Monday, April 24, 2006

Season review - Post-Gazette

Dave Molinari has a nice analysis of the season for the Penguins that was in the Sunday paper. You can read it via this link. I do have a few thoughts on Dave's rankings... so read the article and then take a look at the following:

Basically, Dave ranks everyone on the team, highlighting a few players that performed well ("Pleasant Surprises") and a few more who didn't ("Disappointments").

I agree on the surprises - Crosby, Armstrong and Hilbert are all good candidates for that category. In fact, I'd put Crosby and (probably) Armstrong in a "Smashing success" category. Both played exceedingly well given what was expected of them. The only additions I might make to this category might be Koltsov and Whitney. Konstantin for his work ethic, forechecking and penalty killing (were you really expecting him to be a second line player before the season started?) and Whitney for showing that he can handle playing 20-25 minutes per night and be an offensive force. Now that I think about it, I might also move Melichar up here too. He played (as Dave notes) against the other team's top forwards all season and was only a -2 for the year. That's pretty darn good for one of our defensemen.

As far as the "As Expected" players, I'd move a few to this category that were in the "Disappointments" catetory - namely Gonchar and Malone. Gonchar finished 8th in scoring among NHL defensemen. That simple fact alone should help erase all of those bad feelings from early in the year. I know he was really, really, really bad early on, but he was really good late - I'd say that averages out to an "As Expected". As for Malone, he's another one who started off slowly, but really came into his own as the season progressed. He showed his value as a penalty killer, as well as being an offensive threat. I also didn't see him trying to puck handle as much as the season went on. I'd put him at "As Expected", because if you told me before the season that he's have 20+ goals on this team, I'd have said that would be great.

Most of the others I have no issue with. Roy and Thibault are popular scapegoats (as is Gonchar... undeservedly, in my opinion). I might move VandenBussche to a Disappointment, and I might move Surovy there too... he's been up here at the NHL level before, and he seemed to vanish as the season went on, though his penchant for picking up minor penalties didn't vanish.

Anyway, what do you think?


ees said...

Ya, I saw this article. I basically agree with you. I think Koltsov, Gonchar, and Malone all needed bumped up a category. Roy, I didn’t really expect him to do anything. So, I’d put him “As expected.” I liked what Molinari said about Niklas Nordgren. That gave me alittle laugh. Not to sound cruel but I hope we ship him out. This was the last year one his contract, I think.
It's funny you wrote about this article because today it brought about, probably, a good 30 minute argument between my brother & me. It was about Colby Armstrong’s review really. My brother insists that Colby belongs on the third line. But I think he proved he can play on the top two lines. Imagine how many points he would have if he was up here the whole season. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. What do you guys think?

Pronovost said...

Armstrong has some chemistry with Sid, no doubt.

It's hard to rank players when the season basically was over by Christmas.

My biggest surprise was Crosby. Especially with all the implosions around him.

Tim said...

I agree, when a player as young as Crosby has the ability to factor in for approximately 41.8% of his team's goals for the year, that's a huge accomplishment.

As for the list, I agree with most of Dave's choices, except for maybe Gonchar and Malone. If they can stick to Therrien's structured system throughout next year I look for Gonchar to have a hell of a year at the blueline, and Malone to score as many as 35 goals. Might be bold predictions but think of how he performed throughout the last two months of the season...see ya at training camp! :P :)