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Lethargic Penguins Dominated by Leafs, 5-2

As I mentioned when we got the blog back up and running, I'm not going to do the game preview/recap thing anymore.

Usually.

There will be exceptions, and after the embarrassing display the Penguins (and the soldout crowd) put on last night in their 5-2 loss to Toronto, this is one of them.

As we've seen throughout the first week of this abbreviated NHL regular season, it was a familiar result for the team in its home opener.

And frankly, it was a familiar scenario when the Penguins have lost games in recent years, but especially at home.  Too damn cute.  Blind passes.  Extra passes.  The vast majority of which resulted in turnovers, of course.

But the overwhelming thing that I took away from this game, the home opener, was the absolutely dead atmosphere, on and off the ice, at the Consol "Energy" Center.  Well, at least for last night, it was more like the Consol Mausoleum.

Amazingly, a record crowd of 18,641 sounded like it was half that much.  The pregame introductions of the team  was met by lukewarm applause, and it continued throughout the game with the fans basically sitting on their hands.  Perhaps it was because they were in the huge lines for the 50% discounts at the PensGear stores, or for the free food vouchers.  Personally, I'll attribute some of it to those reasons, but it's frankly more of the same from the crowds at CEC.  Night and day compared to the Igloo. 

And the Penguins' were no more lively than the fans, that's for sure.

The Pens were completely lethargic the entire game.  Even when they scored their two goals, there was zero emotion from the players.  You could see it within the first five minutes of the game or so.  The Leafs were out-hustling, out-working and beating the Penguins for nearly every puck.  And most importantly, the Leafs simply threw the puck at the damn net, and that resulted in at least two goals.

No Penguins should be exempt from criticism, and that includes the heavyweights.  Both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin committed bad turnovers, with Malkin's directly resulting in a goal.

And lastly, the Penguins must quickly figure out what they're going to do with Eric Tangradi.  Maybe last night will turn up to be the exception rather than the rule.  But when your 2nd line winger doesn't even get 5 minutes of ice time, that's a problem, my friends.  But that's a separate article in itself.

But there is a bright side.  Frankly, the worst thing that could happen to this Penguins team right now is to have a bunch of games at home with their subdued crowd.  They need to get back on the road to a hostile atmosphere, like where they were over this past weekend in Philly and NYC.  Well, that's exactly what the schedule has for the Pens, as they head to Winnipeg on Friday night, followed by another road game in Ottawa on Sunday.

I wouldn't be shocked at all to see a much more focused, determined Penguins team that leaves Winnipeg with a big win.

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Comments

Lindas1st's avatar

To many passes hitting skates, being tipped or being picked off. Not to mention one that was right on the opponents tape in the slot.
I thought after the Pens killed off the all those penalties in the second they would be okay. That was until Geno’s give away in which the Leafs scored. After that play the Pens just got frustrated and got away from playing thier game.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 01/24/13 at 11:16 AM ET

Russian Rocket's avatar

I think the Tangradi experiment is over. He can’t skate well enough to have his size make an impact. His stick skills aren’t doing him any favors and his shot leaves a lot to be desired.

There doesn’t appear to be a better option internally (Let Beau develop in the A). I hope Shero is exploring all options.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 01/24/13 at 11:17 AM ET

Tony's avatar

Well, he’s wheeling and dealing today, so who knows….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 01/24/13 at 11:22 AM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

I was at the game and was also completely confused by the lack of enthusiasm from most members of the crowd. I expected the place to erupt during the intros, but no luck. (I can only be so loud by myself!)

The Pens skated skated pretty well in the first, but it was like they quit after that.

Tangradi is awful. He just does nothing out there. One of his giveaways at the offensive zone blue line directly led to a Leafs goal. I had high hopes for him, but I’m done with that.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Chicago, IL on 01/24/13 at 11:31 AM ET

Tony's avatar

Yeah Jeff, I feel another post brewing about Tangradi, but I agree.

The problem is what to do about it if HCDB makes changes…..

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 01/24/13 at 12:02 PM ET

Avatar

The lack of enthusiasm was odd—from the team, too, as you pointed out.  Being there, I was surprised even during the intros, how lackadaisical the players appeared to be.  I kept expecting them to charge out of the runway and look excited to be playing their first home game in such a long time, but everything seemed to take such a loooong time and most of them just kind of ho-hummed it.  And the crowd responded in kind. 

I agree with you that the CEC crowds are quiet, but I can’t criticize them too much.  I have to admit when I go to a hockey game, I do watch the game.  I’m not standing up and I’m not screaming.  And I don’t have the ability to keep up a running commentary like the two guys behind me in Sec. 213, who had already used up every hockey cliche within the first ten minutes and so had to keep recycling those.  (At least they admitted they didn’t know anything about hockey….!)  Trust me guys, the rest of us had already figured that out. wink

Glad to have you back, Tony!

Posted by Lex Talionis on 01/24/13 at 01:17 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Thanks Lex, appreciate it….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 01/24/13 at 01:52 PM ET

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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