Grading Game74

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Grading Game74

Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:34 am

OFFENSE: D. I was stunned to see they had 36 shots on goal. Most of them had to be low-percentage perimeter shots, because they sure didn’t seem to put much pressure on most of the night. They had very few shots from true scoring areas, and when they did, DiPietro stoned them. He was great in this one. The Pens’ best offensive line by far was Talbot-Roberts-Armstrong, and they ended up scoring the only goal the Pens could muster. The rest of the offense was ineffective or downright awful. It appeared as though Therrien mixed the lines somewhat, keeping one simple rule in mind. Mark Recchi and Sidney Crosby are not to be separated. But no matter what combos he threw out there, they generated squat. It was a pathetic display against a weak defensive team. This is sad to say, but their two best right wingers right now are the supposed third and fourth line guys. The top two lines essentially have black holes there.

DEFENSE: D. A pretty poor effort here, too. Both even strength goals they allowed were right in the slot (where the Pens never get shots from). Hard to blame the goalie when you let them fire at will from 20 feet right in front. Both were on transition. The first resulted when the Isles criss-crossed and the Pens were clueless how to react to it. Armstrong went every which way, leaving Gollum wide open in the slot. On the last goal, they just backed in and backed in, allowing Kozlov his nightly goal against the Pens. In fact, all three Isle goals were scored by the same guys who beat them all year. If Blake, Kozlov, and Hunter played like this against every team, the Isles would be unbeatable. The Isle announcers got my hopes up in the first period when they said Melichar had gone off. But, alas, he returned later.

POWER PLAY: F. As in woeful. Nothing says lack of effort like the power play did. They were basically just going through the motions. Gonchar at the point was absolutely pathetic, letting three pucks get by him on what should have been easy keeps. Yeah, I know the ice was bad, but you simply cannot have that happening. Anyway, at some point, the idiot behind the bench is going to remove Recchi from the top unit. Until they have somebody who is a force up front and in front, the PP will struggle. It is obvious they are calling the games differently now, and whereas Recchi could do that job when they called it tight, he simply cannot now. And Therrien has yet to see this. The solution is to replace Recchi with Roberts and Malkin with Staal. Put guys out there who are willing to work.

PENALTY KILL: D. They got scored on once, because of a bad break when Staal’s stick broke. But that didn’t excuse Nasreddine totally vacating his position, then not getting to the puck. This allowed Hunter the wide-open look in front. They spent much of the night running around in their own end and whiffing on clearing attempts. It was not a solid effort.

GOALTENDING: B. Fleury kept them in it in the second period, when the Pens were out for a nice skate in the park. None of the goals was really his fault, although it would have been nice if he had stopped at least one of them. He definitely played much better than in their last trip into this dump. However, he was outplayed by the guy at the other end. Of course, that is beyond his control.

OVERALL: D. For the third straight game, they were badly outplayed most of the night. Unless they rectify this in a hurry, the playoffs will be four and out. The power play is awful, the PK not much better. They are getting schooled at even strength. And the way games are being called, play at even strength will be critical. They are –3 over the last 3 games at ES, and that will not get it done. The PP is also struggling, netting goals in only one of the last five games. If all of the above isn’t enough to tell the coach the offense is broken, I don’t know what is. And this team is simply not good enough defensively to compensate for a lack of offense.

Others…

GOLLUM OF THE GAME: Brendan Witt. That crotch shot on Malkin toward the end ought to be a suspendable offense. That kind of cheap crap has no place in this game. I know the garage league won’t see it that way, which is why the Pens should have taken care of it last night. They should have been doing everything in their power at the end to injure that piece of crap. I would have sent Laraque, Ruutu, and Armstrong out on the PP at the end with the sole intent of avenging that play. If the striped buffoons aren’t going to call the penalties, then how else are you to protect your players? This loser was getting away with a penalty every shift, yet no calls were made most of the night. He is nothing but a low-life hack who can’t play in the new NHL without resorting to cheap crap.

GARAGE LEAGUE: A. They came through with flying colors tonight. They should be proud of themselves. Once again, a key game at the end of the season is tarnished by bad ice. The puck was bouncing all over the place. That’s, what, three times in the last month the Pens have played on a sheet of ice less than 24 hours old. But I guess that’s what the garage league wants. They want everybody to have pulled groins going into the playoffs so that hacks like Witt can be highlighted. Well, be proud, garage league, you are succeeding.

EVGENI MALKIN: F. Sorry, but I want this guy nowhere near anything that’s meaningful right now. As the play has gotten tougher, he is pulling a nice little Houdini, almost as good as the one that got him out of Russia. I never want to see him on a breakaway. Here, the comparison to Mario would be the 40-year-old Mario, not the young one, who was money on breakaways and penalty shots. I think Laraque would have a better chance in a shootout than Malkin, who for some reason thinks his shot is so good that he doesn’t have to make any moves to beat a goalie. Don’t look now, but he might not even win the Calder if Paul Stastny keeps coming. What you do at the end is much more important than what you did at the beginning.

SIDNEY CROSBY: F. The albatroi linemates have got to be wearing on him. Everytime he rushes the puck, it’s basically one on three and he usually gives it away. It is pathetic to watch this line try to operate. They generate nothing at all. But Sid isn’t helping things by trying to take everything on his shoulders. He is trying to do too much to compensate for the missing linemates, and he is looking bad as a result.

JORDAN STAAL: F. Horrible game by him last night. He was totally invisible.

MARK RECCHI: F. Just retire already. Please.

COLBY ARMSTRONG: C. Had the only goal, but was on the ice for every goal against. But he was one of the few who looked willing to play the style made necessary by the striped buffoons.

STRIPED BUFFOONS: F. If anyone can figure out the logic behind the way they called this one, let me know. They seemed to have the old random penalty generator out last night. They would let all kinds of crap go, then whistle something out of the blue. They missed the Witt kick completely. Lest you think I am complaining that they cost the Pens the game, not quite. Overall, the Pens might have gotten the advantage of their buffoonery.

MICHEL THERRIEN: F. Yes, I know it’s hard to make chicken salad out of chicken ****, but that’s his job. His job is to somehow find a combination of wingers that works. A 2-year-old can tell the lines are not working right now, yet he has not seen fit to reconfigure them. How about putting some of the scratched guys back in? Sit guys like Recchi and Ouellet in favor of Petrovicky and Ekman. And as for the power play, well, that was dissected earlier.
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Postby freq019 on Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:55 am

I think its time for Recchi to eat nachos and watch the game from the press box. He just looks tired and I think he could use the rest and we have lots of guys who have been regularly scratched who could fill in for one game. They certainly wouldn't be worse than Recchi would they? Of course I don't know what the "code" is for scratching a possible "HOF'r", but its a team game and if it will help the team then it should be done.

I don't know what to say about Georges Laraque, he had a good game hockey wise but toughness wise it seemed like he was never on the ice when the crap was going on, does that something about his presence or Therriens coaching ability? It seemed like he was rarely on the ice when Witt was on the ice, but I don't think Witt would have obliged him anyway since Huggy Bear Brashear knocked him the blank out not too long ago.

In the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree category, the entire Islander team seemed to play a little dirty last night and I am not surprised that Simon the lumberjack used to play on that team. It seems they must practice elbows to the head and other assorted cheapshots at practice or something. That kind of says something about the coaching staff doesn't it?
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Postby Crush_Me on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:02 am

Hey MCM,

I do appreciate your Post-Game grades, but I have to go ahead and disagree with what you just mentioned about Malkin. Even though he wasn,t all over th eice all night long, I've seen some good plays out of him last night, and I remember a remarkable shift with Crosby and Recchi after the Pens killed a penalty, and he was flying and creating chances. I think you're overcriticizing Malkin, don,t forget he's still a rookie man! I'm sure all the pieces will fall into place for the end of the season and going into the playoffs. its like, after one loss, you have to criticize the whole team and the sky is about to fall on our heads. Just keep in mind this year was supposed to still be a rebuilding year. We,Ve been more than spoiled so far, although we did have to endure horrendous hockey for 5 years ;)

Anyone has the Recchin' ball email? I need to send him a wake up call!
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Postby DelPen on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:09 am

Witt kicked Malkin with less than 5 minutes to go. because of that stupid instigator rule no one could touch him without severe punishment.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:21 am

freq019 wrote:
In the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree category, the entire Islander team seemed to play a little dirty last night and I am not surprised that Simon the lumberjack used to play on that team. It seems they must practice elbows to the head and other assorted cheapshots at practice or something. That kind of says something about the coaching staff doesn't it?


This is how Ted Nolan coaches. He is a goon coach, plain and simple. This is why nobody would hire him, because he coaches cheap, dirty play.
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Postby freq019 on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:26 am

Mad City Mike wrote:
freq019 wrote:
In the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree category, the entire Islander team seemed to play a little dirty last night and I am not surprised that Simon the lumberjack used to play on that team. It seems they must practice elbows to the head and other assorted cheapshots at practice or something. That kind of says something about the coaching staff doesn't it?


This is how Ted Nolan coaches. He is a goon coach, plain and simple. This is why nobody would hire him, because he coaches cheap, dirty play.


After the high shot to Armstrong I really wasn't surprised that Simon was an Islander because it didn't seem out of character any more. Funny enough there was a ref right there, he must have been looking for honeys in the stands or something?

edit: also when Blake took a slapper directly at Ruutu behind his own net, that was a nice touch.
Last edited by freq019 on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:27 am

Crush_Me wrote:Hey MCM,

I do appreciate your Post-Game grades, but I have to go ahead and disagree with what you just mentioned about Malkin. Even though he wasn,t all over th eice all night long, I've seen some good plays out of him last night, and I remember a remarkable shift with Crosby and Recchi after the Pens killed a penalty, and he was flying and creating chances. I think you're overcriticizing Malkin, don,t forget he's still a rookie man! I'm sure all the pieces will fall into place for the end of the season and going into the playoffs. its like, after one loss, you have to criticize the whole team and the sky is about to fall on our heads. Just keep in mind this year was supposed to still be a rebuilding year. We,Ve been more than spoiled so far, although we did have to endure horrendous hockey for 5 years ;)

Anyone has the Recchin' ball email? I need to send him a wake up call!


My criticism of Malkin is that he's supposed to score goals and he's not doing it. he absolutely has to bury either the PS or the breakaway. he didn't, and the game was pretty much over from that point forward.

Like Goalie said in the game thread, when your best players are not your best players and the other team's best players are their best players, you will usually lose. And Malkin hasn't been one of their best players for quite some time now.
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Postby MaddenFollower on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:33 am

I'm starting to get concerned about Malkin, he hasn't been a real factor on the ice in awhile. And could someone please tell Geno that you're allowed to shoot the puck high?
Last edited by MaddenFollower on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Hawkeynut on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:40 am

Mad City Mike wrote:Like Goalie said in the game thread, when your best players are not your best players and the other team's best players are their best players, you will usually lose. And Malkin hasn't been one of their best players for quite some time now.


I have noticed that for quite a few games now... I know this is the time of year when teams tighten up and such but I am not seeing the same cohesiveness in the top lines at all. Our best players are not our best players. The bottom 2 lines are the saving grace for this team in recent games.
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Postby penny lane on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:42 am

If Sid could learn russian in a week, he would. Geno needs more
communication on the ice. Needs to be told and understand what
is expected, what to improvise on ... Geno needs to get back
his swagger...still needs his own line though.
With all the games in March no one probably is allowed to
practice much, but Geno could use the 500 shots in the net drill.
So could others. :P Geno needs to want to be be the best
on his team.

maybe Sid needs to get snarly with his teammates.
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Postby Admin on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:48 am

MaddenFollower wrote:I'm starting to get concerned about Malkin, he hasn't been a real factor in the ice in awhile. And could someone please tell Geno that you're allowed to shoot the puck high?

I think this has been posted before but what's the max number of games Malkin has played in a season before?
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:51 am

Admin wrote:
MaddenFollower wrote:I'm starting to get concerned about Malkin, he hasn't been a real factor in the ice in awhile. And could someone please tell Geno that you're allowed to shoot the puck high?

I think this has been posted before but what's the max number of games Malkin has played in a season before?


He played 57 total last year, plus maybe 6 in the Olympics. So about 63?

He already has 70 this year.
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Postby freq019 on Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:51 am

Admin wrote:
MaddenFollower wrote:I'm starting to get concerned about Malkin, he hasn't been a real factor in the ice in awhile. And could someone please tell Geno that you're allowed to shoot the puck high?

I think this has been posted before but what's the max number of games Malkin has played in a season before?


I thought it was in the 60's but I am not sure
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Postby tluke53 on Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:07 am

> That was a pretty chipy, but exciting game IMO. I certainly agree that it looked more like the old NHL than the new NHL.

> Before Malkin came hear we all heard a lot about him being a physical player. I would like to see more of that from him. However, he is still a rookie so expecting him to be better than other star players who have been in the league for 5 or 10 years is unreasonable.

> Recchi needs to be moved off of the top line and someone else needs a shot. I think Ekman needs to come back into the lineup so that he can be ready for the playoffs.

> Eaton can't get better fast enough. His return will help the defense.

> BGL is not being used correctly. He should have been on the ice with Witt more often.
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Postby kirk on Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:21 am

Mad City Mike wrote:
Admin wrote:
MaddenFollower wrote:I'm starting to get concerned about Malkin, he hasn't been a real factor in the ice in awhile. And could someone please tell Geno that you're allowed to shoot the puck high?

I think this has been posted before but what's the max number of games Malkin has played in a season before?


He played 57 total last year, plus maybe 6 in the Olympics. So about 63?

He already has 70 this year.


Actually, MCM, I think you're a little off. Last year, he played a full RSL season, plus their full playoffs. He played the World Juniors, the World Championships, and the Olympics. Plus, I think he had offseason surgery that prevented him from working out. And, then there was the fun.

I remember listening to an interview with Dave King, his RSL coach, in November. He said then that the only thing he'd really be worried about with Malkin was that he had absolutely no breaks and no chance for offseason conditioning and then was jumping into the rigors of the NHL.

MCM, one more question: I agree about Malkin's shooting. Forget shooting high . . . how about a deke on a PS? That said, if the albatroi are wearing on Sid, don't you think it also applies to Malkin?

As for the genius behind the bench: His cure for the PP last night was to replace Malkin with EC on the first unit. Then, in the second, he made a mistake and put Ruutu out there with Malkin and Staal. Those three had a really good shift. They sustained a cycle. Ruutu, unlike caveman, really helped along the boards and in the cycle. That meant you had Malkin working the middle of the offensive zone instead of being buried along the boards like he usually is when Ouellet is his RW. Do you think there was an encore?

Yet another question: Is there some NHL rule that says Sid and Malkin may not be on the ice together unless Recchi plays the RW?

Finally, a comment: The present and the future of the Pens at forward are Sid, Malkin, and Staal. The goal for any coach should be to find linemates who offer skills that compliment what they do, linemates who allow these three to play to their strengths and to not have to play to their weaknesses. For example, a guy like Army worked with Sid because his defense and board work allowed Sid to work the middle of the ice. Is Army the best player? No, he isn't. Is he "goo player" like Recchi or Ouellet? We all know what the coach thinks here. But, when you put someone on a line with Sid, Malkin, and Staal, you should put out there someone who compliments them (like Ruutu, who complimented Malkin and Staal last night). You don't put "goo player" on the RW and then ask, for example, Malkin to spend his night buried in the defensive zone or along the boards. That's miscasting Malkin to give Ouellet a place as second line RW (and the same goes for Recchi on the first line).
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:01 am

kirk wrote:
Actually, MCM, I think you're a little off. Last year, he played a full RSL season, plus their full playoffs. He played the World Juniors, the World Championships, and the Olympics. Plus, I think he had offseason surgery that prevented him from working out. And, then there was the fun.

I remember listening to an interview with Dave King, his RSL coach, in November. He said then that the only thing he'd really be worried about with Malkin was that he had absolutely no breaks and no chance for offseason conditioning and then was jumping into the rigors of the NHL.

MCM, one more question: I agree about Malkin's shooting. Forget shooting high . . . how about a deke on a PS? That said, if the albatroi are wearing on Sid, don't you think it also applies to Malkin?

As for the genius behind the bench: His cure for the PP last night was to replace Malkin with EC on the first unit. Then, in the second, he made a mistake and put Ruutu out there with Malkin and Staal. Those three had a really good shift. They sustained a cycle. Ruutu, unlike caveman, really helped along the boards and in the cycle. That meant you had Malkin working the middle of the offensive zone instead of being buried along the boards like he usually is when Ouellet is his RW. Do you think there was an encore?

Yet another question: Is there some NHL rule that says Sid and Malkin may not be on the ice together unless Recchi plays the RW?

Finally, a comment: The present and the future of the Pens at forward are Sid, Malkin, and Staal. The goal for any coach should be to find linemates who offer skills that compliment what they do, linemates who allow these three to play to their strengths and to not have to play to their weaknesses. For example, a guy like Army worked with Sid because his defense and board work allowed Sid to work the middle of the ice. Is Army the best player? No, he isn't. Is he "goo player" like Recchi or Ouellet? We all know what the coach thinks here. But, when you put someone on a line with Sid, Malkin, and Staal, you should put out there someone who compliments them (like Ruutu, who complimented Malkin and Staal last night). You don't put "goo player" on the RW and then ask, for example, Malkin to spend his night buried in the defensive zone or along the boards. That's miscasting Malkin to give Ouellet a place as second line RW (and the same goes for Recchi on the first line).


Kirk, you're right on the number of games for Malkin. I forgot about the two other tournaments. My bad.

I suggested these lines the other day. I think it's worth a shot:

Crosby-Roberts-Ekman
Malkin-Staal-Recchi
Talbot-Malone-Armstrong
Christensen-Ruutu-Laraque

Or, if you want to put Sid and Geno together, then use either Armstrong or Laraque with them.
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Postby Southern Fan on Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:07 pm

Justin Timberlake factor- this is the second time in 2 months we have had to follow one of his concerts. The last time was in Tampa.- No practice, day off, bad ice = bad loss (only 2 times in that period we have lost by more than one goal).
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:36 pm

CtyofChamps wrote:So I guess you don't think Recci is the "ageless one" anymore, right? Quite a turn around in about ten games.


He is ageless. Now he just sucks though. It's not for lack of effort.
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Postby positive_pens_fan on Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:48 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:
CtyofChamps wrote:So I guess you don't think Recci is the "ageless one" anymore, right? Quite a turn around in about ten games.


He is ageless. Now he just sucks though. It's not for lack of effort.


Well, your old reference of Recchi being ageless was supposed to be a compliment to how well he was playing, not just effort. Secondly, your recent calls for him to retire just demonstrate the abandon ship attitude that has infiltrated this board over the last few days.

Oh yea, giving Sidney Crosby an F is just absurd.

Colby a C. come on, he was one of the only pens who was playing like it was a playoff game. Trust me, it is OK to give someone a decent grade even if the pens lose.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:05 pm

positive_pens_fan wrote:
Colby a C. come on, he was one of the only pens who was playing like it was a playoff game. Trust me, it is OK to give someone a decent grade even if the pens lose.


Yes he was. But the fact is, he was on for every Islander goal. Kinda hard to grade him above middling when that happens. Look at it this way. he got the highest grade of any Penguin.

As for Sid, by his standards, he had a very bad game.
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ruutuu?

Postby Froggy on Fri Mar 23, 2007 5:42 pm

I feel the need to single out Ruutuu last night. It was mentioned the strong shift he played on the 2nd line, but i thought he was a madman last night. The guy played like it meant something. He's really been throwing the body around lately. I've seen him just steamroll more people in the last few than the rest of the season put together. not that he wasn't a physical player for the first 65 games, or so, but i don't recall him out and out leveling people like he has recently. how much fun would it be to put colby, bobs, and ruutuu out together for a shift late in the game? sure, none of them are centers, but i'd enjoy watching it. Also, i had this thought the other day. We should put scuderi in as a forward on the power play, as he seems very adept at screening the goalie and putting in those tricky deflections. I think he'd have at least 35 goals if he was playing that roll all season. we'd just have to tell him to try to defend. it would be marvelous.
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Postby netwolf on Fri Mar 23, 2007 5:50 pm

I can't read Malkin's mind, but it is very likely that he decided to come in and shoot because the ice was horrible. That seems to escape a lot of posters.

DiPietro was just better than him on the shot. No more, no less.
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Postby mac5155 on Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:13 am

in regards to recchi.. why is ekman sitting still? i mean, last year, call it luck, but he had a darn good year playing with thornton (the same guy thats 6 points behind crosby) why not throw him and armstrong back out with sid? ive heard they are going to put armstrong and someone else (the name escapes me now) on sids line, that creates 2 problems though. it breaks up army-talbot-roberts, and puts recchi somewhere else to take up space. i think he just needs to sit for a game, put ecks in there, and see what happens. id imagine that it would be something a tad bit better then what recchi can do.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:30 am

netwolf wrote:I can't read Malkin's mind, but it is very likely that he decided to come in and shoot because the ice was horrible. That seems to escape a lot of posters.

DiPietro was just better than him on the shot. No more, no less.


True about the ice. But he does that on every friggin penalty shot, breakaway, and shootout attempt. He never even tries to make moves anymore. He did early in the year, but now he seems to totally lack the confidence to try anything.
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