Very frustrating game to watch. I only half-watched it, so forgive me if I give out ďplusesĒ to guys who shat the bed while I wasnít looking...
I donít understand the Xs and Os of defense, but Iím aware enough to notice that his decision making is way better than it was last season. I noticed him pinching at the right time on several occasions and refraining from doing so when it was appropriate.
Niskanen: What a steal this guy was. I think heís a great partner for Letang. He actually plays a similar game to Letang, but his skillset is obviously dialed down in all departments.
Despres: I think his decision making was better tonight than it was in the first two games. He still makes mistakes, but I think heís in the process of adjusting. Itís clear that this guy has the tools.
Crosby: How many giveaways tonight? Often, people put Sid in the ďminusĒ category when he plays anything less than exceptionally well. But tonight, even with his goal, he was bad by any objective standard. Several completely unforced giveaways in the offensive zone, most of which were on the PP. Donít force that cross seam pass; only take it when itís there!
Tangradi: Iím definitely one whoís in favor of giving the Big Dog his chance right now. These are the kinds of games Iím expecting from him...full of mistakes and learning experiences. Still, I call a spade a spade, and tonight he was bad. He terribly misread an offensive zone entry when he had a great chance to send Malkin streaking and later a poor decision he made while entering the offensive zone led to a goal in his own end (funny, I noticed that they did a segment on this during the 2nd intermission).
PP: It doesnít matter that Geno scored one. Iíve said this before and Iíll say it again: this team needs to give legitimate time to a second PP unit...almost irrespective of who mans that unit. For too many years, the expectation has been that the first unit plays 1.5 mins+ on the PP. I think their repeated giveaways can be partially attributed to this. They go for a low percentage play, it gets broken up, they circle up and try again. Psychologically, 60 second PP shifts will force them to simplify things.
Penalties: I donít think that the Pens played a terribly undisciplined game, and one or more of those boarding calls could have gone either way, but nonetheless, you put yourself in a difficult position to win hockey games when you spend that much time shorthanded.
Pretty sure this is what set Bylsma off. Problem is that all of the juggling made things worse and took away any cohesion the Pens might have gained in terms of investing by rolling lines.
As frustrating as that was, I think it's just a matter of effort and focus. The team had little of either tonight, and it showed. Fleury played well, the PK held up very well despite the idiocy of the refs, and we created some chances. The boys just have to want it more and play a little smarter; after that, it should all fall into place.
Rough one. Genos line was a minus 3 and couldn't seem to do anything right.
Kudos to Duper, I think he's been 87's go to so far this year and have really enjoyed his game.
87 had a rough start but I thought he was much much better after getting that assist. Anyone notice that whenever he plays with talent he has a dominant shift (ex. Geno and Neal). Lends to thr argument of getting him a linemate.
Fleury was pretty bad, he still is overplaying shots horribly.
Crosby was making bad passes all night, although glad him and Geno finally scored.
Overall a pretty bland effort.
Lest anyone accuse me of saying otherwise, Geno was absolute ****.
Actually, strike that. He was pretty good until he spent 6 minutes in the second away from the ice. Then, he gets put out right after the kill, where the message is 'do something', and he ***** the bed. The rest of his day just flowed from that.
4 minutes of playing time for Tangradi. I think he's done. Bylsma doesn't have a vision for what kind of player he is & in this league if you don't kill penalties or play on a PP unit you are the odd man out.
We miss Staals offense. Sutter just doesn't have that aspect to his game.
To Jiggy, mpp9, me, and all of the other people here who insist that Nikolai Kulemin would be well worth the overpayment it would take to get him.
I couldn't give a **** if that kid scores 7 goals or 30 goals. He's big. He wins battles for the puck. He's fast for his size. His positioning is awesome. And anyone who thinks that isn't the kid to complete the Geno and Neal line is nuts.
Come on, folks. This is one regular season meaningless game. Don't get caught up in drama. Don't let 1 or 2 trolls get ya.
It's good to need to work on something. We are still 2-1 and got Winnipeg and Ottawa coming up.
Both interesting tests. We fell back into the track meet, undisciplined bull**** tonight against the Leafs. We were susceptible to the same thing last year against Winnipeg and Ottawa especially. Let's see if this was the wake up call that you and I hope.
Anyway, I thought Crosby was okay, not great. Had some good plays, some bad ones. Still not fully up to speed yet. As noted by KIRK above, Malkin was fine until all the penalties kept him off the ice. He was poor after that. My patience is wearing with Tangradi. Not many +'s to come out of this one.
+ Paul Martin and Craig Adams helped set the tone for what should have been a very close tilt.
+ All things considered, our PK did a hell of a job tonight.
- Some bad calls were made and the team got frustrated.
- Some more bad calls were made and the team went to ****. It's hard to blame them though, I imagine it gets pretty damn exhausting when you are constantly killing penalties.
- defeatist attitudes whenever the Pens are down by 1.
At the end of the day, the team played like ****. It happens. They may or may not have played worse as a result of the **** officiating, but it doesn't really matter. ****** officiating is as much a part of the NHL as beer and bruises. Some games we'll win the draw. Brush yourselves off and get ready for the next game.
+ Perhaps this game will get a bit of the outsized exuberance out of some of our board. We were not as good in the two first games as many wanted to make out, and still have a good deal to work on.
+ James Reimer. Had at least a handful of great stops keeping the Leafs in it at first and preventing a come back second. Fleury didn't have a bad game as such, but a few of those Leafs goals he had a chance on at least, and ultimately the discrepancy in goalie performance was the major factor in todays game.
+ Leafs defense 5 on 5. Great support from the forwards and they won most the battles.
- Reffing. Pathetic penalty calls in numbers.
- Geno's line. Didn't establish itself in the offensive zone as much as we want/need it to, Geno's faceoffs not helping and of course Geno's turnover in the second put us behind the 8'ball. So it amounts to a clear minus game from Geno even if he had the chances to score a hattrick. To preempt KIRK, I am just going to say that Geno was very good until that turnover, coming after 5/6 minutes of Leafs PP time where he didn't see a shift. It doesn't excuse poor play afterwards, but WHY is this man not getting PK time rather than take him out of the flow completely?
(EDIT - I see I didn't preempt anything )
-/+ Crosby in the first half of the game/Crosby in the second half of the game.
- PP. Sid got that assist yes, but man is he ever looking off on the PP so far this season.
- Kunitz. Alround terrible.
- Engelland. Poor defensive game from Deryk today.
+ Brooks/Martin. Only pairing looking genuinely solid today.