Americans struggle to sustain offense, play conservative in 1-0 loss to Canada

 

Canada is advancing to the Gold Medal game for the second straight Olympics with a 1-0 win over the United States. Jamie Benn scored the only goal of the game and Carey Price made 31 saves for the shutout. The Canadians in an excellent defensive effort, have given up just three goals in the tournament and the Gold Medal game pegs the 2006 Gold Medal winner in Sweden up against the 2010 Gold Medal winner. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE UNITED STATES? The Americans came into this game as a team built on being fast to the puck and we saw none of that today. Canada was the superior team by a wide margin and the game really felt like a 4-0 game in Canada’s favor than the end score of 1-0. Canada was tremendous in clogging the middle and keeping the Americans to the outside. The Americans had troubleRead More »

If Team USA fails in Olympics, criticism could mount that Bylsma, coaches were too involved in selection of team

 

INPUT FROM TEAM USA COACHING STAFF WAS SIGNIFICANT IN PICKING TEAM My biggest takeaway from Scott Burnside’s Team USA feature last week on the selection of the team where Burnside was granted access to all meetings, ect, is how significantly involved the coaching staff was on the selection of the team. The coaches, especially Dan Bylsma appeared to have a lot of weight (maybe too much) on which players made it, especially bubble players. There’s even an instance where Brian Burke states he didn’t let his coaches have as much input in picking the 2010 team as David Poile let the current coaching staff have. Burnside writes: Burke points out that Poile has included the coaches more than he did when he occupied the GM position in Vancouver four years before. It’s good, but, he adds, “I think coaches see snapshots, and I think GMs watch the whole movie,” BurkeRead More »

Coaching Staff has two different lineups in mind for playoffs: One with Sid & one without

 

PENS STAFF WORKING OFF TWO DIFFERENT LINEUPS FOR PLAYOFFS Sidney Crosby practiced today with the team for the first time since breaking his jaw on March 30th, and while it was another step in the right direction for Crosby, there remains uncertainty on when he will be cleared for contact and cleared to play. Doctors on Thursday felt comfortable enough for Crosby to start practicing with his teammates but not yet to start taking contact. “Returning is not really up to me,” Crosby said this afternoon. “I’ll just keep talking with the doctors. It’s something they have to feel comfortable with the healing. As soon as they say the word I’ll be ready to go.” Crosby avoided contact in today’s practice and the NHL playoffs begin in four days on Tuesday, April 30th, but the Penguins will be opening up at home on Wednesday, May 1. “There is no timetableRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz: Woeful GAA #’s for Fleury, Vokoun; Bylsma cites consistency issues again for Despres; Biggest Disappointments & Surprises

 

MORNING PENS BUZZ *The Penguins begin a stretch of three games in four nights, starting tonight in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The Leafs who match up well against the Penguins, defeated Pittsburgh 5-2 on Jan 23 in the Penguins home opener. The Maple Leafs with a record of 15-10-0, 30 pts, have the look of a potential playoff team and right now are 5th in the Eastern Conference. Expect a sloppy defensive game as the Penguins come in averaging a league high 3.54 goals per game and the Leafs can skate and put the puck in the net, ranking 6th in the NHL averaging 3 goals per game. Pittsburgh in back to back situations this weekend return home to host the New York Islanders Sunday night. The big game is Tuesday night at home against the Boston Bruins, a game many should be looking forward to and a possibleRead More »

Game Day Buzz: Despite lack of role with team, Penguins would be better served to hold onto Jeffrey

 

GAME DAY BUZZ Dustin Jeffrey is a well mannered person who will never publicly say this but you can bet he would not have minded being in Eric Tangradi’s shoes last week and being traded to another team that planned on giving him a better opportunity and regular role in the lineup than he’s getting with the Penguins. Jeffrey has been scratched for 13 of 17 games this season but will return to the lineup tonight in place of Joe Vitale who will be a healthy scratch. With the way he’s viewed by the coaching staff, Jeffrey will probably be back in the press box Sunday night, regardless of how he plays tonight. That’s just how it’s gone for him. Aside from his poor performance against Philadelphia in the season opener on Jan 19, Jeffrey has played well this season and was one of the Penguins best forwards against theRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz: Blueprint on attacking Pens offensively has emerged; Likely Playoff lines established; Post-Game Chatter

 

MORNING PENS BUZZ The Penguins dropping three of their last four games, continue to express frustrations over their struggles defensively. With the goaltending starting to take a step back in the past few games, issues defensively that have been there for the past six to seven games are starting to catch up. “We didn’t do a lot of good things and paid for it again,” captain Sidney Crosby said on the Penguins 5-3 to the Islanders Thursday night. “We made some mistakes and they capitalized on it.” A blueprint on how to attack the Penguins offensively is out there. Establishing a strong cycle in the offensive zone and spacing the Penguins out has been a prominent way to exploit the Penguins defensively of late. The Senators did it very well against Pittsburgh last Saturday night and New York did again Thursday night. A big issue (but fixable) emerging for theRead More »

Pens Notes: Malkin, Kennedy, Defensive Depth, Power Play & more

 

Friday Morning’s Pens Notes While driving into the office this morning, heard Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma on 93.7 The Fan. Here are some tidbits from Bylsma’s interview with the The Fan morning show… — On Evgeni Malkin: Bylsma said reports coming back to him is that Malkin continues to workout extremely hard and believes he will be in the best shape of his career for camp. Bylsma even mentioned he got a call from Sergei Gonchar recently who said he’s never seen Malkin in this type of shape and working out as hard. Bylsma also confirmed that Malkin could have returned in the playoffs. Bylsma said at the time of the injury, initial diagnosis from doctors is that Malkin’s rehab would have went just a few days after the Cup Finals but as it’s been noted in the past, the surgery was not as severe as doctors thought itRead More »

Pens will give Cooke an opportunity to change

 

Penguins winger Matt Cooke has not played his last game in a Penguin uniform. Cooke’s future with the Penguins has been a hot topic by fans and the media after Cooke was suspended for the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs. With the Penguins showing full support in the NHL’s decision and being strong supporters on a ban for headshots, speculation is rampant that the Penguins will decide to part ways with Cooke this summer. Cooke who received a three year – $5.4 million deal from the Penguins last summer, has two years remaining on his deal that includes a modified no trade clause.

Game 40: Fedotenko demoted to the 4th line; Kennedy to return to lineup

 

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has not been happy with the production of his top-2 line wingers. Bill Guerin is the only consistent winger the Penguins have had all season playing with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. Yesterday in practice, Michael Rupp skated with Sidney Crosby while Ruslan Fedotenko took line rushes on the third and fourth line. More changes are instore tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. This morning Chris Kunitz returned to the ice after missing yesterday’s skate and will play on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis tonight. Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin will center Michael Rupp and Bill Guerin on the second line. Dan Bylsma sent a message on Sunday scratching Tyler Kennedy and Bylsma is considering another change tonight.