Pens, with all their talent, were the odds on favorite to win the Cup. Apparently, playing three solid periods is part of the deal too.

    And I am not smart enough to scrutinize the play of individuals in certain situations. But this novice sensed a change in the way the Pens played after the first period. Perhaps that’s credit to the Flyers for adjusting. But sure looked to me like the Pens changed in both style and focus. And it’s the focus part that concerns me.

    After watching the Pens stand around for two periods, I thought there would be a sense of urgency in OT. They were worse! It looked like the Flyers were on a power play.

    Frankly, I don’t see how a team recovers from a loss like that. But the good news is, I’m often wrong.

  25. Frank says:

    We played our game for one period of hockey and called it a night. I don’t feel it’s our run-and-gun system that’s the problem. It’s us getting a 3-0 lead and being content with it for 40 minutes, failing to continue putting pressure on the opposition in the offensive zone. I don’t care who you’re playing, good luck taking a playoff series if your game plan consists of playing 20 minutes of hockey.

    Dejan – I’m just floating this out there, but would you be completely against taking out Martin or Michalek and giving Strait a shot? I realize the playoffs are a different animal, but I feel Strait has played a solid/dependable defense when given the opportunity. While I won’t be confusing Strait with Orpik, he does play a more physical game than Martin and Michalek.

    Finally and when all is said and done, could his defensive game be any worse than Martin’s has been for the majority of this season?

  26. Thundercrack says:

    Maybe after the game the other players went off to vote on new captains?

    They did do that once earlier in the season, right.

  27. Casey says:

    I don’t think Sid and the Pewilder going to win the Cup this year, but Sid should have a good chance of winning an Oscar for his throwing his head back act every time he gets touched. The team showed their true colors by running out of the building after the game. I’m just glad they wear Yellow.

  28. Casey says:

    I don’t think Sid and the Pens are going to win the Cup this year, but Sid should have a good chance of winning an Oscar for his throwing his head back act every time he gets touched. The team showed their true colors by running out of the building after the game. I’m just glad they wear Yellow.

  29. JAL says:

    JAL’s It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

  30. JAL says:

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates Lose 4-1 As Offense Again Fails To Materialize

    6 Rumbunter

    Kevin Goldstein Gives an Emphatic Answer to Doubters of Pirates Gerrit Cole

    7 McEffect

    4/11 Recap | Dodgers 4 Pirates 1


    The night shift

    9 The Green Weenie

    Pirate-LA Pre-Game & Notes

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    A late and lame loss

  31. JAL says:


    11 CBS Sports

    Pittsburgh at Los Angeles-Game Preview

    12 CLNS

    Red Sox have an interesting situation in Ross Ohlendorf

    13 Pensacola News Journal

    Jay Bell is staying in the game

    14 Charleston Daily Mail

    W.Va. Power: Teenager has home debut Thursday

    15 Chicago Tribune

    Pittsburgh Pirates – TeamReport,0,6765067.story

  32. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    20 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers and Jerricho Cotchery Reportedly Reach a Deal

    Lance Zierlein Discusses ‘The Steelers Way’ on Steel Curtain Radio

    Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin to be Inducted Into William & Mary Hall of Fame

    21 Steelers Depot

    - Mike Wallace Prepared to Sit Out Offseason Workouts

    22 Nice Pick Cowher

    NPC Mock Draft 6.0 (3 Full Rounds, and Steelers Picks in Rounds 4-7)

  33. JAL says:


    26 Pensburgh

    Penguins collapse in playoff opener, fall to Flyers 4-3 in overtime.


    27 Sky Sports

    Maloney fires Latics to victory,19764,11065_3495101,00.html

    28 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: Stories you need to read, April 11th 2012

    29 Daily Telegraph

    Nathan Tinkler apologises to Jets fans for withdrawing their team from the ‘doomed’ A-League

  34. JAL says:

    Title Song, It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing, 1931. Written and first recorded by Duke Ellington this is 1956 version by Mel Torme (known as the Golden Fog). Among others who have recorded the song are Ella Fitzgerald, Eva Cassidy, Tony Bennett, The Puppini Sisters, and June Christy.

  35. florida steeler says:

    Martin and Michalek have been putrid ever since Shero got these guys. And, Bylsma–a damn joke. The power play has been awful since he got the job with all his offensive talent. Stahl and Letang were zombies on the ice for the last two Philly goals. A really lousy, inexcusable performance and it has to start at the top!!!

  36. bdubb says:

    I believe Letang was right there on the game-tying goal as well and missed it. Went right by his stick. From the angle I saw I couldn’t tell if he saw it in time but his stick was down and right there. Somehow he just missed that one too. And Staal gave little effort on the winner. Got to be aggressive Pens. Play your game. For 60 minutes

  37. Billy Ray Valentine says:

    I hope more than anything I am wrong too but I don’t see the Pens winning this series now. Winning 4 of 6 with half of those games in Philly seems impossible. Oh, and we can’t beat the Flyers at home either. Just not a good 1st round matchup for the Pens.

  38. Billy Ray Valentine says:

    And to think if Staal’s shot doesn’t hit iron and it’s 4-1 Pens then I think that game is in the bag.

  39. montyb says:

    Can’t believe Sullivan is not on the point for the PP. The Pens had success on the PP right up to the moment he was removed. Crosby is much more of a threat in close that from the point.
    The Flyers did an excellent job of being physical with the Pens D every time they dumped the puck into the Pens zone. Looked like they had the Pens defensemen rushing to get rid of the puck to avoid taking the big hits. Glad it’s only 1 game.

  40. JT says:

    I have to agree with you on some points about the game last night. A few things I saw that turned that game last night
    Penguins stopped punishing their defenseman on the forecheck, and the flyers breakout was pretty easy from the 2nd period on.

    Pens were just trying to get the puck out of their own zone instead of breaking it out. Some of the credit for this goes to the Flyers forecheck which was great from the 2nd on. Its kinda a new school left wing lock. They force the puck to the defensive defenseman (they dumped the puck in to Michaleks side and crushed him all night long) send 2 forcheckers to force a pass up the wall and have the 3rd forward seal off the strong side boards. This eliminates the pens hard pass and tip in breakout.(their favorite)

    A few stand outs, not in a good way moments. Letang being hypnotized by the puck on 2 occasions. The Schenn PP goal where 58 drifted towards the puck and left Schenn wide open.

    The OT goal about 15 seconds before they scored, there was a loose puck along the RW boards, either Letang or Kennedy could have easily gotten to the puck. They both backed off and watched Read skate in and take it. Just terrible. Cant say I agree with your Kennedy observation.

    It was an ugly loss, but I think the Pens will recover. They saw both what happens when they play their game, and when they dont…now its up to them.

    As far as not everyone being available for media after the game…it doesnt matter…it doesn’t have any meaning..just tells me the Pens were ticked off..thats a good thing in my book

  41. Milo Hamilton says:


    If this ends early, that whole mess will have to be revisited.

  42. Jandy says:

    This is pretty hard to take. Leading 3-0. Lose 4-3.
    After watching, and reading DK, Starkey, and everyone here, I decided it’s easy to have great hindsight. But is that really what it is?
    This team has quit playing strong defense after getting a lead all too often.
    The PP is atrocious. Please, please, put Sully back on it, and get Sid in front of the net for those chip ins he is so good at.
    Dan Bylsma, please quit being a stubborn mule. When it’s time to adjust, JUST DO IT! Peter is making you look pretty bad right now.
    I was so hyped for this game. And the result was such a let down. I hope Friday isn’t more of the same old. It’s gotten too old.

    @ TC and Milo, Good lord, I surely hope not!

  43. JT says:

    I see a lot of people calling the Pens a run-n-gun team. They are not. Yes the Pens are built around speed. Quick breakout and agressive forecheck, but it only looks like run-n-gun when they cant sustain any offensive zone pressure. Yea guys like Geno and Sid will try to create something off the rush. But the pens gameplan is still to cycle the puck, hit their D, and wear them down in the offensive zone.

    Scoring 8 against the Jets and not playing a lick of defense, yea that was run-n-gun.. last night was not at all…Some of the blame is on the Pens, some credit to Flyers.

  44. Tim says:

    It’s one game, but what a game it was. You just can’t blow a 3-0 lead. That being said, from hear on out, I’ve been saying this for weeks, it’s all on the D. Fleury sees an incredible amount of quality scoring chances. 2-1’s, breakaways, giveaways, you name it. It seems as if the D is so intent on getting in the rush that no one is staying back, or looking behind them. One pass and the other team is on the breakaway. And for God sake: Dump the f@^kcing puck!!!!!! If I see one more cross ice pass at the opponents blue line or worse, in the neutral zone, dah………………. The power play with those super long passes and no one back!!! Insanity.

  45. GoPensHockey says:

    Why the Pens’ lost, in 3 easy steps.

    1. Neutral zone/defensive zone turnovers. These were committed by almost every player on the ice.

    They happened because:

    2. Penguins could not maintain the pace of the 1st period. They got worn out and looked especially tired and sloppy by the 3rd period, as a team.

    This happened because:

    3. The TOI’s for the team were unbalanced. Martin, Michalek, Letang and Orpik each played upwards of 23 minutes, as did most of the First and Second Line players.

    4th line had under 10 minutes per player. 3rd D-pair (Engelland, Lovejoy) had about 10 minutes each.

    Too much/unbalanced TOI = tired players = mistakes. As Rob Rossi would say, “it isn’t rocket science”.

    Other comments:

    Stop blaming Michalek/Martin for every loss. I’m the biggest Paul Martin critic out, but he was NOT that bad in this game, the team as a whole got tired and collapsed.

    Michalek made plays which generated numerous scoring opportunities and prevented Flyers’ chances in our zone, multiple times – he’s nothing like Paul Martin, stop lumping him in with Paul Martin. They’re two totally different D players with two totally different styles.

    Whiteout is for the fans. Yes, I would personally prefer a blackout to a whiteout. However, anything that gets the fans involved is good for the team, good for the league, good for everyone. If it’s a bit silly – so what? If the fans like it, it’s GOOD. The overwhelming majority of fans like it.

    This loss is your (cosmic? karmic? etc.) punishment for talking about the Pens hoisting the Cup before the playoffs start. One game at a time. There’s a long way to go, good things don’t come easily, if they did they wouldn’t be good things.

    Speaking of good and bad things – Losing Game 1 is a GOOD thing. Losing Game 7 is a very BAD thing. Please don’t confuse the two or lose faith in the Pens because of one game, the errors of which can be fixed and corrected. Pens are still going to win the series.

    Penguins get the loss out of their system – take it back to the drawing board and they use it to generate wins. How many times have we seen Dan Bylsma, Tony Granato, Todd Reirden and Ray Shero overcome this kind of stuff before? Disco Dan has a plan and he’s not going to accept no for an answer.

    Still really like your articles overall, Dejan. Just wanted to chime in. Trib is the best – you guys have a great day and Let’s Go Pens.

  46. AJS says:

    1. Teh Dupuis goal should have had the icing waived off, the ref made the right call.
    2. Despite being 3 feet offside, the Briere goal did not kill the Pens.
    3. The second period consisted of too much cross ice passes in the neutral zone. You just can’t do that ever. They stopped getting it deep and working hard on the forecheck. If there is any team that can out run the Pens it is the Flyers and all their speed. Gotta get it deep and go to work.
    4. Give the Flyers credit for not wilting. A 3-0 hole after one is not something many teams will over come. Even playoff teams.
    5. Neal, Malkin, Crosby, Sullivan, LeTang on the PP. It isn’t that difficult. I don’t who they use on the second unit. Sully gains the zone well and mans the point with some defensive awareness. Crosby in front of the net is where he thrived on the PP before his concussion. I get you want to protect him some but he has to be allowed to play hockey where he does it best. Malkin has always been a beast on the half wall on the PP and Neal led the league in PP goals. How is this not what they keep putting out there? Kunitz is not a PP guy.
    6. Don’t panic. There are 6 games left. You have to win 4. That said, you better win game 2.

  47. Milo Hamilton says:


    What a great point. The Pens mustered a grand total of 5 shots in the 3rd period & overtime combined. If that’s “run & gun” they need to reload.

  48. tk says:

    Martin and Michalek just might be the death of this team.

  49. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Anybody up for some good news? Indy had 11 hits again last night (tempered by 2 HR’s given up by Bryan Morris in the bottom of the ninth) and Josh Bell had 2 more hits for the Power, one of which was a 3-run HR.

    On the other hand, A.J. gave up 8 runs, 5 earned, in an inning and 2/3. But those bats in High A ball are gonna hit!

    I know that’s not much good news considering the Bucs’ and Pens’ fates, but things will be better.

  50. AJS says:

    “I see a lot of people calling the Pens a run-n-gun team. They are not. Yes the Pens are built around speed. Quick breakout and agressive forecheck, but it only looks like run-n-gun when they cant sustain any offensive zone pressure. Yea guys like Geno and Sid will try to create something off the rush. But the pens gameplan is still to cycle the puck, hit their D, and wear them down in the offensive zone. ”

    That is there game plan. Last night they didn’t even come close to executing it. They started going east west on the break out looking for the fancy break away instead of gaining the line and dumping it in. They need to get away from the wall and chip the puck in and go retrieve it. After the 10 minute mark of the first period last night they decided a 2 goal lead made them gods and they didn’t need to play disciplined and stick to the game plan.

    Anyone else notice how useless Jagr looked last night? Twice just giving up on D, taking a blatant interference penalty and refusing to go to the box, and I see that his penchant for cherry picking and not playing in his own zone hasn’t gone away. I’m actually happy he chose the Flyers. He is right. he had no place on the top 2 lines in Pittsburgh.

  51. NMR says:

    I agree with Nate.

    Claiming that the Penguins didn’t play 60 minutes or that the Penguins quit playing their game is completely leaving out the fact that there are usually two teams on the ice.

    The Flyers are the ones that changed their game. And unfortunately, it’s pretty damn good.

    This shouldn’t be a surprise and it certainly doesn’t mean the Pens are doomed.

    I despise cross-sport comparisons, but if Joel Hanrahan throws Albert Pujols nothing but fastballs, he’ll eventually hit one out. That doesn’t mean Hanny doesn’t have a good fastball or can’t beat Pujols, just that he has to keep him off balance.

    The Pens found a way to keep the Flyers off balance in the 1st. Proof they can do it and can beat them. They just need to do it more consistantly.

  52. Rob says:

    The only positive from the game last night is the timing.

    If this early wake-up call, isn’t heard loud and clear, and acted upon now, we are in for early Tee times.

    All credit to the Flyers. They answered their call, responded and the Pens sat back and watched.

    This is now the difference between regular season hockey and a 7 game playoff series. There is no week or months between the next game with the Flyers, and take your time mentally adjusting or forgetting the mistakes, missed opportunity, and ease into the next rematch.

    The Pens are better than what they displayed in the latter half of game 1. Thankfully it was game 1, and not game 5 or 6 facing elimination.

    Regardless of what changes or adjustments the coaches make before Game 2, the players have to execute on the ice. This isn’t about line combinations, pairings, or who takes face offs.

    If the Pens are fortunate enough to get another early lead, they had better refrain from rehearsing their post game interviews while sitting on the bench, or watching the opposition out hustle and out play them on the ice.

    These guys are better than what they displayed last night, but that statement is nothing but words on a page. The bell has rung, the coaching staff the players have to hear it and respond.

    They gave a game away, and it sucked. It’s over and done, but it was only game one. Time to look in the mirror, suck it up and execute on the ice.

  53. NMR says:

    Where is this stubborn Dan Bylsma stuff coming from?

    Weren’t you all yelling at Dan for experimenting too much? Like, a week ago?


  54. Sarcastic Sword says:

    If we praise Bylsma, we also need to point blame towards him.

    His team was horrible with , as he states, “puck management”…The rarely got it in deep behind the net – the never made Philly go 200 feet – dums passes at center ice allowed Phiily to start their transition game….If you want o push the pedal 100%, your players better know when its better to dump and chase than serving 3 on 2’s on a silver platter.

    Whats up with all of the breakaways the past few weeks…..

    Michalek was atrocious…Martin not much better…I never thought I would say this but when is Niskanen ready to get back in the lineup? Sadly, he wont be replacing those two when they are making $9M between them…..

    Great point about Crosby not taking faceoffs while on the PP…If you dont win the draw, having Crosby on the point doesnt matter if your chasing the puck behind your net.

    Teams who lose game 1 win a lot of series over the years – my issue is how they lost this one. 3-0 lead at home after one pd is inexcusable and quite frankly, if they dont get their act together and win tommorow, they will be making tee times next week.

  55. pwd2 says:

    where is our time out? it has been used time and again effectively by the flyers, when we were up 3-2 and they were charging, time out, change momentum, come up with a wrinkle to effectively swing momentum, even if its just a pep talk. COME ON PENS, RALLY!!!!!!!!

  56. dwf says:

    Martin and Michalek were/are/will always be the WORST thing that Shero has done for this team! Those two, especially Martin have been underachieving since the second they signed their HUGE contracts! And since Shero and company will NEVER admit that they made a mistake, the FANS are going to have to pay for Shero’s arrogance and poor judgment by continuing to endure their awful attempt at playing defense! These two are an incredible liability every time they hit the ice. Give Despres a chance, at least he will gain some valuable playoff experience for the future. And, there is no WAY he can do any worse than Martin and/or Michalek.

  57. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Relax, folks.

    Nobody has ever advanced winning just one game of a playoff series, and the Flyers have won just one game.

    To everyone who believes that game 2 is already a must-win situation, remember…. it’s true in the sense that a team ‘must win’ 4 games to go on to the next round.

  58. Ryan says:

    1) However demoralizing it may be, the Pens can lose 3 games per series. Not a good recipe, but in 2010 Ottawa beat the Pens at home in game 1. I know this sounds like a homer, but the Pens learn from this loss and take game 2. Pens in 6, stamp it.

    2) When the Pens “played their game”, they were unstoppable the first period. Philly is good and will not quit, but they could not keep up with the Pens in the first. It sounds like a homer, but they dominated that first period. Philly had a chance or two from giveaways, not from outplaying the Pens and Fleury made the big save. They took their foot off of the gas, Philly gained momentum, and BOOM, Jacob freaking Voracek.

    3) Both goalies actually kept the game close. Fleury stole some goals as did Bryzgalov. Bryz, surprisingly, did not get rattled after his first period so give him credit. He made some big saves to keep it at 3-0 until Briere scored.

    Going to game 2 Friday. Hopefully I get to see the Pens go full bore, all game, until the clock reads 0.00 and get a win.

  59. Jandy says:

    Lucky, thanks for the smile :)

  60. Bizrow says:

    Morning all,

    Don’t forget, if you haven’t already, to let us know where your current residence is, I don’t have the list right here, if you go back to yesterdays game threads, you can see what places have been logged in.

    Will post a list during the game thread tonight.

    I think we’re up to about 165 locations represented on Dejan’s Blog

    I know there are many more inmates out there.

  61. Dustin says:

    I think Paul Martin is a talented defenseman. He has shown that throughout his career. Shero is not dumb and wouldn’t pay a bust $5-million a year. However, he has not been playing up to his potential. I realize that some defensemen (Engelland and Orpik) are hitters and others (Scuderi) are shutdown defensemen. Martin is not a hitter and he never has been. So although I would love to see him at least rub someone off the puck for God’s sake, I’ll give him that he wasn’t brought in to make the big hits. But he’s not even shutting anyone down and the worst part of it, he doesn’t appear to be giving his all. This is the playoffs, it’s time to elevate your game! I think it’s time for him to step up and show some heart. If this team is going to win the Cup, they all have to be giving it their all every game.

  62. Milo Hamilton says:

    There are many preaching patience here today & that is the prudent approach (see how I worked patience & prudence into the same sentence). But those saying a 7 game series can’t be won in the 1st game aren’t exactly right either. Those occurrences are rare but they do exist. When Kirk Gibson homered off Dennis Eckersley in game 1 of the 1989 World Series, that series was over. The heavily favored A’s won only once & Gibson never even took another at bat. Sure that’s an extreme example, but what would you call last night ? I don’t think this series is over, but I can’t say it with any degree of certainty.

  63. Jandy says:

    Milo, the series WILL BE over, if in-game changes aren’t being implemented. You saw Laviolette last night do just that…and the Flyers won.
    That said, just ONE POWER PLAY goal would have turned this game in our favor…and we’d have had a “W” instead of a “L”

  64. LuckyNKentucky says:


    I usually agree with you on most stuff and I enjoy your posts emmensely, but I have to disagree with you on this one. That’s why they play the games. I’m far from knowledgable on hockey, but the Pens have much more talent from what you all and DK say and this may be a good wakeup call. I know that was supposed to be those losses the last 2 weeks, but this is the real thing, the 16-win, second season. Baseball is so much momentum and getting hot (or slumping) at the right time, example being the Cards, Rays, Braves and Dead Sox last year, but is hockey the same in that regard? I believe the Pens will rise to the occasion. There’s too much heart (and talent) there not to.

  65. sjb says:

    Wow ,the Flyers won just one game? I didn’t know that Captain Obvious…I thought it was 6 or something? Seriously, we all know the whole “it’s only one game” speech and “you have to win 4″ BS. Problem is, it’s not just losing, it’s how you lose and they’ve lost a lot of games like this to the Flyers and seem to have no solution.

    Based on how they played last night and how they’ve played the Flyers this season, only a truly blind homer thinks the Pens should be favored to win this series.

    Also, if it’s 3 consecutive early playoff exits (two consecutive in the 1st round) and that Jack Adams award looks pretty silly and I’d be hard pressed to see why the Pens shouldn’t consider a coaching change. Any other team would and should, especially when your team is healthy for the playoffs and you get the same results.

    “I was also disturbed by some of the coaching choices. Why in the world wasn’t the first line out there at the beginning of OT, for example?”

    I agree: it’s the equivalent of winning the OT coin toss in football and deferring. Maybe it was Bylsma sending a message that he wasn’t happy with his first two lines…not that he should be pleased with Staal’s line at this point either. Either way, it reflected badly on where their heads are.

    I will point out over and over again this stat and why Crosby is cancer to the PP. This season alone; the PP was ranked 5th before Crosby came back the first time, dropped to 15th during his short stint, went back up to 7th when he sat out again and dropped off the face of the earth for the remainder of the regular season and so far into the playoffs. They need to at the very least move Crosby to a second unit and stop this idea that Malkin and Crosby somehow HAVE to be on the same unit. A PP goal last night would have been the difference regardless of how poorly they played late in that game and this refusal to change things that obviously aren’t working is killing any chance they have to advance past this round. What’s this stubborn obsession Bylsma has with shooting himself in the foot?

    How many people just knew when the Flyers made it 3-2, the Pens lost the game. I’ll raise my hand and I think there are a lot of Penguins who would too and that’s why this was more than just one game.

  66. Justin Soss says:

    The best point you made DK was that the Penguins stopped doing what was working for them. They were chipping the puck in, punishing the Flyers D, creating turnovers and cycling the puck. Then they all of the sudden stopped! To make matters worse, the Flyers started to do the same thing to the Pens, kept doing it and won the game.

    The Penguins are a puck possession team that is their game and that is what they must do for 60 minutes to win, especially against a talented and relentless team like the Flyers.

    The Penguins have to stop thinking that they are going to get a multiple goal lead on this team and they are just going to pack it in……ain’t happening!

    I can’t stand the Flyers (I live outside of Philly so when the Pens lose to the Flyers it really stings), but I have a lot of respect for their compete level and the Penguins are either not respecting it or simply not matching it.

    I can’t even comment on Martin and Michalek anymore. It makes my stomach turn that the Pens have 9 million in cap space tied up in those two for the next three seasons (come on amnesty clause in the new CBA!)

    Any chance when Niskanen is back that they keep Lovejoy in and take Martin out? The guy is scared to be hit and he plays pro hockey I don’t get it!

    It is one game in a hopefully competitive series, but the way they lost this game had to be demoralizing. The players can say whatever they want, but the flyers are in their heads.

  67. sjb says:

    BTW: The whole “too much talent to lose” thinking has cost so many teams playoff games and championships it’s not even worth counting.

  68. Elle says:

    My thoughts about last night:

    My SO is a Flyers fan and I live in Philly. From the sounds in the air here, you’d think this series is over. I figure, OK, so the Flyers (I know, not all of these Flyers) choked up an elimination game, at home, 3 years ago after leading by 3 goals. I checked the 2012 playoffs schedule again, and this wasn’t an elimination game. We got that going for us…which, right now, is everything.

    Is it conceivable that the Flyers could be spent enough from last night’s game to give up games 2 and 3?

    110% agree on splitting 87 and 71 into 2 PP units and putting Sully on the top unit. Get Sid in front of the net.

    Raise your hand if you simply KNEW that (1) the Orpik penalty was coming when it did and (2) it was going to cost them. Looks like just about everyone–thought so. As soon as the ref’s arm went up, my heart sank.

    Speaking of refs, they absolutely didn’t cost us the game. But I think the missed offsides on Briere’s goal is more egregious than the confusion with the icing, based on the timing and the game situation at the time. How do you miss that offsides? It wasn’t even close.

    We’re going to find out a great deal about this team on Friday night.

    Part of me is inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to the players who bailed from the media. I wonder if they wanted to flush this game and forget it as quickly as possible, so it doesn’t fester like these tough losses can. Not to harp on 3 years ago, but I have to think that if they were able to bounce back in 2 consecutive elimination games after getting embarrassed by the Red Wings in game 5, then they’ll bounce back from this. They know the road isn’t easy.

    Thanks for your time. Let’s go, Pens!

  69. Jandy says:

    :;raising my hand::

  70. Mark says:

    they explained the icing between periods and why it was waived off, since the dman pinched in and kept Dupuis (i think it was him) from plaing the puck. the back linesman correctly waived it off for that reason. Thats at lesst what was discussed on the telecast and a good catch by them if that is the case. so that is not a valid argument and the Briere was a missed offsides that was pretty obivous to everyone when it happend, and it led directly to a breakaway and scoring chance so its a little different. dont get me wrong, its not why they lost, but the Pens lose most game 1’s, so they are on target as usual if they can win game 2, go Pens!!!!

  71. Jandy says:

    That was raising my hand for both sjb and Elle, by the way.

    Also, I wish it to be known that in no way have I given up on this team. I am with them all the way. I just would love to see some productive tweaks made, especially on the PP, which would in turn win us some games.

  72. South Philly Louie says:

    Thank you for being honest about the 3rd goal the Pens scored, it was an icing which was not called and the puck ended up in the net. And we all know Briere was offside on the Flyers 1st goal, so it evened out in the end. I still don’t know which team is going to win this series, I just know that it will be a lot of fun for both cities until it’s over. While I hate the Pens, I do respect the immense amount of talent on the team…..But because of the way the Flyers have dominated the Consol Energy Center for the past 2 years, and the way they have consistantly come back to win games against the Pens, I think the Flyers are deep into the heads of the Penguins. One game does not a series make, but under the circumstances…..I think the Pens are in big trouble!!! GO FLYERS!

  73. bob says:

    Penguins need to get back there refuse to lose attitude they sort of lost it after the 09 Cup run theres to much talent and cup experience on this team let a game like last night slip away

  74. BenderHeel says:

    The ice was more to blame for the Penguins’ woes than the refs. I’m not sure what was going on, but the playing surface looked to be one of the worst I’ve ever seen. And the Flyers’ announcers never even mentioned the ice, even after so many players were missing the puck, including the Great Joe Vitale on the Flyers first goal.

    The Orpik penalty, in my opinion, was a good call. A veteran certainly should have known better. That being said, the refs let a lot of other questionable hits go during the course of the game, including some really late hits by both teams.

    Is Sean Couterier that good of a shut-down center? Geno’s line was largely invisible.

    Not only did it appear that the Pens’ aggression inexplicably died after the opening 15 minutes, but it also looked like they were tired. Yet Bylsma didn’t seem intent on rolling four, even though that fourth line might have been the only one who would have been willing to dump the frickin’ puck into the offensive zone and grind on the Flyers.

    The Pens got drunk on their own early success. Instead of continuing to pressure and dump the puck in once they were up 3-0, they continued to try to be too cute, especially on the couple of power play opportunities.

    Letang stunk. Period. But he also can’t be manning the point on the power play for 2 straight minutes every time. Bylsma needs to re-think his PP approach giving that much time to Letang and ever considering putting Crosby on the point.

  75. sjb says:

    “Not to harp on 3 years ago, but I have to think that if they were able to bounce back in 2 consecutive elimination games after getting embarrassed by the Red Wings in game 5, then they’ll bounce back from this.”

    This isn’t that team and for whatever reason, hasn’t been for a while. Sadly, from an effort and execution standpoint, this is more like the team that lost to Montreal, regardless of who’s on the ice.

  76. PetroSteel says:

    Dr. DK, I just want to make sure that you are still confident that the Pens will win the cup which would obviously mean that you think they will get past the Flyers. Please let me know so that I can get some sleep. Thanks Doc!

  77. Paul says:

    I’m not here to comment on the game– everyone else has pretty much covered that. Just wanted to thank you, Dejan, for pointing out the stupidity of the white out. In addition to what you said, the road team is always wearing white. I’ve been saying this for years–how about a black out??? I’ve seen it done at the college level (Iowa), but never in the pros. Not only would this match what the players are usually wearing, it would be unique and intimidating. You could even throw in some gold towels– pretty sure Pittburghers have an affinity for those. Someone needs to make this happen.

  78. BenderHeel says:

    I also think that a lot of people in Pittsburgh, including some in the media, as well as the national media, really underestimated this Flyers team and overestimated the Penguins.

  79. NMR says:


    Remember Guy Boucher? The flavor-of-the-week boy genius that supposedly schooled Dan Bylsma in the playoffs?

    How’s that workin’ out for him this year?

    Keep that in mind before heaping mounds of praise on Lavy and calling for Dan to be fired.

    Only a blind homer would pick the Pens in this series? Right, all those National and Canadian analysts are just smitten with Pittsburghitis. Take a deep breath, buddy.

  80. AJS says:

    I saw a top 5 list of excuses we will here in the play offs on that evil conglomerate sports site the other day. Reading through these posts I have seen the only two that can possibly apply to this series already…

    The refs cost us the game
    The ice was bad

    The others that don’t apply:
    We had more travel than they did
    We had a lot of injuries

    The fifth certainly didn’t apply last night but is one that can apply to any series:
    We came out flat

    Hockey fans are so predictible.

  81. dacnh70 says:

    Sidney Crosby has not been on a good power play for years. Can’t explain it. Just know it to be true. Get him off the top unit. Egos be damned. We need goals, not egos.

  82. dacnh70 says:

    AJS –

    I hear a little bit of complaining about the refs, but not much. Most people are blaming the lack of aggressiveness, the defense, and the special teams – which seems to be accurate.

  83. JohninOshkosh says:

    75 posts, and not including JAL’s daily Pirates link and Lucky’s nod to their AAA team, nary a Pirates post.

    2012 Pittsburgh Pirates : We hardly knew ya!

  84. BenderHeel says:


    The Pens’ PP is as inept as the Pirates’ offense.

    How’s that??

  85. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks Bender!

  86. Is there such a thing as overcelebrating early goals? The Pens seemed ecstatic after the first and especially the second. You don’t want to peak emotionally at 8 minutes into the game against a grinding opponent. Looked like some of the players had run out of steam a bit in the third period and OT. I think that might explain Staal’s loss of focus on the Flyers’ OT goal.

  87. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Dear Lord, Bender, what a comparison. Thanks for that from us baseball/football people.

  88. SDI says:

    Well now you can see what the prvent defense does for you in hockey. Just like football it prevents you from winning the game.

    They got the 3 goal lead and tried to sit on it. Simple as that. This is the playoffs. you keep your foot on the gas for 60 minutes, even if you have a 7 goal lead, or you’ll be playing golf next week.

    The best example was about halfway through the 3rd. Sid won a race to the puck just behind and to the left of Bryzgalov. He makes a quick dish to the middle expecting some support, but both Dupuis and Sullivan stopped at the blue line. You could see the look of disgust on Sids face at that point and they still had a one goal lead.
    Was DB outcoached? Yup. you can sit on a lead in the playoffs.

  89. Jandy says:

    National Record Mart, back it up a bit, friend! I have NEVER called for Bylsma to be fired. I like the guy. That said, his stubborn refusal to change some things is beyond reason.
    You bring up Guy Boucher. He WON that series BECAUSE he wasn’t afraid to try something different.
    Nor did I heap praise on Lavy. He’s a good coach. He’s an utter prima donna often. One of the many reasons I prefer Bylsma. Bylsma has more class. But class doesn’t win playoffs. Being a good coach does. Part of being a good coach is admitting when something isn’t working and tweaking it.

  90. Jandy says:

    Bender, love it!!

  91. Jim says:

    Some thoughts on the game:
    The Pens will not advance with the pathetic effort after the first period. Blowing a 3 goal lead to anyone is ridiculous, especially in the playoffs! After they got the lead, the Pens started to get “cute” with their passing instead of shooting and decided that playing defense was beneath them.
    Shoot more and pass less. The puck has a better chance of going in the net when it is sent in that direction.
    Don’t stop being physical. Hockey is a contact sport. The sooner the team realizes that the better they will be. Any player that does not understand that fact should ‘get on with their life’s work.
    The other team’s forwards should never be behind the defense. This has been happening too much and the players responsible should be playing somewhere else.
    I have been a Pens fan since I was old enough to know what hockey is and I will continue to be one. The Pens have been playing this way for a couple of weeks now, with the exception of the Devil’s game, and I do not see that changing against Philly. This team, with all it’s talent, is heading for an early exit from the playoffs due to the lack of accountability on the bench and a lack of a total effort on the ice.
    Hopefully, next year will be different with new coaching, new captains, and a new attitude towards the game. As for the reaction to the media after the game, every player should have stepped up and admitted that they blew the game and quit playing. Any player who gives a crap should have been mad as hell!

  92. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Jandy T.,

    To be grammatically correct it would be National Mart of Records, as he is NMR.
    (Don’t throw your shoe at me).Yunz need to lighten up today! At least you don’t live in KY and have to live and breath basketball 24/7, 365 and hear about how they were number 1 in recruiting yet again. One game does not make a series, except in wild card baseball. This can and will help the Pens.

  93. Jandy says:

    Lucky, I’m not cracking up … yet lol.
    I adore NMR and he knows it. ;)
    I do not like being lumped into a mold, however, and my shoes come off ;)

    let’s throw something “different” out there at this point ~~~~~~~~~

    Friday – Game 2 – is Friday the 13th! believe it!
    Are you superstitious???? #13 is my lucky number.
    I believe the Pens will win this one.

  94. NMR says:

    You’re right, Jandy. I shouldn’t have lumped you in with that know-nothing bandwagon jumper sjb. (intentionally sarcastic description alert)

    Call it a pet pieve of mine, but I just don’t agree with the logic that a coach can just hit x-b-x-a-right arrow and have his team play differently. Bylsma isn’t immune to criticism, but it sure helps a coaches “strategy” when the players execute.

    Superstitious?! Never. I’m a man, I’m 40. Not some infant!

  95. Jandy says:

    NMR LOL…DK called us all infants yesterday ;)

    But I did have to admit, when Brooksie got called for the penalty, I knew the Flyers were going to convert, and were going to go on to win. Pessimistic? yup. but these Pens have let too many games get away from them. So I had to raise my hand.

  96. David says:

    This first playoff game was a microcosm of the last few weeks. It boils down to sleep walking on defense, and Fleury letting in one bad goal per game — the one contributes to the other. And — they need to GET RID of that new scheme on the power play. The Penguins pattern this year, especially against Philly, is to dominate the first 10-15 minutes and get a nice lead. Then stink the second period. Then try to hold on and get their act together the third period. Most of the time it results in a win. It won’t during the playoffs. If they lose Friday, it is going to be panic time.

  97. David says:

    I cannot remember the last time the Pens blew a 3-0 lead at home in the playoffs.

  98. Mark says:

    The Pens looked like they were going to dominiate this series after the first period, but then they fell into a lull again! The forecheck tapered off, there passing got very sloppy, and the dump n chase stopped working because of a lack of agressiveness and the Flyers D got to the puck every time. Martin and Michalik are BAD. Defense is shotty, and the passing is attrocious. They couldnt make a good outlet pass all night. Malkin’s line didnt do squat, and they struggled to win faceoffs. I liked Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy. Staal had a solid performance but started to wear down in the 3rd, which led to him getting complacent on the OT winner. I still like the idea of Sullivan on the top PP unit and Crosby on #2. Maybe this will give the Pens incentive to actually get off the ice if they dont score in the first minute of the PP. Too many long shifts that go nowhere.

  99. David says:

    I, for one, will not be confident in ANY lead we might get in any game this series. And frankly, the coaching staff needs to address the fact that the Pens will not be confident either.

  100. David says:

    Well, one thing is for certain: If the Pens overcome THIS and come back and win the series, that will be the fortitude of a champion. hope it happens.

  101. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Now you 40-year old youngsters (non-infants) are settling down. Good to see it. Bob Hasis and us older folk will be glad to remind you of the Ralph Kiner, Pittsburgh Hornets days. After that snore, you can remember this team’s youth, talent and heart.
    Cream still rises to the top. (How’s that for worn out trite sayings?)

  102. Milo Hamilton says:

    Don’t you people know ? It’s Orpeck.

  103. Mirosurabu says:

    That game last night reminded me of the first game of the Pens-Rangers series in 2008, where the Rangers rode a 3-0 lead into a 5-4 loss and subsequently managed just one win in the series.

  104. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Les Miserable,

    We’re trying to lighten this. (just kidding).

  105. dave says:

    “But Jordan Staal paid zero attention to Voracek coming in from behind, part of a long evening of the Penguins watching the puck rather than looking for orange sweaters.”

    DK I noticed this as the play was developing. Stall was gliding into the defensive zone and Voracek skated right by him and Stall still didn’t react. My intitial reaction was, “Uh Oh”. It looked like the whole team was skating on ice covered with mud. What a pathetic effort. They deserved to lose. Hopefully, they learn from it, but this game was a mirror image of the one in Philly a few weeks back, so they obviously didn’t learn the 1st time.

  106. sjb says:

    “Keep that in mind before heaping mounds of praise on Lavy and calling for Dan to be fired…Only a blind homer would pick the Pens in this series? Right, all those National and Canadian analysts are just smitten with Pittsburghitis.”

    What praise? I think Laviolette is a stop gap garbage league coach. Just happens to be what the Flyers need right now just like I think Bylsma “isn’t” what’s working for the Pens.” He needs to either change his stubborn thinking with the PP and refusal to make adjustments when the other team clearly has, or they need to get a different coach…unless that is, everyone’s happy with the predictable one and done playoff appearances and failing to meet expectations set so high during the regular season. Remember when this team was being mentioned as a possible dynasty? What happened there? Maybe it was the loss of Gill and Roberts? Yeah, that’s the ticket. Oh, I know, it was the loss of Crosby. Well, he’s back and the team has picked up where it left off without him.

    Yup. I think the Pens are clearly the underdog in this series. The “too much talent” theory is once again proven false as the Flyers clearly know how to beat them and do it over and over the same way. You mean the brighter than the sun analysts like Milbury, Roenick, Jones and the other media talking heads? I’ll put my objectivity and common sense logic up against theirs any day. I don’t care if they invented the game of hockey, which I’m sure they think they did. Reminds me of my favorite analogy: “I’ve never killed a man, but I know a murder victim when I see one.”

    The only way I see this team as having a realistic chance, is if they can win the next game 1-0 or 2-1. None of this 5-4, 6-5 shootout BS because they forgot how to buckle down, take away center ice and eliminate odd man rushes and ridiculous scoring chances. That’s not playoff hockey and will only delay the inevitable. Teams that can win the low scoring one goal games are the one’s built for the playoffs. Frankly, I don’t even see the Flyers going past this round either but they sure have the Pens number.

  107. Jandy says:

    Lucky, it’s been a llooooooonnnggg time since Mother Teresa saw 40 ;)

  108. NMR says:

    As much as people seem to be making this out to be a total collapse by the Penguins, the Flyers have fallen behind 2-0 in 8 of their last 13 games.

    That is just how they seem to work. The comeback last night, while impressive, is nothing that anyone should’ve been surprised about.

    Doesn’t make the loss any better, but also shouldn’t bring on the hyperbole of being a series killer.

  109. LuckyNKentucky says:


    She was quite old went she went home to be with the Lord. (Wasn’t she close to 90 or so?) Medicare A & B are not waiting for you quite yet.

  110. Jandy says:

    From the Pens site, tweaking the PP, with Sully on the first line :)

  111. Kevin B says:

    @eric bowser

    Spot on – especially about the tactics. DK pointed this out on twitter last night, but it would be great at times to see more articles that explain some of the strategical and tactical aspects of the game. I also would love to know if its our coach telling our players to continue to use the boards in spite of them being taken away, or if our players just cannot execute an alternate system. I will say that, being at the game, it was clear we continued to post two forwards way out of our zone and those forwards will need to come back and help clear the zone when the Flyers take the boards as aggressively as they did.

  112. Jandy says:

    Lucky, yes, she was. And I have a ways to go to get to the 90’s but my 40’s are long gone ;X

  113. Christian says:

    My 2 cents in bullet point fashion:

    1. A devastating loss, with a familiar motif: This team cannot protect a lead. We did that pretty good in ’08 & ’09.

    2. Played with less urgency and drive in periods 2 & 3. Unacceptable any time of year, but especially in playoffs.

    3. Too many careless, high risk low reward passes. Even Crosby.

    4. I am not a proponent of singling out one player, but I can no longer hold back. Paul Martin has to go. He has been a let down since he signed here, but last night was unprofessional. He dogged it on a lot of plays, and refuses to hustle all the time. I saw him REALLY skate for one icing, which he lost, while he loafed for others. But he gives up positioning, is not physical, does not hustle, does not contribute offensively, and makes TERRIBLE decisions with the puck. Shero needs to unload him to whoever will take on his $5 million salary for the next 3 years, because he is not delivering ANY value at all to this team. We need to re-sign Niskanen at the end of this year, and have Despres up with the big club next year.

    5. I love Bylsma, but he has to start making in game adjustments, when necessary.


  114. Rayni_9 says:


    We will win Friday – I am taking S-punky girl to the game! We won last Saturday when she was there. She will be Flyer’s fan hunting! I had to grab her by the jersey a few times to keep her from starting with someone. When she saw the Flyer’s fans dressed like Hulk Hogan in a poor imitation of Cy….she about lost it. Then they were taking pictures flipping the bird in front of the giant goal mask…..OMG…..thank Gog I can still pick her up and just carry her away…..

    LET’S GO PENS!!!!!!!

  115. Rayni_9 says:

    Whoops – I mean Thank God…lol

  116. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Mine are, too, but, since this is trite, worn-out cliche’ day, “you’re as young as you feel”. You sound young, so maybe it’s as young as you “sound”, too. How about that?

  117. Jandy says:

    Rayni ~ Wow, my daughter will be at the game too. She lives in the Burgh. But she’s 29, so I can’t pick her up and carry her away LOL! I hope
    S-punky is our good luck talisman! Have lots of fun and wave at the camera so I can see you =)

    Lucky, “sounds” good to me, friend lol. I do feel half my age, and that helps a lot!

  118. Craig Brewer says:

    Not a Pen or Flyer fan (Ranger fan), but gotta chime in with a couple things…

    1st- a friend and I were watching the Pens the other night and speaking about how they have “scary speed”. That isn’t the talent thing, that is pure speed. DK has mentioned more than once the league is allowing more of the interference (and I think somebody is correlating speed with concussions in Toronto, but that is just a hunch). That doesn’t help the Pens. That said, no team is more absolutely horrifying to watch as an opposing fan right now…when they are going. They did stop going last night.

    2nd- The Pens got a rough draw. The Flyers have some speed to match, unlike a lot of the conference. Beyond that, the Flyers have had success with the Pens. Bryz also seems to have gotten over his crisis midseason. So much of the NHL playoffs is about matchups and timing (hot goalie stuff).

    3rd- Home ice isn’t always an advantage in the NHL playoffs. OT looked like that to me. The Pens looked tight there. To that, I could see the Pens losing Friday, and then winning 10 straight playoff games STARTING on the road. Sometimes it loosens teams up.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rooting for the Pens, but the year they beat the Hawks in the Finals, weren’t they down 0-2? Yeah, they still scare the crap out of me way more than the Flyers (but I was thrilled those two got each other). I think this will be a long series, and I’m not sure it would have been if the Flyers lost game 1.

    Okay…other notes that are inconsequential too…
    Mel Torme was the Velvet Fog, not the Golden Fog.
    Winnipeg might do a great white out, but 20K versus 100K…PSU should keep up the white out too. The aerials of those are amazing. At one I could pick out my stupid Aunt across the stadium from me because she was the ONLY one in blue.

  119. NMR says:

    Craig brings up a good point.

    Does Winnepeg returning mean Camp Randall shouldn’t wear all red? That Death Valley or the Big House shouldn’t wear all yellow?

  120. Milo Hamilton says:


    Laviolette is “a stop gap garbage league coach.”

    He does get to keep his Stanley Cup ring though. Doesn’t he ?

  121. Jandy says:

    Craig, thanks for chiming in. Your perspective helps give US perspective.

  122. Milo Hamilton says:

    Penn State certainly shouldn’t give up white outs. O’Brienville wouldn’t be the same without all those drunk coeds in their white shirts.

  123. Jandy says:

    LOL Milo is STILL on a roll ;)

  124. Craig Brewer says:


    Thanks (you too NMR)…
    Never know if the 3rd party will be well received…and Ranger fans can be…um, obnoxious. I try not to be that as a Steeler fan or a Ranger fan.

    But as a Pirate fan, I love this space and thought you all should hear that the top seed has fans that want NO part of the Pens…my brother and I started to openly root for Flyers/Pens in the first round in January. I would sign up to have to beat Boston 8 of 14 rather than play those two.

  125. NMR says:

    @Craig – I personally love hearing “outsiders” opinions, especially when they actually focus on, you know, hockey and not certain players dispositions or coaches choice of bottom clothing.

    Keep it coming.

    Maybe one of these days some of us selfish Pittsburgh fans will give you our thoughts on the Rags.

  126. NMR says:


    You’re wrong…it’s now known as the O’brienston subdivision of Paternoville.

    Damn suburban sprawl just keeps eating up farm land.

  127. CWalton_67 says:

    Pens are 1-44 on the powerplay dating to Montreal series two years ago. That is a coaching problem.

    The rest is on the players. They quit after the 1st period and retired to the dressing room to read all their press clippings. They lack the veteran leadership previously provided by guys like Gary Roberts and Bill Guerin.

    They deserved to lose last night and will not likely win this series.

  128. Brian says:

    Here is my play-by-play for when Paul Martin is on the ice, includes a new catch phrase for Mike Lange:

    “Paul Martin has the puck behind pens net, he has some time. Oh wait, a 5′ 8″ forward came in and simply took the puck away. Actually Martin seemed to give the puck to him, but…Martin puts his hand on the forwards back–not a check mind you, just helping the guy with a back rub. Now Martin is following this guy, I think he likes him. around the corner, up to, what? yes, Martin is at the top of the circle. I think he played wing in junior. The forward passes to the slot, a man is open, score!!! oh hail mary, hail mary, where is rob scuderi?!”

  129. Michael Koller says:

    The power play cost them the game and they stopped being physical after the first. Plus they have no veteran leader (ex. Billy G) in the locker room really hurts. Bylsma needs to split up Sid and Geno on the PP. Go with Geno, Neal, and Kunitz on one and Sid Staal and TK/Dupuis on the other. Being able to roll out one of two lines that can threaten to score ill keep any team on their heels. Letang and Sullivan at the points is deadly. And not having Niskanen for the second D-Unit hurts as well.

  130. Jandy says:

    Craig, I’ll have you know that Mess as a Ranger was always one of my favorites ;)

  131. Michael Koller says:

    oh and the Pens should try a “Black-Out” more intimidating!

  132. JohninOshkosh says:


    I know you mentioned it earlier, but the rich keep getting richer at KY basketball.

    Does anyone out there know what is going on with Pitt’s basketball recruiting. I haven’t had a lot of time to look into it and a post by anyone with some thoughts and analysis on it would be appreciated.

  133. LuckyNKentucky says:


    You must have been in this office this morning. Same exact line I heard all AM. All KY fans but a Tennessee fan and me. Thank God for baseball and football season. Trouble is, there are 2 Yankee fans and a Braves fan here, too. The Steelers have owned the Titans lately, so that’s a help.

  134. Craig Brewer says:


    I was a senior in high school when the Rangers acquired Messier (and started accumulating old Oilers)…it was the first time I legitimately thought we had a chance. It was like he just changed the air for all Ranger fans before a game was played.

    We won’t discuss the series in ’92 (I had playoff tickets in NY). I now how #66 is revered, and with so many great reasons, but I have some questions about the pivotal play in that series. That said, anybody who beats cancer and plays, probably can recover from a broken wrist quickly.

    I can’t even draw a comparison of what it would be for the Pirates…maybe Jeter 8 years ago. It was like, “WOW, somebody who actually is a winner is here.”

    Man, I hope the Bucs find one of those…

  135. tk says:

    DK, just read the online chat transcript and your answer to a question about the Pens prevent defense was “That was never part of the strategy. No one appeared more upset about what the Penguins were doing than the head coach.”

    That answer gives me the impression that the players have stopped listening to Byslma and the players will play however they want. ????

  136. tk says:

    @ post #134, Pens can’t do a blackout. Fluery might lose sight of the puck in the sea of black shirts.

  137. Jandy says:

    Craig, I just talked to a sales rep at the office who lives in Pittsburgh and refuses to support the Pirates. he says they owners make sooooo much profit, and do so little to alleviate the long suffering of the fans….
    that said…signing Cutch and Burnett are good starts. Now, I WANT MORE!
    I will admit, I’m a relatively new Pirate fan here. I followed them years ago when Stargell was King. I remember Richie Hebner and Manny Sanguillen. Need I say more?

  138. Mark says:

    Please, please please stop the white out. If anything, there should be a black out. The other team is wearing white jerseys, pens are wearing black at home – DUH!!!!!

  139. NMR says:

    Has anyone seen a college student section try the “black out”.

    It just doesn’t work.

  140. Jandy says:

    Somehow “Gold out” doesn’t seem to cut it…

  141. Dejan,
    2 “yikes!”, a “for crying out loud!”, crickets, a sarcastic “I take it all back!”, and a Charlie Brown & Lucy reference.

    Quite a colorful chat you had there, DK! I’ll bet none of those phrases were in your Associated Press Writers’ Book. I bonded with each of your offbeat phrases.

    I have to disagree with one thing however: I know your column yesterday did NOT jinx the game last night———but I have to confess here that the real reason both the Pens and the Pirates lost last night was because I was NOT at home in my lucky chair! I take full responsibility for both losses.

    How stupid could anyone be to think that your column pick could have any effect on the outcome of a game!?!

    DK: Well, yeah.

  142. Jandy says:

    G2M2S ~ listen, friend, tomorrow is Friday the 13th…so you had BETTER be home in your lucky chair when the Pens are playing! :p

  143. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:


    Gold shirts would rock.

    Instead of a ‘Gold Out,’ how about calling it a ‘Gold Rush’ ???

  144. Jandy says:

    Dave G ~ Now I like that! =)

  145. How ’bout just letting us wear our favorite (and lucky) Pens, Steelers, Pirates jersey that we spent humongous money on to wear on those occasions?!

    Jandy, I’ll be in my lucky chair wearing my favorite viewing/participating/helping them win shirt (WITH THE #13 ON THE BACK!!) tomorrow night!

    I am NOT superstitious —— but just in case I’m wrong, I’ll try with shoes on, shoes off, one shoe on and one shoe off, hat on, hat off, socks on, socks off . . . . until they score.

  146. Dave Pap says:

    Absolutely horrible!!! Imagine living in Philly and being a huge Pens fan!!!
    Biggest issue I have is how Staal has been let off the hook here. Twice he was caught looking at the guy with the puck and allowed someone to get past him with very little reaction until after the fact. Watch the replays of goals 3 & 4. He and Letang were beat both times. Its time for all of them to step up and play intense hockey as they did the 1st 15 minutes. Had Fleury not made some sweet saves, the few chances Philly had would have been goals. We got way to sloppy on D

  147. Adam says:

    The missed call on the offside is inexcusable and ended up leading to the one extra goal the Flyers needed to get to overtime and eventually win. The Dupuis pass was attainable so I can understand why it was waved off. The linesman who initially raised his arm for the icing couldn’t even see because he was too busy jumping up on the dasher board. The Pens came out strong and dominated the fist period but they didn’t finish their checks in the second and most of the third period. I noticed several occasion where the Flyer defense felt the pressure and made less than perfect passes. If the Pens had kept up with the physical play the Flyers would have made more mistakes that would have led to quality scoring chances. Martin and Michalek have been lousy for 2/3 of the season. They were good last year which makes their performance this year very confusing.

  148. One should, above all, be cautious about projecting one team or another in the playoffs since that is too often setting that team up to be a target. Also, it too often creates an atmosphere of overconfidence and cockyness to its overall detriment. Now hopefully, this opening Penguins’ loss will be indeed be a wakeup call since there was definitely no excuse for blowing that three goal lead last night, and the Penguins will have until 7:30 tomorrow night to counterract this humiliating setback.

  149. Leah Backus says:

    Once again, tired beyond belief of the Martin bashing. The *entire* defense was responsible for what happened last night. It’s ridiculous to hang this loss on one guy and continually (willfully?) ignore the stats that prove he’s actually a good player (Michalek has actually been worse this season and I don’t see nearly the same vitriol directed at him). I’m really disappointed. I thought the commenters here were more thoughtful than that.

  150. Adam F. says:

    @ Leah

    You are right about it being a team loss. I also feel the missed call isn’t the sole reason for the loss either. Mistakes will be made on the ice by everyone, at times, because they are all human. However, Martin makes a lot of the same mistakes that lead directly to quality scoring chances. There are times when he shows his worth but for the most part he has been below average. He was good last year like i said before which makes it confusing for the lackluster play this year.

  151. Joseph says:

    totally agree with NO MORE WHITEOUTS!!! its obvious that the fans don’t like it. pens fans like to wear black and gold, not the other teams color (away team white).

  152. che says:

    Dejan, thanks for very interesting and meaningful articles and analysys. Always a pleasure to read or listen.

    Regarding the system that can earn 50 regular season wins but proves ineffective in playoffs. Maybe, a large bulk of those 50 wins comes from weaker teams, and in the regular season the toughness and intensity of the opposition is pretty much lower than in playoffs? Maybe this system works well on inferior teams but proves to be ineffective on elite teams when they are giving it all? Is there a possibility? What’s your take on that?

  153. mike says:

    Sent this to Dejan and he asked me to post here:

    I’ve got a question for you about how Coach Bylsma matches lines at home. Everyone knows that he tries to get the Staal line along with Orpik and Michalek on the ice as much as possible against the Giroux line, and the reasons are pretty obvious.

    My question is this: Why does his line matching stop there?

    First, the Flyers groomed Couturier (who is a lot like a young Jordan Staal) and acquired Grossman for, among other things, the purpose of going up against the Malkin line. They put out a five man unit of Talbot-Couturier-Rinaldo/Wellwood with Grossman-Coburn that is no less imposing as a checking unit than the Penguins top checkers. So, why does Bylsma keep chasing that matchup? I ask that because, on Wednesday, he was routinely putting the Malkin line on the ice for a faceoff after the Flyers put their checkers out. For anyone who’s watched games with the Pens in Philly, the Flyers get the Giroux line away from Staal and even roll out Giroux with other units to get him more time away from Staal. Why wouldn’t Bylsma do the same with Malkin when he’s got the home ice change?

    Second, if the Flyers top checking unit (the Grossman-Coburn pairing specifically) is susceptible to anything, it’s speed. Perhaps that’s why the Crosby lines two goals on Wednesday came against the Grossman-Coburn pairing (once with the top checkers in front, once with another line). Why not go after that matchup for more than three shifts in a home game? Conversely, the Malkin line was pretty much generating a prime scoring chance every shift (about a half dozen total) that they were NOT on the ice against the Flyers five man checking unit (the Briere line is especially susceptible to Malkin’s skill/size combo; the Carle/Timonen pairing is especially vulnerable to Kunitz’s forechecking).

    Anyway, I don’t know if it’s that big a deal, but this series is too evenly matched for Coach Bylsma not to exploit to the fullest every advantage like last change on home ice.

    Sorry for the long email. I’d really love to know if I’m missing something here.

  154. Craig Smith says:

    Mike (comment 157) –

    What’s needed here is not so much ‘line matching’, but again, I’ll say that the 4th line and 3rd defensive pair for the Penguins, especially, should’ve had more time on the ice against the Flyers. Adams-Vitale-Asham, Engelland-Lovejoy against Talbot-Couturier-Rinaldo-Wellwood-etc., Grossman-Coburn. It’s not finesse, it’s not skills, it’s not line matching, it’s brute force vs. brute force, and our line can out-muscle them.

    Our 4th line/3rd pair were skating hard and were ready to go, but instead Bylsma chose to put out our 1st and 2nd line until they ran out of gas, instead of balancing the lines – and in the 3rd period they paid for it in a big way, the Power Play couldn’t initiate because of tired 1st and 2nd liners, they gave up goals, and it was too late to get the 3rd and 4th lines back on the ice.

    It’s not so much that you’re missing something, other than the same thing I’ve been shouting since the end of the 2nd period on Wednesday night – our 3rd and 4th liners and our 3rd D-pair MUST get more ice time.

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