Friday, March 30, 2012

GTOPG: Crosby resuscitated by cotton balls; Pens lose 5-3

By GTOG Staff (follow Artistry and Finesse on Twitter)

You are going to have some FF games over the course of an 82 game regular season. Even the best of teams will look so out of sorts, so frustratingly incapable of competing with even non-playoff teams, that you, the fan, no matter how dedicated you may be or how consistently you may blog, will Fast Forward through that mother f****er. You just never want to see an FF game on March 29th. And that's what happened last night, folks. An FF game with only a week to go in the regular season.

This almost sucked super hard.
Much more after the jump...

- After the game, James Neal noted that the Pens just need to "find our game." We're not sure the continual line shuffling by Dan Bylsma is helping anyone find anything. We do understand and approve of how Bylsma arrived at the combinations he put out last night: Crosby between his familiar mates, Kunitz and Dupuis, Geno between Neal and Sullivan, the reunited Staal line with Cooke and Kennedy, and the ever-dependable Craig Adams unit with Arron Asham and Tangradi/Vitale/Park. It's what we've been calling for all along. And we also understand why it's taken so long: Sid wasn't ready to play 20 minutes a night, and now he is. But now that we're here, the Penguins need some consistency up front over the next week.

Not chhappy when team lose.
- Nor are we overly worried about a defense that's missing Niskanen and Letang. It's a flawed unit that plays an aggressive style, which leads to a lot of chances, but that's been the case all throughout a stellar second half. So why the late season meltdown? What's changed? That's what worries us a little.

- Maybe it's the grind of playing 64 games this year or maybe it's the pressure of knowing that he's had incompetent backup help for most of the season, but Marc-Andre Fleury has stunk the past two games.  He picked game 75 of his 8th season in the league to debut the "Flower Dive-Move" whereby he lunges forward like a kamikaze pilot at an opposing forward on yet another breakaway with no discernable purpose other than hurling his body at a 200+ pound man coming at him at 30mph.  Let's just say he hasn't perfected this move yet.

This one too.
- If Brent Johnson starts tonight against Buffalo, it's a huge start for him.  Thiessen has shown that he can't cut it, at least not yet.  BJ was awesome last year but has been abhorrent so far this season.  If his performance tonight confirms that the Pens have nothing of value behind Fleury in net, it's a rough psychological blow for this team.  And not because we don't think Fleury will be good in the playoffs -- he will be because he's a championship goalie.  But it's because of the "what-if" factor.  What if Fleury has to miss a game?  Or, more realistically, what if he just doesn't have it one night and gives up 3 early goals and has to be yanked?  The Pens have the offensive firepower to come back from big deficits, but not if Brent Johnson is stopping 87% of the shots he faces.  S**t happens in the playoffs.

- Sadly, Tyler Kennedy looked like the best Penguin on the ice last night.  He was flying.  Equally as sad, although not unexpected, Tyler Kennedy did not score any goals and missed a wide open net.

- Eric Tangradi has 1 point in 23 games this year (SPOILER ALERT: it's not a goal).  The Pens are good enough that they have the luxury of giving him ice time throughout the regular season to continue to develop into a power forward who does not score any goals.  But it's crunch time, and it's time for the Men to step up.  And there's one Man in particular who needs to be on the ice more.

We know women who would marry him based on this picture alone.
- Speaking of men, Pascal Dupuis is arguably our favorite player.  His goal was tremendous on every level.  He dislodged an Islander from the puck with a muscular check, causing a turnover that was corralled by the Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister hit Craig Adams in choppy-stride.  Adams, besieged by several less manly men, feathered a soft pass to Dupuis that was like a velvety blanket (covered in ketchup stains).  Dupuis accepted the pass and in one motion threw a spear through Al Montaya's heart.  He now has a 12-game point streak.

- If the Pens don't win the Cup this year, our retrospective on the season will be titled, "If only Steve Sullivan could shoot."

- If the Islanders ever get into the playoffs, how many shorthanded goals will Michael Grabner score?  Can you win the Conn Smythe if you score 8 shorthanded goals in the first round but your team loses in 5 games?

- But if there's one thing to smile about this morning, it's this.  At least you aren't Ken Melani.  (But if you are Ken Melani, thanks for reading and make sure to follow Artistry and Finesse on Twitter).


  1. That picture of Richard Park inspires me to request a new Artistry Ladies ranking, hockey edition.

  2. I was actually sitting here thinking of what group it could be, since the last batch was all QBs. Just the Pens? Top 10-20 scorers in the league? Team captains? All-stars?

    Possibilities are endless. Time to get back to work.

    1. Subsequent G-chat at GTOG HQ:

      good comment by lizzie
      maybe as part of a playoff preview, the women of gtog rank the pens?
      Artistry: great idea
      Finesse: richard park a real darkhorse
      Artistry: ha
      Finesse: him with the dog is the opposite of mike vick with the dog
      Artistry: So true
      I think the lower line guys are going to get a lot of attention. Craig Adams is so manly, he's going to be tough to keep out of the top 5.
      Finesse: he has many qualities that women will respond to
      Artistry: he's strong and silent. he went to Harvard. he's a provider.
      he's so nurturing.
      Finesse: you feel safe with craig adams
      Artistry: I would leave my kids with him right now. I would leave my kids with him during a game.
      He would protect them.
      Finesse: he'd teach [Little Artistry] how to build a fire out of nothing but wet wood and a piece of paper
      Sent at 10:15 AM on Friday
      Artistry: We could write a book just on Craig Adams.
      You know who finishes last? Todd Reirden.
      Finesse: haha definitely

  3. Do the ladies of GTOG prioritize hair and eyebrows? If not, the Frenchies on the team are in trouble.

    As far as the game, when they get frustrated, this team refuses to shoot the puck when they ought to and decides instead to attempt completely unpredictable passes. And because they are unpredictable and generally stupid, they don't connect. Even Kunitz threw a couple that made me want to pull my hair out last night, and he never does crap like that. Should we call it Sulleitis?

    Everything looks just a little off: the Isles got several amazing bounces in the two games (I'm sorry, but that team did not play that well), and the Pens couldn't bury brilliant chances and got no bounces. Kris Letang is a huge part of that (Please, please heal. Despres is just not ready yet). What goes around comes around, I guess. It's just terrible timing.

  4. crappy thing is, this particular FF game was one I drove 3 hours to get to so that my wife could get her first taste of NHL hockey, and I was unable to FF through the first 50 minutes. On the bright side, the glass seats had her hooked and now I can probably justify spending $$$ at a real rink without any arguments.

    go pens.

  5. they made the movie 'act of valor' about navy SEALs because a movie about craig adams would be too over the top.