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Saturday column: Penguins’ effort hard to digest

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Saturday column from Game 2 last night looks at the dramatic contrast between what Sidney Crosby did to get back on the ice versus how the Penguins as a whole failed to show up at all.

Here’s the totality of our Penguins coverage.

Here’s a video of some postgame reaction …

I’m flying up to New York this morning, along with Rob Rossi, and we’ll be covering all practices, plus Games 3 and 4 from Uniondale.

Also, our new sports show on WPXI-TV, ‘The Final Word’ will be heavy on hockey, and I’ll be participating remotely from the studio of WNBC in Manhattan. It airs Sunday at 11:35 p.m.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. JD says:

    El Stinko.

  2. Dave G says:

    This game was, essentially, a team failure.

    Yet it’s already eerily similar to last season’s playoffs vs. the Flyers.

    And Fleury, though hung out to dry by porous defense, still gave up the soft goals that have plagued his career.

    Time for these guys to ratchet it up and just take this thing away from the Islanders.

  3. Eric Bowser says:

    I’m going to try to remain positive, these are the Islanders after all, and a Sidney Crosby-led team can’t possibly lose in the first round again … can it?

    Games 2 and 3 are always important momentum games in a series, so it will be interesting to see how the Islanders react to their quality victory on home ice, where they’ve struggled this season.

    Outside of the playoffs, Fleury usually bounces back from a rough game and has a quality performance. They’ll need to have it in Game 3 as I expect the fans in New York to be pumped up for this game and help drive an early wave of excitement for the Islanders.

  4. theplanisworking says:

    OK, the reasons for the loss:

    1) effort
    2) effort
    3) effort
    4) bad defense and Fleury’s soft goal.

    There is absolutely no excuse, after acquiring Iginla, Morrow, Murray, Jokinen et al, for the lack of effort. None.

    Also, two more things:

    After gaining a 3-1 lead, it was noticeable to me, a mere viewer, that the Pens effort just simply decreased. Now, some of that was attributable to the Islanders, but not all.

    And I think Bylsma outsmarted himself by calling that timeout after gaining the 3-1 lead. It stopped the Penguins’ momentum and allowed the Islanders to regroup. I think if they keep the pedal down, a different outcome would have been the result.

    Am I going to the highest bridge? No.

    But greater effort is needed in Game 3 and beyond.

    If not, this has the potential to be eerily similar to 1993. :(

    Shero has set the table for success. It is now up to the coaches and players to deliver the meal.

  5. Eric Bowser says:

    It is up to the coaches and leaders in the room to figure out what happened and make sure it doesn’t occur again. Stop it now and push forward in game three. I suspect Teflon Dan isn’t concerned about it… he pretty much coached like it tonight. No in-game adjustments again and still hasn’t learned the ills of playing Engelland come playoff time.

  6. theplanisworking says:

    The only thing I blame Bylsma for in-game is that silly calling of the timeout in the FIRST period.

    Many times in the game, I saw coaches making adjustments on their whiteboards, coaching up the players. Bottom line, the players have to play. Crosby and Malkin had good efforts, but all 20 guys have to do it.

  7. Eric Bowser says:

    Outstanding finish in Vancouver as the San Jose Sharks’ Raffi Torres wins it in overtime, 3-2 Sharks taking a commanding 2-0 series lead and heading to the friendly confines of the Shark Tank for Game 3.

  8. Glen says:

    Here we are again.

    An opponent changes strategy to attack our breakouts, and we are in Pens vs. New Jersey Devils territory immediately – and stay there throughout.

    How difficult was it to see that when the Isles forwards forechecked on our D they left the middle open and had D-men pinch? Seriously? How difficult was it to see that when our D was allowed time with only one checker high, the Isles covered our (constantly cheating…. North North North!!!) forwards, covering those long stretch passes that weren’t there?

    In scenario 1 we went up the wall ad nauseam and lost the puck. In scenario 2 it led to lots of odd man breaks the other way. And we did it for 60 minutes with no adjustments whatsoever. We have the best C depth in the league, and you could simply slow the game down and have one of those C’s come deep to support and bring the puck up as a unit, or once in a while employ a reverse pass D to D to throw the checker and re-position instead of being religious about North-South hockey when your opponent is eating you up. Guys like Engelland, Eaton and Murray come to look terrible on the breakout that way.

    This is the achilles heal of the Pens. It has been for a long time. There is only one man responsible for it….. and the fact that we cannot change course during games.
    We can all agree that the Isles outworked the Pens by a big margin in game 2, and that was the big deal in this one, but it is not that this team and its players are short on work ethic. When one team executes a good strategy shift after shift for a full game while the other goes rinse repeat on a strategy that sucks and has proven to do so frequently, then that first team will look quicker and like they’re working harder while the other looks like playing lazy and stupid. And the Pens did just that. Against a team having a roster where less than a handful of players would contend for making the Pens playoff team.

    One could say much more (Iginla moved to LW again, Bennett forgotten until we played with an empty net, Jokinen taking over C duty on Malkin’s line, the mindless double shifting of Sid and Malkin to play with Glass and Adams), and one could add more than we’d like about Fleury ultimately giving up bad goals when we needed it like the plague. But I cannot really blame Fleury this time, because he bailed us out in the first 30, and tonight was a team failure orchestrated by its head coach… a game we had no business winning even if we were handed the perfect start.

    If Bylsma does not get his head out of his ass and sort out our breakout, we are going to see more interviews with players who are ‘puzzled’ that they didn’t match their opponents intensity; where making ‘uncharacteristic mistakes’ and didn’t get to play on their terms. And in that case yes, we could even lose to the Islanders.
    Because that is what good coaching and match-up dominance does to you in the playoffs. Make you play to the opponents plan…. and coming to look less than you should be…. and wow have we ever gained experience in seeing that happen.

    Capuano adjusted and the Isles players shed their playoff nerves or whatever it was. Gutsy as hell given that start. Now Bylsma better have a reply, because Nassau is going to rock, and the Isles will come out with a carbon copy of what they did today. I just wish I had more faith in Bylsma doing something other than perhaps replacing Bennett with Kennedy and hoping for Orpik to come back in.

  9. Sherry says:

    Pissed anew about the dreadful effort on the ice tonight. Sid deserves so much better. Sorry to be so blunt but get your heads out of your asses boys! Your Captain deserves so much better.

  10. BillyBaduka says:

    +1

  11. Milo Hamilton says:

    Outstanding column. All that gorgonzola about puck management could have been better put by simply stating, “we didn’t try hard enough”. The rare times they’ve gotten into trouble this year have been largely effort / focus related. That’s easily fixed. But they better hurry.

  12. Karen22 says:

    I couldn’t believe what I was seeing last night – not after last year; not after totally dominating (like they SHOULD) in game one; not after Sid took the lead immediately upon his return. And no one followed?! Hard to digest, indeed!

    Last night I was shocked, disappointed, and depressed.

    Today, I’m really ticked! YOU EMBARRASSED YOURSELVES OUT THERE ON HOME ICE!! Earth to Penguins: IT’S THE PLAYOFFS, STUPID!!

    :(

  13. Poz says:

    Eric,
    I continue to admire your honest assessment of the Pens. I watched the game while at a function, but it was clear to me this game patterned so many before it. The Pens expected NY to simply quit because they were playing the Pens. Instead, NY punched the Pens in the face and took away all this toughness these new guys were supposed to bring.

    Without much experience, NY was supposed to play tight, undisiplined hockey. It was the Pens,

    It was Groundhog Day for me. I relived the ghosts of playoffs past.

    Horrible display. One that creates justifyable concern going forward. A game that cannot be explained with the excuse of “it’s just one game.”

    As you suggest, can’t over emphasize the importance of the next game.

  14. dwf says:

    Before all of you homers start consoling each other saying things like “Its only one game” and “MAF just had a bad game” or “these things happen”. This is how underdog teams win series in the playoffs. They start one shift at a time and then one period at a time and then, they start taking over the game. I wish everyone would stop comparing these Islanders to the ’08 penguins, because these Islanders are a much better and a scarier team than the ’08 pens were! They are very well coached and they learn quickly!

    Some things that are painfully evident after last nights “gem”:

    1. Disco Dani just doesn’t get playoff hockey…and probably never will!
    2. MAF is still a headcase (yeah, I know he faced like a billion shots and you know what he should’ve saved a billion shots too.
    3. Engelland used to be a solid #5 or #6 Dman, now he is a huge liability taking stupid penalties.

    Even with the additions of Eaton and Murray this pens defense is going to be their biggest weakness. They haven’t had a legitimate shutdown pair all season (no homers Orpik and Martin are not a shutdown pair).

    This team can go from playing shutout team first defense to pond hockey in a 24 hour period! This type of play falls squarely on Disco Dani! What was DD thinking that the Islanders weren’t going to make any adjustments? It is Disco Dani’s job to anticipate what the Islanders are going to do and THEN have a plan A, B, and C ready to counteract it. Yeah, we all saw how well that worked out last night!

    But, don’t fret homers, according to what the all knowing, all seeing, all everything pens DK wrote a few days ago, the coach for the rest of ETERNITY Disco Dani will be behind the bench again this year for another 1 and done playoffs! Keep up the “great” work DD!

    Pittsburgh is becoming the Vancouver Canucks of the Eastern conference. SAD

  15. Jandy says:

    Malkin had good effort, but was doing those friggin backhand behind him to no one but an Islander passes. Grrrrrr!! Smack him upside the head!

  16. Drew71 says:

    An inspirational display by the captain doesn’t inspire a team effort.

    Coaches white boarding and timeouting, presumably to inspire adjustments, that don’t inspire adjustments.

    A team with a recent playoff history that inspires change. But doesn’t.

    A veteran team with multiple stars and grinders and crankshafts who don’t require inspiration. But do. But don’t.

    See? I’m confused, too.

    Still. EYE am inspired for Game Three like no other game in recent memory.

    I hope THEY are.

  17. theplanisworking says:

    Mornin Jandy!

    Hippo Crossing, just passing thru.

    See you tonight, locate Brandie for us…….. she is MIA.

    By the way, not smackin’ Gino……….. this is a case for the size 9′s. ;)

  18. BillyBaduka says:

    Malkin’s got to stop that Jandy, I agree. But Bylsma shares responsibility.

    Not sure if I can post much today, having trouble articulating my thoughts without excessive profanity.

    That? That after it looked like they learned their lesson in game 1?

    That after the trade deadline infusion of leadership?

    The Islander’s learned a lesson after game 1. The Pens, players and Byslma damn sure better learn from game 2. Figure it out today and execute it tomorrow at noon and for 60 minutes.

    I’m gonna ramble and rant if I don’t stop.

    Let’s go pens!

  19. Drew71 says:

    after the first period, up 3-1 after some inconsistent, even lethargic play, I figured they HAVE this one.

    so i COULD believe what i saw because I stopped watching after the first. Figured they GOT this one, up by two after halfway crappy play. I flipped attention to another fine pitching performance and a gritty win (ie, effort”) by the Pirates. Then shot out to the airport to pick up Number One Son.

    So I didn’t watch anymore.

    So Eric was right (but for the wrong reason)…I didn’t watch to the end so this one’s on me. And EYE am REALLY ticked about THAT.

    It wasn’t some stupid deflecting excuse like puck management. It was time management. Mine.

    And I was even wearing my Lucky Underwear, which evidently helped AJ.

    Somehow that doesn’t look so good in print.

  20. Drew71 says:

    So just to feel better, I looked at the standings. The OTHER standings.

    Pirates are 17-12, second place, one game behind the Cards, and 1.5 in front of the Reds.

    Tied for first in the Wild Card race with the Giants and Rockies.

    Don’t even tell me. EYE know what the calendar says.

    But after last night, i NEEDED that. It’s my Heroin. (cue Lou Reed)

    Where’s Daryle when we need him??

  21. They had 26K at the game, too. Imagine that.

    Jordy Mercer, a 2-run game winner fresh from Hoosier-land.

  22. Naje says:

    I thought this was the Mecca for American/North American hockey? Surely these lack of effort games never happen to teams that contain the two best hockey players in the world and several highly decorated, talented veterans…in the hockey mecca…with the supremely excellent GM and the coach that has no worry about his job.

    Guess it’s, shockingly, the players’ who will be the blame.

    Nah, too easy.

  23. Drew71 says:

    Yeah. I’m waiting for the first “Trade Walker” post.

    Probably from somebody who also Demanded(!) his extension.

  24. Nay. Play Mercer at short. He’s tall.

  25. Eric Bowser says:

    Nothing better than watching your son score 3 goals this morning during his soccer game after that lame effort by the Penguins last night. He’s fighting through his problems and played really good.

  26. Naje says:

    Awesome, Eric.

  27. Extremely excellent! That equals the Riverhounds’ production for the entire season.

  28. hockeymonster says:

    For all of you who were defenders of Paul Martin and remember my previous posts about good ol’ PM I ask you why his stick was on the ice for an own goal on the 1st GA? He’s “defending” the front of the net and instead of marking his guy by getting shoulder to shoulder and lifting his stick he’s making the soft play and waving his stick!!! Or as Coach Therrien would say “soffff”.

    Then on the 2nd GA he commits to going behind the net with the mentality of a ballerina by once again waving his stick instead of playing the body. I already hear people blaming MAF for a couple bad bounces but when he’s under siege seeing over 40 shots and keeping your team in the game you cant blame the goalie. Unless you also blame big ben for every sack he takes.

    PM’s resurgence in the 2nd half of the season has been impressive and if you were paying attention a big part of the pens defense improving during the season. BUT as I said going up to the trade deadline he’s cost us before in the playoffs and he will again…we tested the definition of insanity by not trading him and his 5M cap hit in the off season then again when his value peaked during the season. I hope he proves me wrong but if his relapse continues reflecting how he played early this year and last season it will be lights out at consol energy.

    That said I expect pens to play a much more simple game on the road and win the next 2 relatively easily. Then again PM may decide he doesn’t want to defend bodies and sticks by the net….

  29. dwf says:

    Naje,

    How dare you even insinuate that the Beloved Disco Dani Bylsma, who is Supreme Head Coach for Eternity, be mentioned as a possible reason for the Pens total lack of preparation for last night’s game!!! Blasphemy, I say!!! How dare you!!!!

    On a side note, this blog had almost 300 posts after the pens opening night win and today there are sadly but only a few? COME ON HOMERS, I WANT TO HEAR YOUR TAKE ON LAST NIGHT’S GAME!!!:)

  30. Drew71 says:

    Careful. If he’s tall they’ll turn him into a pitcher.

    Nay?

  31. Drew71 says:

    That’s it. After that putrid game, yell at the fans.

    It’s our fault.

  32. Should be Naaaaa.

    I would be a naysayer on trading PRNW, though.

    And no pitching for Jordy. We already have one tall infielder pitching with JMac. Don’t need no mo.

  33. dwf says:

    Sorry Drew:( I value the homers opinion:)

  34. Naje says:

    Really good piece DK… hope that end-of-the-column prediction comes through.

    Billy Guerin and Gary Roberts brought to the Pens a consistent, professional effort every shift. Their best, most talented days behind them, they committed to making the most of what they had left of their abilities and talents with toughness, grit and effort.

    Malkin brings a few brilliant shifts mingled among maddeningly lackluster effort and head-scratching turnovers.

    And that type of effort is what sort of infects the team… it goes from him, to some of the third and fourth liners, to a guy like Letang, to the rest of the defensemen, who seem to think it’s ok to try and do things they have no business even trying…things far beyond their individual skill levels or outside their comfort zone. And the doubt begins to creep in…and then things start to snowball and the players/team can’t re-direct their energy to keeping it simple and making winning plays.

    Tough to watch those extreme highs and extreme lows. Like trying to figure out Pedro Alvarez, you get some incredibly good stretches along with the really bad ones.

  35. BillyBaduka says:

    Well said.

  36. Milo Hamilton says:

    That even makes me feel better about things. Now there’s the stuff that’s really important. Like the terrific 5+ innings of shutout ball I saw Thursday afternoon in a JV baseball game. Sure he needed 103 pitches to get it done. Boy never met a 3-2 count he didn’t like.

  37. chethejet says:

    Dejan, I disagree on your view that Bylsma is safe no matter what the playoffs bring. If the Pens are rocked out after this series, I just can’t see Mario and Ron being happy after Shero brought in the necessary pieces to go for it. Bylsma may be a hockey guy, but he just isn’t the coach to win in the most important time of the season. The Pens are giving up millions of dollars of potential revenue with these early exits the last three years.

  38. Scott says:

    Bylsma called the timeout because he saw his team was getting outplayed badly despite being ahead 3-1. You must have been watching a different game if you thought they had any momentum at that point. I thought it was a brilliant call. When you have you ever seen a coach call a TO when leading by two goals to chew out the team? He saw what was happening and tried to head it off by delivering a wake up call to his lackadaisical players. Unfortunately, they didn’t listen.

    Also, the charge that Bylsma failed to make in-game adjustments is simply wrong. He played with the lines in the third period and put Jokinen on Malkin’s line. I would have preferred to see him NOT make in-game adjustments, because I hate when he changes the lines like that. But the fact remains that he did change things up, so that’s an unfair criticism.

    I cannot wait until Brooks Orpik comes back. He may have lost a step, but he always make the fundamentally sound play, which is what we need from our D right now.

  39. Scott says:

    It’s only one game. The sky is not falling. Pens have superior talent (by a mile), and will still win the series. I don’t know if you know this, but no team has ever gone 16-0 in the playoffs.

    You’re right that these Isles are not like the ’08 Penguins (I think you meant ’07). That Pens team was much better than this Isles team. This Isles club has just one legit star. No way the Pens lose to a team with one decent scorer. Calm dahn.

  40. Drew71 says:

    We’re all frustrated. Losses happen. But they shouldn’t look like THAT.

  41. Drew71 says:

    Though we have to remember. It’s the playoffs.

    By definition they’re playing one of the best 48 teams.

  42. Scott says:

    Fyi, using derogatory, dismissive terms to describe anyone who disagrees with you (“homers,” “apologists,”) is not the sort of thing that will make others respect your opinion.

    How about you simply listen to what people have to say and respectfully disagree if you feel so inclined?

  43. Skip says:

    You nailed it – big time.

  44. Thundercrack says:

    I drove out of the Tampa airport the other day. And just before I had to deal with all the crazies driving 80+mph I saw a sign that either said that Tampa was the City or Home of Champions. It then listed Super Bowl, Stanley Cup and Arena Bowl.

    Someone who lives down there should really explain to them that one of those doesn’t count.

    And yes, a World Series from 1979 still very much counts.

  45. Drew71 says:

    I dunno. Sure, it was a well written piece.

    But after the next game i think I’d rather read a column about a talking building than inconsistent effort.

    But it’s a close run thing.

  46. Drew71 says:

    That’s right. Look at me. Never disrespectful. Right, Thunder?

    Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.

  47. JohninOshkosh says:

    Excellent.

    What’s his WAR?

  48. JohninOshkosh says:

    Like hearing about the blogger’s kids and families.

    Although, I must say their goaltender must be soft. A headcase. Not a game/playofff goalie. (Don’t want to be a homer). :)

  49. dwf says:

    Scott,

    First off, since when does superior talent guarantee anything??? Nobody expected this team to go on a 16-0 run, never said that. But, what is expected from this team is a CONSISTENT effort! That means from the coaching staff on down.

    Also, since when does star power equate to who wins a playoff series????

    These pens are going to have to show me that they can play the same type of consistent hockey night after night, shift after shift before I am going to be as bold as you and guarantee a victory, soley based on “superior talent”

  50. JohninOshkosh says:

    If the Nassua Coliseum could talk, it would sound like those people in the anti-smoking ads.

    One of the saddest places on earth.

  51. Milo Hamilton says:

    Longshot choice – Palace Malice. Named after a Three Stooges Movie & Mike Smith seems to have a pretty good vibe around him right now. He won the Oaks yesterday on a 37-1 shot. It will look good in an exacta & trifecta. Itsmyluckyday all the way down to 9-1.

  52. Milo Hamilton says:

    Naje,

    How’s the weather ?

  53. dwf says:

    Scott,

    FYI, I think you are missing the point of this whole “blog” thing? These forums are so people can discuss different points of view. While you may not agree with my vocabulary and you appear to be quite overly sensitive on how I choose to address Disco Dani, this IMO is not a reason to get upset? Or for that sake attack my point of view.

  54. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yeah, a winning $2 exacta bet in the the Oaks paid $727.

    Have to go to the IRS window on that one!

    I like doing some long shots in the exactas and trifectas.

    Wide open race. I heard Pierre McGuire picked Normandy Invasion. Might have to reconsider that choice. Actually I should just wait and see who Michelle Beadle picks and avoid that.

    I wanna see a triple crown badly. Those days have faded in my memory like the Bucs’ last World Championship.

    Have fun at your party.

  55. dwf says:

    Scott,

    Oh yeah, “homer” can be a good thing! Embrace it, Brother!:)

  56. Drew71 says:

    How did you get an early peek at the column?

  57. Eric Bowser says:

    LOL… one goal did come with a girl in net… she was still better than Fleury was on 3 of those goals.

  58. Milo Hamilton says:

    Thanks John. I’ll be trying to keep up on the Buccos this afternoon & I’m going tomorrow. Hoping for a winning weekend all the way around.

  59. Milo Hamilton says:

    :)

  60. BillyBaduka says:

    Pens need to turn it around today and execute it tomorrow at noon through 60 minutes of hockey.

    It was effort. They let off the gas at 3-1 and started to look for a goal to put it away. Just keep playing hard. It will come with consistent effort.

    It was not reacting properly to Isles adjustments to breakout. When they’re sitting on the breakout routes, those need to change. How about not going north until there’s a lane for the puck. How about a little northeast or northwest skating to create those lanes?

    It was double shifting Crosby in the third period of his first game back after a month. After liquid diet for 10 days. After weight loss. He’s a great player I’m not taking anything away from him. But anyone that says he has his legs back, I’ve got to disagree. He should be taking short shifts. He didn’t have any burst by the end of his shifts from the beginning. It’s understandable that’s why you don’t double shift him.

    It was Fluery after seeing too many shots starting to overreact and get out of position. The last goal was scored because he started to try and prevent the shot from the rebound off the boards. But it didn’t happen.

    3 goals off of wide shot rebounds from boards. I want to think fluke, I want to think luck but that looked like a disturbing trend. Maybe he doesn’t react like that if he’s not getting peppered with shots. We’ll see.

    I place responsibility on all of them.

    If they collapse with an early round exit. This is it. The Pens will change. The cap will dictate some of that but once inconsiderable options may not still be so. And Dan will be under scrutiny and his seat will feel hot. If it doesn’t, either someone above him is not doing their job or he is as oblivious as his harshest critics say.

    Hot seat or not, he should be disgusted this morning not just with the players but himself, his throw any line together third and his GD stubbornness.

    I can’t put it all on the players. Because the script is always the same. The two losses towards the end of the season, that was solely lack of effort. This, was “our game” is not working and 18 different responses to it. Thats why they’re always chasing, always scrambling looking like they are behind the play. This was overconfidence (which spawns lack of effort) and lack of alternative plan. Same script every time.

    And if they did try to adjust the breakout? The adjustment failed.

    All that said, after some rewrites and removal of colorful language, it was just one game. Just like the 5-0 game 1 which obviously now was too easy.

    The Isles learned their lesson after game 1. The Pens, all of them gahd damned better learn theirs after game 2.

    LET’S GO PENS!!!!

  61. If it’s anything like here, 120 miles south, it’s rain all day.

  62. Milo Hamilton says:

    Since we rarely if ever get to do this, I have to. Another gorgeous day in the Burgh. Sunny & low to mid 70′s every day since Tuesday.

  63. Pucknutz says:

    Very nice, a calm and well reasoned analysis of last nights game.
    The above said by a 100% “homer” so I am sure my opinion will be highly valued by all the blog participants. :)

  64. BillyBaduka says:

    I agree with you on the line adjustments in the third.

    I’m not trying lead or be part of a mob that is after Bylsma either.

    But he has to share responsibility.

    He took the time out together them playing the right way. Ok. It didn’t work. Some of that is on players, some of that is on Dan. Or is this just a group of players that won’t listen to anyone? (Intentional overstatement)

    And the fact you say you don’t want him to make adjustments is an indictment of his adjustments.

    I largely agree with all of your posts today. And I really like your positive attitude on Pens and in general. I get tired of the cyber space name calling too.

    I just think Dan Bylsma has to shoulder responsibility with the players.

  65. Pucknutz says:

    Oh by the way….

    GO PENS !!!

  66. JohninOshkosh says:

    Dejan:

    Don’t forget to say it in the manner Pig Vomit (Paul Giamatti) instructed Howard Stern in “Private Parts”:

    “WNnnnnnnnnbc”

  67. BillyBaduka says:

    Thanks Puckers! If I can use the nickname for you that Jandy does?

    I should also mention, I’m not on the ledge or no longer after a night of a string of disaster movies and grain alcohol. Kidding, I was asleep before 11:00.

    The last thing I want on Sat morning is a hangover after a long work week.

    The if they collapse is a huge IF.

    I still think the Pens win in 5, possibly 6.

    If they play together, disciplined and match or exceed Isles effort, there’s no doubt in my mind they win this series.

    If they win in 5 and continue to roll (with losses of course), we could look back on this as a game they needed. They faced adversity. As Scott mentioned, no one expected them to go 16-0.

    Every one gets knocked down. Everyone loses. Being a champion is largely how one(or a team) reacts to that.

  68. BillyBaduka says:

    +1

  69. Glad for ya. 56 for a high here. I’m sure Drew is experiencing the beauty of spring in Fla., though.

  70. JohninOshkosh says:

    Actually, very cool you get to work at 30 Rock. Hope you can get some pictures for Instagram.

  71. Pucknutz says:

    Every one gets knocked down. Everyone loses. Being a champion is largely how one(or a team) reacts to that.

    Wish I woulda said that !!! :)

  72. BillyBaduka says:

    Lol

    I’m sure some one else said it, I just was able to repeat or paraphrase it at an appropriate time.

    This after destroying my living room furniture. Oh well, gives me an excuse to get out today. (Wink, kidding, sarcasm, etc)

    I do gotta get out for errands. Maybe a stop at Sam Ash or George’s Music to dream a little dream, maybe pick up a pedal.

    Enjoy the day all. Tomorrow is another game.

    LET’S GO PENS!!!!

  73. BillyBaduka says:

    Great quote! Any blog entry with a reference to “Sunset Boulevard” is good stuff.

    +1

    Thanks for the laugh.

  74. JD says:

    Baba Booey!

  75. Vette60 says:

    Posting from my Mom’s iPad so we will keep this short.

    Enjoyed the column.

    Disappointing effort really describes things well. Too similar to the Flyers series in many ways. Bad D, Fluery flops, lack of grit to get it done. Really hope they figure it out. We all knew the Islanders weren’t going to curl up and roll over. Will be listening on the road tomorrow on the way back to RVA. Here’s to a Pens win tomorrow.

    Randy in PGH (just for the weekend)

  76. dwf says:

    Pucknutz,

    I DO value your opinion:)

  77. Naje says:

    Milo…
    Rain, rain and more rain. I’ll be very, very surprised if the track isn’t at least muddy, if not sloppy by race time. Lots of run on Palace Malice for that scenario, including mine. Hard for me to stay away from Java’s War for some reason… Good luck and Happy Derby!

  78. Officer Mancuso says:

    Hockey needs to get a grip on thuggish brutality. As near as I can tell, it’s studio wrestling for white people who don’t like basketball. If an african-american were to act like a typical NHL enforcer….

  79. dwf says:

    At some point in this series Sid is going to have pull the rest of the team aside and take control. I think it is becoming more and more clear that they are staring to tune DD out!

  80. Naje says:

    Big George LaRoque anyone….?

  81. Sarah says:

    Well….I took all day to think…and here it is!! Be kind LOL!!

    A few thoughts….

    First, what hit me was DK’s tweet last night re the Pens need to be reminded they have to compete. It REALLY resonated.
    Not just for how true it was….but for how RIDICULOUS it IS that THIS team after LAST year, needs to be reminded of ANY SUCH THING.

    Anyway – I listened to most if the game but did not see all of it….so I could be missing a few things, but here are my questions….

    WHY did we not match up the Sutter/Cooke line v Tavares as much? When they totally shut him down Game 1?
    Was it because DB just doesn’t much care about matching lines? If so – FAIL. Thoughts?

    Why was Bennett benched for the 3rd period? Did he obviously mess up in some way?
    Why did Crosby get double shifted late when he is obviously not fully fit yet? Poor kid has hollow cheeks and was still huffing in his post-game interviews. WHY force him into so many extra shifts?

    I could rant about why Engelland was in the lineup at all, but let’s wait for Game 3 to see if DB really feels he’s better than Depres. I agree with Eric and others that his penalties were emblematic of many of the problems last night.

    But what is really astonishing to me is that, after the total meltdown of composure last year, the Pens nevertheless seemed to do it again, against an opponent that should have IN NO WAY been under their skin. I had hoped that the addition of Grizzled Vets would stabilize things – yet it was Iginla taking an ill-advised boarding penalty that contributed to turning the tide. Honestly – I thought that the best protection against a repeat of the last 3 years would be the addition of these types of guys (thanks Ray!!). But last night, it didn’t happen. RS must be tearing his hair out.

    And as some here have outlined so well, yet again the Bylsma Breakout Scheme was adjusted to, and exploited to great effect.
    The Isles made Engelland, Murray, Eaton look slow. Which they are. And Martin’s reversion to his 2012 incarnation could not have come at a worse time.

    Lastly, MAF. (Sigh!) Though his D was awful and he was shelled, and he was great the first 30 mins, he showed again that he can get rattled and break down under sustained pressure, if he gets little help. Despite awful D, the last goal CANNOT happen.

    And I wonder – is Fleury down to his last soft/flukey/unbelievably inexplicable goal? I wonder if – after just one more – it’s Hello Vokoun. Which I guess is what we got him for. But it’s equally concerning, because Vokoun has been no better than MAF when his D has sucked. Even worse, perhaps. No happy answers there.

    And is it just me, or does this team somehow always respond poorly to the return of Crosby? I know it can mess up chemistry and whatnot (though it did not seem to last night) but geez, they do NOT get inspired, and follow his example. At all. The opposite in fact – they seem to sit back and say “Hey Sid will bail us out!”
    IN. EX. CUSABLE. WHY does this team NOT RESPOND BETTER to Crosby? ESPECIALLY under these circumstances? (Playoffs/return from broken jaw/early goals?)

    Back to the Schemes, and the tiresome post-game “uncharacteristic errors” “complacency” “bad bounces” “need more effort/focus” explanations…..
    Much of that may be true. BUT….
    I have coached both hockey and tennis, and I can tell you that: the Coaching Schemes MUST be designed around the skill-sets of the players. I’ve always thought that the Pens’ Breakout Scheme is High-Risk/High Reward….requires quick, skilled skating and puck movement deep in the D-zone, in order to hit long North passes. There is not typically a Center down low to bail out the breakout, shorten the outlet pass, which removes risk, and allows the D on the boards a quick easy option should he be pressured too much by a fore-checker. Without that, it’s High Risk, but with all 3 Fs North, it is also High Reward if you can quickly get the puck tape to tape to them….

    Anyway. I think we saw last night that a) the NYI adjusted and fore-checked well/pinched off the long passes and b) the Pens’ D was NOT UP to the task of moving the puck quickly enough to avoid that.

    AND C) the result of a Scheme which is at the edge of the skill-envelope of the players, and is FAILING, can have BAD EFFECTS cascading downwards….loss of position/penalties….frustration/stupid penalties….TURNOVERS/good chances the other way.
    Which REQUIRES ADJUSTMENT. Did the Pens ever bring an F back deep to take pressure off the D? Did not see much of the game, only listened….but I think the stats tell the story – 11 TOs. Not good. Anyway – I do NOT Think it’s as simple as “poor focus/need better effort”….That’s the easy out. It is more complicated than simple Lousy Effort and goes back to Scheme and Adjustments.

    So – when we evaluate at the end of the game we need to be aware of how much of the problems were simple crappy play (Martin) or loss of composure penalties (Iggy) or – a Scheme having been adjusted to, which pressures the players beyond their ability to properly execute, and all the issues that ensue from there (lots!).

    Lastly – let’s face it, per DK’s Tweets re the Consol arena “holding its breath, expecting the worst” I think we all can agree this game was a sickening Déjà vu of the 2012 Flyers Meltdown. When NYI tied it, I almost posted “game over!” but held back….Hoping!…..

    But I don’t know how anyone can feel that HCDB is not on the hot seat if the Pens go out early. It’s too much of the same problems.

    Just the fact that, despite the heroic changes to the roster that RS (almost magically) engineered, by game TWO of Round ONE they have already got the whole town flashing back to 2012, and before. And for good reason.

    I feel like at best this will be a long series, at worst a short one in favor of NYI, and either way, HCDB is on a hot seat.

  82. dwf says:

    Sarah,

    I think you are spot on with your analysis. While I believe that last night’s game was a total team break down, I can’t help but to place the bulk of the responsibility on DD. As I have stated in my above posts, I REALLY don’t think DD knows how to coach/win in the playoffs! Maybe he was “cutting edge” when he first became coach of the Pens, but that was a long time ago. The league has long ago figured out his system. Meanwhile, the rest of the league’s coaches have since devised much better schemes. DD is stuck in 2009.

    I also agree that if the Pens make yet another early exit from the playoffs I don’t see how they could seriously bring him back! Regardless, of what DK writes about DD’s job security.

    So, we can only guess which version of the Pens will show up tomorrow? Either way, the Pens are in for a 15 rounder with these Islanders

 
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