Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

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Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Penspal on Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:55 am

Pens win 5-0

- My First Thought is to all the People of Pittsburgh affected by what happened yesterday. My deepest condolences.
- Pens played for their city last night, a team shutout ending a great Canadian road trip, likely a season changing road trip
- A solid defensive matchup with Pens capitalizing on Canucks opening up trying to score. The same sentiment follows from each Canadian city's media.... Pens are a championship team & it shows
- Loved seeing Sprong out there late in the game, HCMS trying to let him gain some confidence. Sprong had a nice pass to Geno for a goal
- When Letang went down the runway, I had visions of a collapse.. When he came back, I had visions of a championship (seems my subconscious is telling me he's that good)
- Pens didn't miss a beat without Brassard... just sayin'
- Ruhwedel has looked good, really solid and I loved that hip check he threw in the 3rd period
- Pens kept 2 Penguin Killers off the sheet last night.... that's really saying something
- Speedy teams like Mtl & Vancouver have been a challenge so far... curious to what the Isles will bring in NY on Tuesday night
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Antonio on Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:55 am

I will take a great 5-0 win. DeSmith was good as was everyone else largely. I continue to be amazed that Letang has played so well this year. Amazing that they are 6-1-2 since honestly I really think they did not play that well for the first few games, but I will take it.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby brwi on Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:08 am

I remember watching and it being 3-0 and then zzzzzzz. Tremendous road trip and the team really responded well to the idea of making it a 10 day trip.

Any time you can beat a team that has the incredible phenom Derrick Pouliot on defense you know you're strong.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby longtimefan on Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:24 am

brwi wrote:I remember watching and it being 3-0 and then zzzzzzz. Tremendous road trip and the team really responded well to the idea of making it a 10 day trip.

Any time you can beat a team that has the incredible phenom Derrick Pouliot on defense you know you're strong.


How important was the trip to Banff? I remember both Cullen and Hornqvist pointing to it before they went. I heard Cullen say a couple times how much he was looking forward to getting on the road so the team had time to bond. Props to GMJR and HCMS for not coming home after the Toronto game. They certainly looked like they took advantage of it. They outscored their opponent 23-6 on the trip.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Maestro on Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:38 am

This collection of individuals has become a team.

Sprong and Simon look to me like they will progress not regress.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Southern Fan on Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:01 pm

From beginning to the end, that may have been the best game the second line has ever played. Arguably, anyway.

Bizarro coaching. Playing DeSmith. Letting Simon and Sprong play quality minutes in a tight game.

Oleksiak finding his groove.

Power play looks more dangerous this year.

Everyone gets some sleep
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Steve on Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:26 pm

Pic from TSN suitable for both the Pens and Canucks "thoughts from the morning after" threads.

Image
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby thehockeyguru on Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:17 am

Antonio wrote:I will take a great 5-0 win. DeSmith was good as was everyone else largely. I continue to be amazed that Letang has played so well this year. Amazing that they are 6-1-2 since honestly I really think they did not play that well for the first few games, but I will take it.


Same regarding Letang, he still makes the occasional gaff. The attempted backhand saucer pass early in the game comes to mind. If he simplifies his game and doesn't make overly aggressive pinches he is worth every penny
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Penspal on Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:19 am

Southern Fan wrote:From beginning to the end, that may have been the best game the second line has ever played. Arguably, anyway.

Bizarro coaching. Playing DeSmith. Letting Simon and Sprong play quality minutes in a tight game.

Oleksiak finding his groove.

Power play looks more dangerous this year.

Everyone gets some sleep


- The decision to play DeSmith was made days before as confirmed by DeSmtih in his post game HNIC interview
- No better time to play Sprong than the closing minutes in a game they could not lose, BUT wanted to play strong D to save the shutout (perfect confidence building moment)
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Faubert5 on Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:06 am

thehockeyguru wrote:
Antonio wrote:I will take a great 5-0 win. DeSmith was good as was everyone else largely. I continue to be amazed that Letang has played so well this year. Amazing that they are 6-1-2 since honestly I really think they did not play that well for the first few games, but I will take it.


Same regarding Letang, he still makes the occasional gaff. The attempted backhand saucer pass early in the game comes to mind. If he simplifies his game and doesn't make overly aggressive pinches he is worth every penny


I don't mind Letang pushing the envelope now and again as he has the skill to do a lot of things others can't. Last year he was pouring lighter fluid on it and throwing matches on it every night. I don't miss that Letang.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby penny lane on Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:55 am

Evgeni should be in a short list for player of October!
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Jim on Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:22 am

Southern Fan wrote:Bizarro coaching. Playing DeSmith. Letting Simon and Sprong play quality minutes in a tight game.


TOI per period:

Sprong
1st 2:46, 5 shifts
2nd 3:59, 6 shifts
3rd 5:01 (including the last 0:56 of the game), 7 shifts

Simon
1st 2:03, 4 shifts
2nd 3:21, 7 shifts
3rd 4:44, 7 shifts
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby FLPensFan on Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:44 pm

What I am seeing, this team is a 3rd line away from being an offensive juggernaut.
--Sid is finally getting rolling in a big way, and some of the goals he's scoring, I haven't seen that level of play from him in almost 10 years. The scary backhand goal and the other one are just high level Sid plays. Jake is still a bit up and down, but he's still above his normal points per game pace.
--Geno and Phil are both playing at a torrid pace. Hagelin is making good plays, but ANOTHER season of slow starting Hagelin production wise is frustrating.
--The Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist line is really clicking right now. They are shutting teams down defensively, and generating offense. I'm still not seeing a whole lot from Cullen. He looks a step slower, and I'm not seeing him generate a lot of chances for himself. Sheahan only has 2 points, but he has been noticeable making plays and seems more snakebit than anything.

That leaves fixing the 3rd line. It is still early, but it sure looks like the Penguins gave up a boatload for Derick Brassard to come here and be a bust. When he's back healthy, I wouldn't mind seeing Rust-Brassard-Sprong get some chances to see if that works out. Otherwise, some defensive depth and 3rd line players will be on the shopping list in another 2-3 months.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby LimerickPensFan on Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:13 pm

Practice lines from today:

Guentzel-Crosby-Simon
Hagelin-Malkin-Kessel
Sheahan-Cullen-Hornqvist
Rust-Grant-Sprong

Dumoulin-Letang
Maatta-Oleksiak
Johnson-Ruhwedel
(Riikola)

Looks like the experiment of who to put with Sid and Jake continues. Onto Simon. Rust bumped down to doghouse.

Riikola should be sent to Wilkes Barre if he's going to be a healthy scratch here. He should be playing, not sitting in the press box.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Puck-Lurker on Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:41 pm

LimerickPensFan wrote:Practice lines from today:

Guentzel-Crosby-Simon
Hagelin-Malkin-Kessel
Sheahan-Cullen-Hornqvist
Rust-Grant-Sprong

Dumoulin-Letang
Maatta-Oleksiak
Johnson-Ruhwedel
(Riikola)

Looks like the experiment of who to put with Sid and Jake continues. Onto Simon. Rust bumped down to doghouse.

Riikola should be sent to Wilkes Barre if he's going to be a healthy scratch here. He should be playing, not sitting in the press box.

Hah.

Guentzel-Crosby-Simon. I knew Sully was going to go there early on. Now watch him stick with it for an eternity.

When Brassard gets back, Simon goes back down. No way they'll have Brass play 4th line minutes.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby pekkasteele on Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:46 am

FLPensFan wrote:--The Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist line is really clicking right now. They are shutting teams down defensively, and generating offense.

That leaves fixing the 3rd line. It is still early, but it sure looks like the Penguins gave up a boatload for Derick Brassard to come here and be a bust. When he's back healthy, I wouldn't mind seeing Rust-Brassard-Sprong get some chances to see if that works out. Otherwise, some defensive depth and 3rd line players will be on the shopping list in another 2-3 months.


Isn´t the Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist the 3rd line? Or did you mean 4th?
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Steve Dave on Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:12 am

LimerickPensFan wrote:Practice lines from today:

Guentzel-Crosby-Simon
Hagelin-Malkin-Kessel
Sheahan-Cullen-Hornqvist
Rust-Grant-Sprong

Dumoulin-Letang
Maatta-Oleksiak
Johnson-Ruhwedel
(Riikola)

Looks like the experiment of who to put with Sid and Jake continues. Onto Simon. Rust bumped down to doghouse.

Riikola should be sent to Wilkes Barre if he's going to be a healthy scratch here. He should be playing, not sitting in the press box.

I heard Riikola is not playing because he has been dealing with a nasty cough.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby longtimefan on Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:23 am

pekkasteele wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:--The Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist line is really clicking right now. They are shutting teams down defensively, and generating offense.

That leaves fixing the 3rd line. It is still early, but it sure looks like the Penguins gave up a boatload for Derick Brassard to come here and be a bust. When he's back healthy, I wouldn't mind seeing Rust-Brassard-Sprong get some chances to see if that works out. Otherwise, some defensive depth and 3rd line players will be on the shopping list in another 2-3 months.


Isn´t the Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist the 3rd line? Or did you mean 4th?


Excellent point. And why I don't tinker for a while. Let everybody find their place between now and February. If you need something then, you go get it. But you've got a really deep group, and you need to find out where guys fit. I've got no issues with the coaches tinkering with combos. I understand why Sprong and Simon are benched during a shootout in Edmonton. They both got plenty of time during the games against the Flames and Canucks, if they were dressed. I understand the value they see in Grant. A big body who has 5 hits in limited time, and is 14 out of 21 on faceoffs. I understand why they aren't willing to give up on Brassard. He's got too much talent, skill, and experience. He also leads the team with a faceoff winning percentage over 57%. He also scored 3 points in two periods against Calgary playing with Sid and Jake, although two were on the powerplay. He looked good though, and the 2nd PP has been a force with him in the middle. My biggest concern are his persistent groin injuries. They should get him healthy. Then see where he fits. I think you have to give it at least 40 games before you look for changes. You've got to see how the parts you have fit. Like that shutdown line. It's too good to be a 4th line. So if you're going to keep it, you need to see if Jake can play the right side consistently with Brassard on the left. He's played both sides, and, if he can do it again, it could solve the perceived top six issues. There's lots of time to figure it out. You sit first in the league in winning percentage.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby FLPensFan on Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:37 am

longtimefan wrote:
pekkasteele wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:--The Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist line is really clicking right now. They are shutting teams down defensively, and generating offense.

That leaves fixing the 3rd line. It is still early, but it sure looks like the Penguins gave up a boatload for Derick Brassard to come here and be a bust. When he's back healthy, I wouldn't mind seeing Rust-Brassard-Sprong get some chances to see if that works out. Otherwise, some defensive depth and 3rd line players will be on the shopping list in another 2-3 months.


Isn´t the Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist the 3rd line? Or did you mean 4th?


Excellent point. And why I don't tinker for a while. Let everybody find their place between now and February. If you need something then, you go get it. But you've got a really deep group, and you need to find out where guys fit. I've got no issues with the coaches tinkering with combos. I understand why Sprong and Simon are benched during a shootout in Edmonton. They both got plenty of time during the games against the Flames and Canucks, if they were dressed. I understand the value they see in Grant. A big body who has 5 hits in limited time, and is 14 out of 21 on faceoffs. I understand why they aren't willing to give up on Brassard. He's got too much talent, skill, and experience. He also leads the team with a faceoff winning percentage over 57%. He also scored 3 points in two periods against Calgary playing with Sid and Jake, although two were on the powerplay. He looked good though, and the 2nd PP has been a force with him in the middle. My biggest concern are his persistent groin injuries. They should get him healthy. Then see where he fits. I think you have to give it at least 40 games before you look for changes. You've got to see how the parts you have fit. Like that shutdown line. It's too good to be a 4th line. So if you're going to keep it, you need to see if Jake can play the right side consistently with Brassard on the left. He's played both sides, and, if he can do it again, it could solve the perceived top six issues. There's lots of time to figure it out. You sit first in the league in winning percentage.

I understand you point, but, Brassard on the wing is a non-starter for me. They gave up a 1st and a top prospect, plus more to get him as their 3C. Yes, the Penguins need a stronger lineup at LW, but not at the cost of moving Guentzel to RW where we are already stacked, and not at the cost of having a downgrade at 3C. If Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist is your 3rd line, the bottom end of your roster is pretty weak. Cullen can't play or produce at a 3rd line pace. He's definitely a step slower this year. He's only 43.5% on faceoffs this year. I'm really at the point where I would rather see Grant in the lineup over Cullen for a few games, or some type of rotation.

Not going to say much more. It's early, but the Penguins will have some interesting decisions up front come January/February, whether via callup or trades, they are still short 1-2 players up front of having a solid lineup.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby longtimefan on Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:37 am

FLPensFan wrote:
longtimefan wrote:
pekkasteele wrote:
FLPensFan wrote:--The Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist line is really clicking right now. They are shutting teams down defensively, and generating offense.

That leaves fixing the 3rd line. It is still early, but it sure looks like the Penguins gave up a boatload for Derick Brassard to come here and be a bust. When he's back healthy, I wouldn't mind seeing Rust-Brassard-Sprong get some chances to see if that works out. Otherwise, some defensive depth and 3rd line players will be on the shopping list in another 2-3 months.


Isn´t the Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist the 3rd line? Or did you mean 4th?


Excellent point. And why I don't tinker for a while. Let everybody find their place between now and February. If you need something then, you go get it. But you've got a really deep group, and you need to find out where guys fit. I've got no issues with the coaches tinkering with combos. I understand why Sprong and Simon are benched during a shootout in Edmonton. They both got plenty of time during the games against the Flames and Canucks, if they were dressed. I understand the value they see in Grant. A big body who has 5 hits in limited time, and is 14 out of 21 on faceoffs. I understand why they aren't willing to give up on Brassard. He's got too much talent, skill, and experience. He also leads the team with a faceoff winning percentage over 57%. He also scored 3 points in two periods against Calgary playing with Sid and Jake, although two were on the powerplay. He looked good though, and the 2nd PP has been a force with him in the middle. My biggest concern are his persistent groin injuries. They should get him healthy. Then see where he fits. I think you have to give it at least 40 games before you look for changes. You've got to see how the parts you have fit. Like that shutdown line. It's too good to be a 4th line. So if you're going to keep it, you need to see if Jake can play the right side consistently with Brassard on the left. He's played both sides, and, if he can do it again, it could solve the perceived top six issues. There's lots of time to figure it out. You sit first in the league in winning percentage.

I understand you point, but, Brassard on the wing is a non-starter for me. They gave up a 1st and a top prospect, plus more to get him as their 3C. Yes, the Penguins need a stronger lineup at LW, but not at the cost of moving Guentzel to RW where we are already stacked, and not at the cost of having a downgrade at 3C. If Cullen-Sheahan-Hornqvist is your 3rd line, the bottom end of your roster is pretty weak. Cullen can't play or produce at a 3rd line pace. He's definitely a step slower this year. He's only 43.5% on faceoffs this year. I'm really at the point where I would rather see Grant in the lineup over Cullen for a few games, or some type of rotation.

Not going to say much more. It's early, but the Penguins will have some interesting decisions up front come January/February, whether via callup or trades, they are still short 1-2 players up front of having a solid lineup.


I will argue your last point. Solid lineups are made up of the ingriedients you have. Depth has a great deal to do with it. I think they need to find out how this group can mesh. We aren't disagreeing, as I think they should stand pat until that January-February area, and you look at that as decision time.

Look at each of the five cup winning teams. Bob Errey in your top 6? Or Ruslan Fedotenko? Billy Guerin, a first line 38 year old wing? Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust getting top 6 minutes? The point is, they won with all of those circumstances up front. There wasn't a lot of confidence in guys like Gill, Scuderi, Lovejoy, Hainsey, Schultz. Not until they stepped up and helped win a Cup.

The measurement is wins and losses. Plus, the stats aren't all that bad either. First in winning percentage. First in goals per game. Sixth in faceoff %. Third in hits per game. They do give up too many shots, but they only gave up 6 goals on the 4 game trip.

I said before, I try not to get caught up in the lines. By year's end, everybody will have played with everybody. Injuries, slumps, possible demotions. The trick is to try and find where the players fit best. At this point, it doesn't matter what they gave up to get Brassard, nor does it matter that he was brought in to be the 3C. Hagelin and Kessel were set to play with Malkin in 2016. Until Geno got hurt. Then HBK happened. They are really intrigued by Cullen centering Hornqvist and Sheahan. It's a shutdown line. Good defensively with a little bit of snarl. It should also produce some pretty ugly goals.

If they seriously want to keep it together, the question becomes what to do with Brassard. You could trade him for LW help. But you will have a real difficult time getting equal value when you're trading a $5M player for a $3M player. Not impossible, but not easy. Or you could see if he works with Crosby and Guentzel, as it did for a couple of periods the other night. Switching Guentzel to RW? Why not? The goal is to put the best lineup together. The best line I ever saw play was Ronnie Francis centering Lemieux and Jagr. With Mario on the left wing. If Jake can play the right side as effectively, Brassard may be the perfect candidate. He's fast and skilled, plus gives a defensive conscious for the line. And he's a veteran. Which matters to a win now team.

In terms of Matt Cullen, I don't see him being scratched. Part of it is off the ice. Which matters. I've watched enough of the behind the scenes shows to tell he's a huge part of the team. In terms of leadership, he is held on a level with Crosby. He clearly gets major respect from his peers. In terms of on the ice, they don't seem to have your concerns since they like him centering Hornqvist and Sheahan right now. The other thing is that Cullen is a slow starter. He had one goal at the turn of the year, and ended it the season at 11. Plus, we all know he did his best work for the Pens in the playoffs. Age will eventually catch up, but don't sell him short just yet. Remember, Bill Guerin was a 38 year old first line wing. Cullen has managed double figure gola in, I believe, 17 out of 20 seasons.

On a win now team, your kids have to be patient and seize opportunities. Simon and Sprong both did on the trip. There's a pecking order though. People will get hurt all season. They will get chances. Like Simon playing with Sid tonight. It will be up to them to make decisions tough. I include ZAR and a few others in that as well. They'll get their chances.

We don't disagree as much as you think. I prefer patience, and letting things come together. If Sprong's good enough, he'll force a decision. But the urgency is to win the cup. Now. For that, if they're fully healthy, and if Brassard proves to be a top 6C who can play LW, why not? Zetterberg and Forsberg did. I like this for the playoffs:

Brassard Crosby Guentzel
Hagelin Malkin Kessel
Sheahan Cullen Hornqvist
ZAR Grant Rust (personal choice. That's a playoff type line)
Simon Sprong

You're right they have some interesting decisions to make. But they've put together a nice collection of pieces. I'm not looking at development. I'm looking to win. If that lineup above gels, I think they'd be hard to beat. Her's another question for you. Who do you believe has a deeper set of forwards in the NHL? Who is more complete? More solid? No one is perfect. But the Pens have some intrigng possibilities in house.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Puck-Lurker on Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:47 pm

longtimefan wrote:You're right they have some interesting decisions to make. But they've put together a nice collection of pieces. I'm not looking at development. I'm looking to win. If that lineup above gels, I think they'd be hard to beat. Her's another question for you. Who do you believe has a deeper set of forwards in the NHL? Who is more complete? More solid? No one is perfect. But the Pens have some intrigng possibilities in house.

Tampa Bay and Nashville.

I think those two are currently "more".

There's about 5-8 teams that I'd line up as parallel to the Pens like WSH, TOR, STL..

Somewhere along the best 10 teams isn't bad.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby LimerickPensFan on Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:08 pm

Puck-Lurker wrote:
longtimefan wrote:You're right they have some interesting decisions to make. But they've put together a nice collection of pieces. I'm not looking at development. I'm looking to win. If that lineup above gels, I think they'd be hard to beat. Her's another question for you. Who do you believe has a deeper set of forwards in the NHL? Who is more complete? More solid? No one is perfect. But the Pens have some intrigng possibilities in house.

Tampa Bay and Nashville.

I think those two are currently "more".

There's about 5-8 teams that I'd line up as parallel to the Pens like WSH, TOR, STL..

Somewhere along the best 10 teams isn't bad.

It seems that every year people are saying that Tampa Bay has the team to beat. Heard it preseason the last two seasons.
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Re: Game 9 vs Canucks - Thoughts from the Morning After

Postby Puck-Lurker on Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:44 pm

LimerickPensFan wrote:
Puck-Lurker wrote:
longtimefan wrote:You're right they have some interesting decisions to make. But they've put together a nice collection of pieces. I'm not looking at development. I'm looking to win. If that lineup above gels, I think they'd be hard to beat. Her's another question for you. Who do you believe has a deeper set of forwards in the NHL? Who is more complete? More solid? No one is perfect. But the Pens have some intrigng possibilities in house.

Tampa Bay and Nashville.

I think those two are currently "more".

There's about 5-8 teams that I'd line up as parallel to the Pens like WSH, TOR, STL..

Somewhere along the best 10 teams isn't bad.

It seems that every year people are saying that Tampa Bay has the team to beat. Heard it preseason the last two seasons.

Wouldn't say that, I think they're the team with the most potential. Come playoff time, that doesn't mean all that much. By then it's all about matchups.

I wouldn't have rated the 16 and 17 cup Pens as being the highest potential team. Still won two cups.
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