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The W - Hockey - so close and yet so far away
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odessasteps
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Since: 2.1.02
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.75

the saving grace is that detroit has clinched all the series so far this year on the road.



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tarnish
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Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.00

I haven't seen such an undeserving team win a game in ages. Pittsburgh had exactly one star player on the ice last night and he was Marc Andre Fleury.

That said, they got it done.

Detroit's strategy is beautiful. Most of Pittsburgh's even-strength goals have been the result of getting deep and setting up behind and around the net. Detroit is making them pay the price for going deep and Pittsburgh doesn't have the bangers they require to get there consistently. Meanwhile, if the Penguins are at all sloppy, Detroit jumps on tip ins, floats, and bad passes and uses their speed to create odd-man rushes the other way.

Malkin needs to sit a game. He's got no confidence, he's giving the puck away almost every time he's on the ice, and until he notched that assist, he was pointless in the series.

I do hope the Pens can pull it together on Wednesday night so we can see a game 7 in the finals again. I still think Detroit wins it, though.
JayJayDean
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Since: 2.1.02
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.40
Am I the only one who flips to a game and still needs a second to remember the team in white is the road team?

OT playoff hockey is SO awesome.



Holy fuck shit motherfucker shit. Read comics. Fuck shit shit fuck shit I sold out when I did my job. Fuck fuck fuck shit fuck. Sorry had to do it....

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Revenge of the Sith = one thumb up from me. Fuck shit. I want to tittie fuck your ass.
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Oliver
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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.42
    Originally posted by JayJayDean
    Am I the only one who flips to a game and still needs a second to remember the team in white is the road team?

    OT playoff hockey is SO awesome.
Last game was absolutely INCREDIBLE. I was at the edge of my seat; and the goal in the triple overtime period came out of nowhere

I'm not a fan of either Detroit or Pittsburgh, but I am definately catching the rest of this series. I've really enjoyed their games so far.

I also get confused as to why the darker jerseys are used at home games. I know that's been done for a while, but I'm still not used to it.




You wouldn't like Ozu Makito when he's mad!




JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.34
    Originally posted by tarnish
    Detroit is making them pay the price for going deep and Pittsburgh doesn't have the bangers they require to get there consistently


I disagree. I don't think it's a matter of willingness or effort. Pens have plenty of bangers and 5'11 Crosby is probably the best guy on the boards in the league, but Detroit is just near-flawlessly efficient when they're in sync.


    Malkin needs to sit a game. He's got no confidence, he's giving the puck away almost every time he's on the ice, and until he notched that assist, he was pointless in the series.


As lost as Geno has looked at times, it is inconceivable that you would take game 5 or 6 of the Cup final to give the Hart Trophy finalist a healthy scratch wakeup call. Either he turns it around or you lose, it's that simple. Replacing him with Jeff Taffe is not going to help the cause.


    Pittsburgh had exactly one star player on the ice last night and he was Marc Andre Fleury.


Hossa was really good. And Kronwall scored a beautiful goal.
tarnish
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Since: 13.2.02
From: Back in the Heart of Hali

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.40
    Originally posted by JustinShapiro
      Originally posted by tarnish
      Detroit is making them pay the price for going deep and Pittsburgh doesn't have the bangers they require to get there consistently


    I disagree. I don't think it's a matter of willingness or effort. Pens have plenty of bangers and 5'11 Crosby is probably the best guy on the boards in the league, but Detroit is just near-flawlessly efficient when they're in sync.


Pittsburgh might as well not have the bangers they require if the bangers ain't gettin' it done. And yes, it mostly has to do with Detroit's incredible efficiency and near-perfect positional play. They're essentially saying, "come deep if you want to score, but you'd better be careful about it." If Pittsburgh puts a full press on, Detroit generally picks off a pass or out-hustles to a loose puck and they're off the other way as the Pens' forwards are still trying to set up. Detroit is forcing that tentative, one-man-in forecheck.

I haven't seen anything like this since the Soviet teams of the 80s. Every time the puck goes off-camera and we get a cut or a pan, suddenly there are 2-4 red jerseys closest to the puck. I can't decide whether it's beautiful, terrifying, ugly, or a little bit of each.




      Malkin needs to sit a game. He's got no confidence, he's giving the puck away almost every time he's on the ice, and until he notched that assist, he was pointless in the series.


    As lost as Geno has looked at times, it is inconceivable that you would take game 5 or 6 of the Cup final to give the Hart Trophy finalist a healthy scratch wakeup call. Either he turns it around or you lose, it's that simple. Replacing him with Jeff Taffe is not going to help the cause.



I'm of two minds. Malkin came on like a freight train when Crosby got hurt mid-season. He's either not responding to adversity the same way or he's not seeing this as the same kind of adversity. And you're right, game 6, down 3-2, is probably not the time to bench the Hart Trophy winner, but he's not playing like the Hart Trophy winner. He's been their biggest liability out there, even worse for the amount of ice time he's getting.

Playing him a personal highlight reel of the first two series, which apparently they did before last night's game, wasn't the way to send the message he obviously needs to receive.




      Pittsburgh had exactly one star player on the ice last night and he was Marc Andre Fleury.


    Hossa was really good. And Kronwall scored a beautiful goal.


Hossa had a good game last night, but he's actually been pretty good all series, especially his two-way game that I didn't know he had; and Kronwall did have a beautiful goal. Credit also goes to the Pens' defense for keeping it going, especially when Gonchar got knocked loopy. But without Fleury to keep them in it, that game would have been completely out of hand 10 minutes in. They're still giving up way too many odd-man rushes, still giving up pucks in the neutral zone and worse, just inside their own blueline (Malkin double-especially), often gently waving their sticks instead of finishing checks (Gary Roberts has disappointed me hugely with that), and making poor clearing attempts from deep in their own zone.

I thought Pittsburgh had a great last few minutes of the third and kept looking stronger as overtime went on. Maybe Therrien is playing a bit of rope-a-dope (we'll never know). Overall conditioning and passion (which the Pens seem to have more of than Detroit) is going to be a huge factor in game 6.
JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.34
    Originally posted by tarnish
    Pittsburgh might as well not have the bangers they require if the bangers ain't gettin' it done. And yes, it mostly has to do with Detroit's incredible efficiency and near-perfect positional play.


Agreed. And your point is reinforced by the fact that a lot of Pittsburgh's goals have come on plays when they dump it and are actually able to get there and hammer the guy. Adam Hall's goal in game 3 came after Roberts nailed someone. Talbot's last-second goal came would've never happened if he and Malkin hadn't blasted Rafalski to get possession.



    I'm of two minds. Malkin came on like a freight train when Crosby got hurt mid-season. He's either not responding to adversity the same way or he's not seeing this as the same kind of adversity.


The rumor has been that he's been Secret Playoff Hurt, possibly coming from the big hit Mike Richards gave him in game 1 of the Philadelphia series (the one when Malkin picked himself up to go to the bench and then found the puck on his stick for a breakaway slapshot). As a Penguins fan, you kind of hope that's the case just to exonerate him.


    I thought Pittsburgh had a great last few minutes of the third and kept looking stronger as overtime went on. Maybe Therrien is playing a bit of rope-a-dope (we'll never know). Overall conditioning and passion (which the Pens seem to have more of than Detroit) is going to be a huge factor in game 6.


My hope is that a collapse like this will be enough to shell-shock Detroit and give us all the momentum to steal the series. But I expect them to continue to be as efficient as ever. Coming back to Pittsburgh on the heels of that win will be big. Then if they can get it to game 7, Anything Can Happen. But even if the Wings still win, what I got to see them do last night, ruining the celebration with lots of heroic efforts, was really special in and of itself.
Oliver
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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.42
I think part of the Pittsburgh passion is derived from the fact that the city was very close to losing the team...maybe this is the team's way of saying "This is why we play hockey in Pittsburgh" or something.

I swear, impending doom inspires teams. The year the Ottawa Senators were close to bankrupcy, they made it to the finals or something.




You wouldn't like Ozu Makito when he's mad!




JustinShapiro
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Since: 12.12.01
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.34
¡NÓS QUEREMOS UM OUTROU JOGO!

This is a reply to tarnish's post in the other thread, which I will respond to at great length to distract from the losing while also keeping these men near and dear in my heart.

I'm sure you get vastly different perspectives inside and outside the bubble of following a team. If you don't, you're a lot more objective. If you do, you get a closer perspective on their game-in-and-out strengths and weaksauces. So here are my thoughts from inside the bubble.

    Originally posted by tarnish
    If I were the Pens management,
    I'd try to get Hossa to take less money for a Cup run (maybe an incentive-laden deal),


I don't expect Hossa to give us a significant discount and certainly wouldn't hold it against him if he signed for megadollarbucks. But my best case scenario for keeping him would be that he likes Pittsburgh/Crosby/this run enough to stay for $7.5-8 mil when he could almost certainly get $10 million on the open market after the playoffs he had. The other catch is that we'd be hard-pressed to give him a longterm, 6-7 year deal that ties up that much cap room to him that far into his 30s and our future when all our core guys hit their primes and we'll need the space to cover their raises.

An entire season of Crosby+Hossa would be amazing, but if it comes to it, I think you could find a more affordable Sykora-type to play with Crosby and score at half the cost, the same way elite playmakers like Lemieux and Forsberg and Thornton could elevate guys like Hejduk and Cheechoo from good players to 50-goal seasons.


    keep Malone


With Malone it's a bit more reasonable to expect a legit hometown discount. I'm pretty confident he'll stay. He can get an extra million somewhere or he can be a folk hero.


    and shop Malkin to get some veteran leadership . Malkin's value is never going to be higher than now,


Me I wouldn't trade Malkin for anything. I think his value will never be lower until he's in his 30s, barring injury, because he's 22 and is only going to get better. Plus next year will be his last on his rookie contract so he'll be one of the biggest bargains in the league. Some people wondered whether or not Malkin would go back to deferring to Crosby when he came back, but he ended up being more dominant than Crosby was through the first two rounds of the playoffs until he apparently caught Philly AIDS.


    (Gary Roberts didn't cut it on the ice; maybe he was better in the dressing room)


Taking into consideration his age and health, Roberts' playoffs were kind of legendary in us guys' eyes. He missed all of '08 with a broken leg, played with pneumonia in the playoffs, and still scored/assisted on 3 game-winning goals in 11 games. He'll probably retire, but I don't think we'll be lacking in veteran leadership because the veteran leaders will now be all the players who played huge roles in a long playoff run to game 6 of the finals.


    and the chances of Pittsburgh being able to afford him, Fleury, and Crosby on an ongoing basis is slim.


That's the $56 million question. The idea we've had is that for the next five years, we'd have a core of elite young prospects (Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Staal, and to a lesser extent Whitney and Letang) who would develop together and keep getting better. If they all reach their maximum potential and end up becoming star players, then there's obviously no way they can all be kept. Then the game turns into turning the guys you can't keep into younger, cheaper assets. But I've always assumed Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury would be the untouchables who would be perpetually built and rebuilt around. People throw around comparisons to Tampa Bay tying up all their money in three superstars, but the differences between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are that

1) Tampa let their goaltender walk to keep three forwards,

2) Tampa didn't spend to the cap, whereas Pens ownership have said they will since the new arena will be a license to print currency, and

3) Tampa tied up their budget in Lecavalier, Richards, and St. Louis, which is much less return on your investment when those are the players you choose to give near-max contracts. Of the three, Vinny is the only one even close to Crosby and Malkin in value.

(edited by JustinShapiro on 6.6.08 0341)
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