Grading Playoff Game 3

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Grading Playoff Game 3

Postby Mad City Mike on Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:40 am

Game, set, and…

OFFENSE: D. For the third straight game, they generated little offense at even strength. As it has been for all but the third period of Game 2, the forecheck was non-existent. It is amazing how easily Ottawa has been able to move the puck up the ice. The Pens just can’t get there in time to generate a forecheck against a skilled passing team like Ottawa. Both goals they scored were off the rush, and they had precious few of them at even strength. The first one was yet another typical dirty goal by Gary Roberts. Armstrong shoots it, Emery gives up the rebound, and it’s in the net. Simple, isn’t it, especially against a stiff like Emery. The meaningless second goal was just a nice play by Malkin and Crosby. Too little, too late. The Pens have had way too many unproductive forwards to win a series. Guys like Christensen, Talbot, Malone, Ruutu, and Petrovicky have basically been invisible at even strength. Those types of guys were the forechecking demons all season, but they have not gotten the job done in this series. I don’t expect them to carry the team, but I would like to see a contribution.

DEFENSE: F. Once again, the porous defense gets exposed. After seeing how these guys play under the bright lights, I would be perfectly happy if the only two defensemen they brought back were Whitney and Eaton. The rest just flat out stink so far. And even Whitney has been bad, but at least he has potential. The first two goals were hideous misplays by Orpik. The last two were all Gonchar. First goal, Orpik inexplicably pinches right after a power play, allowing an odd-man break that led to the biggest goal of the series. Then, on the next goal, Fleury stops the original shot (a deflection), and kicks the rebound toward the corner as he should. Comrie picks it up and has a day and a half to deposit it behind Fleury as Orpik stood there picking his nose. Then the Gonchar horror show began. Diving Whining Choking Dog fires an easy wrister from the left dot. Well, it would have been easy had Gonchar not set a perfect screen by weakly trying to block the shot. Then the last goal was Gonchar at his comical best. First, he weakly tries to hold the puck in on an ill-advised pinch. But he actually gets back into position when Ottawa fumbles the puck. But the Sens move it into the zone as Gonchar starts doing figure 8s in the middle. Diving Whining Choking Dog is wide open for a one-timer that should not have been available had Gonchar played this even semi-competently. Aside from the goals, there were numerous quality chances against the Pens that belied the low Ottawa shot total.

POWER PLAY: F. A major step down from the first two games. Not only did they generate little in the way of opportunities, they allowed Ottawa to score at the end of two power plays. Just a horrible, horrible game for the power play units. They never really threatened at all. Ottawa was very aggressive and just never let the Pens get comfortable. The less said about this, the better. It was just awful.

PENALTY KILL: D. Would have been an A had Gonchar not screened Fleury for the one goal they gave up. Other than that, they had done a very good job, though they were less aggressive than they had been in Game 2. But it still worked, as Ottawa had few good chances on the PP. Heck, even the one they scored on wasn’t a good chance per se, just a weak shot that was made into one by Gonchar.

GOALTENDING: B. Once again, Fleury could absolutely not be blamed for any of the goals. They were all screens, rebounds, and odd-man breaks. They were all defensive breakdowns. But it would have been nice if he could have somehow made the save on the first goal, because that one goal turned the whole series around. He had a chance to cover it and didn’t. It would have been a great save and play, but that’s the kind of save you sometimes need to bail you out. Fleury wasn’t bad, and is the last one I blame for any of the goals, but he wasn’t spectacular, either. And the grading scale gets harsher in the playoffs. He still earns a pretty high grade, though, because he did play well for the most part.

OVERALL: D. They came out storming and played a great first ten minutes. But then it was back to the same old, same old. It is clear at this point that Ottawa is the vastly superior team. They have depth up and down the lineup. They have actual NHL-caliber defensemen who can move the puck and hit people. The Pens have neither of those. They have an advantage in goal and possibly on special teams. But with the striped buffoons putting the whistles away, special teams aren’t that important. Well, except in this game where the Pens’ power play was so brutal. I was thinking to myself during the first intermission that the McAmmond goal might have just turned the whole series around. Looks prophetic right now, eh?

Others…

ACCOUNTABILITY: F. There is none from Michel Therrien, unless you are a bit player. He benches Christensen in Game 2 for taking a couple stupid penalties. Yet, yesterday, Malkin does the same thing and never misses a shift. I don’t care if you are down 4-1 and need goals, the coach has to show that this crap (which has gone on all year with Malkin) will not be tolerated. He should have been benched, just like Christensen was. If it hurts your ability to score, so be it. Maybe he’ll finally learn to quit taking lazy, stupid penalties.

HEADHUNTERS: A. At least, so says the Garage League. Three times in the last two games, Crosby has taken a stick or a punch to the head. This has resulted in exactly zero penalties. They might as well not even have striped buffoons out there, because it is obvious that, while the league is promoting Crosby, the striped buffoons are still conducting their petulant little vendetta against him. Therrien needs to scream loud and clear in every press conference about the preferential treatment being given to Ottawa. I guaran-damn-tee you, if it was, say, Orpik assaulting Heatley like that, they would call it every time. But the Ottawa defenseman are apparently gods who are incapable of committing a penalty.

STRIPED BUFFOON HUH? CALL OF THE GAME: Blind Massenhoven actually being allowed to ref. Okay, seriously, the Schubert hit on Scuderi at the end was a blatant boarding call. Scuderi was clearly in a vulnerable position and Schubert just ran him for no reason. This piece of crap only got two minutes for this dangerous hit. The Phillips punch on Crosby at the end that failed to draw a call was also a baffler, but understandable, given the bias of NHL officials.

SERGEI GONCHAR: F. I want this loser traded this summer. His play in this series has been a disgrace. I called him “gutlessâ€￾ yesterday. Today, the word is lazy. I thought during the game that he should be given the Paul Coffey 1991 role of power play specialist who sees no time at even strength. But then he goes out and hands them what was basically a shorthanded goal with just total lazy, indifferent, incompetent play. He is just an embarrassment. They need to get him away from Malkin before he totally pollutes the kid’s brain.

BROOKS ORPIK: F. He has had an awful series. He has continuously been out of position and lost. He seems to be trying to force some offense, and is getting caught most times. He simply does not have the instinct for it. Yesterday, he was just terrible.

ERIK CHRISTENSEN: F. This is the type of guy they need secondary production from, and he has been totally invisible. You learn in a series like this who steps up and who becomes passengers. Erik Christensen: passenger. Buh bye, been nice knowing you.

EVGENI MALKIN: C. Kudos to him for coming out flying in the first period. Play like that, you get an A. But then he lazily coughs up the puck on the second Ottawa goal and takes two lazy penalties. But he redeemed himself a bit at the end by mugging Phillips. Too bad he didn’t break the punk’s leg in the scrum.

TEAM TOUGHNESS: F. Once again, Schubert and Neil run around the whole game, and nobody does crap about it. The Pens just went meekly into the night, rather than trying to hurt Schubert. If Brett Hull thinks Ruutu has no place in the league, what must he think of this piece of crap? And as for Neil, he is a gutless punk who only runs people after the whistle. Yet the Pens, once the game was out of hand, failed to try to take him out. Not a good sign at all.

NOTE: There will be no grades after Game 4, as your faithful correspondent is being forced, against his will, to take a business trip that will not allow him to see Game 4.
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Postby MaddenFollower on Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:45 am

I can't agree more about the defense MCM, that's the major difference in this series. When our two top pairings of Gonchar-Eaton and Orpik-Whitney suck then we're screwed. Ottawa is able to put out a solid defensive tandem every shift and we just can't do that on even our best not and definitely not on our worst.
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Re: Grading Playoff Game 3

Postby Skeletons of Quinto on Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:49 am

Mad City Mike wrote:
ERIK CHRISTENSEN: F. This is the type of guy they need secondary production from, and he has been totally invisible. You learn in a series like this who steps up and who becomes passengers. Erik Christensen: passenger. Buh bye, been nice knowing you.





I'd like to see Christensen move off of the fourth line. It's hard for anyone to make an impact when they only play five minutes a game.
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Postby Spikey on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:05 am

This team is going to kill MAF before the end of this series. He's going to die alive right in the goal crease. If Shero doesn't shore up the defense in the off-season they are in serious trouble.

I don't think Christensen is ever going to produce on the 4th line. He's not good enough along the boards to cycle effectively and he's not physical enough to hit effectively. He should either be moved up onto one of the top lines where he actually gets scoring chances or scratched. I'd prefer the former option because I think he worked pretty well on Sid's line at the end of the year, but he's being totally wasted in his current 4th line role.
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Postby penny lane on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:08 am

mark recchi saved an alfredsson HT by tying him up
last seconds of the game...thank-you!

Pens have not played their best, this gives me hope.
Ray Emery, he is just a ticking bomb, waiting to explode.
Shots~ he should be peppered with shots. Any darn shot;
he was juggling the puck all game.

I'd like to see geno/sid/jordan... why not?

sens have a pure, selfish goal scorer in dany heatley...that
is what the pens have to get.

good luck on your trip~ pens will play their best
and miss out on their "A+" grades. :)
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Postby freq019 on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:10 am

The pens need to play with the urgency they showed in the last 2:30 all game, until that happens they'll just be a speed bump for their opponents in the playoffs.
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Postby JJB1996 on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:12 am

All we need to do is shoot more on the PP and we'll be fine since Emery is as bad as Andy Chiodo
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Postby farnham16 on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:13 am

I would agree with everything you said except I think again you are being way to hard on Gonchar. Yes he is playing a bad series but this guy has a ton of responsibility on him because no one else can really supply any offense from the defensive position other than him. Yeah I know theres Whitney but Gonchar is the guy. Without Gonch we barely make the playoffs theres no way we should get rid of him unless we bring in a player with his caliber offensive abilities. If this series has taught us anything it's that offensive defensemen are SOOO important in todays NHL.
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Postby Steve on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:25 am

farnham16 wrote:I would agree with everything you said except I think again you are being way to hard on Gonchar. Yes he is playing a bad series but this guy has a ton of responsibility on him because no one else can really supply any offense from the defensive position other than him. Yeah I know theres Whitney but Gonchar is the guy. Without Gonch we barely make the playoffs theres no way we should get rid of him unless we bring in a player with his caliber offensive abilities. If this series has taught us anything it's that offensive defensemen are SOOO important in todays NHL.


Good points, but I agree with MCM, Gonchar has been terrible in this series. No hustle, no sense of urgency in his own end, no physical play, and no bravery.

I don't care how good he was in the regular season, and I realize his value on the powerplay - but Shero is building a championship team, and again, I question, is Gonchar a defensman you want in the playoffs?

I think not.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:30 am

farnham16 wrote:I would agree with everything you said except I think again you are being way to hard on Gonchar. Yes he is playing a bad series but this guy has a ton of responsibility on him because no one else can really supply any offense from the defensive position other than him. Yeah I know theres Whitney but Gonchar is the guy. Without Gonch we barely make the playoffs theres no way we should get rid of him unless we bring in a player with his caliber offensive abilities. If this series has taught us anything it's that offensive defensemen are SOOO important in todays NHL.


Does Ottawa have any offensive defenseman the caliber of Whitney or Gonchar? Nope, they have guys who move the puck well, and that's all you need. Guys who can get it to the forwards instead of crapping their pants everytime the puck is on their stick.
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Re: Grading Playoff Game 3

Postby ivand87 on Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:06 am

Mad City Mike wrote:ERIK CHRISTENSEN: F. This is the type of guy they need secondary production from, and he has been totally invisible. You learn in a series like this who steps up and who becomes passengers. Erik Christensen: passenger. Buh bye, been nice knowing you.


Only Ruutu and Petrovicky played less than EC, who played only 8 minutes.

Our best wrist shot guy.
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Postby bh on Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:12 am

Mad City Mike wrote:
farnham16 wrote:I would agree with everything you said except I think again you are being way to hard on Gonchar. Yes he is playing a bad series but this guy has a ton of responsibility on him because no one else can really supply any offense from the defensive position other than him. Yeah I know theres Whitney but Gonchar is the guy. Without Gonch we barely make the playoffs theres no way we should get rid of him unless we bring in a player with his caliber offensive abilities. If this series has taught us anything it's that offensive defensemen are SOOO important in todays NHL.


Does Ottawa have any offensive defenseman the caliber of Whitney or Gonchar? Nope, they have guys who move the puck well, and that's all you need. Guys who can get it to the forwards instead of crapping their pants everytime the puck is on their stick.


Exactly. Gonchar has show he has no heart when the intensity is ratcheted up. He looks like a dog that just got kicked skating out there. I want someone who will increrase their intensity in the playoffs, not slink back.

Oprik is looking like the Brooks of early in the season. Where is the Brooks of the last couple weeks?

I wouldn't say Eaton looked good MCM. I know he was paired with Sarge but he was running around a lot and seemed out of position a lot. Eaton is a great 3rd pairing and shouldn't be on the 1st.

#1 weakness is defense, we all knew it, and we knew that it would be hard to win with the defense we have. When teams turn it on agaist us our defense is exposed as slow, unskilled, and basically pathetic. Next year Shero has a huge opputunity to upgrade. Bye Scuderi, Bye Nas, By Carins, and maybe by Melichar. We should also trade Gonchar. After seeing him in the playoffs, my stomach churns at the thought of him 3 more years. I totally agree about what we need. We need guys who can calmly take the puck and make a clean outlet pass. That would totally eliminate the forecheck of the other team. That is what Ottawa is doing when we dump it in.
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Re: Grading Playoff Game 3

Postby bh on Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:14 am

ivand87 wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:ERIK CHRISTENSEN: F. This is the type of guy they need secondary production from, and he has been totally invisible. You learn in a series like this who steps up and who becomes passengers. Erik Christensen: passenger. Buh bye, been nice knowing you.


Only Ruutu and Petrovicky played less than EC, who played only 8 minutes.

Our best wrist shot guy.


Agree with you here. what is the point of playing EC without giving him minutes where he can shoot? He played a couple games on the top line and did pretty good. What good would Malkin be if he was on the 4th line and played only 8 minutes?
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Postby Mad City Mike on Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:19 pm

BigChinook wrote:Too soft on the Fluery grade. The only goal he had no reasonable chance at stopping was the Comrie goal. The other three, while not soft goals by any means, were stoppable. Of these goals, had he made the save, the only one that would have struck me with the "wow, that was a tremendous save" would have been the one-tmer by Alfredson.

The defense is what it is and we get a fairly consitent, low level of play. Fluery however, has shown he is capable of brillant play; if we have any chance in the series, Fluery will have to play at a higher level and make more of the "wow" saves.


The first goal was one he could have played better. But he never saw Alfredsson's shot when Gonchar screened him. Hard to blame the goalie when his only hope is having the puck hit him. And he had no chance on the one-timer because Gonchar left Alfredsson wide open, neither taking the pass nor taking the man. It was very similar to the Volek goal on Barrasso that ended the '93 series. The goalie has little chance when the defense lets a long cross-ice pass through on a two-on-one.
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Postby dclovesthepens on Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:24 pm

farnham16 wrote:I would agree with everything you said except I think again you are being way to hard on Gonchar. Yes he is playing a bad series but this guy has a ton of responsibility on him because no one else can really supply any offense from the defensive position other than him. Yeah I know theres Whitney but Gonchar is the guy. Without Gonch we barely make the playoffs theres no way we should get rid of him unless we bring in a player with his caliber offensive abilities. If this series has taught us anything it's that offensive defensemen are SOOO important in todays NHL.


Gonchar does play an important role but without him we wouldn't have "barely made the playoffs."
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Postby Ron` on Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:54 pm

Mike I'd up the PK grade they only gave up one. Despite how bad the team played, if the PP does anything in this game, who knows. It's likely better long term that they lost this game due to lack of effort than if they had pulled another rabbit out of their hat.

Yes the D was exposed again for what it is. But the forwards own a part of that too. They need to get back to support them so they have a passing option, aren't getting pasted to the back boards, and so the Ottawa forwards are slowed up. Where is all this good neutral zone play that helped with the streak? (lost just like the solid forecheck)

Ottawa, just pours accross the blue line 7 out of 10 rushes.
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Re: Grading Playoff Game 3

Postby bhaw on Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:08 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:If Brett Hull thinks Ruutu has no place in the league, what must he think of this piece of crap?


I couldn't believe it, but after denouncing Ruutu, they had Mr. Sean Avery on the NBC intermission show on Sunday with Brett Hull praising what a great player he is.
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Re: Grading Playoff Game 3

Postby Jerez on Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:16 pm

bhaw wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:If Brett Hull thinks Ruutu has no place in the league, what must he think of this piece of crap?


I couldn't believe it, but after denouncing Ruutu, they had Mr. Sean Avery on the NBC intermission show on Sunday with Brett Hull praising what a great player he is.


It was easy to figure out if you listened to the whole interview: Avery apparently lived with Hull for two years while they were both with Detroit. So is this where Avery learned to be the punk he is?

And Hull doesn't think Ruutu belongs in the league. :roll:
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Postby bhaw on Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:40 pm

I did hear that. Thank God for unbiased reporting.
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Postby Henry Hank on Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:42 pm

Avery and Hull were teammates, while Ruutu probably got under Hull's skin as an opposing player. Probably Ferraro too.
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Postby mac5155 on Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:19 pm

Henry Hank wrote:Avery and Hull were teammates, while Ruutu probably got under Hull's skin as an opposing player. Probably Ferraro too.


ray ferraros opinion about the penguins isnt worth 2 cents
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Postby netwolf on Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:24 pm

Henry Hank wrote:Avery and Hull were teammates, while Ruutu probably got under Hull's skin as an opposing player. Probably Ferraro too.

The other difference between Ruutu and Avery is that one is a Euro and the other is Canadian. I'm sure that has nothing to do with it though, right?
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Postby nocera on Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:33 pm

game, set and match?

really?

yins know the series is only 2 games to 1 right? that means we've actually WON a game. and in that game we played hard and hit hard and deserved to win?

tuesday is a HUGE game. it ain't over yet fellas.
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Postby Elivenspire on Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:40 pm

the only reason Hull is on the air is because he makes the rest of the NBC crew look intelligent. (that is in no way a compliment to anyone)
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