This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

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This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Bowser on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:01 pm

The Nashville Predators first played in the National Hockey League (NHL) on October 10, 1998 and behind the bench that night was head coach Barry Trotz. Since that opening game, Trotz has been the only man fans in Nashville have called coach. That's something cute and interesting in this day of being hired to be fired but the expectations in Nashville are not exactly on the same level as those for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In Pittsburgh, great expectations hang over the heads of everyone in the organization from owners Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux, franchise centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to rookie winger Beau Bennett.

Since winning the Stanley Cup during the 2008-2009 season after losing in the finals the year before, many expected the core of Crosby, Malkin, Jordan Staal, Brooks Orpik, Kristopher Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury to win another Cup or two before the roster would have to be changed due to the salary cap.

The man behind the bench during the lifting of that Stanley Cup was rookie head coach Dan Bylsma.

Bylsma orchestrated key adjustments with the Penguins style of play by deploying an aggressive 2-man forechecking system, a more aggressive penalty-killing unit that prided itself on getting the puck out of the zone within a few seconds of entry into the offensive zone, going to basics on the power play by getting forwards like Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin in front of the net and slight change to the way the Penguins went back to play the puck in the defensive zone in order to move the puck out of the zone.

Many were quick then as they are now to discount the importance of Michel Therrien's defensive system and demand for being hard to play against. Therrien's coaching had that team trained and ready to battle and win the Stanley Cup. Few recognize that the day the Penguins and General Manager Ray Shero fired Therrien on February 15, 2009, the team reassigned assistant coach Andre Savard and added Tom Fitzgerald to the coaching staff.

Little is said that the team Bylsma took over didn't have key veteran leaders such as Kunitz (acquired 2/27), Guerin (acquired 3/4/09) or Craig Adams (3/4/09).

After Therrien was fired, Shero said, "It wasn't so much the outcome as the way the game was played. It's not always so much the score. It's just the direction we were going."

That direction was a team who couldn't maintain leads, gave up too many goals, and had the appearance the players were tuning out the head coach as they were getting lax in their approach to the little things demanded just a year earlier en route to a Stanley Cup finals loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

Fast forward to 2013 and you've got a team who has had three consecutive playoff disappointments, the last two in the first round to Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. The Penguins have been a team this season that has been easier to play against, blown 2-goal leads like it was some candy giveaway on Halloween, given up more goals than should be expected (17th - 2.76 goals per game), and just like Therrien's final season, a group that appears to be tuning out the coach.

All of which made tonight's decision to start backup goalie Tomas Vokoun over Fleury a questionable decision, which he explained after the morning skate as "This is a game Tomas has been scheduled to play for a couple of weeks."

Adjustments anyone?

Think Fleury was taken aback by the decision and possibly disappointed? He said as much after the morning skate, "I'm not going to lie. Yeah, a little bit. Friends and family are going to be here. Montreal's a good challenge. They're first in the East." And did he understand the surprise decision, "A little bit, but it's fine."

That's about as mad as you'll ever hear Fleury on the record.

Meanwhile, the Penguins had lost two straight games coming into tonight largely due to the skaters in front of Vokoun and Fleury but when you need a goalie to stop the losing, be that stopper, isn't that the job of your number one franchise goaltender?

Like Shero said over four years ago, the direction of the team is important and after blowing another two goal lead in the second period and giving up 6 goals in their wild 7-6 OT win in Montreal, it might be time to change the tune.

Twitter - https://twitter.com/EricBowser

Blog - http://pittsburghfancentral.blogspot.com/
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Pavel Bure on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:05 pm

The direction of the team when FHCMT was fired was falling out of the playoffs and not being able to get back in.

Edit: One of the "playoff failures" was without Crosby and Malkin so come on.

Edit edit: using the Montreal loss as a "failure" is also stretching it.
Last edited by Pavel Bure on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Beveridge on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:09 pm

I refuse to read this post until there are screenshots from your television illustrating your points. Followed by the Pens winning 10 games in a row.

Go!
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby slappybrown on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:09 pm

Wat
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby columbia on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:10 pm

slappybrown wrote:Wat


Post your Twitter handle and he'll explain.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby farnham16 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:11 pm

Pavel Bure wrote:The direction of the team when FHCMT was fired was falling out of the playoffs and not being able to get back in.

Edit: One of the "playoff failures" was without Crosby and Malkin so come on.


They were up 3-1 with two home games left to finish the series out and blew it. They were all over Tampa in the first 4 games and fell apart. It was a failure.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Froggy on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:13 pm

so we need to win stanley cups every year or we're a failure?
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby FreeCandy44 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:13 pm

I was told there would be pie charts....
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Gaucho on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:14 pm

Mmmm, pie...
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Sam's Drunk Dog on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:15 pm

Image
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby slappybrown on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:29 pm

columbia wrote:
slappybrown wrote:Wat


Post your Twitter handle and he'll explain.

Lololololol

What's happening here? Are all Bowsers posts now cross blog posts cut and pasted?
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby tfrizz on Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:38 pm

Bowser wrote:Meanwhile, the Penguins had lost two straight games coming into tonight largely due to the skaters in front of Vokoun and Fleury but when you need a goalie to stop the losing, be that stopper, isn't that the job of your number one franchise goaltender?


That's exactly what Fleury did last year and what he's done this year. It's no coincidence the team looked so bad in front of Johnson/Thiessen but were able to win with Fleury, and it's no coincidence the same is happening again this year.

The problem is that the Pens don't just lean on their goalie to win a game here or there, it's every game and that's completely unrealistic.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Bowser on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:07 pm

No, I've posted things here that weren't from the blog.

Wasn't going to do it here but was curious to see responses.... not surprised.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Bowser on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:08 pm

tfrizz - Agreed, team in front of the goalies have to be better but Vokoun didn't exactly change perception tonight.

Vokoun – 9 games, 28 goals, 1 goal every 8.5 shots

Fleury, 15 games, 34 goals, 386 shots, 1 goal every 11.3 shots
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Bowser on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:11 pm

Froggy - Not every year but when you lose in two straight first rounds, pressure should be on and when you had Crosby, Malkin and Staal... wouldn't you expect more than 1 Cup?
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Pavel Bure on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:14 pm

Bowser wrote:Froggy - Not every year but when you lose in two straight first rounds, pressure should be on and when you had Crosby, Malkin and Staal... wouldn't you expect more than 1 Cup?

They didn't have Malkin and Crosby for one of those 1st round exits.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Bowser on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:14 pm

Pavel - 3 to 1 series lead and lost, that's a failure. I guess with Staal gone, Bylsma has another built in excuse.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Pavel Bure on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:15 pm

Bowser wrote:Pavel - 3 to 1 series lead and lost, that's a failure. I guess with Staal gone, Bylsma has another built in excuse.

How far did you expect a team without their top 2 players to go? By all accounts, even with the playoff loss that team massively overachieved. Thinking they should have gone much farther is unrealistic up 3-1 or not.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby She'sTheFastest on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:23 pm

FreeCandy44 wrote:I was told there would be pie charts....


Whoa! Whoa! Nobody said anything about visual aides.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Pavel Bure on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:25 pm

The biggest thing in your comparison to Nashville that is flawed is payroll. Nashville doesn't have the payroll to attract high priced players which is why they rely on ultra disciplined play. Trotz gets them to play that way every year without fail. At a certain point though (the playoffs) the cream begins to rise to the top and ultra disciplined play gets trumped by a higher tier of talent. That's especially evident over a 7 game series against the same team. Nashville vs. Pittsburgh is a very poor comparison at best.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby NashvilleCat on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:26 pm

I'd love to see what Trotz could do with a team that had a couple of legitimate scoring forwards. If Nashville ever fires him he'll have a job in a New York minute. He gets more out of less than any coach in the league.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby Froggy on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:57 pm

Bowser wrote:Froggy - Not every year but when you lose in two straight first rounds, pressure should be on and when you had Crosby, Malkin and Staal... wouldn't you expect more than 1 Cup?

we didn't have crosby or malkin vs tampa
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby She'sTheFastest on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:59 pm

Not to mention Tampa didn't show up for the first half of the series thinking the Pens would not be very good.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby SolidSnake on Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:01 am

I've come to terms that as long as Shero has say there is no possible way Byslma will be fired, there could be Scotty Bowman in his prime wanting to coach the pens and Shero wouldn't make the move. Only way Byslma gets fired is if it comes down from Lemieux or Burkle. No matter how frustrating this team can be, it is what it is. There's always gonna be an excuse or break why Byslma won't get fired.
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Re: This isn’t Nashville, Time to change tune in Pittsburgh

Postby She'sTheFastest on Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:11 am

Bylsma frustrated the **** out of me, but based on the Pens current position there is not enough justification to fire him yet. Yeah, the crap that has gone down for the last 3 games is enough to pull your hair out, but the Pens are second in the division. And the bottom line is that until the fail in the playoffs again and he proves that he cannot get it done when the pressure is on, DB is not going anywhere.
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