Thanks for Everything, Sully

Discussion in 'Pittsburgh Penguins' started by Mario_is_BACK!!, Jan 19, 2021.

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  1. DesertedPenguin Registered User

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    Tampa was 22-23-6 at the start of February 2017 the season they missed the playoffs.

    That's 51 games.

    They were a pedestrian 12-9-3 at the start of December 2019. That's 24 games, but a more recent example of sluggish play.

    What rookie is being buried right now? POJ has gotten substantial minutes, even as guys get healthy. Drew O'Conner? He's offered nothing in what we've seen so far.

    Maybe the line mix is bad, but no one is being buried or sheltered.

    As far as acquisitions go, I know we have the "he's going to score goals" clip, but Rutherford did his own thing. I've thought Yzerman/BriseBois were far more consistent in their team-building approach.

    Sullivan's not perfect. I'm just playing devil's advocate by pointing out there could be an argument toward keeping him and developing a better roster via more calculated moves.
     
  2. Gurglesons Registered User

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    Nobody rational was calling for Sullivan’s head after 2017-18 or 19-20.

    Does anything in our game make us think we are about to go on a 10 game win streak like Tampa in 2019.

    Cooper ran into cup winners and lost major pieces in the playoffs leading to losses. The teams we lost too the last two years weren’t on the level that PIT and WAS were.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
  3. DesertedPenguin Registered User

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    No, but Tampa went through similar stretches that the Pens are going through now. They stayed the course. That's my point.

    I know firing the coach is the quick fix in the NHL. There's a reason it's done so often. But I firmly believe the bigger issue is roster construction and team building. Rutherford had a plan and a vision through 2017-18.

    Then Tom Wilson happened and the Penguins lost their identity. They may still be fast skaters, but they can't play fast. I think they have the current style and system because the players are either physically, or in some cases mentally, incapable of playing another way.

    They're not tying up or boxing out net-front presences because they physically can't. They're not pressuring high in the defensive zone because certain guys will just fly the zone early (I noticed this change once Kessel was acquired).

    They've changed some breakouts because guys make risky passes.

    I don't know that there is a system out there that works for this particular collection of players. Some of them, yes. But not the collection as a whole.

    If I'm Hextall/Burke, I have a number of personnel moves I explore before firing Sullivan, though I would clear out the assistants this off-season (assuming no major turn-around) and have him make the hires there. Then he sinks or swims with his hires.
     
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  4. Sidney the Kidney Missing Link

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    Such as? See, that's a risky thing, making a bunch of moves with the roster *before* firing the coach. Because what if you do that, then you realize it *is* the coach and you have to fire him anyway? Now you've had to replace the coach anyways, but also traded away decent players for nothing.

    The Pens, with Sullivan, aren't winning shit. They haven't looked good in the playoffs basically since they beat up on Brian Elliott in 2018, before gassing out versus Washington in round 2. Since then, the Pens have been terrible in the playoffs. And they've often been disorganized in the regular season.

    So it's not like firing Sullivan would be a knee-jerk reaction. It's not just a bad 15 game stretch and people want him gone. It's going on almost 3 years now since the Pens resembled anything close to a contender under Sullivan, with no clear improvements in sight.

    Personally, I think the opposite should happen. Get rid of the one constant (Sullivan) and replace him, *then* see what areas of the roster have to still be fixed if they're still an issue with the new coach. Doing the opposite could result in trading away otherwise useful players only to find out it was the coach all along.
     
  5. Gurglesons Registered User

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    If that is what Hextall and Burke do this team isn’t winning shit.

    We’ve won 12 of our last 40 games in regulation.
     
  6. DesertedPenguin Registered User

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    I guess I place a lot more blame at Rutherford's feet than others.

    I don't believe this is a properly constructed hockey team. I think it has some talent, but I think it lacks cohesion and I don't think any coach would help. Maybe you get a couple more wins by sheer will, maybe you win a playoff series, but that's it.

    There's no fourth line center. There's really no fourth line to speak of - the BART line is the fourth line in terms of talent, deployment, and style, but they have to play up a level.

    So make that there's no third line center or third line. McCann has no hockey IQ.

    If you had a third line, you could move those guys around with Zucker and Kapanen and maybe get Geno out of his funk. Instead, your only option besides having him play through it is to break up Guentzel-Crosby-Rust, the one line that seems to be working.

    I think Matheson and Petersson are bad fits. Petersson is better, but he has a tendency to be out of position and he doesn't play his size. Matheson has physical tools but no hockey IQ. Even when he plays better, he still has blown coverages.

    It's OK to have one guy like Letang who has more physical tools than hockey sense on your D, but you can't have 3-4.

    It's OK to want Sullivan to adjust, but you've got to give him the tools to do it.

    I was really disappointed with the assistant coaching hires and the Matheson trade. Rutherford severely undercut the top end of the roster the last few years, and I think Sullivan deserves a shot to win with a more competently constructed team.
     
  7. Gurglesons Registered User

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    Teddy Bleuger is currently on a 40 pt pace while being buried even more than last year. I stopped there.

    Anyone complaining about Bleuger not being a 3C or not being productive enough is just out to lunch at this point. Dude is an absolute stud.

    Our coach could also easily stabilize L3 and help out L2 by flopping Zucker and Tanev. But no. That is impossible.
     
  8. DesertedPenguin Registered User

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    OK, great, Blueger's a third line center. No matter how you look at the pieces, the Penguins only have half of a bottom six forward group and no one capable of spending an extended stay in the top six. I love Tanev, but he's a third line winger at best.
     
  9. Big Friggin Dummy Registered User

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    I don't think you build a bottom-6 with guys who are capable of being scoring line players in a pinch. I mean, you'd like them to be able to, but that's not realistic. The HBK line and Cullen as the 4C really brain-poisoned a lot of the fanbase into thinking that's a realistic scenario for a bottom-6. That was super overkill, and good thing we had it, because our defense was pretty bad (from fwds as well as blueliners). Clutch goaltending and overwhelming scoring won us those back to backs.

    The issue is way less about what mix of bottom-6 guys we use, and way more about our scoring lines (the big strength we built) not working, our blueline being shaky as hell, and our goaltending being flat-out bad.
     
  10. Gurglesons Registered User

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    Some said the same about Rust at the start of a season ago.
     
  11. DesertedPenguin Registered User

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    They were wrong. Rust had already shown flashes of having the underlying skills to be a consistent goal scorer in the NHL.

    Tanev has a lot of assets, but his shot isn't one of them. He gets dirty goals, which is great, but he doesn't have the physical tools to be a consistent scorer.
     
  12. HandshakeLine Now brought to you in glorious Shaw-Scope!

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    The problem with solely blaming JR for the roster construction is, by all accounts, Sullivan has had more and more input on the roster in the last few seasons. So, it's safe to say, while it's not the ideal roster, it's something constructed along the lines that MS wants. :dunno:
     
  13. LOGiK Registered User

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    If penguins still had horny and one big physical power forward to actually muscle opposing teams I still think this top 9 is really good. Defense and goalie, I plead the fiff
     
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  14. Andy99 Registered User

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    this is true...JR was finding pieces Sully wanted...the thing is it was speed, just not the right kind of speed....what you need to find first and foremost are players who can think fast and then act accordingly, not players who can skate fast as their first attribute...one of the Pens major flaws is that we have too many players low on the offensive hockey IQ table which doesn’t make for good execution on the ice...
     
  15. TheGoldenJet Registered User

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    Fully agree. Sully needs to go, before the playoffs are out of reach. You hope the next guy gets you in for another big playoff run or two. If it doesn’t work, the 2022 draft is a great one to base a rebuild off of.
     
  16. vikingGoalie Registered User

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    while I 100% want Gallant here instead of Sullivan.
    It's not because Sullivan is a bad coach, most NHL coaches only last about as long as he has. Our star players have a history of being coach killers.

    That said, remember when Sullivan first got the head coaching gig. One of his strengths was how he would adjust the game plan from period to period even to get something working. What happened to that?
    Another attribute was he basically yelled a lot. Don't see as much fire/brimstone out of him behind the bench like his first 2 seasons.

    But something that sinks this team no matter who is in charge is that if Malkin keeps playing like he is line 2 will be a mess no matter what we do.
    When's the last time we've seen Malkin do hard stops and starts? He almost always is doing his circle the airport type of skating.

    Letang is not our best defensemen most nights. He is not providing the offensive upside he has in the past to counter his boneheaded mistakes. I've certainly seen him play worse then this, but I'm just saying if our #1 most time on the ice defender continue's to play like this that's a big hurdle as well.

    The guys that JR brought in by and large are at least meeting expectations. (JR's not ours) POJ is a revelation, of course he will cool off. Matheson looks like he is on the verge of really being a solid top 4 defender for us. Heck Ceci has played rather well in his bottom pairing role.
    If anything Dumo and Pettersson have been the disppointments (and Letang) on defense to varying degrees. Not the guys brought in.

    Will a new Coach fix all this? It might help get Letang and Malkin to stop playing pond hockey half the time. Maybe if fire/brimstone Sullivan makes an appearence that would help, dunno.
     
  17. Gurglesons Registered User

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    And Kapanen hasn’t?
     
  18. DesertedPenguin Registered User

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    For one, Kapanen is 4 years younger than Rust and 5 years younger than Tanev.

    Two, Kapanen has a 20-goal season under his belt already. Tanev doesn't.
     
  19. Gurglesons Registered User

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    Sorry I thought you had said Kapanen was best suited on the third line not Tanev. I agree.
     
  20. Sidney the Kidney Missing Link

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    This is a good point. Look at a lot of JR's moves. They're geared toward acquiring players who can skate. Any time JR's added players that *he* wants but that don't fit Sullivan's system, they don't work out and are moved right away (ie. Reaves, Pearson).

    Whether the players JR chose are actually *good* or not is another question. But it's obvious that the *type* of players he acquired are ones that Sullivan favors. Even a useless turd like Rodrigues has the one physical tool Sullivan seems to want from his players -- speed.

    JR's not without fault, obviously. I've mentioned in numerous previous posts what my issues are with this roster. But at this point in time, the biggest issue is team structure and in-game adjustments. That's on Sullivan.
     
  21. Pens x Registered User

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    Agreed. Sullivan had a hand in forming this roster, which is scary. The guy wanted Jank and ERod on day one of free agency; clearly he can’t evaluate talent in addition to not knowing how to ice the best team.

    Both JR and Sully are guilty of only focusing on speed and nothing else this off season. They put on blinders to these players’ other warts.

    You can’t put 100% of the blame on JR for the surplus of crappy players.
     

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