Friday, October 8, 2010

Get To Our Postgame: Flyers 3, Pens 2

By Artistry

Wouldn't you know it, Ron Cook got it right this morning.  Credit where it's due, he looked back on last night's inaugural regular season game against the hated Philadelphia Flyers and launched the quintessential Cook rhetorical query:  "I say so what?"  Indeed.  Everybody was excited for this one, and a bit more invested than usual, but we'll be struggling to remember the details in a few weeks.  Here's what caught GTOG's eye:
  • The Flyers didn't see the need to try to intimidate the Pens, even with Eric Godard out of Pittsburgh's lineup.  It's almost like they believe they can play with us.  That's a little disturbing. 
  • There is simply no answer for Evgeni Malkin if he has the jump he had last night.  Unfortunately, there is an answer for Mike Comrie wrist shots fired directly into the goalie's midsection.  Comrie will get those chances every game - he clearly knows how to get open - and he better start to find the net.
  • The way the puck was bouncing around in the first period last night probably had something to do with opening night jitters, but I suspect the Flyers' Mike Richards was right when he used an expletive to describe the condition of the ice at Consol Arena.  Concessions to Ron Cook and Mike Richards in the same post?  Rough morning.
  • Sure, the new power play was a failure last night.  But I'm not prepared to draw any conclusions.  Let's talk on Sunday.
  • There was a lot of talk in camp from Coach Dan Bylsma about the defenseman jumping into the play.  He wasn't kidding.  I don't remember ever seeing so many different Pens' defenseman being so aggressive offensively.  It didn't translate into goals last night, but it looks like this team is expecting Paul Martin, Kris Letang, and Alex Goligoski to compensate for the expected dearth of goal-scoring from the wings.  Even Z-Mickle was thinking offense. 
  • Kris Letang had the flu.  He gets a pass on the giveaway.  Just this once.
    Chin Up.
  • What a shot by Tyler Kennedy.  As discussed by Finesse in our season preview, he's got to add some versatility to his offensive game if he wants to stick.  He got off to a good start last night.
  • The state of the Penguins wingers was summed up perfectly at the end of the second period, when Chris Kunitz darted up the middle of the neutral zone looking to take a lead pass from Malkin and, without being touched, tripped over his own feet and somersaulted into the Flyers' end.
  • The sequence in the third period where Malkin had his stick held, then moments later stripped a Flyer of the puck and got called for a hook?  Terrible.  How's my over-under bet on Geno's penalty minutes looking?
  • Claude Giroux is a genuine, modern day Penguin killer.  He scares me more than any other Flyer forward, and it's not even close.
  • GTOG Nation, I call upon you now to explain the Alex Ovechkin commercial where Ovechkin's head (sans the rest of his body) appears in some kid's locker and he starts laughing maniacally as the kid looks on, stunned.  Children across North America (or at least children who get Versus) will have nightmares about this.
Time to regroup.  Habs on Saturday.  GTOG.


  1. The underrated play of the game was Crosby's quick realize wrist shot in the first period when he was going one-on-one to the net. It went high, but it was a heavy shot. I think he's added this to his arsenal in the off season. Last year was the slap shot (which looked strong last night). Look for him to score more goals like this.

  2. Hello writers and readers,

    Ok so the only verification I had of Kunitz even being in the lineup last night was an uninspiring shot from the top of the right circle along the boards. But Artistry, you were good enough to offer a reminder of him stumbling over himself. So I guess he was actually on the ice........Ridiculous!

    I have no problem with Ray Shero not finding a winger this offseason because describing the ones that were out there as "slim pickings" would be an egregious understatement. Plus, I agree that the defensemen (minus Martin's one bad mistake) looked much MUCH better. (Zbynek Michalek looks like Rob Scuderi on steroids, with some actual offensive ability)

    However, Philly is a great team even without Pronger. Not only do they have a deep defensive core but they have more than one guy on each of their top two lines who can put the puck in the back of the net. WE DON’T. Now maybe Comrie does stop hitting the goalie’s chest protector, and that helps out our second line because personally I loved the energy he played with last night, the chemistry he seems to have with Geno, and the opportunities that are being created because of it. BUT, until we decide Kunitz is not a first or second line winger (and therefore not worth 3.75 a year) and Dupuis, although a great penalty killer and versatile player has never done anything to suggest he is either, A lot of games are going to look like last night. AHHHHHH I’m still irritated!


    P.S. My solution will be in the next post, because if I feel if I’m going to yell about the problem I might as well present the solution.

  3. Three things sickened me to my stomach last night:
    1. The Ovechkin commercial
    2. The "T.Ocho Show" commercials every 3 seconds
    3. The "T.Ocho Show's" very existence
    4. The Flyers for the first time ever to me, actually looked like a good team.

    That's four things, I guess. I was honestly worried as soon as I realized they weren't playing goon hockey anymore. Laviolette finally got through to them, and that's bad news for the Eastern Conference.

    My bright spots for the night were Tangradi's first period performance, Geno's second line energy and chemistry (even if it came up empty this time), and Paul Martin.

  4. Paul Martin is a huge presence on the blueline. Very fluid skater. He'll be great for us.

    I saw no improvement in Goligoski's defensive-zone performance. I know it's one game, but he is just as easy to forecheck as ever before. He needs to be out there with a stronger defensive presence. Englland was decent last night, but those two together are a vulnerability against good teams.

  5. Solution:

    There will be those who deny it to the hilt, but the fact remains that opposing teams consistently collapse on Crosby successfully because WITHOUT GENO NO ONE ELSE ON HIS LINE IS HARDLY INVOLVED OR NOTICABLE!

    Sid needs two specific regulars on his line 1.) An elite winger that draws some attention away from Sid and can FINISH. 2.) A big physical power forward who will battle in the corners and intimidate the opposition. We already have one in Tangradi (who looked like man above boys along the boards at times) But, its time to get rid of Kunitz, and relegate Dupuis to the role is meant for and that truly is a player that floats through the lineup, and kills penalties.

    Back in June I stated: “If the pens trade…….. for ANYONE it should be for a guy like Bobby Ryan of Anaheim who is an elite centerman away from being a 45 goal a year guy.”……………..“Anaheim might be as willing as anyone to accept Kunitz (they know his value better than probably any other team”

    I also said “If we could get our hands on Bobby Ryan I believe it’s realistic to try and sign him to a deal averaging about 5.5 million over 5 to 6 years”…..Well friends Anaheim took care of the contract for us in offseason and guess what it’s a 5 year deal for an average of 5.1 million. (That’s about a million less than what he is worth in my opinion)

    Now I know Anaheim won’t make that deal straight up, they are going to want complimentary players including a young right winger who can score and/or draft picks so If Tyler Kennedy starts off the year well he could be a key two that deal. Plus his 1 million dollar contract along with Kunitz’ 3.75 million, make the deal financially workable.

    Now I can already hear people screaming HE SCORED THE FIRST GOAL, at our brand new arena nonetheless HE’S “MR KENNEDY, WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING?!........Here me out……please!

    Other than that goal did he make his presence felt to any great degree in last night’s game? Has he displayed the kind of consistency over his entire time with the big club that makes you think he could ever be more than a third line winger? Are his assets i.e. speed, attitude, and hustle things other players can contribute? The realistic answers to those questions in order should be 1.) No 2.) No 3.) Yes.

    That being said, maybe Kunitz and Kennedy still aren’t enough so offer them a draft pick a third rounder possibly. And if they want someone to augment their minor league affiliate look at a guy like Tim Wallace or Chris Connor who will never play at the NHL level here anyway.

    The point is it doesn’t matter if we end up with the fifth most goals in the league if we can’t score when it matters because we don’t have enough scoring depth. Playoff series will begin to imitate last years Montreal series and last night’s game if we don’t have other elite player to play with Sid or Geno.

    Personally I’m tired of watching players fail to convert scoring opportunities or not be there to help out at all because they are simply not fast enough or good enough. Comrie may end up being the steal of the offseason for Malkin, Sid needs another elite finisher on his line!


  6. Randy,

    I agree with everything you said. The T.OCHO show's commercial were comparable to a root canal, and yes it is not a good sign that a deep run into the playoofs last year may have taught Philly not to implode in on themselves.


  7. Dear Dave,

    Thank you for your passion. I do not think you are smoking something because you suggest trading Tyler Kennedy, but I think you may be under the influence of an extremely potent narcotic if you believe Anaheim would consider parting with Bobby Ryan under any practical circumstances, especially because - as you point out - he may outplay his contract. But I can't disagree with your general point: it's really frustrating to watch Sid play with Kunitz and Duper. It would be nice if we could do better. Keep the great comments coming.


  8. Finesse,

    Your right I think Martin wil be a huge presence on the blue line but it simply riled me that his one mistake was so costly.

    Im not ready to jump all over Goligoski yet though. Maybe we need to bring Ulf Samuelsson back to work with him. He simply needs a little more bite to his game, that can be taught.


  9. Artistry,

    First off, no worries, personally I think those that arent willing to part with TK are in love with his perasonality and speed and have convinced themselves he going to go from a 15 goal guy to a 30 goal guy, even though there is no realistic merit for that belief. But hey hope is what drives all of us so I understand it.

    Second, any player who is not a franchise center is tradable if the price is right. My proposal may not meet their requiremnts but if you change the draft pick or add another I don't think I am that far off.

    Crazier deals and I dont even need to reference the mother of all of them back in 1988. How many people thought the oilers would have parted with the Great One.

    You simply need the timing and the price to be right


  10. Dave,

    The biggest problem with your trade proposal, other than the fact that Anaheim would probably never trade Ryan, is that you are significantly overvaluing Anaheim's impression of Kunitz. Remember, this is the same Anaheim that traded Kunitz AND Tangradi for Ryan Whitney. Kunitz is an undrafted player, and although many undrafted players do develop into big time goal scorers, it does suggest that maybe he lacks the pedigree to consistently top 20 goals. Anaheim probably knew that, and that's why they were so willing to part with him.

    If Kunitz has no value to us, I don't know why he would have value to another team. I still like Kunitz as a player - he works hard, uses the body, never complains, etc. He's just miscast as a first line guy, and I think we're all in agreement with that.

  11. I actually understand I may be overvaluing Anahiem's impression of kunitz. However I believe with enough other attractive parts to the deal their imprssion of it can be improved.

    In addtition Anahiem traded for the 56 point elite puck moving version of Whitney in 07-08, because they believed he could get back to that when they made the trade. Kunitz's value to them has to be based off of that, and not what Whitney did after the trade was made.


  12. What are we going to add to the package to make an offer attractive to the Ducks or any other team with a top flight winger? I just don't think we have the assets.

  13. Randy!, I agree that the Ovechkin headless horse-person in a locker commercial was ridculous/disturbing, but I must admit... I'm intrigued by the T.Ocho Show. Child please! I'll be tuning in...

  14. First off, The Ducks are about the ONLY team I would conduct trade talks with because of who they have and also who they don't(potential need)

    1.) I want a young elite winger (25 and under)whose game has not platued and will evolve with Crosby's over time.
    2.) The player has to have a multi year deal already in place because I don't want to be negotiating with him for at least three years(In other words until a guy like Beau Bennett is ready to become that elite scoring winger we hope he can be.)
    3.)The player can not have a cap number over 5.5 million because of who I intend on moving to get him, and the current cap situation.

    Anahiem is one of the few teams with two wingers that meet the above criteria in Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry. In addition they have very few left wingers worth mentioning other than Jason Blake and he is 37. Kunitz put up as many points last year in 50 games(32) as Anaheim's other three left wingers (Belesky, Bodie and Green) combined for.

    So, not only do they know Kunitz and what he brings, but he might be better than most of the left wing options they have. That to me says value, now add Kennedy to the mix and the loss of either Perry or Ryan stings a little less because you added a young right handed forward with some tenacity. Add a draft pick and now you’ve given them something that every team covets.

    Ryan is the better option because he is 23, has the longer term contract and is more of a goal scorer and for him I’m willing to give up a first round pick in next year’s draft along with Kunitz and Kennedy.

    If the writers and readers think I am smoking something or I haven't thought this through then answer the question "where else are we going to find a young elite winger in the next three years if not longer than that?


    1.) If our team has great years the likelihood of drafting one goes down

    2.) Free agency isn't going to provide a young affordable one.

    3.) Kunitz' contract is taking up way too much cap space as it is.

    I understand it's easier to scoff at a suggestion than actually agree that it might possess merit, because criticism is easier than support. I’m simply trying to offer a workable, long term solution to a reoccurring problem.


  15. I just figured the deeply disturbing Ovechkin commercial must be for Halloween. I mean, I can't think of anything that would be scarier than finding his disembodied head cackling in your closet.