Grading Game 73

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Grading Game 73

Postby Mad City Mike on Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:45 am

After a brief hiatus due to vacation, your favorite column is back.

The overriding theme in this one was Penguin fatigue.

OFFENSE: D. Only one even-strength goal and very few quality chances. Lundqvist could have played this one in a rocking chair. The fatigue played a role, as the Pens played a very conservative, non-skating game. They had beaten the Devils that way last week, but didn’t have enough gas in the tank to get to the finish line in this one. There was little forecheck most of the night due to the conservative style. The two albatroi (thanks, Jerez) are just killing Crosby on the top line. He had several beautiful setup plays where the albatroi were unable to finish. Recchi in particular needs to be separated from all good players immediately. He looks like he might have scored his last goal as a Penguin, as nothing is even coming close to going in. On the Pens’ lone goal, what a beauty of a pass from Malkin to Christensen, then a nice finish by Ouellet. Unfortunately, it was the only positive of the evening.

DEFENSE: F. The defensive play was brutal, harking back to days of yore (like the last two seasons). The Rangers basically had their way in the Pens’ end. Again, when you’re playing your fifth game in seven nights, it’s understandable, though. It was only appropriate that Scuderi put the last one by Thibault, as the d-men were getting abused all night long. They also had extreme difficulty clearing the puck at times. On many occasions, they had what looked to be an easy clear and muffed it, allowing the Rangers to keep the pressure on. I guess the more fatigued you are, the more your suckitude shines through. I am not excluding the forwards from this mess, either. Sid blew his coverage on the first goal by letting Betts skate untouched toward the net.

POWER PLAY: C-. They had the one tremendous PP where they kept it ion the entire two minutes and did everything but score. But the rest of the power plays were totally unmemorable. I noticed they tried Roberts on the top unit for a bit, but that didn’t seem to help anything. For the most part, they again just didn’t have the jump to get to loose pucks, meaning the Rangers got them and cleared most of the time.

PENATLY KILL: A. They killed all five chances, and kept the Rangers at bay most of the time. I don’t recall that they gave up too many great chances while down a man, and those they did, Thibault stopped.

GOALTENDING: A. Thibault was 34 seconds and one Scuderi own shot away from stealing a point that the other 19 guys had done nothing to earn. He was spectacular. It was one of the best Penguin goaltending performances of the year. He was just making great save after great save, as his mates kept abandoning him. He gave them a chance in this one, and his mates not only failed to take advantage, but even shot the puck past him for the winning Ranger goal. On a night when the team was tired, he gave them everything you could ask for and then some. For him to not have been the number one star is a travesty, as he was clearly the best player on the ice for either team. Since his poor performance in Carolina, he has really turned things around. For the first time since he came to the Pens, I now feel at least somewhat confident with him in net. Those first impressions he made last year were hard to erase, but he has done that.

OVERALL: C. Considering the fatigue, I thought they gave it all they had. But they had very little. I had thought going into this brutal stretch of 5 in 7, all against playoff or contending teams, that if they got 5 points I’d be happy. They got 8. I’m ecstatic. Could have been 9 but for a fluky lucky Ranger goal, but that’s the way it goes. They didn’t really deserve the point, so it didn’t hurt that much to lose it.

Others…

GOLLUM OF THE GAME: Sean Avery. The league’s biggest piece of crap strikes again. He just freight-trained Thibault, then kept punching him while on top of him. And he only got two minutes. I sincerely hope the last game between these teams means nothing to the Pens, because they need to take a run at Lundqvist to even the score. And do it with the same intent to injure as Avery had. Or, as a second option, they need to spear him Avery an, um, sensitive area such that Elisha will want nothing to do with him. It does occur to me that Sean Avery is probably related to this guy. They are equally low-life members of society.

GOLLUM OF THE GAME II: Ryan Hollweg. No, not because he did anything heinous, but just because he’s even uglier than Gollum.

DON BLIND MASSENHOVEN: F. Can someone please explain to me what the heck he was doing on that winning goal? He didn’t point that it was in. He didn’t wave it off. He looked at the goal judge. Then he skates out front looking totally clueless. He apparently did not blow the whistle despite the fact he had obviously lost sight of the puck. It was buffoonery at its finest. Now, I’m not arguing the call. It was obviously a goal. But I just had no idea what he was doing.

MARK RECCHI: F. Get him away from Sid already, please. The guy couldn’t put the puck in the ocean from the beach. He either fires it 20 feet wide or right into the goalie. Can you imagine how many points Sid would have if he had actual NHL-caliber linemates?

GARY ROBERTS: A. He always gets an A just because I love this guy. I guess I am the official Gary Robert apologist now. He can take an elbowing call every game and I won’t get upset. He can do no wrong in my eyes (oh, wait, he did have that one horrible clearing pass that got stolen; even I can’t ignore that).

COLD MEDICATION: F. I took it after the game and my memory is a bit foggy this morning, so please forgive any inaccuracies in this writeup.
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I have to admit

Postby Andrew on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:10 am

I appreciate the good solid check every so often, but all in all I am not that impressed with Gary Roberts. He often seemed a step behind last night. I guess they were all tired though.
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Postby freq019 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:22 am

welcome back
I agree t-bo looked good and everyone else looked tired. I don't blame scuderi entirely for the last goal because he was just trying to block the pass out to the slot, he did it probably too well. The boys were tired and they were bound to lose one. The sky is not falling like some posters would have you believe in other threads. If the same tired team comes out thursday then we do have a problem but losing to a desperate team is not the end of the world.

I'd give Ruutu maybe a B for crushing Avery once early, that was nice.
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Re: I have to admit

Postby ams on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:25 am

Andrew wrote:I appreciate the good solid check every so often, but all in all I am not that impressed with Gary Roberts. He often seemed a step behind last night. I guess they were all tired though.


Last night, Gary was pretty pedestrian, but if you've been unimpressed overall, we're watching different players.
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Postby penny lane on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:33 am

I'm just hearing today that Jocelyn took a puck off of his throat and
it was looking iffy about him starting. Good job by him, but those saves
had minds of their own. :)

Tinkering with lineups when winning not done BUT adding in
a R Petrovincky may have stirred the juices.

I hope they all have a nice relaxing day in NYC...enjoy
central park. See the real Statue of Liberty...no rowdiness,
no throwing washers.

All night heard about Jaromir competing the entire game; funny
how I've come to accept this as a given for Sidney no matter
what game it is.
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Postby LdubsRoot23 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:33 am

My problem with the refs last night was when Geno skated around the D multiple times and had them beat but gets put in a headlock and taken down and nothing gets called...this is what the NEW nhl was supposed to stop. I'm so tired of the clutching and grabbing because a player doesn't have the skating ability to stay with a player.
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What bothers me

Postby Andrew on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:33 am

The first couple games I did notice him lay out at least one vicious check per game. That's especially nice to see someone do in a Pens uniform.

Other than that, what does he do? He's not horrible by any means. I am just not impressed (yet, that could change).
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Postby ams on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:40 am

Roberts is pretty good at holding the puck in the zone and getting dirty on the boards and behind the nets. His physical play also tends to both disrupt the other team's offense and give the Pens players a little more room. And those big hits haven't stopped...he's still good for one a game.

The guy isn't getting points, but it seems by all accounts that the Pens are very happy to have him, and impressed with his contribution.
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Postby penny lane on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:55 am

ams wrote:Roberts is pretty good at holding the puck in the zone and getting dirty on the boards and behind the nets. His physical play also tends to both disrupt the other team's offense and give the Pens players a little more room. And those big hits haven't stopped...he's still good for one a game.

The guy isn't getting points, but it seems by all accounts that the Pens are very happy to have him, and impressed with his contribution.


I think Gary Roberts gets away with at least 1 call each game.
All good but some of those shots even sunday were boderline late.
His reputation and name helps in this.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:55 am

Tade wrote:You are missing 1 thing...Big George...F!..where was he after Tblow got run by Avery? In fact I havent seen him mix it up...but of course I missed all of last weeks games. This was the perfect setup for him to throw the gloves down or at least to attempt to initiate a fight.


I doubt he played much after that since it was a close game and Therrien didn't want to risk a penalty. You have to pick your spots. That's why I hope the next game is meaningless to us, so we can take free shots at Avery and Lundqvist.
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Postby bh on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:16 am

LdubsRoot23 wrote:My problem with the refs last night was when Geno skated around the D multiple times and had them beat but gets put in a headlock and taken down and nothing gets called...this is what the NEW nhl was supposed to stop. I'm so tired of the clutching and grabbing because a player doesn't have the skating ability to stay with a player.


I've noticed that this "new" NHL is slowly slipping back into its old ways as well. There was so much stick work and grabbing going on from both sides and nothing was called. If it's a penalty CALL IT!!! I hate this "let them play mentality". I also hate even up calls. It seemed like there were a couple of those last night as well. It just seems the last couple games there is a lot less open ice out these cause of all the obstruction beingthrown around out there.
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Postby Dickie Dunn on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:24 am

penny lane wrote:Tinkering with lineups when winning not done BUT adding in a R Petrovincky may have stirred the juices.


You actually just brought up a heck of a point. I understand Therrien's philosophy of not wanting to change a winning lineup, but when you're playing 5 games in 7 days, and in the second game of back to back games where they looked tired as hell if the first, you gotta rest some players. The Pens have 4 healthy scratches every night, and even though Petro, Thor, Ekman, and Kiwi might be downgrades over the guys who play on a regular basis, when the regular guys are exhausted they are most definitely upgrades. When you have depth you need to use it. A stretch of 5 games in 7 days is the time to use it. Not using it is only going to make the month of March that much more difficult.

So, in that respect, I give Therrien an "F" for not using his depth wisely.
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Postby Jimmy66 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:32 am

Mad City Mike wrote:
Tade wrote:You are missing 1 thing...Big George...F!..where was he after Tblow got run by Avery? In fact I havent seen him mix it up...but of course I missed all of last weeks games. This was the perfect setup for him to throw the gloves down or at least to attempt to initiate a fight.


I doubt he played much after that since it was a close game and Therrien didn't want to risk a penalty. You have to pick your spots. That's why I hope the next game is meaningless to us, so we can take free shots at Avery and Lundqvist.


I agree, I hope the last game they play against them means nothing and george knocks avery right out... along with about six of his teeth.
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Postby DelPen on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:43 am

Dickie Dunn wrote:
penny lane wrote:Tinkering with lineups when winning not done BUT adding in a R Petrovincky may have stirred the juices.


You actually just brought up a heck of a point. I understand Therrien's philosophy of not wanting to change a winning lineup, but when you're playing 5 games in 7 days, and in the second game of back to back games where they looked tired as hell if the first, you gotta rest some players. The Pens have 4 healthy scratches every night, and even though Petro, Thor, Ekman, and Kiwi might be downgrades over the guys who play on a regular basis, when the regular guys are exhausted they are most definitely upgrades. When you have depth you need to use it. A stretch of 5 games in 7 days is the time to use it. Not using it is only going to make the month of March that much more difficult.

So, in that respect, I give Therrien an "F" for not using his depth wisely.


I feel the same way. Rex has been very slow getting to the puck and getting to where he needs to be to the point where he never gets a dump in then gets on Sid's way every shift. He needed a break and last night it wouldn't hurt to dress anyone of the three forwards and give Ruutu a promotion for a game to see what he can do. I don't think any one else on the team could ahve played worse than Recchi last night.

On defense, I really don't know what Therrien could have done differently. Gonchar, Whitney and Orpik all played well again. Melichar has been a turn over machine the last few games, he should have sat and Kiwi played.

And people need to lay off Scuds. He's been the 4th best defensemen the last few games and is playing well. he made the right play in trying to stop that puck from going across the crease, it was unfortunate but those things happen. The same people who are looking to crucify him would be doing the same if he let the puck go and then it would go to a wide open Rag for a back door goal.

I just think MT needs to take better advantage of having a deep bench. None of the scratches are bad players. We need to be healthy and rested when we face Ottawa and guys getting an extra 2 days rest here and there will help a lot to go deep in the playoffs.
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Postby penny lane on Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:46 am

Jimmy66 wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:
Tade wrote:You are missing 1 thing...Big George...F!..where was he after Tblow got run by Avery? In fact I havent seen him mix it up...but of course I missed all of last weeks games. This was the perfect setup for him to throw the gloves down or at least to attempt to initiate a fight.


I doubt he played much after that since it was a close game and Therrien didn't want to risk a penalty. You have to pick your spots. That's why I hope the next game is meaningless to us, so we can take free shots at Avery and Lundqvist.


I agree, I hope the last game they play against them means nothing and george knocks avery right out... along with about six of his teeth.


I would have liked to have seen Georges Or Jarkko getting their
chances to give a few taps to Alfredsson...Sunday night he just
doesn't get hit. He's shifty, not what I would call fast.
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Postby tluke53 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 12:39 pm

Welcome back MCM,

* Pretty much agree with everything. They worked hard, but the legs just were not there. Which is to be expected given the schedule.

* As others have pointed out there was a lot of clutch and grab last night. Too bad the NHL doesn't know how to control its own product. I guess they don't want to be successful.

* Agree with others on antoher point. It's time to give players a rest. Our playoff spot is pretty secure. Why not limit Rechii's ice time for a few games or flat out let him sit and get a rest. He is ICE cold right now and will not be missed on the first line. EC is HOT right now and should get more playing time.
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Postby mattyj5571 on Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:13 pm

completely agree, especially about recchi.
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Postby spi on Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:10 pm

I am hopeful that Rex will find the touch again and get hot for the playoffs. I think once he gets one he will get a bunch when we need them most. He is slumping in a big way but it is a matter of time until he rights the ship

The thing I am liking right now is that despite the pens big offensive weapons being a bit cold or at least not hot, they are still winning. IF and that is still a big IF, they can all get hot to start the playoffs, this could be a magical run to the promised land.

Malkin had a rough night, just seemed like nothing was going his way and he was getting a bit uneasy. He gave the puck up a lot but i am willing to give him a freebie because he will have far less games like the this one than the ones where he is dominating. His assist was a thing of beauty.
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Postby stefanh on Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:43 pm

Mark Recchi has been playing on Crosbys (arguably the best passer in the games) line for this whole season.

He´s scored 9 goals at even strenght!

That´s nothing short of pathetic...

Malone have at least scored 14 at even strenght.
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Re: Grading Game 73

Postby Daniel on Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:55 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:DON BLIND MASSENHOVEN: F. Can someone please explain to me what the heck he was doing on that winning goal? He didn’t point that it was in. He didn’t wave it off. He looked at the goal judge. Then he skates out front looking totally clueless. He apparently did not blow the whistle despite the fact he had obviously lost sight of the puck. It was buffoonery at its finest. Now, I’m not arguing the call. It was obviously a goal. But I just had no idea what he was doing.


I was watching the game with him running around like a fool and thought, what if TBo moved his pad out to drag the puck over the line. It was like Massenhoven waited until he lifted his pad to see that the puck went in. If TBo moves the pad, then lifts it with the puck in the crease, Blind Van Massenhoven probably would have called no goal.

The replay couldn't have reversed it regardless of what he called.
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