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The Day After:  Game Seven debacle highlights many questions for Penguins

As Paul teased me about last night on Twitter, my playoff beard was gone not five minutes after the final seconds had ticked off the old barn’s clock in the Penguins’ 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Canadiens.

It was arguably the worst performance in recent Penguins playoff history.  Forget about it being Game Seven and all, that just magnifies how the Pens stunk up the joint.

But it really was a microcosm of the Penguins season, when you think about it:  Poor goaltending, poor defensive positioning, poor power play, et cetera, et cetera.

So I’ve got about a zillion questions racing around my nimble brain, I’m still a little fried from last night.  In absolutely no particular order, I’m just wondering:

- Have we seen the last of Sergei Gonchar in a Penguins uniform?  If it is, boy did Sarge go out on a stinker.  “Dis-interested” seems too harsh a word, but damn if it isn’t accurate for a few plays. 

- Have we seen the last of Bill Guerin in a Penguins uniform?  (No, not going down the entire list of UFA’s today, save that for down the road)

- Do you think NHL GM’s took more than a few notes on how to defend Crosby and Malkin after this series?  Now I realize that planning to stop them and actually doing it are two different things, but you’ve gotta tip your hat to Gill and Gorges, they did an outstanding job on Sid and Geno.

- There’s plenty of blame to go around, you simply must place some, not all, but some of the blame with Crosby and Malkin.  Whatever the reason, whether that be great defense, outstanding goaltending, or a combination of the two, their collective lack of production was a significant factor.

- I’ll be the first to tell you that I have no clue about French Canadian culture, but you gotta be a couple sandwiches short of a picnic to bring a frickin’ monkey puppet with you in your $300 seat behind the Penguins’ bench.

- I heard some dingbat actually blow a horn to start a “Let’s Go Pens” chant, a’ la the Phone Booth in Washington.  That lasted about five seconds before the organist put an abrupt stop to it.

- Don’t look now, but last I checked Brooks Orpik is still aimlessly cross-checking Maxim Lapierre into the back of the Pens’ net, thereby putting himself woefully out of position so Cammalleri can score.

- Pens fans, I’m with ya all the way, but what in Sam Hill happened to allow so many Habs fans in the building last night?  Are they faster with their mouse fingers?  Quicker Internet connections?  I admit that I wasn’t a fan of the Pens shutting out the Wings fans during the Finals, and definitely don’t agree with all of the tactics that Ted Leonsis does in Washington to keep Pens fans out, but I’ll just say that I was shocked to see how many Habs fans got tickets to a Game Seven.

- I’m gonna repeat what I tweeted last night.  I’m not crying over spilled milk, but the boarding call to Crosby ten seconds into the game was absolutely a horseshit call.

- What to say about Marc-Andre Fleury.  Dude needs to clear his head back home for a while.  Decline any invites to the Worlds.  Take a bunch of time off, then start working out, get your stuff straight and come back ready to go for camp.  For us fans, I think at this point we’re just going to have to accept that Fleury is going to be a goalie that we won’t know “which Fleury” we’re gonna get game to game.  Yes, I know he’s STILL only 25, so Marc, please prove me wrong.

- We’ll most likely start hearing word about some injuries like we always do in the coming days.  One player that I’ve heard may be banged up is Orpik.  Also interested to hear the extent of Staal’s foot injury as well.

I could go on for a while, but unfortunately there’s plenty of time to talk, isn’t there.

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  Tags: montreal+canadiens, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

Comments

Avatar

Well, biggest problems in no particular order were the stars not scoring, the defense being awful, the goaltending inconsistent, and a coach that was completely outclassed.  It’s just amazing how all the wheels fell of in this series.  Luckily, the Pens top guys are locked up. 

I wouldn’t be upset if they decided to dump Meloche and bring a new goaltending coach in.  But that’s another story.  Only about 150 days until the next season starts….ugh.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 05/13/10 at 04:08 PM ET

awould's avatar

The boarding call was horseshit? Why, because it was 10 seconds in or because it was Crosby? It can’t be because it wasn’t actually boarding, because it very clearly was. Crosby boarded a Habs player 10 seconds into the game. It’s a penalty whether it’s Crosby or Carcillor, 10 seconds in or 10 minutes in.

Posted by awould on 05/13/10 at 04:14 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

The Centers & No wings BS HAS TO STOP NOW !!!! not Tomorrow NOW,Having Sid Play with Dupuis & Kuntiz & Geno with Poni & Guerin is JUST EMBARRASSING

Posted by Evilpens on 05/13/10 at 04:20 PM ET

Tony's avatar

The boarding call was horseshit? Why, because it was 10 seconds in or because it was Crosby? It can’t be because it wasn’t actually boarding, because it very clearly was. Crosby boarded a Habs player 10 seconds into the game. It’s a penalty whether it’s Crosby or Carcillor, 10 seconds in or 10 minutes in.

Posted by awould on 05/13/10 at 02:14 PM ET

The fact it was Crosby doesn’t mean anything other than he was the one who hit Gorges…. My contention is that the hit didn’t equate the penalty, specifically that Gorges hardly hit the boards at all, much less “violently” as the rule stipulates….


42.1 Boarding – A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player who
checks an opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to be
thrown violently in the boards.

Don’t know what your definition of “violent” is, but that ain’t it IMO…..

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/13/10 at 04:23 PM ET

Tony's avatar

By the way, tried to find a clip of it, unsuccessful so far, Gorges hardly even hit the boards….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/13/10 at 04:24 PM ET

awould's avatar

That’s a good point. I think the Pens need to trade Staal or somebody to get them a decent Winger to take advantage of Crosby/Malkin’s talent. Imagine if they had a non-journeyman or non-over the hill guy to dish the puck to….. The Pens have nobody in the top 30 pt scorers for Left or Right Wing for the 09/10 season. That’s pretty amazing given Crosby/Malkin are both in the top 10 for Centers. They’ve got no Toews/Kane, Getlzaf/Perry, Backstrom/Ovechkin, Datsyuk/Franzen combo. It’s all loaded in the Center, which gives them great depth at that one position, but it sort of makes them one-dimensional in a sense, which is probably what the Habs were able to take advantage of.

Posted by awould on 05/13/10 at 04:29 PM ET

awould's avatar

When you start parsing words…. what the definition of violent is?.... you’re out on a limb. He was hit from behind into the boards and most of the hockey world that I’ve seen pretty much saw it as boarding. Crosby didn’t let up in his check and if the hit wasn’t violent enough for you, it was still a dangerous hit and lucky he didn’t injure the guy.

Posted by awould on 05/13/10 at 04:31 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Well, I would agree if we were disagreeing solely on what is construed as “violent”, but I also contend that Crosby didn’t hit him from behind, but rather from the side….  In addition, Crosby hit him approximately five feet from the boards, and it was only AFTER Gorges hit the ice that he hit the boards…

I need to find that video… wink

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/13/10 at 04:35 PM ET

Avatar

Honestly, I can’t even tell you if that was a penalty on Crosby or not.  I couldn’t believe that a call was made 10 seconds into the game and I don’t remember VS showing a replay of it.  It also didn’t help the puck went into the net 20 seconds after that.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 05/13/10 at 04:38 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

- I’ll be the first to tell you that I have no clue about French Canadian culture, but you gotta be a couple sandwiches short of a picnic to bring a frickin’ monkey puppet with you in your $300 seat behind the Penguins’ bench.

I thought the exact same thing… my wife couldn’t care any less about hockey, and even she noticed that and remarked how creepy it was.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/13/10 at 04:40 PM ET

SolidTG7's avatar

While I agree that was a bit of an iffy call, the Pens had enough chances to get that PP goal back but instead they went 0 for 6 or whatever it was.  Outside of Game 1 their ineffectiveness on the power play really cost them and that definitely falls on the star players.  Malkin was passing to no one all night long and Gonchar was doing his best impression of a parking cone.

Posted by SolidTG7 on 05/13/10 at 04:43 PM ET

Avatar

Decline any invites to the Worlds.

That probably is an invite that is not going to be issued.  Wow, he sucked it up bad last night.

I have watched countless replays of the short-handed goal, and i still have no idea what Gonchar is doing… he did not move at all.  I swear it looks as if he put down a few million on the Habs to win with that move.  There really is no other way to describe it.

* They need to trade Gogo (we would have won game 6 if we had McKee in instead)
* They need to let Gonchar go elsewhere
* They need to let Guerin retire/go elsewhere
* Let Poni walk
* let Feds walk
* move Staal, Cooke, Kennedy to second line
* move Malkin to first line with Crosby
* give letestu third line center position
* sign some GOOD d-men.  Not offensive d-men.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 05/13/10 at 04:43 PM ET

awould's avatar

I saw the boarding call on replay during an intermission or something and thought it looked like textbook boarding and a very stupid play to make. I’d like to see it again because maybe it would look different the next day. As for 10 seconds in, I have no problem at all with that - especially a boarding call, which should always be called as it is dangerous. I’d have more of a problem if it was a weak hooking call. But the refs need to set the tone and if they thought he boarded the guy, you gotta call it.

Posted by awould on 05/13/10 at 04:44 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Per Dreger, he’s already been asked to play in the Worlds…

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/13/10 at 04:50 PM ET

Moq's avatar

I have no problem with the boarding call on Crosby, it was a classical example of trying to do too much the first thirty seconds rather than exploiting the sixty minutes. The probability of some Penguin taking a stupid penalty in the first minute chasing down Montreal defencemen, and thereby shooting themselves in the foot, was rather monumental.

Posted by Moq from Denmark on 05/13/10 at 04:56 PM ET

YYZerman's avatar

Well, I would agree if we were disagreeing solely on what is construed as “violent”, but I also contend that Crosby didn’t hit him from behind, but rather from the side….  In addition, Crosby hit him approximately five feet from the boards, and it was only AFTER Gorges hit the ice that he hit the boards…

I need to find that video… 

I think espn has it in the hilights of the game.

His elbow comes right across the back on the numbers. It was a clear check from behind.

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 05/13/10 at 05:16 PM ET

YYZerman's avatar

*Highlights

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 05/13/10 at 05:17 PM ET

YYZerman's avatar

and checking someone from behind 5 feet from the boards often times means that person is going in head first.

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 05/13/10 at 05:22 PM ET

Tony's avatar

ESPN didn’t have a link for it, but here’s the page with the highlights….

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=300512016

I’m sorry, that is not a hit from behind, that’s a hit from the side….

Like I said, it’s all good now, there were plenty of other screw ups that happened…. wink

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/13/10 at 05:27 PM ET

YYZerman's avatar

ESPN didn’t have a link for it, but here’s the page with the highlights….

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/recap?gameId=300512016

I’m sorry, that is not a hit from behind, that’s a hit from the side….

Like I said, it’s all good now, there were plenty of other screw ups that happened….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/13/10 at 03:27 PM ET


Break out the Tin Foil

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 05/13/10 at 05:35 PM ET

Tony's avatar

LOL, I hear ya….

At this point, doesn’t make a damn bit difference….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 05/13/10 at 05:38 PM ET

Paul's avatar

via Shelly Anderson of the PPG,

Penguins center and captain Sidney Crosby today declined an inviation to join Team Canada as an injury replacement for the ongoing International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in Germany. Canada.

Pat Brisson, Crosby’s agent, said by text that “at this time and after a long 24 months between [two Stanley Cup] finals and an [Olympic] gold medal, it’s probably more appropriate to relax and recharge.”

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/13/10 at 05:55 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

O’Hallerass can’t even help the Pens out. That’s just crazy.

FWIW Tony…the season after the Cup drives you crazy, doesn’t it?

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 05/13/10 at 05:57 PM ET

awould's avatar

Not to keep beating this dead horse, Tony, and no offense intended, but that was from behind, and from an angle. I’d bet if a Penguin took that hit and no call was made, you’d be angry about it.

But you’re right, doesn’t make a bit of difference. And giving up a goal 30 seconds in means there is still 59.5 minutes to get it back and they didn’t do it. They deserved to lose. Just like my Wings deserved to lose their series, even though I didn’t like many many calls the refs made there, I can point to a lack of effort for 60 minutes each game, a serious lack of focus for short stretches in every game they lost and shoddy goaltending. At least I have the memory of the ass whipping laid out in Game 4 and a good reason to hope for next season….

Posted by awould on 05/13/10 at 05:58 PM ET

Avatar

I think the key was something that Hal Gill said and part he left unspoken after the game when asked about being on the other side against the Pens this playoff. He said that the Habs played as a team. It seemed as if he were implying that they weren’t relying on one or two stars to do it for them. Even last year it was Talbot who took the Pens over the top against the Wings. The Habs focused on shutting down the Pens up the middle and no one else stepped up. I got the impression Gill was looking for recognition that two or three guys no matter how all world their talents are can’t win without the guys that do the little things following a game plan, but that’s just my opinion.

PS
I think it was a good call on Crosby and set the tone early. To me it was a textbook boarding penalty, but shouldn’t have been the deciding factor either way with 59 minutes to play. However, it was an indicator of how the game was going to pan out.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 05/13/10 at 06:09 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Welcome to the club, folks.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 05/14/10 at 04:25 AM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

...but the boarding call to Crosby ten seconds into the game was absolutely a horseshit call.

Gary. Ass.    ..........wait, is that copyrighted? tongue wink
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Anyway, Thanx for a great season Tony.
And just because we’re heading into the offseason it’s no reason to slack off. I be expecting top notch blogging all summer long.  wink

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 05/14/10 at 05:00 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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