Long time listener, first time caller....poster. You guys have kept me sane this year since I moved away from pittsburgh, it's been great to get some actual feedback about what the hell is going on in games and with the team, versus trying to figure it out via espn and the such. And you're always good for a laugh when I need it.
Anyway, figured why not pick an abortion like tonight's game as my first post, not like I could make it worse. A couple things:
1. I'm torn on the messing around with the lines. On one side, during the game, I'm mother f-ing everyone from Bylsma to Shero to malkin to madden to steigy (never mike lange, ever). It sucks that it clearly is disrupting the chemistry of the entire team. This isn't NHL 94, where players could be plugged into any line, any time, and play at the same level no matter their linemates. Curiously, the wrap around still works every time...but I digress. But what are they going to do? Did we really expect them to leave crosby with cooke and kennedy? Yes, cooke's been hot lately, thanks to crosby, but kennedy looks like a third liner who is used to being the center of attention on his line. He's been ok lately, but he still makes me want to choke him every time he passes up on feeding crosby to take a one handed bad angle shot with his eyes closed from our redline. Clearly some adjustments needed to happen, and I think we'd all rather see these growing pains happen now, then in the playoffs. The pens right now are merely going through the growing pains that most teams go through in October and November while trying to figure themselves out. It's frustrating as hell, especially since it seems like they've taken a step back by adding "the best player in the world". All that being said, I'm of the firm belief of sticking with their strength down the middle that has given other teams such headaches in the past. The mismatches it presents can't be passed up, especially when I don't see staal's ability at winger, right now, as any great upgrade over any of our top 6. He's a damn good center, as are sid and geno, but only an above average winger at this point. Taking a great center off one line for an above average winger on another...meh. Anyways, lines as I would like to see them are like this:
There you have two lines that are proven to be excellent in the past, a good line of grinders, and a line with the best player in the world+a good if small veteran+ the hottest player in the nhl(I joke, but it sure seems like it lately). I honestly will be a bit dissapointed in HCDB if it goes any other way, but he makes the big bucks, not me.
2. The powerplay...
Honestly, why? So many wtf here I can't even begin, so I'll just say this: Clearly the 5 forwards thing is a product of our two best pointmen on d aren't in the lineup (that whole "martin will be a good replacement for gonchar on the pp" thing hasn't quite worked out, huh? There's my required LGP martin whipping boy comment, though I honestly think you guys underrate him), but if it continues after tanger or niskanen are back, HCDB needs to take the IMPACT test. I would think the obvious casualty on the PP with crosby's return would've been kunitz, with neal sliding into kunitz's spot, and crosby into neal's. Malkin clearly isn't nearly as comfortable, or good, on the point as he is on the halfwall, and though sid is sid, these have been malkin's penguins this year, why move him? Which brings me to my next point....
3. I love fleury, and he's been great, and letang is as important to this team as anyone, but this year especially...as goes malkin, so goes the Pens. By far my favorite player, just because I think he'd be the best to grab a beer with, so maybe I'm biased....but I'll the first to admit that malkin has serious confidence issues. He's temperamental, but not in an intentional diva way, more in a clown of a pitbull way...so fun and great when he's up an happy, but sometimes get's skiddish, and breaks your heart and rips your face off when he's feeling lost/down. When he's hot, he makes the little effort plays that go unnoticed, he skates harder, he shoots first and asks questions later, and "girls love"; when he's not he coasts with the occasional streak of feistiness that is flipping a coin as to whether we'll see a great goal or 71 in the penalty box. Yes, in a perfect world, he's a great player that should be able to adjust to being moved off the side wall to the point, and should produce with whomever you put him with. I think we can look to never getting to see a healthy mario, sid getting concussed twice, and jagr getting traded for 600,000, a bag of pucks, and a yearly xmas card to Craig Patrick as proof that his isn't a perfect world. I personally think when it comes to decisions this late in the season, knowing that malkin can be the way he is, HCBD and GMRS really need to remove any part of the game that involves changes for him when it comes to moving sid back into the lineup. It should have been: "which 2 players from the bottom three lines do we put with sid, and which of these three players do we swap sid in for on the PP".
4. Sid will get better. He's average right now, but he's been out of the game forever, and atleast his average is better than all of maybe 5 players goods, so I'll take it for now. I've just come to accept we probably won't see sid at his best again until next season, but it may still happen before then. He's spoiled us for so long, but right now, I'm not getting those butterflies of "anything can happen" everytime he steps on the ice. Just give it time.
5. Fleury is Fleury...if the stage isn't big, don't expect him to carry the team. But come the game 7 breakaway by ovechkin in the first 10 minutes...we all know he'll make the glove save.
6. Letang being out has sucked. But anyone notice that we managed to play ok without him, but without niskanen....
We all know who the new piece is.
Back to organic chem studying, I blame you all for my F tomorrow