Mongoose87 wrote:You obviously don't remember when Laraque used to get our good players a thirty second breather by possessing the puck in the offensive zone single-handedly.
What has been the glaring trouble with the Pens 4th line (and even 3rd line) is exactly that they do not possess the puck in the offensive zone for any extended periods of time. Almost ever.
I don't care about checkers getting goals or their plus/minus (which is always messed up since your checkers tend to draw assignment against the other team's good players on purpose). But puck possession does one key thing: keeps the other team from finding all the weaknesses in your end of the ice.
The Red Wings/Blackhawks game last weekend had one of "those" shifts by Chicago's checking line. It went on for what seemed like 10 minutes, with a couple of players getting on from the bench it was so 100% controlled by the Hawks.
When is the last time you can remember the Pens 4th or 3rd liners doing that?
Watch and note how many times a game they come up ice... chip puck in... instantly controlled by the opponent.... and easily with no resistance by the Pens are able to move the puck right into offensive attack within seconds..
This is something that has been bothering me for the last year or so, and it seems to have gotten WORSE this season. It's not only a systemic problem in the offensive zone, it's afflicting the Pens in their own zone. Good TEAMWORK is needed to cycle pucks effectively, as well as move them out of deep in your end (to thwart the other team cycling). Again, watch and note how many Pens passes along the boards are weighted badly (meaning they don't go to a teammate with control, but instead fly past him or are short of him) which leads to loss of possession or WAY TOO MANY 50/50 pucks coming FROM Pens possession.
Good teamwork, consistent location, and well coached players (as in know where to be, where to throw a puck, spacing) are all necessary to keep *quality* control of pucks. The Pens don't do enough of it, outside of super-grinder Sid and his grindy buddies, or if Geno goes on one of his ballet streaks in the offensive zone.