Wednesday, October 12, 2011

GTOPG: Strong Vitale Signs; Pens Win 4-2

By GTOG Staff

Here is the storyline dominating Penguins Nation this Wednesday morning: No Crosby, No Malkin, No problem. The players work so hard, they are so disciplined, and Dan Bylsma's system is now so familiar that this team can win without its stars. Here is the storyline at GTOG: We're getting too used to this. We need to get back to the point where we expect the best players to be in the lineup, and when they're not we have a feeling of desolation and loss like that time right before Game 3 of the 1991 Cup Finals, when Mario Lemieux was scratched with back spasms and wore these glasses in the press box.

Right now when we see Geno and Sid standing on the bench wearing tight suits, we just feel resignation. You need stars to win the Stanley Cup. That is not to suggest you don't also need great role players. And as this win against Florida made clear, the Penguins have the very best.

- When Ray Shero reached way down toward the end of the bench in Wilkes Barre last February and pulled up Joe Vitale, things looked dire. We made jokes about Joe Vitale. Then we watched him play two games and told you to say goodbye to Max Talbot. Now we're telling you this: when Dustin Jeffrey gets his body right, say goodbye to Mark Letestu.

Dr. Joe Vitale, Hypnotic Marketing, Inc., and
reviewer of the audio book "Formula for Becoming a Millionaire."
- Vitale's emergence from obscurity to slightly less obscurity underscores one vital point that we have been on top of for the longest time -- 4th line players are replaceable and inexpensive, so long as you have a GM like Ray Shero who understands that 4th line players are replaceable and inexpensive.  If you're Paul Holmgren, and you pay Max Talbot $1.9M/year for 5 years to do the same things that Joe Vitale can do for 1/3 of the price with no commitment then, well, we don't feel bad for you.

- On the subject of value, let's discuss Pascal Dupuis, quite possibly GTOG's favorite player.  He was a throw-in piece of the Hossa trade, but it's getting to the point where it has become impossible to deny that Shero stealing Dupuis as part of the Hossa trade and then subsequently resigning him this past summer for $1.5M is among his best moves as Pens' GM, if not his best. Consider the following numbers since the trade in 2008 (numbers from Yahoo and CapGeek and updated through the end of last season):

These are eye-opening numbers, and they don't reflect Duper's incredible work ethic, his tireless penalty killing, or his ability to grow a great beard.  What they do reflect is that Hossa, while obviously a better player than Dupuis, is 4x more expensive and 2-3x less efficient.  On some level, that might mean that Dupuis is 8-12x more valuable than Hossa, but we have no idea if that's how this math works. (We are not denigrating Hossa, just trying to show how awesome Dupuis is).  Bottom line: having a guy like Dupuis, who plays well on either the 1st line or 4th line, is invaluable.

Hossa paid 3x as much for same tattoo
- Let's start a campaign to get the Penguins to nominate Matt Cooke for the Masterson Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perserverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. Because that would be hilarious.

- Ben Lovejoy is too nice.  He's a skilled and crafty player, but he not only lacks a mean streak, he lacks an impolite bone in his body.  On the Western Canada trip, he routinely picked up pucks after icing calls with his bare hands and then chased down the linesmen to make sure that they exerted as little energy as possible retrieving the puck.  While this courteousness is refreshing to see, it would be equally refreshing to see him get pissed off, even just once.

- Martin and Michalek are not playing well, but there is no reason to believe that will last too long.  In fact, we guarantee that it won't.  Those two are like a perm -- just let them settle and they'll be ok.

The Caps are in town Thursday. We'll bring analysis and emotion after the game on the GTOG podcast.

1 comment:

  1. On Dupuis - Let's factor in the snappy reparte with Dan Potash when you calculate his true value!