Saturday, November 26, 2011

GTOPG: Pens have tough practice; Win 6-3

By Finesse

When the Pens score six goals, our instinct is to pump the Pens tires, say things like "never get too high or too low" while we secretly spray each other with champagne, and run statistical models to figure out the percentage chance that Geno and Sid finish 1-2 in scoring (14%).  But on this morning, there's really nothing to say other than Ottawa Sucks.

"They can't be for real, can they?"
The Sens jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, largely because of Kris Letang being lazy (more on that in a minute), then spent the next 8 minutes watching, waiting, watching, and then waiting again while the statisticians confirmed that yes, Jason Spezza is the most un-impactful point-per-game player in the modern era.  By the time we all looked up, it was 4-1 Pens and Sens backup goalie Alex Auld made the decision on his own to just hop the boards and come replace Craig Anderson, figuring that if the prior 8 minutes were any indication, Anderson wouldn't, and couldn't stop him.

The Pens were not particularly impressive, but that's mainly because they didn't have to be.  One hallmark of a savvy, veteran, well-coached team is to figure out how to blow out a clearly inferior opponent without burning too many calories along the way.  The Pens mastered that last night.  On one penalty kill, Sens unlikeable winger Nick Foligno carried the puck into the Pens' zone while the Pens players watched him, thought "we're winning 5-1 and that's Nick Foligno," calmly retrieved the puck from Foligno with no resistance, and then changed lines.  When Sid already had 3 points after 9 minutes, the priority became "Let's just get out of here with our health."

A few other quick thoughts:

- While Sid snares the headlines, Geno quietly has three straight 2-point games and is only 10 back of Kessel.  Sid's return has freed Geno up to do what he does best: dazzle, without the weight on his shoulders.

- If we ever had Sergei Gonchar on our Raw Emotion Podcast, we imagine he'd give us his icy Russian stare and talk about the virtues of direct deposit because it's unclear if he cares at all about hockey at this point.  More power to him.

"So, do you pay every other Friday, or on the 1st and 15th?"
- When Jared Cowen cut the Pens lead to 5-2, he fist pumped like he just bowled a 300.  George MacPhee immediately called Bryan Murray and offered Semin for Cowen straight up.

- Kris Letang may be the most talented defenseman in the NHL, but he still makes way too many bad or flat-out lazy plays.  Like over-bearing parents of a middle-schooler, part of us worries that he is a just kind of a punk, while the other part convinces ourselves that he's only acting out because he's so supremely gifted that school isn't challenging enough for him, so he gets bored and has no choice but to steal money from his teacher's purse.

Another game tonight.  Be thankful we have our health.  GTOG.

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