Thursday, December 9, 2010

GTOPG: Pens Win. What Else is New?

By Finesse

In the Pens' 2-1 victory over the Devils on Monday night, Paul Steigerwald made the point that toward the end of a long winning streak, bad habits can creep into a team's game but will go under the radar because the team keeps winning.  He praised the Pens for avoiding that common "prolonged-win-streak-while-developing-bad-habits" scenario.  In my opinion, his praise was well-earned.

The Pens entered the third period of last night's game over the Leafs with a 4-0 lead, and if Sid buries his ridiculous deke on Jonas "my name sounds like I'm a detective in the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo books" Gustavsson giving him his third hat-trick in some really ridiculously short period of time, maybe the Leafs don't start mounting their mini-comeback.

After that Crosby near-miss, the Leafs went on to take 15 of the next 16 shots and make the game interesting, getting it to 4-2 with a powerplay.  The Pens PK came up big, Mark Letestu went to Kovy's Korner, and that was that.

But, make no mistake about it, that third period was awful.  It was the definition of bad habits - terrible job clearing the zone, stupid minor penalties, and even more stupidly, 3 fighting majors (two of which were needless).  As we've written about, there is no need for the Pens to lead the league in fighting.  The Pens will lose a game soon, if only because they have to, right? 

[Interviewing myself]

Me: But Finesse, aren't you nitpicking given that the Pens won the game without Malkin or Staal by 3 goals, giving them an 11game win streak?

Me: Yes, I am.  We kicked the crap out of Toronto.

- Artistry thinks the Pens' "winger-for-Sid" conundrum is solved: "I think we may have found a winger for Sid in the winger who plays with Sid: Hands of Buttermilk, Chris Kunitz. Hands of Cashmere has been deadly on the rush lately, fluttering perfect saucers passes and burying one-time opportunities. This is of course revocable as soon as he tumbles face first into the net on a penalty shot, but today, GTOG Nation owes an apology to Hands of Golden Retriever Puppy Dog Fur."

-As The Situation would say, Toronto is "garbages."  They realized early that they had no chance, so they mucked it up a little in the third period (as many teams have done).  At this point, they are neck and neck with the Islanders as the worst teams in the East.  Luke Schenn's nickname should the "The Usher" because he guides opponents directly to the front of his net.

- Artistry also misses Colby Armstrong: "It was great entertainment watching Colby Armstrong trying to supress a grin a after a first period skirmish with Crosby. Still unclear is whether Colby was amused because he got under Sid's skin or because he convinced Toronto to give him a $9 million contract. Probably both. Colby Armstrong named his son Cruise Armstrong. I love Colby Armstrong."

- Great for the NHL that Crosby did this on a Wednesday, when it doesn't have to compete with football or another Urban Meyer resignation on Sports Center.  Wait, Urban Meyer did resign again?  Does anyone care?  Anyone?  Either way, have to give props to for giving huge love to Sid and the Pens this morning.

- Jordan Staal is behind the fake schedule the Pens set for his return.  This is not a problem today in terms of the standings (obviously), but he needs to get 30+ games in before the playoffs to be at full force.  Yes, 30 is an arbitrary number that I just picked for no reason.

- You know the Pens are hot when Mark Letestu and Pascal Dupuis each score goals that make you exclaim, "Jesus, that was sick!" 

- No doubt this is a fun ride, but, please keep things in perspective.


  1. Shall we start a lottery to guess the location for the President's Trophy banner in the CEC?

    I will submit my guess shortly.

  2. Pens should take down all banners that aren't Cup banners.

    Not really, but that would be cool.

  3. Rats, I can't find the quote I wanted. It was from Ron Francis. He was talking about placing banners and said that their President's Trophy banner belongs 'way over there in the corner'.

    I see on the background of this blog that the Pens have that banner way over on the edge.

    It sucks when I can't find things I read only a few days ago.

  4. George, that wasn't Ronnie Francis, that was me commenting on an earlier post.

    Great read, great win.

    I don't want to piss on the dance floor, but statements like "We are one Geno and Staal return from becoming the most dominant team in the league" are just as true as "we are one ankle sprain to 87 from becoming the 2009-10 Boston Bruins".

  5. P.Co,

    You're not pissing on the dance floor - you're being a realist, and we appreciate that here. The Pens winning streak is impressive, but a substantial portion of it is attributable to Crosby, and Crosby alone. As long as he is healthy and continues to play like he is, everything is fine. But, as you pointed out, stuff happens.

  6. P.Co,

    Thank you for the closure.