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Morning Java: When the stars don’t shine

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …


>> The Tuesday column doesn’t get any more analytical than necessary: The Penguins’ star players are laying an egg at the worst possible time.

Here’s a bit of my talk with James Neal on that topic afterward …

Here’s the rest of the Trib’s coverage of Game 2 …

>> The Penguins are in deep trouble, by Rob Rossi

>> A goaltending controversy in bloom, by Josh Yohe

>> Brad Marchand gets it done for Bs, by Jerry DiPaola

>> Complete playoff photo gallery, by our Chaz Palla and Chris Horner

>> More on the Bruins from our news partners at the Boston Herald

>> Finally, here’s this morning’s front page …

>>The TribLIVE Radio show today — 1-2 p.m. — will visit with the Steelers over at OTAs. One regret of all-hockey-all-the-time lately is that this will be only my second trip to the South Side, so I’ll come up with a guest there and tweet who it is at first chance. Also, we’ll touch base with Trib baseball writer Rob Biertempfel, who’s with the Pirates in Atlanta.

To listen, just click on the link above. It’s free, easy, no signup. One click, and we’re on. If you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or Android, we’ve got the upgraded TribLIVE Radio app. Also free and easy and everything else.

I want you involved, too …


Call: 412-320-7925.

>> A.J. Burnett thinks he threw more strikes than he did, by Biertempfel.

>> The Steelers had a big day, and not because of OTAs. They signed their top two picks, as Alan Robinson reports, and Mike Tomlin had some pretty striking things to say about our South Side.

As someone who once bought a home not far off Carson Street, I’ll attest what I’m hearing from a lot of folks after the Mike Adams incident, and that’s this: It’s a wonderful place to live all but six hours of the week. And those six hours are getting worse and worse all the time, almost entirely caused by people who don’t live there.

>> There won’t be a column Wednesday. Flying up to Boston later tonight to get a first-hand look at the Bruins’ pending parade route.

Hope you can tune in this afternoon. Better yet, call!

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.


  1. This game just leaves you speechless in how poorly the Pens played. Everyone gets blame for this mess, and there does not seem to be many answers to fix. Boston is way too good to allow Pitt to play fun and gun, and to just waste a must win on ice says a lot about the perceived heart of the team. 4th line guys are trying, but it is those top 6 forwards who must get it done.

  2. I agree with focus on scoring, playing smartly (hasn’t happened in this series yet) and then making Boston play from behind.

    My needed Game 3 changes:
    In: Bennett, Kennedy, Depres
    Out: Morrow, Jussi, Engelland

    We need more speed in our line-up, particularly considering Orpik, Murray and Iginla are not coming out.

    Let’s learn from Bruins-Toronto series and hit them with speed. Would trade perceived “toughness” and a few extra hits for skating ability and skill in finishing. We won’t have to worry much about the 7-game pounding we planned to give Chara, Jagr and company if we cannot get to Game 5.

    We should determine exactly what’s needed and react swiftly — in this case, with added speed. Let’s not make same mistake for Game 3. We can win this series if we react swiftly. Doesn’t matter who is in net — pick one.

    • Not sure you can take Morrow out after last night’s game. He and Vitale were two of the only players seemingly able to keep the puck in the Boston zone for longer than 3 seconds.

      • Morrow did have one of his best games last night, and I am sure we outhit them last night by large margin. But Bruins are taking hits to make plays. Need to trade some of that — not all of it — for skating ability and finishing. Just being realistic that Dan won’t be taking Iginla out any time soon, and Morrow was far better than Iginla last evening.

  3. This is taking on the uncomfortable cast of recent vintage Vancouver Canucks. The similarity would be unmistakable were it not for a game seven victory in 2009. The team seems not to be built for adversity, and when you add to the mix an obstinate and unimaginative coach, you get this. Nor do I believe Shero’s acquisitions have turned out to be particularly great ideas. Morrow, Iginla, Murray and Jokkinen appear old and slow, and that has been an issue the entire postseason. It is time to get younger and faster, and to do it with a new coach.

    • Overall, Iginla and Murray have played well in the post-season. That said, agree that we need to adjust personnel to each series. There is no sense in trumpeting our incredible depth if we are going to be locked in to certain players moving forward. Time for Dan to make this series’ needed adjustments to a line-up of speed and finishing ability.

  4. I think Phil Bourque put it best in the postgame show, just simply “an embarrassment.”

    DK: Ouch, coming from the Old Two-Niner. Statements like that don’t roll easily off his tongue.

    • I think the fans at the game felt the same way. I looked around and at least 1/3 of them had left by the time it was 5-1.

      • Third period looked like a scene from 1978, except for the loud music and the “sheeple” mugging for the Jumbotron cameras.

      • That game sukked.
        I’m not gonna arm-chair QB/coach; heard enough of THAT last night and seeing boatloads of it today. Perhaps some slightly different observations are in order…

        * Heard one guy (he might have been the guy with the cowbell) yell–clearly after much liquid refreshment–”Dude! Yinz ghotta git da puck on da net! It aint dat hard!” Stupid. Line. Of. The. Night! I’m still laughing at that one.

        * Best part of last night’s game? Not Sutter’s 50-footer. It was Jimerson ripping out a stirring rendition that gave this grizzled old bastich chills. That’s my #1 star from last night.

        * Two gentlemen engaging in a loud, rather suds-soaked argument with two ladies about Letang’s “appeal” to the fairer gender. Wifelett and I chuckled at some of the rather absurd commentary, and I do believe the gents were a little less than secure in their own appeal to aforesaid females.

        * A woman who appeared to have swallowed the Hindenburg was studiously oblivious of the loud ripping noises emanating from her. She was 2 seats away from my radar-eared wifelett, who commented–also quite loudly–about the need for better ventilation in the Con. Even I heard it, and I’m normally oblivious (because I’m so focused on the “game”).

        * A young lady was in considerable distress after the 2nd intermission as she took her seat beside her beau. It seems that her IPhone slipped from her fingers while using the facilities because she didn’t want to come into contact with the fixture. When asked why, her loud reply was because it was “gross”. The poor girl was in tears when she told her guy that the phone slipped from its case and landed in the fixture. He was doing well comforting her until she asked him to go retrieve it. We never saw the conclusion of this drama because they stormed out of their seats and were not seen again.

        – so the moral of all this is that when folk go to events such as last night’s game, be aware that you ARE being watched and that someone WILL talk about it, and usually not in a good way.

        Blessing all and thanks for reading. BTW, I may have picked up on a dialogue on the bench last night between Tony G and Disco Danny. I’ll listen to the recording later to see if it can be transcribed for your enjoyment. Dos Svedanya! Lets go Shuttlecocks

    • Ouch indeed, but this probably is a time for brutal honesty. How many times does a coaching staff and group of players with significant ability and postseason experience fail yet again for lack of leadership, discipline and intelligence without repercussions? The Bruins are a better coached, more intelligent team. They have learned from past failure and become better.

      We have a bunch of stars who do themselves proud when confronted by mortals, but who lack any capacity to adapt to an opponent with a modicum of skill and a system. Let’s be honest here. If the Islanders had a goalie, the Penguins remodeling would already be on the drawing board. If by some miracle they survived this series, either Chicago or Los Angeles would suffocate this team. They are one-dimensional. That dimension is other-worldly, but it has to work, because it is all they have.

    • I cringed too Dejan!
      But he prefaced it by saying he’d lose all credibility if he said anything else.

      Truth hurts!!

  5. Iginla has limited value at this stage of his career. Unfortunately, that value resides in the one place he isn’t presently employed: the first power play unit.

    This series is over, as the change in attitude and coaching required to save it is missing. As part of the retooling, Shero should consider ending this Letang as a defenseman charade next season, assuming he plans to keep him. He is an offensive player with no aptitude for defense. As a winger, his defensive capabilities are more than adequate, as they will be an adjunct to his offensive game. Maintaining defense as the core of his duties results in a waste of his gifts and is harmful to the team.

    • On Letang, incredibly talented but does not always have his finger on the pulse of what the team needs most from him in particular games, or in particular periods. Still, I haven’t lost all hope quite yet because I would love to see how the Bruins would react to say a 2-goal deficit. Real easy to say the Bruins are disciplined and intelligent and their coach is a genius once they are two goals up (although I do agree we are getting outcoached). But the fact of the matter is that Julien was about to be fired twice (this year and in 2011) but for fortuitous turns of events. Key for us is to get a lead and then add one more to it. Speed and finishing ability is how we do it, but that will require hard personnel decisions. Dan needs to recognize this by Game 3 drop of the puck or we will be doomed.

  6. RIDE, Middle English, from Old English rīdan

    Current Pirate fan motto — “Enjoy the ~ !”
    Hunter S. Thompson — “Buy the ticket, take the ~ .”
    Bachman Turner Overdrive Song — “Let It ~ ”
    Astronaut — Sally ~
    Current Pens fan motto — “The ~ is over.”

  7. Unfortunately you are wrong Dejan. Very wrong.

    Julien DID adjust. Midway through the second period he was forcefully telling his players to get back to playing Bruins hockey and stop participating in the track meet.
    Since then the Bruins have pretty much prevented us from being dangerous, nullified our breakout, clamped down in the neutral zone, put our D to the sword on the forecheck, managed to evade our forecheck by a rinse-repeat chip to the middle off the wall (to which we have no reply, and this mirrored how the Islanders broke out and does not represent what Boston always does), and they are therefore feasting on the turnovers from A PENS TEAM PLAYING ENTIRELY DEVOID OF STRUCTURE and with no measure of accountability from the bench. How else could Letang be caught deep more than 10 times during these past two games with no forwards taking up position to cover for his forays. They have only scored four goals from those odd man rushes but they could easily have had more.

    Reality is that Julien had his Bruins sorted and keyed in after 30 minutes of game 1 or there about, and he had no need to change anything for game 2. It is Bylsma who needs to adjust, and he is once again incapable of doing so outside of inserting a new face or two on a fourth line/third pairing and hope for inspiration.

    What you see is a Penguins team where stars are definitely under-performing with Sid and Letang being spectacularly disappointing, sure, but more importantly you are also seeing the effects of a fundamentally solid team exposing a fundamentally flawed one.
    If you remember my reparte to your ‘Heat on Bylsma – uh no’ entry, I said or implied it all there.

    We are getting outcoached to an extent that is ridiculous, and it is not just any one thing that can be pointed to. Never mind how completely insane it was to put Iginla with Malkin and Neal in the first place, never mind on the left wing on that line, never mind persisting with it through all the failure and now be 0-2 down in a conference final where Malkin has been largely very good and never mind STILL seeing Iginla out there with them, losing every one on one battle, bubble pucks, fan on shots and contribute absolutely none of the elements we KNOW Malkin needs on his line. Never mind that!

    As much of an indication of stubborn incompetence as that is (and it is EPIC!!!), that problem is dwarfed by Bylsma having failed to recognize the issues that would potentially be our undoing in the playoffs ALL SEASON long. Not to mention last season! I say this as someone who has been pointing to these specific problems for years, and while they need no repeating now, here goes the short hand version.
    No structure, no accountability (and hence no discipline), no plan B far less plan C, no sense for the need to have complimentary abilities next to our stars to cover for their relative weaknesses.

    “We need to get to our game.” My ass!!! Our game is predicated on being allowed to play pond hockey by overmatched opponents who don’t manage to put a wrench in the little structure we have and rather allow our all star talent to just take over. Which will happen more often than not when you have more all star talent than any other team. Make no mistake, if the Isles had a better goalie and one or two skaters with talent befitting the kind of salaries that they are not capable of paying – we would have been out in the first round.
    Boston is not that team though and rarely do you face such teams when it becomes crunch time in the playoffs. Ie. when it matters. Win or lose…. I still have hope… Bylsma has to go after this season. He has been built up into something he never was, and while our stars are not Lidstrom, Yzerman and Fedorov guaranteeing smarts and competent, structured hockey, Bylsma is much further from being Bowman.

    DK: Tell yourself what you want, Glen, but we’ve got it from Claude Julien himself that he made no adjustments. And Brad Marchand. And Dan Bylsma. And James Neal. And Sidney Crosby. There are more.

    You’ll have to try to make your Bylsma case some other way because what you describe didn’t happen.

    • DK: You write: So the Bruins who had no answer for Bylsma’s system in Game 1 suddenly solved it?

      We lost 3-0 and had virtually nothing in the second half of that game. That’s the Bruins having no answers to Bylsma’s system? They answered loudly enough, I should think.

      The disconnect here is that you make the very encouraging start (performance wise) the picture of that game.

      What I described was that the Boston Bruins were involved in a for them undesirable track meet for 30 minutes of game 1 where the Pens looked very, very good despite trailing. Then the Bruins players – according to McGuire between the benches – got an earful from Julien about getting back to THEIR game, getting pucks deep, playing solidly in the neutral zone, stopping the track meet etc.

      That happened, and the 4½ periods since, Boston have simply been playing a perfect version of Boston Bruins hockey. I can certainly see the argument that they haven’t ‘adjusted’ if by that we mean that for the vast majority of this series, they have been playing exactly like they wanted to play all along.

      As Bylsma said this is how they EXPECT them to play. This is what everyone expects the Bruins to play like when they’re allowed to, more so when they have the lead.

      Clearly, to compete we could start by not gifting them those leads and playing low percentage, high risk, idiot hockey in pursuit. And then we can agree or disagree on Bylsma’s culpability for lines clearly not working, and this team playing idiot hockey at crunch times with the frequency that it does.

      DK: Your very clear point, Glen, was that Julien had made some adjustment to which Bylsma failed to counter. But that’s OK. You made many other valid — and appreciated — points along the way.

      • I heard McGuire ask Julien about adjustments, and you are absolutely correct Glen about coach J. saying that the B’s have to stop with the track meet and get back to what they do best, both to the man with the mike and the guys on the bench.

        I am not trying to be rude, I am just curious with this question.
        DK, are you and the rest of the people in the press box able to hear what the NBC Sports commentators say, especially the mid-game interviews of the coaches? The key word in that sentence is “able” and not willing.

        For the record, I listen to Pierre and company because they make me laugh, sometimes on purpose and often accidentally. and that’s a good thing during games like we saw last night. I miss Bob and Steigy (sp?) because they made me laugh for the above reasons, but they also explained things to non-hockey players in the middle of their own giggle-fests.

        I do not live in Pittsburgh, so it would take some effort on my part to get the available Pittsburgh audio feed to match with the time delay during games. Thanks once again, NBC.

        DK: No audio in any press box anywhere. Nor is any wanted. I’m watching the same game they are.

        Julien admonishing his team to better follow their system isn’t an adjustment. An adjustment in the sporting parlance is a change of strategy.

      • Glen,

        I couldn’t agree with you more, all of your points are valid and anyone who watched the games knows exactly what you are saying. But, I think DK and DD are somehow related because neither is EVER wrong and DK will always spin things in a direction to support his view.

      • DK: Thanks for answering and staying involved :).
        Honestly though, I think you now side step the obvious by using a particular definition of ‘adjustment’. I suppose we could agree on a narrow definition, but then I will also say that inserting Engelland and Vitale for game two is not a strategic adjustment as such but simply a roster choice. These two players bring different skill sets but don’t change the strategy.
        I would of course consider this an adjustment anyway, period, and to me, an adjustment simply has to do with analyzing where your team is struggling; whether it is a particular way your opponent forechecks, sets up their neutral zone coverage, whether it is a particular match-up you want or want to get away from, or whether it is individual players missing assignments or a team wide lack of patience/discipline. Then as a coach you try to get there.

        You posit that the Julien had no answer for the Pens game plan in game 1, changed nothing tactically and then routed the Pens in game 2, and you use that to point the fingers at the players (and some deserve it for sure) rather than the coach.

        I am pointing out that Julien had already gotten his players away from bad habits DURING game 1, where in fact they ultimately had all the answers needed after riding their luck and Rask in the beginning. It makes no sense to expect any adjustments from the Bruins after game 1, and it was on the Pens and Bylsma to change the pattern. That became hard after 28 seconds of game 2 when we were right back to the dynamics of the third period of game 1. Bruins played their game. Pens had no idea how to handle it.

    • I don’t know if Julien made adjustments or not, but the Pens did not. Way to many risky plays leading to goals and chances left and right. Yet the same players never seem to miss a shift. The Pens seem unprepared for the first minute and last minute of each period. This has got to fall to the coach

    • Well said Glen! Your post saved me the trouble of typing out my rage! And overall I wanna preface my comments by saying that boston deserves a ton of credit. As much credit as the pens and bylsma deserve to be hammered. Just want to add that this series reminds me of the montreal series a few years back when every pass or shot hit a stick or leg and nothing ever got thru to the net.

      I’ve been saying since last season that our defense is ill built due to the 5M we’re paying PM and I think this series proved that but Letang and Co. need to be sharper on defense and our forwards just aren’t coached up on dzone coverage and the nuances of marking your guy in the dzone early enough to defend passes and shots. And what happened to our improved defense around our net? I drank the kool aid thinking they turned a corner during the season but clearly they’ve had a relapse.

      And our stretch pass break outs are abysmal! We need to bring the forwards back so they can skate up ice with our dmen and out number the trapping players in the neutral zone. It seems like bylsma’s game these days is to have our forwards wait by the blue line looking for the chip n go but boston knows that and are prepared to interrupt and retrieve the puck in their zone and breakout past our forwards who are utterly clueless about what to do or where to go when boston stifles them. Doesn’t anyone on the pens staff play chess? I’m sure bylsma is great at checkers!

      • What warrants my anger from a crap-fest like last night is that it cost far too much money to just say, “Oh well, it’s just another game.”

  8. I just hope that each one of those players took a good, hard look in the mirror after this game. What a disgrace. They’re not done but, obviously (one of Mario’s favorite dozens of adverbs ;) ), it’s a long, narrow road ahead.

    It might not matter if the goaltending doesn’t pick up, and fast! Fleury blew any chance he had at redemption. I’ll be surprised to see him in a Pens uniform after this season. I hate to say it, but Vokoun might be wearing down. This was one of the fears I had before the start of the Ottawa series — if Vokoun could hold up over a long run.

  9. Apparently the Pens bought into the thought that everything was still ok after the first game loss. This didn’t look like a team that is ok. The team with so much talent is flailing, their stars flummoxed. The most damning of all comments came from an analyst during the game – the team is sleep-walking. I won’t read one comment from a player about getting “back to their game.” Their words were left on the ice. Props to the Bruins. They are playing like a Cup contender, though the Pens made it easy for them.

  10. DK: parade route?

    DK: Tongue met cheek, old friend.

  11. Furious, Frustrated…and Fine.

    One regret of all-hockey-all-the-time lately is that Jinxacevic thingee.

    At least there was a Pirates game to turn to.


  12. Boston Globe described game as a circus with Pens wearing red noses. Said Crosby was Bruins best playmaker constantly putting the puck on their sticks

  13. Good article by Rossi, but shouldn’t the focus be on the rest of the series? Isn’t it just a bit early for the list that follows:

    “There will be questions that general manager Ray Shero must ask if the Penguins fail to rally in this series.”

    But hey, another Trib sports writer is flying up to Boston later tonight to get a first-hand look at the Bruins’ pending parade route.


  14. The Pens have given up 9 goals in 2 games. Played careless in their own end, and created next to nothing on off of turnovers. Even an “offensive” team has to play some defense to win a cup. Boston is giving a clinic in playoff hockey. I hope the Pens are taking notes.

  15. Some observations from last night’s baseball game, for anyone interested….

    1. Marte was out. So was Walker. The umps were running all over the field and ended up out of position. But there is nothing wrong with getting a call every once in a while.

    2. Yes, the strikezone was inconsistent, but Burnett made a lot of bad pitches. The Freddie Freeman HR wasn’t one of them though. That was a great piece of hitting.

    3. I hope the umpiring behind the plate looked just as terrible on tv as it did in person. My entire section were groaning at the way balls and strikes were being called. Iassogna looked argumentative and confrontational from the get go. To his credit, it seems he did give Martin a couple warnings. It also looked like he went as far as to say something to Hurdle between innings about it. Not taking up for him, he was atrocious, but it looked like he gave Martin and Burnett fair warning to cut out the theatrics. There was a lot of chirping from the dugout too. You kind of had a feeling that someone was going to hit the showers early.

    4. Pedro had a great night at 3B. Made some really tough plays look easy. Too often, people (myself included) get so caught up in his BA struggles that they (we) forget he’s turned into a really good defensive 3B.

    5. I thought Marte looked uncomfortable in center. Or maybe he was struggling to see the ball. I’m no scout, but he seemed to take some bad angles, and had some late breaks on a few balls. Maybe I’m totally wrong. Like I said, I’m certainly no scout, nor did I sleep in a Holiday Inn last night.

    6. Why did Cutch need a “scheduled day off”? You just lost 2 of 3 at home to your division rival. Is today the best time to give him a break? Atlanta fans sitting around me were just as disappointed as me that he wasn’t in the lineup.

    7. Speaking of Braves fans. Had a few good ones sitting around me. Not one mention of the “Slid” as they call it. Had a few questions asked about Gerrit Cole. Folks wanted to know when he would get called up. I told them 2017.

    8. Huge ovation for McCann when he got his 1000th hit was cool to see. If I was being waterboarded and forced to admit to liking one Atlanta player, post Dale Murphy, it would probably be him.

    9. Mike Zagurski spends an awful lot of time and effort trying to keep his pants pulled up. He also spends an awful lot of time and effort trying to throw strikes. He’s got to go.

    10. Andrelton Simmons is the best young shortstop I have seen in many years. That kid has perennial all star written all over him. His enthusiasm (cockiness) will also make him very easy to dislike by opposing fans.

    • Good stuff patton.

      Cutch has not looked great at the plate lately.

      And I thought BJ Upton took some bad angles & routes in center too.

    • Simmons arm is a treat to watch. I haven’t taken note of a gun like that since Raphael Furcal hit the scene over a decade ago.

      I don’t care how many “warnings” Iassogna gave. If he didn’t like getting criticized, he could of always, you know, done his job. Indefensible move throwing out a player who wasn’t even “showing him up”. MLB umpires are a joke.

      • Absolutely agree with you about Iassogna. The funny thing about all of that is nobody knew who got thrown out for a few seconds. The pitch before, AJ was jawing and giving him hand signs, Hurdle was on the top step talking loud with a few others, and Martin looked to just be trotting out to AJ. It wasn’t until he took off his mask that we figured out who got thrown out. Everyone around me questioned how a catcher gets tossed while he’s walking away with his head down, regardless to what was said.

        Later on, the Fort looked to be jawing pretty good with Iassogna too. We were wondering if Inge was the emergency catcher.

        • Ha, funny, I thought the same thing watching on TV. The camera showed Burnett much more upset about the strike zone than Martin.

          Oh well. Good recap, patton!

    • I only watched the first 2 innings innings, but I was surprised to discover that strike zones aren’t required to maintain a rectangular shape. Mobile hexagon anyone?

    • Great stuff especially the libe on Cole…priceless.

  16. One observation I have in this series as with some past games. The stretch pass works wonders when people are moving even with the deflected dump in they have momentum in getting to the puck in the offensive zone. In this series, so far, I see the defensemen lollygagging it up and stopping at the blue line or before and forcing the pass to a forward standing still at the opponents blue line. Then, if it’s not picked off we do not have any speed in which to go in and get to the puck first, apply the fore-check and take control in the offensive zone.
    Another is the hitting, I love the big hits they had early in the game. Trouble is hitting someone for hitting sake is not productive. They need to play the puck as well, let the hitting come when it’s there and not force it. When forced or a little after the puck was passed does not stop an opposing offensive attack from happening. By then the puck is going the other way and you have taken yourself out of the play.
    Defense, well it would be nice to see the forwards make an effort to come back and help out. Not just skate in the defensive zone and skate around an head back out before controlling the puck.
    Now off to work I go. Let’s hope the Pens do as well.

  17. Does anyone think the Pens are still in it?

    • let’s just say I’m not giving up. I’m not a fair weather fan, like some of the trolls who were posting sh*t last night, trying to stir up trouble. I’ll be there watching until it’s over one way or another.

      • With the team that they have, sure they have a chance. They have to execute like a cohesive team if they are to pull this series out. Quit turning the puck over so much, tighten up defensively, make it happen on the power play and get better goaltending — although I have serious concerns regarding the last item.

        Whether this happens remains to be seen.

      • Not a fair weather fan either and they certainly were out last night, unfortunately the Pens just kept stacking the ammo for em.

        I cannot take anything positive at all out of last nights game. A complete embarrassment. Ran out of dogs, wastepaper baskets, and empty beers cans to kick.

        Strangely though, I was very calm as I shut the TV off at the end of the 2nd and decided to go read a book. Slept very well and woke up in a pretty fair mood. Usually after a bad Pens loss I am just a bit cranky.

        Bottom line is they either get their sh## together and play the way they are capable of or they are highly disappointingly done.

        Obviously the next game will tell the tale. I have not given up yet, but we shall see. Ah what the heck…..

        GO PENS!!!

      • “let’s just say I’m not giving up. I’m not a fair weather fan, like some of the trolls who were posting sh*t last night, trying to stir up trouble. I’ll be there watching until it’s over one way or another.”

        Jandy +10

    • Doesn’t matter what happened now, if they win game 3 they could alter the series putting some pressure back on Boston who wouldn’t want to lose game 4 and have to go back to Pgh losing two in a row. No way I am giving up…..Pens were down 0-2 twice when they won the Cup – albeit they were at home for games 3 & 4. I don’t care if they win 3-2 in 3 OTs, they just need to win game 3….

    • I recall in 2000, the Penguins went up 2-0 on a very good Flyers team, winning both of those games in Philly fairly convincingly. They lost the next 4. It could happen. They were down 2-0 twice when they won the cup on 2009, though I don’t recall them getting skunked the way they have, and I think both of those times they lost away games, but hey, adversity happens.

      They are still in this series, but they simply must win Game 3 to have any chance of pulling this out.

      • I was thinking of that series this morning too – they lost game 3 or 4 in 5 OTs when Keith Primeau scored. If they (Pens) pulled that off, what momentum they’d have going into the finals. First things first – just focus on winning one game, then the next….

  18. Outworked, outcoached, outplayed. These things occasionally happen. But when all 3 happen at the same time, for 2 consecutive games, well, something is wrong.

    Dan Bylsma is a great regular season coach, but when the playoffs roll around, he is slow to change, and stubborn too. I hope he has it in him to make the necessary adjustments.

    And Rossi is correct. Shero better have his scalpel ready. He went out and acquired the necessary pieces to win, only to see Iginla out of position every night.

    And, we are making Rask out to be the second coming of Ken Dryden. Pathetic.

    • Rask ISN’T that good. The Pens were just that lousy last night.

    • I agree that all that Rossi points out is on the line as Pens go to Boston.

      If it should turn out for the worst, I don’t know if a scalpel is enough. Might need TNT.

    • I think shero is partly to blame for this. Shirley he knew that morrow, iginla and murray aren’t speedsters. I think Murray has been good but morrow has been slow and horrible with the puck and i’m not sure what to say about iginla cuz he’s playing on his off side for the 1st time in his career. He was world class his whole career but there are nuances to playing your off wing and he’s not comfortable right now. But his speed and touch hasn’t been great. Seems like shero was taking on the Yankees mentality by being hell bent on veteran depth.

      Bennett needs to go in for morrow. TK needs back in for jokinen with vitale staying in. I’d put despres in for engelland to get some puck movement and to give him needed experience.

      • I actually agree with you on this one Monster, however, I think Morrow had his best game last night so I’m not sure I want to take him out. He was one of the only ones I saw that was able to generate some offensive zone time (Sid and Geno sure as heck were not). That being said, I like your suggestions because all players being added are adding speed and I think speed, rather than grit, is the way the Pens win this series.

        • Morrow does his job and does it well. He isn’t expected to score, he’s expected to make h its and open up space for our top guns to score.

        • Exactly. While teams can and have come back from 2-0 deficits (the Penguins are an excellent example) seldom have they done it after two such performances. The Penguins absolutely must stop trying to play the Bruins’ game and use speed to counter the traps and wear them out. Hits should be strategic, rather than gratuitous. If they move the puck with the speed and precision they demonstrated against Ottawa, they’ll be competitive again, even allowing for the fact that Boston is a much better team. More of what we saw the last four periods, and this series is over by next weekend. And then Shero won’t have many cap headaches. A lot of people won’t be around as they retool to become a real speed, skill and defense-oriented team.

        • Well, all three of us are on same page then. Was at the game and watched Morrow carefully. Many solid checks but could not manage the puck. Bruins are comfortably taking hits to make plays . . . witness Orpik’s check out of the box. Need to trade some of that for speed and finishing. Depres, Kennedy and Bennett need to be in for Englelland, Morrow and Jussi. Speed can make the difference in this series. Instead of thinking check on Chara we need to think turnover and stripping the puck off him (and others). Pressure them and give them less time because it’s been a walk in the park for them to this point.

        • Iceman agrees with me? I must be on the wrong blog :)

          Morrow looked better last night but only cuz he was abysmal in game 1. Boston’s good enough at blocking shots and taking away passing lanes without puck bobbles by morrow. And im not blaming morrow for loss just saying we need speed and skill from all forward lines to have even a chance to get thru the trap. But even that requires bylsma to change his breakouts from predictable stretch pass chip n chase to a more controlled breakout where the forwards skate up ice with the dmen to out number the trapping forwards for boston.

          Now my concern is that Julien and the boston coaches know this and will be ready for the adjustment and with blysma playing checkers while julien is playing chess, I cant say i’m too optimistic right now but if boston can be down 3-1 to Toronto then we still have a chance to get things together. Unless Crosby plays like he’s still concussed.

      • HM: On the same wavelength, my friend. See the second post in this entire thread.

      • I agree with most of it-except for Tyler Kennedy. If he goes in you’re banking on a shot on goal% of 0.38 and a Malkin-like defensive effort. JJ can win faceoffs which is a BIG problem.

        Also, Engelland played well. Put Despres in for Misskanen.

  19. Mike Zagurski pitching looks like Roseanne Barr singing the National Anthem.

  20. Just like in last seasons series against the Flyers and at some points in this seasons series against the Isles, this team’s cocky carelessness with and without the puck, loss of focus and attention to detail from hockey 101 even from it’s best players speaks directly to the perception of how hockey should be played in that locker room and that stems directly from the coaching and overall team management. Yes, even Shero.

    To have this kinda thing to continue year after year, means something needs changed. Frankly; I could care less if Letang returns and if Malkin wants more than the team can afford (meaning more than he’s making now), then he can go too. You know what they say: “We lost with you and we can lose without you too” We’re stuck with Crosby and even though he stinks up the joint from time to time, he is at least smart enough to realize and correct mistakes. Plus, his contract says he’s here for a while anyway even if no more cups are ever won.

    It’s obvious now Bylsma must go and a less liberal coach who has no problem cracking down on the fringe players who feel the need to freelance outside of the system in place, to the point of hurting the team (Malkin, Letang) needs to be found. No more young, 1st time coaches please. I’m not saying an unsufferable a-hole like Tortorella but maybe a Lindy Ruff or the like would be able to grind this team of great potential into something more resembling a consistent, well oiled machine instead of this bunch of prima donna punks who still don’t seem capable of wiping themselves let alone playing a responsible, 60 minute winning brand of hockey in the playoffs anymore.

    • ‘and a less liberal coach who has no problem cracking down on the fringe players’

      That guy is coaching the Canadians.

      • And the problem is, the guy who writes the checks for this liberal coach was known in his day for running coaches out of town that he didn’t like.

        • A disturbingly good point.


        • Jaromir Jagr is writing the checks? :-)

          • We don’t watch very many Penguin games, but we kept switching over to it last night.

            My wife made the observation, “We’re getting beat by a guy who played for us in the 90′s”

            • Yeah, that’s a huge”doh!”

              You see Jagr laid Orpik out like he was nothing? Something in that equation is just wrong. Along with Jagr’s facial hair.

  21. Woke up this morning & thought I’d had a nightmare. Egad! It’s real!

  22. I know there’s alot of blame to go around and it’s not just one guy but can someone please tell me why Letang is even being considered a Norris trophy finalist? In my simplified way of thinking, aren’t defensemen supposed to play defense?

    • Nope. In the NHL, defense is about scoring.

    • He actually did play some pretty good defense in the regular season. Not sure WTF is happening out there right now.

      The same could be said of roughly 17 other guys out there.

    • I have to tell you, as a goalie, Letang is the kind of defenseman I just HATE.
      Him being up for Norris is just nauseating.

      Vokoun should have sticked him in the nuts after that pass (though TV made for a very nice statue post-initial save there! WHole play was a cluster.)

      Anyway, put Letang on wing, as someone said upstream, and give me 6 responsible guys.

      Letang is a joke.

      • Agreed. Everyone keeps saying how Letang is a difference maker back on D, but that is only when a team gives him room. When they don’t, he coughs up the puck or makes an errant pass then odd man break the other way. He isn’t that good on the PP either. Rather than tying up 6-7 million per season on him next year, they need to look at what they can get for him – someone might overpay for a Norris candidate….

        • ON a team with this much talent on O, you don’t need a Letang type.
          You need more Scuderis.

          • They also have Despres and Pouliot coming along in a year or two. With the cap they way it is next year, they have to look and see what they can get….they may be surprised what a team like Edmonton would give up young-talent wise. Heck, trade for a high 1st round pick….

            • I think RS may see what he can get for a lot of big names this summer. Letang Malkin Fleury among them.

              I hope they keep Cooke and Duper.

              If they move Fleury they need someone solid in return, who can play 45-50 Reg Season games w good nbrs. They can’t ride Vokoun that much.

              So we may have MAF back next yr anyway.

              What a MESS in goal right now.

              • I may get killed for being one of those people who suggests trades, but if Colorado is willing to move the top pick, see if they’d take Letang and Fleury for Varlamov and the 1st pick overall. Nah….never would happen….

                They’ll sign Dupuis, not sure about Cooke.

  23. The Tuesday Column link is taking me to the Iginla article from two weeks ago. Is this happening to anyone else?

  24. Root focused for awhile on two middle-aged guys sitting sorta alone, in shorts with Pirate jerseys on chatting like in a bar. Then one guy, apparently from something that had to do with the story he was telling, gives the finger. Not to the camera (they had no idea) but just in passing. Camera’s still on them and the other guy also gives the finger the same way.

    Unfortunately, it was one of the more interesting parts of the game that I saw.

  25. “FUDGE!!!!!!!

    Except, I didn’t say fudge. I said the granddaddy of them all…”.

    And I said it repeatedly, loudly as the Pens completely crapped the bed for 60 minutes.

    Disgusting display that should embarrass them. Good choice of words by Bourque.

    Need to play simple, smart hockey. Make the simple pass (not the low percentage try to be pretty pass), get the puck deep and outwork them, if you can. Then they may have a chance.

    Keep trying to spring guys with one pass and it looks like Boston will advance in 4.

  26. Thoughts about the Pens last night:

    1. Probably the worst game I’ve ever seen Sid play.

    2. I get the feeling Letang got enamored with being 2nd in the playoffs in scoring going into this series, because suddenly he is more offensive-minded than Karlsson – if that were even possible. So many times he is trapped in the offensive zone corner with 3 Bruins coming back the other way.

    3. Malkin made a lot of plays in the Bruin zone, but he also quit a lot. It seems he going into a shell when things aren’t working for him.

    4. Even though Vokoun wasn’t really at fault for those three goals, and Fleury didn’t look that great, you may have to start him for game 3 because he is capable of stealing a game. Then again, he could bury Pens emotionally in the first period…. Tough one.

    5. Bylsma NEEDS to change the lines. “The best line in hockey” isn’t working, put Kunitz back on Geno’s wing and put Iginla on Sid’s. PERIOD.

    6. Sad when you can say Engelland played the best D of the game (along with Orpik). Murray and Niskanen have been very disappointing.

    7. Iginla isn’t as good as I thought, or at least he isn’t clicking with anyone else right now. He seems to be a second or two late or fumbles the puck at the worst time.

    Given all that, if they can win game 3 – even if it is in 3 OTs – they can change the whole outlook in the series. They aren’t this bad. Then again we were saying that last year….

    • Good points.

      • Just like a liberal parent whose kids grow up to be spoiled brats, a liberal “players coach” is going to have the same problems. I think Bylsma needs to stop worrying about whose ego he’s going to bruise and just start laying down the law. In other words, start acting like Bill Cowher.

        • Plenty of “liberal” kids are hard workers and many “conservative” kids are the epitome of spoiled.

          Leave politics out of this.

          • Agreed. Could have left the word “liberal” out and it would have been fine.

            Bill Cowher was one of the biggest “player’s coach” coaches there ever was. He just had more spittle than other coaches. Tomlin and Bylsma are Gunnery Sergeant Hartman compared to Cowher when it comes to players.

          • The word liberal has many different meanings and not necessarily political and that was not my intention. However, since you are so sensitive about this, let’s just substitute the word “permissive”.

            • Liberal, permissive, whatever. “spoiled brats” says it all. Nuff said!

            • That’s fair Al.

              My fault for overreacting.

              I’m just angry from the Pens game. I’m probably looking for a fight and am too old for that.

              I apologize for politicizing it.

              I really appreciate all the comments and I agree with the spirit of what you said Al. Thanks Gregenstein for phrasing it that way.

      • Sorry folks, the use of the word Liberal as it applies to a coach has NOTHING to do with politics, it’s about the way a coach treats and handles his players. If I call Bylsma a liberal coach and someone wants to read politics into it then that’s his/her misguided thinking. BTW, I know plenty of Conservative Democrats and Liberal Republicans, so for what it’s worth, the labeling or stereotyping of one or the other as Liberals or Conservatives bothers me too. Last time I checked at the polls, I didn’t see a slot for Liberal or Conservative.

        • Regardless of how permissive Bylsma is, and I do wish he would sit some of these guys at least a few shifts, it also appears the players are willing to fritter a great chance at the cup away. It is mindboggling.

        • My fault as I said above.

          Good points.

    • “Even though Vokoun wasn’t really at fault for those three goals, and Fleury didn’t look that great, you may have to start him for game 3 because he is capable of stealing a game. Then again, he could bury Pens emotionally in the first period…. Tough one.”


    • Another thought….wasn’t one of the main goals of this series to wear down Chara? I don’t remember seeing anyone hit him that hard all game. They pounded other Dman, but not Chara… Also they were supposed to dump the puck behind the Boston D then hit them. The only line doing that is the 4th and sometimes the 3rd….

      • Hitting Chara is only one component. Need to get him with his back turned and retrieving, and then when he has the puck giving him less time to pass. Pens are giving him ridiculous amounts of time and space.

  27. Best game of the night was North Carolina v. Florida Atlantic. Anybody else see it?

    • Heard it was one to remember.

      Also heard it was a great example of why MLB teams worry about college pitching. UNC’s coach should be ahsamed.

  28. I’ll give my “expert” hockey assessment and leave ya’all alone until it’s time to tear apart the Bucs’ starting nine later.

    There are 4 wins needed to take the series. The Pens have won way more than 4 straight this season, at home and on the road.

    They beat the Bruins 3 straight in the regular season.

    It ain’t over.

    • HAve the Pens even lost 3 straight all year? I don’t think so…..

      • I think it was the first time they lost 2 consecutive home games since the opening two home games in January.

        I know I am in the minority but I still think the Pens take this series. Too explosive, too talented, too experienced to lay down and die.

        • I’m not giving up Oshkosh, but I’m friggin pissed at the embarrassing display these so called elite players are putting on.

          • I have to admit, its pretty ugly when Doc, Edzo and Pierre all call out Malkin for his lackadaisical play. I know he was coming off a long shift on that play but you just don’t hear announcers do that often.

            Geno best get it together.

            • I’ve been on Geno for some time now. Last night put the icing on the cake. Ride the pine for a while Geno, and get your head out of your butt!

              • I could not agree more. For all the talk in game one about “Geno was best player” and “the Bruins had no answer for Geno but shut Sid down” the game I watched showed Zero points scored so the Bruins MUST have ‘shut Geno down as well.” Sid and Geno both clanged some shots off goal posts.

                When Geno bothers to, he skates with flare, but he SELDOM bothers to backcheck and rarely puts forth team effort.

                When he takes a shift, there is a 50 50 chance of a scoring chance by either team due to his lapses. RIDE THE PINE indeed.

    • Exactly + 237846 squared

      • But the big difference now versus the regular season is you’re playing playoff teams, the best of the playoff teams. But even so, I never feel like being down 2-0 is something to panic over at all. It just never feels insurmountable to me because in sports I feel like anything can happen and often does.

        • Well, if there was ever a time for this team to truly come together, its now.

          It ain’t over yet, but the fat lady is looking around getting ready ;-)

    • I completely agree. It’s too bad the first 2 games put an *if they…* into the equation. But if any team has the firepower to do it, it’s this one.

  29. I can only objectively comment on the first 40 minutes (2 periods) of the game because I was justified in using the FFX4 button for the last period. By that point it was more like Nascar going around the track repeatedly to the same result as the previous lap. Here’s what I saw…

    1. The goaltending was NOT OK minus bad play in front. Vokoun looked like a lethargic caterpillar out there- bad rebounds and NO reaction to them. Fleury was a jittery June bug.

    2. Inserting Engelland was wise. He played well. Scratching Kennedy was wiser. PLAYING Matt Niskanen is stupid. Dumb. Idiotic. Foolish. And a partridge in a pear tree. So Fleury and Vokoun get a period to play themselves out of a game. Matt Niskanen gets an entire playoffs?

    3. Whole team sucked. That’s a given. My highest garbage level awards go to: Letang. Crosby. Malkin. Martin. Niskanen. Bylsma-who continues to look like a fool for putting Malkin on the point on the PP alongside Kris Letang. That equals about negative 2 in Defense. Bruins had excellent SH chances and made our PP look like buttheads.

    4. Fire Bylsma.

    “We need to get to our foundation of how we play and play as a group, and we didn’t do that,” Bylsma said.

    Guess what Dan… when your foundation isn’t working it’s time to try something else. Or just put Malkin on the point and play Iginla on the left wing. That’ll work. Oh yeah, and never show any emotion on the bench. When your team is losing, sulking is the best way to change things.

    5. So Claude Julienne Pepper makes zero adjustments to Pens, the top team in the conference? I wish I got paid for doing nothing. Somehow I’d suspect he adjusted a little more than he let on. Plus he said so during game one.

    6. There was little to negative effort. Our 2nd chances in the crease were mostly pathetic and looked like a forced final rehearsal before a high school musical. Hitting went by the wayside and the bruises on Chara are mainly from errant sticks hitting him during goal celebrations.

    7. Passing. Was. Awful. Blind passes. Stretch passes and lateral passes. Oh my.

    • I had to catch up with this game on DVR (had my own game to play!)….took til like 1 AM! Sleep deprived today!!!

      I am not sure I’ve seen an effort this poor, ever.

      I was at the TB playoff game at Consol 2 years ago, when up 3-1 in the series, they turned in an 8-2 loss. I thought I’d seen the worst. (For the record, Phil Bourque lambasted them after that one too!!)

      But they had a great first 15 mins or so vs the Bolts. Just swarming them. Then Orpik hit the post, TB scored twice near the end of the 1st period, and the Pens said “check, please!”

      But really, last night there was nothing. Just abysmal from the drop of the puck.

      Inexcusable, on a lot of levels. From players to coaching.

      We heard a lot about “attitude” in comments after the game.

      What I was thinking was “immaturity” .

      They really are playing like a bunch of arrogant, immature punks. Not grown-up enough to manage adversity. Stand up and punch them in the nose, and they disintegrate.

      The core of this team is building a Choker label that will be around their neck forever if they don’t straighten up fast.

      It’s really a shame.

      • It really was. The puck was under Misskanen’ feet behind the net for about 8 seconds at one point in the first. 3 Pens in the immediate vicinity and they all were looking around like there was a nudist movement going on around them. Only one example, but they played with no energy at all. No puck support, no crashing the net if the puck wasn’t already there, nothing.

  30. Pens lack composure and poise. They are immature and begin flailing at the very first sign of adversity, playing as individuals rather than rallying as a team. Sadly, this starts at the top with the Captain and has a trickle down effect to others who are already predisposed to collapsing under pressure–Letang, Malkin, and Fleury.

    There are some great posts on here today about how to fix this team, but the mistakes are simply symptoms caused by players not emotionally mature enough to handle the pressure.

    “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” –author unknown

  31. DK,

    I have just one question, how do the Pens go from “a few tweaks” to “epic failure” in the span of one a single column?

    Come on, Man! If the Pens are able to steal a game in Boston, say 2-1, will your column read: “PENS ARE BACK! DESTROY B’S”? :) The handwriting has been on the wall all year. Lack of defense, poor coaching, undisciplined play, blown assignments, etc, etc. Yeah, I know, number 1 seed, great numbers all the way around, blah, blah, blah. But, what you and others seem to forget is that was during the REGULAR SEASON! None of that matters in the playoffs! Pretty much every team in the league gets that…EXCEPT the Pens.

    I will give you the fact that the Pens were able to get by the Islanders on talent and their inexperience. But, they gave them all they could handle! Same goes for the Sens, sans the all they could handle part. Now that the Pens are facing a superior, professionally coached team, and they are systematically being dismantled. And to take a quote from Mike Lange, DD “doesn’t know whether to cry or wind his watch?”

    This seems to me to be a classic example of the Pens believing everything that has been written about them and thinking they are entitled to the Cup. Only, someone forgot to tell Claude Julien and the rest of the B’s/league.

    Oh yeah DK, don’t forget to add some wise crack to your response…if you in fact do decide to respond to my question? :)

    DK: I will, but only after you read beyond the headlines. I’m pulling for you.

    • “Oh yeah DK, don’t forget to add some wise crack to your response…if you in fact do decide to respond to my question?”

      You don’t have to call out Dejan, dwf. The fact that he responds to any post is remarkable to me. Few writers are as engaged with their readership. Much appreciated here and the reason I came to and continue to stay with this online community.

      DK: Thanks, John. I can tell the one-note crusaders pretty early in the process, but even then I’ll listen a while before tuning out. Broken record.

    • DK,

      You were right, when I went back and read past the headlines it all became crystal clear, you truly are the master of stating the obvious! In that regard, well done.

      You know DK, there are a handful of folks that post on this blog that, given the access and resources that you have, would produce, IMO, better pieces than what you are putting out! With much more objectivity, creativity and thoughtful analysis.

      I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings, I know how sensitive you can be about these things? :(

  32. Game 3 will tell the tale. Their backs are against the wall. (Boston and Chicago were closer to the edge of the cliff, actually.) They will be on the road, which is a good thing. Will they play with intelligence, grit, and be ready to scrap for real estate? They don’t need more speed – Boston can neutralize that – they need grittiness. Morrow created the most chances last night by fighting for space – Vitale, too. Now if only Crosby and Malkin are prepared to win physical battles – and play desperate, relentless defense up and down the ice.

    The focus should absolutely not be on scoring. The scoring will come. They have the talent. The focus should be on playing sandpaper hockey – finish checks, block shots, make the safe, simple play, be in their face all over the ice – be very difficult to play against. Will they do that? History says no. But maybe they’ve learned from history. They have time.

  33. Start MAF in goal. If he is mentally shot, this is the time to find out. Of course he has to be aware he is now playing for his starting job with the Pens. Maybe a change of scenery will be a wake up call for him. Bylsma experiment has gone far to long with “his” coaching concepts. Shero made a poor decision to think he was capable of elevating his coaching and would see the light. Hate to say it but watching Malkin skate in the defensive zone while Horton has the puck and he skates right by him and then stops was disturbing. When they don’t score they quit. This core of very talented players even with injuries has been too easy to minipulate into taking stupid penalties and making the same mistakes over and over as if that is part of the game of risk/reward.

    In short go hire Babcock or Tippett and let them bring an edge and molding of talent to smart, responsible and accountable hockey. They need a owner who finally understands a coach is not a baby sitter. Maybe Mario finally gets it and that is needed before any other changes are in order. Maybe now he appreciates Bowman and why a coach is the difference between a dynasty and a under achiever.

  34. We sacrificed so many draft picks and prospects into putting this team together that it would really be a shame if we didn’t at least go to the cup. I think we’re missing nearly ½ of our picks for this upcoming draft including each of our selections in the first two rounds.

    • You’d think Shero would be in the Pens locker room now rather than the end of the series like last year to lay into them. Someone needs to yell, throw things. Kevin Stevens would….

      • Shero? Really?

        Mario Freakin’ Lemieux employs these players. They take the ice each night on HIS team.

        If these players cannot be motivated by THAT, then who in the hell are Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero?

        • I don’t care WHO does it, SOMEONE needs to shake these guys up. No coddling of feelings, no sparing anyone. JUST DO IT!!!!

        • Mario, Shero, Bylsma, Sid, Orpik…..SOMEONE needs to rip into the team because just being a Penguin doesn’t seem to be enough.

          You see the interviews, and no one seems pissed, angry, irate….we’re not going to stand for this crap anymore.

          • I don’t know.

            What if they are who they are? Good luck trying to will an adult millionaire into being something he isn’t

            The team acquired them, now they gotta sleep in the bed they’ve made.

            • This team definitely is capable of much better. The question is, are they willing?

            • A good leader is someone who push another person or people to achieve the overall goal. I think this team needs a leader to make everyone look into the mirror as you stated above. A good portion of this team won a Cup before, so they have it in them. Someone needs to bring it out of them.

            • This is correct. People don’t change. You can force aggression or anger or drive. It’s just a characteristic you have well before being an adult.

              I think Cooke, Adams, Sutter and Malkin played like they where in the conference finals. The rest of them looked either overwhelmed or flustered. I’m not saying they where not trying just that they became frustrated and stopped doing things that they usually do. Neal was trying extremely hard. Probably so much that he became sloppy and got out of position.

              They need to just go out and have fun in game 3. Be aggressive and control the pace of play. Don’t let Boston dictate how the game goes. Don’t be responsive to what they are doing but make them responsive to what you are doing.

  35. Embarrassing for sure, the question in my mind is where did this “team” go? If being down 2-0 in a best of 7 series after 2 games at home doesn’t spur management to take a serious look at the strategy they decided to employ what will?
    The most disappointing thing about what we are seeing on the ice is we have seen this before! No of course not during the regular season, but in every post season since the Cup run. Upper management, the coaching staff, the players, and the fans, regardless of stars who are on the ice, injured, or newly acquired, we are all experiencing once again an inability to adjust to a “better” team?
    We have better players? I think on paper most of the experts would agree the Pens have more talent, but why aren’t we a better team? The only answer I can come up with is we aren’t employing a game plan or strategy to exploit our strengths and minimize our weaknesses, or the opposing team is and we have no answer. It’s one thing to believe in the players executing your strategy, the game plan you formulated to exploit your strengths, exploit the opposing teams weakness, minimize your weakness, and minimize the opposing teams strengths, but either the strategy or the players are unable or incapable of executing that strategy on the ice.
    It would be one thing if we were losing one goal games. Game one could be and I did say after seemed to be a lack of a bounce here or there, or the difference between one of the shots hitting the crossbar/post and going in. Game 2 aside from Crosby’s early unsuccessful attempt to direct the puck at the blue line was a clinic by the Bruin’s executing a strategy which exposed are weakness, and minimizes theirs.

    Einstein said ” Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

    It’s time everyone who cashes a check issued by the Pittsburgh Penguins decides to do something different. Starting from the top down, management needs to put all their collective heads together and ask some tough questions, do some serious strategy and personnel evaluations, and come-up with a new plan. It is time to throw a monkey wrench into the mix, come-up with something the opposing team isn’t going to anticipate, and make them adjust.
    If this isn’t possible then it’s time to rebuild. Yes if you want to call this the time to panic this is it! If not we all ready know what to expect for the next few years. An an amazing collection of talent that can beat any opposing team over the course of the regular season. But change to a playoff format which requires you to survive a 7 game series against any team who has learned how to exploit your weaknesses and knows you won’t or can’t adjust is simply insanity, and is getting painful to watch once again.

    If this is simply the stars not shinning, then come-up with a better plan to allow them to use their strengths. It’s either the strategy or the stars who aren’t what we think they are. There is no question in my mind that Crosby and Malkin are two of the best hockey players in World today. We usually see them make the players around them better, and most of those players are not just warm bodies filling out the roster. The talent is there, when will see the plan or strategy which allows them to shine? I’m not a hockey guru just a fan. Swallow your pride, re-access what you see and what and why it isn’t working, and make adjustments now. Otherwise it’s over and the fat lady is about to board a flight to Boston.

    • No offense to fat ladies :-)

    • Well said Rob.
      I know it’s a dead horse and Bylsma is Safe…so we point at the stars not performing. But it’s more the team’s inability to adjust and manage adversity. I put that on the coaching staff, and have been saying so for a couple of years.

      For years now this team has the ability to score in bunches, but INABILITY to manage defensive zone coverage. INABILITY to respond to adversity.

      They are simply an unbalanced team. And unbalanced in the wrong way for playoffs. Nobody wins a Cup by winning games 7-6, unless not since about 1990. You need strong defense and elite goal-tending to win this time of year, and really, at the moment those are the Pens 2 biggest weaknesses.

      If you add on immaturity/lack of response to adversity/easily frustrated, its a recipe for disaster.

      As we’re seeing.

      I said I’d have to see a game or two to eval how the Pens respond to a strong physical forecheck, solid D who protects their G, and whether they could clean up their sloppiness around the net and better protect TV, who’s a solid Steady Eddie but won’t steal games. It didn’t happen, they got worse, not better, and hung TV out to dry.

      Right now, forget about stealing goals or games, they need a goalie who can steal a whole series. Maybe that was MAF once upon a time, but not anymore.

      Their best hope now is that Boston chokes.

      It’s possible – but realistically, this may be short and ugly.

      • Boston won’t choke, remember what they did to Toronto?

      • Thanks Sara, I liked your comments above and below :-) I have to wonder with all our amateur analysis on this blog, and if I may say some really insightful input, the powers that be for the Pens have to have some similar thoughts.

        The fact remains though the talent is there. The mindset and maturity level has to be changed. No offense to our illustrious leader (DK) but living off of your printed accolades doesn’t cut it, at least when we’re talking playoff games. This also isn’t rocket science it’s a game, which takes skill and talent at this level and numerous intangible qualities like courage, fortitude, and yes, even honesty. Honesty to admit to your weaknesses and mistakes, and the courage to make the necessary changes and try something different. This has to come from above and from within the organization, because everyone has to be on-board with whatever they decide going forward.

        I recall the Capitol series back in the 90′s. I don’t remember the exact year but the Pens were down 3 games to 1 I think, and were looking like they were ready to lose game 5. I forget the exact circumstances but I think the lore is the players got together and decided they needed to do something different and they came up with employing the left wing lock or something with the coaching staff. Not sure of the accuracy of that, but the change they made was totally uncharacteristic for the team, and I’m sure caught the Craps (sorry I live down here in Crap land/and can’t help it) totally off guard.

        At this point their mental state requires some back to basics hockey 101, if for nothing else, whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish isn’t working, and they can’t be feeling too good about themselves or their prospects at the moment. No matter what lip service they may be paying to the media (I wonder what Daniel Alfredsson thinks of their prospects right now?/umm maybe he is the wrong guy to ask).

        It almost makes me think they need some seals training, haha, maybe a use for that type of discipline after all? ( but more of the same, or better of the same, or anything of the same, goes right back to Einsteins insanity quote.

        All I know is it isn’t over until it’s over so anything is possible, but if Bylsma’s tendencies indicate anything all we will see is nothing more than some minor line-up changes. You have to believe that RS at the very least is sitting one on one with DB saying ok Dan what’s plan B? And, Mario has to be talking to RS saying WTF is that Ahole Byslma doing wasting the prime years of my talented team! WTF you dumb-asses!!!! If ever there was a moment for hands-on upper management/ownership intervention it is now, otherwise they’re all living in a fantasy world, or know something we’re just completely incapable of seeing in these last 2 games. Game 1 was still maybe some bad bounces and clangs off the post, but Game 2 was seeing how a good team anticipates and adjusts to their flaws, and a bad playoff team sees a cliff and presses the accelerator!

        Oh well maybe they will surprise us tomorrow. It won’t take long to see what they decide on, and I will be there faithfully watching, and searching for any glimmer of hope. I would love nothing more than to be back here on Thursday morning explaining how wrong I was about what we have been seeing the last 3 years, and DB’s plan just needed better execution. Well hopefully this isn’t the last one of these this playoff’s but, LET”S GO PENS!

      • Well said Sarah and Rob.

  36. Ha! Iginla in goal. That would give me a reason to tune in to gm3 on Wednesday.

  37. Alot of what I would say about last nights game has already been said, however, I’m still going to throw some quick points out there:

    1. Sid looked terrible. He was falling all over the place, turning over the puck, and seemed utterly lost.

    2. Letang has some unteachable skill and speed, but dude makes way too many dumb decisions and last night highlighted many of those.

    3. I think speed, not grit, is what is needed to beat these Bruins.

    4. Much credit needs to be given to the Boston players. Their defense was incredible. They were in the right spot at almost all times to take away pucks and space. They looked like a team who deserves to win and the Pens looked like a team that deserves to lose.

    5. I can’t stand Brad Marchaand.

    • Number 5: You and me both, friend! Grrrr!!

    • Agreed on all points. But I think think we need the grit with the speed. We are being dominated physically. It seems the Pens are fine with frittering this opportunity away.

      • I’ll be most interested in the aftermath.

        RS won’t take the fall for this one.

        If he was livid last year after Philly, he may be in a straightjacket right now.

        And if I hear Bylsma say the words “OUR GAME” one more time, I might actually puke.

        • Please, I just ate my lunch! ;)

          • LOL!

            I dunno Jandy maybe I’m falling for the Arrogant theme….but really the “our game” BS is truly conceited in that it pretends the other team doesn’t even exist, or have a say in matters.

            If you think about it, it’s Bylsma in a nutshell. Completely ignores there’s another team on the ice, pretends there’s no need for much adjustment….line matching, whatever.

            Tennis is my other sport, and you see this exact same excuse in a lot of players after a loss.
            Players that are 1-dimensional, or afraid to engage in the tactical warfare and adjustments it might take to win.

            “I just didn’t play My Game well enough today”

            In tennis, that is the HALLMARK of a poor competitor that rarely adjusts or can tactically rise to the occasion.

            As I fear it’s also the Hallmark of Bylsma and our Pens.

            Again – a real shame.

  38. #FreeBeauBennett.

    I don’t know what the # thing actually means, but the idea, I think, is a good one.

  39. Free Beau Bennett sounds like my son, a rabid Pens fan. He must have said that 10 times last night at the game. Could not agree more.

    Read a lot of the posts here today. I would start with a defense-out approach with speed as the needed ingredient. We can win this series. Get the first goal and then get another one, and then see how Bruins react. I don’t think the Bruins’ reaction will be the same as the Isles in their series. Let’s put the pressure on them and then play smart with our chances then rest of the way instead of run-and-gun. Win Game 3 and Bruins will be gripping their sticks very tightly in Game 4.

  40. Maybe its time for Sid to put the faceguard back on the helmet. Surely couldn’t hurt his performance.

      • Don’t laugh! I think that’s a great point.Sid has been a different player since he took it off.

        I thought it would help his faceoffs but it didn’t.

        I say put it back on.

        • nah..he can see his feet better. But wait…maybe he’s paranoid about getting hit hard in the jaw again? If that’s the problem, put the darn thing back on, and sleep with it on!

          • Oh yes, it definitely is easier to see pucks in your skates….but I think he’s still a bit gun-shy, and if so, yes put it back on!!

  41. nah, just whack him upside the head with it.

  42. I didn’t watch much of last nights game. I guess I’m a bad fan but I turned on the game, saw Sid turn the puck over, Marchand score on the 1st breakaway opportunity of the game, then I changed the channel. I have season 2 Justified DVR’d, watched some of that. Very good show. I was still following the game along on my phone. Saw that they pulled Vokoun. I just cannot stand NBC. I would have continued to watch if the game was on ROOT. I don’t care for NBC commentators analysis. I don’t need them to inform me that the penguins played sloppy, nosedive hockey.

    And NOW for my positive spin. I still believe this penguins team is the most talented team ever assembled. At times, it seemed they created their own adversity (one of Iginla’s favorite words) just so they could stay interested. They were “shocked” with the Islanders speed and overcame. They let Anderson steal game 3 and overcame. I think they will re-group, make the necessary changes to compete with Boston, and OVERCOME their adversity. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see gm5 with the series tied 2-2. Obviously, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t see a gm5 .

  43. Oh and I liked mouth-guard Crosby way better.

    • This is probably the superstitious pitcher coming out of me, but what is he thinking taking that off?

      You don’t mess with a good thing.

      I’ll be shaving the playoff beard today. Not b/c I think the Penguins can’t come back, but gotta do something to change this up.

      I’ll also have Natty Ice in the fridge for Game 3.

      It’s time to pull out all the stops……..

  44. Here’s something a little bit positive.

    I hope there’s at least a grain of truth in it — but it’s a story that we’ve heard before.

    • He’s a longtime scout but is he a super scout?

    • Wow….let’s hope he’s right. Thanks for the link!

    • Longtime scouts and unnamed executives…adding credibility to journalism since 2008.

      Pretty sure I could set out to write an article claiming Daniel Moskos was actually more talented than Matt Wieters and find somebody to corroborate.

      That doesn’t take anything away from the Pirates, just something I find funny.

    • Glasnow is a head scratcher for me.

      He’s posting FOUR strikeouts per nine innings HIGHER than Cole, Taillon, or Heredia did in A ball. The standard response as to why Pirate prospects don’t strike out more batters in the low minors is because they throw primarily fastballs.

      Does that mean that philosophy has changed, that Glasnow has a better fastball than even Cole and Taillon, or that Cole and Taillon don’t actually have very good fastballs?

    • Now only imagine if we were still able to spend big money in the draft. Just about everyone mentioned was either a first round or someone who we went over slot for in the draft or in the international signing.

  45. RIP Deacon Jones

  46. Its time. Hartzell in gm3! No better way to solve a goalie controversy than to bring in a untested rookie for his first NHL experience to be against the Bruins in ultra-critical gm3. The question is does the penguins have the balls to make such a move. It would certainly rock the hockey world.

  47. I can’t believe that they actually showed a clip of Ulfie and Cam Neely from 20 years ago last night.
    Milbury still says it was a dirty hit.
    Please, let it go already!

    • Milbury’s an A$$

    • I don’t find it odd they’d show it. Pompeani had Ulf on his radio show this past Saturday and he asked Ulf about it. If it happened against the Rangers, I could see it not being “newsworthy,” but it’s the same 2 teams. Ulf didn’t really want to talk about it, but Pomp kept at it. It was interesting.

  48. Sporting thoughts on a I-really-need-to-get-more-sleep Tuesday…

    * Don’t get the decision to change netminders after it was 3-0, especially when Tommy V. was hung out to dry on all 3 goals. Eddie Olczyk and Pierre were saying it would send a message to the team. I guess they never got that memo though.

    * Someone above said Malkin seems to “go away” when things aren’t working for him. I’d agree. But 1 player that really disappointed me last night was Sidney Crosby. He hasn’t gone away. He’s simply failed to show up. Can’t have that from a captain and supposed “best player on the planet”.

    * Will the real Pascal Dupuis please stand up? And while you’re at it, can you find the rest of the roster (sans Matty Cooke)…

    * If Jarome Iginla isn’t comfortable playing on the left wing, then he should open his mouth and say something. He looks lost and tired. He may be a future hall of famer, but, right now, he looks more like the janitor (and that’s no knock on janitors).

    * Didn’t watch the Pirate game last night, but read the game story this morning. AJ’s command has been a little spotty at times this year, and last night it came back to bite him (although, not TOTALLY his fault). I’m not worried about AJ though….yet. Guy is an ultra-competitor. Just gotta cut out the walks!

    * Dan Iassogna. You are everything that is wrong with umpires. You are not the show. Nobody came to watch you umpire.

    That’s all I got today…that hockey game last night (if you can call it a hockey game; looked more like a public ass whoopin’ if you ask me) has me salty.

    Wait…did anyone ask? ;-)

    HAVE A GOOD DAY ALL! BEAT ‘EM BUCS! (This spot usually reserved for the Penguins but they’re missing. Anyone know where we can find them? It’d help for Game 3).


    • good thoughts. This is Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh penguins. And that was definitely a far-cry from a sidspirational performance last night.

      • good stuff, Naterosboro. Sid has to take the lead in gutting out a win Wednesday. No ands, ifs, or butts. Malkin has to be right there beside him. Every step of the way. It might help if Mario were to send out a memo:
        hey guys, not funny, now let’s play hockey! PENGUINS hockey!

  49. Sarah, check this one out over at FacefaceFactor:

    It’s a goalie debate…go ahead and chime in :)

    • Yeah I saw it.

      No doubt that was an AWFUL goal not just because it was very stoppable, but because it put a dagger through the Pens’ hearts right when they were getting a breath of life.

      “It’s not the ones you stop, it’s the ones you let in!”

      Poor Fleury. I can relate. It is SO hard when you’re fighting the puck. The damn thing is an aspirin tablet. It’s funny cos people make jokes about stopping a beach ball. When you’re playing well, it really DOES looks like a beach ball. SO easy. When you’re not, it’s a f-ckin aspirin tablet.

      I think Mgmt put themselves in a bit of a corner with MAF. They CLEARLY were hoping to ride Vokoun. After a couple games it was obvious there was no intention to “ease” MAF back into things and help him regain confidence. So he never got that chance, sat on the bench for a month, and then got dumped in cold to a game where they couldn’t lose.

      A really tough predicament for any G, especially one who has never had to play the come-in-cold Backup Role.

      But that goal was absolutely the WORST thing that could have happened to the Pens, and the WORST thing that could have happened to poor Fleury, at the WORST possible time. You couldn’t have written a script more awful.

      Makes you wonder if the kid didn’t somehow piss off the Hockey Gods at some point.
      If so, they must be really pissed, cos that Own Goal off the butt of his Dman in the World Jrs a few years back was plenty bad enough!


      I guess they go to Vokoun Wed.

      If we see MAF Wed, perhaps it is an All-or-Nuthin Show Us Whatcha Got, Kid, Else Yer DONE kind of thing.
      So no pressure!

      The irony is – as bad as they’re playing D right now, the ONLY kind of G that could save them is MAF at his lights-out best, bailing his team out of the ridiculous (TWENTY in TWO games) turnovers they keep producing.

      Snaring that breakaway 20 secs in.
      Actually moving laterally on the rebound on the 2nd goal and maybe grabbing it.

      And so on.

      But that MAF seems to be long gone, sadly.

      Again – what a shame.

      • I’m seriously all for starting Zatkoff or Hartzell and telling the team they MUST play strong D to back the kid up.

      • Labored thru 294 posts before found one that was analytical rather than emotional. Well done.

      • “Actually moving laterally on the rebound on the 2nd goal and maybe grabbing it.”

        So glad someone else noticed that.

        • Really Brad I spend a lot of time looking at Gs….even reading scouting rpts and whatnot.
          (Always trying to get better even at my creaking advanced age lol!)
          And really, cannot put much of a label on Vokoun. He’s the furthest thing from a common butterfly goalie. Sort of standup, improvise. But really, NO lateral controlled movement at all. No percentage blocking. Never see him in a vertical post pad or back leg recovery. I’ve no idea his glove position half the time….
          That 2nd goal, horrid as Letangs giveaway was, was very stoppable. TV literally sat there after the initial save. He wasn’t even set to move to his left.

          Really ugly, from a common goaltending technique perspective. Zero post save movement.

          Feel almost bad saying that…he got hung out to dry there. But that’s when you need elite goaltending to bail you out. Especially with the brainless crap that these Pens are pulling right now.

          They will never get that from TV. They get it from MAF….but sadly not in playoffs anymore.

          It’s a teensy bit of a problem!

  50. A 2nd man has been arrested in the incident with Mike Adams.

  51. Interesting from the Pens’ web site: The Pens hit the ice for practice with a few players absent. Dupuis, Neal, Orpik and Martin were not on the ice.

  52. I didn’t watch either game, but hard to imagine the Pens recovering from being dominated on the home ice…but I’m pretty sure they will go ahead and travel to Boston anyway and put the skates on… it only takes one good period to turn the momentum around , you get game 3 and it’s an all new series.

    As to the Pirates game, it was a stinker..ATL is very very tough at home and AJ didn’t have it. The issue I really have is another example of an umpire having a huge chip on his shoulder. AJ is a veteran and I can’t see him doing anything that Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander don’t do every start…they gripe when they feel the wrong calls are being made…. and I’ve never seen umps even give any lip back to other veteran pitchers/catchers…they typically expand the strike zone even more. It doesnt change the outcome, but this ump is a bad egg. MLB should take action. Players get disciplined with regularity but umps rarely if ever.

    • agreed all points, cmat

    • Hmmm, bad home plate officiating in Atlanta? Who would ever think?

      It’ll only be a matter of time before the patronizing ego and flat out purposeful bad BS calls of an umpire gets him punched in the face. And I welcome it wholeheartedly. It’s long overdue in fact, and is needed to get the game back to being about the players and teams, not the judge, jury and executioner role that the overly pretentious officials have adopted and feel is more important than the game itself. Time for the men in black to be humbled and if the league won’t do it, then someone else must.

      Don’t know what’s worse, the HS bully who grows up to be a cop, or the picked on unpopular kid who grows up to be a MLB official.

  53. Oh, and one other thing.. just my humble opinion, but many doth protest way too much on lineup decisions in early JUNE, especially days off for starters like Cutch. We know how the ‘dog days of August’ look and I’m all for even MORE days off to keep the team fresher in the stretch run.

  54. I’m going to throw out some unrealistic optimism here. About a month ago there was a team that started off a playoff series losing the first three games. That team then had a miraculous run that included some stellar goaltending and defensive play and some very timely goal scoring. This team ended up winning the next four games and winning the playoff series.

    The names of the teams involved in this historic playoff series, the Bruins and the Penguins. WBS did what everyone said was impossible. Could the NHL club pull off a similar, crazy feat as their AHL affiliate? I sure hope so!

    • So, you think we should bring up Thiessen to see if he can duplicate his similar effort in goal? I totally agree. Thiessen or Hartzell. I was leaning Hartzell but Thiessen is probably more game ready at this point.

  55. Does anyone know what time the MLB draft starts on Thursday?

  56. Pretty much everything has been discussed above.
    Nice job by all.

    I will add 2 things………….
    1) The players and coaches are playing for their jobs next year, even if “Bylsma is a lock”, etc.
    2) Ray Shero will, I repeat will get the underperformers out of here, and fast. Bet on it.

    Game 3 is probably the biggest game in franchise history since Game 7 of the ’09 Cup finals. If in any way the effort there is the same as in Game 2, you will probably see 9 or 10 players gone next year.

    And, I fully endorse said changes.

    • Bylsma ain’t a lock. If one star player has to go, then so does Bylsma. Like has been said numerous times, it’s much easier to change the coach than the players and for the team to have to rebuild with the supposed talent they have just makes Shero look all the worse as he built the team. Outside of maybe Letang, Fleury and then Malkin, Bylsma is very high on the chopping block

      • Oh, didnt our respected columnist say Bylsma was a lock? ;)

        All I can say, is if the effort isnt there, you wont recognize the team next year.

  57. This is all JAL’s fault.

    He goes on vacation…

    and so does our hockey team.


  58. I’m really starting to wonder if Sid just isn’t a big game player. He always seems to wilt when the team goes past the first round or two. Even in the Olympics, though he scored the winning goal, he looked horrible the entire game before that. When they won the cup he was basically invisible against the Wings and wasn’t even playing the last period when they needed him.

    • Yknow Shane it feels almost sacrilegious to say that doesn’t it?
      But Sid has been fairly invisible at a lot of important times in playoffs.
      Even in 2009, he disappeared in the Detroit series, though in fairness he was up against their best D.
      But both he and Malkin were poor v Montreal, awful v PHL last year, and this year, he’s just put in probably the 2 worst games of his playoff career.

      I don’t think we can call that coincidence anymore.
      For such a great player it’s sort of jarring to realize he’s repeatedly coming up short when it counts….

      Again….feels sacrilegious to say it!….

  59. Been looking around a little bit and have to say I really don’t buy all the negativity for Fleury. Not because he played well. He didn’t. Not saying he doesn’t deserve any of it. He does. But taking a whole Game of Drones and placing it all on one goal when you’re already down 2 and don’t score any more? He was hardly the biggest problem.

    Giveaways. Stupid passes. Bad passes. Horrible passes. Not winning ANY faceoffs. Playing like the Duracell bunny stopped beating the drum. Having pretty much every D muscled off the puck by guys that are hardly physical forces. Wasting time with D-D passes in our zone like the middle is magically going to clear up. A coach not calling a TO when things started souring. A coach who is either too dumb or narrow-minded to change the team’s tactics DURING a game. Oh yeah, and 2 goalies playing like garbage.

    THOSE are some of the biggest problems.

    • You won’t hear anything negative about Fleury from me!

      It’s really hard to blame any more than one of the three goals either goalkeeper let up on either Fleury or Vokoun.

      • Agreed. In this series, goal tending is the least of their problems.

      • IMO Vokoun’s 2nd and Fleury’s first were mainly on them. Of course that’s still a total of 2 and we haven’t scored that many in the entire series, so it really didn’t matter.

        That said, I still go back to TV for game 3.

        It’s all gonna come down to whether the leadership, C’s, A’s, vets AND coach get their shiitake together and have some accountability and play with at least the illusion of intensity and intelligence.

        • I’d say the first and last goals v MAF were bad.
          The first was awful since it killed the momentum and that has to be taken into account.

          TV was very poor recovering on the second. But he is what he is.

          TV playing well, of those 6 he stops 2, the 4th and 6th.

          MAF playing well, he stops all but the 3rd tic tac toe toyage goal.

          MAF playing in current Meltdown Mode, he stops the 5th.

          Like I said, a teensy bit of a problem!

    • The thing was, Brad, that was a pivotal point in the game. It was MAF’s chance to turn things around…not only for the team, but also for himself…and he failed. Not saying the entire team didn’t lay an egg. But MAF’s failure will be the main one remembered.

      • Oh I agree it was a big fail for MAF- as if there wasn’t plenty to go around. It was pivotal, but it was also really early. There was plenty of time to still mount, well, something.

      • No doubt it will be remembered.
        Which is the sad part.

        This team has been p-ss poor on D for years, and we still talk about the goalies.

        A real shame.

  60. Josh Yohe tweeted – Bylsma: “There will be changes to the lineup and our lines.” That’s a start at least….

    • No it is not, and his numbers during rehab have not been all that great. That said he does have experience and for a brief period before the injury was able to string some very good starts together. Will that happen this go-round? I personally am not holding my breath.

      However, the good news is if he does not pan out, maybe JMac finally finds the mental focus and few MPH’s missing on his fastball and you plug him in.

      If all else fails according to some scouts based on what I have read you have Cole down on the farm who is MLB ready….so there are a few options to fill out the rotation given the Gomez injury and I don’t believe anyone felt he was long for that spot anyways.

      • That was a fairly awful article.

        Tell me again why I’m supposed to care about how many homeruns a guy gives up rehabbing from TJ surgery?

        • Don’t know why you would care, but if minor league hitters are teeing off on him because he can’t keep the ball down and isn’t showing signs of command, may not want to see what major league hitters do to him.

          • He’s coming back from a year off pitching. Ya really think he’s worried about making perfect pitches?

            AJ Burnett had a 7.36 ERA in spring training with 4 walks in 11 innings. And nobody gave a damn.

            Morton’s rehab should be treated no differently.

            • I think you bring Morton up and see what he can do… best to do that now because they will then have the option of going with JMac or starting the Cole era….

              • With Gomez out, yeah, I think you bring up Charlie and let him work his stuff out at the big league level.

                I’d imagine it will take time to get a feel for the sinker and curveball, though.

            • Yes I think he would like to be in a little bit better groove.

              I’m not saying his rehab is a end all/be all but we are talking about a pitcher that is 19-37 with ERA’s of 4.55, 7.57, 3.83, 4.65 and WHIPS of 1.46-1.73 and not a lot of K’s.

              He is a pitch to the bat pitcher, Gomez was giving us good starts and we need whoever fills in to do the same so Charlie must improve on the numbers above or the team will need to find someone else that can.

              Based on the reports I have read, I’m not overly optimistic.

              • Reports about what, his stat line?

                The author did nothing but Google his box scores. There weren’t even any interviews, let alone actually getting in his car, driving to Altoona, and taking a look.

                You, me, and Jandy could’ve written that piece from our basements.

                I care about health and stuff in rehab/spring training. Charlies “poor” stats matter just as much as Liriano’s rehab domination. None.

              • Tom Smith at Rumbunter has a very good write-up with actual knowledge of Morton’s rehab.


                Not sure how that guy at Yahoo could forget to include something about Morton learning a new pitch. That’s not true, I know exactly why that guy at Yahoo could forget, because he knows nothing about Morton’s rehab.

  61. Vegas doesn’t like the Pens chances much.

    Boston Bruins -330 (bet $330 to win $100) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins +270 (bet $100 to win $270)

  62. I’ve perused some mock drafts and most of them have Mark Appel going to the Cubs. That means if that pans out, he will be pitching in the Central Division one day.

    I know it’s irrational but I don’t think I’ll ever like or root for the kid. Kinda like Colts fans with Elway.

  63. Great article on Yahoo written by Jeff Passan calling the Bucs farm system the best in baseball. Pretty high praise.

    Story mentions Tyler Glasnow who has not allowed more than three hits in any of his last ten starts – 19 total in 42.2 IP. Also a mention of 2010 fourth round pick Nick Kingham and than the obvious choices – Cole, Tallion, Polanco, Hanson, Bell.

    Adds just think if the Pirates also had Sano and Appel in its ranks. Nevertheless ends the story with this….”Pirates are going to very, very good.”

    Just one writers opinion, but no one was saying that five years ago.

    • I especially liked Passan’s nod to Rene Gayo being “turned into a villain”. I trust Dejan more than the movie.

      The list of prospects Passan rattled off made me think…when was the last time you heard about Luis Heredia? Too many “top heavy” prospects already, I suppose.

      • Good point, probably due to the fact he is still in extended spring training and not placed on team in system yet. He will be another name though that gets a lot of attention in the next few years.

        First time in a long time where you see some solid power arms sprinkled throughout all levels of the farm.

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