Sunday, January 9, 2011

GTOPG: Move Along; Nothing to See Here; Pens Lose, 4-0

By Artistry

I have three thoughts about Saturday's loss to the Minnesota Wild, and only three:

1) When Sidney Crosby is out of the lineup, you need to split up Staal and Malkin.

2) If the power play was "struggling" with Crosby, I'm not sure there is a word for what it's doing without him.

3) Add Cal Clutterbuck to the list of guys on GTOG's "Would love to see them in Pittsburgh" wish list. What a name. And he's dominating the league in hits the way Crosby is dominating in scoring.

The best thing you can say about the game is that Jordan Staal narrowly avoided another terrible injury. If you haven't watched it yet, just erase it from the DVR.


  1. Every season there are 3-4 of these games that you know you are going to lose in an excruciatingly frustrating and boring fashion within the first 10 minutes. This was one of them. Can't dwell on it -- it happens. It would be nice to see us developing some sort of solution for dealing with a trap - Tampa smothered us with it earlier in the season, Washington did it in the Winter Classic, and the Wild sucked the life out of CEC last night. Blueprint for beating the Pens...????

  2. I was at the 2-1 shootout loss to the Wild two years ago, and since then have been doing myself a favor and haven't watched a single Minnesota game. Thanks for summarizing this game for me. I think I won't even watch the highlights.

    Finesse, the key to beating the trap is getting the puck deep, keeping an aggressive forecheck and waiting for the defense to turn the puck over. In other words - playing Chris Kunitz, Jordan Staal and Ruslan Fedotenko (2009 edition) hockey. It's hard for fancy stickhandling addicts like Malkin and Crosby to do that on a regular basis, but that's what they're going to have to do if teams start emulating the recent ugly success of the Isles and Wild.

    The trap is not the universal solution it used to be for playing a superior opponent. It thrived in the dead puck era not only because of the positioning of all five skaters in the neutral zone, but also because obstruction was allowed. Holding and interference penalties were virtually non-existent back then, but you can't do that anymore. In today's NHL, the trap is good for talentless teams trying to steal a low playoff spot (with the exception of NJD, for whom the trap is part of the genetic makeup), but it won't win you the cup.

    What do you say, boys, are we looking at a scoreless tie tonight against Tim Thomas and the Bruins?

  3. You're definitely right about the strategy for beating the trap, but it's been frustrating to watch because we haven't even been connecting on the first pass out of the neutral zone. A team like the Wild wouldn't scare me in the playoffs (obviously we can't play them), but I'm just not thrilled with what I've seen so far in terms of our ability (and willingness) to defeat a well-played trap. The failure to adjust to what the Caps were doing in the Winter Classic, even if attributable to ice conditions, was troubling.

    Definitely making too big of a deal out of it, as I think the Pens are built to beat anything and anyone in the postseason. It's just a trend that's popping up in the regular season and with 82 games, we have to have something to talk about.

    I think the Pens are poised for a mini-offensive breakout tonight. It would be nice to see Staal get on the scoresheet. I'm in agreement with Artistry that with Sid out, Staal and Geno need to be separated. As nice of a player as Letestu is, he is not a second line center.

    Power play gets on track tonight.