Hi-Ho SilverPosted: 04/04/2012
heading towards tomorrow night’s NY Rangers game (get the title? the Lone Ranger…) there are a few things that i’m a little concerned about…:
– Defensive Zone Turnovers – i was listening to the 105.9 game cast last night because I physically could not be in front of my TV. The Olde Two-Niner brought something up that I had been thinking for a little while. The pens have made a habit of committing some pretty poor turnovers in their own zone. Most of them have come from possession coming out of the short boards. Those stretch passes that the D-men have been making all season are finally getting noticed. Remember the 6 game skid in January? Guess how the Pens got beat during those games (other than haphazard fore-checking). You guessed it: infinite turnovers from the defensive zone. Teams started to press at the blue line, forcing the D-men to make those passes before they were ready. Turnover. Bad. The little cute passes that were working aren’t working as well anymore. Borquey’s solution was confidence and better decision making. I agree with the latter; make better decisions on the blue line and those 5-3 games suddenly become 5-1 games.
– Powerplay Personnel – I don’t like the 5-forward power play. Seeing as there are 2 of the premier offensive threats in the world playing for the black and gold, its hard not to be tempted to put them all on the ice at the same time when you have an excuse. But consider these two things: putting an offensive player (even a prolific one such as Crosby) back on the point is putting him out of his comfort zone. Crosby is a forward noted for his “office” play and his in-close finishing ability. Yes he has a good shot, but that is from less than 20 feet out. For him to be at his most effective, (where did he score his two goals against Boston?) he would have to walk in towards the center or down the boards. he can pass, but I would honestly rather have him wreaking havoc screening or playing just off the net. Or better yet, and my second point, why not put him on the second unit? Matt Cooke is playing on that. Since Sid’s return on March 15th, Cooke has been hot posting back-t0-back two goal games. He also has highest monthly goal total of his season (7). Maybe give it a shot. I really like the Sullivan/Letang combo.
– Split some time? – It might be worth a look at having some balancing the ice time between the lines more evenly. The Malkin/Neal/Kunitz line isn’t cranking out 158650 points per game right now, so maybe let the 3 lines get some time. Geno’s been pretty absent over the last two games. He has three assists, but two of those have gone to James Neal and, I might be off on this one, is willing the puck in the net on his own. I’m just saying that tomorrow’s game against the Rangers means nothing to them. If the pens lock down two points, they lock down the 4th seed. If that’s the case, the Philly game on Saturday means nothing to the Pens. Just saying that it might be wise not to push the Russian horse (Malkin) til he dies.
– Urgency – play with some urgency. its pretty simple.
I’ll be live tweeting during tomorrow night’s game (@IAmMikeSwanson, #reggieshouse). Keep up with it.
Thanks for reading. Be blessed.