Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh!!!

By Jeff

OK, the Pittsburgh Penguins are playing in Vancouver against the Canucks, and I'm in Philadelphia, but you get my point. Hockey is back!

While every year since Sidney Crosby was drafted has been big, this season feels like it has the potential to be the most intense and exciting. Word from the media and the team is the Evgeni Malkin revved up his workout routine and wants to carry this team to another Stanley Cup.

Sidney Crosby is going to come back, my guess is late November, but will he be the same player he was before his concussion last year. I wonder if other teams and their fans have forgotten that he was head and shoulders above the rest of the league last year before he got hurt? They'll remember soon enough.

The defense that was one the best in the league last year has had another year to come together. Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin have had a full year of playing together and learning the team's system. They are going to be sick.

Marc-Andre Fleury will be hated upon by my brother, father and half of Pittsburgh. Then Fleury will tear shit up and cause these haters to go hide in holes for months at a time.

Dan Bylsma has the most to prove. He went from the golden child who won a cup in his first half season, to premature playoff exits the past two years. He won the Jack Adams last season, but even I have to admit he seemed too stubborn to adjust at times. Will he be more willing this year? He's going to need to be.

Will the power play not suck all season? Some fans like to cling to the hope that one player can make a difference each year. Last year it was Alexei Kovalev. This year it's Steve Sullivan. It takes more than one guy to make the power play effective. They need to stop being fancy, move around and get the puck to the net, damnit!

It's going to be a fun, thrilling, sometimes frustrating, intense season. I can't wait.

Go Pens.

Warren Zevon - Hit Somebody


  1. You had me until you said the powerplay needs to stop being fancy. Everyone always says they need to shoot more and just put the puck on net, but it's not that simple. They look for the pass so much because the shot usually isn't open. They need to start doing rotation plays instead of having five guys stationary. The core problem is that they get set up and can't find a shooting lane because no one is moving. It's so predictable and it doesn’t generate many scoring chances. It's essentially the opposite of cycling the puck: they let the defense get set and don't do anything to get them out of position. Now at times the superstars on the Penguins have enabled this to succeed. Keep in mind that we were running this same type of powerplay when we hoisted the cup in 2009. However, over the past two seasons it has proved to be very ineffective and definitely needs to change. We’ll see what Disco has in store for us.

    Go Pens.

  2. Fancy was probably the wrong word. I think the Pens PP tends to use one or two too many passes to set up a perfect shooting opportunity, rather than get the puck on the net.

    I should have also added they need to be scrappier on the power play. It just doesn't seem that they work hard to get in front of the net and make life for the goalie miserable. Maybe that's the system, maybe that's the players. I don't really know.

  3. Yeah, being scrappier and getting ugly goals would probably fit Bylsma's system pretty well. A guy in front doesn't do much unless you get some shots on net, but that seems to be happening more this season.

    I heard an interview with Dejan on Madden today and he said, "If I could summarize the power play to this point, I would only need two words: Steve Sullivan." I haven't been able to watch much Pens, but it seems like he's a great fit for us. In Shero we trust.