Post-mortem on the season

  1. Tweed

    Tweed Registered User

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    Here's where I think we lost this season, kind of in order:

    (Didn't feel right to put this in the Post-Game, Roster Building or Appreciation threads.)

    -Scheduling. Too many B2B games, with 2nd game in different city than the 1st game, and 2nd game coming against non-B2B teams who were rested. After playing almost 3 seasons worth of hockey in 2 years, I have no idea why the NHL decided to saddle us with the categorically-worst schedule. I think it really hampered our ability to maintain championship level of play.

    -We screwed up by making chemistry-altering moves at the trade deadline. We were 10-1-1 and in Stanley Cup form riding into the trade deadline. I understand GMJR was finally making the moves to fill the holes that he identified at the outset of the season, but the team had, in the meantime, learned to win WITH those holes... and by trading away working components of that success, to address an on-paper need (by that time), it messed with what had evolved into a winning formula. (It reminded me of Shero in 2012-2013 w/ Iginla trade when Pens were on a 13-0 run). I love the assets we acquired, I was just really skeptical at that time, of tinkering with something that was already working extremely well. Had those trades been made at any other time of the year, I wouldn't have been nervous about them.

    -An overall inability to clear the zone. My observation was that time-after-time we weren't getting clean D-zone clears. I just felt like we'd win our share of puck battles on the boards in our end, only to fail a clearing attempt with a weak/bobbled lift. It allowed the opposition to keep us in our zone way more, and for way longer than they should have been able to.

    -Giroux and Wilson damaged our roster enough that it negatively impacted our ability to maintain success derived familiarity/chemistry. Yes, I understand injuries happen, and that champions overcome those situations. The difference here is that these weren't injuries that were sustained through good hockey plays, or bad luck. They were injuries that occurred as the result of an opponent trying to inflict pain when they knew they could get away with it. I think the Hagelin loss was huge. The ZAR loss had implications throughout the line-up, even if ZAR himself wasn't a huge loss (he certainly wasn't a liability in his role, however), it forced Sully to make changes in areas I'd rather he didn't.

    -Trotz gameplanned us perfectly. He identified where he wanted his guys to shoot the puck from (slot), where to shoot the puck to (glove), and how to get the puck back quickly (intercepting neutral zone). I'm not a coach, I'll readily admit that, and I'm not going to criticize Sully, and I'll gladly ****, just offering my armchair-2¢ here... but I felt we needed to get Sheary on the top line, we need to air the puck over the neutral zone, and we need to chase deep pucks with speed, because that's where our bread and butter has been the past 2 years. I wasn't sure if we weren't doing it because we were too fatigued (3 seasons of hockey in 2 years) to chase those pucks down, or because Sully didn't feel we had the roster/makeup to hunt those pucks, or that the Caps D were always in a good position to win those foot-races. Dunno. But they were ready for everything we tried to do.


    In summary, I think losing Ian Cole was monumental. I'm not sure why he had to go, I'm guessing inner-circle politics... so I'm assuming there's a very very very good reason... but I just don't know what that reason is. All I know is, I started to get really really really worried mid-season when I heard they were looking at moving him (see my post history), because I felt he was a critical piece to our puzzle in terms of success, going into the playoffs. I feel a little justified with hindsight, in my concerns. I don't know how to frame it... something like:

    Cole provided us with the already-lacking grit, slot presence, physicality, puck-clearing that we needed... and it was greater than the benefits we gained in center depth with Brassard on the off-chance that Sid or Geno went down long-term. (It just so happens that we did lose Geno for a couple games, and Brassard (probably?) wasn't able to compensate for that loss anyway.)

    Would Reaves have detered Giroux and Wilson? I don't know, you'd have to tell me. But I do know it's the exact reason we acquired him in the first place. Not trying to turn this into a Reaves debate, I know the vast majority of you guys were happy to move on from Reaves, and you're probably right. But I did notice a change in the opponents' physicality post-Reaves, and I do know we never got to see what a Reaves-protected roster in the Playoffs looked like, and that was the whole point of acquiring Reaves in the first place, for the playoffs. I was comfortable with and looking forward to seeing him on this team in the playoffs.

    FWIW, I'm a huge Brassard fan, going back to his CBJ days. I'm not ****ting on Brass. I like him, and I'm happy we've got him for another year, especially for the price-tag. I'm really looking forward to him finding his place/role/comfort on this team next year. I'm really glad we acquired him. I just wish it was a month or more before TDL, and not at the expense of Cole.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  2. Mean Gene

    Mean Gene Haters gonna hate

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    I have one word for the whole season:

    Letang
     
  3. UnderratedBrooks44

    UnderratedBrooks44 Registered User

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    First of all, there's nothing wrong with not liking a trade. The majority are free to disagree with you though. Doing the simple math (adding a 2C-caliber forward to play 3C), the trade seemed like a pretty cut and dry gain to me.

    You are seriously overrating Gustavsson right now though. He is a prospect, period. He has just as much chance of being a good starting goalie as he does never setting foot in North America depending on his development. When one comes down to earth on Gustavsson and considers that we have Brassard at a discount and for another season, it was a solid deal.

    I don't know why the guy didn't bring it during the playoffs and I want to see more, but that was the move I would've made. Adding Grabner and Maroon like the Devils did is certainly interesting, but keep in mind we would still be down an NHL center like we were going into the deadline and would've had to move some money out to make those moves work just like we did with Brassard.
     
  4. RizzleMcRib

    RizzleMcRib Cheeseburgers and rocket ships.

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    I have 3 words.
    What about him?

    I guess 3 is lucky...
    3rd in points per game for defensmen over the last 5 years. Only Burns and EK rank higher.
    3 time Stanley Cup Champion.
     
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  5. Empoleon8771

    Empoleon8771 Kunitz Was There

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    Reasons the Penguins lost:

    1. The defense sucked all year and it continued to suck in the playoffs. The top pair was especially prone to this, they made no adjustments in the entire Capitals series. The 1st goal of the series and the last goal of the series were virtually identical with the same players on the ice.
    2. Murray had a sophomore slump when he needed to be lights out for this team to do deep.
    3. The depth scoring absolutely disappeared for seemingly no reason.
    4. A lot of players were playing either injured or fatigued.
    5. A lot of the new players the Penguins got this year performed worse than the players they lost last year.
    6. Rutherford's horrendous 2017 offseason caused him to have to spend the entire season trying to fix the issues that he created in the offseason, rather than actually improving the team.

    There's plenty of blame to go around, the only players I wouldn't blame are Guentzel and Crosby.
     
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  6. Rodgerwilco

    Rodgerwilco Registered User

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    This is exactly what makes it a great deal. I think Brassard was more than just a "win-now" move, it also set us up perfectly for next season down the middle. Crosby, Malkin, Brassard down the middle and the rest of the complementary pieces already signed it's looking good already.
     
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  7. Beauner

    Beauner Registered User

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    Didn't he improve the team by fixing those issues?
     
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  8. Icarium

    Icarium Registered User

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    Isn't it amazing how the Jackets managed to lose 4 games in a row with Ian "Bobby Orr" Cole in their line-up? No, seriously, we do need to improve our defensive depth but can we at least also remember how we lost 7-1 a few times and even 10-1 with Cole in the line-up?

    ZAR was replaced by Hagelin, a far better player and that was going to happen even if he had remained healthy.

    Well, you get points for originality at least, that's all I am going to say.
     
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  9. Rudy Russo

    Rudy Russo Registered User

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    Hopefully, I'll never have to see Rowney in a pens jersey.
     
  10. Rudy Russo

    Rudy Russo Registered User

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    There's plenty of blame to go around, the only players I wouldn't blame are Guentzel and Crosby.
    And Dumo
     
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  11. Tweed

    Tweed Registered User

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    What I find more amazing is that you're suggesting that I said Ian Cole was Bobby Orr. I like how you cite early season blowout losses as evidence that Cole wasn't a benefit to this team, especially when my post is very obviously centred around how the team was performing at TDL.

    ZAR and Hagelin play ENTIRELY different roles on this team, and they both belonged on the roster. It wasn't an either/or scenario, and that's why I specifically addressed the Giroux & Wilson plays. But okay.

    You're right, Simon was so much better than Sheary.
     
  12. Empoleon8771

    Empoleon8771 Kunitz Was There

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    He didn't improve the team in areas that it needed to be improved, that's what I was saying. He had a terrible offseason last year, and rather than focusing on improving issues that popped up as the season went on (like the defense), he spent all season trying to fix the issues that he didn't solve in the offseason.

    Dumoulin got scored on way too often in that Washington series for me not to put any blame on him. Even if most were Letang's fault, he's still on that D pair and Kuznetsov had seemingly 10 breakways against that pair alone.
     
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  13. pixiesfanyo

    pixiesfanyo Registered User

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    Welcome to the dark side Empo.
     
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  14. Icarium

    Icarium Registered User

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    He was better than Sheary in Game 4, that's for sure. In any event we should have kept Horny on the top line. Sheary or Simon there is just hoping to catch a lightning a bottle.
     
  15. MummRa

    MummRa Registered User

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    Sully loves to play Dumo against Ovi because it works, for whatever reason, Dumo seems to be able to put the clamps on 8. But yeah, props to that flappy bird clown Kuzy for taking advantage of the mismatch that it leaves outside of that.

    I felt like the attention to detail, defensively, just wasn't there as it has been in the past 2 years. That's a team-wide issue, not just the 6-8 dmen. It strikes me as a commitment problem. The team just didn't have the buy-in to the requirements of Sully's system and it's not something you can manufacture or fake. So, hopefully, ta recommitment is something positive that can come out of this loss.
     
  16. UnderratedBrooks44

    UnderratedBrooks44 Registered User

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    They tried with Hunwick to sort of replace Daley, which I said was a terrible signing to begin with, but that's what was there. That's a great example of taking any action instead of none, which seems to be what you're suggesting, and it was a bad move. As far as 3C, I don't really think anyone was truly buying that there were good options out there in the summer. During the year he added Sheahan and Oleksiak, both almost for free, then Brassard at the deadline which I think most people were fine with at worst, and salivating at best.

    I don't see this trajectory of managerial screw ups that people keep suggesting. You build your team starting in free agency up until the deadline, especially a team like this where you know you have time and are going to make the playoffs barring catastrophe. I don't see what's so unusual about what JR did the past 10 months.
     
  17. BigEezyE22

    BigEezyE22 Registered User

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    No...he should have bult the best 1-4 center package known to man on July 2nd.
     
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  18. Human

    Human cynic

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    the D felt really average this year. for example, last year the D looked average on paper, but was way steadier on the ice.

    Matt Murray had a really up and down season, sprinkled with personal tragedies and injuries, especially considering he's still a kid.

    secondary scoring in the playoffs was nowhere to be found. it's quite surprising they almost made it to game 7 of the Caps series, when Sheary, Rust, Brassard, Sheahan, Hagelin or Kessel were nowhere to be seen on the scoring sheet.

    let's be honest here, they have as good of a chance as any to come back as the favorites next season. especially when knowing JR I'm 100% he'll make the moves needed to improve the D.
     
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  19. Tweed

    Tweed Registered User

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    If you're going to roll the dice... one has been proven to work, the other is a legit crapshoot. Personally, I'd go Sheary over Simon in that spot, when Horny + Sid dries up. That's all I'm saying. I don't have a hate-on for Sheary like a lot of the people here do. I like what he does for his price-tag, and I'd be comfortable popping him into that spot to fill a hole, when needed (when Sid + Horny magic inevitably dries up after 8-10 games on/off). I don't think I was making an outlandish suggestion there.
     
  20. BigEezyE22

    BigEezyE22 Registered User

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    100% this. People shouting about front office screw ups should be able to identify what deals there were to be made.

    Quite frankly he may have known a lot of guys would burn out and instead start prepping for next year.

    At this point the issues focus around supplemental depth. A solid center group is in place and I, for one, am pretty excited.
     
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  21. Peat

    Peat Registered User

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    The main reason we went out, imo, is injuries. Malkin, Phil, Brassard, Murray's dodgy form after that knock in training... few teams are going to win when so much of their core is significantly under 100%.

    After that comes the failure of the attacking depth (linked to the fitness of the above) and defensive lapses, as many if not more from the top as from the bottom.

    Could the roster have been better? I dunno. I'd be interested to hear how many assets it would have cost us to dump Hunwick for salary instead of Cole; people overtalk him here, but we could have used him. Due to injury Brassard wasn't great, but I don't think trades should be assessed on injuries.

    Maybe we get a better seeding if Rutherford had been able to make trades earlier... maybe it didn't matter the way it went.

    Few questions to be asked of the coaching. Quite a few times people wondered if helter skelter was the best way for us.

    Maybe Rutherford should have refreshed the roster more.

    I dunno. Frustrating season, but decent. And I still point the finger more at injuries.

    Pretty sure Lulea said he was going to NA before we ever traded him, so I think you're off base with that exact comparison. I still dislike losing him and right now there's good odds of us regretting it.
     
  22. Common Sense

    Common Sense Registered User

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    Unless they're going to use Brassard on the penalty kill next year, I'm afraid I have some bad news.
     
  23. UnderratedBrooks44

    UnderratedBrooks44 Registered User

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    That was too strong I agree, but the point is the guy's future as an NHLer is 100% up in the air at this point in his development. I'm not worried about giving him up because he might cause a goalie controversy in 3-5 years. If you can't give up players like that for the sake of a Cup run you might as well not even make trades.
     
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  24. The Greatest 101

    The Greatest 101 Registered User

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    The Cole/Sheary situation is pretty disturbing tbh.
     
  25. Joejosh999

    Joejosh999 Registered User

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    As exhausted as they were, this is a 4-1 series win if they hold 3rd period leads in Gs 3 and 5. Which they always do, to the tune of 24-0-2 in RS.
    Certainly the tying goal in G3 is one MM would not give up last 2 years. And Letang was back breaking on tying/winning goals in G5.
    But that's what stands out to me. Should we have trapped the minute we had 3rd period leads? Scrapped any D pinches? And so on.
    The biggest deviation from RS was inability to hold late leads IMO. A lot of the rest, we'd seen all year long.
     
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