Grading Game 34

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Grading Game 34

Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:08 am

Otherwise known as the day after the disaster.

OFFENSE: B-. They outscored the Thrash 2-1 at ES, so not a bad effort. Would have been higher if not for a pretty poor first period. They came out with no jump at all, and it took some time to get their bearings after the first goal. But the third period was great. They really took it to Atlanta. It took Atlanta having an actual NHL goalie to keep the Pens from putting more on the board, as Lehtonen was spectacular.

DEFENSE: C. Only one ES goal allowed, but it wasn’t pretty. Is there a rule that your defensemen have to back off into the stands every time Kovalchuk carries the puck in? I mean, I know our defensemen suck and know they’ll get burned if they try to challenge him, but this was ridiculous. Compare this to how teams challenge Sid, always sending two guys after him. If Shero doesn’t spend this Christmas break talking a trade or two for defensemen with every team, it’s going to be a long winter.

POWER PLAY: F. They have once again reached the stage where they’d be better off declining penalties. They just have zero clue what they’re doing right now. They can’t bring the puck up the ice without coughing it up. They don’t outwork the opponent. They refuse to shoot when they get a chance. They try for the perfect play every time. When was the last time this PP got a deflection goal? The hole at the left point is glaring. Neither Recchi nor Whitney is a guy the other team even worries about. Oh, and how about Rob Scuderi (he of one career goal) getting over a minute of PP time? Nothing speaks to the quality (or lack thereof) of their defensemen better than that? And you wonder why they can’t score? Coaching hurt, too, but more on that in a moment.

PENALTY KILL: F. Two more goals allowed, though it was mitigated a bit by Staal’s great shorty. On the first one, Melichar had full possession of the puck and gave it away. I should just make a macro for that statement. On the second, Nasreddine couldn’t have done it any better if he had been dressed in blue. He screened Thibault AND deflected the shot. If only we could teach our forwards to do this on the PP. But then again, that would require someone actually shooting it from the point.

GOALTENDING: B-. Overall, Thibault played pretty well, But he allowed that brutal first goal that had them in the hole from the start, and his performance in the shootout was laughable. He did that as if to say to all the fans that want him to replace Fleury for shootouts, “you really don’t want to do that.â€￾ He barely flinched on either goal. He did, however, make some big saves through the game to keep them in it.

OVERALL: C. As OT losses go, this was a good one. They fell behind on a weak goal, but never went away. They really came on as the game went on, and only the stellar work of Lehtonen kept them from a possible win. The final two periods were excellent, other than the special teams.

COACHING: F. Okay, I am officially on the “dump Therrienâ€￾ bandwagon. The special teams disaster is the fault of poor coaching. One sequence turned me against him. There was a 4-on-4 for about a minute, followed by a Pens PP. What does Planet Therrien do? He puts Sid on at the start of the 4-on-4, so that he won’t be available for the PP. Can anyone give me a rational explanation for this? Or for the fact that your best player had almost 2 minutes less PP time than your second best player? It makes no sense at all. I’m not saying the personnel on this team is great, but the coach is not maximizing his talent. Idiot. And while I’m at it, why do Sid and Malkin not play together in games like this. I can understand against a defensive team why it might not make sense, but against a wide open team like this, what could it hurt? And why aren’t they out there together in OT, once you already have a point???

MAX TALBOT: F. Brutal game by him. I think we know who the fourth line scratch du jour will be next game. Missed a couple great scoring chances, and stood there with his thumb up his posterior on the Kovalchuk PP goal.

MARK RECCHI: F. Was anyone else hoping, when the ref T’d him up, that he would get a game misconduct. Gawd, he is awful. He gave the puck away numerous times, and also missed on a couple of glorious chances. Retire already, Mark.

EVGENI MALKIN: A. Another great game by him, although it is baffling why he can’t score on breakaways. He seems to be “getting itâ€￾ more and more.

RED WINE SPILLAGE ON NEW CARPET: F. But pet stain remover works wonders.

THRASHERS HOME JERSEYS: A. I love them. Great color scheme and design.

FACEOFFS: F. When your top two centers go 9/31, you should consider yourself fortunate to steal a point.

PENS IN SHOOTOUTS: F. Of course, I missed the one against the Caps. But once the OT was over, I really didn’t even want to watch. I had seen Atlanta torch Brodeur the other night, and now they got Thibault. And we all know the Pens can’t score in them. So it was over from the start. Memo to Sid: stop thinking and just make a move.
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Postby pfim on Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:10 am

GOALTENDING: B-.


They already had a point, but geez, he was completely clueless in the shootout.
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Postby KG on Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:16 am

I am not sure I would fire Therien during the season, maybe wait until the off season and see who becomes available.

But I will say this. A coaching staff led by Therien and Mike freaking Yeo will not lead a team anywhere...
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Postby WildKaper on Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:46 am

What I do not understand is why do they call up Dupont only to sit him. He makes a great first pass, actually shoots on the PP, and is a righty for Peete's sake.

I am not saying he is the second coming of Coffey, but he is not any worse than (Take your pick of Gonchar, Scuderi, Orpik, Melichar).

If the coaching staff refuses to play Dupont, I say Shero should walk down during practice and hand Scuderi, Gonchar, and Orpik right handed sticks. They couldn't play much worse anyway, and at least they would be on their forehand when they are playing defense on the right side of the ice.

Just my opinion -- feel free to agree or disagree....
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Postby Kovy27 on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:04 am

WildKaper wrote:What I do not understand is why do they call up Dupont only to sit him.


They did not know if Nas could play with the cuts above his eye. His eye was swollen shut up till yesturday.

That's why he was called up.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:08 am

MarioLemieux1992 wrote:They should have put MAF in for the shootout, he would have stopped both shots that went in


I really hope you're joking. Fleury might be the worst goalie in the league in shootouts.
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Re: Grading Game 34

Postby netwolf on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:11 am

Mad City Mike wrote:THRASHERS HOME JERSEYS: A. I love them. Great color scheme and design.

IMHO, that is the most off-base grade you have given out in the history of this feature. Those uneven excuses for NHL sweaters are only surpassed in suckitude this year by Nashville's thirds. I even prefer Buffalo's new ones (slug logo and numbers on the front aside) and the Isles bright orange thirds over those things Atlanta trots out for every home game.

Not to be critical. :D
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Postby pfim on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:17 am

Mad City Mike wrote:
MarioLemieux1992 wrote:They should have put MAF in for the shootout, he would have stopped both shots that went in


I really hope you're joking. Fleury might be the worst goalie in the league in shootouts.


After last night, I'm not sure. Thibault looked like a soccer goalie trying to stop a penalty.
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Postby Bowser on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:19 am

MCM - I have to agree with Net on this one. I hate the design of ATL's jersey. I can't argue much with the rest of your analysis.
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Re: Grading Game 34

Postby kirk on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:30 am

Mad City Mike wrote:Otherwise known as the day after the disaster.

OFFENSE: B-. They outscored the Thrash 2-1 at ES, so not a bad effort. Would have been higher if not for a pretty poor first period. They came out with no jump at all, and it took some time to get their bearings after the first goal. But the third period was great. They really took it to Atlanta. It took Atlanta having an actual NHL goalie to keep the Pens from putting more on the board, as Lehtonen was spectacular.

DEFENSE: C. Only one ES goal allowed, but it wasn’t pretty. Is there a rule that your defensemen have to back off into the stands every time Kovalchuk carries the puck in? I mean, I know our defensemen suck and know they’ll get burned if they try to challenge him, but this was ridiculous. Compare this to how teams challenge Sid, always sending two guys after him. If Shero doesn’t spend this Christmas break talking a trade or two for defensemen with every team, it’s going to be a long winter.

POWER PLAY: F. They have once again reached the stage where they’d be better off declining penalties. They just have zero clue what they’re doing right now. They can’t bring the puck up the ice without coughing it up. They don’t outwork the opponent. They refuse to shoot when they get a chance. They try for the perfect play every time. When was the last time this PP got a deflection goal? The hole at the left point is glaring. Neither Recchi nor Whitney is a guy the other team even worries about. Oh, and how about Rob Scuderi (he of one career goal) getting over a minute of PP time? Nothing speaks to the quality (or lack thereof) of their defensemen better than that? And you wonder why they can’t score? Coaching hurt, too, but more on that in a moment.

PENALTY KILL: F. Two more goals allowed, though it was mitigated a bit by Staal’s great shorty. On the first one, Melichar had full possession of the puck and gave it away. I should just make a macro for that statement. On the second, Nasreddine couldn’t have done it any better if he had been dressed in blue. He screened Thibault AND deflected the shot. If only we could teach our forwards to do this on the PP. But then again, that would require someone actually shooting it from the point.

GOALTENDING: B-. Overall, Thibault played pretty well, But he allowed that brutal first goal that had them in the hole from the start, and his performance in the shootout was laughable. He did that as if to say to all the fans that want him to replace Fleury for shootouts, “you really don’t want to do that.â€￾ He barely flinched on either goal. He did, however, make some big saves through the game to keep them in it.

OVERALL: C. As OT losses go, this was a good one. They fell behind on a weak goal, but never went away. They really came on as the game went on, and only the stellar work of Lehtonen kept them from a possible win. The final two periods were excellent, other than the special teams.

COACHING: F. Okay, I am officially on the “dump Therrienâ€￾ bandwagon. The special teams disaster is the fault of poor coaching. One sequence turned me against him. There was a 4-on-4 for about a minute, followed by a Pens PP. What does Planet Therrien do? He puts Sid on at the start of the 4-on-4, so that he won’t be available for the PP. Can anyone give me a rational explanation for this? Or for the fact that your best player had almost 2 minutes less PP time than your second best player? It makes no sense at all. I’m not saying the personnel on this team is great, but the coach is not maximizing his talent. Idiot. And while I’m at it, why do Sid and Malkin not play together in games like this. I can understand against a defensive team why it might not make sense, but against a wide open team like this, what could it hurt? And why aren’t they out there together in OT, once you already have a point???

MAX TALBOT: F. Brutal game by him. I think we know who the fourth line scratch du jour will be next game. Missed a couple great scoring chances, and stood there with his thumb up his posterior on the Kovalchuk PP goal.

MARK RECCHI: F. Was anyone else hoping, when the ref T’d him up, that he would get a game misconduct. Gawd, he is awful. He gave the puck away numerous times, and also missed on a couple of glorious chances. Retire already, Mark.

EVGENI MALKIN: A. Another great game by him, although it is baffling why he can’t score on breakaways. He seems to be “getting itâ€￾ more and more.

RED WINE SPILLAGE ON NEW CARPET: F. But pet stain remover works wonders.

THRASHERS HOME JERSEYS: A. I love them. Great color scheme and design.

FACEOFFS: F. When your top two centers go 9/31, you should consider yourself fortunate to steal a point.

PENS IN SHOOTOUTS: F. Of course, I missed the one against the Caps. But once the OT was over, I really didn’t even want to watch. I had seen Atlanta torch Brodeur the other night, and now they got Thibault. And we all know the Pens can’t score in them. So it was over from the start. Memo to Sid: stop thinking and just make a move.


I don't know, MCM, I've been on the "dump MT" bandwagon as much as anyone, but I have to give credit where credit is due:

For MT to put Sid and Malkin together at even strength BEFORE the midway point of a game and BEFORE the team was down 3-0, that was inspired. I can't think of any other coach in the NHL who would have chosen that precise moment. Of course, any other coach would have made the move earlier. :lol:

Seriously, their play made a point that I have been making for a month. Apart, they'll have their great moments, but they'll usually be flashes, off the rush against decent teams. Against a team with any kind of defensive depth, it's a lot tougher. Atlanta was shadowing Sid or Malkin, when they were apart, defensively with one forward and had the defenseman there for support. But, if you put them together, the opponent can't do that without creating a lot of open ice in its defensive zone and allowing the Pens to SUSTAIN pressure, which is what happened last night.

I have been begging to see Ekman-Staal-Recchi back together for a while. I have been curious to see how Ruutu-Moore-Army would play as a checking line. MCM, do you think MT8771, the most dense matter in the universe, learned anything about the Pens at even strength last night.

As for the PP, what can you do? I saw one shift where the puck movement was excellent last night, and that was when it was Ekman-Sid-Malkin with Gonch and Whitney behind. But, this goes to what netwolf wrote a few days ago: On your first PP unit, you want guys who already knowe what they're going to do with the puck before it gets to them.

As for the PK, I don't know that I'd totally kill it. The Kozlov goal was off a skate. The Kovalchuk goal was a combo lucky bounce and Talbot getting caught in no man's land. Talbot-Army is a nice PK tandem, but highly skilled PP units are able to pass through the box on them. Frankly, I think Staal and Malkin, with their reaches and anticipation, should be the #1 PK unit. They're the guys best able to stop the passes through the box and most likely to keep play to the perimeter. I saw them once against MTL. Malkin broke his stick but, curiously, MTL still didn't score.

One last comment on Malkin: The stop on his breakaway last night was a good defensive play at the last second that prevented him from making a move. That said, he really has been playing well, and played even better with Sid. I hope MT keeps them together, because I also think Sid needs the help and had an extra hop last night in the second half of the game.
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Re: Grading Game 34

Postby Jerez on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:53 am

netwolf wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:THRASHERS HOME JERSEYS: A. I love them. Great color scheme and design.

IMHO, that is the most off-base grade you have given out in the history of this feature. Those uneven excuses for NHL sweaters are only surpassed in suckitude this year by Nashville's thirds. I even prefer Buffalo's new ones (slug logo and numbers on the front aside) and the Isles bright orange thirds over those things Atlanta trots out for every home game.

Not to be critical. :D


Hey, I'll have to agree with the esteemed MCM here. I love those jerseys. I particularly love the fact that they are asymmetrical. And the color combination is great. And I like the stylized thrasher. And I have a great eye, so I'm right, so there! :P

And the same goes for you, Bowser!
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Postby penny lane on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:56 am

they got a point when it appeared they would get zip.

R Malone, any shot in front of the net, a good shot.
Sidney must have perfect eye vision, puck from air
to shaft of stick to net. Snarly Sid is a good Sid.
J Staal, our shortie guy. :lol: Honestly I heard Paul S refer
to Atlanta's #11 as Staal. Eggnog error.

R Whitney, here's hoping after christmas , brain catches
up to his body.
Sergei looked like he was in LP speed on the ice~ s l o w motion.

Christmas time, 4 points from nyr and division lead~
Merry Christmas penguin fans!
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Re: Grading Game 34

Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:58 am

Jerez wrote:Hey, I'll have to agree with the esteemed MCM here. I love those jerseys. I particularly love the fact that they are asymmetrical. And the color combination is great. And I like the stylized thrasher. And I have a great eye, so I'm right, so there! :P

And the same goes for you, Bowser!


And your opinion carries much more weight than the two of them combined :D . So we win 5-2.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:00 pm

penny lane wrote:Sergei looked like he was in LP speed on the ice~ s l o w motion.



That reminds me, did anyone else see the pass on the PP from Gonchar to Malkin that seemed to take like 5 minutes to get from the center point over to the boards? It was so slow the whole Thrasher team was able to be in good position by the time the puck got to Malkin. I guess the word "crisp" ain't in Sarge's vocabulary.
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Re: Grading Game 34

Postby netwolf on Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:00 pm

Jerez wrote:Hey, I'll have to agree with the esteemed MCM here. I love those jerseys. I particularly love the fact that they are asymmetrical. And the color combination is great. And I like the stylized thrasher. And I have a great eye, so I'm right, so there! :P

And the same goes for you, Bowser!

Agree with him all you want... if you like being wrong, that's totally up to you. :P :lol:

NHL jersey design should never, ever include spelling out the name of the city or the team. Period. I also do not like powder blue in any pro sports jersey, especially hockey. If I can find a color on some kind of easter egg candy, it shouldn't be on a hockey jersey. :D

I do like the logo and the letters and numbers used are decent.
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Postby Digitalgypsy66 on Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:03 pm

I'm beginning to think a one-handed Eaton is better than some of the d-men with two fully functional hands.

As for Sid on the shootout -- can he have some highway cones to skate around? He seems to do better one-on-one with goalie after skating around some opposing defensemen!
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Postby penny lane on Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:09 pm

NHL jersey design should never, ever include spelling out the name of the city or the team. Period. I also do not like powder blue in any pro sports jersey, especially hockey. If I can find a color on some kind of easter egg candy, it shouldn't be on a hockey jersey.

I do like the logo and the letters and numbers used are decent.


duly noted in the wardobe mins... we'll get back to you when
designing the new penguin uniforms. :wink: Penguins can remain
classic in their design since all will be going to the contour/slim fit
soon.

I liked them, not saying I want penguins to copy them, but they
did offend my eyes.
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Re: Grading Game 34

Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:32 pm

netwolf wrote:
NHL jersey design should never, ever include spelling out the name of the city or the team.


Now I am deeply hurt. My favorite Penguin away jersey isd the one with the diagonal Pittsburgh down the front that they wore in the mid 90s.
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Re: Grading Game 34

Postby netwolf on Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:56 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:
netwolf wrote:NHL jersey design should never, ever include spelling out the name of the city or the team.

Now I am deeply hurt. My favorite Penguin away jersey isd the one with the diagonal Pittsburgh down the front that they wore in the mid 90s.

You're a strong-minded fella, I'm sure you'll get over it. :D
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Postby freq019 on Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:22 pm

In Recchi's defense he did hustle back to get the puck up ice in the waning seconds of the third while just 10 seconds earlier Gonchar was taking his good old time getting up the ice and then gave it away.
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Postby pfim on Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:43 pm

NHL jersey design should never, ever include spelling out the name of the city or the team.


That's a classic look. I love the Rangers uniforms.
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Postby Kovy27 on Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:45 pm

pfim wrote:
NHL jersey design should never, ever include spelling out the name of the city or the team.


That's a classic look. I love the Rangers uniforms.



Agreed.

I think the Rangers 3rd jersey is their best one.
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Postby TheHammer24 on Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:48 pm

I am a HUGE Talbot supporter, and despite a lackluster game, I think he has played magnificently this season. No reason to scratch him IMO.

Alaine Naserdine: A+

If you are grading on how a 28 year old call up with less than 100 NHL games against this high powered offense is expected to play, than you can't possibly be more pleased with him play this game. Stepped up when Scuderi and Melichar were behind Fleury, made some nice passes, played really well IMO.
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