Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
In the five full seasons Bylsma has been at the helm for the Penguins since winning the 2009 Stanley Cup, he has forged this team's identity into his own. That has resulted in five mostly marvelous regular seasons and five unsatisfying postseasons.
From a tactical standpoint, several portions of the system the team played overwhelmed or confused current and former players, particularly on defense. Ben Lovejoy was a middling borderline NHL defensemen with the Penguins. After being traded to the Ducks early in the 2012-13 season, he became a top-four defenseman for head coach Bruce Boudreau who by his own admission, likes "to keep things simple."
The Penguins' unyielding adherence to their system allowed for any flexibility for the unique skillsets of players. As a result, marvelously talented players such Simon Despres and Beau Bennett have either languished in roles below their abilities at the NHL level or been marooned in the AHL while trust and ice time has been entrusted to players with limited abilities such as Deryk Engelland and Chris Conner.
While Bennett and Despres are hardly without blame for their stagnant development, no one can fairly say they were put in a position to succeed.
Beyond the X's and O's, the adage that "every coach is hired to be fired" appears to have finally come true for Bylsma.
continue for the a in-depth look at the current state of the Penguins...
from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Of the 20 Penguins who participated in Game 7 against the New York Rangers, eight are 30 or older. Two other 30-somethings, defenseman Brooks Orpik and right wing Pascal Dupuis, likely would have been in the lineup had they been healthy.
Once the league's fresh-faced team, the Penguins should be searching for youthful legs this summer.
But getting younger in free agency isn't realistic, and the Penguins' system isn't blessed with an impact forward at the AHL level, though many young defensemen could be ready.
And while the Penguins' stars are still young, they aren't kids anymore.
This summer, Sidney Crosby turns 27 and Evgeni Malkin turns 28.
Mario Lemieux never won a Stanley Cup past 26. Wayne Gretzky won his last championship at 27. Hockey is a young man's game, and while the Penguins' stars aren't old by any stretch, their championship window isn't as wide as it once was.
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Ownership favored firing Bylsma as of Wednesday, the sources said.
Ownership believed Bylsma lost the dressing room this season, specifically the support of franchise centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the sources said.
Players were unhappy with Bylsma's numerous meetings and long practices and the decreasing sense of fun within the Penguins' daily environment, the sources said.
Crosby and Malkin also grew disenchanted with perceived harsh criticism they received from Bylsma during meetings, the sources said.
Also, the sources said, ownership was concerned about the Crosby's body language during the playoffs.
I am sure we will be finding out the answers in the coming days but for now we can watch Sidney Crosby's reaction to the game last night.
from Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
- The Consol crowd takes its knocks, some deserved, some not, but the place was fantastic for this one, and let no one tell you otherwise. Sad to say, but they wound up more invested in these playoffs than the participants.
- That said, the scene at the end spoke volumes about the dissatisfaction with the franchise right now. Boos were loud right at the final horn. A couple of objects made it to the ice. But then, in what was most striking, all through the handshake line, the boos built up, then topped out as the Penguins left the ice. In other words, people stayed to boo.
- The Penguins gave up 15 total goals in a seven-game series and lost. If you think this was about Marc-Andre Fleury, you’re chirping an old narrative.
- We’ve almost surely seen the last game in a Pittsburgh sweater from Brooks Orpik, the franchise’s all-time most tenured defenseman. What a first-round pick, what a force, what an outstanding person.
more including links to more stories on the Penguins...
First up, the Chicago Blackhawks post-game in the dressing room...
Below, three more videos...
The New York Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 tonight to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against either Boston or Montreal.
Here is the game winning goal by Brad Richards...
from Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post,
There was an ominous cloud hovering over the Penguins as they prepared for Game 7 Tuesday night against the indomitable surging force the Rangers had become in Games 5 and 6.
A palpable air of angst hung in the Penguins dressing room after the morning skate, with players sounding as if they were talking themselves into believing that there was not more pressure on them despite being favored to win Game 7 in their building after squandering a 3-1 series lead on a seemingly gassed Rangers team.
“There’s enough pressure out there – outside pressure – all kinds of crap going around, so we might as well make it fun,’’ Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen said.
Niskanen made it clear the “outside pressure’’ and “crap’’ to which he referred was coming from the media, which has painted a picture of the Penguins as an underachieving team with two of the sport’s best players (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) that barely survived the Islanders in the playoffs last year, barely got out of the Columbus series in round one this year and was facing the prospect of blowing a 3-1 lead to the Rangers.
By Tom Murray,
The timing was curious, to say the very least.
Sometime around 8:30PM EST on Monday evening, the NHL announced that Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was being fined $5,000 for the “unsportsmanlike conduct” it deemed he exhibited when he squirted Sidney Crosby with his water bottle after the final buzzer of the Rangers victory in Sunday night’s Game 6 showdown at Madison Square Garden.
This news came in the wake of an earlier, unofficial, wave of stories which indicated there would be no fine for Lundqvist.
No problem with the fine for Hank. After all, the league had already established a no tolerance policy for water-based frivolity, fining Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton over $2,800 for his not-so-surreptitious Sunday night squirt of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. Thornton was sitting on the bench when he squeezed; P.K. was part of the play taking place right in front of the Bruins bench.
(Lundqvist got a stiffer fine, the maximum allowed the NHL’s Players Association, because he makes a lot more money than Thornton’s $1.1 million salary.)
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
The whispers and questions about Sidney Crosby have begun. Is Sid the Kid still the best hockey player in the world?
Seems sacrilege even to debate it.
But not the way he and the Penguins are performing lately.
And not the way Jonathan Toews is playing. Toews may well overtake Crosby for the title these playoffs.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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