Grading Playoff Game 1

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Grading Playoff Game 1

Postby Mad City Mike on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:20 am

Must remember, it’s all gravy now…

OFFENSE: F. “Patheticâ€￾ would be the best way to describe the offensive showing, especially in the first two periods. They generated nothing. No transition, no forecheck, no nothing. It was as if they were skating in quicksand. Talk about a team not ready for playoff intensity, this was it. It was an embarrassing display of ineptitude. They couldn’t even begin to move the puck up the ice, as Ottawa was all over them. In fact, in the first period, it was an accomplishment any time they iced the puck, because at least it was out of their own end for a few seconds. On those rare occasions when they were able to move up the ice, they either bobbled the puck or gave it away. You could have put Mike Tyson in goal for Ottawa and the result would have been the same. The Pens did score on their one decent chance, which gives them some hope for the series that Emery is beatable. Every single forward was to blame for this debacle, but some who were particularly brutal will be identified later.

DEFENSE: F. There were no Penguins on the ice for either of the first period goals. All I saw in the defensive zone was five Ottawa players and a chicken with its head cut off. When your only defensemen that seemed to play half decent were Joe Melichar and Rob Scuderi, you know you are in huge trouble. Aside from the one play where he saved a goal, Eaton was once again awful. Whitney took a beating on the scoresheet and on the ice. But the forwards were every bit as much to blame. On the first couple goals, everyone was everywhere, yet nowhere. It was a total breakdown of discipline. When you do things in a negative way that you haven’t done all year, it is called a choke. One game does not make a choking team, but if these gross errors in coverage are not corrected, then the label shall be firmly affixed. You had way too many guys who were not ready for the intensity and who tried to do everything all on their own. It was a total embarrassment.

POWER PLAY: C-. Yeah, they notched two power play goals after it was 6-1. That’s impressive. But when the game was on the line until the midway point, the power play was absolutely awful. Gonchar was in playoff form, giving the puck away and refusing to take a hit. They couldn’t get the puck in the zone, and when they did, they just threw it aimlessly around, generating nary a scoring chance on three first period power plays. The sad thing is, had they been able to convert one of them, they might have been in a game they had no business being in. But they frittered them away. Ottawa was just all over them. Once the game was over and the Sens relaxed a bit, the Pens managed to pot two power play goals, bringing the grade up slightly.

PENALTY KILL: B. Yes, they gave up two power play goals. But they get the high grade because they were able top kill off two long 5-on-3s. They did a tremendous job on those, allowing some good chances, but basically holding Ottawa at bay. Very impressive! Staal used his long reach on several occasions to block passes. The first kill was a team effort of all the usual PK guys. Eaton, Staal, and Armstrong deserve all the credit on the second one. They did allow the crippling third goal on the PK, so the grade dips because of that. As for the fourth goal, they simply got overwhelmed at the start of the period, once again coming out not ready to play.

GOALTENDING: B-. Fleury was under siege all night long, from the drop of the puck. The first goal was a bit suspect, as he tried to cover a puck he shouldn’t have and got out of position. He, like the rest of the team, was simply not ready for the speed of the game. But he was absolutely brilliant after that, before wilting a bit in the third. He was the only thing between them and about an 8-1 deficit after two. He just made big save after big save when his team collapsed in front of him. Right now, he is the least of their worries. You simply cannot allow any team, but especially an Ottawa, that many great chances and expect to win. But Fleury gave them that chance, had the offense been even a semblance of an NHL attack. Fleury should have gone out and whacked a few Penguins upside the head with his stick to show his appreciation for their “efforts.â€￾

OVERALL: F. What more needs be said? They stunk up the joint, and Ottawa played a great game. The game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might have indicated.

Others…

DISCIPLINE: F. Wow. Just, wow. This is what happens when you lack discipline. You take stupid penalties (Ouellet and Talbot, I’m looking straight at you). You run around in your own end. You do none of the things that got you here. You get spanked by a superior team.

STRIPED BUFFOON HUH? CALL OF THE GAME: It absolutely has to be the non-call of the dive by Gutless Diving Choking Dog Alfredsson late in the second. You could see this was a dive from outer space, but neither buffoon managed to see it. That is called making sure the veteran player and team is protected. By not making the proper call here, they totally changed the outcome of the game. The Sens got a power play goal on the Penguin penalty, and the game was over. Who knows what happens if either buffoon has the guts to make the right call there? Honorable mention goes to the non-call when an Ottawa player clearly charged on Whitney, hitting him while he was a foot off the ground, and the blatant slew foot on Whitney that slightly injured him. In both cases, there was a buffoon, likely Devorski, standing right there and conveniently ignoring it.

WAR GARAGE: F. It’s not the war room, it’s the war garage. For them to disallow the Crosby goal early in the third was simply despicable. You wonder how conspiracy theories start? This is how. A bunch of liquored-up Canadians sitting in the war garage steal an obvious goal from the American team in favor of the lone remaining eastern Canadian team. How else can you explain this call? It defied all logic. They disallowed it under the guise that you can’t guide the puck into the net. Okay, then how does any goal where they determine it to be a non-kicking motion count? It’s not kicked, but you are still guiding it into the net. That would apply under rule 78.5, which states, “when the puck has been directed, batted, or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick.â€￾ If someone can explain to me how what Crosby did was different than directing, but not kicking, the puck in with your skate, I am all ears. It is quite obvious to me that they simply make things up as they go to ensure the outcome they want. Since the game was over at that point, if I was the coach, I would have pulled my team off the ice in protest.

MARK RECCHI: F. Who really cares that he had two assists once the outcome was decided? He was absolutely awful the first two periods. He gave the puck away virtually every time he had it on his stick or it was passed to him. His whole line was the chicken with its head cut off on the first goal. That’s your veteran leadership for you.

GOLLUM OF THE GAME: Gutless Diving Choking Dog Daniel Alfredsson. He was, quite simply put, out there trying to injure people last night. How did you like that little play where he kicked the skate out from under Crosby? Somebody needs to injure this little ass clown. Of course, that would enhance Ottawa’s chances, so maybe that’s a bad idea. Worst captain in the league. That’s some example to set, you little piece of crap.

MICHEL THERRIEN: F. When you get outcoached by Bryan Murray in the playoffs, well, what more can be said? He did not have this team ready to play last night, and had no answers to the Ottawa onslaught. Why Alfredsson was not taken out after his gutless play on Sid reflects poorly on every player and coach.

EVGENI MALKIN: F. He’s back on the milk cartons this morning. I am beginning to have serious doubts about his ability to rise to the occasion. It’s only one game, but contrast his invisibility to Jagr’s play as a rookie in the playoffs.

SIDNEY CROSBY: B. In contrast, he scored two goals in his first playoff game. I must say, though, he was also invisible much of the night.
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Postby DelPen on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:23 am

Malkin's absence is due to his linemates. He's out there by himslef essentially and is forcing the issue too much. He still has shown good movement on the PP when he has other people to play with. He needs Staal and MO in a bad way right now.
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Postby Pitts on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:27 am

I'd have to give this team a pass on this first game. They were so obviously nervous to start the game, there could have been no other outcome. By the third, they began to settle down and get a little more physical. I think they will settle down more in Saturday's game now that the jitters should be worked out. The FSN feed showed Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts taklking intently to each other at the end of the bench late in the third. I think those two will help get these kids back on track.

One thing is for sure, they need to come out hitting like gang busters on Saturday and someone, anyone needs to lay Alfredsson out hard.
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Postby canaan on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:28 am

-I thought Malkin was one of the stronger skaters last night. (not that thats saying much).

-I lol'ed at war garage, not gonna lie.

-I found myself saying some unchristian things about dany heatley last night...what a frustrating evening...ugh.
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Postby KG on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:29 am

There was no way that I thought the refs were going to call Alfredsoon for diving who is team captain and at home after he was tripped by Eric Christensen (rest of the league says who). Just not realistic, not right per se, just not realistic.

The whole team effort wasn't there. I was watching the game and saying, I know we haven't been in the playoffs in a while, but this isn't playoff hockey. Where's the hitting, skating, mucking, grinding....This team better wake up. Hopefully they will learn from it, and be better prepared Saturday.
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Postby kirk on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:30 am

DelPen wrote:Malkin's absence is due to his linemates. He's out there by himslef essentially and is forcing the issue too much. He still has shown good movement on the PP when he has other people to play with. He needs Staal and MO in a bad way right now.


Thank God I wasn't the only one to notice that. As noted, I think Therrien hates Malkin more than he hates Ekman. It's the only way to explain why, after Malone and Rex did their tag team number on Sid, Therrien then would put those two anchors with Malkin.

I stopped bothering to notice how much time Malkin spent buried deep in the defensive zone at even strength. I did notice Rex playing with his characteristically flawed defensive acumen, almost as if he had his head on a swivel and was reacting to everything a moment too late. But, as bad as Rex was, there's no excuse-- none-- for the Malone floating routine. For a guy who hustles on the PK, I have no idea why he forgets hockey is a two way game on an even strength scoring line.

Malkin played a responsible game. With Malone and Rex on his wings, he may as well have been killing with his defensive partners a 5 on 3 penalty against all game. He tried to jump into transition but didn't force things, especially where that would have meant a neutral zone turnover with the two achors backchecking. His dumps were good. And, despite the beating and obvious frustration that had to come from playing with those two, he kept coming all night.

MCM, you are so far off the reservation on this one.
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Postby beersnvalverde on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:33 am

So Crosby is invisible most of the night but he gets a B? Malkin had a great game, I don't recall him making many mistakes throughout the night yet he "earns" your F. Not including the fact that it was because of him that the Penguins put the best shift of the game together in the 2nd period. Nice to see your grading on a college curve.
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Postby penny lane on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:34 am

Geno needs Roberts on his line more Sid.
Then geno needs to get into a weight with Roberts.

composure and discipline.

there would be nothing wrong with having Evgeni and Sid
playing together for a shift or 2.

we're kidding ourselves~ without this power play producing
it will be a struggle.
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Postby sanscrit on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:36 am

Pitts wrote:I'd have to give this team a pass on this first game. They were so obviously nervous to start the game, there could have been no other outcome. By the third, they began to settle down and get a little more physical. I think they will settle down more in Saturday's game now that the jitters should be worked out. The FSN feed showed Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts taklking intently to each other at the end of the bench late in the third. I think those two will help get these kids back on track.

One thing is for sure, they need to come out hitting like gang busters on Saturday and someone, anyone needs to lay Alfredsson out hard.


the starting lineup saturday needs to be talbot, army, ruutu. set the tone early by running everyone in sight. if they thrown neil out there to even it up, counter with laraque, and have him pummel the holy living hell out of neil. even if he turtles (which he likely will), keep throwing.

make it known that this is how its going to be, and that the pens aren't afraid of the sens powerplay.
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Postby kirk on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:41 am

I'm going to do a second reply with this one and note that the Pens were so thoroughly outworked along the boards and outskated that Therrien should juggle his forward lines. Why Therrien, a coach who juggles during the regular season when his team is in a defensive struggle but isn't scoring, did nothing last night, not even a swap of Staal and Malone or a shift of Sid with Malkin, is beyond me. One more thing: I'm going to preface this by noting that Ouellet had a fair game last night. He worked hard and was infinitely better than Malone or Recchi. And, I'm going to preface this by noting that swapping 4th line RW's is like taking a band aid, albeit a good band aid, to a knife wound.

4th Line: Ruutu-EC-Petro . . . too obvious

3rd Line: Malone-Talbot-Army . . . call this Malone's last ES chance, as his PK work isn't good enough to justify a spot for a scoring line floater who fails to get a message

1st Line: Roberts-Sid-Ekman . . . Ekman plays a decent defensive game, but Sid needed help yesterday in transition and a little more skill on his wing, which means it's Ekman or Malkin

2nd Line: Staal-Malkin-Rex . . . in an ideal world, I would scratch Rex and dress Ouellet, but that won't happen; still, Malkin needs help defensively, which explains Staal

Regarding Ouellet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he didn't distinguish himself like Malone or Recchi, and I mean that wholeheartedly as a compliment. That said, this idea of "searching for balance" shouldn't just apply to offense. It should apply to the speed and defensive play on any line:

Ekman probably adds a little speed and offensive skill to line 1 without detracting offensively. Ouellet wouldn't fit there. He'd fit on line 2, but MT never will scratch Rex. And, I'm hoping Malkin and Staal would give you two responsible defensive forwards and, with Staal, might allow Malkin to realize the experience of leading a rush. MO could go on line three, but Talbot flanked by Malone and MO would scare me from a speed and defensive position. Swapping Malone and Army for Staal and MO is a wash at worst. I don't think the fourth line needs explanation.

In the end, then, it's not a question as to how I think MO played. I wish Malone or Recchi played with 1/3 of the heart. At the same time, my call to scratch MO, which won't happen for Ekman, reflects that the Pens need greater balance, in terms of speed and line defensive play, to skate a little better with Ottawa.
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Postby kirk on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:42 am

beersnvalverde wrote:So Crosby is invisible most of the night but he gets a B? Malkin had a great game, I don't recall him making many mistakes throughout the night yet he "earns" your F. Not including the fact that it was because of him that the Penguins put the best shift of the game together in the 2nd period. Nice to see your grading on a college curve.


That would be the Don Cherry curve. :lol:
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Re: Grading Playoff Game 1

Postby Admin on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:56 am

Mad City Mike wrote:They disallowed it under the guise that you can’t guide the puck into the net. Okay, then how does any goal where they determine it to be a non-kicking motion count? It’s not kicked, but you are still guiding it into the net. That would apply under rule 78.5, which states, “when the puck has been directed, batted, or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick.â€￾ If someone can explain to me how what Crosby did was different than directing, but not kicking, the puck in with your skate, I am all ears.

I'll take a shot at this.

Part of Rule 78.4 - Scoring a Goal
"If an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his own skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed.

So the league makes a distinction between a deflection and direction.

The video goal judge must had thought that Crosby directed the puck in with his leg. The one angle did seem to show Crosby's leg sweeping underneath him which put the puck in but I think it was a bad overruling.
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Postby Mad City Mike on Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:59 am

kirk wrote:I'm going to do a second reply with this one and note that the Pens were so thoroughly outworked along the boards and outskated that Therrien should juggle his forward lines. Why Therrien, a coach who juggles during the regular season when his team is in a defensive struggle but isn't scoring, did nothing last night, not even a swap of Staal and Malone or a shift of Sid with Malkin, is beyond me. One more thing: I'm going to preface this by noting that Ouellet had a fair game last night. He worked hard and was infinitely better than Malone or Recchi. And, I'm going to preface this by noting that swapping 4th line RW's is like taking a band aid, albeit a good band aid, to a knife wound.

4th Line: Ruutu-EC-Petro . . . too obvious

3rd Line: Malone-Talbot-Army . . . call this Malone's last ES chance, as his PK work isn't good enough to justify a spot for a scoring line floater who fails to get a message

1st Line: Roberts-Sid-Ekman . . . Ekman plays a decent defensive game, but Sid needed help yesterday in transition and a little more skill on his wing, which means it's Ekman or Malkin

2nd Line: Staal-Malkin-Rex . . . in an ideal world, I would scratch Rex and dress Ouellet, but that won't happen; still, Malkin needs help defensively, which explains Staal

Regarding Ouellet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he didn't distinguish himself like Malone or Recchi, and I mean that wholeheartedly as a compliment. That said, this idea of "searching for balance" shouldn't just apply to offense. It should apply to the speed and defensive play on any line:

Ekman probably adds a little speed and offensive skill to line 1 without detracting offensively. Ouellet wouldn't fit there. He'd fit on line 2, but MT never will scratch Rex. And, I'm hoping Malkin and Staal would give you two responsible defensive forwards and, with Staal, might allow Malkin to realize the experience of leading a rush. MO could go on line three, but Talbot flanked by Malone and MO would scare me from a speed and defensive position. Swapping Malone and Army for Staal and MO is a wash at worst. I don't think the fourth line needs explanation.

In the end, then, it's not a question as to how I think MO played. I wish Malone or Recchi played with 1/3 of the heart. At the same time, my call to scratch MO, which won't happen for Ekman, reflects that the Pens need greater balance, in terms of speed and line defensive play, to skate a little better with Ottawa.


I have absolutely no problem benching Recchi. He is THAT awful right now. He can't handle the puck and, as you note, his defensive play is non-existent. I would much rather see Ouellet out there than him. So I would go with your lines except substitute Ouellet for Recchi. If Malone still sucks in the next game, then scratch him in favor of Recchi. I definitely agree Petro should be in for BGL, as BGL can't skate in this pace of a game.
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Postby King Sid the Great 87 on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:00 am

kirk wrote:I'm going to do a second reply with this one and note that the Pens were so thoroughly outworked along the boards and outskated that Therrien should juggle his forward lines. Why Therrien, a coach who juggles during the regular season when his team is in a defensive struggle but isn't scoring, did nothing last night, not even a swap of Staal and Malone or a shift of Sid with Malkin, is beyond me. One more thing: I'm going to preface this by noting that Ouellet had a fair game last night. He worked hard and was infinitely better than Malone or Recchi. And, I'm going to preface this by noting that swapping 4th line RW's is like taking a band aid, albeit a good band aid, to a knife wound.

4th Line: Ruutu-EC-Petro . . . too obvious

3rd Line: Malone-Talbot-Army . . . call this Malone's last ES chance, as his PK work isn't good enough to justify a spot for a scoring line floater who fails to get a message

1st Line: Roberts-Sid-Ekman . . . Ekman plays a decent defensive game, but Sid needed help yesterday in transition and a little more skill on his wing, which means it's Ekman or Malkin

2nd Line: Staal-Malkin-Rex . . . in an ideal world, I would scratch Rex and dress Ouellet, but that won't happen; still, Malkin needs help defensively, which explains Staal

Regarding Ouellet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he didn't distinguish himself like Malone or Recchi, and I mean that wholeheartedly as a compliment. That said, this idea of "searching for balance" shouldn't just apply to offense. It should apply to the speed and defensive play on any line:

Ekman probably adds a little speed and offensive skill to line 1 without detracting offensively. Ouellet wouldn't fit there. He'd fit on line 2, but MT never will scratch Rex. And, I'm hoping Malkin and Staal would give you two responsible defensive forwards and, with Staal, might allow Malkin to realize the experience of leading a rush. MO could go on line three, but Talbot flanked by Malone and MO would scare me from a speed and defensive position. Swapping Malone and Army for Staal and MO is a wash at worst. I don't think the fourth line needs explanation.

In the end, then, it's not a question as to how I think MO played. I wish Malone or Recchi played with 1/3 of the heart. At the same time, my call to scratch MO, which won't happen for Ekman, reflects that the Pens need greater balance, in terms of speed and line defensive play, to skate a little better with Ottawa.


The Penguins get crushed physically WITH Laraque in the lineup, and you want to take him out and replace him with Ekman?

Tell me another...
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Re: Grading Playoff Game 1

Postby Mad City Mike on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:02 am

Admin wrote:I'll take a shot at this.

Part of Rule 78.4 - Scoring a Goal
"If an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his own skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed.

So the league makes a distinction between a deflection and direction.

The video goal judge must had thought that Crosby directed the puck in with his leg. The one angle did seem to show Crosby's leg sweeping underneath him which put the puck in but I think it was a bad overruling.


There is absolutely no way this should have been overruled, for just the reason you say. There was no clear view one way or the other of what happened to the puck after Emery stopped it and it went toward Crosby. It might have been under his knee and guided in; it might not have been. No angle showed it conclusively. As I said, they just make things up as they go.
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Postby Admin on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:02 am

kirk wrote:I'm going to do a second reply... snip... One more thing: I'm going to preface this by noting... snip... And, I'm going to preface this by noting

"After a video review this second reply has been overturned. kirk clearly prefaced a preface which violates Board Rule 78.4. No GOAL."
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Postby kirk on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:05 am

Admin wrote:
kirk wrote:I'm going to do a second reply... snip... One more thing: I'm going to preface this by noting... snip... And, I'm going to preface this by noting

"After a video review this second reply has been overturned. kirk clearly prefaced a preface which violates Board Rule 78.4. No GOAL."


:lol:

I do have a sense of humor.
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Re: Grading Playoff Game 1

Postby shawnlesky on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:09 am

Admin wrote:The video goal judge must had thought that Crosby directed the puck in with his leg. The one angle did seem to show Crosby's leg sweeping underneath him which put the puck in but I think it was a bad overruling.


The only downfall to this is that it was a blowout and the goal doesn't seem to matter, but it's my opinion that the Pens were in that game had that goal stood up.

Toronto must have been exercising their frustration for not having made the playoffs themselves, which New Jersey allowed to be a roller coaster for them.

Disallowing that goal was shady at the very least.

All that being said, it's gasoline on the fire. The snubbed goal; the attempted humiliation; the cheap shots; the dirty play; the smug coach. I think Ottawa did everything to lose the series by their actions in the third period of their win in game one.
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Postby eastonpensfan on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:12 am

How do you get 2 Fs, a C, a B-, and a B, but have an overall F?

I'm glad my school didn't adopt MCM's grading system.
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Postby kirk on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:15 am

Mad City Mike wrote:
I have absolutely no problem benching Recchi. He is THAT awful right now. He can't handle the puck and, as you note, his defensive play is non-existent. I would much rather see Ouellet out there than him. So I would go with your lines except substitute Ouellet for Recchi. If Malone still sucks in the next game, then scratch him in favor of Recchi. I definitely agree Petro should be in for BGL, as BGL can't skate in this pace of a game.


I don't disagree with that. But, if Recchi and Malone were that awful last night, then how does Malkin earn a "F" from you for playing to a -1 with those two career anchors.
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Postby pfim on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:15 am

STRIPED BUFFOON HUH? CALL OF THE GAME: It absolutely has to be the non-call of the dive by Gutless Diving Choking Dog Alfredsson late in the second. You could see this was a dive from outer space, but neither buffoon managed to see it. That is called making sure the veteran player and team is protected. By not making the proper call here, they totally changed the outcome of the game. The Sens got a power play goal on the Penguin penalty, and the game was over. Who knows what happens if either buffoon has the guts to make the right call there?


The horrible thing was right after that, Malkin took a faceoff and was tripped, no call.

Again, I didn't really think the refs were that bad. Although, I guess you have to blow out your knee to score a goal to impress the War Garage.
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Postby kirk on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:17 am

pfim wrote:
STRIPED BUFFOON HUH? CALL OF THE GAME: It absolutely has to be the non-call of the dive by Gutless Diving Choking Dog Alfredsson late in the second. You could see this was a dive from outer space, but neither buffoon managed to see it. That is called making sure the veteran player and team is protected. By not making the proper call here, they totally changed the outcome of the game. The Sens got a power play goal on the Penguin penalty, and the game was over. Who knows what happens if either buffoon has the guts to make the right call there?


The horrible thing was right after that, Malkin took a faceoff and was tripped, no call.

Again, I didn't really think the refs were that bad. Although, I guess you have to blow out your knee to score a goal to impress the War Garage.


Great call on the Malkin trip. That said, last night was a game where it didn't matter how bad the refs were. For example, for his one slash last night, MO could have been called for a few hooks.
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Postby pfim on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:22 am

kirk wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:
I have absolutely no problem benching Recchi. He is THAT awful right now. He can't handle the puck and, as you note, his defensive play is non-existent. I would much rather see Ouellet out there than him. So I would go with your lines except substitute Ouellet for Recchi. If Malone still sucks in the next game, then scratch him in favor of Recchi. I definitely agree Petro should be in for BGL, as BGL can't skate in this pace of a game.


I don't disagree with that. But, if Recchi and Malone were that awful last night, then how does Malkin earn a "F" from you for playing to a -1 with those two career anchors.


Malkin was better than Crosby for most of the game, at least the portions of the game when the Pens still had a chance. Of course, that isn't saying much and I'm not really bashing Crosby or Malkin, they just weren't ready like the rest of them.
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Postby shawnlesky on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:23 am

kirk wrote:I'm going to do a second reply with this one and note that the Pens were so thoroughly outworked along the boards and outskated that Therrien should juggle his forward lines. Why Therrien, a coach who juggles during the regular season when his team is in a defensive struggle but isn't scoring, did nothing last night, not even a swap of Staal and Malone or a shift of Sid with Malkin, is beyond me. One more thing: I'm going to preface this by noting that Ouellet had a fair game last night. He worked hard and was infinitely better than Malone or Recchi. And, I'm going to preface this by noting that swapping 4th line RW's is like taking a band aid, albeit a good band aid, to a knife wound.

4th Line: Ruutu-EC-Petro . . . too obvious

3rd Line: Malone-Talbot-Army . . . call this Malone's last ES chance, as his PK work isn't good enough to justify a spot for a scoring line floater who fails to get a message

1st Line: Roberts-Sid-Ekman . . . Ekman plays a decent defensive game, but Sid needed help yesterday in transition and a little more skill on his wing, which means it's Ekman or Malkin

2nd Line: Staal-Malkin-Rex . . . in an ideal world, I would scratch Rex and dress Ouellet, but that won't happen; still, Malkin needs help defensively, which explains Staal

Regarding Ouellet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he didn't distinguish himself like Malone or Recchi, and I mean that wholeheartedly as a compliment. That said, this idea of "searching for balance" shouldn't just apply to offense. It should apply to the speed and defensive play on any line:

Ekman probably adds a little speed and offensive skill to line 1 without detracting offensively. Ouellet wouldn't fit there. He'd fit on line 2, but MT never will scratch Rex. And, I'm hoping Malkin and Staal would give you two responsible defensive forwards and, with Staal, might allow Malkin to realize the experience of leading a rush. MO could go on line three, but Talbot flanked by Malone and MO would scare me from a speed and defensive position. Swapping Malone and Army for Staal and MO is a wash at worst. I don't think the fourth line needs explanation.

In the end, then, it's not a question as to how I think MO played. I wish Malone or Recchi played with 1/3 of the heart. At the same time, my call to scratch MO, which won't happen for Ekman, reflects that the Pens need greater balance, in terms of speed and line defensive play, to skate a little better with Ottawa.


I have to take the credibility of your wishful lines into consideration instantly when you leave out Ouellet, who's been the best offensive player in arguably the last three Penguins games, yesterday included.

His speed, always regarded as his shortcoming looked like he could have beat 4/5 of the team in an end to end race. He puts the puck on net and gets to the right places. He's arguably worked harder than any member of the offense and you've left him out of the plans because. . . ?

Maybe it's just a tradition you don't want to break.

Anyhow, I'm not against putting Ekman in the lineup; I just think he's best to replace Recchi, but since we can probably agree "ain't gonna' happen", Nils probably wears a tie next game again.

The keys in my opinion are as follows:

1. Separate Crosby and Roberts
2. Join Malkin and Staal
3. Reduce, if not eliminate, Recchi's current role

To a lesser extent, whether for Rutuu or Laraque, find a way to get Petrovicky back in the lineup. In fact, I'd wholeheartedly consider benching BOTH of them Saturday away (for Petrovicky and Thorburn) and playing BOTH at home on Sunday where you can better dictate matchups.

Crosby needs somebody that can give him separation. He can't have Volchenkov dogging him without support all night. As long as Roberts is on his line, he's going to be hampered. I'd go so far as to put Ouellet with Crosby and either Christensen (my first choice) or Armstrong.
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Postby shawnlesky on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:24 am

pfim wrote:
kirk wrote:
Mad City Mike wrote:
I have absolutely no problem benching Recchi. He is THAT awful right now. He can't handle the puck and, as you note, his defensive play is non-existent. I would much rather see Ouellet out there than him. So I would go with your lines except substitute Ouellet for Recchi. If Malone still sucks in the next game, then scratch him in favor of Recchi. I definitely agree Petro should be in for BGL, as BGL can't skate in this pace of a game.


I don't disagree with that. But, if Recchi and Malone were that awful last night, then how does Malkin earn a "F" from you for playing to a -1 with those two career anchors.


Malkin was better than Crosby for most of the game, at least the portions of the game when the Pens still had a chance. Of course, that isn't saying much and I'm not really bashing Crosby or Malkin, they just weren't ready like the rest of them.


Suffice it to say any player blanketed like Crosby was would have been as innefective with the same linemates.
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