Grading Game 10

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Grading Game 10

Postby Mad City Mike on Thu Nov 02, 2006 10:12 am

Is this team really getting so good, so fast that they can play a lousy game and still win? Last night’s answer was certainly yes. Almost across the board, they weren’t very good the first two periods, but really improved in the third.

OFFENSE: C-. Not a real good effort. At one point I said to Jerez, “It would be nice if they could get some shots. This is Dan Friggin’ Cloutier in net. They never really challenged him too much. When they did, they scored. They just seemed kind of out of sync all night long. Passes were just missing. Shots were going wide or not getting though. It just wasn’t clicking.

DEFENSE: B. If I was grading after the first two periods, it would have been a C- or so, but they really clamped down in the third period. I thought they were very scrambly the first two periods, trying to run and gun with the Kings. But in the third, they settled down and really gave the Kings nothing at all. This might have had something to do with…

GOALTENDING: D. Probably Fleury’s worst game of the year. The goal at the start of the first was equally on him and the D, but that goal to start the second was brutal. He looked jittery all night. Rebounds were flying every which way. He did make one key save very early, right after the Kings had opened the scoring, but, other than that, really didn’t show much at all. Very subpar outing for him.

POWER PLAY: C. Well, they did generate the winning goal in OT, otherwise this would have been much lower. It looked terrible all night until that. Not many good chances at all in five PPs. They had a real hard time getting set up because, again, the passes were not working. This might have had something to do with the personnel (more on that later). But in OT, great shot by Gonchar and an emphatic put-back by Malkin. The equivalent of a game-winning slam dunk.

PENALTY KILLING: C. The first one was very good. The second one, not so much. When a defenseman falls on a goalie, nothing good can come out of it. On the first kill, it was one of the bets they had all year, as the Kings got not even a whiff of the net. But on the second, they lose a faceoff, and, boom, the puck is in the net. Just a very ugly play, from losing the draw to giving Visnovsky a wide open shot, to tackling your own goalie.

OVERALL: B- I give this one about as low a grade you can for a win. They just didn’t have it last night. Luckily, this was the Kings they were playing, and they aren’t very good right now. Cloutier stinks, and they don’t have a lot of offensive weapons. If they play this way the rest of the trip, it will be ugly. But hey, this is already a successful trip for them, so even if they lose to the Sharks and Ducks, they are in good shape..

Now some others:

MY PENGUIN PROGNOSTICATING ABILITY: F. In this thread, I predicted a record of 2-5-3 for the first 10 games. In my defense, that was under the assumption that Malkin missed all of them. But it is a putrid prediction nonetheless. I predicted 7 points. They had twice that many. Ugh.

MARK EATON. F. The best thing about Eaton on most nights is that he is simply not noticeable. Before you get upset, I mean that as an extreme compliment. He just does all the little things, all the right things. Except for last night, that is. He was just horrible last night. He fell on Fleury on the PP goal. He was nowhere to be found on the first goal. He was on for the other goal, but that wasn’t his fault. He missed two glorious scoring chances with Cloutier down and out (okay, no jokes about what the difference between that and Cloutier actually being in the net). He also took a point shot into the guy’s shins that the Kings turned into an odd-man break. A Normal night for most Penguin defensemen, but I have come to expect more from him.

MARK RECCHI ON THE POINT: F. Can someone please explain to me WTF this is all about? The PP was perfectly fine with Whitney back there. Fine, Letang is gone. So use Welch there. He has some offensive talent. But the PP was bad all night, and I blame much of this on -41 being back there. He had several giveaways bringing the puck up, and generally seems to have no clue how to play the point. A point guy cannot treat the puck like a hand grenade, and he does. Get him off there, and NOW!

EVGENI MALKIN: A+++++. What more can you say? For a heralded rookie to actually exceed his press clippings is amazing. He is making Sid’s start last year look pedestrian. Of course, Sid didn’t have any real linemates (don’t get me started on Palffy).

ARMSTRONG DEMOTION: D. I don’t get it. He totally set up that first goal with a crunching forecheck. That’s what he does. With Sid and Malkin together, you don’t need another scorer there, you need somebody to do exactly what Colby does. I don’t understand this at all.
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Re: Grading Game 10

Postby yeltzen on Thu Nov 02, 2006 10:40 am

Mad City Mike wrote:MARK RECCHI ON THE POINT: F. Can someone please explain to me WTF this is all about? The PP was perfectly fine with Whitney back there.

Did you watch Whitney on the point last night? I would have rather had Cairns back there. On the one power play, they had an entire minute of pressure. Recchi fed Whitney about 6 one-timer feeds, and he passed every one of them up. Does he know that he's a defenseman with a big shot and that's why he's on the point on the PP? I'm not sure that he does. For whatever reason, Therrien decided that Gonch was the #2 unit's point man last night, and the #1 unit suffered because of it. Maybe he was always out the shift before a PP, but Recchi and Whitney should not be on the point together. Ryan just seems lost when he's not part of the rush.
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Re: Grading Game 10

Postby Dickie Dunn on Thu Nov 02, 2006 10:42 am

Mad City Mike wrote: ARMSTRONG DEMOTION: D. I don’t get it. He totally set up that first goal with a crunching forecheck. That’s what he does. With Sid and Malkin together, you don’t need another scorer there, you need somebody to do exactly what Colby does. I don’t understand this at all.


I was surprised by the demotion as well, but to say that you don't need another scorer there is false. When you're on a line with Malkin and Crosby, you have to be able to finish. After a stellar first period last night, Army missed two gimme's on the left post in the second period. Opportunities that Ouellet probably would have scored on (since thats pretty much the only area where he can do anything). Even with all the intangibles in the world, you still have to provide tangible evidence of doing something. Four assists in 10 games isn't cutting it, regardless of how integral he was to the first goal last night. That being said, I expect it to be a short demotion. Ouellet does nothing 5 on 5, once he was put on that line last night he looked like he was afraid to shoot, and doesn't bring the intangibles that Army does. I say at most it will be a one game demotion to try and get Army to settle down and get the monkey off his back.

To add to your list:

MOORE'S PENALTY: F. What is he an idiot? He went to Harvard for cying out loud. I haven't seen that penalty called since I played Mite hockey. Seemed to be very out of character for him.

RUUTU GETTING UNDER 9 MINUTES OF ICE TIME: F. He needs to be on the ice more, especially against these West Coast teams that hate him. He's getting paid a lot of money to play as much as Thorburn (who once again played good last night) and needs more one the ice so he can be the pain in the butt that he is. I would like to swap him and Ouellet, but the 4th line of Thorburn-Talbot-Ruutu has been extremely effective. Maybe that line as a whole just needs to play more. On a side note, I don't know who tracks hits and I don't know what constitutes a hit per NHL stat keeping rules, but how the hell was Ruutu not credited with a single hit last night?

TALBOT: A. Totally deserving of the increased ice time he recieved. Works harder than anyone on the team (except for Sid), hits everything that moves, and never ever slows down. I didn't understand why he was sent down to begin the year, and if he is sent down once Petrovicky comes back it's a travesty.

FLEURY CREDITED WITH 3 GIVEAWAYS: F. Never seen a goalie credited with that many giveaways before, and it probably had a hand in the Pens running around in their own end a lot. Also an F, is that the only player with more giveaways than Fleury was Gonchar, who had 5.
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Re: Grading Game 10

Postby kirk on Thu Nov 02, 2006 10:54 am

Mad City Mike wrote:Is this team really getting so good, so fast that they can play a lousy game and still win? Last night’s answer was certainly yes. Almost across the board, they weren’t very good the first two periods, but really improved in the third.

OFFENSE: C-. Not a real good effort. At one point I said to Jerez, “It would be nice if they could get some shots. This is Dan Friggin’ Cloutier in net. They never really challenged him too much. When they did, they scored. They just seemed kind of out of sync all night long. Passes were just missing. Shots were going wide or not getting though. It just wasn’t clicking.

DEFENSE: B. If I was grading after the first two periods, it would have been a C- or so, but they really clamped down in the third period. I thought they were very scrambly the first two periods, trying to run and gun with the Kings. But in the third, they settled down and really gave the Kings nothing at all. This might have had something to do with…

GOALTENDING: D. Probably Fleury’s worst game of the year. The goal at the start of the first was equally on him and the D, but that goal to start the second was brutal. He looked jittery all night. Rebounds were flying every which way. He did make one key save very early, right after the Kings had opened the scoring, but, other than that, really didn’t show much at all. Very subpar outing for him.

POWER PLAY: C. Well, they did generate the winning goal in OT, otherwise this would have been much lower. It looked terrible all night until that. Not many good chances at all in five PPs. They had a real hard time getting set up because, again, the passes were not working. This might have had something to do with the personnel (more on that later). But in OT, great shot by Gonchar and an emphatic put-back by Malkin. The equivalent of a game-winning slam dunk.

PENALTY KILLING: C. The first one was very good. The second one, not so much. When a defenseman falls on a goalie, nothing good can come out of it. On the first kill, it was one of the bets they had all year, as the Kings got not even a whiff of the net. But on the second, they lose a faceoff, and, boom, the puck is in the net. Just a very ugly play, from losing the draw to giving Visnovsky a wide open shot, to tackling your own goalie.

OVERALL: B- I give this one about as low a grade you can for a win. They just didn’t have it last night. Luckily, this was the Kings they were playing, and they aren’t very good right now. Cloutier stinks, and they don’t have a lot of offensive weapons. If they play this way the rest of the trip, it will be ugly. But hey, this is already a successful trip for them, so even if they lose to the Sharks and Ducks, they are in good shape..

Now some others:

MY PENGUIN PROGNOSTICATING ABILITY: F. In this thread, I predicted a record of 2-5-3 for the first 10 games. In my defense, that was under the assumption that Malkin missed all of them. But it is a putrid prediction nonetheless. I predicted 7 points. They had twice that many. Ugh.

MARK EATON. F. The best thing about Eaton on most nights is that he is simply not noticeable. Before you get upset, I mean that as an extreme compliment. He just does all the little things, all the right things. Except for last night, that is. He was just horrible last night. He fell on Fleury on the PP goal. He was nowhere to be found on the first goal. He was on for the other goal, but that wasn’t his fault. He missed two glorious scoring chances with Cloutier down and out (okay, no jokes about what the difference between that and Cloutier actually being in the net). He also took a point shot into the guy’s shins that the Kings turned into an odd-man break. A Normal night for most Penguin defensemen, but I have come to expect more from him.

MARK RECCHI ON THE POINT: F. Can someone please explain to me WTF this is all about? The PP was perfectly fine with Whitney back there. Fine, Letang is gone. So use Welch there. He has some offensive talent. But the PP was bad all night, and I blame much of this on -41 being back there. He had several giveaways bringing the puck up, and generally seems to have no clue how to play the point. A point guy cannot treat the puck like a hand grenade, and he does. Get him off there, and NOW!

EVGENI MALKIN: A+++++. What more can you say? For a heralded rookie to actually exceed his press clippings is amazing. He is making Sid’s start last year look pedestrian. Of course, Sid didn’t have any real linemates (don’t get me started on Palffy).

ARMSTRONG DEMOTION: D. I don’t get it. He totally set up that first goal with a crunching forecheck. That’s what he does. With Sid and Malkin together, you don’t need another scorer there, you need somebody to do exactly what Colby does. I don’t understand this at all.


1. Mark Eaton did not play well last night, but I think the "F" is based upon high expectations rather than actual performance.

2. I'm thinking that Ouellet must have pictures of Therrien with a sheep or something. In a sense, I do understand the move, because the third and fourth lines played well in the third when Army went there (versus how badly LeClair-Moore-Ruutu played in the first and second periods). I remember in the third, Ouellet carried in the puck, Sid was driving the net, and Malkin was trailing on the other side. Instead of feeding Malkin for the one timer, Ouellet, who had a defender by him, tried to thread a pass to Sid, as he drove the net with two defenders on him. Ouellet may be able to put a puck into the net and he may have a good shot, but he remains a liability on the ice against better teams.

3. Last night's game confirmed for me that the Pens are one winger and one upgrade two way defenseman who can play the point from being really lethal, especially on the PP (why exactly doesn't Ekman play with Sid and Malkin on the PP, atleast as an experiment; agreed, MCM, there's a problem on the point on the PP).

I live in LA, so I was stuck with the Kings feed and figured I'd share these tidbits:

- The most frequently used phrase last night had to be " . . . and broken up by Jordan Staal . . . " Speaking of Staal, the Kings announcers couldn't figure out how he got his stick down for his goal with the player on him. Then, they did the slow motion and saw Staal lift the defenders stick before receiving the pass. :D

- The Kings announcers, on the Malkin to other players comparisons, said the style reminded them of Lemiuex but that the OT goal, how he swept out of nowhere, was Jagr." As for Crosby, they compared him to Forsberg in style.

One question: Does anyone else think Malkin is struggling somewhat to adapt to playing on the wing? I know it's a relative question, but my guess is that, if this stays, he'll become that much better as he learns to play the position.

Look, MCM, this is precisely the type of game the Pens would have lost over the years. The PP in OT was a gift, and the team capitalized. This is the type of game that lends credence to the adage "there's a fine line between winning and losing".

EDIT: After the OT goal, you had to love Malkin doing a Jack O'Callahan after the Miracle on Ice on Army. And, I only saw Therrien's reaction to the goal later, but he's a different guy this year. These kids not only have energized the vets; they've energized the coach.
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Postby DelPen on Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:26 am

I wonder if the 3rd period was a tryout for Ouellet to see if he can actually skate with good players. If it was he faailed rather miserably. When Petro comes back Ouellet is the first to go.
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Postby kirk on Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:27 am

DelPen wrote:I wonder if the 3rd period was a tryout for Ouellet to see if he can actually skate with good players. If it was he faailed rather miserably. When Petro comes back Ouellet is the first to go.


Let us pray . . . :lol:
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Re: Grading Game 10

Postby King Sid the Great 87 on Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:32 am

Mad City Mike wrote:MARK RECCHI ON THE POINT: F. Can someone please explain to me WTF this is all about? The PP was perfectly fine with Whitney back there.


Put Ekman on the point.
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Postby magnum on Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:53 am

Did you watch Whitney on the point last night? I would have rather had Cairns back there. On the one power play, they had an entire minute of pressure. Recchi fed Whitney about 6 one-timer feeds, and he passed every one of them up. Does he know that he's a defenseman with a big shot and that's why he's on the point on the PP? I'm not sure that he does. For whatever reason, Therrien decided that Gonch was the #2 unit's point man last night, and the #1 unit suffered because of it. Maybe he was always out the shift before a PP, but Recchi and Whitney should not be on the point together. Ryan just seems lost when he's not part of the rush.


I completely agree with this. The PP suffered from not having Gonchar on the first unit. Gonchar provides that one time shot and Whitney does absolutely NOTHING from the point position on the PP. I hate being the "shoot the da*n puck guy" but I must've screamed that to Whitney on the PP a handful of times last night.
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Re: Grading Game 10

Postby kirk on Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:59 am

King Sid the Great 87 wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:MARK RECCHI ON THE POINT: F. Can someone please explain to me WTF this is all about? The PP was perfectly fine with Whitney back there.


Put Ekman on the point.


How about Gonchar on the left point, Sid and Malkin working and rotating between the right point and the right circle, Ekman on the left side, and Staal working around the net and along the boards (I think Staal has earned that, if only because a few other guys have been tried and because I'm tired of watching Ouellet turn over the puck every time he touches it for more than that split second it takes to put in a rebound)?
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Postby yeltzen on Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:04 pm

magnum wrote:I completely agree with this. The PP suffered from not having Gonchar on the first unit. Gonchar provides that one time shot and Whitney does absolutely NOTHING from the point position on the PP. I hate being the "shoot the da*n puck guy" but I must've screamed that to Whitney on the PP a handful of times last night.

I'm not much of a "SHOOOOOOT" guy, either, but come on. How many times can a guy feed you a one-timer pass before you decide to take advantage of it?
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Postby magnum on Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:10 pm

yeltzen wrote:
magnum wrote:I completely agree with this. The PP suffered from not having Gonchar on the first unit. Gonchar provides that one time shot and Whitney does absolutely NOTHING from the point position on the PP. I hate being the "shoot the da*n puck guy" but I must've screamed that to Whitney on the PP a handful of times last night.

I'm not much of a "SHOOOOOOT" guy, either, but come on. How many times can a guy feed you a one-timer pass before you decide to take advantage of it?


However many times he was fed a pass to take a shot last night, it wasn't enough obviously. Whitney's been doing this all season long actually, holding on to the puck too long, taking one time opportunities and keeping the puck so he can throw out an easy/simple pass and of course not shooting the puck EVER it seems.
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Postby HockeyDaddy on Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:23 pm

I know that this is unlikely...but isn't it possible that the Colby "demotion" was an attempt to energize the third line...rather than to promote Ouellet to Colby's spot. As was said earlier in this thread...the third line did not look good early.
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Postby DelPen on Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:29 pm

HockeyDaddy wrote:I know that this is unlikely...but isn't it possible that the Colby "demotion" was an attempt to energize the third line...rather than to promote Ouellet to Colby's spot. As was said earlier in this thread...the third line did not look good early.


If that's the case then why not demote Oullet and promote Ruutu or Thornburn? I'm thinking more and more that this was a chnace to get Oullet out on the ice even strength with playmakers and he made bad decisions eveyr shift.
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Postby Rohit on Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:31 pm

mcm, i agree with most everything that you said except for a thing or two:

the 2nd goal, i dont believe, was fleury's fault. he was in the right position and took away the angles for the most part, but if you take a look at the shot, it was perfect: a laser beam that hit the crossbar and deflected in. How do you stop that? Regardless it was fleury's worst game, but i still saw him make some huge saves that kept the team in the game so i cant fault him THAT much.

How about mark recchi! is it me or is he actually being useful? i think jordan staal may be bringing out the best in him. many times ive seen him rush to a loose puck near the boards and throw it as a centering pass and given that staal is usually in a good position, it generates a scoring chance. also i think that was a pretty nice pass to noah welch.

oh, and i last night i heard a line that i never want to hear ever again...ever "John Leclair goes to work..." he is completely useless.

i was at the flyers game (yes i may live in indiana, but i got to see sid's first goal last year and sid's first hat trick :) ) and i was talking to my buddy telling him that i really want to see colby show up and break out of his funk. He looked at me and said "with crosby and malkin on a line together, all colby has to do is not screw up." and that made a ton of sense to me, as long as colby isnt a liablity, he is going to help that line because he plays with heart. on the malkin goal he made a good solid hit that kept LA from controlling the puck, allowing sid to cradle it and dish it off to malkin for a goal. no points for colby, but without him, that goal doesnt happen.
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Postby canaan on Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:22 pm

yeltzen wrote:
magnum wrote:I completely agree with this. The PP suffered from not having Gonchar on the first unit. Gonchar provides that one time shot and Whitney does absolutely NOTHING from the point position on the PP. I hate being the "shoot the da*n puck guy" but I must've screamed that to Whitney on the PP a handful of times last night.

I'm not much of a "SHOOOOOOT" guy, either, but come on. How many times can a guy feed you a one-timer pass before you decide to take advantage of it?


lets face it, you both are "shoot the puck'ers" ...first step to recovery is admitting to the problem.
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Postby pfim on Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:54 pm

DelPen wrote:I wonder if the 3rd period was a tryout for Ouellet to see if he can actually skate with good players. If it was he faailed rather miserably. When Petro comes back Ouellet is the first to go.


He already had that tryout last year. Same results.

Until they can get a better scorer in that spot, Armstrong is doing fine.

Whitney wouldn't be shooting the puck if he took Recchi's spot on the PP.
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