Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21

Thread: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

      
  1. #1
    vandelay industries's Avatar
    Status : vandelay industries is offline
    Rank : All-Star
    Join Date : Nov 2, 2009
    Posts : 2,269
    Threads : 150
    Last Online : Mar-18-2014 @ 04:30 PM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/insid..._front_xxx_xxx

    Components of a Cup contender
    A Cup contender is like a jelly doughnut -- only as good as its middle


    This article appears in the April 19 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

    Mike Babcock eyes the standings and laughs. "Good luck picking a winner this year," the Red Wings' square-jawed bench boss says. "It's so tight. I don't envy you guys who have to figure it out."

    You don't have to be a Cup winner or an Olympic champ (both of which Babcock is) to sense that the NHL playoffs are as wide open as they've been in years. With 11 days left in the regular season, 15 points separated the eight Western Conference seeds; since the NHL expanded to 15-team conferences nine years ago, the West has never ended with a smaller spread. At first glance, then, Babcock seems right -- divining a champ from that mess would be maddening.

    Certainly, there is no magic statistic to help. Since the lockout, a team hasn't had to score the most or allow the fewest goals to hoist the Stanley Cup, nor has it needed to field the top power play or penalty kill. Just look at last season: The Penguins finished the regular season 17th in goals against, 20th in power play efficiency, 18th in shots, 18th in shots against and tied for 19th in faceoff percentage -- and none of that stopped them from winning it all. That should tell this year's Capitals something. Specifically, don't rest on the laurels of your numerically dominant season. No stat foretells a title.

    If anything, the team in DC should be a bit concerned. Coaches and execs focus on the composition of a team's roster when they sit down to forecast Cup chances, and what they look for doesn't coincide with the Caps' many strengths. As the experts see it, the road to the Cup runs straight through the center of the ice. "If you want to win it all, you'd better be strong down the middle," says Hurricanes president and GM Jim Rutherford, architect of the '06 Cup holders. "That means good goaltending, strong centers and a couple of defensemen who can move the puck."

    In his title run, Rutherford benefited from a breakout performance by rookie goalie Cam Ward, who wound up winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, as well as the work of two high-end pivots, young Eric Staal (who, at 21, was just a year younger than Ward) and workaholic captain Rod Brind'Amour. And if Rutherford didn't have elite puckmovers on the blue line, he did have capable vets like Bret Hedican and Frantisek Kaberle.

    The following season, the Ducks carried the Cup to California behind a top stopper (Jean-Sebastien Giguere), elite defenders (Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger) and able centers (Andy McDonald and Ryan Getzlaf). The Wings and Pens have split the past two Cup Finals, and both fit the profile too. Detroit had world-class centers Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, six-time Norris Trophy-winner Nicklas Lidstrom and three-time Cup-winning netminder Chris Osgood. Pittsburgh boasted three uniquely talented pivots (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal), a legit No. 1 blueliner (Sergei Gonchar) and a former first overall pick between the pipes (Marc-Andre Fleury).

    When you break down this Cup-winning formula into its component parts, goaltending clearly stands out. Like a pitcher in baseball, a netminder has an unmatched influence on a game's outcome. "Great goaltending can lift a good team, and bad goaltending can kill even the strongest team," Babcock says. Since 1998, each starting Cup-winning goalie had a playoff save percentage of at least .908; most have been .920 or better. And you don't build a percentage like that just by making all the routine stops. You build it by also coming through with the spectacular save at the critical moment.

    Last spring, Fleury denied Alex Ovechkin on a clean breakaway at the three-minute mark of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semis. The save kept the game scoreless and quieted a crazed home crowd. If Ovechkin had lit the lamp, the series might have slipped away from Pittsburgh. Instead, the Penguins went on to an easy 6-2 win in the clincher.

    The impact of top puckmoving defensemen is more subtle. "A guy like Gonchar can make a great tape-to-tape pass or come out of the defensive zone with the puck on his stick," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma says. "That's huge, because it means we spend less time in our end and can attack with speed."

    Lesser defensemen, on the other hand, often flip or chip the puck out of the zone, which forces forwards to chase instead of possess it and limits a team's ability to attack off the rush. "The frustration of your best forwards rises when you don't have a defenseman who can get the puck to them in a timely manner," Bylsma says. And frustrated forwards aren't efficient forwards. In case you were wondering, either Lidstrom or Niedermayer has won eight of the past 14 Cups. Coincidence? No way.

    And so we come to the role of the top-flight center. You'd have to scour the NHL's Official Guide & Record Book to find a Cup-winning team that didn't have at least one. And what makes them indispensable? "They play on the inside of the rink," Babcock says. "They have more defensive responsibility, they control the puck off the faceoff and they dictate tempo. The best centers are 200-footers; if they're not scoring, they're still helping defensively. I'll take a center over a wing every time."

    That's a bold statement, particularly these days, when Ovechkin, arguably the game's best player, calls the wing home. But Babcock says he can more easily game-plan against a wing, and he has the evidence to back it up. As Canada's Olympic coach, he used lanky wing Rick Nash and oversize defenseman Shea Weber on the same side of the ice against Russia. That forced Ovechkin to go through two big bodies on the way to the net. The strategy, similar to one employed by the Pens against Ovechkin in the 2009 Eastern Conference semis, paid off. Ovechkin had little impact in Canada's 7-3 win.

    Bylsma says his embarrassment of riches at center gives him a huge edge. "With our three guys, I can load up two of them on the same line and still come back with a good center on the next shift," he says. "And after a power play or penalty kill, I can come back with another good center. I know other guys don't have those options."

    In the 2009 Finals, Bylsma's abundance of centers caused matchup issues for Babcock, who was working without the services of Datsyuk during the first four games. Crosby and Malkin drew the defense's attention, but the Wings had no answer for Staal's line, and that trio helped turn the series in the Penguins' favor. That's all last year's news, though. How does any of this help you handicap this year's Cup race? Well, the Blackhawks' goaltending issues will probably hold them back, and the Caps' hopes are going to rest more with talented center Nicklas Backstrom and ace defenseman Mike Green than with superskilled wings Ovechkin and Alexander Semin.

    But mostly it means the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    EJ. Hradek is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.

  2. #2
    rbilak's Avatar
    Status : rbilak is offline
    Rank : Bench Warmer
    Join Date : Nov 24, 2009
    Location : Shreveport LA
    Posts : 299
    Threads : 40
    Last Online : Jul-17-2010 @ 10:52 AM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    Unfortunately he must not see MAF vs. Washington and New Jersey. He is the weaklink of the team and is playing his worst hockey going into playoffs. He shows no signs of improvement and I see no way we make it past first round with him in net and Geno playing half of what he was last year. Two biggest dissapoinments this year. Also Orpik, pretend it is the playoffs and start nailing people. Best they do is make round two, worst one and done as MAF can't stop anything in round one.

  3. #3
    Beezy's Avatar
    Status : Beezy is offline
    Rank : Legend
    Join Date : Oct 11, 2009
    Location : Pig Hill
    Posts : 10,074
    Threads : 82
    Last Online : Nov-10-2016 @ 07:09 AM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbilak View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Unfortunately he must not see MAF vs. Washington and New Jersey. He is the weaklink of the team and is playing his worst hockey going into playoffs. He shows no signs of improvement and I see no way we make it past first round with him in net and Geno playing half of what he was last year. Two biggest dissapoinments this year. Also Orpik, pretend it is the playoffs and start nailing people. Best they do is make round two, worst one and done as MAF can't stop anything in round one.
    We are blaming MAF again now? How bout our ****ty defense? Forwards can't score? PP blows? And yeah GT is spotty but no way I am throwing MAF under the bus by himself. The Pens might still be the next to repeat but it's going to be in 11 and 12.

  4. #4
    Palmetto Steel's Avatar
    Status : Palmetto Steel is offline
    Rank : Legend
    Join Date : Oct 9, 2009
    Posts : 23,379
    Threads : 3263
    Last Online : Nov-30-2015 @ 06:36 PM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    There were Fleury detractors last season, and for some good reasons... But he turned it on in the playoffs and finished in stellar fashion. I'm hoping for the same thing this season.
    "You only have one life, and you will not get out alive. Make the most of your time and have no regrets." - Me.

  5. #5
    foslrock's Avatar
    Status : foslrock is offline
    Rank : 1st Stringer
    Join Date : Oct 18, 2009
    Location : Tennessee
    Posts : 1,784
    Threads : 140
    Last Online : Jun-15-2015 @ 07:24 PM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    I'm having a hard time seeing this team having the drive and motivation to make a serious cup run.

    I just don't see it this year. Fleury seems off his game, big time. Malkin has been hit and miss all year. Crosby has been solid, but I think the rest of the team right now is fairly off. At this point, the only way I saw the serious cup run was if the Pens secured the 2nd see. Well, now, I don't see that happening, as it would have guaranteed NJ and Washington matching up in the 2nd round.

    At this rate, the Pens might have to go through Ottawa-Washington-NJ just to make the finals. If that happens, it will be great, but I just don't see it right now. They started out really strong, but the 2nd half has been nothing but .500 hockey.

  6. #6
    Beezy's Avatar
    Status : Beezy is offline
    Rank : Legend
    Join Date : Oct 11, 2009
    Location : Pig Hill
    Posts : 10,074
    Threads : 82
    Last Online : Nov-10-2016 @ 07:09 AM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    Quote Originally Posted by NKySteeler View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    There were Fleury detractors last season, and for some good reasons... But he turned it on in the playoffs and finished in stellar fashion. I'm hoping for the same thing this season.
    I was one of them and although he has not had a great year I have not doubted him once this season. He showed he can go all the way. My questions about him are answered. I just don't think you can sit there and point your finger at any one facet of the team in fact I don't think there is one aspect of their game that is outstanding right now. A lot of little things adds up. I still hold out hope that there is a switch that they can turn on in the playoffs and that the circuit will flow correctly once it is switched on. Ok maybe that is just fairy nonsense but I do beleive this team is set up to win 7 game series'. That is probably the one strand of hope I am hanging by right now. **** it can't quit rooting now right? Let's go Pens

  7. #7
    Kipper's Avatar
    Status : Kipper is offline
    Rank : Legend
    Join Date : Oct 8, 2009
    Posts : 67,323
    Threads : 1817
    Last Online : Apr-25-2017 @ 08:36 PM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    That was a pretty good read. I do have to question that the columnist was writing off the Craps for the reasons he explained. I could understand if he was talking about defense and forwards playing defense, since you can go back 15 years and see that every team that's won the Cup has had strong 2 way play... but writing off the Craps because of needing strong Centers, 2 puck moving defensemen and a goalie? I think the Craps are pretty strong there and because of their wings, it just makes those other components better..

    When you break down this Cup-winning formula into its component parts, goaltending clearly stands out. Like a pitcher in baseball, a netminder has an unmatched influence on a game's outcome. "Great goaltending can lift a good team, a[HIGH-LIGHT]nd bad goaltending can kill even the strongest team,[/HIGH-LIGHT]" Babcock says
    Tom BarASSo
    The Standard Is The Standard and The Pittsburgh Sports Forum Is The Standard


  8. #8
    The Sodfather's Avatar
    Status : The Sodfather is offline
    Rank : Major Leaguer
    Join Date : Dec 10, 2009
    Posts : 1,431
    Threads : 29
    Last Online : Apr-26-2012 @ 03:04 PM

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    I prefer Tom Barr*******.

    Crosby has been solid??? Thank you Capt. Understatement.

    I don't get the warm and fuzzies about this team either but you just never know once the playoffs start.

    BTW, does anyone know if Goligoski is related to Sergei Zubov? Passes when he should shoot and shoots when he should pass.
    Last edited by The Sodfather; Apr-07-2010 at 05:37 AM.

  9. #9
    kszielin's Avatar
    Status : kszielin is offline
    Rank : Waterboy
    Join Date : Jan 25, 2010
    Location : Michigan
    Posts : 176
    Threads : 0
    Last Online : Apr-11-2011 @ 07:35 PM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    Hmm, change a couple of names - like Fleury to Osgood - and I feel like I'm on the Wings board from last year (and looks how that turned out) and the beginning of this year =]

    Eh, you might not repeat, but you'll at least beat the Craps....I'll pay the refs off myself if I have to

  10. #10
    Kipper's Avatar
    Status : Kipper is offline
    Rank : Legend
    Join Date : Oct 8, 2009
    Posts : 67,323
    Threads : 1817
    Last Online : Apr-25-2017 @ 08:36 PM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Sodfather View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I prefer Tom Barr*******.

    Crosby has been solid??? Thank you Capt. Understatement.

    I don't get the warm and fuzzies about this team either but you just never know once the playoffs start.

    BTW, does anyone know if Goligoski is related to Sergei Zubov? Passes when he should shoot and shoots when he should pass.
    I hate Tom BarASSo, actually I despise him. One of the most overrated, ****tiest goaltenders, not to mention a dick. Road the coat tails of a dynamic offense and when the offense needed him to be decent and help bail them out like they were always bailing him out, BarASSo failed and failed in the playoffs. I used to pray for BarASSo injuries

    I think the warm and fuzzies stem from needing to see how this team performs in the playoffs first. Most people distinguish the difference between Regular Season and Playoffs and know that the good teams change drastically when the playoffs start. I think that there's still that optimism that the Pens will turn it on when the playoffs start and until they show that they can't turn it on when they want people are going to feel good.

    There's a ridiculously high amount of optimism and can't do wrong regarding the Pens from a lot of fans. I mean, when you get out there and read and check it out, it can make you ill. There's this belief that Ray Shero can do no wrongs with his moves and when you eliminate all that was handed to him (Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Orpik, Gonchar, Letang, Kennedy) he's not really done much than sign a mix of Free Agents that have brought back mixed results and made some trades for guys that play more of a role than produce (Guerin, Roberts, Laraque, Kunitz) and some guys that aren't really that good (Ponikarovsky, Kwiatkowski)
    The Standard Is The Standard and The Pittsburgh Sports Forum Is The Standard


  11. #11
    Kipper's Avatar
    Status : Kipper is offline
    Rank : Legend
    Join Date : Oct 8, 2009
    Posts : 67,323
    Threads : 1817
    Last Online : Apr-25-2017 @ 08:36 PM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    Quote Originally Posted by kszielin View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Hmm, change a couple of names - like Fleury to Osgood - and I feel like I'm on the Wings board from last year (and looks how that turned out) and the beginning of this year =]

    Eh, you might not repeat, but you'll at least beat the Craps....I'll pay the refs off myself if I have to
    That quote in your signature... is Red Stanley mentally challenged? Wow!!

    Yeah, I'm not up in arms over Fleury. He is what he is. Last season he wasn't stellar either. I don't think he'll ever be an elite goalie stats wise but he's good enough to get the job done when needed and has done so winning a cup. Hell even in the playoffs last eyar he had some down right UGLY games but rebounded. Game 5 in the finals is one that sticks out. I want to say there was a game against the Craps in the playoffs where he looked terrible.

    I'm not worried, like in my last post, until this team shows that they can't turn it on in the playoffs, I'm not worried about losing to the Washington Capitals in a regular season game
    The Standard Is The Standard and The Pittsburgh Sports Forum Is The Standard


  12. #12
    SteelHeel's Avatar
    Status : SteelHeel is offline
    Rank : Waterboy
    Join Date : Apr 6, 2010
    Posts : 73
    Threads : 4
    Last Online : Aug-12-2011 @ 01:40 PM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    The Caps are going to be the team to stand in the way. Hopefully they are saving the wins against them for the playoffs.

  13. #13
    Kipper's Avatar
    Status : Kipper is offline
    Rank : Legend
    Join Date : Oct 8, 2009
    Posts : 67,323
    Threads : 1817
    Last Online : Apr-25-2017 @ 08:36 PM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelHeel View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    The Caps are going to be the team to stand in the way. Hopefully they are saving the wins against them for the playoffs.
    that's the way I see it as well. Although, anything can happen in the playoffs. I mean, I remember watching a 92-93 and 95-96 Pens teams that had offense out the ***, tearing up the standings and goal output looking unstoppable in the Regular season getting into the playoffs and losing to teams that cared to play defense. Granted it was the Trap and clutch and grab, but they had film, they knew and failed to adjust. The Crapitals remind me of those teams, not to mention having suspect goaltending like those Pens teams had (Tom BarASSo) and the Craps are beatable.

    Where's sjdrewk at? San Jose has been one of the top teams in the West and in the entire league since the lock out and they are annually losing to teams that play more defense than them.

    If the Pens want to beat the Craps it's going to take 3 things..

    1. Choking the Neutral Zone. The Pens don't play a trap, it's not even a left wing lock through the neutral zone, but Bylsma's system is actually designed to pressure the puck carrier, keep the wings wide and force turnovers and dumps. That's key especially a against a team like Washington that relies purely on a transition game through the neutral zone.

    2. Goalie. Fleury has to be better than Theodore/Varlamov. That didn't happen last night and we lost. Fleury has the ability and has shown he can steal games. He's also shown he can practically lose them single handed. He has to be the better of the 2 goalies.

    3. Depth Production. The 3rd line needs to produce. Sid and Malkin's lines and Ovechkins lines are going to produce. The difference is going to be 3rd and 4th lines. The better depth could be the difference just like it was against Detroit last year. Staal needs to start stepping up and earn that 4 million per. 48/49 points per season isn't cutting it. If that's all we can get for 4 million per, then Staal needs to continue stepping up in the Playoffs at least. Him and his line could be the difference maker
    The Standard Is The Standard and The Pittsburgh Sports Forum Is The Standard


  14. #14
    The Sodfather's Avatar
    Status : The Sodfather is offline
    Rank : Major Leaguer
    Join Date : Dec 10, 2009
    Posts : 1,431
    Threads : 29
    Last Online : Apr-26-2012 @ 03:04 PM

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I think that there's still that optimism that the Pens will turn it on when the playoffs start and until they show that they can't turn it on when they want people are going to feel good.
    I'm still in that optimistic group. When I posted this morning I was still ****ed about last nights game. That's slowly fading and I still like our chances if some guys step up like the past 2 years.

    Obviously, Fleury has to be better. That 2nd goal was so ridiculous I can't even think of a word to describe it.

    I didn't like Guerin and Pino being on the same line. Just not enough speed especially against a team like the Caps.

  15. #15
    Beezy's Avatar
    Status : Beezy is offline
    Rank : Legend
    Join Date : Oct 11, 2009
    Location : Pig Hill
    Posts : 10,074
    Threads : 82
    Last Online : Nov-10-2016 @ 07:09 AM
    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: the Penguins will be the league's first repeat winner since 1998.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    that's the way I see it as well. Although, anything can happen in the playoffs. I mean, I remember watching a 92-93 and 95-96 Pens teams that had offense out the ***, tearing up the standings and goal output looking unstoppable in the Regular season getting into the playoffs and losing to teams that cared to play defense. Granted it was the Trap and clutch and grab, but they had film, they knew and failed to adjust. The Crapitals remind me of those teams, not to mention having suspect goaltending like those Pens teams had (Tom BarASSo) and the Craps are beatable.

    Where's sjdrewk at? San Jose has been one of the top teams in the West and in the entire league since the lock out and they are annually losing to teams that play more defense than them.

    If the Pens want to beat the Craps it's going to take 3 things..

    1. Choking the Neutral Zone. The Pens don't play a trap, it's not even a left wing lock through the neutral zone, but Bylsma's system is actually designed to pressure the puck carrier, keep the wings wide and force turnovers and dumps. That's key especially a against a team like Washington that relies purely on a transition game through the neutral zone.

    2. Goalie. Fleury has to be better than Theodore/Varlamov. That didn't happen last night and we lost. Fleury has the ability and has shown he can steal games. He's also shown he can practically lose them single handed. He has to be the better of the 2 goalies.

    3. Depth Production. The 3rd line needs to produce. Sid and Malkin's lines and Ovechkins lines are going to produce. The difference is going to be 3rd and 4th lines. The better depth could be the difference just like it was against Detroit last year. Staal needs to start stepping up and earn that 4 million per. 48/49 points per season isn't cutting it. If that's all we can get for 4 million per, then Staal needs to continue stepping up in the Playoffs at least. Him and his line could be the difference maker
    We are basically going to need Malkin too. Malkin of last year even. Christ it seems like the kid hasn't played all year lol. But having the top 2 lines firing is going to open a lot of things up for the 3rd line and I think they will be fine as long as like I say we have our top 2 doing their thang. This is how the Pens are built to win playoff series. With only 2 lines I don't think Pens will be too hard to out unfortunately.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Members who have read this thread: 0

There are no members to list at the moment.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •