Craig Patrick Has Accomplished Something Truly Amazing

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Craig Patrick Has Accomplished Something Truly Amazing

Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:07 pm

In 2003-04, the Pens finished last. They are on track to do the same this year. Many teams have accomplished this dubious feat. But what is truly astounding is that they are going to finish last with almost an entirely different roster than they did 2 years ago. If you look at the team that hit the ice for the final game that year, you will see that only five players who played that game are still here:

Malone
Orpik
Melichar
Koltsov
Caron

So that means that they finished last, then Clueless Craig turned over 78 percent of the roster, and they will still finish last. Nothing speaks more to his gross incompetence than that.
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Postby Racer17 on Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:25 pm

Wow great post.

If I may add, Caron is a back-up goalie, Koltsov was waived and in WBS for a period of time and Malone was a healthy scratch for a stretch. It helps your numbers even more.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:33 pm

Racer17 wrote:Wow great post.

If I may add, Caron is a back-up goalie, Koltsov was waived and in WBS for a period of time and Malone was a healthy scratch for a stretch. It helps your numbers even more.


That's true. Orpik, Melichar and Malone are really the only major contributors left from that team. Three guys. Wwow. Just, wow.
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Postby Pitts on Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:34 pm

Don't forget, Orpik was injurd for nearly a month and has been suspended 3 games this year. Does that help?
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:57 pm

Pitts wrote:Don't forget, Orpik was injurd for nearly a month and has been suspended 3 games this year. Does that help?


Now now... I was staying out of this thread.. but you're pushing it... :lol: :lol:

I agree those are interesting numbers... and they don't paint a pretty picture. I think this years failures are the most damaging to CP's legacy. Having absolutely nothing to spend to keep, let alone acquire players the preceeding five years or so, gives him a pass in my book. But the only excuse for this past year is Marios involvement, and that's not enough for amnesty.

Having said that, I thought he'd done a good job in the off-season in the Free-Agent market. When the season started it looked damn good on paper to me. (And to most of us if you're honest about it), but none of us make six-figures a year to be an NHL GM (Unless FN is really Boobie Clarke) :-)
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Postby jmh70 on Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:17 pm

What an amazing display of ineptitude. Bravo.
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Postby FallenHero96 on Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:21 pm

Interesting. That is quite an accomplishment.
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Postby Pitts on Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:31 pm

ExPatriatePen wrote:(And to most of us if you're honest about it), but none of us make six-figures a year to be an NHL GM (Unless FN is really Boobie Clarke) :-)


So that's why he's so jealous that we won the "Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes!" :lol:

I'm also honest enough to admit that I was damn stoked going into this season. What a miserable one it turned out to be.
Last edited by Pitts on Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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couldn't possibly do this for 3 years... :)

Postby penny lane on Fri Mar 10, 2006 1:50 pm

As CP is dusting off his resume' this isn't something to be included. :P
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Postby Stoosh on Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:31 pm

When everything is said and done, I think we're all going to look back at this 2005-06 season and wonder where the hell everything went so wrong for this club. It was just a little more than five months ago that some of us were talking about a team that was going to challenge for an Atlantic Divison title. We were talking about a team that could've very well had not just one but two of the most potent power play units in the league.

Five months later, we're looking at another lottery pick. We've been doubled up in standings points by the Rangers (81 to 40). With 19 games remaining and only 38 points left out there, this club is going to be hard-pressed to get back to the 58 points we had in 2003-04 (they basically have to win nine of their remaining 19). At least we got one thing right...the power play has been a respectable 18.2%, good for 11th in the league and that's without Lemieux and Palffy for large parts of the season.

But again, where did it go wrong?

For starters, a lot of players the organization thought would step up this year just never, ever did. For proof of that, consider that our third-leading scorer is still Ziggy Palffy with 42 points, and he hasn't put on a Pens jersey in almost two months.

Ryan Malone was scoring at a clip of .53 points per game in 2003-04 (43 points in 81 games). This year, with 28 points in 58 games, he's regressed to a clip of .48 ppg.

Konstantin Koltsov played in 82 games in 2003-04 and gave the Pens 29 points (9G, 20A). Those aren't numbers to write home about, but if you're getting a point every three nights from a third-line winger, that's not terrible. This year? Koltsov's dropped off the map. Three points in 41 games, for a ppg of .073. That's a point every 14 games.

In 03-04, Rico Fata FINALLY started to look like he was getting it, scoring 34 points in 73 games. He looked like a guy who could've been counted on to play a solid third line and contribute some points here and there. So how on earth does he go from almost a point every other game to not even being able to notch a point in 20 games? You almost have to TRY to be that bad. And the mystifying thing about the disappearing acts of Fata and Koltsov's scoring abilities was the fact that the new rules and open ice should've helped players like that even more.

This is just a small sample. But keep in mind that these guys were bumped down the depth chart by some of the draftees (Crosby) and free agent signings (Recchi, Palffy). So expecting them to improve on their 03-04 numbers shouldn't have been THAT big of a stretch, right?

I think a big reason why this team struggled early on was because they were getting absolutely NOTHING from their third and fourth lines. When the scoring slumps started to extend to guys in the top two lines, it only compounded the problem.

And we haven't even gotten to the defense yet, which was bad in 03-04 and didn't receive any real serious upgrade as far as play in our own end was concerned.

All told, maybe this was the problem. The euphoria of a favorable CBA combined with the elation of getting Crosby to create this illusion that this team could make up the 30-40 points in the standings that it would take to get to the playoffs. The fans lost sight of just how monumental a task that was but even worse, so did the front office.

That's not to say the free agent market will blow up in our faces every time. I actually thought CP was doing a great job with the Palffy and Gonchar signings. But again, I think everyone let themselves get too caught up in "let's make a Cup run for Mario", and free agency became a tool to replace the rebuilding process rather than supplementing it.

The problem can be fixed and let's face it...if you're going to rebuild, having Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, and Whitney in the fold is a nice place to start.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:41 pm

Stoosh wrote:I think a big reason why this team struggled early on was because they were getting absolutely NOTHING from their third and fourth lines. When the scoring slumps started to extend to guys in the top two lines, it only compounded the problem.

And we haven't even gotten to the defense yet, which was bad in 03-04 and didn't receive any real serious upgrade as far as play in our own end was concerned.

All told, maybe this was the problem. The euphoria of a favorable CBA combined with the elation of getting Crosby to create this illusion that this team could make up the 30-40 points in the standings that it would take to get to the playoffs. The fans lost sight of just how monumental a task that was but even worse, so did the front office.

That's not to say the free agent market will blow up in our faces every time. I actually thought CP was doing a great job with the Palffy and Gonchar signings. But again, I think everyone let themselves get too caught up in "let's make a Cup run for Mario", and free agency became a tool to replace the rebuilding process rather than supplementing it.

The problem can be fixed and let's face it...if you're going to rebuild, having Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, and Whitney in the fold is a nice place to start.


Well said, Stoosh. The thinking was that guys like Fata and Koltsov had put up some points as more top-line players, so they should be moderately productive as third or fourth liners. Can't argue with the logic, but it was a huge misjudgement.

But the far bigger error was a failure to upgrade the defense and understand how the new enforcement would expose them. I, too, had no problem signing Gonchar. But that should ahve been only one part of a total revamp. Instead, Patrick decided that guys like Tarnstrom, Jackman, Melichar, and Orpik would be just fine. That was a gross error, as was thinking guys like Poapst and Odelein could contribute at all in the new speed-oriented game.

They are going to have to go into the free agent market for defensemen, but it won't be easy. With the uncertainty over where the franchise will be, a FA will have a hard time justifying going to the Pens. In addition, if they aren't sold, I can't see current ownership going out and committing any money. A new ownership group will want a clean slate.

The future does look bright. I just hope they bring in a new GM to adequately assess the needs and then act smartly to fill them.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:58 pm

Mad City Mike wrote: as was thinking guys like Poapst and Odelein could contribute at all in the new speed-oriented game.


I was guilty of this, and i think it's the biggest mistake that was made by players fans and GM's going into this year. Almost everyone assumed that you could have one guy on a unit who wasn't speedy, but provided other characteristics, and it wouldn't hurt you.

WRONG.

In the new game, speed is everything, and I'm not just talking skating, hands, decision making (ask Brooks), etc... EVERYTHING is faster. It's not NASCAR, but it's changed the game.

Funny part is, I don't think the average fan sees much of a difference, but from a player or coaches standpoint, it's night and day.
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Don't forget about goaltending

Postby Jerez on Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:08 pm

I think the Pens being weak in net, especially at the crucial start of the season, was a big factor. It seemed to feed a lack of confidence, and exposed the huge weaknesses at defense.

If Thibault had been the strong goaltender we all had been hoping for, or if the team [GM] had decided to just invest in Fleury and let him work it out (I'm assuming he would be better now if he had played more games in the beginning -- could be a stretch :wink: ), maybe things wouldn't have been as bad. Anyway, goaltending became quite a debacle.

And who else thinks one of the biggest priorities for next year is getting a DEPENDABLE backup for Fleury? I'm certainly not convinced the young Trout is the answer, and I don't see anyone else in the system who can do that.

Ah, to bring back the Moose... (where's that Moose icon?)
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Re: Don't forget about goaltending

Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:40 pm

Jerez wrote:And who else thinks one of the biggest priorities for next year is getting a DEPENDABLE backup for Fleury? I'm certainly not convinced the young Trout is the answer, and I don't see anyone else in the system who can do that.

Ah, to bring back the Moose... (where's that Moose icon?)


It absolutely must be. I was disappointed to see Noronen go to Vancouver for not a lot. He would be a huge upgrade over Caron, who has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt this year that he is not an NHL goalie. Moose or somebody just like him would be nice. I guess we'll have to wait and see who's available on the FA market, because, as you say, there is no hope from within.
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Re: Don't forget about goaltending

Postby ExPatriatePen on Fri Mar 10, 2006 3:48 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:
Jerez wrote:And who else thinks one of the biggest priorities for next year is getting a DEPENDABLE backup for Fleury? I'm certainly not convinced the young Trout is the answer, and I don't see anyone else in the system who can do that.

Ah, to bring back the Moose... (where's that Moose icon?)


It absolutely must be. I was disappointed to see Noronen go to Vancouver for not a lot. He would be a huge upgrade over Caron, who has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt this year that he is not an NHL goalie. Moose or somebody just like him would be nice. I guess we'll have to wait and see who's available on the FA market, because, as you say, there is no hope from within.


How bout Scally.. he's an FoM (Just kidding)
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Postby tluke53 on Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:02 pm

I am concerned about the goaltending position. Maybe I have been listening to Madden too much, but Fluery has looked pretty bad the last few weeks. It may be a good idea to invest another high draft pick (2nd or 3rd round) on a goaltender. You can never have to many good goalies.

Caron is awful. If he plays over a stretch is below average, but he is terrible when he plays cold, which a backup must do. I think it is time for him to go. Of course, as cited previously we don't really have a replacement.
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Postby Draftnik on Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:03 pm

Caron has 1 more year guaranteed on his contract so he will be back next season. The Pens will have 3 goalies on 1 way deals with Thibault coming back and MAF needing a new deal, so the odds of the Pens bringing in a 4th goalie would be slim. Ironically Caron's winning % is actually much higher than the overall team winning %.

It isn't surprising that the roster turned over from 03/04 since the XGen was a marketing scheme. The Pens lacked legitimate prospects that season, so there was plenty of trash to sweep out. The roster should be much more stable next season since many of the younger players seem to be legitimate NHL role player prospects.
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Postby ExPatriatePen on Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:10 pm

tluke53 wrote:I am concerned about the goaltending position. Maybe I have been listening to Madden too much, but Fluery has looked pretty bad the last few weeks. It may be a good idea to invest another high draft pick (2nd or 3rd round) on a goaltender. You can never have to many good goalies. .


I'm of a different opinion.

IMHO ranking of odds of a draft pick working out:
1) Forward
2) Defenseman
3) Goalie

Coupled with the years to develop (Quickest to longest)
1) Forward
2) Goalie
3) Defenseman

Results in the following strategy:

Draft and develop your own forwards, Defensemen can be developed if you have enough time. Goalies should be where you spend your big free-agent bucks.

I know that's a gross over simplification, but I think it works in general.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:26 pm

Draftnik wrote:Caron has 1 more year guaranteed on his contract so he will be back next season.


I thought he had signed a 3-year deal, but looked it up and you are right. Clueless Craig signed him to a 4-year deal. Four friggin years for a guy that has no business even being in the NHL. Is this guy the worst judge of talent in the league or what? Even all of us were shaking our heads about this signing at the time, and now it looks even more ridiculous.
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Postby Henry Hank on Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:27 pm

How does Caron still have a year left? Didn't he sign a three-year deal after the 2002-2003 season? If that were the case, his contract would be up after this season, right?
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Postby tluke53 on Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:56 pm

Well, MCM, I keep trying to find ways not to throw CP under the buss completely, but having three goalies under contract looks pretty darn bad right now.

ExPatriatePen, your plan is probably oversimplified but does make cense. Why waist time developing talent at a highly unpredictable position when you can just throw dollars at the position in free agency. The counter argument would be to look at NFL Quarterbacks. Typically they are selected and groomed via the draft. Of course, these are usually 22 year olds from Western PA, not 18 year olds from some unpronounceable city in Russia.

Wouldn't be nice to talk about something other than why the Pen's suck.
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Postby Pitts on Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:04 pm

tluke53 wrote:Well, MCM, I keep trying to find ways not to throw CP under the buss completely, but having three goalies under contract looks pretty darn bad right now.


Actually, after this season, he will only have 2 goalies under contract as MAF will be a UFA! I wonder what kind of coin he will be looking for.
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Postby Draftnik on Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:20 pm

Pitts wrote:Actually, after this season, he will only have 2 goalies under contract as MAF will be a UFA! I wonder what kind of coin he will be looking for.


RFA at worst. Since he is coming off his first pro contract he may be an exclusive rights player.
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Postby Zscout on Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:16 pm

Washington Crapitals are in the same boat - they turned thier roster over and still vacuum.
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Postby Pitts on Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:21 pm

Draftnik wrote:
Pitts wrote:Actually, after this season, he will only have 2 goalies under contract as MAF will be a UFA! I wonder what kind of coin he will be looking for.


RFA at worst. Since he is coming off his first pro contract he may be an exclusive rights player.


Sorry Draftnik, you know I meant RFA...type too fast for my own good!
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