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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pens Fall To Wings 3-0

When I went to bed Saturday night, I had a good solid debate with myself about getting up early to watch the Penguins host the Red Wings Sunday afternoon.

The pros and cons were something like this:


-I get to see the Penguins play.

-The Penguins appear to be playing better hockey and should be fired up to play the team that beat them in the Stanley Cup Finals.

-Should the Penguins win, having to post stories about the Grammy Awards wouldn't be as painstaking.


-I get to see the Penguins play the Red Wings.

-I work a night-shift so waking up early would be rough on my body.

-Should the Penguins lose, having to post stories about the Grammy Awards would be torturous.

Anyway, I decided to get up early to watch the game. Turns out I made the wrong decision.

Onto the game:

The Pens looked flat the entire game. There were very few legit scoring chances for them and for the most part it looked like boys playing against men.

For the most part, the Pens played solid defense. Much more solid than I am accustomed to seeing lately. Hal Gill was not even his normal pylon self for once.

When there were defensive breakdowns, the Red Wings scored. Plain and simple. Let's go through the goals shall we?

Goal #1: Pavel Datsyuk Power Play Goal - Henrik Zetterberg gains the blue line and fires a seemingly innocent shot on net. Marc-Andre Fleury make the pad save, but the rebound goes right to Datsyuk who buries it in the empty net.

Who's fault is this goal? Gill. Why? Gill had the opportunity to block the pass/shot and whiffed. Had he stepped up to even force Zetterberg to re-think his thought process, the puck wouldn't be in the net.

As for the rebound, Bill Thomas let his man get to the net unchecked for the easy tap-in. Could Fleury have done a little better with the rebound control? Maybe, but he got no help from his teammates on the play.

Goal #2 - Judas Backhander From The Slot - Judas wheels and deals at the blue line to shake Jordan Staal, works his way to the high slot and uncorks a wicked backhander off the post and in.

Who's fault is this goal? Staal and Ryan Whitney. Why? Staal had the chance to run Judas through the boards into the fifth row and went for the poke check instead.

It's Whitney's fault because he got caught in the Red Wings' end forcing a wing to cover his spot. Whitney comes back into the play and heads for the slot, but the wing who should be coming over from the weakside is down in the corner marking Whitney's man.

Whitney is caught in no man's land and Judas fires it right past his perfect screen and beats Fleury.

Goal #3 - Datsyuk Scores On His Own Rebound - Datsyuk comes down the near side and fires a low shot on Fleury who makes the save, the rebound comes to the same side and Datsyuk beats his man to the puck and despite Fleury's attempt, the puck barely crosses the line.

Who's fault is this goal? Kris Letang and Whitney. Why? Letang was in Datsyuk's face as he entered the zone and took the initial shot. He then lets Datsyuk beat him to the puck to beat Fleury. It's Whitney's fault because he had no one to cover and didn't notice his man in trouble until it was too late. He does come over for support, but the puck is already behind Fleury.

Here's the video proof:

What annoyed me during the game wasn't so much the loss, but the awful commentating by Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury.

During the second period intermission report, NBC did a spot on Sidney Crosby and why he may be struggling this season. Pierre suggests that it's because he's a young captain with no one above him to offer guidance.

You read that correctly.

Crosby, who lives with Mario Lemieux who last I checked owned the team, has no one above him to offer guidance.

Are you kidding me?

The endorsement obligations? Fine. The commercial spots the NHL is having him do? Fine. Don't tell me it's that he's lost on how to lead.

Milbury then proceeds to answer Pierre's question of "If the Penguins don't make the playoffs is this season a failure?" with this gem.

"Umm. Yes. The Penguins have two of the top three goal scorers in the league so yes it would be a failure for them to not make the playoffs."

Wrong Mikey. We have the top two point scorers in the league, not goal scorers.

Then after the third goal is scored, the crew starts blaming Fleury for the goal due to poor rebound control. Granted there was a rebound, but his defense let him down again and for the third time in this game the red light is spinning as a result.

I wouldn't necessarily classify this as a bad loss due to the quality team they played. Would it have been a huge win to get? Absolutely, but now they get a couple days before getting a shot at another Western Conference titan in San Jose. Let's hope for a better end result this time around.

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