Tuesday, October 19, 2010

GTOPG: Paul Martin Shoots Threes Left-Handed; Pens Win

By Finesse

Great win for the Pens last night, as they handled the Ottawa Senators by a score of 5-2.  Sergei Gonchar's return was unspectacular, BJ played another "so solid" game, and the Pens finally got a clean regular season win at CEC.  Some thoughts:
  • Paul Steigerwald had one of his best nights as a play-by-play guy.  He was all over the action, made a Mike Lange-esque prediction that Chris Campoli would score, and made an astute observation during the Derek Engelland fight that is worth discussing.  It was Steiggy's contention that one of the best things about the Pens is that there are a lot of young guys on the roster who feel like they have to play to earn/keep their roster spot every night - Tangradi, Letestu, Lovejoy, Engelland.  That has provided the team with a new energy that can really help the Pens keep up the pressure on the nights when Sid and Geno just don't have it.  When Asham and Staal return, I think it is important that the young guys continue to have the opportunity to earn their playing time.  When Asham returns, for example, there is no way that Letestu or Tangradi should sit - they have earned their spots.  Keep a rotation between Talbot, Asham, Dupuis, Godard, Rupp and make those guys feel like young guys who have to earn their spot in the lineup every night.  [Artistry follow-up:  At the same time, I feel like it was one of Bob Errey's worst nights as an "analyst."  Do you ever find yourself thinking, "What the hell is Bob Errey talking about?"  This happens to me roughly once a shift.
  • I've been a little tough on Talbot this year, but I thought he was very good last night.  He was skating better than I've seen him all year, and that's a great sign.
  • Speaking of skating, Kris Letang has to be one of the 5 best skaters in the NHL.  Say what you want about his decision making, and we do, he has the ability to recover on some of his less-egregious turnovers that probably allows him to take more risks than other players.  [Artistry follow-up:  Agreed.  Letang and Goligoski both have elite speed that allows them to freelance on the power play with minimal risk, and we saw that finally pay off last night in the first period.  The Sens defense could not keep up with those guys in the moments leading up to Crosby's goal.  They were also probably still dazzled by the brilliance of The Letestu.]
  • Obviously we could spend more time praising Letestu, but let's give some props to Eric Tangradi as well.  On Letang's goal, the Pens fifth of the game, Tangradi was parked right in front of a shell-shocked Brian Elliot.  Letang's shot was deflected and Elliot probably would have been able to re-adjust were it not for Tangradi being in Holmstrom-City right on the edge of the crease.  Elliot couldn't see the puck and didn't adjust and the goal put the game officially out of reach.  Elliot whined for goaltender interference, which is exactly what you want to see out of opposing goalies when Tangradi is on the ice (just not when Matt Cooke is on the ice).  
  • If you're like me, then you were happy that Dupuis' goal went in without hitting Kunitz because it gave Crosby the second assist.  For any player to compete for a scoring title, they have to get good luck on plays like that and get credit for these "cheap" second assists.  Wayne Gretzky probably has a 100-foot yacht named "Second Assist."
1,276 second assists
  • Later tonight (hopefully) we are going to break down the two most recent Ron Cook columns.  If you are new to the site, then you may not know that when we started this thing, we drafted the "Rules to Writing a Ron Cook Column."  If you ever read the PG, and particularly if you read Ron Cook, then you must compare his columns to our rules.  Trust us.  Also, take a look at some of the other greatest hits on the right sidebar.  Thanks for reading.  GTOG.


  1. It's hard to argue with staying with the hot goaltender.
    -Ron Cook 10/19/10

    It's one thing to criticize a player like that...But it's another thing not to give that player a chance to get back in the lineup to make things right.
    -Ron Cook 10/19/10

    Way to be decisive Ron. Your readers learned that you approve of keeping Brent Johnson in net but want Fleury to also play goalie?? Maybe we put both of them in next for the next game.

    I mean, really?

    The day Ron Cook takes Dan Bylsma "to task" is the day I cancel my PG subscription.

  2. Do we move Letestu to the wing when Staal comes back?

  3. Maybe Letestu can be 3rd line center with Sid on the top unit and Staal on the second line (with Geno as a winger on either the 1st or 2nd line)?

    He could play with Kennedy and Cooke. He seems to have more offensive upside than Talbot, at least for the moment.

  4. I think Steigerwald is a great play by play guy. (Yes Mike Lang is the best but things are what they are)

    But I also think having Bob Errey as a color guy is awesome. Steiggy has always been too analytical and (for lack of a better word) "dorky" to be the color commentator.

    John Madden was a great color guy in the NFL because half the time you were thinking "What the hell is he talking about?" and the other half you laughing because what he just said was soo obvious it added a great laugh to any broadcast.

    There is no doubt Bob Errey has his moments where we as viewers roll our eyes. But, Bob Errey is a Penguin through and through and offers insights into what players are thinking and why they are doing certain things that Lang and Steigerwald can not.

    So I have no problem with some of the John Madden style comments that Errey makes. For example, two games ago when he said “That was a shot/pass because it wasn’t really a shot and it wasn’t really a pass” Because inevitably there is also the analysis where Errey will point out “Did you see the flick of the wrists….Crosby flicked his wrists and got the goalie to bite, and that’s all needed”

    Take my opinion with a grain of salt though as I still think “Airplane” is one of the funniest movies ever made:

    Rumack: You'd better tell the Captain we've got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.
    Elaine Dickinson: A hospital? What is it?
    Rumack: It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.

    Hahahahahaha…..ohhhhhhh its always makes me laugh.


  5. What's your vector, Victor? I don't know Dave, I liked Steiggy as the color guy much more. Calm is OK. The action is exciting enough for me. I don't need a former professional athlete with questionable literacy shouting at me all the time (love you, Bobby, no offense).

  6. I'll side with Dave on this...I like Bob Errey. Sometimes his style and delivery is odd (creepy?) but I think substantively he makes many astute observations. He also will criticize Penguins' players, although he tempers it a little (as is to be expected by home announcers).

  7. I wish I could agree with you artistry but I can't. I think the NHL still has way too much pushing and shoving along the boards and players chopping halhazardly at the puck and other player's sticks.

    While I love open ice hits, hard checks, and fighting that allows the sport to police itself, there is too much catch being played between opposing teams defensemen at times, and the clutching and grabbing has only gotten worse as players have become more adept at doing it. (You can thank Mike Backcock for that)

    The bottom line of hockey or or any other sport for that matter is to put elite skill on display and more importantly score points. Unfortunately all to often there is too little of both.

    So passion and humor from a guy like Bob Errey is sometimes a respite from the aforementioned garbage.


  8. I generally like Errey, but he often gets lost in the moment. He was using an orgasmic tone when he went through the reply of last nights PP goal by Crosby. Something like: "the defense has gotta have their heads spinning with this P! They shoot! they shoot again! they pass! they pick up rebounds!" etc, etc. I won't ever complain about how we score, but let's not get crazy. Crosby scored off a chaotic play because he knows how to position himself -- not because of the tic-tac-toe passing on PP we've all been waiting on for 5 years. But I like him -- as good as anyone.