Watching NYR/NJD and..

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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby pcm on Sat May 26, 2012 1:57 pm

Yeah no one knows what Jordan's thinking or what he wants. Speculating that he's not happy is just as much speculation as to why he might not be happy. That said, finding a role for him to fulfill his potential is up to the coach. Any team would be salivating to have the "problem" the Pens have with Malkin, Sid, and Staal. It shouldn't be too hard to find ways to utilize his strengths and challenge him with a star role.

In my opinion, I think he'd be an awesome left wing, especially paired with Malkin. He's a big, strong body with a hard shot, a nose for the net, and a solid defensive-minded presence. Use those strengths in the offensive zone; he's not slow, so he'd be fine on the forecheck. If Malkin and Neal are the first guys in, then he can easily play the man back... In the defensive zone, let him play down low when things are set. Blysma favors flexibility and adaptability. Having Malkin and Staal switch roles in the flow of the game would be a huge disruptive asset.

So suddenly you have Staal as #1 LW. He's getting top PP time, playing on the best line in the NHL. That should be a big enough "star challenge" for him. The team fills its biggest offensive need with a big-body to play down low and front of the net. Staal's biuggest weakness as a 2nd line center is his playmaking abilities. So moving him to wing minimizes that too.

Now maybe he doesn't want to move to wing and the team is stuck in the 3 center model. As you mentioned, his minutes can still easily be +20. Add in a role on the top power play and distribute the quality of the wingers evenly between the centers. Then just roll them mercilessly; it's worked for the Kings this year as a way to disregard the matchups game and downplay the advantages of last change.

Regardless, unless some extreme case where Staal's unhappy with the organization, his role and potential on the team is to me totally a coaching issue, regardless of whether he shares a bench with the two best centers in the world or they're both on IR.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Desiato on Sat May 26, 2012 2:43 pm

Keeping this team together in its current form all rides on success. For cups, a player like Staal will play on the 3rd line, Malkin might sign for less, etc.. But for where this team is trending? Unlikely.

If I were Jordan Staal, I wouldn't accept a 3rd line/wing position for anything less than a dominant playoff team. Otherwise--if I had his ability, attributes, and youth--I'd want to play for a team on which I had a legitimate shot at being the top center. I think he could be as good or better than Eric in his prime.

I believe that retaining DB means that we'll have at least one more season with the current fundamentals in place. Up front at least.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Sarcastic on Sat May 26, 2012 5:30 pm

mikey287 wrote:Is it a coaching issue or a numbers game? It's not like Staal is the third line center behind Milan Kraft or Robert Lang...he's the 3rd line center behind Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. This past season, though, Staal played the second most amount of minutes of any forward on the team (within one minute of leader Evgeni Malkin), same deal the season before except replace Malkin with Crosby. So Bylsma gives him plenty of time...maybe he wants a little bit of the spotlight or to play with one of his brothers or whatever, I don't really know. Hell, maybe he wants to play here forever, I don't know...

I don't think wing is the answer. Staal's strengths don't make him a good fit for the wing.


mikey, how would you use him on the PP?

From what they say he really wants in on the fun and I think he deserves it (with the top players), but I see our PP being so mismanaged that even a guy like Staal who's big and has really improved his shot can't find a place. They took Crosby off it during playoffs. OK, it's a circus, but how would YOU make our PP? It took a few games during the Flyers series, but then it looked like Pens began to emulate Flyers' wider setup and as a result our PP looked better (more room/time for getting a shot off).
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby mikey287 on Sat May 26, 2012 6:57 pm

Well, good question. I am not a power play expert (in all my coaching philosophies/strategies, I probably have the least confidence in my ability to craft an effective power play...I let my players have a lot of freedom out there but with a few requirements). I like a lot of movement on the power play, the mistake some coaches and players make is that they believe the power play or penalty kill is not the same game as hockey. Which is strange to say, but some people believe "well, it's a power play...so this happens" - but it's important to realize the same hockey principles apply. Standing around and passing it around the perimeter of the ice is not hockey - that's a waste of time and opportunity.

You have to have at least two good, working power plays in my estimation. And since I've never coached an NHL team, I would have to believe you'll need more in the show. The copycat league has created a situation where there are lot more aggressive penalty kill teams (it's called aggressive because it continues to play hockey, instead of standing in a box watching passes go around you) so you have to be ready for that and assume that will be the case.

Puck poise, smarts, recovery ability have to be ready on the backend. Kris Letang checks out for that at least. With all that skill, there is no excuse not to get everyone touching the puck. The puck and player movement has to be quick and it has to penetrate and move quickly from the strong side to the weak side without too much risk out high. A couple points I would try to touch on - maybe not all in one power play, but in my overall power play strategy.

- Staal in the slot, down low, and in front. Big body, good shooter, quick stick, savvy in traffic.

- We can utiliize the area behind the net as a threat. There should be some time behind the net for a Sidney Crosby to create and it will suck the penalty kill down low and if one venturesome little ragamuffin wants to attack Crosby back there, it should either open up the slot (Staal) a bank pass for Letang, or you slide down another player on the weak side behind the net (Malkin/Neal) and get puck movement out of that. Passing on the power play, and I stress this to all of my young players especially - passing on the power play is not for the sake of passing, it's to open up more challenging lanes that lead to quality scoring chances - passing it listlessly just pass it is just playing with yourself...

- High deflection. By that I mean, instead of setting up a deflection down right in front of the goalie and dealing with the battle and having your stick tied up and all that abuse. Sit Staal in the soft spot in coverage, get the puck to Letang or Malkin on the point or whatever and put it off Staal's stick a little higher and then from the weak side shoot Neal in from the corner on a timing play to dig for trash if doesn't go in.*

* - Illustration. Letang at the point, Staal just at or below the hashmarks or thereabouts, Neal down near the icing line in the opposite corner of Letang...Letang releases, off Staal's stick, the deflection will focus the eyes of both d-men towards the front of their own net, meanwhile Neal has shot in from the corner where he'll be able to bully his way in there and put in a rebound if necessary or retrieve the puck - in which an avenue should be set up where he can push the puck on his forehand into the corner in which he is facing. Meaning, he can either come in and slam the puck home or slam the puck into the corner in which only a Penguin is occupying...

So Staal can have a lot of different roles on the power play, I have them all being in the hashmarks or lower, but that's where money is made. That's just my quick ideas on the subject, without bringing out my board, it's difficult to go into more detail. But you can get him involved easily. Giving him his "own" power play unit with TK or DJ or whoever isn't helping anyone...that's just stupid.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby BurghersAndDogsSports on Sun May 27, 2012 10:50 am

If Malkin was right handed our Power Play would be fine. The problem is we have 2 guys who generally the like to play too close to each other in the same area, this cuts pretty much 1/4 of the ice out of what the other teams have to cover, the left wing circle area and boards. Its maddening but its reality.

Ovechkin played the umbrella point for years. They need to figure this out, Staal or no Staal.

In your example above you have Staal and Neal down low, which isnt a terrible idea at all and your reasoning is solid, but again if you dont want one of Sid or Malkin on the point then you have to sit one of them in that scenario. I think the issue with trying to do some of these things is in the end we still have 3 guys "competing" for top center type minutes which is probably why Staal needs or wants to move on anyways.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby pcm on Sun May 27, 2012 12:38 pm

On the power play, it's Malkin and Crosby competing for time/space. Staal hasn't entered that equation at all yet. The easiest, most empirically sound solution is to put Malkin and Sid on separate units. Having 2 good power play units takes the pressure off the other one. Staal should be playing in front of the net with either Malkin or Sid.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Sarcastic on Wed May 30, 2012 2:37 am

mikey287 wrote:Standing around and passing it around the perimeter of the ice is not hockey - that's a waste of time and opportunity.


Unfortunately, Penguins are too often guilty of that. And that is coaching, isn't it.

I don't remember but do teams like Detroit or Philly have two separate PP units or do they adjust the same group with an addition here or there if their main thing isn't working? I saw Philly this year put one, sometimes two guys (Hartnell and Simmonds, I believe), right on the net but it was the same unit. Why not have different tactics but with the same unit, and sometimes include Staal in the slot or elsewhere instead of, maybe, Kunitz. I think one would have to be clever to come up with different schemes, but sometimes the guys can just set up to fire from angles, but if that isn't working, send two guys to screen the goalie and shoot at him from the point. What I see from our coaches is a lack of imagination when it comes to the PP.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Pens15 on Wed May 30, 2012 12:40 pm

I really believe that the problem with the PP is that the Pens PP is just not big enough for both Sid and Malkin. It's always, always underachieved when they were both out there. With Sid on the shelf, the unit was 5th in the NHL with it running through Malkin with Neal as the main option. Sid came back and it reverted back to mediocrity, really losing its purpose and identity.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Sarcastic on Wed May 30, 2012 2:04 pm

What I think Sid himself should do is simplify things. I too often see him making these acrobatic passes that don't go anywhere. I will say it. Sid needs coaching on the PP.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Malkamaniac on Wed May 30, 2012 2:39 pm

The Pens PP with both Malkin and Crosby on it never keep it simple. Both are looking to finish spectacular passes that continually never make it.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Pens15 on Wed May 30, 2012 4:34 pm

Malkamaniac wrote:The Pens PP with both Malkin and Crosby on it never keep it simple. Both are looking to finish spectacular passes that continually never make it.


Maybe some of that, but I think that it's that they are trying to have two quarterbacks. Only one guy can be the focal point or "pivot" so to speak where everything else runs through them. When both Sid and Geno are out there, they try to split that role between each other and it ends up neutralizing everything else.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Pens15 on Wed May 30, 2012 4:42 pm

Here's another point that I think needs to be brought up amidst all the talk about PP formations and systems. I don't think that hockey, unlike football or basketball, is a game that can easily be broken down into Xs and Os, beyond the most basic level. This is due to the sheer speed of the game and the inherent unpredictability of the game. I think it's more instinctive and in a lot of ways, more art than science.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Malkamaniac on Wed May 30, 2012 4:51 pm

Pens15 wrote:
Malkamaniac wrote:The Pens PP with both Malkin and Crosby on it never keep it simple. Both are looking to finish spectacular passes that continually never make it.


Maybe some of that, but I think that it's that they are trying to have two quarterbacks. Only one guy can be the focal point or "pivot" so to speak where everything else runs through them. When both Sid and Geno are out there, they try to split that role between each other and it ends up neutralizing everything else.


In that case, when Letang is healthy he should be the true point quarterback with the shots going through Geno. Again, that leaves Sid with doing whatever he should be doing.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Sarcastic on Wed May 30, 2012 5:32 pm

Maybe Sid should be buzzing around with his speed and brains. He can surpise a lot of people. Lol, how about he just goes all over the zone, like behind the net then pop out on one side or the other. Bazinga! Goal!
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby BurghersAndDogsSports on Wed May 30, 2012 8:23 pm

I really think there is plenty of ice for the two of them. The problem is they like to play too close to the same spot.

If Malkin liked to play in a spot more like Ovechkin on the PP (not comparing or suggesting, just saying) then there would probably be more of a spread out feel. Jagr and Lemieux did fine.
I do feel however that they do still play a little bit too much perimeter as a team even when producing. Quick passes and collapsing towards the net when you do can help.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby sil on Wed May 30, 2012 9:46 pm

BurghersAndDogsSports wrote:I really think there is plenty of ice for the two of them. The problem is they like to play too close to the same spot.

If Malkin liked to play in a spot more like Ovechkin on the PP (not comparing or suggesting, just saying) then there would probably be more of a spread out feel. Jagr and Lemieux did fine.
I do feel however that they do still play a little bit too much perimeter as a team even when producing. Quick passes and collapsing towards the net when you do can help.


Handedness is critical.

Lemieux = righty
Ovechkin = righty

Jagr, Malkin, Crosby = lefty
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby BurghersAndDogsSports on Thu May 31, 2012 12:05 am

sil wrote:
BurghersAndDogsSports wrote:I really think there is plenty of ice for the two of them. The problem is they like to play too close to the same spot.

If Malkin liked to play in a spot more like Ovechkin on the PP (not comparing or suggesting, just saying) then there would probably be more of a spread out feel. Jagr and Lemieux did fine.
I do feel however that they do still play a little bit too much perimeter as a team even when producing. Quick passes and collapsing towards the net when you do can help.


Handedness is critical.

Lemieux = righty
Ovechkin = righty

Jagr, Malkin, Crosby = lefty


I totally agree with that and said it a few posts ago (that if Malkin was righty this would all be solved). However, if either could play the point (or even the top right umbrella type that Ovie plays even as lefites on the right point, it would help). Instead we consistenly have two guys too close on the lower right circle area.

I just find it tough to be trying to figure out to get our two best players on the ice at the same time. I mean, we are not the only team in the league that wants its two top offensive players on the power play together. They need to figure this out. If Crosby and Malkin are not cooperating then I dont know what to say, but I cant believe we cant get better production.

I mean even our other forwards who play are all lefties. Move one guy to the other side for petes sake.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Sarcastic on Thu May 31, 2012 2:46 am

If we got another scorer/shooter, we could keep Malkin and Neal on one unit and Crosby and the new guy on the other. I'd put Staal on Sid's unit, but try to put him on the net. Let's get Parise!
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Sarcastic on Thu May 31, 2012 2:47 am

Forget Parise. He's a lefty. We need a righty. Any ideas!?
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Malkamaniac on Thu May 31, 2012 10:03 am

Bobby Ryan is right handed.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Tico Rick on Thu May 31, 2012 10:13 am

Sarcastic wrote:If we got another scorer/shooter, we could keep Malkin and Neal on one unit and Crosby and the new guy on the other. I'd put Staal on Sid's unit, but try to put him on the net. Let's get Parise!


I'd like to see them play two units for 1 minute each, with them alternating which unit plays the first minute, so no one complains that they are on the second power play unit.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby sil on Thu May 31, 2012 10:38 am

Malkamaniac wrote:Bobby Ryan is right handed.


We need a right-handed forward. Anaheim needs a 2nd line center. Hmmmmm...
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby columbia on Thu May 31, 2012 10:40 am

sil wrote:
Malkamaniac wrote:Bobby Ryan is right handed.


We need a right-handed forward. Anaheim needs a 2nd line center. Hmmmmm...



Hmmmmm...indeed.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby Pens15 on Thu May 31, 2012 12:02 pm

They need a 2nd line center to play with Ryan. If they traded Ryan to get that center, it would defeat their whole purpose.
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Re: Watching NYR/NJD and..

Postby sil on Thu May 31, 2012 12:37 pm

Pens15 wrote:They need a 2nd line center to play with Ryan. If they traded Ryan to get that center, it would defeat their whole purpose.


Ryan's on their first line. For them, it's a matter of giving up one of their top-end wingers (Perry and Ryan) for a top-end center...and most GM's know the importance of a center over a winger...especially one that has proven they're capable in both ends.

Getzlaf and Perry on one line, and Staal centering the second line is a good starting point for a team looking to infuse some developing talent. They're top heavy right now with Ryan, Getzlaf and Perry all on one line. The rest of their forward lineup is average at best. Yeah, it's obviously not likely to happen, but it really isn't such a foreign idea.
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