Sunday, November 20, 2005

Flyers 6, Penguins 3

Well, we're busy here trying to get the house ready for a visit by the in-laws, but the wife is kind of weary, so she's the special guest blogger for the day... which is just as well, because I wouldn't have had anything nice to say about last night. We'll see if she does...

Hmm; Pat didn't mention that "the wife" was weary because she had surgery two days ago, but he and I can discuss that later. . .

Speaking of weary, we turn our attention to the game last night. Despite some stellar scoring - Palffy's gorgeous nearly end to end run (btw, I could understand Melichar's assist, but Jackman's? He was in another county developing that play), the beautiful Lemieux-LeClair-Crosby setup, and Christiansen's blistering shot - the Pens still fell flat against their cross-state nemeses, the Flyers.

Again, there were some individuals who I thought really worked it hard and well, such as Recchi, Melichar, Christiansen, maybe even Koltsov, the overall play certainly in the last half of the game was limp and uninspired. Maybe I don't know enough to see when they would be "pushing", but they definitely didn't look like the game was on the line, even when they still had plenty of time to work with.

Things that need to be mentioned:

1. Thibault. Sigh. I feel for the man, but this can't go on. He let in a poor one - maybe the third goal? But his play deteriorated after being hit by the Knuble shot. If he was hurt, he needs to say so and get out while the team can still win. If he wasn't, it makes the continuing demotion of Fleury even that more glaring. I could understand starting him, but I can't justify finishing him.

2. The officiating seemed, for the second game in a row, to be inconsistent at best. Ticky-tack at times, blind at others, which does not help the Crosby griping from the Philly Cryers. As if there is not enough to hate Philly about, their coach's comments proved that they are thugs both on and off the ice.

3. Back to weary. As a loyal Pens fan, I am weary of inconsistent effort and a lack of desire. I really like Edzo, but somebody needs to light a major fire. Yes, the goal-tending was disappointing, but that doesn't relieve the rest of the team from their responsibilities. Losses like these are more palatable when it is obvious that the whole team gave it's best. Teams out there are tough enough without giving them an edge.

Thanks , Pat!


Pronovost said...

Good post, Mrs. Pat. Although, you may be the only hockey fan who knows the plural of nemesis :)

I have passed the point of becoming upset with this team and instead remain genuinely puzzled at the lack of effort -- in this case, in the third period. Our Pens too often seem unprofessional.

I do want to put in a good word for LeClair, however. He obviously is nowhere near his prime, but he seems to give an honest effort every shift, and his work on the forecheck has created quite a few scoring chances. I realize that not everyone thinks he was a good signing, but I think he has quietly done a good job.

Trent said...

I've lost all respect and all hope for the Penguins after Saturday's game.

How can you follow up the previous game with such a piss-poor, lazy game? A game where the team was pushed around and the Flyers were allowed to take massive liberties with Crosby that sent him to the dentist?

To have the manhandling continue and not have one fight, not one scurmish, hell, hardly a single check in the game against a tired team that flew in from Atlanta after enduring a humiliating overtime loss. Where's the effort?

After watching most of the lesson-in-humility games the past two seasons, Tuesday will be the last game this season that i'll rearrange my TiVo-enabled schedule to watch. Ovenchin deserves a look but other than that, the games offer little enjoyment.

The team is an embarassment. The GM deserves blame, the owner/captain deserves blame and every person on the friggin team deserves blame. Everyone except Crosby and the overly-familiar-with-the-PA-turnpike, dare i say, BEST player on the team.

I'm in nyc and the Rangers are essentially half of the Pens team i grew to love. So go Jagr!

Will said...

Easy Trent, lol! I agree that the game on Sat. was tough but you can't say the Pens were flat. They played a solid game for the first 40 min and then after Thibault let in 2 softies,they could not come back (But it would have been for the 3rd time that game, which is a lot). I feel the team is playing better overall. Gonchar and Tarnstrom being out hurts them a lot. Even with those injuries the D is playing OK. Much better than the first month of the season. There are 2 things that are killing the Pens right now. Number One is their absent PP unit. They went from 7 in the league to, I think, bottom 10. When Gonchar and Tarnstrom come back I assume this will get better. The second thing, and what I think is the biggest, is the goaltending. Thibault has no confidence in himself and either does the team. This is a serious problem. I don't know what we'll do this season to remedy it, but I just hope it's done sooner rather than later. I strongly feel that the Pens will not make the Playoffs if Thibault is in net for them. I could be way off but that dude just looks bad in net this year. I hope I'm wrong and that he turns it around over the next few starts but from what I've seen that's not going to happen.

Trent said...

They're not going to make the playoffs if Thibault's in net. They're not making the playoffs, no way, no how.

If they can't get up for a home game against a tired Philly team, one that beat the hell out of their brand spanking new franchise centerman, if they can't make a statement that that is not going to be tolerated, what the hell good are they? You watch, Crosby is going to get pummelled all season long. Screw Roy and Vandebusche, they're worthless. At least Barnaby would lay it on the line for a teammate.

I'm afraid that they're going to suffer from the Messier complex: My theory on why the Rangers we unable to put together a competitive team is that Messier's massive presense was in the way. It's hard to change things when one of the games greats is in charge. And how much can he change himself?

We're in that situation with Mario. He's too huge a presense for anyone to come out from under unless you're an 18 year old wunderkid. You can talk about Thibault all you want (and he's been hideous) but the team has struggled most with offense. They struggle to get basic scoring chances. When they hit, they hit, and they come in spurts, but it's hardly a constant threat for the other team. Yea, that's hockey, but other teams aren't nearly so unbalanced.

I actually think our defense is the best part of the team. They've come a long way and they do an incredible job cleaning up after Thibault's constant sloppy rebounds. They have drastically cut down on the number of penalties they take, despite having at least 2 or 3 headless chicken breakdowns per game in their own end.

Yea, things have improved and the team's not all negatives, but it's no playoff team. I think it's going to be a rocky, up and down season with an eye on the 8th spot but a foot in the basement.