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How did the Pens get to being a top seed?

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04-26-2013, 12:08 PM
  #1
Jax1166
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How did the Pens get to being a top seed?

I'm not talking so much injuries.
What I am talking is at the start of March we were bashing HCDB for playing the same pond hockey style with bad penalties and very poor defense as late last season.

Now, the Pens have gone on two long stretches to be the second best team in hockey.
So my question is, how, with injuries, did the Pens go from being the late February Flyers game, 7-6 Montreal game, to the solid two way club?

Did the players start listening to HCDB?
Did HCDB change the system?
This happened well before Douglas Murray and Morrow came here.

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04-26-2013, 12:11 PM
  #2
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they won more games than all other teams within the Eastern Conference

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04-26-2013, 12:13 PM
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Most of the projected favorites in the East, especialy the atlantic teams, basically sucked. Not taking away from what the Pens did, but this turned it from probably being a fairly close race to a blowout.


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04-26-2013, 12:15 PM
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Probably a couple of things. They had more time to gel as a team with the short training camp. Obviously so did other teams, but it takes time to settle in to a season and get things right defensively. Vokoun's play as a reliable back up helped a lot and him calling out the team for their poor defensive play seemed to coincide with them tightening up. I'm sure the media made more of it than it was, but certainly having an a new veteran leader calling out the room will wake up the crew. The re-emergence of Paul Martin as a top pair defender was huge as well.

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04-26-2013, 12:19 PM
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They started carrying the puck out of their zone a lot more than they had in the past. Perfected that pass off the boards as well. They still do the stretch pass thing, but mix it up more now, so teams can not just sit there waiting on it. You saw the difference when Letang especially was out, but Martin as well, because Letang is the guy who can really just skate the puck up the ice for the team.

But to me it was the subtle tweak to the system we had been crying out for Bylsma to do, and it worked. 1.3 GAA since February. For some perspective Chicago has the best year long GAA in the league at 1.97 GA. Basically we have been playing at a pace .7 of a point better than the best in the league since February.

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04-26-2013, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaded-Fan View Post
They started carrying the puck out of their zone a lot more than they had in the past. Perfected that pass off the boards as well. They still do the stretch pass thing, but mix it up more now, so teams can not just sit there waiting on it. You saw the difference when Letang especially was out, but Martin as well, because Letang is the guy who can really just skate the puck up the ice for the team.

But to me it was the subtle tweak to the system we had been crying out for Bylsma to do, and it worked. 1.3 GAA since February. For some perspective Chicago has the best year long GAA in the league at 1.97 GA. Basically we have been playing at a pace .7 of a point better than the best in the league since February.
That's exactly the answer I was looking for, why the Pens went from pond hockey to responsible hockey, why and how.
What exactly did HCDB do?

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04-26-2013, 12:29 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doakes View Post
That's exactly the answer I was looking for, why the Pens went from pond hockey to responsible hockey, why and how.
What exactly did HCDB do?
Honestly, it's tough to say. But I think the biggest thing was the centers seemed to swoop down lower on the regroups. That and the D skating the puck more as the other team gave them a ton of room since they were sitting back looking for the stretch pass.

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04-26-2013, 12:35 PM
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Jaded-Fan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doakes View Post
That's exactly the answer I was looking for, why the Pens went from pond hockey to responsible hockey, why and how.
What exactly did HCDB do?
Read HFboards and finally took our advice?

Hell do not discount it, it seems that he finally got Iggy off Malkin's line too.

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04-26-2013, 12:52 PM
  #9
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I think both of those games were their wake up calls and had they not changed they could easily be sitting 4th/5th as per usual.

Also, as the editions came in helped solidify those weak areas. Some guys were the main cogs in what they do without enough support and were getting an overloaded workload, some due to injuries.

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04-26-2013, 01:01 PM
  #10
alcanalz
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We had that two-and-a-half week stretch where we were letting in a metric-ton of goals and giving up too many chances. I think people are giving Vokoun too much credit for calling the team out. Don't get me wrong, loved it, but I'm pretty sure everyone in that dressing room knew they were giving up too many chances. It happens, things were going to tighten back up eventually. They did and we've never looked back.

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04-26-2013, 01:11 PM
  #11
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Honestly? Paul Martin. Not so much him as a player but his attitude change and play increase is reflective on the entire team. He came in this year and played his game, the game caused Shero to give him 5 mil. And everyone else did the same. Everyone did their own job. When that happens collectively, with an already stacked roster, good things happen.

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04-26-2013, 01:13 PM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcanalz View Post
We had that two-and-a-half week stretch where we were letting in a metric-ton of goals and giving up too many chances. I think people are giving Vokoun too much credit for calling the team out. Don't get me wrong, loved it, but I'm pretty sure everyone in that dressing room knew they were giving up too many chances. It happens, things were going to tighten back up eventually. They did and we've never looked back.
But in my opinion it was not about rah rah speeches. The effect of those never last long anyways. To my eyes the Pens adjusted.

Look, there is nothing wrong with the Bylsma's system per se. But every system has a counter. You can have the greatest passing game in NFL history and if you never run the ball you are going to lose games. The counter to the counter was to skate the puck up the ice. Letang looks like Coffey out there with the puck, and by merely making greater use of that option rather than try to put pressure on the defense with the long pass, it stops teams from just sitting there waiting to intercept the long pass.

Honestly I think that it was that simple.

That said, the Pens still have trouble with a Devil's type system/team. They spent the entire night in their own zone last night. Granted, it was a meaningless game which will effect play.

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04-26-2013, 01:16 PM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doakes View Post
That's exactly the answer I was looking for, why the Pens went from pond hockey to responsible hockey, why and how.
What exactly did HCDB do?
They played a responsible game for most of last season as well. It just fell apart at the end. It's not new, its just something that the players sometimes get away from for whatever reason.

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04-26-2013, 01:25 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PensFanSince1989 View Post
They played a responsible game for most of last season as well. It just fell apart at the end. It's not new, its just something that the players sometimes get away from for whatever reason.
Not true at all.

2012-13: 2.45 GAA
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/stats/by...ar=season_2012

2011-12: 2.63 GAA
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/stats/by...ar=season_2011

A slight improvement, but since February 1.3 GAA. The Pens for the first half of this year sucked defensively as badly this year as they did last year. To the point where we all were calling for Bylsma and Shero's heads, Bylsma's in particular.

Since the Pens changed whatever you come up with that they changed they way they play they have been a team who actually looks like it is built for playoff hockey. Adding all the grit that they did at the deadline made it even more so.

But this team since February has ZERO resemblance to last year's team, or even this year's team for the first half of the year. You do not need to look at stats, the eye test will tell you that.

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04-26-2013, 02:08 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PensFanSince1989 View Post
They played a responsible game for most of last season as well

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011%E...enguins_season

Between Oct 29, 2011 and the All Star Break (about Jan 25) they gave up 3+ goals in 25 games.

It is a large reason why they only went 6𣯔 in November and 7𤖪 in December.

They cleaned that up a bit for a while, but by the time April rolled around they had regressed again and a large number of people even at the end of the season seemed to had forgotten how bad the D had been earlier in the year.

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04-26-2013, 04:19 PM
  #16
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I think another big thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the signing of Mark Eaton. Not just because of how he's played (which has been quite solid and steady overall), but because he acted as a wakeup call to the rest of the defense and the team in general as to how we needed to tighten up. I may be overrating it a bit, but I feel that his presence back there (and with the team in general) acts as a tempering and calming force. The first game he played in was the 7-6 Montreal debacle, and I'm pretty sure our run of solid defensive play started not long after that.

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04-26-2013, 04:21 PM
  #17
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Dirty money and ugly K Street deals. The Penguins lobby is huge. Last year estimated to have spent 15 million on rules enforcement legislation alone. No one wins in the NHL without a lobbyist now. You guys know what Bettman did before he became a sports commissioner, right..... right??

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04-26-2013, 04:55 PM
  #18
PensFanSince1989
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iffyiffiffer View Post
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011%E...enguins_season

Between Oct 29, 2011 and the All Star Break (about Jan 25) they gave up 3+ goals in 25 games.

It is a large reason why they only went 6𣯔 in November and 7𤖪 in December.

They cleaned that up a bit for a while, but by the time April rolled around they had regressed again and a large number of people even at the end of the season seemed to had forgotten how bad the D had been earlier in the year.
The majority of last season was likely an exhagerration, but this tighter more defensively responsible play has always been in their repertoire. They just sometimes forget it. Hopefully they don't forget it these playoffs.

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04-26-2013, 05:00 PM
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Seems like the team turned the season around after we went down 4-1 vs the flyers that one game, and also we were able to get a bunch of streaks.

And IMO the team plays sloppy defence when they lose their composure, with the added veterans it will be unlikely it will happen this year.

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04-26-2013, 05:13 PM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iffyiffiffer View Post
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011%E...enguins_season

Between Oct 29, 2011 and the All Star Break (about Jan 25) they gave up 3+ goals in 25 games.

It is a large reason why they only went 6𣯔 in November and 7𤖪 in December.

They cleaned that up a bit for a while, but by the time April rolled around they had regressed again and a large number of people even at the end of the season seemed to had forgotten how bad the D had been earlier in the year.
Martin was crap and we had a crazy amount of injuries on defense last year, including Letang for 2 months during that span. That would explain it.

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04-26-2013, 05:23 PM
  #21
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They were on cruise control until Crosby went down. They lost the next 2 games and the top seed was pretty much still up in the air.

The Neal went down. With all the new additions, DB was forced to mix it up and all of the new guys gel'ed beautifully. The team defense as a whole was much improved and they got the goaltending they needed. Their penalty kill during the last winning streak was above average as well.

The last little winning streak sealed the deal and they ran away with the top seed.

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04-26-2013, 10:31 PM
  #22
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Good points by a lot of people in here so far.

A few things I've noticed...

First of all, our PP was an utter mess at the start of the year. Don't know about stats, but it was just dumb. Neal at the point to begin with...luckily that didn't last. But guys were very static and predictable, and the PP looked stagnant. Back then, we only seemed to be able to score PP goals off the rush.

Second, our D-Zone gap was inconsistent and oftentimes really lax. Playing a tighter defensive game has been critical to keep goals against down.

For the record, I don't actually have a problem with DB's stretch-pass breakout and forecheck hard when the puck is deep philosophy. I think it's a straightforward yet effective system that works for players of all skill levels. But as others have pointed out, we do have the talent to carry the puck in when the other team is expecting for us to abuse the stretch pass.

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04-26-2013, 10:33 PM
  #23
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Oh and honestly, many of our wins were Crosby just being out-of-this-world good. He started a bit slow, but before the injury, he was on fire.

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04-27-2013, 02:30 AM
  #24
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One thing I noticed during the win streak--- MAJOR change in discipline. We hardly took any penalties. When the referees gave us stupid penalties, we didn't become unglued and the wheels didn't fall off.

I think that's a huge key for the playoffs this year, because discipline destroyed us last year. They really need to think of this, because when the team is on track and disciplined, they have all the time in the world to just put into their defense on the puck on 5v5 situations, and don't tire themselves out on the PK.

We're almost unbeatable when not taking many penalties.

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05-01-2013, 11:57 AM
  #25
Jax1166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaded-Fan View Post
Not true at all.

Since the Pens changed whatever you come up with that they changed they way they play they have been a team who actually looks like it is built for playoff hockey.
That is the question, what and how did they change from playing pond style to this game they play now?
It's not just better goaltending, the way they play is different.
What adjustments were made?

Fewer stretch passes?
Changes in defensive positioning?

What changed the team from the 7-6 Montreal game to now?

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