I wrote a piece for SB Nation Pittsburgh debating the value of Tyler Kennedy to the 2011-12 Penguins and beyond. The Synopsis: “Everybody Chill.”
Posts Tagged ‘Pascal Dupuis’
This was one of those “simple analysis” type games, which is good, because I never feel like writing long posts on the weekend. I prefer spending the weekend relaxing by the beach, re-enacting Corona commercials by, like, pouring a mai tai on my cell phone, or whatever. I literally do that every single weekend. I’ve gone through hundreds of cell phones, but it’s totally worth…nah it’s not worth it. I really should stop ruining my cell phones with mai tais every weekend to prove how relaxed I am.
Whoops, I’m already rambling and making the short post long. The simple analysis:
1) The Penguins showed a lot of jump, particularly for a road game the night after a home game (though the ratio of Pens fans to Canes fans sounded downright Yankees-in-Tampaesque).
2) Brent Johnson played awesomely, and Cam Ward played not awesomely.
Johnson stopped 33 Carolina shots to notch his first shutout in a Penguin uniform, improving to 5-0-1 on the year. Ward, conversely, let in a Max Talbot goal after Talbot attempted to make a forehand move, lost the puck, and it slid in under Ward, then allowed a second goal to Pascal Dupuis on an unscreened, untipped wrister from the right circle.
The Johnson / Fleury disparity this season has been so glaring, it doesn’t require in-depth statistical analysis, but right now the numbers are just staggering:
Johnson: 5-0-1, 1.16 GAA, .960 SV%
Fleury: 1-5-0, 3.35 GAA, .863 SV%
At what point do we stop just automatically assuming Fleury will reclaim the starting job? That’s not a smart-assed rhetorical question, I honestly have no idea how this situation is going to play out over the next couple months. Brent Johnson has allowed 7 goals in six games – Bylsma has to keep starting him over Fleury for the foreseeable future, using Fleury only on their upcoming Friday/Saturday back-to-backs in the next two weeks, if at all. 12 games is a small sample size, and obviously we can’t throw Fleury under the bus after 6 games (and a bunch of bad games last year including several playoff ones ok I’ll stop this parenthesis has made its point). But Johnson’s certainly making it interesting.
By the way, that two-year, $600,000 / yr deal the Pens gave Johnson is looking slightly decent now, huh?
My brother, a hockey fan who despises the NBA even more strongly than I do, has long made the argument that part of the NHL’s struggle for publicity stems from how fundamentally different the roles of its stars are from those of the stars in the NBA. If you attend a Lakers game, you know almost unequivocally that Kobe Bryant is going to score 20 points with a shot at 30 or 40, and he’ll have the ball in his hands on nearly every possession throughout the entire game, whereas if you attend a Penguins game — such as the Pens’ unimpressive 5-3 clunker in Tampa Wednesday night — you very plausibly might see Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin manage just one secondary assist between them.
The disparity in star power between NHL players and NBA players isn’t solely a factor of the sports’ differing popularities or the way that they’re promoted, but also results from this primary, fundamental difference within the sports themselves. If you’ve never seen a basketball game, you’re still not going to watch a Heat game without noticing LeBron James; if you’re not a serious hockey fan, though, you very well could’ve missed Sidney Crosby Wednesday night.
I’ll save the finer points of this argument for another day, but it’s a nice, general, roundabout segue into my minorly disgusted reaction to the Pens’ loss to Tampa, in which Sidney Crosby played possibly his worst game of the year, managing 3 shots and a Minus-1, providing absolutely zip on the power play, and turning the puck over with Cutleresque frequency. The Pens managed to lose a game in which they scored two shorthanded goals on the same Tampa power play, got goals from Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, and Craig Adams, and managed to chase the clueless-looking Mike Smith just 12 minutes into the game.
Fleury did his part too, allowing 4 goals on 30 shots (.867 SV%) including the first shot of the game for his second straight start, this time on a harmless wrister along the ice from Tampa’s most dangerous sniper, Dana Tyrell. The equally unstoppable Teddy Purcell added a goal on an untipped wrist shot from above the circles (the Pens had a tough time containing the notorious -Ell Twins), Vinny LeCavalier threw an unstoppable power play one-timer past Fleury to tie it, and Marty St. Louis forced a breakaway through two Penguin defenders and chipped the winning goal over a failed Fleury poke-check. Stir in another sweet 0-for-5 on the Pens’ power play and voila! A regulation loss after being up 3-1.
Jordan Staal is allegedly slated to return Friday against Philly. If his weight still isn’t up to par, he has my permission to eat Mike Comrie.
Andy Sutton has been suspended 2 games by the NHL for boarding Pascal Dupuis in Tuesday night’s Pens/Islanders game.
I was watching the local Islanders coverage when Sutton murdered Dupuis, causing him to bleed all over the ice, and while the biased-ass Islanders announcers all begrudgingly agreed that it was a penalty, the coverage then went ice level with Butch Goring, who offered this rambly assessment (I’m paraphrasing):
“The game happens so fast these days, sometimes guys turn and you just can’t hold up. Although I guess that’s not really what happened here. Players know in the NHL now, when you hit someone from behind, you’re probably gonna get a boarding penalty, you just don’t know if it’s gonna be two minutes or five minutes, and this time, it’s a five.”
Which is basically a roundabout way of saying, Andy Sutton boarded the crap out of Dupuis and it was really cheap and he’s gonna get suspended. Why even mention the “players turn so fast” part if you then admit that wasn’t the case here? And there were only two minutes left in the game and the Islanders were trailing, so even if it was a 2-minute penalty it would’ve cost them the game — how does that in any way factor into Sutton’s thinking?
Basically, I’m just mentioning this to the friends of mine who constantly point out the biases in the Steigerwald/Errey FSN Penguins coverage, which obviously is quite often justified, but other announcing teams are usually just as biased as the Pens’ guys, and often to a less informed and more illogical degree. Anyone with the Center Ice Package who’s watched a Lightning game or heard Chico Resch defend a penalty by the Devils knows what I mean.
Below, video of Sutton’s hit. Even this kid thinks the suspension is justified.
The Pens’ 6-4 win over the Islanders Tuesday night was simultaneously impressive and pathetic — this hasn’t been the best month-plus for Gonchar, Letang and the Pens’ D as a whole — but the high point of the game came after the Pens’ fourth goal, when Bill Guerin delivered this celebratory facewash to Pascal Dupuis:
In a related story, Dupuis is likely unavailable for the Pens’ game against Washington tonight. Not sure if it’s related to the Guerin facewash or him bleeding all over the ice after getting viciously boarded from behind by Andy Sutton — probably both things.
The Penguins completely dominated Montreal last night, outshooting them by a brutal 41-21 margin, and this was on the road; with the Mellon Arena statkeepers, the final shots would’ve been tallied as A Googleplex Times Infinity Plus One – 0 (even Montreal’s goals wouldn’t have counted as shots).
Despite their dominance, the Pens still received an astonishingly lucky break when an insane inadvertant whistle in the final minutes of the third period waived off what should’ve been a third Montreal goal to tie the game. Replays showed that Fleury not only didn’t freeze the puck, but the puck barely even slowed down or was out of sight for any length of time, and Fleury even loudly and articulately yelled “OH NO I HAVE NOT FROZEN THE PUCK AND NOW IT IS LOOSE!” and the ref was standing three millimeters from the puck next to a neon sign that said “Puck: Three Millimeters That Way” with one of those strings of neon arrows that lights up in succession to a rhythm.
Needless to say, the Montreal fans — who boo everything that happens anyway, including the zambonis, the “Timeouts Remaining” space on the scoreboard, and gravity — booed the crap out of the call, justifiably. One fan even threw a shoe onto the ice, mistaking the ice for George W. Bush and now for a year ago.
Not the best game for the Pens’ D, Brent Johnson or (for the first time ever) the power play, but nothing mattered — last night surpassed Jordan Staal vs. Detroit from last year as the most exciting Penguins regular season game since… I don’t know… something memorable Rico Fata probably did.
Not to be overlooked with Guerin’s game-tier or Dupuis’ bizarre winner were an insane deflection by Crosby, goals by Mark Eaton AND Jay McKee (on a Mike Rupp backhander), and…another goal by Pascal Dupuis.
Did this really happen?
My brother is currently on a West-Coast Penguins trip, attending the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks games this week as a (jealousy-inspiring) birthday gift from his wife Chancy. After the second period of the Ducks game last night, we exchanged the following texts at the end of the second period after Crosby fed a wide-open Pascal Dupuis at the blue line and he proceeded to do what he so often does: do the farthest possible thing from scoring and spastically just fall down untouched. The exchange —
Me: Get used to that Crosby to Dupuis fall down at the blue line play on this trip
Mike: I told Chancy Dupuis is terrible. She said quiet, his brother could be sitting next to you
Me: Did the guy next to you get handed a drink then immediately fall down?
[Dupuis scores to put the Pens up 4-3]
Me: No way
Mike: He heard from his brother at the half. No way he has 3 goals. Ray Lewis stat
Long story short, the Pens got a go-ahead goal from Pascal Dupuis and proceeded to balance the karma by playing a suicidal last ten minutes against an extremely talented Ducks team and miraculously surviving. I wasn’t even doing my typical “have to make myself worried about the lead because I’m any fan” third period nervousness, I was past that and into “clearly Anaheim’s going to score, so hopefully they can just squeeze this one out in a shootout.” Thanks to a double pad-stack by Sidney Crosby, an improbable Fleury glove save on Saku Koivu (his typical Fleury “ridiculous save to make up for frustrating goal”), and about ninety lucky Pens bounces, they escaped with a 4-3 regulation win.
I have no idea how the Ducks are 4-7-2; every player on their team is 6’4″ and skilled, and Scott Niedermayer looks like he hasn’t lost a step on D. Jonas Hiller didn’t play impressively, but I can’t imagine the Ducks won’t crack that Top 8 in the West before the final 178 regular season games are up, and with their size and ability to create traffic in front of the net, I can still see them going far in the playoffs once they start fully clicking.
Also, Gonchar being out is no excuse for this Penguin power play sucking. It’s just not. Letang and Goligoski are two exceptionally qualified point men, and you have Sidney effing Crosby out there for two minutes with every man advantage. You could throw two cones out there at the wings and still at least go ONE for six on the power play.
Whatever, still another win. Let’s see if the Pens can play even worse in the final 10 minutes against the Kings and win by even more.
Beggars can’t be choosers, as choosers like to say, so I’ll take a Pens victory in Game Seven any way I can. But if I had to pick a Game Seven “dream outcome,” I definitely have one in mind…
A lot of Pens fans would probably love to see Crosby bank the winning goal off Marian Hossa’s eye and in the net, or possibly Malkin to score the winner on a breakaway after Hossa suffers a heart attack and turns the puck over, or maybe Fleury launching a puck the length of the ice and it hitting off the boards, rocketing back into the crease, hitting Osgood’s ass and slowwwly trickling over the line in the final second of regulation (then Hossa explodes).
No, my fantasy outcome isn’t quite that spiteful. In my ideal Game Seven, a 0-0 game enters the fifth Overtime period, with the shots close to even at about 130 per team, and the game-winning goal is finally scored by PASCAL DUPUIS doing the “Dupuis” and firing a slap shot from a crappy angle down the left wing that miraculously beats Osgood. Dupuis is given the Conn Smythe, and boasts on the air, “I TOLD you that works about once every 40 games!”
The Lightning then offer Dupuis a 7 year, $45 million deal on the ice as he is carrying the Cup around, but he turns it down.
Sucky Thing 1: The Bounces
What in the name of Gummi Bear ripoffs is going on with the boards in this series? Did the Joe Louis Arena crew replace the boards with the bouncy walls from Scorched Earth? I kept expecting someone on Detroit to whip a funky bomb at Fleury. Is this an excuse for the first or second goals in Game One going in? Of course not. They were still pathetic efforts. But I’ve still never seen boards give such consistently ridiculous bounces.
Sucky Thing 2: The Refs
I almost never complain about officiating in games other than to occasionally point out poor reffing on an objective level, but rarely believe it’s ever the primary cause for a game’s outcome. Judgment calls go both ways, and even if a team is dealt a bonus power play or an unfortunate penalty to kill, it’s still up to the players on the ice to score or prevent a goal against, and even if a call puts them at a disadvantage, it doesn’t automatically alter the outcome of a game.
That being said, both the non-call on Hossa’s slash on Dupuis and the non-call on Zetterberg covering the puck in the crease (for the second straight game) were both beyond baffling, and go far beyond any simple “well it goes both ways” or “it’s a judgment call, the Pens got away with stuff too” diffusals. Hal Gill got away with interference a couple times. Mikael Samuelsson got away with an elbow on Jordan Staal. These are standard, angering non-calls in a loosely-called hockey game, and neither resulted in a scoring chance.
(Continued after the jump – trying to make the homepage look a little less like a giant pile of poetry word-magnets):