Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GTOPG: A Video is Worth a Million Words; Pens Win 6-3

By Finesse

I wish we had more time to do a full recap of this game.  The feeling is similar to when you have a really great inappropriate story to tell your friends, but you know that showing them pictures is the only way to really convey what happened.


The key takeaway from this game is that if you're an average team, you may not want to engage the Penguins in an undisciplined, yet exciting, brand of hockey because chances are you are going to lose.  The Avalanche have some world-class talent at the top -- see the Duchene goal -- but really have no business engaging the Pens in a track meet.  Even with the Pens looking sloppy and disorganized for the first 30 minutes (no one more so than Paul Martin), this game had 5+ goals written all over it right from the start when Geno went coast to coast around four Avalanche players and fired a rocket-propelled grenade that nearly broke the crossbar in half.

Just like he drew it up
Other random thoughts ... not the best night for Paul Martin to get embarrassed because Artistry spent hours on Twitter defending him yesterday ... Sullivan, as we noted last game, needs to be more of a shooting threat on the 5-on-3 PP ... and clearly McGuire and Engblom read GTOG because they said the same thing last night ... Kris Letang had a rush at one point where he literally broke a man's ankles but then immediately turned it over ... if you want to throw Martin under the bus for the Jones goal (and you should), at least ask what Orpik was doing on Duchene's goal ... Jordan Staal is on pace for 41 goals ... Tyler Kennedy is not a vestibular Ferrari but it's great to have him back in the lineup ... and finally, we preach accountability here and no one is immune, including Mrs. Artistry, who failed to tape the game for my partner in GTOPG'ing. That's not So Serviceable, Mrs. A.


  1. Come on Paul Martin. Come on Mrs. A.

  2. At least Martin battled back to an even on the night, but that Jones goal was pretty brutal. Whenever Pierre McGuire makes a good point about Martin on the play, you know it has to be bad.

    I'm still giving Martin an obvious pass, because once Michalek comes back he should improve markedly.

  3. What was Orpik doing on the Duchene goal? Going down to block a shot, which is exactly what Fleury did. 90% of the time it's what the player does. 9% of the time the player whiffs on the pass. And Matt Duchene (and Bobby Ryan and a few others) are the 1%.
    What made Orpik and Fleury look so bad is that Duchene made his move very slow (in hockey terms, of course). We had enough time to say "wow" before he backhanded the puck into the net, unlike the Malkin goal, where before we realized what happened he was already celebrating.

    Sullivan is a mystery to me. It's not that he is not shooting the puck, but he is failing to bury the most glorious chances with wide-open nets. The guy is a superb puck-handler with a good track record as far as scoring goals. Maybe the Pens need to get the guy his own set of hockey sticks instead of the excess stock of James Neal's sticks from last year.

    Last thing, about Martin. When I joined an adult hockey league after 15 years of not playing, the team paired me with our best defenseman behind our best skating line. I finished my first game a +6. The Pens didn't sign Martin for 5M a year to look good alongside Michalek. They signed him to make guys like David Jones look bad on 1-on-1's. Time for Artistry's twitter reverse-jinx to get to work.

  4. P.Co, great comment, as always.

    Regarding Orpik, there's no question Duchene made a sick move that very few guys can make. But if you watch Orpik, there are two problems: 1) he doesn't even seem to know Duchene is cutting to the middle; and 2) if he is blocking the shot, his stick is out of position to the side when it should have been facing Duchene. This is definitely nitpicking, though, because the bottom line is that was a sick move.

    On Sullivan, he's playing great overall, but just isn't threatening enough to actually bury the puck on the last two 5-on-3's when he's down low on the left side. His pass to Neal later in the game was great.

    Totally agree about it not being an excuse for Martin that Michalek is out. The play last night was just bad. So bad, that it was an aberration below his sub-par play already this season. The good thing is that the Pens don't need Martin to be great in game 18. But game 98, that's a different story.

  5. Forget about Michalek. As I said last year and will repeat again this year .. Paul Martin is a disaster.

    Here is his stat line ..

    * worst +/- on the team (no one near him)
    * 4th worst +/- in the league
    * ZERO goals, 3 assists
    * 5th most points of any defenseman on team (2 defenseman he is tied with have played 250 less shifts)

    I am not buying the "give him time, like we did with Gonchar" line. He is not sergei gonchar and he never will be. He is not rob scuderi, or goligowski or even jordan leopold for that matter. He has to go down as the worst signing we have ever made and perhaps the worst $5 million/year player in the history of the NHL.

  6. Yosh, Yosh, Yosh. Let's rein it in. If you think Paul Martin didn't have a lot to do with the Pens place among the best defensive and penalty killing teams in the league last year, we should just agree to disagree and move on.

    But I believe in you, Yosh. I believe that you are capable of perspective. PM has had a terrible couple of weeks, and he deserves to be called out for that. But if you're going to criticize his recent play, then you need to praise him when he is the best defenseman on the ice, as he has been for a few (too few) games this season. How about Paul Martin's October? Watch the tape.

    Statistics don't mean much when you're talking about a guy like Martin. Think of him as the Steve Sullivan of defense. You think Sullivan is a bad fit on the top line because he has one goal? Steve Sullivan's hands make Chris Kunitz's look like frozen cinder blocks. There are elements of hockey - crucial elements - that defy such limited anlysis.

    As to your statement that Paul Martin is "perhaps the worst $5 million/year player in the history of the NHL," well, that just hurts your credibility. And you owe Scott Gomez a big apology.

  7. He's not Jordan Leopold? Are you insane?

  8. No, Paul Martin is not Rob Scuderi. This is what Ray Shero thought of him when he arrived in Pittsburgh: "When I first got here and found out he had a one-way contract, I was like, 'Are you kidding me?' " (
    A couple of years later the guy is one of the most sought-after free agents in the league.

    I like Artistry's analogy to Sullivan as a guy who shows you that you have to watch the actual game, rather than just the score sheet, to know what's going on. I also see a similarity to Tyler Kennedy. Remember when the guy could not get a shot below the crossbar to save his life, and was fighting for a roster spot as recently as last year's training camp? Good thing he waited 6 months to negotiate his new contract as the team's leading scorer. Hockey is a streaky game.

  9. Am I missing something? Does Steve Sullivan make $5 million a year? I sure as hell hope Paul Martin is better and more valuable than Steve Sullivan.

    When did we stop using point totals (offensive player) and +/- (defenseman) as a metric for evaluating whether a $5 million dollar player is worth $5 million?

    Mr. Artistry, in October, Paul Martin was a -4. Last year, he had his worst statistical year in almost every category, including your favorite stat .. ATOI.

    Please explain how you can possibly compare Paul Martin (again $5 million) to Steve Sullivan and please explain how you can use words like "best" when referring to Paul Martin at any time as a Penguin.

  10. OK, so not Sullivan. How about Fleury? This time last year he was sporting a 1-6 record with a GAA of over 3.00 for $5M a year (and all that after a sub-par season in 09-10). Would you have taken a Johnson-Curry tandem over Fleury back then?

    No one is saying Martin is playing his best hockey these days. He is flat out bad, in fact. But it's only November. And besides, the Pens have had worse $5 million cap hits (see Kovalev, Alex).

  11. "He has to go down as the worst signing we have ever made and perhaps the worst $5 million/year player in the history of the NHL."

    this is one of the most melodramatic statements i've ever read. even finishing a +6 in some mysterious old man's league (after one game) doesn't qualify you to engage in this kind of hyperbole.

    paul martin's salary is a reflection of what the penguins needed at the time and what was available on the market. at the time it was a great signing. complaining about 0 goals from a guy who's career best is 6 is just retarded. his career ATOI before last season was around 23:30 and last year he finished 23:22. not exactly a severe drop off. +/- is hockey's answer to baseball's ERA. it's a barely relevant statistic in this era. he's a stay at home defenseman who helped the team to one of their best seasons in franchise history last year and this year they're currently tied for first in the eastern conference. malkin has a worse stat line this season than kris versteeg. maybe if we package him with paul martin the panthers will bite.

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