Grading Game 77

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Grading Game 77

Postby Mad City Mike on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:11 am

Playoffs, here we come.

OFFENSE: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

DEFENSE: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

POWER PLAY: A The Penguins made the playoffs.

PENALTY KILL: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

GOALTENDING: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

OVERALL: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

Okay, time to get serious now, as my loyal readers would expect nothing less.

OFFENSE: C. Only in the second period did they really put any heat on the Caps at even strength. But that was the deciding period. The forecheck was great and they basically bottled the Caps up the entire period. The goal was again the result of hard work down low by the “bigâ€￾ line. How about Laraque getting a major and an assist on the same play? Overall, though, this was not a great game at even strength. They had no transition game all night, as the Caps stifled them with their defense-first approach. As I said, the second period was tremendous, and in the third, they just kind of backed off and played a solid defensive game. Kolzig didn’t face too many tough shots at even strength all night. The Pens made it kind of easy on Ollie the Oldie.

DEFENSE: B. You average the putrid first 10 minutes with the stellar final 50, and this is what you get. The first two Caps goals were two of the worst defensive plays the Pens have made all year, and they were carbon copies of each other. In both cases, the left defenseman somehow ended up on the offensive LW boards, leaving a guy wide open in front. Don’t ask me how this can happen. Once it was Melichar, so that explains that. But the other time it was Eaton. That, I don’t get. These goals were just hideous. On both of them, the two players closest to the front of the net were forwards. Explain that one! But after Therrien called the timeout, they really settled down and basically put the clamps on the Caps. The last goal should not have counted (more on that later), so basically the Pens shut them out the final 50 minutes. It was a great defensive job once they awoke from their slumber. As has become normal against the Pens, Ovechkin was basically invisible again. They certainly do shut him down. Looking at the shift chart, it looks like Therrien really didn’t match anyone up against him, either. All the pairings combined to hold him in check.

POWER PLAY: A. When Brooks Orpik gets an assist on the PP, you know things are working very, very well. For the second straight game, the PP won it for them. You can’t do any better than goals on your first three chances. Two of the three were “dirtyâ€￾ goals, the result of shooting the puck and driving the net. They absolutely need to keep doing this. On the two ugly goals, there were at least two Penguins banging away in front. While Roberts was only on for one of them, his presence in front certainly does open things up much moreso than Recchi’s did. The other PP goal was the patented Whitney backdoor play. I guess the Caps don’t employ pro scouts. They must have been the only ones in the building not expecting that play. It certainly is good to see the power play clicking like this again, as they will need it come playoff time.

PENALTY KILL: A. Great job here, aided by them taking so few penalties. One of the keys to this game was them killing the Ruutu double minor just after they had scored their first goal. Up until the goal and the kill, they were lifeless. But the kill gave them energy, and they fed off that in the second period. They really gave the Caps nothing all night on the PP. Everything was to the outside, and for the most part, they had an easy time clearing the puck. Combined with the power play, they had a great special teams night.

GOALTENDING: A-. It’s hard to give an A when you give up 3 goals, so Fleury gets dinged just slightly. But none of the goals was his fault at all. Two were bad defensive plays outlined above, and one was the result of poor officiating that will be discussed below. Fleury had a couple key saves here and there, but really wasn’t tested that severely. He did seem to be the only Penguin interested in competing the first 10 minutes. But the final two periods, he was rarely tested. It was a solid game by him and it’s great he was in there in the clincher. With some of his past struggles in key situations, anything that can pump up his confidence can only help him.

OVERALL: B+. The first 10 minutes were a joke, but after that they played a very solid road game. It was impressive the way they just settled down and kept chipping away. Then, once they got the lead, the defense was nearly impenetrable. While it’s understandable, that’s two games in a row where they came out flat against a bad team. They need to correct this, because it certainly won’t work against good teams. If they can play a full 60 minutes the way they played the last 50, they will be just fine.

Others…

STRIPED BUFFOON BAFFLER OF THE GAME: Because I have grown weary of giving the striped buffoons an F every night, today we institute a new feature similar to Gollum of the Game. It won’t necessarily appear in every writeup, only as required. But the way these guys are calling games, my guess is it will be a pretty regular feature. In this one, the easy winner was the Caps’ last goal. In what universe is a guy allowed to skate through the crease and upend the goalie, and yet the goal is allowed to stand? The buffoon’s apparent explanation that Fleury was out of the crease holds no water at all. Number one, he was not out of the crease when he got hit. Number two, if he’s out of the crease, it’s still interference for tripping a guy who doesn’t have the puck. My guess is the ref was on cruise control at this point and was simply asleep when the play happened. But it was a horrendous non-call. Can you imagine the outrage if that had been the tying goal?

GOLLUM OF THE GAME: The Donald. Great tough guy there, Donald. Go after Orpik for checking you cleanly. But at least unlike Eric Boulton, he did stand up for his actions when Laraque challenged him.

GLEN HANLON: F. Are the Caps really that bad that The Donald has to skate a regular shift in the third when they’re down two goals? Or is Hanlon just an idiot?

GEORGES LARAQUE: A. Good job for sticking up for Orpik, even garnering an assist on the play. But another play stood out even more. The Caps were swarming and Fleury covered the puck. They were all over him. BGL skates into the fray. Suddenly, the scrum is 6 feet away from Fleury, who must have been smiling under his mask. Guys just kind of backed away when they saw who was coming.

SIDNEY CROSBY: A. Slump officially over. ‘Nuf said.

MICHEL THERRIEN: A. The timeout call by him certainly seemed to change the momentum of the game. At that point, I was yelling at him to whack every single guy on the head with a stick, so morose was the team. But he did settle them down when they needed it. And they are 3-0 since he shuffled the lines and the power play, outscoring teams 11-4.

RYAN WHITNEY: A. Nice to see him rebounding from a tough few weeks. He went into the stratosphere for awhile there, but he seems to be back now.

BROOKS ORPIK: He had a couple of crushing hits against the boards. And they were part of the play, not something where he went looking for the huge hit.

PLAYOFFS: A. Did I mention the Penguins are in the playoffs after six long years? Go back as recently as the end of December. Who wouldda thunk it? Sa-weet.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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Postby DelPen on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:19 am

Even if they didn't call a penalty the goal can still be waived off for interference of an incidental nature.

But as far as Fleury not being tested, he had a great save where he was split across the crease and managed to keep the puck out of the net, this was with about 3 minutes to go (maybe less, not 100% sure). If the Caps score there the game would have been very different.

And Rex again makes a bad choice with an empty net and ices the puck which lead to another goal against with seconds left.
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Postby mac5155 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:20 am

at first, i was like no wheres the game grade. but i saw it. great post MCM, thanks for the hard work.
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Re: Grading Game 77

Postby kirk on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:25 am

Mad City Mike wrote:Playoffs, here we come.

OFFENSE: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

DEFENSE: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

POWER PLAY: A The Penguins made the playoffs.

PENALTY KILL: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

GOALTENDING: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

OVERALL: A. The Penguins made the playoffs.

Okay, time to get serious now, as my loyal readers would expect nothing less.

OFFENSE: C. Only in the second period did they really put any heat on the Caps at even strength. But that was the deciding period. The forecheck was great and they basically bottled the Caps up the entire period. The goal was again the result of hard work down low by the “bigâ€￾ line. How about Laraque getting a major and an assist on the same play? Overall, though, this was not a great game at even strength. They had no transition game all night, as the Caps stifled them with their defense-first approach. As I said, the second period was tremendous, and in the third, they just kind of backed off and played a solid defensive game. Kolzig didn’t face too many tough shots at even strength all night. The Pens made it kind of easy on Ollie the Oldie.

DEFENSE: B. You average the putrid first 10 minutes with the stellar final 50, and this is what you get. The first two Caps goals were two of the worst defensive plays the Pens have made all year, and they were carbon copies of each other. In both cases, the left defenseman somehow ended up on the offensive LW boards, leaving a guy wide open in front. Don’t ask me how this can happen. Once it was Melichar, so that explains that. But the other time it was Eaton. That, I don’t get. These goals were just hideous. On both of them, the two players closest to the front of the net were forwards. Explain that one! But after Therrien called the timeout, they really settled down and basically put the clamps on the Caps. The last goal should not have counted (more on that later), so basically the Pens shut them out the final 50 minutes. It was a great defensive job once they awoke from their slumber. As has become normal against the Pens, Ovechkin was basically invisible again. They certainly do shut him down. Looking at the shift chart, it looks like Therrien really didn’t match anyone up against him, either. All the pairings combined to hold him in check.

POWER PLAY: A. When Brooks Orpik gets an assist on the PP, you know things are working very, very well. For the second straight game, the PP won it for them. You can’t do any better than goals on your first three chances. Two of the three were “dirtyâ€￾ goals, the result of shooting the puck and driving the net. They absolutely need to keep doing this. On the two ugly goals, there were at least two Penguins banging away in front. While Roberts was only on for one of them, his presence in front certainly does open things up much moreso than Recchi’s did. The other PP goal was the patented Whitney backdoor play. I guess the Caps don’t employ pro scouts. They must have been the only ones in the building not expecting that play. It certainly is good to see the power play clicking like this again, as they will need it come playoff time.

PENALTY KILL: A. Great job here, aided by them taking so few penalties. One of the keys to this game was them killing the Ruutu double minor just after they had scored their first goal. Up until the goal and the kill, they were lifeless. But the kill gave them energy, and they fed off that in the second period. They really gave the Caps nothing all night on the PP. Everything was to the outside, and for the most part, they had an easy time clearing the puck. Combined with the power play, they had a great special teams night.

GOALTENDING: A-. It’s hard to give an A when you give up 3 goals, so Fleury gets dinged just slightly. But none of the goals was his fault at all. Two were bad defensive plays outlined above, and one was the result of poor officiating that will be discussed below. Fleury had a couple key saves here and there, but really wasn’t tested that severely. He did seem to be the only Penguin interested in competing the first 10 minutes. But the final two periods, he was rarely tested. It was a solid game by him and it’s great he was in there in the clincher. With some of his past struggles in key situations, anything that can pump up his confidence can only help him.

OVERALL: B+. The first 10 minutes were a joke, but after that they played a very solid road game. It was impressive the way they just settled down and kept chipping away. Then, once they got the lead, the defense was nearly impenetrable. While it’s understandable, that’s two games in a row where they came out flat against a bad team. They need to correct this, because it certainly won’t work against good teams. If they can play a full 60 minutes the way they played the last 50, they will be just fine.

Others…

STRIPED BUFFOON BAFFLER OF THE GAME: Because I have grown weary of giving the striped buffoons an F every night, today we institute a new feature similar to Gollum of the Game. It won’t necessarily appear in every writeup, only as required. But the way these guys are calling games, my guess is it will be a pretty regular feature. In this one, the easy winner was the Caps’ last goal. In what universe is a guy allowed to skate through the crease and upend the goalie, and yet the goal is allowed to stand? The buffoon’s apparent explanation that Fleury was out of the crease holds no water at all. Number one, he was not out of the crease when he got hit. Number two, if he’s out of the crease, it’s still interference for tripping a guy who doesn’t have the puck. My guess is the ref was on cruise control at this point and was simply asleep when the play happened. But it was a horrendous non-call. Can you imagine the outrage if that had been the tying goal?

GOLLUM OF THE GAME: The Donald. Great tough guy there, Donald. Go after Orpik for checking you cleanly. But at least unlike Eric Boulton, he did stand up for his actions when Laraque challenged him.

GLEN HANLON: F. Are the Caps really that bad that The Donald has to skate a regular shift in the third when they’re down two goals? Or is Hanlon just an idiot?

GEORGES LARAQUE: A. Good job for sticking up for Orpik, even garnering an assist on the play. But another play stood out even more. The Caps were swarming and Fleury covered the puck. They were all over him. BGL skates into the fray. Suddenly, the scrum is 6 feet away from Fleury, who must have been smiling under his mask. Guys just kind of backed away when they saw who was coming.

SIDNEY CROSBY: A. Slump officially over. ‘Nuf said.

MICHEL THERRIEN: A. The timeout call by him certainly seemed to change the momentum of the game. At that point, I was yelling at him to whack every single guy on the head with a stick, so morose was the team. But he did settle them down when they needed it. And they are 3-0 since he shuffled the lines and the power play, outscoring teams 11-4.

RYAN WHITNEY: A. Nice to see him rebounding from a tough few weeks. He went into the stratosphere for awhile there, but he seems to be back now.

BROOKS ORPIK: He had a couple of crushing hits against the boards. And they were part of the play, not something where he went looking for the huge hit.

PLAYOFFS: A. Did I mention the Penguins are in the playoffs after six long years? Go back as recently as the end of December. Who wouldda thunk it? Sa-weet.

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


MCM, I saw enough in the first 10 games of the season to suggest that, if everything fell right for the Pens, then they'd be fighting with those half dozen teams for the last three playoff spots.

Believe it or not, you saw improvement in Sid. You knew Malkin would be good. You hoped you'd see the consistency from Fleury that you have. You hoped the team chemistry would come together quickly. You hoped to see continued improvement in the players across the board. Heck, you even saw glimpses of a coach pushing the right buttons.

BUT, I thought then that the wild card in everything would be Jordan Staal. You didn't know if he'd regress, how much he'd struggle in terms of playing consistently, and how much he might improve between games 10 and today.

Staal isn't the MVP of this team. He isn't rookie of the year. But, in terms of what this team needed-- a stud defensive forward-- it's hard not to see Staal's unanticipated and unimagined contribution as the reason the Pens are in the playoffs right now instead of in position to make the playoffs.

As for the game, no specific comments beyond this: THE PENS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS.
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Postby evilpens on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:25 am

mac5155 wrote:at first, i was like no wheres the game grade. but i saw it. great post MCM, thanks for the hard work.

By the way MCM did you know the Pens are in the PLAYOFFS? :lol: Good job as always!!
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Postby TheHammer24 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:29 am

Concerning the second goal.

I have to disagree that the two goals were carbon copies. On the first Melichar and Gonchar just lost all control of defensive responsibilities.

On the second. The puck is behind the net, and Sid forces him to pass to the corner where Scuderi goes after the man. Eaton is in front of the net. The puck goes to the highish slot and the man is about to shoot. Eaton challenges, as he is supposed to do, and tries to block the shot. The man Sid was covering is now in front of the net alone.

Scuds and Eaton are not to blame.

It was a combination of good puck movement by the Caps with Sid kind of missing the guy in front.
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Postby Froggy on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:32 am

DelPen wrote:And Rex again makes a bad choice with an empty net and ices the puck which lead to another goal against with seconds left.



if the man can't hit an empty net from 9 inches away, why did he think he could hit it from 90 feet?
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Postby kirk on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:34 am

Froggy wrote:
DelPen wrote:And Rex again makes a bad choice with an empty net and ices the puck which lead to another goal against with seconds left.



if the man can't hit an empty net from 9 inches away, why did he think he could hit it from 90 feet?


I know that this will sound odd coming from me, but I tried very hard not to mention a specific defenseman and a winger who stopped playing along the boards like he had the last two games. No names today. Tomorrow is a different story. Today, the Pens are in the playoffs.
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Postby Spikey on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:38 am

He did seem to be the only Penguin interested in competing the first 10 minutes.

I would say Fleury and Talbot. IIRC, Talbot had a breakaway or near-breakaway in the first few minutes.

I agree with your buffoonish buffoonery assessment on the refs, but at the same time, that second goal Whitney scored could easily have been disallowed. BGL and Brashear both had their gloves off well before the puck went into the net and the play could have been whistled dead. I consider the Jurcina goal a make-up for that one. Terrible, terrible officiatng all night, though, including that phantom hooking call on Orpik with three minutes to go.

ETA: the Pens are in the playoffs!
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Postby freq019 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:40 am

I thought Malkin had an average game, I noticed twice he passed the puck to the guys in the dark jerseys which I thought was odd. Other than that, the pens made the playoffs :D
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Postby tluke53 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:48 am

I herd a report on the local news that was sort of strange.

Did the Pens make the playoffs or something?
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Postby KennyTheKangaroo on Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:59 am

i give tons of credit to MT for giving the guys a good stern lecture. he has not lost his edge.
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Postby evilpens on Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:03 am

KennyTheKangaroo wrote:i give tons of credit to MT for giving the guys a good stern lecture. he has not lost his edge.

You think he gave them a Stern Lecture? I think he tore them a new one :lol:
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Postby relantel on Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:04 pm

I think I would have graded the D a little worse than MCM did, but can't argue with the overall grade.
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Re: Grading Game 77

Postby Tazman5099 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:18 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:MICHEL THERRIEN: A. The timeout call by him certainly seemed to change the momentum of the game. At that point, I was yelling at him to whack every single guy on the head with a stick, so morose was the team. But he did settle them down when they needed it. And they are 3-0 since he shuffled the lines and the power play, outscoring teams 11-4.


I give him an A also for managing Laraque correctly and having him out there after the Brashear penalty expired to send the message. He could have let it happen during the natural course of the game, but he didn't wait.
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Postby npv708 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:48 pm

you forgot one grade from last night:

eddie olcyzk: A+++++ for being fired, cuz if he was still coach, during the timeout he wouldve just simply looked at the and wouldnt have said anything.

Mt will always be a welcome change over edzo.
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Postby Gaucho on Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:50 pm

Rex drew two penalties when we really needed them. Give him credit.
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Postby cs6687 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:50 pm

Edzo says the Pens don't win games; the other team loses them.
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Postby Gaucho on Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:58 pm

Edzo makes himself a fool then.
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Postby cma3585 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:58 pm

hey guys, sorry if this was mentioned in the game thread, i didn't feel like paging through the whole thing. concerning the refs and our first power play, was i just seeing things or did that initial slapshot at the beginning of the pp go behind kolzig, hit the back of the net and pop right back out? i rewinded it on the dvr a few times and saw a blur of black behind the goal line. i'm guessing i was seeing things since i haven't seen this talked about anywhere, but that really looked like it was in.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:02 pm

cma3585 wrote:hey guys, sorry if this was mentioned in the game thread, i didn't feel like paging through the whole thing. concerning the refs and our first power play, was i just seeing things or did that initial slapshot at the beginning of the pp go behind kolzig, hit the back of the net and pop right back out? i rewinded it on the dvr a few times and saw a blur of black behind the goal line. i'm guessing i was seeing things since i haven't seen this talked about anywhere, but that really looked like it was in.


I thought so originally too. But the replay on the Caps broadcast clearly showed it hit the post and never went in.
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Postby Kovy27 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:03 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:
cma3585 wrote:hey guys, sorry if this was mentioned in the game thread, i didn't feel like paging through the whole thing. concerning the refs and our first power play, was i just seeing things or did that initial slapshot at the beginning of the pp go behind kolzig, hit the back of the net and pop right back out? i rewinded it on the dvr a few times and saw a blur of black behind the goal line. i'm guessing i was seeing things since i haven't seen this talked about anywhere, but that really looked like it was in.


I thought so originally too. But the replay on the Caps broadcast clearly showed it hit the post and never went in.


They showed it on FSN as well. Hit the post, rolled along the goal line and out the other side.
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Postby cma3585 on Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:11 pm

Kovy27 wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:
cma3585 wrote:hey guys, sorry if this was mentioned in the game thread, i didn't feel like paging through the whole thing. concerning the refs and our first power play, was i just seeing things or did that initial slapshot at the beginning of the pp go behind kolzig, hit the back of the net and pop right back out? i rewinded it on the dvr a few times and saw a blur of black behind the goal line. i'm guessing i was seeing things since i haven't seen this talked about anywhere, but that really looked like it was in.


I thought so originally too. But the replay on the Caps broadcast clearly showed it hit the post and never went in.


They showed it on FSN as well. Hit the post, rolled along the goal line and out the other side.


thanks for the clarification. i saw that replay but didn't think it was the same thing as i saw.
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Postby relantel on Wed Mar 28, 2007 6:46 pm

cma3585 wrote:
Kovy27 wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:
cma3585 wrote:hey guys, sorry if this was mentioned in the game thread, i didn't feel like paging through the whole thing. concerning the refs and our first power play, was i just seeing things or did that initial slapshot at the beginning of the pp go behind kolzig, hit the back of the net and pop right back out? i rewinded it on the dvr a few times and saw a blur of black behind the goal line. i'm guessing i was seeing things since i haven't seen this talked about anywhere, but that really looked like it was in.


I thought so originally too. But the replay on the Caps broadcast clearly showed it hit the post and never went in.


They showed it on FSN as well. Hit the post, rolled along the goal line and out the other side.


thanks for the clarification. i saw that replay but didn't think it was the same thing as i saw.


And to think I initially thought you were talking about the Caps 3rd goal - never really did get a good replay of that but the one that CSN showed looked like it hit the corner of the post and crossbar, but not in. Still, would have been nice to have hit the EN before that point.
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