Penguin Playoff Notes: The puck is not a cloaking device

“A cloaking device is a form of stealth technology that uses selective bending of light (and other forms of energy) to render a starship or other object completely invisible to the electromagnetic spectrum and most sensors. It has been encountered in varying forms over the centuries.
” Credit here.

Penguins puck-cloaking directions here.

Kidding aside, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team turn the puck over as many times as the Penguins have in the first two games of the playoffs. These turnovers aren’t even of the forced variety. It’s not like Blue Jackets players are jumping into lanes, making miraculous pick offs. Rather, it’s Sidney Crosby throwing a blind backhand from behind the Columbus net. Or it’s Crosby looking to hit Chris Kunitz even though there are two Columbus players with their sticks on the ice in a direct line between Crosby and Kunitz.

It’s ill-advised passing. It’s mind boggling.

My question is do the Penguins really and truly believe they have magic sticks and stealth-mode puck passing abilities? Blue Jackets players seem to be able to see Pittsburgh’s passes just as well as Penguins players do.

It’s not just Crosby making high-risk, low-percentage play passes. Matt Niskanen, he of the two goals and four playoff points, is guilty as well. It’s a contagious disease at this point, spreading from Crosby to all parts Pittsburgh.

I can’t imagine former Penguins coach, Michel Therrien, letting his team get away with the junk Dan Bylsma does.


Maybe I’m naïve, maybe I’m looking at the playoffs through black & gold colored glasses, but I still see the Penguins handling Columbus, with Crosby and Evgeni Malkin coming through with big performances. Part of my reasoning is that the Blue Jackets just don’t have the roster quality to strike fear in opponents. Of course, what things look like on paper and what really happens are two different things.


Crosby looks tired to me on the ice. He’s seems content skating on the perimeter and picking his spots to get involved, as if he’s pacing himself rather going full-in. He’s played in more games than perhaps ever before, when factoring in the Olympics and his 80-game regular season. He finished with more gross playing time (1757.47 TOI) and ice time per game (21:58) than any other NHL forward.


When Brian Gibbons is your best player on the ice, you know your team’s in trouble.


Sometimes it looks like the Penguins expect opponents to lie down and roll over for them.


With Gibbons sidelined for Game 3 with an apparent shoulder injury, Beau Bennett moves back up to the Crosby line.


Has anyone seen Chris Kunitz in the first two games of the playoffs? If so, please tell him to report to the Penguins dressing room immediately for further instruction. For whatever reason, it seems like Kunitz is handling the puck like a hot potato. Maybe Penguins fans should say he doesn’t belong on the Penguins, that’s he’s simply not as good as Patrick Sharp. Anything to get him going.


If the Pens are to have a long (or at least longer than one series) Cup run, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury needs to show he can play well. He has. I don’t agree with folks saying he was a super standout in Game 2, but by the same token he upheld his end of the bargain in the net. Maybe some of his teammates should visit his sports psychologist this summer.


I really felt like Kris Letang should have waited for the fall to return after suffering a stroke, but that was purely for personal health reasons. Now I wish he would have waited simply because he’s playing poorly. It’s good to see him healthy and active again, though.


A lot of times players try to do too much when things don’t go their way. Letang was a perfect example of that Saturday. On Columbus’s game-winning goal, Letang raced across the Pittsburgh crease even though the team had help on the left side. His vacated spot gave Matt Calvert the opening to take multiple whacks at the puck before he was able to lift his winner over Fleury’s pads.


The NHL playoffs are a marathon not a sprint. Even so, someone’s got to tell the Pens to pick up the pace.


Treasure Life!



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