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What Do The Pens Need to Fix? (Besides Fleury)

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Old
05-12-2013, 11:51 AM
  #1
JohnnyDrama21
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What Do The Pens Need to Fix? (Besides Fleury)

http://thefarmclub.net/2013/05/12/pi...etween-rounds/

I gotta give it to the Isles for fighting but the Pens have to be worried about things heading into round 2. Not all smooth sailing.

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05-12-2013, 12:14 PM
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Dying Alive
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I'm less worried about round two than I was about round one. I think getting through the first round will let them breathe much easier.

ETA: Not to say I think they're going to sail through the second round or anything, I just think they'll play better and smarter.

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05-12-2013, 12:19 PM
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TravisUlrich
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I get what you mean, DA. No disrespect to Ottawa, I'd feel the same with any opponent. The first round just seems like the round where if favourite is going to choke, that's when.

IMO, Ottawa has a drastically different style than the Islanders. It's a bit slowed down and it's a lot rougher and I think that plays a bit more to our strengths. Brenden Morrow was rendered pretty much useless against New York but I suspect he'll be worth his weight in gold against the bruising Ottawa blueline.

To answer the OP's question, let me just put my Midget Coach hat on for a second... There's a time and place for the stretch pass. It's good to keep the opposing D honest and not being over aggressive. But when it's your go-to, then they just hang back and trap you. That's why you also need a good breakout with short, controlled passes with front-side and back-side support. That means breaking out with all 5 guys on the ice sometimes.

Other than that, I think it's just a matter of concentrating on defending your own end first. I like seeing my team break up a play in our end and then have all 3 forwards breakout down the middle from the top of our slot. That let's me know that everyone is back and that the puck carrier is going to have a lot of options when they move the puck North.

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05-12-2013, 12:24 PM
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DoktorZaius
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When this team has been at its worst, it seems like the D-men aren't supporting the forwards, AND the forwards aren't supporting the D-men. That is, forwards aren't backchecking with speed and purpose, and D-men aren't pinching to keep pucks in the zone.

Fix those issues, and a lot of the huge errors will go away with them.

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05-12-2013, 12:28 PM
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Stecz
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Originally Posted by DoktorZaius View Post
When this team has been at its worst, it seems like the D-men aren't supporting the forwards, AND the forwards aren't supporting the D-men. That is, forwards aren't backchecking with speed and purpose, and D-men aren't pinching to keep pucks in the zone.

Fix those issues, and a lot of the huge errors will go away with them.
Well, that's just the one issue, really. If the forwards don't backcheck, your D aren't going to pinch as aggressively for fear of giving up an odd man rush. If the D aren't pinching, then the forwards are going to commit more to the forecheck to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. Figure out which came first and you've answered the problem.

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05-12-2013, 12:30 PM
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Aiastelmon
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A lot of good came out of the first round that will help them in round 2, and not just nerves and being tested, etc. Don't forget, this team has only been 100% healthy for a few games here. Iginla has been with Sid for two games, and he looks like a different player. He's much less tentative, and it shows in his skating and passing. Neal has room to improve his skating with a few days rest, and the lines are finally solidified.

I expect Morrow and Murray to have much better series with a more favorable matchup for their skillsets with Ottawa, and this should further stabilize their partner/linemates.

And not least of all, Vokoun should be cemented as the guy to stay in as a starter, or at least platoon with Fleury, giving us much needed stability in net.

This team has a lot of room to improve yet, without necessarily requiring "fixing".

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05-12-2013, 12:53 PM
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Jacob
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1. Pucks need to get out hard and deep consistently. None of these limp-wristed 4' high clears that can be easily intercepted and turned the other way. There was a shift yesterday where Cooke needed 3 attempts to get a puck into the corner, even though he had full possession under minimal pressure. You just can't have that.

2. Tighter breakouts. The stretch pass is fine occasionally but if the team is taking it away, don't bother. We need several breakouts as teams can interchange between several neutral zone systems throughout a game. Throwing the puck to flatfooted wingers on the wall is great if you need a line change but not if you're trying to create offense or keep possession.

3. Zero retaliatory penalties. Looking at Cooke, Malkin and Neal here.

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05-12-2013, 12:55 PM
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Darth Vitale
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Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
1. Pucks need to get out hard and deep consistently. None of these limp-wristed 4' high clears that can be easily intercepted and turned the other way. There was a shift yesterday where Cooke needed 3 attempts to get a puck into the corner, even though he had full possession under minimal pressure. You just can't have that.

2. Tighter breakouts. The stretch pass is fine occasionally but if the team is taking it away, don't bother. We need several breakouts as teams can interchange between several neutral zone systems throughout a game.

3. Zero retaliatory penalties. Looking at Cooke, Malkin and Neal here.

All good points. Especially the last one. Don't relish the idea of putting Karlsson on the man advantage on a regular basis.

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05-12-2013, 12:56 PM
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AquaticBirdman
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A little off topic, but still somewhat relevant. The other night I was discussing just how badly the Pens would get manhandled (based on our play against the Isles) by one of the big teams in the West like Chicago, Anaheim, or LA if we were to make it to the finals. However, I also thought about how 3 of the 4 deadline acquisitions Shero made (Iggy, Murray, Morrow) are all seasoned vets that have played their entire careers in the Wester Conference. Anyone else think that that was probably another reason as to why he got these guys? Due to their understanding of the WC brand of hockey?

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05-12-2013, 12:56 PM
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Jaded-Fan
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Replace Bylsma.

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05-12-2013, 12:59 PM
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AquaticBirdman
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Replace Bylsma.
The Pens getting to the 2nd round pretty much guaranteed his job for another decade.

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05-12-2013, 01:01 PM
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NastyNick
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Couple things to consider here:

The Pens held leads in game 2, 3, and 4 into the third period. In the playoffs, that is an extremely favorable position to be in. You should win most of those games. Fleury prevented the team from closing out those games like they should have. He gave up goals that no goalie should ever allow.

Without Fleury, it is highly likely this series ends in 4, maybe 5 games. And no one talks about how fiesty or tough the Islanders were. They talk about how the Penguins dominated and punched them out.

6 was a bit of an enigma. The Islanders held a lead in the 3rd, the Pens tied it and won. That hadn't happened all series. Gonna write that one off for being an elimination game at home.

If Vokoun plays next series, the Senators and Penguin haters abroad should not be expecting good things.

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05-12-2013, 01:04 PM
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Darth Vitale
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaticBirdman View Post
The Pens getting to the 2nd round pretty much guaranteed his job for another decade.
I'd say for every round he wins this year, tack another year onto his time horizon. Which, if he can learn to adjust to stuff (use more common sense lines like he is now) vs. forcing stuff that doesn't work, stop having love affairs with old grinders like Adams, I'm fine with it. Also stop trying to force guys out of their natural position and stop ignoring guys like Vitale who add real value in the face-off area and others.

As for what else needs fixing... not a lot else now, if we can retain Iggy for a couple more years and keep Malkin and Letang signed. Just the goalie situation. The depth is now very good. We won't keep all of our acquisitions but we don't need to either with Bortuzzo and Bennett and Despres ready for regular minutes starting next year.

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05-12-2013, 01:09 PM
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DoktorZaius
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Originally Posted by Stecz View Post
Well, that's just the one issue, really. If the forwards don't backcheck, your D aren't going to pinch as aggressively for fear of giving up an odd man rush. If the D aren't pinching, then the forwards are going to commit more to the forecheck to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. Figure out which came first and you've answered the problem.
Yeah. It's almost like our D and our Forwards aren't part of a team, but rather are mere bureaucrats just looking to tick off boxes of their assigned duties. So our D attempts a boneheaded pass, they can check off "attempted to get the puck up ice," without giving a **** whether it was an intelligent play or not.

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05-12-2013, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Chancellor Vitale View Post
I'd say for every round he wins this year, tack another year onto his time horizon. Which, if he can learn to adjust to stuff (use more common sense lines like he is now) vs. forcing stuff that doesn't work, stop having love affairs with old grinders like Adams, I'm fine with it. Also stop trying to force guys out of their natural position and stop ignoring guys like Vitale who add real value in the face-off area and others.

As for what else needs fixing... not a lot else now, if we can retain Iggy for a couple more years and keep Malkin and Letang signed. Just the goalie situation. The depth is now very good. We won't keep all of our acquisitions but we don't need to either with Bortuzzo and Bennett and Despres ready for regular minutes starting next year.
I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I want to stick up for Craig Adams. Adams is a very good penalty killer, hits people, handles pressure well, and does not take stupid penalties. He's the definition of "playoff" 4th liner.

Tanner Glass, on the other hand....

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05-12-2013, 01:34 PM
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Darth Vitale
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Yah I'm talking long-haul, regular season lineups for the most part. Adams has major playoff heart but at some point you give someone younger with heart (and better wheels) a shot. Maybe Bylsma is trying to groom Vitale to be the next Adams, who knows.

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05-12-2013, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Chancellor Vitale View Post
Yah I'm talking long-haul, regular season lineups for the most part. Adams has major playoff heart but at some point you give someone younger with heart (and better wheels) a shot. Maybe Bylsma is trying to groom Vitale to be the next Adams, who knows.
Yeah, I can totally see the day coming when Adams' wheels are gone and Disco Dan wont admit it, but for now he's the perfect 4th line utility guy. I would actually like to see Morrow-Vitale-Adams as the 4th line. That line would be so infuriating to play against.

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05-12-2013, 01:55 PM
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To much individual play. Players are running around and not supporting each other. Fix that and you fix the horrid defensive play, which fixes a lot of the goalie issues. The Pens will not go far with MAF or TV in net if they are contently getting out shot by a large margin.

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05-12-2013, 02:05 PM
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Ugene Malkin
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Originally Posted by Jaded-Fan View Post
Replace Bylsma.
Replace the system. Dan can stay if he can convert. They converted over to his system over one summer. You can make adjustments over one game. Drop back into the 1-3-1 and play some darn defense and thrive off of the turnovers like the Islanders did.

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05-12-2013, 02:13 PM
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Jaded-Fan
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Replace the system. Dan can stay if he can convert. They converted over to his system over one summer. You can make adjustments over one game. Drop back into the 1-3-1 and play some darn defense and thrive off of the turnovers like the Islanders did.
I will say that Bylsma did make one adjustment that pleased me, and I think did make a huge difference. When the Islanders sat back in those passing lanes you started to see a forward come back to support the puck carrier out of their own zone. And at times, though far fewer that I would have liked, I saw the defenseman look up, see the pass lane covered, and skate the puck up ice. Letang is one who seemed most resistant to doing this.

So Bylsma did seem to make an adjustment, long past when he should have, but did adjust his system. Or the players took it on themselves to do it. That would not surprise me in the least.

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05-12-2013, 02:15 PM
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Bylsma's system obviously isn't changing, so I won't harp on that.

A big thing that needs to happen in his system though is the defensemen HAVE to be more active. On the game tying goal and the game winner they were all from point shots from defensemen-something we didn't really get going all series long.

The breakout still has issues with dmen not skating it up.

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05-12-2013, 04:14 PM
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And when we are in their zone, our D-men haven't been doing a great job of helping to keep the puck deep/under our control. When our guys were sometimes backing off of what looked like 60/40 pucks in our favor, I feel like we were practically inviting the Islanders to have the puck and skate it into our zone, instead of keeping the pressure in their end. I get that DB didn't want our guys to get beat on breakaways, but our D-men being that hesitant wasn't doing our possession game -- and therefore our defensive play -- any favors.

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05-12-2013, 04:30 PM
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My biggest complaint is the stretch pass. It's a high risk play & constantly leads to turn overs in the neutral zone. Look at the Kings last year. A nice structure break out with all the forwards supporting their D-men to get the puck out.

Instead we just make some Hail Mary pass to our forwards standing at the redline or further then blame the defense men when it leads to a scoring chance the other way.

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05-12-2013, 04:41 PM
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IcedCapp
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long term, I still think the back end needs to be rebuilt. I don't know if it's system-related or not, but they seem to struggle with speed and a good forecheck. They fumble pucks, they make bad decisions, they can't "slow the game down" in their heads, and their first pass has been horrific.

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05-12-2013, 05:07 PM
  #25
billybudd
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As far as Vokoun being a ‘Stanley Cup’ goalie, I reference football, Trent Dilfer is probably the worst Super Bowl winning quarterback, but he is a Super Bowl winning quarterback. He wasn’t expected to win any games for the Ravens, his defense won them on their own. Vokoun isn’t going to make to flashy save, but he will make all the ones he is suppose to, and with the talent up front that should be all they need.
This paragraph sells Tomas Vokoun quite a bit short. Dilfer isn't a multiple runner up for offensive player of the year whereas Vokoun has received quite a few Vezina votes over his career.

If Michael Neuvirth is to be believed, Vokoun signed with Pittsburgh not because he couldn't find a starting job, but because he couldn't find a starting job with a cup contender. Vokoun figured Pittsburgh was his best bet at stealing one, again, if Neuvirth is to be believed.

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