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The Autopsy / Moving Forward


B21
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Warning: Long post. ;) 

 

First – and not embarrassed to say it – I didn’t watch after the first goal. I checked the score here and there but as soon as the Rangers went up 1-0 less than 5 minutes in I knew it was over.  It was over after Game 5 actually.  No sense in dissecting Game 7.  Does it really matter how they lost it?  King Henry? Lack of urgency? Turnovers? The bottom line is that it never should have made it to Game 7.

 

So – the cause of death?  Multiple reasons.

 

Bylsma. Everything from poor strategy to not instilling a sense of urgency in the players when it was needed most. That’s not “just” on him but it is primarily on him.

 

Crosby.  1 goal. Little in the way of leadership.

 

Not meaning to single out players but some were noticeably better/worse.

 

Noticeably bad/invisible? Scuderi. Niskanen. Neal. Maatta.

 

Noticeably good/clear effort?  Sutter. Martin. Malkin. Kunitz. Jokinen.

 

So what’s next?

 

I think it’s safe to assume that Bylsma will be fired.  Nothing has been made public yet but I would have to think Trotz would be at the top of Shero’s list.  I would like Tony Granato or Jaques Martin if they weren’t on the staff already.  Other names that may surface?  Off the top of my head…Guy Boucher? Todd McClellan if he is fired by the Sharks?  Kevin Dineen? Ulf? Gasp – Mike Keenan?

 

On the ice, the Pens have $58,700,000 committed to the following roster assuming Sutter (RFA) is qualified at $2,700,00 and Depres (RFA) at $850,000

 

Kunitz / Crosby / Dupuis

Neal / Malkin / Bennett

??? / Sutter / ???

Adams / ??? / ???

(???)

 

Martin / Letang

Mattaa / ???

Scuderi / ???

(Bortuzzo / Depres)

 

Fleury

(Zatkoff)

 

$12,300,000 to go get five 3rd/4th line forwards and 1 defenceman.  I haven’t glanced at a pending F/A list but I would think there are players to be had for those spots with the money the Pens have and the kind of players the Pens need. Character guys. Grit. Toughness.

 

What regulars from this season stay/go? Jokinen. Niskanen. Orpik. Glass. Vitale. Engelland.

 

Do they move forward with Fleury?

 

I think Orpik is gone. Glass, too.  I would bring back Vitale. Maybe Engelland. I would let Jokinen go.

 

I would buy out Scuderi and use that money to resign Niskanen if the price is right.  I like Niskanen.  I think he just had a bad series against the Rangers. No more than $6,000,000 per though I think $5,500,000 gets the job done. You can see the Scuderi buyout figures on Cap Geek. The cap hit goes from 430K to 1.4M to 1.9M then 3 years of just over 1M. Doable assuming the cap increases at least a little each year.

 

I think they are “stuck” with Fleury for now.  He is what he is.  Good to great in the regular season.  Iffy to good in the post season.  One silver lining to this fiasco was that he "rebounded" this year (i.e. - no meltdown).  Won’t win a series for you but he won’t lose it either.  I think we can count on that moving forward.  Next year is the final year of his contact and I have no issue taking a “wait and see” approach with him.

 

I don’t see any “big” trades happening (i.e. – Malkin for Webber) but I can see them making another play for Kesler though Sutter's play in the post season might make Shero rethink that.

 

If nothing else, it will be one of the more interesting offseasons for Pens fans in quite some time.

 

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Think of the return you guys could get for Crosby :ph34r:

Seriously though, you are dead on about it being a summer of interesting changes in the Burgh. Maybe they go young and go with the take one step back to move two forward down the road?

Edited by Samifan
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@B21

 

We do not always see eye to eye, but just wanted to say hang in there. You, Polaris, Nossagog and the rest of the Hitler youth ( :rolleyes: ) give it a day or two it gets easier. Tough series for you guys, Lundqvist was simply the best player on either team, especially over the final few games. Of course it helps that the entire team collapses in defense of the net every time the puck entered the Ranger zone.

  Anyway, hang in there. I was rooting against your boys because i wanted fresh blood int he conference finals but i know how much it hurts. There were 22 teams already home by the time your boys lost last night. A good season, all things considered with a ton of injuries.

Edited by yave1964
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@B21

 

We do not always see eye to eye, but just wanted to say hang in there. You, Polaris, Nossagog and the rest of the Hitler youth ( :rolleyes: ) give it a day or two it gets easier. Tough series for you guys, Lundqvist was simply the best player on either team, especially over the final few games. Of course it helps that the entire team collapses in defense of the net every time the puck entered the Ranger zone.

  Anyway, hang in there. I was rooting against your boys because i wanted fresh blood int he conference finals but i know how much it hurts. There were 22 teams already home by the time your boys lost last night. A good season, all things considered with a ton of injuries.

 

Roger that.  I got a good chuckle out of the Hitler youth comment!

 

In a weird way - I'm not that upset.  It's time fore change and if this is what happened to accelerate that change? I'm all for it.

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Think of the return you guys could get for Crosby :ph34r:

Seriously though, you are dead on about it being a summer of interesting changes in the Burgh. Maybe they go young and go with the take one step back to move two forward down the road?

 

I know. I know.  At the end of the day - they aren't that old though. Orpik will be gone.  Possibly Scuderi, too. Kunitz, Dupuis and Martin are the only regulars coming back who are over 30.

 

I can live with one step back and two steps forward if it means getting bette. A good example....let Niskanen walk, buy out Scuderi and roll with the following D...

 

Martin / Letang

Maatta / Harrington

Depres / Bortuzzo

Dumoulin

 

Maybe Pouliot can make the jump like Mattaa? Who knows.

 

Still....Younger. Less experince. But...cheaper and a lot more upside.

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@B21

 

The only thing I would disagree is your assertion regarding Crosby.  I did watch most of all 7 games, and it was just bad fortune.  He was the one who constantly showed up to play in every game.  Sure, he doesn't have much to show for it production-wise, but I thought he did everything in his power to lead the team.  It feels weird for me to even speak in Crosby's defense, as I absolutely despise the guy (no hard feelings), but I am not sure how much more he could've done.  He got zero support from the rest of your team.  I actually feel bad for the guy; you could see dejection in his eyes after it was officially over.  But he tried.

 

I said it before and I'll say it again: the Rangers are just a very tough matchup for many teams.  Alain Vigneault implemnted an absolutely perfect (as close as it gets to perfect) system, which makes them a formidable opponent.  They very much remind me of the old-time NJ Devils.  And the scary part is, they didn't even need Nash to win.  Did the guy even score any goals this post-season?

 

But no two ways about it - Bylsma's gotta go.  I really feel the players just tuned him out.  His time in Pittsburgh is over.

Edited by Mad Dog
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Warning: Long post. ;) 

 

First – and not embarrassed to say it – I didn’t watch after the first goal. I checked the score here and there but as soon as the Rangers went up 1-0 less than 5 minutes in I knew it was over.  It was over after Game 5 actually.  No sense in dissecting Game 7.  Does it really matter how they lost it?  King Henry? Lack of urgency? Turnovers? The bottom line is that it never should have made it to Game 7.

 

Can't argue that.

 

So – the cause of death?  Multiple reasons.

 

Bylsma. Everything from poor strategy to not instilling a sense of urgency in the players when it was needed most. That’s not “just” on him but it is primarily on him.

 

You'd think NHL players would be self motivating but he's gotta go.

 

Crosby.  1 goal. Little in the way of leadership.

 

One of the easiest stars to get off their game. It would be nice if Shero would get him a winger. Maybe two. Kunitz is 34 and likely had his best year he's ever going to. Dupuis is 35. That's who you have playing with the best player in the world?

 

Not meaning to single out players but some were noticeably better/worse.

 

Noticeably bad/invisible? Scuderi. Niskanen. Neal. Maatta.

 

Maatta gets a pass. Neal flat out sucks without Malkin. Niskanen had good and bad moments I thought. Scuderi was a bad signing.

 

Noticeably good/clear effort?  Sutter. Martin. Malkin. Kunitz. Jokinen.

 

I thought Kunitz was ok at best. The others deserve zero blame.

.

 

 

.

 

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I said it before and I'll say it again: the Rangers are just a very tough matchup for many teams.  Alain Vigneault implemnted an absolutely perfect (as close as it gets to perfect) system, which makes them a formidable opponent. 

 

The point I would raise is that it took them 7 games in both series (Flyers, Pens), decided by one goal. I'm not sure how that makes them so much better. Against the Flyers, it was clear that they were the better team from the puck drop in Game 1, and they STILL barely won. Against the Pens,it seems like the Rangers were the stronger team mentally. To be down 1-3 and win the next 3 is impressive against any opponent. And the opposite is true as well - for the Pens to have 3 cracks at closing out the Rangers and fail to do so says something about their mental toughness.

 


And the scary part is, they didn't even need Nash to win.  Did the guy even score any goals this post-season?

 

No, he hasn't! One of the most overrated/overpaid players in the NHL. 

 

I mentioned it in another thread - 30 NHL playoff games, 2 goals. 

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First – and not embarrassed to say it – I didn’t watch after the first goal.

 

I did the same in the Flyers/Rangers game 7. It told me all I needed to know.

 


I don’t see any “big” trades happening (i.e. – Malkin for Webber) but I can see them making another play for Kesler though Sutter's play in the post season might make Shero rethink that.
 
If nothing else, it will be one of the more interesting offseasons for Pens fans in quite some time.

 

That's the fine line GMs have to tow all the time, right? The Pens were 2nd in the East, so there's not much to complain about their regular season performance. They have the right mix of players, apparently.

 

Crosby certainly didn't shine the way everyone knows he can. 9 points in 13 games doesn't cut it, IMO. But in the playoffs, superstars are hounded even doubly so. That's when the secondary threats need to show up and be difference makers. It seems as though Malkin stepped up, and Neal disappeared.

 

So maybe a change in coach is enough? Keep what you can, reload with a new guy behind the bench, and hope he can make the right calls, adjustments, and be the guy who keeps them loose and focused when the playoffs roll around.

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The point I would raise is that it took them 7 games in both series (Flyers, Pens), decided by one goal. I'm not sure how that makes them so much better.

 

I don't think they are *much* better thant either the Flyers or the Pens.  My point was the way the play makes them tough to beat.  And sometimes that's what it takes ot go far in the playoffs.

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My point was the way the play makes them tough to beat.

 

And I agree with you that it *looks* like they're tough to beat. Yet the won each series by ONE goal in game 7. 

 

There's a weird cognitive dissonance going on in my head. I see the product on the ice, yet the results do not bear that out. They flat out DOMINATED the Flyers for large stretches. They outshot, outhit, outchanced, outskated, outeverything pretty much except for goaltending in one game where Mase was phenomenal.

 

But one bad clear in Game 7, and they beat us by 1 goal. 

 

It's very weird.

 

I admit that I didn't watch very much of the Rags/Penguins series. How was it in comparison? I mean, the Pens jumped out to a 3-1 series lead, so it seems like it was a tougher matchup for the Rangers. What did it look like on the ice? Did they look as organized and pressuring as in the Flyers series? 

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@B21

 

The only thing I would disagree is your assertion regarding Crosby.  I did watch most of all 7 games, and it was just bad fortune.  He was the one who constantly showed up to play in every game.  Sure, he doesn't have much to show for it production-wise, but I thought he did everything in his power to lead the team.  It feels weird for me to even speak in Crosby's defense, as I absolutely despise the guy (no hard feelings), but I am not sure how much more he could've done.  He got zero support from the rest of your team.  I actually feel bad for the guy; you could see dejection in his eyes after it was officially over.  But he tried.

 

I said it before and I'll say it again: the Rangers are just a very tough matchup for many teams.  Alain Vigneault implemnted an absolutely perfect (as close as it gets to perfect) system, which makes them a formidable opponent.  They very much remind me of the old-time NJ Devils.  And the scary part is, they didn't even need Nash to win.  Did the guy even score any goals this post-season?

 

But no two ways about it - Bylsma's gotta go.  I really feel the players just tuned him out.  His time in Pittsburgh is over.

 

I hear you. In Crosby's defense the guy was absolutely abused for two series. I don't blame him at all for his frustration. But - a player his caliber has to overcome that somehow.  I give him credit for showing up and doing "everything else". He did end up with 8 or 9 assists in 12 games.

 

I just have to wonder how much off the ice leadership there was.  The bulk of that is on Bylsma but he should take a hit there, too. 

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.

 

Bylsma. Everything from poor strategy to not instilling a sense of urgency in the players when it was needed most. That’s not “just” on him but it is primarily on him.

 

You'd think NHL players would be self motivating but he's gotta go.

 

I agree.  Why do you think I get so annoyed when the pro-fighting crowd thinks its needed to motivate guys. ;)  

 

Crosby.  1 goal. Little in the way of leadership.

 

One of the easiest stars to get off their game. It would be nice if Shero would get him a winger. Maybe two. Kunitz is 34 and likely had his best year he's ever going to. Dupuis is 35. That's who you have playing with the best player in the world?

 

I agree that  they both have peak but another 100 point season from Crosby, 60 from Kunitz and 50 from Dupuis are all reasonable to ask for.  Maybe Shero (or the next GM?) gets that winger which bumps one of them down to the 3rd line.  Maybe Neal ends up on Crosby's line. 

 

As of today though, that's the Pens #1 line.

 

 

 

Edited by B21
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I did the same in the Flyers/Rangers game 7. It told me all I needed to know.

 

 

 

 

That's the fine line GMs have to tow all the time, right? The Pens were 2nd in the East, so there's not much to complain about their regular season performance. They have the right mix of players, apparently.

 

Crosby certainly didn't shine the way everyone knows he can. 9 points in 13 games doesn't cut it, IMO. But in the playoffs, superstars are hounded even doubly so. That's when the secondary threats need to show up and be difference makers. It seems as though Malkin stepped up, and Neal disappeared.

 

So maybe a change in coach is enough? Keep what you can, reload with a new guy behind the bench, and hope he can make the right calls, adjustments, and be the guy who keeps them loose and focused when the playoffs roll around.

 

I give Crosby a pass on his point totals. Not up to his usual standards and that was a big reason why they lost but he's not going to light it up every post-season.  And as you noted...he was hounded.

 

Even with the inevitable coaching change a little tweaking is needed.  Heck - a little tweaking is a foregone conclusion since there are likely 4-5 guys who won't be back.

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@B21

 

 Crosby was hounded? Every star player on every team gets hounded, it's the playoffs. The problem is when Crosby gets hounded, he starts throwing fits and gets totally off his game. To the point where he's scoring 1 goal and 2 assists in a 7 game series. And he's shown the entire league that that's how you stop him. That's not what great leaders or great players do. And he is a great player. He just doesn't act like it at times.

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  People will scoff, but the Pens need to get out of cap hell. They need to decide who they want to keep between Malkin and Crosby and pull the trigger. The windfall would be tremendous. The Pens would land on their feet, get all sorts of talent, get the proper mix of grit and scoring and get out of this cap hell. This current roster is not working. When you lose 3-1 leads in 2 out of 3 playoffs, you have a leadership problem....change the leadership.

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@B21

 

 Crosby was hounded? Every star player on every team gets hounded, it's the playoffs. The problem is when Crosby gets hounded, he starts throwing fits and gets totally off his game. To the point where he's scoring 1 goal and 2 assists in a 7 game series. And he's shown the entire league that that's how you stop him. That's not what great leaders or great players do. And he is a great player. He just doesn't act like it at times.

 

Brelic said hounded. I said abused.  Sure - all starts get something.  None like Crosby.

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Brelic said hounded. I said abused.  Sure - all starts get something.  None like Crosby.

 

How do you feel about Crosby's wingers? Would a guy like Vanek or a Patrick Kane type open up space for him by taking some of the heat off Crosby?

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How do you feel about Crosby's wingers? Would a guy like Vanek or a Patrick Kane type open up space for him by taking some of the heat off Crosby?

  The Pens cant afford him, but Vanek would be a great fit. Vanek is a possession type winger, so putting him on Crosbys wing would be perfect. All that cycling and offensive zone possession is right up Vaneks alley.

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  The Pens cant afford him, but Vanek would be a great fit. Vanek is a possession type winger, so putting him on Crosbys wing would be perfect. All that cycling and offensive zone possession is right up Vaneks alley.

 

 

Actually... they can.  

 

@flyercanuck

 

Where exactly did Crosby throw a fit and get off his game?  I didn't see it.  And I watched VERY intently knowing the Crosby hate would be frothing at the mouth in these forums.  He simply played his arse off in all but maybe a game and a half.  Game 5 he looked out of things, disconnected.  But in Game 7, despite only mustering 2 shots, he was everywhere on the ice.  He was swarmed and punched, hit after the whistle, and slashed relentlessly, yet took no stupid penalties or lost his focus anywhere.  

 

Sometimes you just have to give the Rangers credit.  They swarmed him every time he got the puck and Lundqvist stopped anybody he passed the puck too through the swarm.  I really don't see anything Crosby didn't TRY to do.  Was he successful?  NO, and he bears responsibility for the loss as well as anybody.  BUt it wasn't a lack of leadership on the ice, or any kind of beiung distracted by the extra curriculars.  

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How do you feel about Crosby's wingers? Would a guy like Vanek or a Patrick Kane type open up space for him by taking some of the heat off Crosby?

 

I would love Vanek but I think he is going to get at least $7,000,000 per next year. The last thing the Pens need is another $7,000,000+ player.

 

I know a popular criticism of the Pens/Shero is not getting Crosby better wingers but....he just scored 100+ points with Kunitz and a mishmash of 3rd liners and AHLers.

 

I think Kunitz and Dupuis are fine for another year or two (which - coincidently - is how long they are signed for). ;)

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  People will scoff, but the Pens need to get out of cap hell. They need to decide who they want to keep between Malkin and Crosby and pull the trigger. The windfall would be tremendous. The Pens would land on their feet, get all sorts of talent, get the proper mix of grit and scoring and get out of this cap hell. This current roster is not working. When you lose 3-1 leads in 2 out of 3 playoffs, you have a leadership problem....change the leadership.

 

Good idea for a thread topic.... ;)

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Actually... they can.  

 

@flyercanuck

 

Where exactly did Crosby throw a fit and get off his game?  I didn't see it.  And I watched VERY intently knowing the Crosby hate would be frothing at the mouth in these forums.  He simply played his arse off in all but maybe a game and a half.  Game 5 he looked out of things, disconnected.  But in Game 7, despite only mustering 2 shots, he was everywhere on the ice.  He was swarmed and punched, hit after the whistle, and slashed relentlessly, yet took no stupid penalties or lost his focus anywhere.  

 

Sometimes you just have to give the Rangers credit.  They swarmed him every time he got the puck and Lundqvist stopped anybody he passed the puck too through the swarm.  I really don't see anything Crosby didn't TRY to do.  Was he successful?  NO, and he bears responsibility for the loss as well as anybody.  BUt it wasn't a lack of leadership on the ice, or any kind of beiung distracted by the extra curriculars.  

 

 

Crosby was fine in game 7. He has a history (if you care to go all the way back to game 6) of losing it over such things as having his stick held, ...where he responded by spearing one guy, crosschecking another and attempting to spear a third. He's reacted this way so many times now that the league knows he will. All the games stars have to play through certain "attention". But when you've shown over and over that you'll freak out and lose it given that attention, you're going to get it in droves. Which he does.

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