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The Confluence

Not Exactly the Start Penguins were Shooting for

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) stretches to make a save on a shot by Philadelphia Flyers Jeff Carter (17) during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 7, 2010. REUTERS/ Jason Cohn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

I was sitting around after last night’s 3-2 Opening Night loss to the Flyers in kind of a daze.  For the life of me, I just couldn’t find the right adjective to describe the Penguins’ performance.

Jittery?  Nervous?  Erratic?  Tentative?  Sloppy?

Whatever the right word, it’s one game folks.  Some other observations;

- I’ve already read some comments on the Penguins’ powerplay, which went 1-for-5, saying it’s just as bad as before.  The bottom line of any powerplay is goals scored, of course, but if you can’t see how much better the Pens looked, I’m not sure what you’re looking at.  Does it need work?  Obviously.  But in my opinion, you simply cannot compare the PP of the past few years, which was basically Gonchar and Malkin playing catch with each other, to the new system.

- Now I will say this about the powerplay: 

Get Evgeni Malkin off the left point

.  I just don’t understand the rationale.  Why remove the option of having one of the best one-timers in the league on your right point and/or right half-wall?  Also, Alex Goligoski has to pull the trigger eventually.  As Eddie O said numerous times during his time in the Pens’ broadcast both, just get the puck on net.  Doesn’t need to be fancy, doesn’t need to be 100MPH.  Just get the damn thing in there.

- Lots of sloppy, no-look passes.  Take your pick how you chalk it up.  Of course, this includes the horrendous pass by Kris Letang that led to the short-handed goal by Claude Giroux.  But Letang’s gaffe wasn’t nearly the only one.  Maybe it’s just another example of how the Penguins just get too cutesy at home, especially the first game at their brand new home.

- Kudos to Tyler Kennedy for earning the first Penguins goal in the history of the Consol Energy Center.  Kennedy has easily been the fan’s whipping boy during the offseason and preseason, but he played as well as just about any of his teammates.

- While we’re giving the kudos, how about another one for Eric Tangradi.  Did not seem out of place at all, did a nice job at puck possession along the boards and laid out a few good hits.  He deserves to stay with the big boys, whether that remains the case is still up in the air.

- Speaking of hits, the Penguins were awarded 32 hits last night.  They should thank the NHL official who was giving those, that seems awfully generous.  Where the hell was the physical play last night?  Saw a couple decent shots by Brooks Orpik, but overall a relatively tame outing, especially considering the Flyers were in town.

- Solid performance by Marc-Andre Fleury.  The three goals he gave up were very tough to defend;  the tip by Briere, the deflection that he stopped, only to be tapped in by the wide-open Betts, and the short-handed goal by Giroux was simply a great move.

- Stick-tap to Sergei Bobrovsky.  But let’s not get carried away.  He played a solid game, to be sure, but he certainly had things going his way.  How many posts did the Penguins hit?  The biggest thing for me is that the Penguins never forced Bobrovsky to make a great save.  Plenty of Penguins’ shots simply were shot right into his chest.

- I’m more impressed by Zbynek Michalek everytime I see him.  He blocked four shots, which is his forte’, but I was also impressed at how he moves the puck in the offensive zone.  Very fluid, and is adept at getting pucks on net.

- As I mentioned on Twitter before the game, really disappointed that Versus got this game and not FSN.  While the Penguins had their outstanding opening night ceremony linked below, Versus showed some lame-ass band in Toronto.  You know if FSN had this game, they would have showed.100% of the pregame show.  The only thing Versus showed was Mario putting the Igloo water on the ice.  Gee, thanks.

- Next up on Saturday night is the chance for revenge as the Montreal Canadiens visit.  I’ll be there on press row, and Internet access permitting, I’ll be half-ass live blogging.

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Comments

Russian Rocket's avatar

The bottom line of any powerplay is goals scored, of course, but if you can’t see how much better the Pens looked, I’m not sure what you’re looking at.

Couldn’t agree more.  Movement was there, players were in front causing screens, shooting lanes were open.  Results will come.  I also agree on putting Malkin to the right near the boards.  Put Letang or Martin on the left point. 

Sid also seemed eager to shoot, which is nice, but he looked like Letang trying to break the glass and dent the boards.

Posted by Russian Rocket on 10/08/10 at 10:59 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

No they didn’t same old shit as last season, Forcing passes when they are wide open to shoot, Sid in his Birthright spot on the RW Boards, Eventually sticking Gino on the LW Boards, This Coaching Staff is a Dumb as a stump, Pound a round peg into a square hole or if that doesn’t work keep pounding the round peg until it’s gone & tell everyone see it worked

The wingers on this team just like last season are atrocious, When you have Kunitz & the loser of the SO competition for Oct. on Sid’s line that is all you need to know about them.

Gino is not now, nor ever will be a Winger or a point man on the PP another example of pathetically inept coaching & the pound a round peg into a square hole mentality they have

Posted by Evilpens on 10/08/10 at 11:09 AM ET

Avatar

Here are a couple of my observations from the couch I was sitting on:

- The ice must have been horrible, because both teams could not seem to settle the puck down at all. 

- Passes were off the mark all evening from nearly everyone including Crosby to Malkin.

- Letang was horrible on more than just that one play.  He was throwing passes at 200 MPH to his partner at about 5 feet away. 

- Paul Martin is going to end up being the whipping boy this year most likely.  His salary will be the culprit.  Just like Gonchar in year 1 was.  But Martin will get better once he begins to understand that the system in NJ isn’t what HCDB wants to see.

- MAF almost proved the whole, “He makes big saves when he has to” theory discussed yesterday prior to the game.

- Not sure what Orpik was thinking on his one penalty.  Was it just me, or was anyone else thinking “what the hell is he doing over there”?

- Crosby seemed to be out of gas in the third.  This could be because of no significant playing time leading up to this game from preseason, but maybe not.

- Comrie and Letestu better start burying their chances, or comparisons to Koltsov, Fata, and Kraft are going to begin to appear.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 10/08/10 at 11:14 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 10/08/10 at 10:09 AM ET

The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!  Fire Bylsma!

I loved the way the PP looked last night.  Lots of movement - both puck and body-wise - and we saw a couple of different looks.  That second unit is sort of a mishmash one right now without Staal, too.  I think getting a healthy #11 out there will make a world of difference on that unit.

I agree about getting Malkin to the right side, though.  Whether it be on the point or more along the lines of where Stamkos and Ovie sit on their respective PP units - in the circle…only the right one. 

But, honestly, if Sid’s post-shot goes in the net and they’re able to bury another on one of those plays where Bobrovsky is swimming around in the crease, we’re talking about a 3/5 night…and only listening to EP oh-so eloquently bitching about wingers (for the millionth year in a row).

Oh, and was it just me…or did the ice look like garbage last night?  Need to fix that.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 10/08/10 at 11:35 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Flashtastick56   Yep I heard the Same Shit from You KOOL-AID drinkers last season after the fast start where they were a .500 hockey, It went something like this “Wait till the playoffs start & the Real Pens will show up” and ........................................... What happened ??? Played the same as they did in the regular season, In other words STUNK

Einstein’s definition on insanity is this ” Doing the same thing over & over & over & expecting different results” Somehow you little Boy Bandwagon fans think that Being a fan is being Josef Goebbels & constantly throwing out your Propaganda thinking that it will change other peoples minds

Posted by Evilpens on 10/08/10 at 11:45 AM ET

Stilly's avatar

“the wingers on this team just like last season are atrocious, When you have Kunitz & the loser of the SO competition for Oct. on Sid’s line that is all you need to know about them. “

EvilPens… I’m not sure what all of the bitching about the wings is about.  From that comment you seem to insinuate they suck because they didn’t score much.  Do we really have to go over this again?  The Pens were 20th on the power play, and still managed to end up 5th in the league in scoring.  Scoring wasn’t the problem last season.  It was preventing goals. 

Sloppy neutral zone play, mental mistakes, and turnovers were the big reason for the loss last night.  Some of that can probably be contributed to the poor ice conditions.  Philly played a good road game.  They played really good defense in front of BobRoss-ki, used a heavy forecheck to force mistakes and made the Pens pay for them.  Basically a vintage Laviolette game.

Posted by Stilly on 10/08/10 at 12:07 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

[Sloppy neutral zone play, mental mistakes, and turnovers were the big reason for the loss last night./b] HMMMMM sounds a lot like Last season & the Playoffs

Oh & the Wingers you mean like A rookie Tangradi who’s going to get sent down as soon as Asham is healthy & TK who was on the bubble to make the team were their best Wingers   Dupuis Whiffs on a Perfect Pass on a 2-1 geez yeah that hasn’t happened before, & guess who is next?? Montreal who came up with the blueprint to beat the Pens & Then the Devils who domiinated the Pens & oh tyeah it’s a afternoon game which the Pens Suck at   @0th on the PP & lost their PP QB, Who’s going to replace him?? Gogo ?? Letang who gets a shot on net as often as the Pittsburgh pirats win

Posted by Evilpens on 10/08/10 at 12:15 PM ET

Stilly's avatar

I never mentioned Tangradi.  What I said was that scoring goals wasn’t the Pens’ biggest problem last season.  They didn’t do a whole lot to improve scoring.  They did a whole lot to improve the defense.  It’s been one game.  Not a big enough sample size to make any judgments about anything.

Posted by Stilly on 10/08/10 at 12:21 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

It wasn’t ??? Go check the Playoffs slick! Playoffs are all that matters, Phllthy made it into the Playoffs on the last day of the season & went to the SC Finals, Go check any preview of the Pens/EC this season, They will all have in it the statement of"Who is going to score other than Sid & Gino” that is done by experts OK Not KOOL-AID drinkers, Not Guys like me that complain, It’s supposedly unbiased people looking at the Penguins

Posted by Evilpens on 10/08/10 at 12:35 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Somehow you little Boy Bandwagon fans think that Being a fan is being Josef Goebbels & constantly throwing out your Propaganda thinking that it will change other peoples minds

Somehow you think that being a “real” fan involves calling the coaching staff “inept” and “dump as a stump”, telling everyone in comment sections of your favorite hockey blogs how the players on your favorite team “SUCK OUTLOUD !!!” and continuing the age-old tradition of pining for “wingers for Sid (tm).

So, Mr. “The-Pens-will-never-win-a-Cup-with-Fleury-in-net-and-Staal-as-a-third-line-center-making-$4-million-per-year-Goligoski-sucks-OUT-LOUD-WE-NEED-WINGERS-FOR-CROSBY-!!!!”, I’ll happily stick to being upbeat and positive and continue believing in my favorite sports franchise in the world.  You can stick to being a Pens fan that acts like a Steelers fan.

@0th on the PP & lost their PP QB, Who’s going to replace him?? Gogo ??

Longing for the days of Gonchar already?  Isn’t he the same guy you’ve been saying is too old and is terrible in his own end?

Dupuis Whiffs on a Perfect Pass on a 2-1

Never happened.  Unless you mean where Hartnell backchecked like a madman and got a stick on either the puck or Dupuis stick as he was shooting.  Hardly Dupes’ fault.

Posted by Stilly on 10/08/10 at 11:21 AM ET

Dude, Evilpens can’t read too good.  Or put together sentences without random capitalization.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 10/08/10 at 12:59 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Montreal who came up with the blueprint to beat the Pens

Yeah, they finally cracked the Enigma code that was the Penguins last season…

Phllthy made it into the Playoffs on the last day of the season & went to the SC Finals

...which they lost… to a FAR superior team.

Einstein’s definition on insanity is this “ Doing the same thing over & over & over & expecting different results”

I have a feeling Einstein, if he were alive today, would simply scream “VARIABLES” and throw your books on the floor.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/08/10 at 01:08 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Aaaah, hockey’s back…. wink

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 10/08/10 at 01:36 PM ET

Avatar

Dupuis Whiffs on a Perfect Pass on a 2-1 geez yeah that hasn’t happened before, & guess who is next??

That was actually a great play by Hartnell.

As far as wingers go, I think pens fans have to just come to the realization that the opportunity to have a Hossa like winger again is going to have to come through the draft at an entry level contract or at the expense of a lesser defense.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 10/08/10 at 02:05 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Flashtastick56 Oh genius +/- Boy is back, You forgot to post “Just Sayin”  sick

Posted by Evilpens on 10/08/10 at 02:11 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

  Phllthy made it into the Playoffs on the last day of the season & went to the SC Finals

...which they lost… to a FAR superior team. J.J. from Kansas Oh How Nice J.J. Finally got over his Menstrual cramps about Brook Orpik “Cheap Shot”  on the Jackass err Mule


By the way genius that statement was lifted from a rant on the Genius above quoting again Reg. season stats & my point which obviously missed by you was the Flyers made the Playoffs on the last game of the season in a SO which they had to win to make the playoffs Reg. season stats don’t mean anything, Playoffs is what matters for teams that look at themselves as SC contenders

Posted by Evilpens on 10/08/10 at 02:17 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Aaaah, hockey’s back….

Indeed.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 10/08/10 at 02:22 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Flashtastick56 Oh genius +/- Boy is back, You forgot to post “Just Sayin” 

Posted by Evilpens on 10/08/10 at 01:11 PM ET

Actually, I’m only a borderline genius.  Thanks for the upgrade, though.

Einstein’s definition on insanity is this “ Doing the same thing over & over & over & expecting different results”

I have a feeling Einstein, if he were alive today, would simply scream “VARIABLES” and throw your books on the floor.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/08/10 at 12:08 PM ET

To which Evilpens would, I’m sure, quote a “Little Rascal”, sarcastically call him a “genius” and tell him he “Sucks Out Loud !!!” while also demanding that Einstein trade Staal to acquire wingers for Crosby.

And, scene.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 10/08/10 at 02:28 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Oh How Nice J.J. Finally got over his Menstrual cramps about Brook Orpik “Cheap Shot” on the Jackass err Mule

So what you’re saying is that it’s inherently bad to be a female?  I’m not sure if it was Andrew Dice Clay who said this or if this is a J.J. original, but misogyny is a great way to pick up chicks.

Reg. season stats don’t mean anything

That’s why everybody makes the playoffs, right?

Nobody misses any of your points because you never make any.

Hey, if regular season stats don’t mean anything, then why are you panicking about the Penguins after their first regular season game? 

You keep bitching like this for 82 games and you’re going to get mighty thirsty.  Might I recommend some Kool-Aid?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/08/10 at 02:53 PM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar

Haw haw haw,

This is more fun than watching a buzzard on a gut wagon.

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 10/08/10 at 08:20 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Who else knew that EP wouldn’t have a thing to say after JJ schooled him?

Boom goes the dynamite.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 10/09/10 at 07:24 PM ET

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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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