Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Clicks of the Day: Rossi on the goalies, Pensblog on Letang

By GTOG Staff

A few quick thoughts and links on the morning of Game 3.

- We started the morning asking each other whether we felt confident about the game tonight.  We feel neither optimistic nor pessimistic.  We have absolutely no idea what Penguins team will show up tonight.

- Rob Rossi has a 5-point plan for turning the series around.  The first four points make sense.  The fifth point -- that the Pens need to turn to Fleury -- is absurd:
Journeyman Tomas Vokoun was pulled from Game 2 after allowing three goals, but only because the Penguins needed a spark. He's 6-3 with a .929 save percentage and has done nothing to deserve a demotion.
Still, this moment calls for Marc-Andre Fleury.
He was the franchise goalie when the playoffs started. The Penguins need to find out if he's still up for that job. They can't if he is inserted into games only when they need a spark.
This series still can be won, and it has shifted to Boston, where Fleury is 5-1-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .946 save percentage over the past five seasons.
Now -- when the Pens are down 2-0 and heading on the road in the Eastern Conference Finals -- is the time to determine whether Fleury should be the Pens' goalie in the future?  
Funny, because all this time we thought the point was to actually win the game tonight.

If you think Fleury should start tonight because he gives the Pens the best chance to win the game, that's fine (though incorrect).  If you think he should start tonight because the Pens need to find out if he's still capable of being the starter, then why not go skydiving with a parachute that hasn't opened properly since 2009 to see if it still works?

- Hilarious post from The Pensblog pointing out two directly contradictory quotes about the Bruins' forecheck by Kris Letang within a matter of days.  In Letang's defense, maybe the Bruins have changed up their tactics.  But if Letang is right about their most recent strategy -- "they just wait for us to make mistakes" -- isn't that the biggest indictment against the Pens of all?  If the low response rate wouldn't embarrass us so much, we'd ask the poll question this morning: "Does Kris Letang realize he had a bad game in game 2?"

- Here's the One From the Heart video about the Kevin Stevens guarantee (5:18 mark).  Does something that happened in 1991 have any relevance on this series?  No.  But it's still fun to watch.


  1. Read Rob Rossi's article this morning and his thoughts about Flower were so astoundingly stupid that I almost emailed him, but couldn't be bothered because, well, he's Rob Rossi.

    Regarding your Poll: Letang does not realize he had a bad game. Not sure if it's because he's too stupid or if there isn't a coach at the Consol Country Club that will tell anyone on this team that their play is substantial. Probably a combination of both...

    When I asked myself what I thought about the game tonight 1 thing came to mind. I was never more confident in a turnaround by this team than I was in Game 2 of this series except for Game 3 of the Philly series last year. I decided to have no expectation so that I don't have to endure similar disappointment.

  2. If Byslma does not put Iginla on the the first line with 9 and 87, then I think something very fishy is going on behind the scenes. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but if Byslma does not make the Iginla/Kunitz swap, I think it is because Crosby owns Byslma.

    I am not asserting that Crosby would _knowingly_ make decisions to the detriment of the team. Rather, I think that what Crosby says regarding his linemates goes and he probobaly honestly believes that his line, if it remains intact, will do enough for the Pens to win.

    1. Once and for all, let's just accept that we have no idea what's going on behind the scenes. You know why? It's behind the scenes.

    2. I agree that we will never know for 100% sure what is going on behind the scenes. However, I think swapping Iginla for Kunitz is such a blatantly obvious move based on the performances and lack of chemistry of the top 2 lines this series. I think we can logically conclude that if the move does not occur, it is because it was vetoed by someone within the orginization. Crosby would be the logical vetoer due to the impact this move would have on him and his considerable orginizational clout.

    3. First, I don't think it's blatantly obvious at all. Iginla has looked terrible this series, and I happen to agree with Rob Rossi that he should move to the third line. I also think the chemistry of Sid-Duper-Kunitz is fairly well established. Second, I don't think we can logically conclude anything about that which we have no idea, including whether or not there was any "veto" by anyone. Just to be clear, what you are engaging in is nothing less that complete speculation. Could you be right? I have no idea, and neither do you.

    4. You're suggesting that the captain of the team, about whose leadership no one has ever said a negative thing, is deliberately sabotaging the best-interests of the team so that he can continue playing with Chris Kunitz instead of face the HORRIFIC possibility of playing with surefire hall-of-famer Jarome Iginla, alongside whom Sid scored arguably the biggest goal in the history of hockey.

      Sometimes people make bad decisions because people sometimes make bad decisions. Not everything is a conspiracy theory with some evil force pulling strings behind the scenes.

      It is worth noting that when the Pens went 8-3 in their first 11 playoff games, moving Iginla off of Malkin's line was not such a blatantly obvious move. It's always seemed like a move that would make a lot of sense, and still does. But it's hardly the first questionable decision by an NHL coach.

      If you're convinced that it's because Crosby is pulling the strings, have fun getting yourself all worked up over something which you know nothing about.

    5. "[A]bout whose leadership no one has ever said a negative thing." Actually, plenty of people have disagreed with this contention. Just check out what is being said about him in the media RIGHT NOW outside of Pittsburgh. There is a lot out there about him being a choker, cry baby, and a bad captain. I personally believe that Crosby is a good captain and less of whiner than he is made out to be.

    6. Are the people saying those things in possession of any actual insight into the situation, or are they people like you who attribute motives to people without any basis for knowing whether or not it's true?

    7. I think you are commiting some logical fallacies here. You may not like my basis for believing that Crosby has Byslma by the nuts, but that doesn't mean that I don't have a basis. I actually think a fairly strong case can be made based on a plethora of circumstantial evidence.

      Regarding the quality of his captaincy, you act like this is a trait that can only be analyzed by someone on the inside of the Pens Orginization. To the contrary, the quality of Sid's captaincy can be ascertained by observing how the team plays in key situations and whether they are united behind Crosby when the going gets tough.

      As crazy as this may sound, I am actually a Crosby fan. I just hate how is such a sacred cow in this city. It is akin to the way we treat Troy "I miss 8 games a season" Polamalu.

      I will close with my bold prediction for tonight---Crosby and Malkin combine for 4 goals and chase Rask.

    8. You can judge his captaincy from the outside -- we do stuff like that all the time -- but that's not what you're doing. You're suggesting that Crosby took a specific action -- "vetoing" a lineup change -- with nothing to support that specific suggestion.

      If the Pens continue to play like garbage against the Bruins, then bash Sid's captaincy all you want and use the team's play as evidence.

    9. It doesn't have to be "specific action" where he took Bylsma aside and ordered him to do something.

      A few weeks ago when Crosby was coming back from his jaw injury, he gave several interviews where he was asked about lines and instead of giving a political non-answer or just saying it's up to the coach, like just about every player would do, in two different interviews that I heard he explicitly said his preference was to play with Dupuis and Kunitz. In this day and age franchise players have far more power than any coach, even more so if they're close friends with the owner.

      When every line was struggling and the coach makes radical changes to every line except one, that does support the suggestion that Bylsma didn't feel free to change up that line. How strong that support is could be argued but it's not totally speculative.

  3. I made the mistake of actually looking at the tPB post. Letang deserves to be criticized for his play (and, yes, I'm certain he, like every other guy on that team, was embarrassed by their play).

    I don't see how those comments are at all contradictory in context. The Bruins do forecheck hard when the opportunity presents itself. That's how they managed 3 goals in a few minutes in the Leafs game 7. But they also sit back, trap, and wait for mistakes when they have a lead. And since they've been up pretty much the entire series - they've spent both games sitting back and jumping on the mistakes the Pens have been more than happy to make. (That's why that break away Sid gave up was so killer.) It's called situational hockey. The Pens may not understand the concept, but the Bruins sure do.

    So how about if we bash the players we do so for their poor play instead of a couple of decontextualized quotes.

    1. We're not intending to break down Letang's analysis of the Bruins. Just thought the post was funny on its face, especially given that Letang is one giant contradiction as a player.