Thursday, February 24, 2011

GTOPG: Another Man Down; Pens Lose 3-2 In OT To All-Eyebrow Team

By Finesse

In our most recent podcast last Sunday, Artistry and I discussed how many points the Pens should be satisfied with during this brutal stretch.  We said that getting 1 out of every 3 points would be considered a success.  Since that podcast, the Pens have earned 4 out of 8 points.  Last night's loss sucked, but big picture, it's a huge point.  Biggest of the season.  And yes, every point from here on out is the biggest of the season.

For the third consecutive game, the talent disparity on the ice was ridiculously lopsided against the Pens.  But for the third straight game, the Pens played a solid and determined game.  We called out TK at the beginning of the month after a terrible effort in New York, but since that time, he has been the Pens' best offensive threat.  Scary to think where we would be without him.  And scary that I had to write that.

Some other thoughts...

- No prognosis yet on Brooks Orpik, who took a shot off the hand last night, but the silence is deafening.  We are supposed to get an update today.  If he's out for an extended time, it's obviously another huge blow, but we now need to just root for health at the start of the playoffs.  As we said in our fireside chat a few weeks ago, things are going to get worse before they get better.

- The only benefit of the Sharks winning in OT rather than a shootout is that my DVR was going to run out before the end of the shootout.  The culprit?  Consol Energy Center lights.  I'm sure I won't be the first to point out the irony of an arena named after an energy company having issues with lighting, but let us hope that the Consol lighting doesn't become the new Heinz Field turf.  Looked horrible on TV.

- Speaking of TV, however, I was watching on Versus and they were just showing the Sharks' feed on Comcast Sports Net.  Tremendous announcing job by the Sharks guys - best ones I've heard so far this year.  Knowledgeable, fair, and keenly aware of the Pens' unique predicament.

- Niskanen was OK last night, except for a few really bad plays. Sound familiar?

- James Neal was a little inconsistent, but I was impressed with his skating ability.  He flew through the neutral zone a few times and got to the corners on the forecheck very quickly.

- The Sharks' first goal came as a direct result of the Orpik injury.  The two d-men on the ice for the Pens were Letang and Lovejoy and I can't remember them playing together for even a shift all season.  When Letang went back to retrieve the puck, he clearly thought Lovejoy was going to support him behind the net, but when Letang chipped it over, there was no one there but the Sharks.  Letang was forced to chase and Lovejoy kind of stood by idly in front of the net.  It's hard to blame either guy individually, but this is Exhibit A of the problems with injuries and replacements.

- Overall, however, Letang was phenomenal again.  Outside of Sid, he may be the strongest skater in the league.  Huge compliments all night from the Sharks' announcers.  They were incredibly impressed.  The bad part about this is that when you rely on a defenseman to be your best player, you're in serious trouble.

Dicky T.
- Finally, unreal uni-brows on the Sharks.  You could start a brush fire in their locker room if you lit a cigarette.


  1. funny that you loved the Sharks guys, because I absolutely hated them. They kept talking about crap that had nothing to do with the play at hand and was distracting me from actually following the game. I almost always leave the sound on no matter how much I'm being driven crazy, but I had to mute them a couple times because I couldn't follow the play when they were talking about stuff that happened last game/a month ago/when X player was in juniors.

    and their blabbering during the ? "This region is all about steel, they should be able to handle energy! Well, there used to be steel mills, there's only one or two left...." greeeeat. Welcome to 1970 Pittsburgh. Tired of people perpetuating the "Steel Mills!!!!11!!!eleventy!!!!1" myth.

    end rant.

  2. 1. I guess the hockey gods have gone through the Pens' entire forward squad (even they don't know who the WB/S kids are), and have now moved on to the defense corps.

    2. When the team is healthy, an overtime loss with 4 ticks on the clock would draw all kinds of reactions about the team's character. But in the current state of affairs, we'll take any point. 50% of available points might even be good enough for finishing 5th in the East, which would be remarkable (and here's hoping the Capitals win the SE).

    3. says GTOG's intuition is right on the money. with 1.70% of his ice time spent with Lovejoy, Letang might think he and that kid with the puffy face he saw on the plane in 24/7 are two different guys.

    4. I'm not totally clear on the rules, but Gino should be put on the LTIR either tomorrow (after being out 10 straight games) or on 2/28 (24 days after his injury), which just happens to be deadline day. At that moment, Shreo will have around $74 billion dollars of available cap space to work with. So why are we hearing all this talk about Cory Stillman?

  3. Caroline - thankfully I missed the part about steel. I assume that was during the delay at the start of the second, and I was fortunate enough to be watching on about an hour delay so I could fast forward through that. I guess I say that I liked them only because they didn't stand out for being bad. Sadly, that's an accomplishment. Plus they didn't take too many of the obligatory shots at Matt Cooke.

    P.Co - I agree with you that .500 hockey from here on out could be good enough to stay in the 5th spot, if only because teams 6-11 in the East all stink (Rangers and Canadiens technically don't stink, but just haven't been good lately. 8-11 definitely stink).

    During the glory days of December 2010, we talked about who the Pens should want to face in Round 1 and we focused on the likes of Atlanta, New York, Carolina, Montreal, etc. Now it looks like we are going to get someone in the 1-4 spot. So who would you WANT to play in the first round? Here's my order out of the top 4:

    1 (most like to play): Tampa. Hope that the Caps catch Tampa, and the Bolts slide to the 4 (or 5) and we get them in Round 1.

    2: Boston.
    3: Washington.
    4 (least like to play): Flyers - I hate to say it, but they are hands down favorites in the East if healthy.

  4. Finesse, I agree 100% with your ranking.
    Based on head-to-head battles with the Pens I would have switched Washington and Philly (we did get a big, relatively easy win at Philadelphia, while barely squeaking a shootout win against the Caps, who shut us out twice), but the Flyers beat a totally different, and exponentially better Penguins team than the Caps played against, and they have only improved as the season progressed, which cannot be said about Washington.

  5. I would have to rate the Sharks' announcers as okay. I always start the DVR with the sound on and end up with the sound off in every case when I get the non-Pens announcers (even happens when the Bibster is too hyped up). I just realised as I read this post that the sound was on when the game ended last night so that makes them okay in my irrelevant book.

  6. - Finally, unreal uni-brows on the Sharks. You could start a brush fire in their locker room if you lit a cigarette.

    Is this Dupuis calling the kettle black?

  7. George, great look on Dupuis. My brother and I were watching and said he was the one guy who looked like he was on the wrong team.