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The Confluence

Off Day Notes:  Standing eight-count, indeed….

For whatever reason, I read Damien Cox’s article in the Toronto Star this morning, and his opening phrase just hit the nail on the head in my mind:

“In shocking fashion, the champs have taken a standing eight-count.”

However, staying with the boxing analogies, while I certainly concur that the Penguins have knocked the Wings to the canvas in knotting the series up at two games apiece, I can’t help but wonder:

Are the Wings merely playing Rope-a-Dope ??

For you youngins out there, Muhammad Ali was well known for that tactic, where he would lean against the ropes, allowing his opponent to attempt to wail away at his head, which was covered by his hands and arms.  Then, when his opponent tired or made a mistake, Ali would pounce.

Are we seeing the same thing from the Wings ??  Is it simply a matter of time before the “real” Wings show up and put the Penguins away once and for all ??

I don’t think so.  The Wings of course may still win this series, but it probably won’t be in a dominating fashion.  I believe the series being all square at two games each is no fluke at all.  The Penguins, slowly but surely, have made everyone who are watching objectively believe that they are legitimate contenders to win the Cup.

The Pens have utilized their underrated defense and their underrated physical play to their advantage.  The result, especially in last night’s Game Four, was a Wings team that was spent.  It was a Wings team that could rarely gather in a loose puck before their Penguins counterpart grabbed it first.  It was a Wings team that was giving up odd-man rushes like it was going out of style.

A short-handed goal after the Wings had been on a powerplay for three straight minutes.  A 2-on-1 break that resulted in Crosby’s goal.  A 3-on-2 break that resulted in Kennedy’s goal.  Even a 4-on-2 break that Evgeni Malkin waited a second too long before firing a wrister that was deflected out of play.  That’s not the Wings defense that I’m used to seeing.

Of course, all of that can be a moot point, for one game at least, if the Wings come out flying Saturday night back in Detroit and take it to the Penguins.  That said, although they were able to come away with wins, they didn’t outplay the Penguins at all in the first two games in Detroit.  It can be argued that the Penguins should have left Detroit the first time around with at least one game.  Where would we be if that had happened ??

The Wings will be back in front of their home crowd, which will naturally pump them up and give them the extra boost that perhaps they might not have had on the road.  And will we finally see Pavel Datsyuk ??  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s back, but I also believe that it’s pretty clear that that foot is broken.

Other items:

- Sssssshhhhhhhhh.  Don’t wake up Marian Hossa.

- Only 500 tickets on sale for Tuesday’s Game Six this Monday at 10am.  Looks like the NHL and/or the Pens have more comp tickets to give away to their buddies.

- The third line of Tyler Kennedy, Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke have really improved their cycling the last couple of games.  They may not come away with goals that often, but what they’re doing is tiring the defense.

- Is it just me, or does Ruslan Fedotenko get about five prime scoring chances a game ??

- Estimated crowd of 6,000 outside the Igloo watching the game on the big screen, which of course is done for the year because of NBC’s idiocy.  Just amazing you can cram that many people in that little space.  I had heard earlier that the police had to close Washington Pl. for a time because of the overflow crowd.

- Every now and then, I remember that the Penguins have a 300 goal scorer that’s been in the press box since, seems like, the Carter Administration.  That’s Petr Sykora, by the way.

- Interesting conversation last night on the NHL Network with Larry Murphy and Bob Errey.  They showed the CBC feed showing Kirk Maltby (I believe) attempting to talk smack on the benches to Sidney Crosby.  Crosby wasn’t even acknowledging Maltby, his face staring straight ahead.  Murphy brought up the point that had this been a couple of years ago, or even last year, Crosby would have been chirping right back, F-bombs dropping all over the place, then to be followed by a silly retalitory penalty when they got back on the ice.  Not this year.  That’s called maturity, friends.

Gonna be a long 30 hours.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: detroit+red+wings, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

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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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