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Game 6 analysis

That was totally worth doing.

Posted by on 06/10 at 02:02 PM
  1. You did go then.  Yeah!

    Can you make it to Detroit by Friday?

    Posted by Ken Houghton  on  06/10  at  03:28 PM
  2. Wait, there’s more.  In the previous thread, Rob Scuderi has already gotten the appropriate praise and thanksgiving for making three spectacular saves in that final-moments flurry, and Malkin has been appropriately chastised for his none-more-clueless cross-checking penalty.  I have a couple of quick things to add before I run out for the next household errand, which involves bicycle repair.

    One:  the stars.  Crosby’s not on the score sheet, but he played a terrific game defensively.  Time and again, I saw him below his own goal line helping to strip those pesky, possessive Red Wings of the puck, disrupting cycles, blocking passing lanes.  Malkin backchecked like a man on a mission, and generated a couple of scoring chances in the first period that didn’t wind up scoring.  Fleury was solid.  He still overplays the puck when he gets excited—I imagine there’s sometimes a little too much adrenalin in those young legs as he flings himself from side to side.  See final-moments flurry, above.  But his save on Cleary involved just the right amount of side-to-side adrenaline.  More important, though everyone forgot about it after that crazed third period, Fleury’s first save of the evening was a thing of beauty.  The Wings came in on a 2 on 1, Zetterberg fired the puck from the high slot 30 feet out, caught Fleury leaning the wrong way—and Fleury swatted it out of the air with his right arm.  If that goes in, needless to say, it’s a whole different world in the Igloo.  Likewise with Zetterberg’s pointblank chance later in the period, off a deft cross-crease pass from Datsyuk.  Because it is Teh suXXor to outshoot a team 12-3 and be down 1-0.

    And Jordan Staal:  goddamn, when I was in town for game 6 I heard three different guys—one in the arena, two in bars—expressing regret that the Pens had drafted Staal instead of Jonathan Toews.  I talked to the third of these guys for a few minutes, because by that point I was intensely curious as to why Pens fans would already have given up on this kid.  “His first season is looking like a fluke,” the guy said, whereupon when I got back on the Internets I checked his stats.  WTF?  Now, it’s true, as my interlocutor added, that the Pens are no longer the only team with a core of just-post-teen superstars.  But why that’s a reason to trade Staal for Toews in your little fantasy league, I don’t know.  Anyway, I hate it when fans complain about players who are really quite good, and wish for other players they think might be marginally better.  All I can say is (a) I hope “we shoulda gotten Toews instead” is not a meme in Pittsburgh sports-talk radio, and (b) that if it is, Staal’s shortie in game 4 and his DIY (takeaway, sprint down the right wing, shot, rebound) goal last night put that mother to rest.

    Two:  the roster.  Sykora in, Satan out.  OK, that’s plausible, and I say this as someone who just praised Bylsma for pulling the plug on Sykora in round one.  The reasoning was, surely, that if you give an aging scorer with a great Stanley Cup playoff record an unexpected chance to step up in an elimination game, he just might.  And he did—even though it’s not on the score sheet.  He got a minor ovation in my section for a beautiful blocked shot in the second period, and played reasonably well throughout.  Now, as for pulling Satan:  well, he has gotten less visible lately.  “Nooooo!” yelled the doughty-lunged man behind me, in tones JP Stormcrow surely could have heard from his seat across the rink.  “Scratch Adams!  Don’t scratch Satan!  Scratch Adams!” “You think?” I asked, being an inquisitive sort.  “Satan has disappeared, after all.” “But Adams hasn’t done a thing.” Which is not quite true, but close.  Anyway, Adams turned in a fine game as well, and played smart at both ends of the ice.

    But here’s what’s interesting, from a coaching/ carping point of view:  Satan took the pregame warmup.  There was no way to tell, until the official announcement just before game time, who’d been yanked, because everybody in the regular roster took the ice for the team skate.  I was struck by this at the time, and borrowed Jamie’s pad to write things down to make sure.  Yep, there were 13 forwards on the ice.  I’m guessing that Bylsma was sending a message:  yes, I’m messing with the roster, and yes, Miroslav is sitting, but he’s not spending the game in street clothes.  It’s a team thing.  If so, props to Bylsma for a subtle but classy move.

    Posted by  on  06/10  at  03:31 PM
  3. You did go then.  Yeah!

    Yeah indeed.  I buried the surprising news in comment 44 of this thread.

    Can you make it to Detroit by Friday?

    I’ll be at an AAUP meeting in Washington, but maybe I can sneak away....

    Posted by  on  06/10  at  03:33 PM
  4. OK, just watched the replay of Zetterberg’s shot in the first.  I stand corrected:  Fleury’s save was a thing of beauty and a joy forever.  Zetterberg got the puck 30 feet out—but he was no more than 10-15 feet out when he shot.  That’s what we scoring forwards call Ye Olde Prime Scoring Location, and in fact we have intense fantasy dreams all the time about being one win away from the Stanley Cup and getting a chance like that in the first period, with no defensemen within poke-checking distance and all eyes on us. 

    Also, I forgot to praise Kennedy’s making-something-from-nothing goal in the third.  I love it when forwards take three or four feet of open ice and make a play out of it.  Especially around the net.  I say, if they give you three or four feet of ice, don’t hang back on the boards and look to pass—make ‘em pay.

    Posted by  on  06/10  at  03:52 PM
  5. Some of Fleury’s moves reminded me of Rogie Vachon. How the **** did he get his arm back there????!!! Oh, yeah, and it’s nice to have a defenseman be in the crease at the perfect moment, too.

    Posted by Sherman Dorn  on  06/10  at  04:04 PM
  6. “Nooooo!” yelled the doughty-lunged man behind me,

    A different guy than the “The only cup that Hossa is going to touch is Zetterberg’s” guy?

    And I’m glad you made this thread since everyone was so reticent about talking about the game in the other one and since at the game you really did not have any time to comment on the play, instead spending all of our talk time engaged in fulsome and effusive praise for your wife’s forbearance with regard to your hockey passion. If people think MB’s blog posts are long-winded, you should hear him at a hockey game going on and on and on about how lucky he is in that regard. {{This isn’t inconsistent with anything else we’ve said is it? let me know if I am laying it on a bit thick. And the double curly brackets absolutely get caught by the spousal filter, right? Respond via the Bat Channel if they don’t.}}

    My response to this morning’s, “Was it worth it?” question: “Ask me in 5 years.” But it was, and we both had a great time, and my wife was pleased to get a chance to meet you and Jamie. As was I. {{Per our discussion, the bill for your portion of our costs will come to your office.}}

    Posted by  on  06/10  at  04:15 PM
  7. Here’s your NHL conspiracy theory for you:

    http://961kiss.com/pages/morningfreakshow.html?an=RED-WINGS-STANLEY-CUP-CHAMPS-GEAR-FOR-SALE

    Posted by  on  06/10  at  04:22 PM
  8. On the hockey. Um .. everything that Michael said, and that I’m hearing right now for the very first time. Except I did not really notice the Crosby defensive stuff. I do suspect a bit more Crosby offensive production will be needed for Game 7 happy ending. I do remember the Sykora block, but not much else from him. I hope Bylsma sticks with him for the next game, though, as the pressure of returning in that situation might have inhibited him somewhat.

    As for Detroit, I thought for a short bit right after Kennedy’s goal that they were wavering and the Pens might cruise in. But no. I did not think that Hossa did much until the middle of the 3rd, but did think that Cleary had a dangerous game (and Zetterberg, as always). My son asked me the other day why Zetterberg does not get more “best player” love since he seems to own Crosby and Malkin in their head-to-heads.

    Posted by  on  06/10  at  04:30 PM
  9. OK, I just watched that flurry.  Holy Mother of Moloch with both skates in the crease, that was amazing.  JP and I were at the other end of the rink at the time, and all we could see was a scramble down low; we noticed, did we not, that the Red Wings poking at the loose puck were Zetterberg, Franzen, Datsyuk, Hossa, Yzerman, Delvecchio, Howe, and Lindsay, so we figured, dang, that can’t be good.  Just watching the replays required CPR.  Each time I look I’m convinced that second effort by Franzen is going in.

    Did I mention that Janet is really good at CPR?  And how lucky I am?  {{Hssstt, JP.  Thanks!  No, there’s no way she can read the double-bracketed stuff.  So go ahead and send that invoice to the hollow tree at the SW side of the English building.}}

    A different guy than the “The only cup that Hossa is going to touch is Zetterberg’s” guy?

    No, it was that very guy.

    You know what, though?  You really don’t get a sense of the crowd noise on the teevee.  It was crazeeeeee in there, pretty much all night long.  A little too much for Jamie at times, I’m sorry to say.  But he enjoyed himself all ‘round, and we enjoyed meeting you and your wife.  Let’s all ask that question in five years!

    About Crosby: seriously, he makes two-three nice plays deep in our end.  About Sykora:  there was also the first-period play where he forechecked like mad, forced Osgood to cough up a hairball behind the net, and almost got it out front for a sure goal.  And about Zetterberg:  in answer to your son, I honestly don’t know.  Zetterberg is totally Teh Awesome, and was probably the best player on the ice last night.  It’s a good thing I’m not on Jordan Staal’s line, because the very thought of facing off against him and Franzen and Cleary makes me shudder.  Not to mention those Datsyuk and Hossa fellows.  Oh, and Abdelkader and Helm and Holmstrom are not exactly chopped liver.  But that’s what made that final period so white-knuckled intense:  the knowledge that any one of those guys could turn the game around, at any time.  And that’s why every time they had the puck, I was doing my Jerry Tarkanian imitation with my towel.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/10  at  04:46 PM
  10. Now if Abdelkader had scored in that last period, that would have been something.

    I was rock concert deafened after the game, with my wife and I trying to figure out how much of my hoarse-sounding voice was real and how much was due to our hearing impairment.

    Posted by  on  06/10  at  05:06 PM
  11. Now if Abdelkader had scored in that last period, that would have been something.

    Well, he was practically the only Red Wing not involved in that final scrum.  But now I want to use the Sean Carroll Time’s-Arrow-Reversal Machine so that you and I can go back and do a pregame show in which we say we’re looking for more offensive production from Tyler Kennedy and Kris Draper, who will probably score critical goals down low tonight.

    Hell, in game six of the Caps series I saw Letang and Eaton score.  If only Scuderi had put in that slapshot in OT, I would have had the D-trifecta.

    Posted by Michael  on  06/10  at  05:21 PM
  12. And then pack for DC, where I’ll have to find someplace good to watch game 7. (from the other thread)

    Alex Ovechkin’s house!

    Posted by  on  06/10  at  05:25 PM
  13. I’m so glad (and envious) that you got a ticket for the game. For what it is worth, if the Pens win on Friday, then the MVP goes to Tyler Kennedy. He’s been strong in every game of these playoffs. Guys like him just fly under the radar, but when you start watching their backchecking, their anticipation in the passing lanes, and their willingness to take hits to make plays or head toward the crease, then you see the stage they create for the Malkins and Crosbys (Sid, nt Bing)of the world.

    Where the hell does Dan Cleary get the idea that he can lift a puck on his backhand while on the fly? Damn Newfies. Anyway, you got to see a great game live, and it makes up for your missing Game four. Ain’t the universe just?

    Posted by  on  06/10  at  06:59 PM
  14. Ain’t the universe just what?

    Posted by Nell  on  06/10  at  07:57 PM
  15. This post is sheer.

    Posted by David J Swift  on  06/10  at  09:04 PM
  16. Ain’t the universe just what?

    Truer words were never spoken.

    Posted by  on  06/11  at  01:28 PM
  17. So, my husband wants to watch Game 7 on the televisual machine Friday night, but can’t find it in the Comcast listings. Not on NBC? Not on Versus? And not even scheduled on the NHL channel we don’t pay extra for? (I think.) What gives? Will it be showing in lieu of the listed programming on one of those channels?

    Help me, Obérubé—you’re my only hope.

    Posted by Orange  on  06/11  at  07:20 PM
  18. It damn well should be on NBC.  And me, I’m going to be at the Pour House near Capitol Hill, which, I’m told, is a Penguins bar.

    Posted by  on  06/11  at  07:32 PM
  19. It is on NBC. Unless your local affiliate is being totally clueless and not carrying it, or maybe they assumed the Pens would lose Tuesday and have not updated the schedule yet. Either way, booooooo!

    Posted by  on  06/11  at  07:34 PM
  20. Thank you, kind sir. I hate with the fury of a thousand suns all those NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL official websites, which defeat my web fu far too often and hide the info I’m looking for. And wouldn’t you think NBC has had enough days to update its program listings on my DVR? Pfft. Must be a bunch of Detroit fans over at NBC.

    Posted by Orange  on  06/11  at  07:37 PM
  21. Not sure it is a DVR-only problem right now. I checked and assuming your blog profile is correct, that city’s NBC affiliate is right now saying that they are airing “The Listener” and “Dateline NBC” tomorrow night. But they won’t.

    Posted by  on  06/11  at  07:47 PM
  22. According to the Freep, Friday’s game is on NBC and CBC.

    Looks like, in this series, whoever wins the 2nd period wins the game.

    I still want to know why a two-handed high stick to the back of the head of a player that does not have the puck, and even gets called by the <i>AGAINST<i> announcers is not a penalty on the ice?

    Still, you can’t play half a game and expect to win.

    Captcha: (you can’t make these things up) ANSWER—to why Malkin takes a stupid cross-check penalty, etc. etc.  He doesn’t expect it to get called - and it almost wasn’t.

    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  06/11  at  07:57 PM
  23. Orange -

    I can assure you that Detroit fans also want to watch the game.

    In fact, we hate “with the fury of a thousand suns” the bastards at NBC who could not reach an agreement to show game 6 on Joe-vision.

    We hates them forever.

    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  06/11  at  08:09 PM
  24. jazzbumpa, I feel your pain—and I’ve been reading your posts on the series.  And in the evenhanded spirit of the Obama Era, I have to say (a) you are completely right, the Pens have lost their composure twice in the Joe and played like thugs, and Malkin’s cross-check was rightly called, (b) Staal shoved Zetterberg into Fleury after HZ almost put that puck in on the high stick side, and (c) we will, we will rock you.  Also:  we will, we will rock you.

    Posted by  on  06/12  at  01:08 AM
  25. jazzbumpa, have you watched any of the games on CBC? Are they openly rooting for Pittsburgh (i.e., Crosby)?  Even if so, it’s hard to imagine the coverage wouldn’t be better.

    Back in 1997, twice as many people in greater Detroit watched the playoffs on CBC as on Fox/NBC (I think NBC had the finals then).  But I gather fewer people can still get the Windsor channel now.

    Posted by Nell  on  06/12  at  07:59 AM
  26. Oh dear gawd.. ten minutes to go and the Cup is sliding across the ice in a perfect spiral to Pittsburgh!!!!!

    Posted by  on  06/12  at  10:15 PM
  27. Can I just say that Game 6 and 7 were a lot fun?  Congrats to the the Pens for winning (and I hope to god none of my family find out that I posted THAT).

    God..err...Moloch.... Hossa must be kicking himself.

    Posted by  on  06/13  at  12:08 AM
  28. Hi gang.

    I’ve been tied up with family stuff over the weekend - graduations from primary to middle school, a birthday party, and mom-maintenance, so I’m a little behind the times here.

    Congratulations on your guys taking home the cup.

    Michael-
    a) thank you.
    b) thank you.
    c) yes, you did.

    Nell -
    I have Direct TV and cannot get channel 9.  I signed up a few years ago when they had an unrefusable deal on the NFL ticket.  I have since canceled that. ($$$$) But the idea of going back to Comcast is pukifying.  In the brilliant community where I live, they have a 20 yr exclusive contract, and I hates them with the fury of 1 or 2 suns, give or take a bonfire.

    But you ask a good question.  I would definitely watch on channel 9 from Windsor if I could.

    Were I the Wings, I would make no serious play to keep Hossa - a virtual non-entity throughout the finals - except at a bargain rate.  I understand Brad Stuart is signed though next year, though he should have been credited with assists on many of the Pens’ goals.

    In closing, I’ll say I’m proud of my Wings.  They played hard through injuries*, adversity, and I think I may have seen a plague of locusts in there somewhere, only to fall short of the cup by a single goal.
    _____________________
    * if you don’t already know, you probably don’t want to.  Eeeeooow.

    WV: Job - as in Book of.

    Posted by jazzbumpa  on  06/15  at  02:22 PM

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