OFFENSE: C. This would have been much lower if not for a strong third period. The first two periods, they generated zippo against the vaunted Tampa Bay defense. Whatever TB is doing, the Pens simply cannot solve it the way the rest of the league has. At least they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t until they play with a bit of desperation. Other than SidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s goal, the first two periods were an embarrassment. No effort, only the scattered scoring chance. There is no excuse for this in what I was thinking was almost a must-win game. The lines Planet Therrien has assembled simply arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t working. But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to blame him. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make chicken salad out of Sid, Geno (when he shows up) and chicken ****. I am beginning to realize there is simply no way to combine these guys into effective scoring combinations.
DEFENSE: C. When Gonchar is in a fog, like he is once again, they have no hope of having an effective defense. The giveaway for the eventual winner was classic. Was that Marty Straka he gave the puck to? Where have we seen this before? Oh, wait, it happened just last game. Oh, and it happened to Whitney in this game too. The rest of the clowns werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t much better. Can we please, please, put Joe Melichar out of his misery. I have never seen a guy who is always just standing there doing nothing as goals are scored as much as he does.
POWER PLAY: D. Another oh-fer on the PP. The only time they looked half decent was the 4-minute one in the third. But they couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t finish (yet another recurring theme this year) as Johan Patrick Roy Georges Vezina Patrick Roy Holmqvist stoned them for the third time this year. But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to score when about a third of the PP time is going to the Anti-Synergy Line (formerly the Trash Line), so named because its whole is less than the sum of its parts. It is also hard to score on the PP when the In a Fog Gonchar is showing up. Like Planet Therrien says, when he moves his feet, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good. When, like the last couple games, he doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, the PP bogs down.
PENALTY KILL: B. The PK was actually pretty decent, even though they allowed a goal. But that goal was not the fault of the PK; it was totally on the goaltender. Other than that, they did a decent job of containing the TB stars. They were blocking lots of shots and there were few golden scoring chances.
GOALTENDING: C. Fleury made some great saves, but let in that disgraceful PP goal that ended up being the difference. There was no excuse for that other than he misplayed it. You cannot have that in a tight game like this. But he did keep them in it after that with a few brilliant saves. Heck, he even made the first stop on the Gonchar giveaway, but Gonchar and Melichar were still nowhere to be found as the rebound went in.
OVERALL: D. The lack of effort until it was two late was inexcusable. It was like they spent the day at the beach and suddenly realized there was a game that night. This was two points they could ill afford to squander, yet they did just that. Amazingly, it has taken them only four days to completely erase the memories of the Carolina and Buffalo games. They would be a lot better off had they lost those two and won the two against Tampa bay, who is one of the teams in the playoff hunt. If they had a realistic shot at the playoffs, these last two would have been killers.
.500 HOCKEY: A. This is a .500 team, no more, no less. If they havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t proven it to you by now, they never will. Win a few, lose a few. Not enough to make the playoffs, but a tremendous leap from last year. This is what you get with a young, developing team with only modest talent.
JOHN TORTORELLA: A. This guy could coach my team any day of the week. He has a group of defensemen almost the equal of the Pens in terms on ineptitude, yet his team schools the Pens every time they play. He coaches circles around Planet Therrien in terms of matchups and strategy.
EVGENI MALKIN: Incomplete. He wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t there last night, so how can I grade him?
RYAN MALONE: F. Why has he not been traded for a bag of pucks? Another horrendous game by him.
RONALD PETROVICKY: F. Remind me again why they signed this scrub. Three games, three stupid penalties. Last night's cost them a PPG. Back to the press box.
NEW SHOOTOUT MOVE FOR SID: A. He needs to fall down like he did on his goal on his shootout moves. It has to work, right?
SIDNEY CROSBY: A. Congrats, all star. See you in the game for the next 20 years.
Last edited by Mad City Mike
on Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.