Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GTOPG: Good, We Didn't Want the Top Seed Anyway; Pens Lose 5-2

By GTOG Staff

This was what you call a playoff preview.  Get used to Bob Errey interviewing Danny Bylsma on the Penguins bench and Bylsma saying, "Gotta keep our cool, play the right way, and get to our game."  Get used to the Penguins dominating the first period only to end up tied 1-1 at intermission.  And if Marc-Andre Fleury is less than consistently great, Jordan Staal can't get off a shot on a breakaway, and nobody can pick a corner on Sergei Bobrovsky, get used to disappointment. 

And Nausea. Followed by Dry Heaves.
Now let's look at the positives. With no Sid and no Geno, the Pens don't have the luxury of thinking ahead to whether they will have home ice advantage in the second round or beyond.  The Pens chances of winning in Round 1 are right around 50-50, even if Sid returns.  That's just the way it is when you can't score more than 2 goals.  Given that, the only thing that we as fans should be looking at is the Pens' first-round matchup.  The ideal scenario would have been to get the #1 seed and host Buffalo or Carolina.  Unlikely after last night.  But, with the Caps also in the mix for the top spot in the conference, it's entirely possible that a win last night would have ultimately secured the #2 overall seed and a date with the Rangers or Montreal in Round 1. We're not in favor of hosting either a hot Rangers team or Mike Cammalleri's smile.  Give us Dwayne Roloson.

- The other day, Artistry pondered whether the Pens could advance far without a consistent offensive threat at center.  Whether the Pens have even inconsistent threats in Letestu and Staal is still up in the air.  But what isn't up in the air is that if those two play the way they did last night, the Pens aren't going anywhere.  Letestu gets a partial pass given that he was in his first game back from injury.  Staal, for as great as he is and as much as we like him as a player, may be one of the least creative centers in the league when leading a 3-on-2.  He's like Reality Staal.

- Down 3-2, the Penguins still had every chance to take back control of the game early in the third period.  The Flyers gave up several golden chances in the first five minutes.  Kris Letang had a wide open look cruising down the left side, but Bobrovsky had the angle.  Then Peter Laviolette called a time out.  As repulsive as we find Scott Hartnell, it's actually more upsetting that Philly finally has a good coach.

- Imagine how good the Flyers would be if Jeff Carter was still playing.

- The Flyers did a great job drawing penalties last night.  Of course, if Sid had done it, it would have been "diving."  When someone else does it, it is a "veteran play."  GTOG isn't wearing Black and Gold glasses - we understand that Sid draws penalties and that Matt Cooke commits felonies on the ice.  We just like to seize opportunities to illustrate to everyone else in the league that you do it, too.  See our Twitter commentary on the Todd Bertuzzi situation.

- Where were the Penguins when Detroit was looking to dump Ville Leino?

- The evidence shows that even these superstar-depleted Penguins are a good team.  You can see, though, how frustrating it must have been for fans of a team like Ottawa to watch Alexei Kovalev every night.  For every snipe job like the bullet he fired past Bobrovsky in the first period, for every dazzling no-look pass like the one he feathered to Ben Lovejoy on Sunday, there are about three plays where he holds the puck a beat too long and turns it over.  His blind drop pass - together with poor spacing by a backpedaling Kris Letang - led directly to Claude Giroux's winning goal.  This is an unofficial statistic, but in 2001, over the course of his 1658 minutes played, nobody took the puck off of Alexei Kovalev.  Alex:  that was 10 years ago.

- James Neal was largely invisible last night.  Anytime, Jim.

- Not many people know this, but when Pascal Dupuis comes home at night, immediately after tucking in his kids and softly kissing his wife goodnight, he tip-toes down into the basement, picks up a hockey stick, takes aim at the general vicinity of the wall, and uncorks a blistering slapshot. Just to get one more in before he goes to bed.

- Tyler Kennedy is like Tyler Kennedy on that drug from "Limitless."

Laced with NZT
Forget this one.  The important game is Thursday in Tampa.


  1. i've said it since day 1. the most overrated hockey player is our own j. staal.


  2. Depends on what you're talking about, doesn't it Beej? I'd say he's the perfect third line center. Impossible to overrate him in that respect. Consistent 20 goal scorer, physical force, penalty-killing machine. It's when he lines up as your first line guy that you have a problem.

    If and when Sid and Geno get healthy again, we've always maintained that it's largely Staal's presence that puts this team over the top.

  3. well we can agree to disagree. sure he's the best 3rd line center in the league. which makes ya think he won't last past his next contract with us. anyhoo, this guy has got to have the lowest shooting percentage (shots to goals scored) in the history of the nhl