The two obvious choices to meet in the cup finals this year were, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vancouver Canucks (sorry TSN, the monkey is looking way better now). Yet, both are less than 24 hours away from a trip to the golf course and to be quite honestly they deserve to be. Both team have 3 glaring reasons why they are now looking like the lower seed in their series' and why they are about too tee off Friday morning. By the way I too chose the Pens to win the cup, so I'm not trying to look like some type of Oracle in any way. So lets start this breakdown.
The Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins need to play in all three zones of the ice. The Pens look like all they want to do is score, that's all well and good but it wont serve them well when their allowing a touchdown a game. I mean that's great if your the Steelers, but the Penguins should try to play some zone and settle for a field goal. To be blunt I personally don't think their defence is good enough, after watching their constant breakdowns. Letang has become more a winger than a defenceman, and he's been too involved in the rush and more interested in burying one bar down, rather than stopping an odd man rush from developing. Then there is Mister Paul Martin the supposed superb puck moving defenceman, who is supposed to be an offensive juggernaut. He has been nothing but a horrible replacement for the traded Gogligoski. He seems to be lost on this team where he has no defined role what so ever. Coming from New Jersey where the defencive system was a religion, he seems confused in this system as to whether he should be defencive or offencive and personally i feel as if hes over rated in both departments. More shockingly Orpik has been absolutely invisible, usually the anchor of the Pens defence he has become dead weight and not able to steady the free flying Pens. Where is Hal Gill when you need him (never thought I would be saying that). Lastly the forwards have to get back on their horses and try to stop the odd man rushes. If your gonna skate hard as hell into the offensive zone, you sure as hell better skate faster when getting back into your defenzive zone.
Marc-Andre Fleury.... The man behind this mask needs one at all times the way hes playing to be honest. And its not like he has a Vezina candidate on the other side of the ice playing against him in Bryzgalov. I'm not gonna goalie bash but to be fair hes been horrible and is just unstable and until he calms down the pens will run around ragged.
The Pens are not playing their game and that is their biggest fault. Lets be honest, their a tough team but not built to intimidate like the Broad Street Bullies are. Stop trying to push back with fists and start playing Penguins hockey. The Pens dictate tempo by playing smart hockey with a steady forecheck, talented players able to control the puck with their passing, puck placement and shots on net. instead of all this, they are far more concerned with chirping, hitting, fighting, and not being pushed around. I'm pretty sure the Flyers wont seem as tough when they don't control the tempo and are being out classed on the ice...(Cough) Dan Bylsma being out coached (Cough)
These three reasons are why the pens are 0-3 in this series and no amount of gatorade for Sid can change the outcome of game 4 if these holes aren't filled. Until the Pens play smart defencively, Fleury closes those legs up, and the team plays their own game they'll have no shot at even winning a game in this series.
Now off to the west....
The Vancouver Canucks
Coach V has no impact on his team plain and simple. The man with the cool as the cucumber attitude has cooled of the hot Canucks and is no where near heated enough to pump up his team. First of all, who calls out their own captain for being stupid enough to get hit (other than ron wilson) that must be deflating for your already beaten up captain. Second of all your goaltending is not the fault of your team and by switching goalies, he is placing blame between the pipes and not on the lineup who cannot score with all that firepower. Also at the same time he has is deflating the confidence of his starter Roberto Luongo who will absolutely start game 4. Lastly and most importantly, he seems to have run out of ideas and is just waiting for his team to make a change rather than infecting some passion, huffing and puffing, or showing any emotion what so ever. You would think the Canucks are up 3 games to none the way he looks behind the bench. So my opinion to the Canucks is give Coach V a Red Bull or something cause he looks like hes on auto pilot.
Poor Alex Edler. This guy simply just cant do anything right and is only pushing himself harder to do more when clearly he should do less. Someone show him the clip of Paul Rudd in Forgetting Sarah Marshal, where he is teaching Jason Seagul to surf "do less, nope your doing to much, don't do anything". These words would serve Edler greatly, because it seems to be every game winning goal scored by LA is scored while Edler is on the ice. It seems like every shift he is trying to throw a stretch pass threw everyone on the ice. Instead, the guy just needs to chip it out of the zone and allow the forwards to move the puck. Relax Alex.
The core of this team has completely changed their attitude and are trying to shortcut their way to the cup final. Which must be very gut wrenching to the rest of the team. Mr. Ryan Kesler has absolutely embarrassed himself and his team mates with his diving and wining. Which is also making me look bad because I originally believed he should have been captain of the Vancouver Canucks. The last couple years hes been the lightning rod for the team and has been their hardest worker, but now is looking like hes getting ready to swim beside Phelps for the USA in the summer Olympics. Plain and simple, Henrik Sedin is not a captain. I'm sorry Vancouver but he is a leader by performance and when he and the team is not performing, how is there any way he can lead this team. He's not loud, does not hit, and seems to have the temperature of an ice cube, the man seems to collapse when pushed around, which must be deflating to his team. He is not tough enough to handle the likes of Drew Doughty and Zdeno Chara and is unable to fire up the ice cold Canucks. He just doesn't provide the Canucks with what they need out of a captain. Henrik's winger Alex Burrows has disappeared better than Houdini again when needed most and the over rated David Booth has not performed at all. The one piece of this core that cannot be blamed is Roberto Luongo and although all of Vancouver will choose to blame their goaltender, he has played good enough for the canucks to have at least one win. This time Vancouver can riot over the play of the Core of players...not their over rated non proven superstar goalie.
If these three problems are not changed this team will have to look long and hard at what pieces they will continue with next year because there seems to be a lack of character behind the bench and on the ice. Also an early warning has been issued for all business in the downtown area of Vancouver. I would recommend boarding up the windows as quickly as possible and purchasing riot insurance...
OH REALLY !!!
Has to go to the CBC for their inability to show the Bruins-Capitals game in HD. Im sorry but best coverage of the Play-offs for years eh? I could have sworn they had another CBC channel that was HD. But I get it Re-runs of Dragons Den and Little Mosque on the Prairie in HD should absolutely take precedence over the STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS IN CANADA. Home of The Stanley Cup Playoffs...OH REALLY !!!