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02-03-2013, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Chancellor Vitale View Post
If this pattern continues where we show more focus and energy for the tougher teams (I'm sure we'll play the Islanders tough next time because of last time so throw that one out), and show less focus and energy against mediocre or weak teams (Buffalo and Winnipeg again mid-month)... it's tough not to put it on the coaching staff.

One way or another it's their job to have the team in the right mindset, and ready to finish the kill when there's blood in the water, whether your opponent is 8-2 or 2-8.

I give SI zero credibility but it's surprising to see his name mentioned in the mainstream hockey media at all.
Actually, I don't think it's as much about focus and energy as it is about the other teams preparation. Most good teams aren't going to do much opponent specific game planning during the regular season, especially one as condensed as this. They run what they've got in place, make changes/additions based on how things are going generally, but, as a rule of thumb won't say 'we're playing Pittsburgh today, let's go with something different'. They'll do in game adjustments if they think it's necessary.

The teams more likely to prepare specifically for the Pens are the perceived weaker teams, the ones that view the Pens as a measuring stick. Look at Winnipeg . . . after the game, Jets fans were saying that Noel completely adjusted how they defend the breakout to deal specifically with the Pens stretch pass.

Here's the kicker, though: EVERYONE the Pens will meet in the playoffs will game plan specifically for them. Look at NJ last year, introducing a double chip to deal with the Flyers aggressive forecheck.

The whole 'we do what we do' approach is fine for the regular season. Even with the perceived weaker teams that prepare, you figure that talent and emotion should translate into enough wins. And, that's really what has happened.

But, when the playoffs come and the preparation specifically designed for the Pens begins . . .

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