Saturday, December 17, 2005

Sabres 4, Penguins 3

This score seems familiar...

I do have some thoughts about this game, but I'll let Pens coach Michel Therrien speak for me, via some quotes from the AP article.

"It's unacceptable to start a game like that on our heels," Therrien said. "That's not being professional to show up like that early in the game. For the rest of the game we were OK, but were behind the 8-ball. The guys need to become warriors, it's pretty simple, guys that will go in there and battle and battle and battle. That's all I'm asking.

"They know how I feel," Therrien said. "It's got to stop. If you keep doing the same thing over and over and over, there's going to be a consequence. I have a feel for who's the warrior, who wants to win. I've got a pretty good idea right now."

Sounds like there will soon be some unhappy campers in the Penguin's locker room. I'm wondering who will be the high profile scapegoat... you know there has to be one, right?

Back to the game review, already in progress.

The Pens did come out flat, and certainly weren't helped by Thibault allowing three first period goals. Yes, there were defensive breakdowns. Yes, he was somewhat screened on at least one goal. But for crying out loud, all of the shots were from 20 feet away. No one was near him jamming the puck in. There were no sharp passes across the ice requiring him to move laterally. They were all decent shots, but they were all saves that I think Fleury would have made. I'm not sure why he didn't play tonight. Biron was alert enough to play a second game in less than 24 hours. Fleury would have until Friday to recover too. In fairness, Thibault did settle down a bit, but the Sabres missed a wide open cage several times in the first and early second period, or the score would have been much worse.

Recchi missed the third period with a groin injury. This is becoming problematic, though I guess it's not a total surprise. I think we're witnessing a changing of the guard before our very eyes here in Pittsburgh. The goal scorers tonight were Crosby, Ouellet and Surovy. No Lemieux, Leclair, Palffy, Recchi... this could really help the team in the long run. If they get some positive contributions from the young guys, get the team on a roll, and allow the older guys to stay fresh and healthy, the team could be dangerous later. Of course, there needs to be a meaningful later to talk about, and right now it's not looking too good. The team is looking better, though, especially in the third period tonight.

Edit: Quick update - Tarnstrom must have been injured as well - he only played four shifts and logged three minutes of ice time.

On a side note, I just watched Friday Night Lights, a movie about giving everything you have no matter the outcome. I'm about to watch Slapshot. Which movie better typifies the Penguins? Hmmm....

Next game Friday night at home against Philly. I'll be at the game with the wife and her family! Maybe I'll get ambitious and take some pictures...


Trent said...

Thibault in goal and yet another goal stolen from the Pens by the refs, and what can you expect?

No surprise that half the team felt that Friday's effort was all that was needed to impress the new coach. It's been halfway effort all season long. But it's not going to fly with Therrian and things will turn around. It's just a question of whether they'll have enough time to drive to the playoffs.

I'm also happy to hear that he thinks that the team is out of shape. I thought they were just slow.

Pronovost said...

Thibault wasn’t a bad choice as a starter only in the sense that it was the second game in less than 24 hours, both against a red-hot team. For Buffalo, putting Biron back out there is a very different situation because he’s won something like 12 or 13 consecutive starts, if I heard correctly. Riding the hot hand isn’t a bad move. Fleury was average at best in the prior game, IMO, and was due for a rest.

I’m heartened to read that Therrien essentially said the team’s early performance was unprofessional. Heartened because that’s the exact word that has come to my mind in far too many games this season, and if MT sees it the same way, there’s reason for cautious optimism that things are about to change. Now that his initial period of evaluating the players has passed, I’m interested to see how it goes on Friday. Not expecting miracles, but hopeful that we’ll see a complete effort and noticeable structure.

I wonder if Therrien didn’t tell Tarnstrom just to take off his gear and hit the showers between periods. Partly to make an example out of him, and partly because Tarnstrom was awful, again.

Iceburgh said...

At this point I think Thibault is always a bad choice at starter. His contract is the only thing that keeps him from being replaced by Caron.

Maybe Tarnstrom has replaced Ric Jackman in Therrien's dog house.

Nice job on the blog by the way.