D pairings

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Re: D pairings

Postby IMFC on Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:45 am

So Brooks stays at left D and Martin moves to right? I can't see moving Brooks.
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Re: D pairings

Postby BCG51585 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:13 am

WhoDaresWins wrote:
Bylsma, who knows better than most how much Martin struggled in 2011-12, projects him as a top-four defenseman, and is leaning toward deploying him with Brooks Orpik on the top defense-oriented pairing.

"Depending on how our lineup shakes out in camp and going into the first game, being paired with Orpik is a possibility that we maybe haven't done in the past," Bylsma said.
"We don't have a lot of left[-handed] shots, so to put two left shots together is [potentially problematic] ... but Paul has been a player who has played 28 minutes, 27, 26 minutes. A lot of minutes in a defending situation against good players.

"With a physical player like Brooks, that type of pairing would be a possibility that we could see. And one we'll probably see a little bit of in camp."



Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/spo ... z2HS8uj2xv


This is the only reason pairing them up wouldn't be a great idea. That said mine would be:

Martin Letang
Orpik Bortuzzo
Engelland Niskanen
Strait

Seems nuts at first blush but Bortuzzo has been playing great at WBS and he knows the system. I wouldn't be comfortable putting him with an offensive minded partner because his inexperience means that his partner might be inclined to take less chances, thus neutralizing his partner's effectiveness. While I would be leery of having Bortuzzo in a top 4 role, I think his skillset is needed to make this team tougher to play against.

Martin and Letang have played together before and if Letang can continue to develop his physical edge (which is quite underrated btw) and round off the defensive part of his game, a refocused Paul Martin would be a great complement because they are both skilled, free flowing skaters with a high hockey IQ.

I don't like Niskanen as a full time top 4 guy. Engelland is left over. Strait fills in as needed. Lovejoy is either traded or waived (if they need the roster spot).
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Re: D pairings

Postby mikey287 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:38 am

Martin did some of his best work in New Jersey paired with a somewhat sluggish, physical defensive defenseman in Bryce Salvador (a career third pairing guy), for reference. Conversely, it could be the style of play the Penguins employ that is causing his hiccups, not his partner.
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Re: D pairings

Postby RisslingsMissingTeeth on Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:52 am

I thought Niskanen was our best D hands down in the playoffs last year and fully expect that he is a cemented top 4 player now. The problem is that you can't pair him with Martin or Letang given their defensive lapses, especially Martin. I can see where HCDB is going with the Martin-Orpik thing given the atrocity that was the 44-58 pairing against Philthy.

I think you will see a lot of rotation in the first several weeks depending on how we do. If teams studied the playoff tape, which I think Dan definitely thinks they did, then he needs to shake things up. My call out of the gate is:
Orpik-Letang
Martin-Engelland/Bortuzzo/Niskanen
who freaking knows for the 3rd pairing but please end the Lovejoy experiment. Kid was exposed against Philly.
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Re: D pairings

Postby no name on Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:02 am

I would like to see a shutdown pair in the mold of Gill and Scuds. we got way to many puck moving softies.

I know this is what Dan B wants but we won the cup with the shutdown pair.
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Re: D pairings

Postby stonewizard51 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:40 am

penny lane wrote:
Gaucho wrote:I sure hope it's not Reese.

Wait, maybe it's Gonchar.

Whatever.


oh my; that would be a special pair~ Sergei & Paul Martin! :wink: :(


Yep !! Oil meet water.
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Re: D pairings

Postby penny lane on Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:47 am

"I know how [Martin] motivates himself and holds himself accountable," defenseman Brooks Orpik said Tuesday. "And I think he was just as disappointed as anybody else last year in how he played


thanks Brooks~ says paul martin.
well brooks it will be up to you to help him find his game on ice. :)

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/spo ... z2HUKHfILA
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Re: D pairings

Postby shmenguin on Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:48 am

mikey287 wrote:Martin did some of his best work in New Jersey paired with a somewhat sluggish, physical defensive defenseman in Bryce Salvador (a career third pairing guy), for reference. Conversely, it could be the style of play the Penguins employ that is causing his hiccups, not his partner.


what would you make of his play on the first goal of the game here?

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/consol ... 32&lang=en

is this the sort of play that can be a result of a guy who is uncomfortable, or is it just lousy hockey, or is it just that skinner made an unbelievable move - because these are the moments that stick out for me. IIRC, this game against carolina was martin's masterpiece. he had a few plays that set the tone for the rest of his season. plays that seemed like they shouldn't happen under any circumstance.
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Re: D pairings

Postby BurghersAndDogsSports on Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:49 am

no name wrote:I would like to see a shutdown pair in the mold of Gill and Scuds. we got way to many puck moving softies.

I know this is what Dan B wants but we won the cup with the shutdown pair.


I have been preaching this for years. We won the cup with 4 defensive minded and solid positioning players in he back.

Have gone away from that and it seems our forwards in that mold can't play the style. I understand that Cooke has slowed down and Kennedy got worse or whatever but that squad with guys like Talbot and Fedetenko (who play the same roles with other teams they did during the cup run and got run out if here the next year) complimented Sid and Geno perfectly.

At some point you need to be well rounded at all positions, especially defense.
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Re: D pairings

Postby jcgopens on Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:52 am

I think Bylsma has been given too much time off to come up with crazy notions as to what will work. My question is, where doew this leave Letang? If it is Despres, who hasn't been doing well in WBS, keep up with a 25-28 minutes against top lines? Is he going to be able to read the play when Letang jumps up front? Is Bylsma putting Orpik/Martin into the top d-pairing, demoting Letang?

I guess we need to wait to see how this plays out, but this one has me scratching my head.
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Re: D pairings

Postby joopen on Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:01 am

I guess that leaves Letang with either Niskanen or Engelland... If this move settles down both Orpik and Martin it will be absolutely beneficial. I would say they probably put Engelland with Letang so that Kris might help cover for some of Engelland's short comings while still having a puck mover with a "stay at home". I guess the third pairing is Niskanen and whatever WB/S guy makes the cut.
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Re: D pairings

Postby Gaucho on Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:04 am

joopen wrote:I guess that leaves Letang with Niskanen.


fify
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Re: D pairings

Postby mikey287 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:14 am

shmenguin wrote:
mikey287 wrote:Martin did some of his best work in New Jersey paired with a somewhat sluggish, physical defensive defenseman in Bryce Salvador (a career third pairing guy), for reference. Conversely, it could be the style of play the Penguins employ that is causing his hiccups, not his partner.


what would you make of his play on the first goal of the game here?

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/consol ... 32&lang=en

is this the sort of play that can be a result of a guy who is uncomfortable, or is it just lousy hockey, or is it just that skinner made an unbelievable move - because these are the moments that stick out for me. IIRC, this game against carolina was martin's masterpiece. he had a few plays that set the tone for the rest of his season. plays that seemed like they shouldn't happen under any circumstance.


Good question, and good to using video for evaluation something that's used on all quality, organized levels of hockey for educational purposes.

Just as important as how a play ends is how a play begins. Let's freeze it at the 0:00 mark.

Paul Martin has the man in front of the net. He's ready and identifies the puck and he's close enough to his man to make a play. Good.
Kris Letang has identified the puck, is reading the play and has Tuomo Ruutu (#15) going to the net, good, he has his man. Good.
Our other two wingers Asham and whoever, have the point men. Good.
Note where the puck is, in a place where Richard Park should be able to get a piece of it or disrupt Jussi Jokinen somehow, this play should be disrupted here in the slot. Let's watch...

It says I froze it again at 0:00, but I have to be 0:01 in by now.
The puck is in the middle of the rink, everyone still has their same man. Letang ties up the man (Ruutu, 15) closest to the puck by engaging him physically to prevent him from making a reasonable play on it.

Watch the jump though by Jeff Skinner, who is probably slightly closer to the puck than Paul Martin to start the play based on where the puck bounced to after Park disrupted Jokinen (36).

It's too difficult for the wingers, from a standing start, to get back to that puck really...though Asham creeps down for it, he can't win that race. Skinner, who is wonderful on his edges and does a great job protecting the puck displays that here...he, without touching the puck, walls off Paul Martin from it to gain possession. Excellent play by Skinner. Martin has him though, as he's right on his back. So far, good enough. Ideally, you'd love to get stick on stick contact there to push the puck away from a high scoring area, but Martin is walled off so quickly that from the angle he was coming from, there was really nothing he could do...the odds of getting a tripping penalty by getting a poke check in there are higher than the odds of knocking the puck away. An early penalty in a home game will do nothing but help rev up the home players and fans. It's not Martin's nature to be really aggressive either, so he's playing probably as best as he can right now.

Martin's job now that he's lost the race to the puck in high scoring zone is to try to reduce the shot quality. Martin does this by forcing Jeff Skinner on to his backhand. However, Skinner uses his terrific edgework and very good first step acceleration to roll off of Martin who still has his momentum carrying him the other direction. Problem.

Freeze it at 0:03 - Martin is now beaten as Skinner makes a terrific play with his puck and the body on his backhand. Letang is guarding the front of the net and the man that went behind to come around the net looking to "get lost in the wash" and forgotten about (that's Ruutu again). Martin is going for a diving sweepcheck now in desperation. If Letang commits and steps on Skinner, the pass goes to a wide-open Tuomo Ruutu. It's too late to make that switch, young Letang probably would have gone for it though.

Next frame, Martin dives for it but the incredible puck protection of Skinner (one of the reasons I was so high on him in his draft year despite the "36" to the left of his name or whatever Central Scouting had him as...not discussed here, ahem.) just doesn't allow for it. Skinner releases a backhander off the frame and in and that's the end of the story.

In this instance, the best (not really a right or wrong thing) answer of the three you gave is really credit to Skinner. That's a very tough play and Skinner isn't chopped liver in this league. It's a result of a 50/50 puck in a weird place on the ice and Skinner got the jump on Martin while having the inside track. Martin could have played that worse, but he was rendered pretty ineffective by Skinner's protection abilities and ends up flailing while failing. I also kind of wonder if that could have been stopped by Johnson. No push off when Skinner commits to release the shot from in close. One push towards the puck, and that probably hits Johnson in the arm. But that's sometimes what you deal with a replacement level goaltender.
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Re: D pairings

Postby mikey287 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:16 am

joopen wrote:I guess that leaves Letang with either Niskanen or Engelland... If this move settles down both Orpik and Martin it will be absolutely beneficial. I would say they probably put Engelland with Letang so that Kris might help cover for some of Engelland's short comings while still having a puck mover with a "stay at home". I guess the third pairing is Niskanen and whatever WB/S guy makes the cut.


Engelland cannot handle those kind of minutes at the NHL level. Letang has to face major competition for 22+ minutes per night...Engelland is a #7 d-man in terms of skillset on a really good team. That's too much of a stretch. Hurts transition, too much on Engelland's plate defensively. Game moves too fast for him, thus his benchings in the playoffs when the tempo increases. Too big of a stage for him.
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Re: D pairings

Postby joopen on Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:27 am

mikey287 wrote:
joopen wrote:I guess that leaves Letang with either Niskanen or Engelland... If this move settles down both Orpik and Martin it will be absolutely beneficial. I would say they probably put Engelland with Letang so that Kris might help cover for some of Engelland's short comings while still having a puck mover with a "stay at home". I guess the third pairing is Niskanen and whatever WB/S guy makes the cut.


Engelland cannot handle those kind of minutes at the NHL level. Letang has to face major competition for 22+ minutes per night...Engelland is a #7 d-man in terms of skillset on a really good team. That's too much of a stretch. Hurts transition, too much on Engelland's plate defensively. Game moves too fast for him, thus his benchings in the playoffs when the tempo increases. Too big of a stage for him.


I know, I just can't imagine him babysitting one of the younger guys given his limitations.

EDIT: I guess you just shelter them both the best you can and rely on your 4 horses. Kind of hard to do with a compact schedule like we will have.
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Re: D pairings

Postby Steve on Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:41 am

It'll be interesting to see how it shakes out - I can't see the Pens going into the playoffs with this current blueline lineup. (including those in WBS)
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Re: D pairings

Postby shmenguin on Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:42 am

mikey287 wrote:In this instance, the best (not really a right or wrong thing) answer of the three you gave is really credit to Skinner. That's a very tough play and Skinner isn't chopped liver in this league. It's a result of a 50/50 puck in a weird place on the ice and Skinner got the jump on Martin while having the inside track. Martin could have played that worse, but he was rendered pretty ineffective by Skinner's protection abilities and ends up flailing while failing. I also kind of wonder if that could have been stopped by Johnson. No push off when Skinner commits to release the shot from in close. One push towards the puck, and that probably hits Johnson in the arm. But that's sometimes what you deal with a replacement level goaltender.


maybe the way martin moves makes his screwups look worse than they actually are.
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Re: D pairings

Postby pcm on Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:21 pm

Figured Martin's "secret partner" was going to be Orpik. Blysma is trying to employ a top shutdown pairing and a top puck-moving pairing in Letang-Niskanen. It does seem a little crazy at first, but I actually think it might work.

Orpik-Martin
Martin's biggest problems have been his (1) crease presence and (2) his ability to get back into a broken play, ie. speed. These have lead to confidence issues for him, and mental focus, etc. Orpik's leadership, physical presence, and skating speed should be a perfect complement. They are also both good enough puck movers to transition from a defensive play to a scoring chance. The biggest issue is that they're both lefties.

Letang-Niskanen
Is Niskaken ready for 20+ minutes a night? I think so. He was the Pen's best d-man in the playoffs (which isnt saying much). He brings a cool, even-tempered game to balance Letang's firey nature. Whether behind Malkin or Crosby's line, the two should be able to create opportunities with their transition game.
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Re: D pairings

Postby Pitt87 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:01 pm

Mr. Colby wrote:I still think Strait, Bortuzzo, or Lovejoy are traded before the 19th


Lovejoy I think sticks around unless we add another depth guy. IS there any interest in the other two?
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Re: D pairings

Postby DesertPenguin on Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:20 pm

pcm wrote:Figured Martin's "secret partner" was going to be Orpik. Blysma is trying to employ a top shutdown pairing and a top puck-moving pairing in Letang-Niskanen. It does seem a little crazy at first, but I actually think it might work.

Orpik-Martin
Martin's biggest problems have been his (1) crease presence and (2) his ability to get back into a broken play, ie. speed. These have lead to confidence issues for him, and mental focus, etc. Orpik's leadership, physical presence, and skating speed should be a perfect complement. They are also both good enough puck movers to transition from a defensive play to a scoring chance. The biggest issue is that they're both lefties.

Letang-Niskanen
Is Niskaken ready for 20+ minutes a night? I think so. He was the Pen's best d-man in the playoffs (which isnt saying much). He brings a cool, even-tempered game to balance Letang's firey nature. Whether behind Malkin or Crosby's line, the two should be able to create opportunities with their transition game.


Letang also has a physical presence, and obviously has elite speed. Letang will join the rush more often than not, but Martin is generally a more conservative player, so that should work. I'd rather see Letang and Martin, which was clicking at the end of last year, and then pair Orpik with Niskanen, another guy who could use help with physical presence. I think Nisky is plenty good as a puck mover on that line. Round the 3rd pairing out with some combination of Bortuzzo, Despres, Engo, Lovejoy and Strait (In that order of preference, personally) and you're good.
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Re: D pairings

Postby Shyster on Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:39 pm

The few times I’ve watched games where Bortuzzo was playing, I didn't really notice him on the ice. And that’s a good thing for a defenseman, who are mostly noticed when they screw up. I recall thinking in some of the pre-season games last year that he was the best defenseman on the ice. If Despres is struggling and could use some more seasoning in the minors, I think Bortuzzo could do the job until he’s ready. Certainly, I’d give him the chance.
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Re: D pairings

Postby Paekman on Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:42 pm

My choices would be:

Martin/Letang
Orpik/Niskanen
Strait/Bortuzzo
Engelland

Martin played his best hockey last season (yes, I know) with Letang and generally, Martin's game compliments Letang very well. Letang is an underrated physical presence who possesses great wheels and offensive ability. Martin can certainly play a "mind the store" defensive role by playing sound positionally, blocking shots, and moving the puck out of the zone quickly. In addition, Martin can eat a lot of minutes, and allow Letang to play a more creative game.

Orpik is finally healthy, but I believe his minutes will be monitored a bit more than normal and playing on a 2nd pairing with Matt Niskanen will allow Orpik to fill a similar role to Martin, only playing less minutes and playing a more physical style of hockey. Matt Niskanen is still somewhat of an unknown commodity, but he did turn in a solid performance last year, and certainly is capable of playing a transition game while chipping in offensively. Frankly, after Letang, there's not a lot of offense from the blueline to be had, so I think keeping Niskanen and Letang apart spreads the wealth out a bit more, as it were.

Finally, some combination of Derek Engelland, Brian Strait, and Robert Bortuzzo will round out the bottom pairing. Part of me wants to see if Strait and Bortuzzo can immediately step in together as a 3rd pairing since they've been playing together for a while now (when healthy), but Engelland will probably be pretty much entrenched in the #5 role. Both Strait and Bortuzzo are capable of being solid, if unspectacular defenders, with Bortuzzo being a bit more physical and Strait being a bit better positionally and having slightly better puck skills. Kind of a toss up to be honest.

Also, we've got a lot of right-handed defensemen. What are people's thoughts on lefties playing LD, while righties play RD? Is it kind of an underrated aspect of putting together D pairs, or is it kind of a wash or even unimportant at the NHL level?
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Re: D pairings

Postby columbia on Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:48 pm

I realize that people have been saying good things about Bortuzzo in WBS, but the idea of him and/or Engelland, Lovejoy and Strait rounding out the D is not very reassuring.
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Re: D pairings

Postby MRandall25 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:56 pm

I'd be more reassured with Bortuzzo rather than Lovejoy. Everything we saw last year with Bortuzzo showed me he's ready.
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Re: D pairings

Postby mikey287 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:03 pm

Paekman wrote:Also, we've got a lot of right-handed defensemen. What are people's thoughts on lefties playing LD, while righties play RD? Is it kind of an underrated aspect of putting together D pairs, or is it kind of a wash or even unimportant at the NHL level?


Excellent observation. It matters a lot, generally, when designing tactics.

Think about our tactics, as offensive cycling team. It's really a 4-man cycle, but let's ignore technicalities and get right to the brass tacks...

Board play and holding the zone.

Puck is in the corner and behind the net, cycle is established, common defensive tactics are to collapse to the net leaving the points relatively open. Puck is chipped up the half boards on the left side of the ice and here comes Kristopher Letang, RHS d-man, down the left side and the high forward from the opposition wants to keep the puck moving out of the zone.

Letang is at a major disadvantage as he has to try to put the puck in deep and possibly win a board battle on his backhand...

Often our defensemen - as with any 4+ man cycle - will go in deep on the cycle and a forward will switch out high. Letang, on the left wing boards, will continue to be at a disadvantage as he has to fight every battle on his backhand...in order to reasonably get a puck on net with his forehand he has to reverse his direction and turn his eyes away from the prize in order to roll off his check get it on net. The NHL is generally too fast to allow that.

Note: 2012 Stanley Cup champion LA Kings had all LHS-RHS pairings.
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