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Pens/Bolts Game 7:  It Is What It Is

Let’s put this into perspective.

It’s not like Penguins fans

didn’t

know that the Pens’ offense would be sporadic (I’m being nice) without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

It’s not like they

didn’t know that the Pens’ powerplay would be woeful.  Shit, they had a bad powerplay with

Crosby and Malkin.

It’s not like they

didn’t

know that the Penguins’ record vs. playoff teams was not good.

So when you really look at it, are you really

that

surprised this series has now gone to a Game 7?

Sure, it’s frustrating as hell that the Pens have blown that once-glorious 3-1 series lead.  The defense has looked shaky, some pucks have squirted past Marc-Andre Fleury that hasn’t happened very often this season outside of the first 10 games.  Then there’s the aforementioned offense and putrid powerplay.  Without Crosby and Malkin, this team has zero consistent finishers.  The puck bouncing off the stick of Chris Conner on his penalty shot is the perfect microcosm of how things have gone in the past couple of games.

My point is this:  This is how this team was constructed by GMRS.  To his defense, losing two of top 10 players in the world would throw a serious wrench into any GM’s plans.  But when those two incredibly unfortunate injuries occurred, this team was left with four lines of grinders.  Some more offensively talented than others, mind you, but for the most part, GMRS’ plan to get grittier and tougher has bit his team square in the butt-ocks.

So is all hopeless?

Of course not.  But I think it’s pretty apparent that HCDB is going to make some changes, such as:

- I’d be surprised if Eric Tangradi isn’t in the lineup, but the question becomes who do you sit?  Please don’t blame Conner for having the puck bounce over his stick on that shitty ice.  Moreover, Conner has been busting his little ass, and has been one of the best forecheckers in the Pens lineup.  Does HCDB have the huevos to sit Alex Kovalev?  I still think that trading for Kovalev for a 7th-round pick was worth the trade, but it’s painfully apparent that the Kovalev of 2011 simply doesn’t mesh with how this Penguins lineup is constructed.  There are flashes of his past brilliance, sure, but his slow, un-physical play conflicts with the fast, forechecking style that HCDB craves.  That said, I just don’t think HCDB will sit him, even though he probably should.

- Insert Deryk Engelland, sit Matt Niskanen.  Tampa’s crashing of the net has turned out to be one of the bigger advantages that they’ve used in this series.  Get Engelland in there to clear out some bodies.  You also can’t ignore the fact that when Niskanen and Ben Lovejoy jump on the ice, Marty St. Louis starts to salivate.

- The Pens have already made one huge switch.  Jeff Jimerson is back under the mike for the National Anthem.  Yup, that’s right, we’re that desperate.

So we’ll see how it goes.  Like I said in the title, it is what it is.  Game 7’s are always a little unexpected though, let’s just see if someone comes up huge for their respective team.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins, tampa+bay+lightning

Comments

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Tony's avatar

Actually a really nice guy, he went with us on the 1st new arena tour about a year ago…...

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 04/26/11 at 07:46 PM ET

Avatar

I just want one more complete effort.  They were getting beat in all one on one battles.  Seth from Emptynetters today had a good post about how the Pens have the biggest ice time difference between the top 4 D and the bottom 2.  The top 4 is completely gassed, and it’s becoming painfully obvious this team will barely make a dent in round 2.  Also, if you can’t go .500 in 4 playoff home games, you don’t deserve to win.

As far as changed, I’d do Tangradi for Kovalev.  Doubt it will happen, but it would be nice.

They have done as much as they can, and have played well while doing it.  I just hope for one more complete effort and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 04/26/11 at 09:44 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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