Grading Playoff Game 2

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Postby malkinshair on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:22 pm

Gonchar's not lazy, he's smart.

I've been frustrated by some of his 'avoidance of contact' tactics too, but the bottom line is that he knows what his strengths are, and has adapted his game to compensate for his weaknesses. Gonchar is NOT strong along the boards...period. He engaged guys twice behind the net yesterday, and ended up with 2 mins for holding. He's playing a team that is very strong against the boards, and explosive coming off the boards. There are worse things that Gonchar could do than give ground to keep himself between the forechecker and his goalie.

I don't understand why everyone is so critical of the Gonch and Whitney for their style of play in their own zone. They're not bangers. They're not physical presences. They're offensive-minded defenseman.
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Postby Draftnik on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:23 pm

Ron` wrote:Dude that was a commentary on how fast a game winning thread can turn into a Gonchar Bash fest. I never said he had a good game. Relax.


I never said you said he had a good game. I really hope Serge does well but he just doesn't seem to be capable of changing his pace of play. I think PFIM has an idea to provide the best of all worlds by getting Serge off the PK with Naz dressing in lieu of a 4th line F.
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Postby DelPen on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:25 pm

Draftnik wrote:
DelPen wrote:So I guess you missed the one play in the 3rd where Gonchar held the puck until Eaton was ready on the other side KNOWING he was going to get killed in the corner. But Gonchar ended up taking that hit for nothing because Eaton flubbed the pass and the Sens had a 2-0 right in front of Fleury.

That is not the play of someone who is gutless.


I have no idea what sequence you are referring to. I don't doubt that it happened or that Gonchar has taken hits to make plays because I have seen him do it a few times in the 2 games. The point that has to be made though is that taking a hit to make a play isn't something you do part time. In the playoffs it has to be done every time without regard for the consequences because even if you do it 9 times out of 10 the 1 time in 10 can end up in the back of the net. Game over. It isn't optional.

Even worse than his not taking a hit to make plays all the time is his lazy lack of effort. Just like he gave up inside and positional advantage to Heatley through sheer laziness and gave the Sens the game clinching 4th goal Wednesday he was still stuck in neutral on the Alfie goal when he inexplicably chased Spezza high in the zone then lazily refused to drop back down low even though he knew Alfie was still there since he left Alfie to chase Spezza. The guy doesn't have the extra gear other players are digging down to find in the playoffs. Nothing has changed from 2001 when Straka wanted it more than Gonchar.


It's a shame you don't remember the play because Gonchar could have dished the puck off safely to Eaton but made sure the forechecker hit him to take himself out of the play. He held the puck a good 6-8 seconds in the corner and forced the Sen to hit him. That is not the same as taking a routine hit.
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Postby tluke53 on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:26 pm

Draftnik wrote:Why doesn't he care about his teammates?



What we have been discussing is his playing style. I don't think it indicates that he does not care about his teammates. Don't forget he is from a different culture. This "macho" stick up for your teammates in sports is probably a North American cultural norm. It would be a mistake to assume the same norm exists outside of our country. In fact, we have all seen that many skilled European players shy away from contact.

Edit....
Obviously not all European players are like that. Ovechkin is very physical, but he may be more of an exception.
Last edited by tluke53 on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Draftnik on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:26 pm

malkinshair wrote:Gonchar's not lazy, he's smart.

I've been frustrated by some of his 'avoidance of contact' tactics too, but the bottom line is that he knows what his strengths are, and has adapted his game to compensate for his weaknesses. Gonchar is NOT strong along the boards...period. He engaged guys twice behind the net yesterday, and ended up with 2 mins for holding. He's playing a team that is very strong against the boards, and explosive coming off the boards. There are worse things that Gonchar could do than give ground to keep himself between the forechecker and his goalie.

I don't understand why everyone is so critical of the Gonch and Whitney for their style of play in their own zone. They're not bangers. They're not physical presences. They're offensive-minded defenseman.


How can you rationalize/justify the way he lost position to Heatley and gave up the critical 4th goal Wednesday? How can you do the same for his refusal to drop back down and defend a wide open Alfie at the far post on the 2nd goal yesterday. It isn't just about being a coward. It is about being lazy and not competing with more determination. The goal Wednesday was 9 seconds into the period. Nobody was tired nuder those circumstances. This is about much more than being afraid to get hit.
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Postby Draftnik on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:30 pm

DelPen wrote:It's a shame you don't remember the play because Gonchar could have dished the puck off safely to Eaton but made sure the forechecker hit him to take himself out of the play. He held the puck a good 6-8 seconds in the corner and forced the Sen to hit him. That is not the same as taking a routine hit.


Like I said, I believe you that it happened. On the other hand, do you not believe all the other people posting about hits he's refused to take? He has to take every hit. The 3rd Ottawa goal yesterday showed how his refusal to take a hit can start a chain of events (not entirely his fault, but it resulted in a poor line change followed by 2 poor decisions) that result in a goal.

The 4th Ottawa goal Wednesday and the 1st 2 yesterday are on Gonchar and had nothing to do with fear of being hit. They were all about being lazy and not hustling.
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Postby Draftnik on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:31 pm

tluke53 wrote:
Draftnik wrote:Why doesn't he care about his teammates?



What we have been discussing is his playing style. I don't think it indicates that he does not care about his teammates. Don't forget he is from a different culture. This "macho" stick up for your teammates in sports is probably a North American cultural norm. It would be a mistake to assume the same norm exists outside of our country. In fact, we have all seen that many skilled European players shy away from contact.

Edit....
Obviously not all European players are like that. Ovechkin is very physical, but he may be more of an exception.


I don't like, but can somewhat accept the fear of being hit. Refusing to hustle (see the 3 goals I refer to above) is inexcusable IMO.
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Postby malkinshair on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:46 pm

Draftnik wrote:
malkinshair wrote:Gonchar's not lazy, he's smart.

I've been frustrated by some of his 'avoidance of contact' tactics too, but the bottom line is that he knows what his strengths are, and has adapted his game to compensate for his weaknesses. Gonchar is NOT strong along the boards...period. He engaged guys twice behind the net yesterday, and ended up with 2 mins for holding. He's playing a team that is very strong against the boards, and explosive coming off the boards. There are worse things that Gonchar could do than give ground to keep himself between the forechecker and his goalie.

I don't understand why everyone is so critical of the Gonch and Whitney for their style of play in their own zone. They're not bangers. They're not physical presences. They're offensive-minded defenseman.


How can you rationalize/justify the way he lost position to Heatley and gave up the critical 4th goal Wednesday? How can you do the same for his refusal to drop back down and defend a wide open Alfie at the far post on the 2nd goal yesterday. It isn't just about being a coward. It is about being lazy and not competing with more determination. The goal Wednesday was 9 seconds into the period. Nobody was tired nuder those circumstances. This is about much more than being afraid to get hit.


I just simply disagree with the 'lazy' label. I don't see it as being lazy. Heatley's tough for any defenseman to handle, and Alfie's goal from yesterday was a perfect passing play by the Sens with a man advantage. Why didn't anyone have their sticks down in the passing lanes for 2 consecutive cross-ice passes before it got to the big C?

I'm not trying to defend everything that Gonchar does. I mentioned in my post that I get frustrated too, but calling him lazy just isn't something I agree with. He's played this way since, well forever...and while I agree that players should raise their games for the playoffs, I think it's unrealistic to expect Gonch to become Ulfie just because he's playing in April.

What about Whitney giving ground to Kelley right into the high slot for the Sens 3rd goal? What about Sid gliding right through the high slot on the Sens 1st goal? Where those 'lazy' plays?

Hockey players at this level are here because they've learned to play within their individual comfort zones. Oullet has looked like a monster toward the end of the year and in this series because, IMO, he's found his comfort zone.

You may not like Gonchar's 'comfort zone', but asking him to play outside of it would do more harm than good.
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Postby Spikey on Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:58 pm

bh wrote:I'm pretty upset with Christensen. I think he's the new captain hook. i know you want to backcheck guys and get the puck but do not pull them with your stick. He got called for what, 2 hooks? I saw about 3 others that could have been called.


I think one was a hook and one was a slash, but yeah, both stupid penalties. Christensen doesn't belong on a line where he's going to be expected to cycle and grind the entire game.
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Postby psubar12 on Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:07 pm

Wow, just wow. Gonchar is one of the top ten D-men in the NHL, and there's absolutely no argument to be made against him. Yes, he can make some mistakes in his own end and shy away from a hit once in a while, but without Gonchar the Pens wouldn't be nearly as good. At some point in every series, Gonchar's skating ability will allow him to take over a game for a stretch of time. There are only four or five other D-men in the league that possess his kind of talent.

You can dislike Gonchar all you want, but deep down you have to be happy he's on the Pens. If one focuses on the negative only, he will undoubtedly lose sight of the positives. Watch Gonchar skate out of his own end with the puck, watch him set himself up for a shot on the PP, watch him skate without the puck; you will see that Gonchar is a phenomenal hockey player.
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Postby Draftnik on Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:12 pm

malkinshair wrote:I just simply disagree with the 'lazy' label. I don't see it as being lazy. Heatley's tough for any defenseman to handle, and Alfie's goal from yesterday was a perfect passing play by the Sens with a man advantage. Why didn't anyone have their sticks down in the passing lanes for 2 consecutive cross-ice passes before it got to the big C?

I'm not trying to defend everything that Gonchar does. I mentioned in my post that I get frustrated too, but calling him lazy just isn't something I agree with. He's played this way since, well forever...and while I agree that players should raise their games for the playoffs, I think it's unrealistic to expect Gonch to become Ulfie just because he's playing in April.

What about Whitney giving ground to Kelley right into the high slot for the Sens 3rd goal? What about Sid gliding right through the high slot on the Sens 1st goal? Where those 'lazy' plays?

Hockey players at this level are here because they've learned to play within their individual comfort zones. Oullet has looked like a monster toward the end of the year and in this series because, IMO, he's found his comfort zone.

You may not like Gonchar's 'comfort zone', but asking him to play outside of it would do more harm than good.


I called Whitney out for not closing on Kelly in this or another thread. Gonchar had a few stride lead and inside position on Heatley Wednesday. It had nothing to do with hard to handle. It had everything to do with moving lazily 9 seconds into the period. I'm talking about effort, not comfort zone. The sequence where he chased Spezza after abandoning Alfie then refused to drop back down to get Alfie after Spezza passed it to the weak side was about effort, not comfort zone.

I was down on the Pens signing Gonchar because he doesn't put forth the same effort to win as other players. He didn't in 01 vs. Straka and unfortunately he is living down to his lazy reputation once again in the playoffs.

Sid is 19 and works harder than any player in the NHL. He will make mistakes of youth and inexperience, but never effort.

Gonchar's laziness has been 100% predictable based on his previous behavior. I guess in a way though you have a point. His comfort zone is the lazy no effort zone.
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Postby penscup on Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:13 pm

I think everyone is being way too hard on our D in general. Then Sens are a pretty good team it seems, and our defense held their own against them yesterday. They deserved at least a B- I'd say. Gonchar included - I have a love/hate relationship with him as well, and at this point I don't think it does any good to keep harping on his negatives time after time. We all know what they are and how crazy they drive us, but its not gonna change anything, and he does bring more to this team than people give him credit for. He does make some nice plays out there both offensively and defensively, just not on a consistent basis. Our defense has got to be one of the worst in the playoffs right now if not THE worst, so grading them has to be on a relative scale and I thought they performed well.

Outstanding game by Malone - he was giving 110% every shift out there and really provided the physical play we needed in that game.

I think the comments about Fluery were simply due to him giving up 3 goals. The writers can't say he was outstanding (even though we know he was) because thats only reserved for shutouts or 1 goal games. This doesn't make sense always but its the way it usually comes out.
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Postby Draftnik on Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:16 pm

psubar12 wrote:Wow, just wow. Gonchar is one of the top ten D-men in the NHL, and there's absolutely no argument to be made against him. Yes, he can make some mistakes in his own end and shy away from a hit once in a while, but without Gonchar the Pens wouldn't be nearly as good. At some point in every series, Gonchar's skating ability will allow him to take over a game for a stretch of time. There are only four or five other D-men in the league that possess his kind of talent.

You can dislike Gonchar all you want, but deep down you have to be happy he's on the Pens. If one focuses on the negative only, he will undoubtedly lose sight of the positives. Watch Gonchar skate out of his own end with the puck, watch him set himself up for a shot on the PP, watch him skate without the puck; you will see that Gonchar is a phenomenal hockey player.


Gonchar is one of the top PP dmen in the NHL. At ES he isn't. On the PK he is not even average.

I wasn't happy when the Pens signed him and won't be happy with him until he is retired or playing for another team. Gonchar isn't great at skating out of his zone with the puck. Lugging the puck on the PP is the weakest part of his PP game. Bondra rushed the puck for the Caps, not Gonchar. The Pens struggle gaining the line because their highly paid PP specialist doesn't have the speed or moves to back the D off the line and easily gain entry to set things up.
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Postby joopen on Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:17 pm

My STRIPED BUFFON HUH CALL OF THE GAME:

The 2 blatant knees they missed and the possible horrible injuries they could have caused. One was on Malkin early in the game and the moronic NBC announcers kept saying what a bonecrushing hit it was... NO IT WAS A KNEE THAT IS WHY MALKIN IS HURTING YOU JAGOFFS!!! The other one was against either Brooks or Josef I can't remember. I remember the 1st one better because of the announcers being as buffoonish as the striped buffoons
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Postby malkinshair on Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:27 pm

Draftnik wrote:I called Whitney out for not closing on Kelly in this or another thread. Gonchar had a few stride lead and inside position on Heatley Wednesday. It had nothing to do with hard to handle. It had everything to do with moving lazily 9 seconds into the period. I'm talking about effort, not comfort zone. The sequence where he chased Spezza after abandoning Alfie then refused to drop back down to get Alfie after Spezza passed it to the weak side was about effort, not comfort zone.

I was down on the Pens signing Gonchar because he doesn't put forth the same effort to win as other players. He didn't in 01 vs. Straka and unfortunately he is living down to his lazy reputation once again in the playoffs.

Sid is 19 and works harder than any player in the NHL. He will make mistakes of youth and inexperience, but never effort.

Gonchar's laziness has been 100% predictable based on his previous behavior. I guess in a way though you have a point. His comfort zone is the lazy no effort zone.


I guess I'm just okay with what he brings to this team, and don't see the point in getting all over him for something that, by your own admission, has been part of his game since he came into the league. He set up Whitney's goal yesterday with a beautiful pass back to the point, and set up Robert's goal by taking a hard, low shot on net that forced a big rebound. That is what he's on this team to do...not shut down some of the best offensive players in the league.

My point is this...you say it's laziness. I say he doesn't have the ability to do play the way you want him to. If he played half of his minutes being a shut-down defenseman, and then disappeared for the rest, that may be blamed on being lazy...but he's been pretty consistent.

Oh well, agree to disagree. :?
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Postby Draftnik on Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:37 pm

malkinshair wrote:I guess I'm just okay with what he brings to this team, and don't see the point in getting all over him for something that, by your own admission, has been part of his game since he came into the league. He set up Whitney's goal yesterday with a beautiful pass back to the point, and set up Robert's goal by taking a hard, low shot on net that forced a big rebound. That is what he's on this team to do...not shut down some of the best offensive players in the league.

My point is this...you say it's laziness. I say he doesn't have the ability to do play the way you want him to. If he played half of his minutes being a shut-down defenseman, and then disappeared for the rest, that may be blamed on being lazy...but he's been pretty consistent.

Oh well, agree to disagree. :?


We can agree to disagree. 2 people often see the same thing and come to differing conclusions. I did cite his work in setting up the Pens 1st 2 goals in another thread about Gonchar. I wonder if Caps fans were as forgiving as you when Gonchar gave the puck to Straka in 01? I do agree he is what he is so what has happened the 1st 2 games should not have surprised anybody.
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Postby sergei on Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:44 pm

Gonchar is one of the top PP dmen in the NHL. At ES he isn't. On the PK he is not even average.[/quote]

I beg to disagree. IMO he is better than average. He's much smarter than an average defenseman (including, say, Ulfie).
It's an understandable tendency to like people who are visibly hustling (I love Talbot). But there are other ways of hustling.
And Gonchar does. He's not that quick. But same can be said about Murphy (and it's notable that so many Pens' fans actively disliked Murphy for being slow and lazy). Well, IMO, being skillful and smart is as good. What I noticed was that Gonchar tries very hard to engange Malkin with smart passes -- though Malkin has not yet used them well. My take at Gonchar's attitude is that he probably feels he must look "cool" at all times, not to be seen panting and desperate. A very Russian trait, in my limited experience...

In general, we are too harsh on our D, I agree with this opinion. Melichar and Scuderi played very well yesterday. Probably, above their skil level.
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Postby Ace on Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:44 pm

Bottom line....15 wins from winning the Cup !!!
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