Thursday, March 3, 2011

GTOPG: Pens Lose 3-2 in OT; Glimmer of Hope Reflects Off of Pierre McGuire's Head

By GTOG Staff

One thing we don't often do, meaning one thing we never do, is give credit to Pierre McGuire. We stand by this practice. But last night in Toronto the most irritating hockey analyst in a staggeringly deep pool of irritating hockey analysts surprised us. During his first period bench interview with Dan Bylsma, McGuire began with a couple of routine questions.  Then, just as Bylsma was prepared to turn his attention back to the game, McGuire asked for an update on Sidney Crosby's condition, something Bylsma clearly didn't expect. We know this, because if he was expecting it, Bylsma would have provided one of the following answers: A) "He's not yet symptom free"; B) "Progressing to the next level means he has to get better in certain areas, and he's going through that process right now"; or C) "These aren't the droids you're looking for."  But Bylsma didn't employ any Jedi mind tricks. He gave an off-the-cuff answer that was actually different from what we have been hearing: Crosby is doing "better" and has "a hop in his step." This may mean nothing, but you know what? We'll take it.

- The Pens were out of sorts last night. That happens when your lineup gets altered more often than Charlie Sheen's mind. We're over the Mark Letestu first line experiment and suggest Bylsma try out Jordan Staal with James Neal and Tyler Kennedy. Then he can slot Letestu between Chris Kunitz and Alexei Kovalev when Hands of Jello brand gelatin comes back from injury. There's a pretty good top 6 in the making there once we find the right combination.

- McGuire called Chris Conner the "ever present Chris Conner" which we thought was ridiculous given that we haven't noticed him in about two weeks. But then Conner scored on a breakaway like 30 seconds later. Advantage, McGuire.

- The last few games reminded us not to take Paul Martin for granted, and last night the Prime Minister played like some kind of mutant Nick Lidstrom-Zdeno Chara hybrid. He was awesome.

Even Better as a Defenseman
- Hang on, wait a second, let us grab something ... Ok, found it. It's the Memo that every American born hockey player named Matt has to be called Matty. Now we get it. Ok, we can move on, but first let's debate Matt Niskanen's new nickname. We nominate Matty Ice. Ok, nominations closed. Matty Ice it is.

- As well as Matty Ice played last night, Derek Engelland did not. When Brooks Orpik is healthy, don't be surprised if Ben Lovejoy gets first crack at the 6th D-man spot for the playoffs over Engelland. Lovejoy is pretty composed out there, especially on the point, and has had a great couple weeks (excluding the late penalty last night).

- You know how sometimes Alexei Kovalev looks like he's floating and then flutters an aerial pass that lands on a linemate's stick? Never gets old.

GTOG everybody.

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