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Friday Wakeup Call: Road map to success?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Friday column summarizes Game 5 by pointing to … a scoreless first period? Yeah, it’s kind of reached that point with these Penguins. Less is, indeed, more.

Except when it comes to one of Sidney Crosby’s most sensational goals …

Not too bad, huh?

Remind you of anything?

We are so terribly spoiled in this city with the quality of hockey we witness. Really are.

A full written breakdown of the goal, plus much more can be found in our full Penguins coverage, by Rob Rossi, Josh Yohe, Kevin Gorman and Jerry DiPaola.

And here’s what the captain himself had to say about it …

>> The chat transcript covered a plethora of Pittsburgh sporting activity.

>> Even a closer as superb as Jason Grilli’s been is no match for a most unfortunate flurry of small ball, as befell the Pirates last night in New York, per our Rob Biertempfel.

On the brighter side, Jeff Locke continues to be … not spectacular, but steady. I have my doubts about him long-term, but he’s had a handful of encouraging starts now.

>> Good stuff about the Steelers’ younger D on the Steel Mill blog from Mark Kaboly.

>> I’ll be flying back up to Long Island this afternoon to cover Game 6 tomorrow. Before that, I’ll pay a visit to TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. to talk pucks.

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 more, including 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 top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

273 Comments

  1. For brevity’s sake, and because I am a tired Hippo, who needs to get his butt in bed, I am going to copy my last post from last night’s game thread.

    DK nailed it yet again in his column.

    And this Hippo loves simple analysis, too. :)

    • ” With apologies to Sarah, Eric, Pucknuts, and anyone else who is far more able to break down games in great detail……….. I offer the following……
      Tonights game was won before the game. Goaltending change, 12 on 87′s line.
      Turnovers are the key to this series. Games 2 and 4, turnovers killed us. Other games, no. If we play a disciplined game saturday, we will win.
      Pressuring the Islanders in the offensive zone is key also. They turned the puck over tonight due to pressure. They also spent very little time in our zone the last 2 periods.
      Vokoun has the Isles number this year. He needs to stay in goal until he falters, whenever that may be.
      Keeping in mind that the Isles have the last change next game, it will be crucial for Disco Duck to get the proper people on the ice. But effort remains very important.
      I always joke that this Hippo likes to keep things simple. Tonight, the Pens kept it simple, and a great result occurred. We tend to over-analyze things sometimes………… but sometimes it is good to just go back to basics.
      Was it perfect tonight? No, especially the first period. But asd long as the Pens focus, we should be alright. “

  2. Vokoun was a little shaky at first but he setttled in well enough to put up a zero in the first period, which was huge.

    Next biggest moment of the game and maybe the series was Bylsma FINALLY getting the top two lines correct. Instant chemistry on both lines. A lot of folks on this blog have been calling for that for quite awhile.

    DK – on the chat, it sounded to me like you were NOT in support of putting Iginla on Crosby’s line. You said you were “okay with leaving Sid’s line alone.”

    Finally, I’m so glad Joe Vitale finally got a chance to play. I’d still like to know: why isn’t he a penalty killer? Seems like a perfect role for him.

    DK: I was OK with it. Still am. The objection was having Iginla play on the wrong side, regardless of line.

    • Either way, Iginla on Malkin’s line means either he or Neal will be playing on the wrong side. Moving Iginla to Crosby’s line makes everything better. That goal last night by Crosby not only was great by him, but was helped by the respect the other players had for Iginla in that situation as well, which gave Crosby the space to do what he did. If Iginla’s not there, they roadblock Crosby. I don’t think Kunitz (as good as he is) would have had the same impact on that play.

      • Neal can play either side. Many people forget that James Neal was exclusively a LW and had posted 20+ goals from that side in each of his first 3 years in the league before coming here. I know he jumped up to 40 on the right side, but a lot of that increase can be chalked up to him continuing to improve and having off-the-charts chemistry with 71.

        I like the lines they ended up with, but Neal playing LW is much better than putting Iginla there.

        • When Iginla was struggling (regular season) DB should have moved him to Sid’s right side. I love DB to death, but he’s more stubborn than most women YOU know ;)

          • Sid was injured for every regular season game iginla played for the penguins… Except for the 50 seconds of ice time he had before breaking his jaw! :)

            • You’re absolutely right, and I replie to gregenstein below like this:
              “The point is, Iginla should have been put on the line with Duper and and not forced to play his left wing. That would have shifted Kunitz with Malkin before the playoffs started.”

              Had Iginla been on that line, it would have gone so much smoother. Malkin wouldn’t have been so frustrated. Kunitz really settles that line.

  3. Well, much better results for sure…had a long chat with my Penguin-fan coworker today here in Richmond and we agreed that it would be great to see Iggy on the right side…FINALLY! Vokoun looked good as well…Thought the Pens improved after a slow start in the first, but it was a great start to me since the score was 0-0. No changes in lineup for me going into game 6….thought TK added a nice bit of energy to the group….

    Here’s to a Pen road win in game 6 to close it out! Let’s go PENS!

    Have a great Friday – time to hit the sack!

    Randy in RVA.

  4. Happy that Jeff Locke continues to perform. Less happy about the lack of offensive support. One would have thought we faced King Felix for the second game in a row. The Bucs are 10th out of 15 teams in the NL in runs scored. Two of the teams below us, the Nats and the Dodgers, will eventually leapfrog us. (Yeah, yeah — and the Padres will probably sink below us.)
    And the optimist in me says, hey, Pedro just had a good game. The pessimist in me says now he’ll have one of his long string of 0′fers. Between hits on May 1, and May 9, he sandwiched a bunch of 0′fers along with a day he was benched.

    But Jeff Locke — he’s been the boy who held his finger in the dyke.

  5. What a 9th inning by Hurdle! Marte doesn’t bunt and after NY’s sac bunt, Hurdle doesn’t IW the next batter to set-up a double play. Now here’s one you all missed – on the NY bunt, their runner was running CLEARLY out of the lane in fair territory going to 1st. All Martin had to do is pick up the ball and throw and HIT THE RUNNER!!! Interference would then be called for being out of the running lane. The batter-runner would be out AND the runner from 1st would have to GO BACK TO 1ST BASE. No runners may advance under pro rules when interference is called. You would think that Martin would know this and recognize this for as long as he has been around. Nice job again Jeff Locke! Maybe these guys will score some runs for you some day!

    • Can anyone tell me why in the world you wouldn’t call for the intentional walk there? Perhaps I’m having a brain fart, but what possible reason could there be for not calling it? Bottom of the ninth, first base open, tie game. ?????

  6. Great article DK.

    As you said, the first set the stage.

    While the Islanders ended up with 14 shots, the Pens didn’t give up a goal. They weren’t turning the puck over with regularity.

    The second felt great.

    The Islanders were the ones that ended up chasing the play. The Islanders ended up looking frustrated, taking cheap shots.

    Pens played a solid third. Islanders got chippy. The Pens got under their skin. Hamonic ends up loosing composure instead of Malkin.

    Here’s hoping the Pens can use this blueprint and win game 6 and build some special memories in the weeks ahead.

    LET’S GO PENS!!!!

  7. - Vokoun did exactly what the Pens signed him for in last night’s game. Be a stopgap in case Fleury struggles. He should play the rest of this series, unless, for some reason, he’s absolutely horrible in Game 6.

    - Locke deserves to stay in the rotation until he falters, even when other pitchers get healthy. He’s never going to be a big strikeout guy but you can’t ask for much more that what he’s done the last few starts.

    - Pedro has been poor most of the year but last night showed why he can be a valuable asset. It’s still fairly early in the season, Let’s see where he’s at in a few weeks.

    - Pens need to snuff out the Islanders in the next game and close out this series. We don’t want a Game 7. All three prior series went to a deciding game, with the results not good for the home team. I know that it’s a new era, new players, etc. But still, it’s a bad omen.

  8. Good game, guys. Obviously, reinventing the wheel does not work for these Pens. Keeping it simple does.

    Please keep Vokoun in goal. He put up a solid effort.

    Please leave the lines alone. The only way the system works is for everyone to play their natural positions so all the parts of the Mighty Pens Machine have the optimum chance to work properly.

    Please Skate Responsibly.

    Remember, to quote Herm Edwards: “You play to win the game!”

  9. Besides winning….The next best thing the Pens were able to do was to keep the Islanders off the scoreboard.
    Momentum is what NY has thrived on, and the Penguins gave them “zero momentum” to take into Saturday’s game.

  10. Anyone notice that Malkin’s time on ice was cut significantly? Part of the reason the team looked so much better 5 on 5. He had less time to make stupid turnovers. He still managed to take a stupid penalty. His temper was well chronicled on 24/7 and still hasn’t improved 3 years later.

    • First of all, very nice game!….as for Malkin’s temper & composure, I think they should consider anger management. He’s got to get it through his head that the more he reacts to this stuff the worse it’s going to get! I think even late in last night’s game they got under his skin a bit. Make it past this round and other teams are going to continue to handle him this way. I think this reputation is going to haunt him much longer and make his play much more difficult than when Crosby was labeled a diver/whiner early in career. Even if he does gain the composure/maturity to not react, it will be several seasons before other teams change their tactics against him….Neal may not be far behind Malkin in this regard……Another thought I have, in what other sport is it an accepted practice for the losing team to throw temper tantrums & fight at the end of each game once the outcome is determined?….enough nitpicking…….very good game, close it out Saturday

    • May 5 game Malkin TOI 18:12
      May 7 game Malkin TOI 17:24
      May 9 game Malkin TOI 15:08

    • As much as we complain about Bylsma’s stubbornness (rightfully so), might this be his way of punishing Malkin for his undisciplined play. No way do they bench a talent like Malkin in the playoffs, but maybe this was Bylsma’s message to get it under control or continue to see less minutes.

      • I sure as heck hope so.

      • More likely that it’s a natural result of having a fourth line that is actually playing well.

      • Wow jandy and iceman agree with my assessment about bylsma’s stubbornness?!?! Am I on the right blog? :)

        Look at the minutes for pens roster last night and previous games. Balanced minutes up and down compared to previous games…4 lines played and everyone looked fresher with no fatigue induced penalties.

        If I need to explain why PM is an over sized pylon AGAIN…i’ll just refer you to the video last night… :)

        • You mean when he took out Matt Martin, league leader in hits, and drew a penalty?

          I will give you that he got owned by Tavares. Three swings and misses on that one. Thankfully Vokoun bailed him out, but Tavares is cream of the crop in the league and it was a sick move.

          • Paul Martin is one of our steadiest defenseman. That penalty he drew against him was icing on the cake. The p^ss^ Matt Martin couldn’t handle the hit legally, and ended up holding him in a necklock. Yeah…real professional.

            • Agreed, Martin has been very good. I assume hockeymonster is referring to the move Tavares put on Martin. But few defensemen could have stopped that. Tavares happens to be a world-class player.

          • Come on guys seriously? Anyone ever play the game? I’m glad PM responded with that hit…but that was only after Tavares AND okposo challenged his manhood by skating right at him MULTIPLE times and Tavares attempting and succeeding on moves that are usually reserved for practice cuz they had no inkling or semblance of fear that PM would hit them.

            And I think we can all agree that those hits or even attempted hits by PM are few and far between…i’ll set my sun dial for the next one…

            • Paul Martin plays his game stick on puck. Brooksie plays his game hitting (even he is hitting less these days). Either way, if you play smart, you will be successful. A skilled opponent will make you look bad every now and then. It happens.

              • Jandy, you’re being totally unfair…I praise PM when he plays his style well but how comfortable should we be when vokoun had to bail him out multiple times? What would you guys be saying about PM if Okposo and Tavares each scored on one those rushes?

              • The only thing about much of the praise for PM this year that I have to point out is that I think it gets amplified by the fact that he’s been so bad the past several seasons. Can’t deny he’s played better, not saying he’s played all that horribly. But it’s quite similar to all the praise for Ovechkin this season- he was worthless the last couple seasons. Part of that Penguin mentality we seem to have that scapper pointed out.

                “Fire By…oulevard of the Allies?!”

              • and how many shots has PM deflected away stick on puck doesn’t matter who is in goal? I give credit where it’s due. The guy plays big minutes every game. You want perfection? That’s unfair.

              • I’m going to lunch, play nice kids :)

              • Ok lets give out gold stars for basic dman functions…

            • Yea I played. Spare me.

              But go ahead and take the worst plays you can find and label his entire game. I get tired of stickin up for defensemen when they just RECORDED ANOTHER SHUTOUT. But yea…PM is just THE WORST EVER.

              He got turned inside out by Tavares? He does that to everybody. He did that to Letang AND Orpik on the same play to score the game winner on tuesday. So does that mean 58 and 44 suck as well? You know other teams are actually allowed to have good players too. Despite what everyone in Pittsburgh thinks, we dont have ALL of the best players. And other teams are actually allowed to make good plays. This narrative that the only time anybody beats the Pens is because they play poorly and not because the other team is..you know….also a group of skilled professional hockey players, is absurd.

              And look up the stats on hits for gods sake. PM has more hits than half of the team this series.

              “Has anybody else played?” my god…Where did you play? XBox?

              • Xbox? I never even owned a Nintendo…don’t worry bout where I played…I’ve held my own against players still cashing checks to play…but that’s besides the point….

                My point earlier on Patrick was that we played much smarter by not over committing on the forecheck with the 2nd guy unless there was a 50/50 or 60/40 puck to be won…we mixed in the trap and were able to overcome very “SOOFFFF” defense from PM. My point since last season before the philly series is that we MUST be smarter on forecheck and we must incorporate the trap to be successful and NOT overexpose our defense to too many high speed 3 on 3 and 4 on 3 rushes.

                I think some of you guys are looking at some of my individual posts and not taking into account my point from a big picture perspective.

              • Brad in Indiana had a good perspective above on the PM situation.

              • One more thing Patrick…go back and look at replays of the MULTIPLE Okposo and Tavares rushes on PM…he did everything but skate to the bench when okposo got a full head of steam coming at him….if you played please let me know if your 100% comfortable with PM facing Boston, Ottawa or Chicago?

                And to be clear…if we play the way we played last night and mixed in all 4 lines and a trap when necessary then I think we can beat anyone…but we need PM to not avoid contact. If you guys disagree with that then that’s your perogative but i’m going to still believe that our highest paid dman cant be avoiding contact if we’re gonna beat the above teams to win the cup.

              • And there in lies your beef with PM: HIGHEST PAID defenseman. Leave it rest, monster, leave it rest.

                Murray tripped over his own two feet and feel, allowing I forget what Islander to go in on Vokoun uncontested. I guess Murray’s a pylon too.

                Please.

              • Darn typos…Murray FELL.

              • Murray tripped over his aura.

        • I agree that DB is stubborn. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • I don’t think this was any kind of message to Malkin. It was just the natural outcome of playing the fourth line more. When you give the fourth line a regular shift all game, instead of just sporadically, everyone else’s ice time goes down.

        Bylsma must continue to do this. Against a fast team like the Isles, we need everyone who dresses to play a regular shift so the big guns can be fresh and rested at all times. Have faith in the guys you put on the ice. Look how much better Despres played yesterday after his coach showed the willingness to give him a regular shift.

        • Totally agree with Depres. The kid wasn’t getting enough playing time. His confidence has been boosted big time.

  11. 3 wins down … 13 to go !!!

    Let’s Go Pens ;-)

  12. The Workings of a Hockey Fan’s Mind During the NHL Playoffs:

    Pens lose 5-4: “Fire Bylsma AND Shero. Trade 58 and 71. Blow up the team. Rebuild. Force Mario to sell. I’m done with these guys.”

    Pens win 4-0: “Will the parade be on the Boulevard of the Allies again this year? Think they’ll have it on a different street in 2014?”

    And believe me, I’m so guilty of this type of thinking that I should be typing this from a white Bronco.

    As for Sid, while the goal was ridiculous, I think the feed to Letang was maybe more impressive. Backhand saucer pass right on the tape while moving forward into traffic? Stunning.

    • LOL

      Nice.

      You are certianly not alone.

    • I think you are oversimplifying. If the penguins play every game like last night, there’s nobody we can’t beat. BUT, this is just the beginning… this is the re-definition of the answer to “what is penguins hockey?”

  13. Great goal by Crosby, but it wasn’t in the same league as Lemieux’s in the Cup finals. Actually, Tavares’ undressing of Paul Martin was the best move of Game 5, but he couldn’t finish.

  14. Dejan, I got goosebumps when Sid did a 2013 version of the Mario Statue goal. Did it affect you like that? I know you try to be … impartial … but … did it affect you at all?

  15. Actually, DK…the play reminded me more of a certain play memorialized in bronze out in front of the building than the clip you showed. Who knows, maybe someday four Islanders’ backsides will be out on Centre Avenue.

  16. Hello!

    Road map to success?

    They lost to the mets. The METS!

    HELLO??

  17. The video of the Mario goal above (which is against the North Stars, not the Islanders) isn’t the moment depicted by the statue.

    But what a beauty by Crosby. 1000 percent determination, including the shot. Epic. There was simply no way that Sid was NOT going to score.

  18. JAL’s MacArthur Park Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WHx0B90FUc

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dHVOMzdPYm9wUEJtdVJ0WWUzVWhFc2c#gid=0

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Thoughts on Curry, the Draft, Pimentel Hitting 98, and Liriano

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/first-pitch-thoughts-on-curry-the-draft-pimentel-hitting-98-and-liriano.html

    Prospect Watch: Cole Has His Best Start While Pimentel Has His Worst Start

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/prospect-watch-cole-has-his-best-start-while-pimentel-has-his-worst-start.html

    Draft Preview: More Mock Drafts, Key Match-Ups Highlight College Weekend

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/05/draft-preview-more-mock-drafts-key-match-ups-highlight-college-weekend.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Clint Hurdle lets Jason Grilli pitch tie game; Grilli allows winning run

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/5/9/4317528/clint-hurdle-lets-jason-grilli-pitch-tie-game-grilli-allows-winning

    Matching relievers to leverage
    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/5/10/4317932/matching-relievers-to-leverage

    7 WHYGAVS

    Game 35: Mets 3 Pirates 2

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/april-2013/game-35-mets-3-pirates-2.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Lose 3-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/05/bucs-lose-3-2.html

    9 Rumbunter

    When Will Gerrit Cole Make His Big League Debut?

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/05/08/when-will-gerrit-cole-make-his-big-league-debut/

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Mets 3 Pirates 2

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2013/05/mets-3-pirates-2/

    • MacArthur Park Richard Harris 1968 Well known actor Richard Harris took this Jimmy Webb song to number 2 in June of 1968. The song has been recorded by others, including Donna Summer and Waylon Jennings. It was also parodied by “Weird Al” Webb wrote the song about his breakup with Susan Ronstadt , a cousin of Linda. Webb and Susan often met for lunch in MacArthur Park, which is in Los Angeles

  19. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 New York Daily nNews

    Mets beat Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on clutch 9th inning pinch-hit by Mike Baxter

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/mets-baxter-cuts-core-pirates-gw-hit-article-1.1340074

    12 Rant Sports

    Trading Joel Hanrahan is Turning Out to be a Great Move for Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/05/09/trading-joel-hanrahan-is-turning-out-to-be-a-great-move-for-pittsburgh-pirates/

    13 Yahoo Sports

    What Are the Pittsburgh Pirates Getting with Francisco Liriano?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/pittsburgh-pirates-getting-francisco-liriano-134700957.html

    14 New York Times

    Collins’s Lineup Changes Pay Off for Mets

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/10/sports/baseball/terry-collinss-lineup-changes-pay-off-for-mets-against-pirates.html?_r=0

    15 Washington Times

    Bobby Bonilla, lifetime New York Mets employee

    http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/wells-baseball/2013/may/9/bobby-bonilla-lifetime-new-york-mets-employee/

    16 CBS Sports

    Pittsburgh at New York Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130510_PIT@NYM

    17 Sweetspot

    The day the pitchers went 26 innings

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/35687/the-day-the-pitchers-went-26-innings

    18 PBC Site

    Mets rob McCutchen before Grilli allows walk-off

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_05_09_pitmlb_nynmlb_1&mode=recap_away&c_id=pit

    Hurdle makes right call, but gets wrong result

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130510&content_id=47119928&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    Should I Worry About My Favorite Pitcher?

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20516

    20 Fangraphs

    Nothing to Say About Angel Hernandez

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/nothing-to-say-about-angel-hernandez/

  20. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers hire Dan Colbert, Mike Butler as BLESTO and college/pro scout

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/5/10/4318124/steelers-scouting-blesto-history

    Steelers Draft Breakdown: Jarvis Jones produces highlights

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/5/9/4317034/steelers-draft-jarvis-jones-highlights

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey Says He Has To Become A More Vocal Leader In 2013

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/05/steelers-maurkice-pouncey-vocal-leader-2013-sirius-interview/

    Soccer(football) Will T

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Alex Ferguson retires: world’s press pay tribute to ‘true visionary’ Manchester United manager

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/10045487/Alex-Ferguson-retires-worlds-press-pay-tribute-to-true-visionary-Manchester-United-manager.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 9th May, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-9th-may-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Game 5 Recap: Pens fire back to win 4-0, take series lead.

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/5/10/4317796/game-5-recap-pens-fire-back-to-win-4-0-take-series-lead

    26 New York Daily News

    Islanders can’t best backup goalie Tomas Vokoun as Pittsburgh Penguins take 3-2 series lead

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hockey/isles-best-goalie-vokoun-pens-3-2-series-lead-article-1.1340024

  21. The other day I said TK would be a difference maker if he played because of his forechecking tenacity and battle skills along the boards.

    Great job last night. Don’t know why they waited this long to play him.

  22. “I have my doubts about (Locke) long-term.”

    Ok. I really hate to admit this. But I agree with you. (bleeding from tongue and lip)

    From watching him pitch his soft-toss lollipops in Bradenton and at Pirate City…especially PC where he would throw in the Elroy Face pen next to two other pitchers who invariably through MUCH harder no matter who they were…Locke kinda reminds me of another Zach Duke.

    Two fairly slight lefties…Locke at even less stature: 6-0 vs 6-2, 185 vs 210…both leftie soft tossers who used accuracy to their early advantage. Look at Zach Duke’s “Greg Maddux” break-in year of 2005 before hitters figured out that if you wait six seconds before swinging, the ball will be around the plate and moving kinda slow.

    In his rookie campaign, Duke was 8-2, 1.81 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, a certain hall of famer.

    The next year he gave up a league leading 255(!) hits, 1.50 WHIP (vs league average of about 1.36), 4.47 ERA…and compared to later years that was a fairly GOOD campaign for him, eating up the most starts (34) and innings (215) of his lackluster career.

    I hope I hope I hope I’m wrong about the similarities that I predict. So throw Locke out there every fifth day and prove how stoopid I am.

    I’ll celebrate my stoopidity…if.

    • Have you learned yet: don’t trust what you see in March and September?

      And you’re right in that the guy isn’t going to break any radar gun.

      And yes, EYE will include one of these for you: :-)

    • And yes, we celebrate it every day

    • Jeff Locke is nothing spectacular. He’s proving me wrong though. I didn’t even think he could be a starter in the big leagues. He’s settling in nicely though. He’s a left handed Josh Fogg, and I mean that as a complement. Fogg had a pretty long career throwing meatballs in the right location.

    • Zach Duke career strikeouts per 9 innings: 4.7.

      Jeff Locke career strikeouts per 9 inning: 6.1.

      They’re both skinny lefties who don’t light up radar guns, but that’s all they have in common. Locke can make guys swing and miss; Duke could not. That’s a huge, huge difference.

  23. I think Jeff Locke can be very good at what he is: a fifth starter.

    He needs to throw more strikes. His ERA is under 3.
    He doesn’t have much swing & miss stuff but what fifth starter does….that is why they are at the back end of the rotation.

    • Unfortunately with Liriano not yet/almost back, McDonald out, Sanchez GONE, and Jenny an emergency starter, at least for this week he’s their third starter. To be fair, he’s pitched up to the level.

  24. Joe Vitale 9 for 10 on faceoffs….:) :) :)

  25. Since when is it ok in MLB to have a player with a girls arm (no offense to the ladies out there) playing right field? That throw last night by Snider made me want to puke…had more arc on it than the Arch in St. Louis. I know not everyone is Parker or Clemete, but who taught Snider how to throw…this guy?

  26. Are the RiverRocks still playing?

  27. Walker went 1-4 in Altoona last night. I hope he’s heading to New York this morning.

  28. Wild and Habs are out.

    • Don’t feel sorry for Subban, Pacioretty, Gionta, or the Habs. Kinda feel bad for Therrien though. Would have been nice to see him advance to play the Pens. Would have been a great story line. That team just fell apart heading into the playoffs and then the injuries further buried them.

      Ottawa playing to maim right now it seems. If the Pens can advance, they better keep their heads on swivels or at least take it to them before they can set the tone.

      • Excuse me…jsut.

        • ZING!

          But yeah, I feel for Therrien too. I can’t STAND Punk Subban. Sens we can handle, as long as the dirty play is kept under control by our D-men.

      • I’m a big Therrien fan. Thought he got a bit of a raw deal at the end of his time in Pittsburgh. He deserves more credit than he gets for the 09 cup. He was a big part of it.

        And I know for a fact he really regrets the whole “soff” comments. Not just because he said them in an emotional post game out of frustration but because they have come to be what he is most remebered for. That line has become his legacy, and thats not right IMO

        I remember that he took a bunch of kids that couldn’t even grow mustaches and turned them into professionals. That he taught them what it took to be champs. Michel Therrien is a great coach.

        • I thought therrien was outstanding too considering the circumstances he took over…I think it can be argued that he got the pens to over achieve more than bylsma has. But it also became apparent that the pens tuned him out and it was clear a change was needed at the time and bylsma was obviously the fresh voice they needed.

          However it was a different team then and now thunder dan needs to tailor his system to the roster he has now.

          The “sooofff” press conference was a needed attention grabber for the team and hit a nerve due to the brutal honesty he delivered. All he did at the time is voice the obvious…I don’t think people or atleast I don’t discount his results just cuz of an entertaining press conference.

    • Yep and we get the pleasure of facing Ottawa if we win tomorrow.

  29. Hey DD, I am proud of you! Ney, an entire city is proud of you! Change should not be something that is feared, it should be embraced. Look what happened last night after you so bitterly and stubbornly fought making the very changes, that may’ve ultimately secured your return for another winter in Pittsburgh? YOU WON a very important game! See how that works? So what if the changes you made were ones that even the most novice hockey fans were calling for. The important thing is that YOU made them and you are to be commended!

    Now, let’s see if you can get the team to stay focused enough to play a second game in a row just like that one?

    Oh yeah, you owe TV a huge debt of gratitude because with his play last night, he may have just saved your job!!

    • Now it’s time for Malkin to answer the bell and by that I mean NOT answer the fight bell and be sucked into the bush league instigating tactics the Isles are attempting and succeeding with him. He needs to show he’s a pro and contribute only positively for a change and let that crap go for at least one very important game 6.

    • Hey dwf,.,…is that curious vililfication of DB’s schemes til last night? :-D

  30. Loving Iginla on Crosby’s RW.

    WTF took so long ????

    • Crosby’s only played 4 games since Iginla was acquired. They just so happen to be playoff games.

      • The point is, Iginla should have been put on the line with Duper and and not forced to play his left wing. That would have shifted Kunitz with Malkin before the playoffs started.

        • Prior to jaw mangling, Crosby-Kunitz-Duper were unstoppable though. And the question all season was “who can we get to play on Malkin’s OTHER wing”. I don’t blame Bylsma. I just blame him for waiting until game5 to make all these changes. Shoulda put iginla on Crosby’s wing in the first game back. There was no chemistry to mess up by doing that.

          With Vokoun’s success in the regular season against the islanders, I would have played Voky in Gm2. And take the same approach as the regular season to keep Fleury fresh. OR at the latest Gm3. OR at the very extreme latest Gm4.

          • Oh I agree, Kevin. We’re all great at being “armchair” coaches, but some things are just simple common sense. :)

  31. We really won’t know for sure until tomorrow, but I’m hoping the Islanders had their Admiral Stockdale moment last night.

  32. Well that was a much more fun game to watch. Seems that all of Bylsma’s adjustments paid off in this game.

    - Despres didn’t make an terrible mistakes and by having him paired with Letang, Letang was forced to play a little bit more stay at home which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing.

    - Vokoun was solid in net and was an obvious calming factor for the team.

    - Kennedy and Vitale brought some awesome energy and both were on a mission last night. Great forechecking and cycling which has been missing on this team.

    - Line switch for Iginla and Kunitz was much needed. The top two lines as a whole looked much mroe solid and seemed to click much better.

    - As mentioned by DK, the minor system changes to slow down the Islanders play was awesome.

    Now for some other things:

    - While Crosby’s goal last night was incredible, I may have been more impressed with the 40 foot, backhand saucer pass right to the stick of Letang. I don’t know if any other player in the history of the game makes that pass. WOW!

    - Matt Cooke played an incredible game last night. He was hitting everything that moved and was playing with great speed. Hate to say it, but maybe having Kennedy on his other wing is something that needs to stick around. That Cooke – Sutter – Kennedy line looked wicked last night.

    • Agree on every point. Well stated.

    • It was a great pass but it was on the forehand.

    • You forgot to mention rolling 4 lines and the balanced minutes up and down the lineup compared to previous games…that and mixing in the trap when nyi had clear possession while being aggressive on the 50/50 pucks is the key to unlocking pens talent while not hanging defense and goalies out to dry….we were even able to overcome PM looking like a solid high school player… :)

    • I never thought I would see the day when I saw the Pens playing a trap. Was one of those moments i kinda stopped and wondered if i was really seeing what I thought was going on…

      • can explain the trap to me and when it happened? I thought I saw 4 – 1 trap at the start of the third. The D were definitely getting lots of forward backpressure help throughout the game last night.

        • The trap is basically a 1-2-2 formation when the opposing team has clean possession of the puck with the one guy going in to pressure the 2 opposing dmen to move the puck. To translate to basketball lingo…bylsma a lot of times will have a 2-1-2 when he wants 2 guys to go in and pressure the dmen to move the puck with the 3rd guy backtracking and dmen stepping up to strip the puck away. But that gets us in trouble against teams with good forwards cuz 2 guys going in will open up passing lanes behind them and in front of our defense which leads to high speed rushes up ice against our defense.

          With the 1-2-2 you basically force more punts by the other team and any rushes up ice are usually with a lot less speed.

  33. RE: Sid’s goal. We are indeed incredibly spoiled by the otherworldly skills that we have witnessed over the years by Pens players. Unbelievable play by Sid. Perhaps more important was the play made by Iginla. Not many would have had the vision and then patience to get that puck to Sid as he did. A clear demonstration of why they must play together. That play, in and of itself, may be the deciding factor in a successful spring or early tee times.

    TK and Joe Vitale were both huge factors in this game. Can they keep up that intensity? And while I would like to see Morrow get more minutes, both the 3rd and 4th lines became more effective once he moved to the 4th line.

    WWTVD?

  34. Not a good night for Lincoln last night. He really seems struggling
    —————————————————————————–
    The] Jays lost it 5-4 in the worst way imaginable as in the 10th inning, Brad Lincoln came on with two on and two out and walked both batters he faced to hand the Rays a 5-4 victory. It was their most bitter loss of the season. Manager John Gibbons was seething. “You shouldn’t lose games like that, you’ve got to throw strikes,” he said. “It’s pretty simple you know. Let them hit their way to victory.

  35. Molinari tweeted that the NHL will “go dark” for two weeks next February so that NHLers can participate in the Olympics. Guessing I’m in the minority here, but I HATE NHL players in the Olympics. I always watched so much more Olympic hockey when it was mostly guys you’ve never heard of. The whole thing was more fun.

    • I have to say I LIKE seeing our NHL players in the Olympics. Why shouldn’t they have that chance? Also, they’ve been playing in them, and to stop doing it without warninig would be hypocritical. The Russian players have been looking forward to it for years now.

      • Good point about the Russians. You can’t all of a sudden pull that rug out from under them. It’s going to be huge for them to play there. But sure hope they nix it right after these Olympics.

        • To be fair, an accouncement should come from the NHL that as of **** year, the NHL players will no longer be participating in the Olympics. That’s the only way to do it. Some will still be upset, but you can’t please everyone.

          • announcement….darn I think I’m dyslexic this morning

            • did you what say?? ;)

              • Hey Hipposter :)

              • Hey Jandy!

                Feeling chuffed as chips about my predictions last night as the game progressed. Rarely does the Hippo do that, you know.

                Hope you and Brandie have a great day today!
                I am out of here soon…….. much to do.

                Now if only I was as good at the lottery as last nights game……….

                it was much fun in that thread last night……always like fun amongst people in the thread……..

              • Dittos on the fun….and you predicted well! have a great one, my friend.

    • I agree scapper…..and I don’t think you’re in the minority at all. The Olympics should be about amateur athletics not professional. Nothing is as exciting as a bunch of unknown college kids rising up to become a miracle on ice team.

    • Some of the best hockey I’ve ever seen has been played in the last few Olympics…NHL would be doing themselves a huge disservice by not letting them play.

  36. Garrett Cole pitched well last night. ERA is down to 2.23. Only 2 walks in 7 innings. 97 pitches, 68 strikes.

  37. Since I wasn’t hopped up on benadryl and actually got to watch the whole game last night…

    1. I still can’t stand Tyler Kennedy. Where has THAT effort been the last 2 years? To be fair, I acknowledged yesterday afternoon he would score to spite me. I’m ok with that for now. Guy got paid, relaxed, then woke up after a good benching (see necessary steps to motivate LaMaar Woodley). We’ll see if it sticks. As I said 2 years ago- don’t re-sign him this offseason!

    2. Vokoun played really well. I’m saying now we will see Fleury again this playoffs. Not a knock on either guy. Just how it will go. Especially if we advance.

    3. I’m hardly ready to visualize the victory handshake after this series. The Isles aren’t going to be that passive in New York. No disrespect to the Burgh, but their crowd even had me amped up. Game 6 will be about as easy as game 4.

    4. Malkin needs a Dr. Phil session or something. Or a common sense beat down. Instead of going out and stupidly taking retaliatory penalties because you’re frustrated, hit someone on a forecheck and do it legally. Take some initiative. You got some borscht angst to get out? Throw a hip check.

    5. Glad Bylsma made some adjustments. Let’s see if they stick. It was nice to see, you know, a semblance of 4 lines instead of 3. Not only is he stubborn; accountability is hardly in his repertoire.

    6. Paul Martin is the best stick-on-puck defenseman. Ever. Just ask Tavares. At least he threw a check (on camera nonetheless) and drew a penalty.

    7. We haven’t won anything yet. We’re not that far removed from squandering a 3-1 series lead. TB had an MVP quality player. The Isles have one, too.

    8. There’s no penalizing Crankshaft!

    • Malkin, and to a lesser extent Neal, need to learn some patience and discipline. if it takes benching for a period, do it. Both are star caliber players, but their STUPID penalties hurt the team way too much.
      That said, I’m happy with the outcome of Game 5. Game 6 will be a war zone. Count on it.

      I just LOVE seeing Islanders bounce off Crankshaft and fall LOL

      • To be fair IHTB (incredibly huge tool box) Matt Martin didn’t fall on impact.

        Thank goodness Dupweeeeee doesn’t have to hit him. He’d go flying into the first row.

        • No but he took a good jarring. Duper throws some good checks too….gotta give that guy credit. He’s so versatile, the Pens gotta find a way to keep him.

          • I love Dupweeee. One of my favorites. I think he’s one of the best 2-way players we have. It just makes me laugh when he throws a crushing check and then goes flying all over the place.

            • Just goes to show you, he puts all he has into it lol

              • Lol and then some. That’s why I love that guy. Waaaaay more than Tyler Kennedy. Consistent effort vs. “eh I think I’ll shoot the puck a bajillion times and forget how to play a relatively complete game until I’m benched for almost a whole series.”

    • Brad,

      Watching TK play a solid game must have been just tearin your heart out :)

  38. Been said…but props to DB for making adjustments and to the players for taking advantage of their opportunities.

    Vokoun was definitely 80% of this one, but also hard to overestimate the impact of the speed and energy from that 4th line.

  39. I was at the game last night. Loudest I’ve ever heard the building since it’s been built. I sure hope it sounded loud on TV too. I’m one of those people who think our fans aren’t as rowdy as other teams’ fans.

    I agree with Brad. The TK of folk lore has rarely been seen since his contract signing. Then, when we need it the most(after a multi-game benching), TK of yesterday shows up and does what he does best. He was visible every shift, in a positive light! I wouldn’t ‘hate’ on TK so much if he played like that all the time.

    As for Sid’s goal, that was pure magic. Some Pens fans may yawn at it, but only because we’re used to Mario/Jagr/Malkin/Sid highlight reel goals. But in the playoffs, a minute after Tavares displays near magic? That’s what great players do.

    Overall, incredible game. Good team effort, and I hope they carry that into game 6 in NY.

    One question though, as I saw the play live and don’t understand why a penalty was called. Crankshaft’s interference? Looked like he clobbered the guy(legally). Why the call?

  40. Crosby, Ovechkin & Tavares are finalists for the Hart.

  41. My twitter isn’t agreeing with me today…
    Did I read correctly that Dana Heinze said Sid has a new helmet/jaw guard? Can anyone post a screen cap of this from Twitter?

  42. I don’t have a whole lot to add to the discussion of last nights game. Well and fairly covered already above.

    One strange thing though, I think I am starting to think like DK. I was very pleased with the first period last night and was spouting off the crowd in my cave watching the game that that first period was just what the Pens needed. Keep playing solid hockey and the the scoring will come ect.

    Lo and behold this morning’s column basically says just what I was yammerin last night!

    Spookey, wondering if a good thing or bad thing?? :) :)

  43. Puckz…………

    read my 7:47 entry in last nights thread.
    I was a lone wolf it seems feeling good about that first period.

    But something (at the time) felt different about that period as I was watching it.
    Maybe the lack of 50 turnovers? I dont know.

    Give credit to Disco Duck.

    • Ya Plan, something did feel good about that period. Not to be overly dramatic about it but it was like the “demons” had been exorcised and we are good to go now.

      Still gotta win another game and move on, NYI ain’t gonna just lay down now but I feel much more confident that they can take it in 6. Hate game 7′s.

      GO PENS !!!

      • So do the Pens hate Game 7′s. Especially at home. Double especially after losing Game 6. And you can look it up.

      • Under Bylsma , Pens have NEVER closed out a series at home. I think it’s 0-7?
        Anyway…..hope for a win In game 6, is what I’m sayin’…

  44. Crosby (98) and Malkin (90) closing in on 100 playoff points. Both have played 73 games. Malkin needs 10 points in 9 games to have 100 points in 82 games or fewer.

    100 point players in the playoffs in this era. Special players and we are fortunate to have them.

  45. Is Liriano definitely starting for the Buccos tomorrow?

  46. Even though it brings back painful memories, it made me smile to see that footage of the North Stars being bamboozled and clowned by Mario.

    When I was a kid my Dad and I would drive 4.5 hours one day each winter to the Met Center to see the North Stars play. That modern yet outdated arena, that hideous green and yellow combination of uniform colors. Aww…I loved it all!

    Now despicable Dallas is their home and the Met Center is an IKEA.

    Dino Ciccarelli, I salute you!

    • Norman Green.

      • Yes. John Deere Green and Gold. Although the gold looked liked a dirty yellow or mustard.

        Milo, fess up. Is that guy sporting the stellar mullet when the video first cuts to the crowd you?

        Twenty two years ago and that video feels like watching a Maurice Richard video or something. Seems like yesterday.

  47. I’m pretty sure there’s a fair few beer drinkers on this blog.

    Check this out: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2322591/Thats-way-pint–Student-filmed-drinking-beer-EAR.html

  48. Here is how I see the 2014 rotation shaping out:
    Cole
    Liriano
    Morton
    Locke
    JMac

    The following will be waiting in the wings or in the Pen:
    Jameson Taillon
    Stolmy Pimentel
    Phil Irwin
    Kyle McPherson
    Andy Oliver

    • They have an option next year for Wandy, and I think if they pick it up, the Astros have to pay for part of it

  49. I have a question for everyone. Since the trade deadline, is that the first game where we had a full health penguins team? I get you have to deal with injury and all that… it is a very violent game.. but its super hard to develop a team identity if you are always missing a big piece and having to mix-match lines. Last night was the beginning of a real penguins “as team” identity.

  50. Anybody else going to see “The Great Gatsby” this weekend?

    How ironic that Dejan is headed to Long Island this weekend!

    It’s getting uneven reviews but Leo Dicaprio seems spot on as Jay Gatsby. Looking forward to it. In laws are here to babysit-so a rare dinner and movie with my wife.

    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

    In college I had to write an entire paper on just that one line!

    Have a good weekend everyone. Lets Go Bucs! Go Pens!

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