Mixed Emotions About Pens
I'm schizo when it comes to the Pens. I think we're gonna win the cup, then I think we're not gonna make it. And back and forth my emotions roll with this team.
I'm not sure if it's the team as a whole or individuals. Flower and Geno are the perfect example of players. For some reason our goalie is the best and worst goalie in the sport rolled up into a ball of confusion. And then sometime Malkin reminds me of Mario when he has the puck on his stick, but when he doesn't he's like every other current Russian player in the NHL and doesn't like contact and often just disappears.
We looked old and slow and soft against the Islanders. Then for a period, we looked fast and fresh against Ottawa for a period. Until Ottawa went all Detroit defensively on us in the 2nd period and the whole team looked defeated in their approach to the game. Maybe we got tired because Ottawa was rolling through 4 lines. I dunno. But we lost our fire.
Then we've got Bylsma messing around with lines. I know Crosby's face got hurt and it forced some changes, but it's a disservice to the hockey world not to have Crosby, Dupuis, and Kunitz playing together. I can't remember 3 guys that seem to share the same brain. It feels like splitting those guys up takes away some of the magic of this season.
Thank goodness for Vokoun this year. But V or Flower, no one seems to want to play much D in front of them. As good as this team is, it sometimes feels like we're lethargic. Maybe we'll turn it around since we finally made it through the first round. But Ottawa worries me. They played us pretty well 5 on 5. And if they ever get an edge, they showed they can go all Red Wing Defense on us and potentially bore us out of this series.
I can't quite pinpoint what it is that makes me yo yo so much on this team. We're so talented. But a little complacent. I wish everyone approached the game like Tyler Kennedy. He plays like his hair's on fire. If we could just put his heart in some of the other players, we'd never lose again.
I thought Orpik's big hit in the 2nd period was gonna get us out of our trance. But it didn't. Although it may have fired up Neal who turned to our enforcer in the 3rd period taking penalty after penalty. Maybe he was feeling some mixed emotions too and felt he need to rile up the troops.
C'Mon guys. We're sooooo talented. Let's not waste it like we did the last 2 seasons. We should be sweeping every series.
Let's go Pens!
I disagree with this. I prefer to have Kunitz with Malkin and Neal (when those 3 played together when Sid was out for an extended period with post-concussion syndrome, Malkin won the MVP with a 50 goal season and Neal developed into an elite scorer with a 40 goal season...Kunitz was the glue that helped get them there). I think trying to play Iginla and Neal with Malkin is awkward, because Neal is used to playing RW with Geno, and Iggy has always played RW in Calgary, so one of them has to adjust to LW in order to keep the Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis line intact. I'd rather put Kunitz on Malkin's LW with Neal at RW, and put Dupuis on Crosby's LW with Iginla at RW. Seems to me that Sid would be more confortable playing with Iggy than Geno would (Golden Goal, anyone?).
Originally Posted by flippy
However, it looks like Bylsma agrees with you instead of me now, since in today's morning skate, Kunitz and Dupuis were with Crosby and Neal and Iginla were with Malkin.
Also, it's interesting that Letang and Adams did not take part in the morning skate, and no one has said why (they both practiced yesterday). If Letang can't go, then Eaton would come back in, and if Adams can't go, they'll probably use Jussi, but I'd dress Beau Bennett and put him on the 3rd line with Sutter and Morrow, moving Cooke into Adams' spot on the 4th line with Vitale and Kennedy.
Losing Letang would be a big loss for us. But Adams not skating is just as concerning because of the way Ottawa uses 4 lines.
Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
Ottawa makes me nervous. They aren't a great team, but they hang around and their 5 on 5 D can lull teams to sleep. I hope we get a big lead early or I'm gonna be on edge with nerves this whole series.
I keep thinking their 4th line is gonna backfire on them and they're gonna end up on the ice against the wrong Pittsburgh line and it's going to be to our advantage. But somehow they make it work and seem to tire us out.
While I do agree Kunitz would make Malkin better, I think Crosby/Dupuis make Kunitz better and that's why I'd prefer him on that line. That said, if we face a team that's controlling Crosby/Kunitz/Dupuis with a good pairing, them I'm all for moving Kunitz over to Malkin's line to try and spark some offense out of that line.
It's a good problem to have and I can see both sides of it. The other thing I'd even consider is moving Dupuis to Malkin's line to add a little more hustle to that line. Heck I'd even consider throwing Kennedy on Malkin's line just to give that line a little more energy. If Ottawa's gonna try and wear us out with 4 lines, we should try to split up our high energy skaters to wear them down.
I started to get worried for the first time yesterday during the 1st period when we had a bunch of great scoring chances but Craig Anderson was standing on his head and we couldn't seem to buy a goal. For a goalie to have a period like that following a double overtime game in which he held us to 1 goal (with all of our stars off the score sheet), I was concerned about the possibility of a single dominant goaltender just stealing a series.
Then of course, the floodgates opened, and all was well in the world.
How about my W-B/S Penguins last night as well, huh? Playing the team who had the best regular season in the AHL by a significant margin (top seeded Providence had 50 wins and 105 points; our 6th seeded Pens had 42 wins and 88 points). Get crushed twice in the first two games in Rhode Island, then come home, switch goalies, and lose an OT heartbreaker in game 3 for a seemingly insurmountable 0-3 playoff hole (only 2 teams in AHL history were able to come back from that). Then come back for 4 straight wins against the best team in the league, including a 5-0 whitewashing at their place in game 7...awesome.
I want to worry about last night's game against the Bruins. It was too back and forth, and we don't have solid enough defense to win those games consistently. Games like that come down to bounces usually....they got 'em and we didn't. Goalie play also matters a lot, and Rask was on fire last night. I think Vokoun was still pretty good though and to hear the commentators talk after the game about how you have to consider Fleury at this point in mind boggling. Fleury would have given up 6 in that game, no doubt in my mind.
I know the Pen's have all of these exciting players and people talk about how they want to play run and gun. Why not just play smart, and let your talents win you games if you have the better players?
I want to worry about that game, but unless they lose the next game, I still think the Pens take this series in 6 if they clean it up.
I'm not too worried after last night. Boston had a lot of luck on their goals and we hit the post more than they scored. Heck, Boston had a hard time getting off shots when they were on the power play.
Originally Posted by D Rock
The one area they owned us was in faceoffs.
In game 1 against Boston, Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis really didn't look too good. I think it's time Bylsma puts the right top 6 together: Dupuis-Crosby-Iginla, Kunitz-Malkin-Neal. Neal and Iginla are both shooters, and they both need to play RW.
Unfortunately, Bylsma tends to channel his inner Bill Cowher and being right starts to become more important than winning.