Team Defense Takes Leadership

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Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Bowser on Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:22 am

Last season didn't end well for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Philadelphia Flyers. It would be an understatement to describe it as a bitter disappointment after the first round beat down at the hands of their biggest rival.

This defenseless showing after bowing out in the first round in grand choking fashion blowing a three games to one series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning with two home games left.

Fans and media were quick to blame Marc-Andre Fleury's performance as below the Stanley Cup standard in losses to Tampa Bay and Philadelphia but that would be to ignore other factors like the roster construction by General Manager Ray Shero, coaching by Dan Bylsma, and the other 22 players on the roster for each of those teams.

Blaming the goalie is the Pittsburgh thing to do, much like it is to blame Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the team's struggles while an aging defense continually fails to make a play.

For Fleury, it is nothing new.

As for new backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun, he must be wondering what he got himself into as he's struggled to post adequate numbers in the crease but as people point about the 16 goals against in two and a half periods of play over three games played, little do they mention he's seen 93 shots in those games.

Vokoun has to be better for this team to keep Fleury fresh and ready for a long run but to think the 18 skaters who have taken shifts in front of the goal on a nightly basis are doing enough to limit the scoring chances and open shots, think again.

During the regular season last year, Penguins finished 17th with a 2.66 goals against average but they've dropped to 20th at 2.91 through the first 22 games.

In the playoffs against the Flyers, they gave up 5 goals per game.

There's a segment of the fan base and myself that believe part of the defensive problems are the direct result of Bylsma's system. If they are not perfect in the execution of 'Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey', teams are able to counter-attack on the turnovers and get quality scoring chances.

But let's say coaching isn't the problem, that leaves the man in charge of building the roster and the players themselves.

Is anyone really thinking Shero hasn't given a coach enough to win with Fleury and Vokoun in goal supported by veteran defensemen Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Kris Letang, Matt Niskanen, and Deryk Engelland, plus youngsters Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo?

Shero added to the group by signing free agent Mark Eaton.

The missing ingredient is a big strong defenseman who can clear the net and be that physical presence that has been lacking for the team.

Not sure many coaches would be questioning their GM that hands over a roster sheet of forwards lead by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Brandon Sutter, Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy, Joe Vitale, Tanner Glass, and Craig Adams.

The team has mixed in others like Dustin Jeffrey and Zach Boychuk, while now giving former first round pick Beau Bennett a chance to establish himself as a top six forward.

Just like the defense, Shero would be wise to find a veteran winger who can play a top six role but at the stage of his career willing to play on the third line.

You've heard the names like Dallas Stars left-wing Brenden Morrow and San Jose Sharks left-wing Ryane Clowe but with Kunitz, Bennett, Cooke, and Glass seemingly firm in their spots locking up the left-wing position on each line, they could opt for a right-wing.

A simple move could be to put Dupuis on the third line and use Kennedy as part of any trade package to get one of the bigger names like Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Anaheim's Corey Perry. Each has already been attached to the Penguins and as the season goes on, the rumor mill is a safe bet to churn even more.

While Bylsma escapes some blame with fans and media, much like Shero has been able to elude with the team's terrible record drafting forwards. The final group is the current leadership on the ice.

There was an obvious change on the ice when the Penguins acquired Bill Guerin, Chris Kunitz and Craig Adams en route to a Stanley Cup. The latter two still play a key role on the team and with the experience of Crosby, Malkin, Orpik, and Letang, one has to wonder why so many post-game or post-practice press gatherings have involved the leadership questioning their teammates about a lack of composure, taking too many penalties, and less than desirable work ethic.

Crosby is the face of the NHL and captain of this team. He has an unparalleled work rate in practices and during games but it hasn't always been there with his teammates following his charge through games.

Is Crosby a vocal leader on the team? Does the team really have that kind of player on the team like Guerin was during the 08-09 season or Gary Roberts the season prior?

This could be why the Penguins put all their assets into a veteran leader like Iginla because it addresses a few concerns with the leadership, scoring, and depth.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby lifetimefan on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:02 am

If we need leadership Pierre McGuire says we should get Braden Scheen or Claude Giroux.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Eismann on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:22 am

Don't look now, but the core of this team are veterans who have more big-time experience than most people left in the league.

Sid Geno, MAF, Orpik, Kunitz, even Martin, Dupuis and Adams. Any other team would covet them for the "veteran leadership."

It ain't the age, its the miles.and looking st an Iginla-type would just be bringing in age.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby saints11 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:23 am

I agree that there is a need to acquire a veteran, leadership, character wing. Also, I'm on board with the greatest effect Dupuis can have is a third line winger. Neither of these options are going to clear out forwards from in front of the net. Our smaller d-men and some veterans, need to clean it up. Therefore, we need to address our size and grit on defense. I would target Douglas Murray of San Jose, and Ron Hainsey from Winnipeg. I had previously stated that even Stephane Robidas could help with this. As much as I have thought a top 6 winger was needed, and still believe we should get one; we can score. Now we need to address the major problem of playing 7-5, 6-4 games. Trading one defenseman does not erase the disaster that is revisiting from last spring. We have been fortunate to draft great PMD; but we need size. Last spring, we missed out on Grossman when Dallas was moving him; we need to target Murray and Hainsey to get size, and grit.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby penny lane on Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:39 am

I think there is a line, of crossing over from fan to gm - fan; i need to take a step back. The joy is still from going to games, watching games and thinking they could win. I don't have the first flying clue about their training, personalities and habits. Can I really say somebody isn't a leader?
I still get to critized and grumble about the nights they choose to be nimrods. :D

For the pens and their core; maybe like the beatles, getting a bit bored with each other.
They may need a new person to shake up their cliques. :P

I enjoyed reading Bowser.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Defence21 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:09 am

Eismann wrote:Don't look now, but the core of this team are veterans who have more big-time experience than most people left in the league.

Sid Geno, MAF, Orpik, Kunitz, even Martin, Dupuis and Adams. Any other team would covet them for the "veteran leadership."

It ain't the age, its the miles.and looking st an Iginla-type would just be bringing in age.

Here's the thing, leadership isn't something that is defined exclusively by big-time experience. In fact, sometimes it can be a complete lack of big-time experience that makes a veteran player such a leader. Bringing in a veteran who is truly hungry for a Stanley Cup and is willing to do anything to win it oftentimes is more significant than the leadership of a player who plays on a team with high expectations each season and a Stanley Cup in the rear-view mirror.

Leadership alone doesn't win games, just as goaltending alone doesn't win games, scoring alone doesn't win games, defense alone doesn't win games, coaching alone doesn't win games, etc. It's just one of many areas that needs to be just right in order for the sum of the parts to equal a whole.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby slappybrown on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:14 am

Bowser wrote:
Spoiler:
Last season didn't end well for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Philadelphia Flyers. It would be an understatement to describe it as a bitter disappointment after the first round beat down at the hands of their biggest rival.

This defenseless showing after bowing out in the first round in grand choking fashion blowing a three games to one series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning with two home games left.

Fans and media were quick to blame Marc-Andre Fleury's performance as below the Stanley Cup standard in losses to Tampa Bay and Philadelphia but that would be to ignore other factors like the roster construction by General Manager Ray Shero, coaching by Dan Bylsma, and the other 22 players on the roster for each of those teams.

Blaming the goalie is the Pittsburgh thing to do, much like it is to blame Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the team's struggles while an aging defense continually fails to make a play.

For Fleury, it is nothing new.

As for new backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun, he must be wondering what he got himself into as he's struggled to post adequate numbers in the crease but as people point about the 16 goals against in two and a half periods of play over three games played, little do they mention he's seen 93 shots in those games.

Vokoun has to be better for this team to keep Fleury fresh and ready for a long run but to think the 18 skaters who have taken shifts in front of the goal on a nightly basis are doing enough to limit the scoring chances and open shots, think again.

During the regular season last year, Penguins finished 17th with a 2.66 goals against average but they've dropped to 20th at 2.91 through the first 22 games.

In the playoffs against the Flyers, they gave up 5 goals per game.

There's a segment of the fan base and myself that believe part of the defensive problems are the direct result of Bylsma's system. If they are not perfect in the execution of 'Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey', teams are able to counter-attack on the turnovers and get quality scoring chances.

But let's say coaching isn't the problem, that leaves the man in charge of building the roster and the players themselves.

Is anyone really thinking Shero hasn't given a coach enough to win with Fleury and Vokoun in goal supported by veteran defensemen Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Kris Letang, Matt Niskanen, and Deryk Engelland, plus youngsters Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo?

Shero added to the group by signing free agent Mark Eaton.

The missing ingredient is a big strong defenseman who can clear the net and be that physical presence that has been lacking for the team.

Not sure many coaches would be questioning their GM that hands over a roster sheet of forwards lead by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Brandon Sutter, Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy, Joe Vitale, Tanner Glass, and Craig Adams.

The team has mixed in others like Dustin Jeffrey and Zach Boychuk, while now giving former first round pick Beau Bennett a chance to establish himself as a top six forward.

Just like the defense, Shero would be wise to find a veteran winger who can play a top six role but at the stage of his career willing to play on the third line.

You've heard the names like Dallas Stars left-wing Brenden Morrow and San Jose Sharks left-wing Ryane Clowe but with Kunitz, Bennett, Cooke, and Glass seemingly firm in their spots locking up the left-wing position on each line, they could opt for a right-wing.

A simple move could be to put Dupuis on the third line and use Kennedy as part of any trade package to get one of the bigger names like Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Anaheim's Corey Perry. Each has already been attached to the Penguins and as the season goes on, the rumor mill is a safe bet to churn even more.

While Bylsma escapes some blame with fans and media, much like Shero has been able to elude with the team's terrible record drafting forwards. The final group is the current leadership on the ice.

There was an obvious change on the ice when the Penguins acquired Bill Guerin, Chris Kunitz and Craig Adams en route to a Stanley Cup. The latter two still play a key role on the team and with the experience of Crosby, Malkin, Orpik, and Letang, one has to wonder why so many post-game or post-practice press gatherings have involved the leadership questioning their teammates about a lack of composure, taking too many penalties, and less than desirable work ethic.

Crosby is the face of the NHL and captain of this team. He has an unparalleled work rate in practices and during games but it hasn't always been there with his teammates following his charge through games.

Is Crosby a vocal leader on the team? Does the team really have that kind of player on the team like Guerin was during the 08-09 season or Gary Roberts the season prior?

This could be why the Penguins put all their assets into a veteran leader like Iginla because it addresses a few concerns with the leadership, scoring, and depth.


Team Defense Takes Leadership, or, Watch Me Advocate For Bylsma's Firing In A Post That is Ostensibly About Something Else
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby canaan on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:15 am

Bowser wrote:Fans and media were quick to blame Marc-Andre Fleury's performance as below the Stanley Cup standard in losses to Tampa Bay and Philadelphia but that would be to ignore other factors like the roster construction by General Manager Ray Shero, coaching by Dan Bylsma, and the other 22 players on the roster for each of those teams.

Blaming the goalie is the Pittsburgh thing to do, much like it is to blame Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the team's struggles while an aging defense continually fails to make a play.

For Fleury, it is nothing new.

i dont think the the majority of fans believe that fleury was the reason they lost the flyers series, but his gaffes didnt help. i think pens fans have been pretty aware of the shortcomings of the system, the errors in team defense, and a lack of forward involvement as key factors in the losing of that series.


...and blaming the goalie/qb isnt specific to pittsburgh, its specific to sports fans.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby pcm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:21 am

There is "Not Enough Man" on the ice for the Pens.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Pavel Bure on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:25 am

We need a big stay at home d-man: Agreed but who?

Bennett, Cooke, and Glass established in their roles: Disagree, Cooke moves up and down lines as needed, Bennett is a rookie, and I'm not sure why 4th liner Glass was mentioned.

Left wing is set: Disagree again. Malkin's line needs a left winger. If Bennett can fill that role great, but as it stands right now I don't think he's ready for that especially in the playoffs and especially not in favor of a guy like Morrow or Clowe. Which right wings would you recommend?

Big name FA Perry and Iginla: It's hard to say the Pens should go after these guys because if they're 1. in the playoffs or 2. close to the playoffs they're not moving anyone. Right now The Ducks are leading their division and Calgary is only 4 points out of a playoff spot. It would be nice to get someone like that though.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby NashvilleCat on Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:43 am

canaan wrote:
Bowser wrote:Fans and media were quick to blame Marc-Andre Fleury's performance as below the Stanley Cup standard in losses to Tampa Bay and Philadelphia but that would be to ignore other factors like the roster construction by General Manager Ray Shero, coaching by Dan Bylsma, and the other 22 players on the roster for each of those teams.

Blaming the goalie is the Pittsburgh thing to do, much like it is to blame Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the team's struggles while an aging defense continually fails to make a play.

For Fleury, it is nothing new.

i dont think the the majority of fans believe that fleury was the reason they lost the flyers series, but his gaffes didnt help. i think pens fans have been pretty aware of the shortcomings of the system, the errors in team defense, and a lack of forward involvement as key factors in the losing of that series.


...and blaming the goalie/qb isnt specific to pittsburgh, its specific to sports fans.

Actually blaming the defense is the Pittsburgh thing to do. The defense, as it did this year, routinely finish in the top 5 in yards and scoring. Yes, they have breakdowns - it's the NFL and in today's game it gets harder and harder to stop offenses. Except for ours in the red zone. The offense routinely fails to score often enough in the red zone, takes stupid penalties, and they often don't close out games when it counts. Show me a case where the defense blew a late lead and I'll show you where the offense went three-and-out when it had a chance to bury someone.

Ben generally doesn't take much heat from reasonable people unless he makes some ridiculous turnovers - as he did this year and in the year where I feel he was rushed back from his head injuries (sounds vaguely familiar to topics on this board doesn't it?) Fluery has his faults, as does Ben. But without them I don't think the Steelers have 6 Lombardi Trophies and I don't think the Pens have a third Cup. But, please blaming the defense for the Steelers woes is like laying all the blame on Fluery for the Pens defensive problems.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby IMFC on Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:50 am

So you're advocating trading for Mike Richards? Great, just great.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Pavel Bure on Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:53 am

IMFC wrote:So you're advocating trading for Mike Richards? Great, just great.

I think I would love Richards on this team if his game translated to the wing. Hard working guy that doesn't quit.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby scals37 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:29 pm

Pavel Bure wrote:
IMFC wrote:So you're advocating trading for Mike Richards? Great, just great.

I think I would love Richards on this team if his game translated to the wing. Hard working guy that doesn't quit.

hard working guy that doesn't quit partying
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby ville5 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:17 am

penny lane wrote:For the pens and their core; maybe like the beatles, getting a bit bored with each other.
They may need a new person to shake up their cliques. :P

I think the loss of MadMax hurt more than people realize. I think him and Flower kept the team loose and relaxed. Thus they were able to just go out and play the game. Especially in the ultra pressurized and nerve racking playoff games.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby CERV96 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:44 am

I would love to have Iggy. Just too much needs to happen for that to become a reality. I would rather prefer another 3rd or 4th line grinder with leadership qualities and can contribute every now and then or a top 4 big presence D-man that can move bodies. Scoring is not the issue when it comes to a top 6 forward(Guierin/Roberts) with the current lineup. But wish in one hand crap in the other.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Rylan on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:05 am

Pavel Bure wrote:
IMFC wrote:So you're advocating trading for Mike Richards? Great, just great.

I think I would love Richards on this team if his game translated to the wing. Hard working guy that doesn't quit.


He is honestly one of my favorite players. He is a beast
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Pavel Bure on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:39 am

I'm no fan of Jack Johnson but I do seem to remember him and Orpik playing solid hockey as a pairing in the Olympics.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby slappybrown on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:40 am

If we trade for Jack Johnson I am pretty sure I will lose faith in Shero and conclude he's entering "the last years of CP" phase.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby columbia on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:40 am

You can sleep well at night, slappy.
It ain't happening.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Idoit40fans on Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:43 am

How about a system that encourages the offense supporting the defense as much as the defense supports the offense. Forwards need to fill in for defenders that step up and need to fill down closer to the net in the defensive zone when there is a low cycle going on. I don't know how to make that happen but I know which person needs to be the one to make it happen. I'll worry about the personnel on the ice being the problem when they're put in a position where its not either perfection or failure.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Lt. Dish on Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:32 pm

pcm wrote:There is "Not Enough Man" on the ice for the Pens.


I'm confudged...do we want Mike Richards or Gary Roberts and why, if neither plays D? ; )
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Idoit40fans on Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:33 pm

This thread is about team defense. There are 5 people defending the goalie and his net. Well there are supposed to be anyway.
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby Lt. Dish on Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:41 pm

Idoit40fans wrote:This thread is about team defense. There are 5 people defending the goalie and his net. Well there are supposed to be anyway.


: )
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Re: Team Defense Takes Leadership

Postby CERV96 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:45 pm

Idoit40fans wrote:This thread is about team defense. There are 5 people defending the goalie and his net. Well there are supposed to be anyway.


It seems to be everyones net when Vokoun has played lately.
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