Pens vs. Wings, let the chatter begin

Well it’s back to another rivalry series.

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First there was the Flyers and then the Capitals.  The Pens got a break in the Eastern Conference Finals and are lucky for that, because this series will almost undoubtedly have emotions running the highest we’ve seen all postseason.

Rightfully so.  If both teams didn’t have everything to give there would be something seriously wrong.  This series has Steelers-Cowboys written all over it.

Pens fans just hope their team can reverse the fortune of last June.

To get us started, the Wings are already complaining.

Who’d think the team with home-ice advantage in back-to-back games to start the series would be unhappy?  I mean, I get it.  They have one less day of rest than the Pens.

But Detroit could have prevented that.  Had the Red Wings not imploded to start Game 3 in Chicago, they could have swept their series and gotten the extra day of rest.  Don’t hate on the Penguins or the league for the way things are.

I also get that the league changed its tune after seeing that both series were going to wrap up quicker than expected.  Let’s be realistic, Detroit.  A 9-game layoff before the start of the Finals would be nearly as stupid as going to commercial right before and right after kickoff … NFL.

Ducks Red Wings Hockey

If anyone doubted he would, here’s your confirmation.  Nicklas Lidstrom is expected to play in Game 1.

Regardless of his hypothetical percentile of health, as we so love to describe players, he was going to play.  Bring it.

Here’s a very interesting piece that got me thinking in more areas than one.  John Buccigross wrote of 10 factors that will lead to the eventual Stanley Cup winner.

Bucci favors youth with the way the schedule is mapped out.  As I already alluded to, I think the Red Wings should be counting their blessings.  They get the chance to win Game 1 at home and take a whole heap of momentum into Game 2 … the very next day, still at home.

However, he points out that three games in four days, four games in six days and possibly five games in eight days favors youth.  I didn’t initially think of it that way and agree with his point.

I believe Game 1 will be huge.  I mean, it always is.  However, it will be even more so with this setup.  The winner of Game 1, in my mind, will likely go on to win Game 2.

Penguins Hurricanes Hockey

Mr. Buccigross continues on, making a prediction on the offensive flow of the series.  Marc-Andre Fleury will have to perform well because …

“The Penguins will probably get outshot in the majority of the games because a healthy Red Wings team outshoots everyone.”

Eh, I disagree.  Last year’s team registered just 41 shots in the first two games combined.  This year’s squad has the potential to put that count on a goalie in any given game.  Credit Dan Bylsma for that.

And the Wings aren’t exactly healthy.

It will be interesting to see if Detroit can hold the Penguins shot total down.  I think the confidence and experience that Pittsburgh owns this time around will prevent such a lopsided start to the series.

Continuing on with Bucci …

“The Penguins have no one in their lineup like Marian Hossa and Johan Franzen. They are beasts and cause major matchup problems for Pittsburgh’s defense.”

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Again, I disagree.  Marian Hossa hasn’t been the player he was in last year’s postseason.  In fact, compare him more to Ruslan Fedotenko, which Buccigross does later on in his piece (making me immediately wonder what the above quote really means).

Fedotenko and Hossa each have scored 6 goals in the playoffs.

The way I see it, Malkin is alive and scoring, compared to the “five-points-in-10-games” version we saw to end the playoff run in 2007-08.  I kindly refer to that Geno as, “Diet Malkin.”

He was the missing link that could have changed that series.

Therefore, the Hossa factor is at best an even draw for the Wings.

Moving on to Franzen brings to mind Billy Guerin.  Both go to the net.  Both score there.  So, what is the big advantage for the Wings?

Well, it might be Franzen’s 13 goals.  Yea, I’ll give him the advantage there.

The point I’m trying to make is that there is no clear advantage for either team.  At least not in what John is claiming.

Finally, I’ll agree with Buccigross.  This quote sums it up for Detroit …

“If the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup, I think it will be because of Chris Osgood’s play.”

Agreed.  And it could be the same for the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Lastly, Pierre Maguire is an idiot.

Oh that’s right, you already knew.  He says this of Hossa leaving Pittsburgh for Detroit …

“If you look at the succcess that Pittsburgh has had since Marian left, and if you look at the success that Marian has had since he left, I think it’s probably a wash,” says McGuire. “It’s paid off for both sides.”

Penguins Capitals Hockey

It has paid off for both sides in the sense that Detroit got another scorer while the Pens had room to make signings of Guerin and Chris Kunitz.

However, Marian could have had better production in Pittsburgh, I believe.  He finished the season with a total of 71 points in 74 regular season games.

At 38 years old, Bill Guerin has 26 points in 34 games in Pittsburgh.  He’s played almost solely with Crosby.

Imagine a younger, more talented player on Sid’s line.  Yep, maybe someone like Marian Hossa.

He could have done better.

But I expect seemingly meaningless commentary from Maguire.  Honestly, is there no one else we can put between the benches?

Chris | PPT

“Avenge 6-4-08”

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