Grading Game 75

Forum for Pittsburgh Penguins-related messages.

Moderators: Three Stars, dagny, pfim, netwolf

Grading Game 75

Postby Mad City Mike on Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:40 am

It’s better to be lucky than good. It’s best to be both.

OFFEENSE: A. What a forechecking job they did! It seemed like they spent most of the game in the Thrashers’ end, and they generated numerous chances off an aggressive forecheck. The second and third lines were particularly impressive, bottling up Atlanta time after time. The forecheck in the last two minutes was astounding. They really never let the Thrashers out of their own end until it was too late. It was a thing of beauty.
The transition game wasn’t nearly as effective, but when you forecheck like that, who cares? The first goal was a direct result of forcing a turnover by Atlanta, then crashing the net. They just kept whacking away, which was about the only way they were going to get one by Lehtonen on this day. Okay, the only way except asking for the intervention of the hockey gods. The Staal goal was one of the oddest you will ever see. I had to watch it about three times to figure out what happened. I have no idea how it got past Lehtonen, who was otherwise brilliant. I will say they earned it with their hard work, but still. Totally lucky is the only way to describe it. The new line combinations seemed to click fairly well, except for the top line which was pretty much invisible.

DEFENSE: B. This would have been an A, but for the brain cramp by Ryan Whitney. What in God’s name was he thinking on that horrendous giveaway that gave Atlanta its only goal? Other than that, though, they pretty much shut down a high-powered Thrasher attack. Atlanta got very little in transition themselves, a testament to the Pens’ team defense. Thibault gave up some rebounds, but the defense was generally there to clear them. I thought Melichar in particular had a good game. But he, like all his Scudichareddine mates, was pretty much invisible. And that’s a good thing. Neither Hossa nor Kovalchuk had a good game, so credit goes to the guys that shut them down.

POWER PLAY: F. Another woeful effort. It’s become a broken record. The power play is a disorganized, disinterested mess. One reason is the coach’s absolute refusal to play even a second of power play time without old man Recchi out there. While the struggles are not entirely his fault, he is awful out there and has no business seeing even a second of power play time. How he can end up with more power play time than Crosby simply boggles the mind. But, like I said, he wasn’t the only reason for the struggles. Crosby was so terrible on one PP that he got yanked after 20 seconds. Christensen was totally invisible, except for the cross-ice pass he failed to bury. They are not raising their work rate on the PP, either, allowing teams to outnumber them and take the puck. Maybe it’s time to put all grinders out there.

PENALTY KILL: A. They allowed the Thrashers virtually nothing. It was another yeoman effort from the four main forwards, who spent a good amount of time in Atlanta’s zone. They blocked a good number of shots. They kept Atlanta to the outside most of the afternoon. I don’t recall Kovalchuk doing a thing on the PP, which is a testament to the kill. Other than a glitch here and there, the PK has been great the last month.

GOALTENDING: A. First, let me say this. There is NO goaltending controversy in Pittsburgh, Kelly Hrudey be damned. If you didn’t hear what he said last night, he stated that Thibault might well get the playoff nod. To quote Colonel Sherman T. Potter: “Horse Hockey!â€￾ Fleury is the guy. Period. But right now, at this very moment, Thibault is outplaying him. He is giving them a chance to win every time he starts. He was great again in this one. He is very positionally sound right now, as a large number of shots are just hitting him. He is very confident, and looking bigger in the net than at any time in his Penguin tenure. As much as anyone, he won them this game today. Kudos to him for overcoming all the adversity of the lat several years to once again become a reliable goalie.

OVERALL: B+. Were it not for the fluky goal, this game likely goes to a shootout. But they played well enough to win, and only a few unbelievable saves by Lehtonen kept them from running away with this one. It was a much better effort than the previous two, start to finish. The even strength play was much, much better, and won them the game. They had lots of energy. They were solid in their own end. If they could only get the power play straightened out…

Others…

SIDNEY CROSBY: F. This might have been his worst game of the year. For the rare time, he was almost invisible out there. I have to wonder if he’s hiding an injury. Remember last weekend when he took those two shots off the foot in the same game? Does he have a broken foot? He sure hasn’t been the same player since then. Remember last year the same thing happened in the games after he hurt his foot, then he rebounded. Let’s hope for the same this year. But he sure isn’t playing well right now, for whatever reason.

EVGENI MALKIN: A. I ripped him after the last game, but not this time. He was all over the ice. As Steigy said, he went to the front of the net, which is where you score goals this time of year (unless you’re Jordan Staal). Malkin had a great game, and the line I was most worried about got the first goal with hard work.

MICHEL OUELLET: A. Great game by him, too. He got the goal, but more important, he was actually a force on the forecheck. He had a couple other scoring chances, too. Is he coming out of his trance? I loved how Steigy, who obviously reads Penguins online forums was trying to rebut all the criticisms of Ouellet during one sequence on the broadcast.

GARY ROBERTS: A. Once again, he was a force out there. I am hoping having him and Malkin together will give Geno more room. And he didn’t even have a penalty.

BOB ERREY: A. Finally, finally, somebody has the guts to say what many have been whispering for weeks. Bibsy said out loud that the standards of enforcement have changed significantly lately, cough, cough. I’m sure he will be hearing from the NHL front office goons for that remark. But we all know it’s true, even if idiots like Walkom and Campbell swear up and down with their usual lies that nothing has changed. We’re not stupid, you know. Thank you, Bibsy, for finally saying something about it.

GOLLUM OF THE GAME: Eric Boulton. He might as well have been Michael Boulton. What a gutless puke he is. He “challengesâ€￾ Laraque before skating meekly away, and then goes and picks on Orpik instead. Talk about a total gutless loser. He was only trying to goad BGL into a penalty because he knew he’d get his hideously ugly face improved by a BGL punch. But to back down, then go cheap shot Orpik speaks volumes about the type of cheap crap player he is. Oh, and thank God he has no talent, because he had two or three open shots and he was almost able to hit the back boards with one of them.

GEORGES LARAQUE: A. Unlike the aforementioned Boulton, BGL can actually play the game and had a great game yesterday. He was a monster on the forecheck, and he hit everything that moved.
Mad City Mike
AHL All-Star
AHL All-Star
 
Posts: 5,860
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 11:14 am
Location: De Forest, WI

Postby DelPen on Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:12 am

I don't know how the NHL can fine an employee of FSN.

I think the team plays better in fron of Thibault because they know they have to. It's funny though, they play loose in front of Fleury to win 5-4 but play reserved in front of Thibault to win 2-1. End result is the same, both play well enough to usually win and each have had some big saves when we need them and have really cut down on bad and untimely goals for the most part.

I also think MT should stay with these lines for the remainder of the season. Each line has skill and toughness and we need that in the playoffs. Let them all click and then come 1st round they will all know how to play well with each other. I also liked moving BGL in place of Rex a few shifts.
DelPen
NHL Third Liner
NHL Third Liner
 
Posts: 43,963
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:27 am
Location: Lake Wylie, SC

Postby helmespc on Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:18 am

POWER PLAY: F. Another woeful effort. It’s become a broken record. The power play is a disorganized, disinterested mess. One reason is the coach’s absolute refusal to play even a second of power play time without old man Recchi out there. While the struggles are not entirely his fault, he is awful out there and has no business seeing even a second of power play time. How he can end up with more power play time than Crosby simply boggles the mind. But, like I said, he wasn’t the only reason for the struggles. Crosby was so terrible on one PP that he got yanked after 20 seconds. Christensen was totally invisible, except for the cross-ice pass he failed to bury. They are not raising their work rate on the PP, either, allowing teams to outnumber them and take the puck. Maybe it’s time to put all grinders out there.


A lot of PP struggles yesterday were because they didn't get the puck in 55's hands.
helmespc
ECHL'er
ECHL'er
 
Posts: 1,482
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:48 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Postby relantel on Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:20 am

Thanks for the grades, MCM. I have not yet watched the telecast, only got to my seats at the 7 min to go mark in the 1st, (took almost 3 hrs to get to the Igloo from Altoona - 22 was closed between Blairsville and New Alexandria for pothole repair - had to detour through Derry, Latrobe and Greensburg, and then still got caught up in Squirrel Hill backup), so those first 13 minutes are a blur. We were still in the car when Ouellet scored.

I was disappointed Crsoby was held off the scoresheet, and at times it seemed as if he was in disarray, and other times he seemed to have it together. At times, I wondered if he had forgotten how to shoot the puck, and later saw he was credited with 1 shot.

PP - F agreed there. What a waste of the gift penalty to start the 3rd period. I don't remember if it was that chance or another one, where Lehtonen made some great saves in the first 15-20 seconds (where the Pens looked good), but then the Pens had a lackluster rest of the two minutes, often failing to gain the zone, or, even worse, being outnumbered or outworked on the boards. And the groans when Malkin and Gonchar were playing keepaway from everyone else, and failing to shoot...

I was happy this one did not go to OT - the fluky goal by Staal are the types of goals you need when up against a hot goaltender. That game could have very well been a 7-1 contest.
relantel
NHL Fourth Liner
NHL Fourth Liner
 
Posts: 17,800
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 11:24 am
Location: The card table

Postby King Sid the Great 87 on Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:20 am

DelPen wrote:I think the team plays better in fron of Thibault because they know they have to. It's funny though, they play loose in front of Fleury to win 5-4 but play reserved in front of Thibault to win 2-1. End result is the same, both play well enough to usually win and each have had some big saves when we need them and have really cut down on bad and untimely goals for the most part.


Good one. :lol:
King Sid the Great 87
AHL'er
AHL'er
 
Posts: 3,031
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:41 am

Postby relantel on Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:22 am

helmespc wrote:
POWER PLAY: F. Another woeful effort. It’s become a broken record. The power play is a disorganized, disinterested mess. One reason is the coach’s absolute refusal to play even a second of power play time without old man Recchi out there. While the struggles are not entirely his fault, he is awful out there and has no business seeing even a second of power play time. How he can end up with more power play time than Crosby simply boggles the mind. But, like I said, he wasn’t the only reason for the struggles. Crosby was so terrible on one PP that he got yanked after 20 seconds. Christensen was totally invisible, except for the cross-ice pass he failed to bury. They are not raising their work rate on the PP, either, allowing teams to outnumber them and take the puck. Maybe it’s time to put all grinders out there.


A lot of PP struggles yesterday were because they didn't get the puck in 55's hands.


55 had chances - I think it was the first PP in the 3rd that 55 did nothing but pass back and forth with Malkin. Their good chances were great saves by Lehtonen.
relantel
NHL Fourth Liner
NHL Fourth Liner
 
Posts: 17,800
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2006 11:24 am
Location: The card table

Postby tluke53 on Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:22 am

> BGL was great yesterday. He was physical and got in the face of a few Thrashers. He did everything I wish he would have done the previous game against the Islanders.

> Ouellet was very solid all game long. I swear I saw him finish several checks. He is creeping up with goals to. Its gonna be hard to trash him if he plays like this.

> Did anyone see the Malone-Staal-BGL line. I think they played together for one shift when Colby went off the ice. They kept Atlanta pinned in almost thier whole shift and got a good scoring chance. Do you know how freakin big that line is? I wouldn't mind seeing that again.

> The bad Whitney play looked like a pass to Malone. I was at the game and did not see a replay, but Malone made no effort to accept the pass. Everyone was shouting at Whitney, but I think Malone could have made more effort to accept the pass.
tluke53
AHL'er
AHL'er
 
Posts: 2,590
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:50 pm
Location: All over the place

Re: Grading Game 75

Postby kirk on Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:08 pm

Mad City Mike wrote:It’s better to be lucky than good. It’s best to be both.

OFFEENSE: A. What a forechecking job they did! It seemed like they spent most of the game in the Thrashers’ end, and they generated numerous chances off an aggressive forecheck. The second and third lines were particularly impressive, bottling up Atlanta time after time. The forecheck in the last two minutes was astounding. They really never let the Thrashers out of their own end until it was too late. It was a thing of beauty.
The transition game wasn’t nearly as effective, but when you forecheck like that, who cares? The first goal was a direct result of forcing a turnover by Atlanta, then crashing the net. They just kept whacking away, which was about the only way they were going to get one by Lehtonen on this day. Okay, the only way except asking for the intervention of the hockey gods. The Staal goal was one of the oddest you will ever see. I had to watch it about three times to figure out what happened. I have no idea how it got past Lehtonen, who was otherwise brilliant. I will say they earned it with their hard work, but still. Totally lucky is the only way to describe it. The new line combinations seemed to click fairly well, except for the top line which was pretty much invisible.

DEFENSE: B. This would have been an A, but for the brain cramp by Ryan Whitney. What in God’s name was he thinking on that horrendous giveaway that gave Atlanta its only goal? Other than that, though, they pretty much shut down a high-powered Thrasher attack. Atlanta got very little in transition themselves, a testament to the Pens’ team defense. Thibault gave up some rebounds, but the defense was generally there to clear them. I thought Melichar in particular had a good game. But he, like all his Scudichareddine mates, was pretty much invisible. And that’s a good thing. Neither Hossa nor Kovalchuk had a good game, so credit goes to the guys that shut them down.

POWER PLAY: F. Another woeful effort. It’s become a broken record. The power play is a disorganized, disinterested mess. One reason is the coach’s absolute refusal to play even a second of power play time without old man Recchi out there. While the struggles are not entirely his fault, he is awful out there and has no business seeing even a second of power play time. How he can end up with more power play time than Crosby simply boggles the mind. But, like I said, he wasn’t the only reason for the struggles. Crosby was so terrible on one PP that he got yanked after 20 seconds. Christensen was totally invisible, except for the cross-ice pass he failed to bury. They are not raising their work rate on the PP, either, allowing teams to outnumber them and take the puck. Maybe it’s time to put all grinders out there.

PENALTY KILL: A. They allowed the Thrashers virtually nothing. It was another yeoman effort from the four main forwards, who spent a good amount of time in Atlanta’s zone. They blocked a good number of shots. They kept Atlanta to the outside most of the afternoon. I don’t recall Kovalchuk doing a thing on the PP, which is a testament to the kill. Other than a glitch here and there, the PK has been great the last month.

GOALTENDING: A. First, let me say this. There is NO goaltending controversy in Pittsburgh, Kelly Hrudey be damned. If you didn’t hear what he said last night, he stated that Thibault might well get the playoff nod. To quote Colonel Sherman T. Potter: “Horse Hockey!â€￾ Fleury is the guy. Period. But right now, at this very moment, Thibault is outplaying him. He is giving them a chance to win every time he starts. He was great again in this one. He is very positionally sound right now, as a large number of shots are just hitting him. He is very confident, and looking bigger in the net than at any time in his Penguin tenure. As much as anyone, he won them this game today. Kudos to him for overcoming all the adversity of the lat several years to once again become a reliable goalie.

OVERALL: B+. Were it not for the fluky goal, this game likely goes to a shootout. But they played well enough to win, and only a few unbelievable saves by Lehtonen kept them from running away with this one. It was a much better effort than the previous two, start to finish. The even strength play was much, much better, and won them the game. They had lots of energy. They were solid in their own end. If they could only get the power play straightened out…

Others…

SIDNEY CROSBY: F. This might have been his worst game of the year. For the rare time, he was almost invisible out there. I have to wonder if he’s hiding an injury. Remember last weekend when he took those two shots off the foot in the same game? Does he have a broken foot? He sure hasn’t been the same player since then. Remember last year the same thing happened in the games after he hurt his foot, then he rebounded. Let’s hope for the same this year. But he sure isn’t playing well right now, for whatever reason.

EVGENI MALKIN: A. I ripped him after the last game, but not this time. He was all over the ice. As Steigy said, he went to the front of the net, which is where you score goals this time of year (unless you’re Jordan Staal). Malkin had a great game, and the line I was most worried about got the first goal with hard work.

MICHEL OUELLET: A. Great game by him, too. He got the goal, but more important, he was actually a force on the forecheck. He had a couple other scoring chances, too. Is he coming out of his trance? I loved how Steigy, who obviously reads Penguins online forums was trying to rebut all the criticisms of Ouellet during one sequence on the broadcast.

GARY ROBERTS: A. Once again, he was a force out there. I am hoping having him and Malkin together will give Geno more room. And he didn’t even have a penalty.

BOB ERREY: A. Finally, finally, somebody has the guts to say what many have been whispering for weeks. Bibsy said out loud that the standards of enforcement have changed significantly lately, cough, cough. I’m sure he will be hearing from the NHL front office goons for that remark. But we all know it’s true, even if idiots like Walkom and Campbell swear up and down with their usual lies that nothing has changed. We’re not stupid, you know. Thank you, Bibsy, for finally saying something about it.

GOLLUM OF THE GAME: Eric Boulton. He might as well have been Michael Boulton. What a gutless puke he is. He “challengesâ€￾ Laraque before skating meekly away, and then goes and picks on Orpik instead. Talk about a total gutless loser. He was only trying to goad BGL into a penalty because he knew he’d get his hideously ugly face improved by a BGL punch. But to back down, then go cheap shot Orpik speaks volumes about the type of cheap crap player he is. Oh, and thank God he has no talent, because he had two or three open shots and he was almost able to hit the back boards with one of them.

GEORGES LARAQUE: A. Unlike the aforementioned Boulton, BGL can actually play the game and had a great game yesterday. He was a monster on the forecheck, and he hit everything that moved.


MCM, a couple of questions:

1. Is it true that some PP's for other teams around the league include multiple sets predicated upon player movement and creating options for skilled players so that they may exploit the odd man advantage? It seems to me that the Pens PP is two perimeter sets without significant player movement and predicated upon getting Gonch a shot from the point or the backdoor play to Whitney.

2. Did Recchi look to be a different player when he wasn't out there with Sid? Recchi had hop, Recchi backchecked, and Recchi, while not the player he once was, made the two way contribution one hopes to see. I had a feeling Malone-Staal-Rex would work. What worked every better, and threw me for a loop in a positive way, was that MT in the second period alternated Rex and BGL between Ruutu-Talbot and Malone-Staal. The puck possession clinic Malone-Staal-BGL put on yesterday was the sickest I have seen.

3. Did Roberts do some kind of Canadian mind meld with Ouellet yesterday? I'm not talking about the points. And, the defense was still fair. But, I have never seen Ouellet work along the boards that successfully or consistently in a game. If I saw anything close to that every game, then I'd be thrilled. I still worry about Roberts-Malkin-Ouellet defensively, but, if they can sustain that kind of offensive zone puck possession, then they might be able to disguise individual players' defensive deficiencies.
kirk
ECHL'er
ECHL'er
 
Posts: 2,000
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 10:06 pm


Return to Pittsburgh Penguins

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 24 guests


e-mail