• Sid, Geno et al.

    by  • April 25, 2014 • Hockey • 23 Comments

    Me, March 1, 2014:

    Soooo…at some point someone in Pittsburgh is going to say “Given that Crosby and Malkin were there when he got here, what HAS Ray Shero done to make the team better?” right? Pittsburgh’s third and fourth lines were a disaster last year, their first without Jordan Staal (another player Pittsburgh just got by being terrible) and they’re a mess again this year. They’re markedly different than all of the other contenders. If the Pens lose in the playoffs, as they probably will, it will probably involve Crosby/Malkin having a few cold games (or Marc-Andre Fleury blowing up). When that happens, people will say “Gee, Malkin/Crosby/Fleury were terrible.” Perhaps they should point out that Pittsburgh is trying to win with an abysmal bottom half of their team, which piles an awful lot of pressure on the other guys.

    Commenter Ice Hawk, today:

    Very prophetic. However Malkin/Crosby/Fleury have been terrible.

    A look at the data suggests otherwise, at least in the case of Sid and Geno. Through four games, the Pens have played 193.8 minutes of 5v5 time. Crosby/Malkin have barely played together – just 1.9 minutes – so we’ll proceed as if they haven’t played together at all. With Sid or Malkin on the ice, the Pens have 145 shot attempts and have allowed 105. A collective Corsi% of 58%. This is excellent. They have outscored the Blue Jackets 6-4. This is excellent – the Pens are outscoring Columbus by a goal an hour when Crosby/Malkin are on the ice at 5v5. Pittsburgh’s power play has been scoring goals, although they’ve also given up a pair of shorthanded goals.

    When neither Crosby nor Malkin is on the ice, the Pens are getting torched. They have a Corsi% of 40%, which is terrible, over 72.7 minutes. They’re fortunate that they’re tied 2-2 in 5v5 goals. Their penalty kill, on which neither Malkin nor Crosby really play, is getting lit up to the tune of 10 GA/60, when 6.5 or so is more the norm.

    If Malkin and Crosby have performed roughly as we’d expect and the Pens terrible bottom end is getting trashed for a second straight year, blaming Pittsburgh’s position on Crosby and Malkin doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s going to make even less sense if they end up cutting Dan Bylsma loose in a week.

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com


    23 Responses to Sid, Geno et al.

    1. Kris
      April 25, 2014 at

      That’s the funny thing, I know it’s small sample size and all, but the only justification people have for keeping Glass and Adams in the lineup is their PK ability.

      • April 25, 2014 at

        There’s another pretty good reason one could fall back on:


        they’re cheap and the Pens are tight capwise.

        Now, that doesn’t excuse a GM from finding better cheap players, but it’s a tight spot.

        with both, you’d probably hear some BS about veteran presence too.

        • Kris
          April 25, 2014 at

          Yeah I get that the Pens didn’t have much to work with in terms of cap space this year and it’s hard to blame Shero too much for it. But I feel like that’s where you need stat guys to find those bargain players to shove into depth roles and thus not get territorially dominated.

          And yeah, the veteran presence nonsense is still a thing for NHL personnel sadly.

    2. TheOtherJohn
      April 25, 2014 at

      Who assembled the bottom of the Penguins roster? Oiler management?

      Good thing they refused to beat Ottawa offer on Hemsky

      • Kris
        April 25, 2014 at

        Not sure they had the cap room for Hemsky. That said, if Gibbons gets healthy the bottom two lines will probably be fine. Problem is with him hurt it means you don’t get that third line of Bennett/Stempniak or Gibbons/Bennett etc. Sutter isn’t very good but with those two at his wing he’d probably fare a lot better than if he has Adams or Glass.

      • Kris
        April 25, 2014 at

        edit: 3rd line would be fine, 4th would still be a mess

    3. Me
      April 25, 2014 at

      “what HAS Ray Shero done to make the team better?”

      Let’s see… acquired Kunitz, Neal, Dupuis, Jokinen, Martin, Niskanen. Most of them for cheap compared to their production and the assets needed to acquire them.

      Drafted Bennett, Maatta and Pouliet (plus other potential minor leaguers).

      Not saying he’s perfect but let’s not get too crazy acting like he’s terrible.

      • bmurphy84
        April 25, 2014 at

        Got Kunitz by trading Whitney, an asset he did not acquire. Got Neal and Nisky by trading Goligoski, an asset he did not acquire. Got Martin in FA because Martin wanted to play for Pens, not any amazing wheeling or dealing by Shero. Has yet to draft a single forward that produces in the top 6, and dont say Bennet because he has not proven anything yet. Pensblog has a really good post analyzing of all Shero forward draft picks earlier this year.

        • Me
          April 25, 2014 at

          Acquiring players and building a team is a GMs job. Whether by trade or draft or FA is immaterial. Where the assets come from is immaterial. You evaluate the results.

          Neal and Niskanen for Gogo is highway robbery. Kunitz for Whitney was a great trade. Trying to disqualify the Martin signing because of your ability to read Martin’s mind is ridiculous. I read the Pensblog piece too. Did you forget the part about how Shero has clearly emphasized drafting Dmen over forwards? Feel free to cherry pick to fit your narrative but lets not pretend that Shero is some horrible GM. Perfect? Of course not.

          Let me know when you find the perfect GM.

          • bmurphy84
            April 26, 2014 at

            Ok Mr. Assumptions, there was no minding reading here. Numerous journalist during that summer wrote stories about how it was Martin’s Agent that called the Pens because Martin really wanted to go to there. Feel free to google. Shero was busy chasing Hamhuis and Michalek.

            No one is arguing that the man can swing a good trade, just that the assets he traded were acquired by Mr. Patrick. Whee the assets come from kind of does matter, because the Shero era Penguins have been below average at drafting and developing assets and he can’t live off trading away Mr. Patrick’s assets forever.

      • Aaron
        April 26, 2014 at

        It seems to me there should be some kind of Crosby/Malkin correction applied to their linemates, both Kunitz and Neal went from ~0.75 ppg pre penguins to ~1 ppg with. That suggests to me that there’s a big benefit to playing with them (if Crosby is going to average +100 points a season someone is going to benefit).

        Minus Crosby/Malkin how far is Pittsberg from a lottery team?

        • tms71
          April 26, 2014 at

          They do have LeTang and Niskanen and even Maata seems pretty good.

    4. Matt
      April 25, 2014 at

      Scuderi is a bum, but doesn’t the fact that Adams usually faces other teams best players have to factor in somehow?? So naturally he “should” face more shots. Adams is decent at what he’s there for, to kill penalties and to play tough against other team’s top lines. Could those lines be better? Of course. Their first thought is to dump and chase or dump and change rather than carry and shoot. Of course I’m sure you’ll just say I’m wrong so I guess I’m wrong

      • dawgbone
        April 25, 2014 at

        Depends on what you mean by factors in.

        Does it explain why Adams is getting beat up? Sure.

        Does it explain why Shero/Bylsma have Adams as the only option for that role? No.

        I think the latter is what Dellow is trying to get across.

      • bmurphy84
        April 25, 2014 at

        What makes you think Adams faces other team’s best players? Extraskater.com just look at the Penguins player usage chart.
        He has one of the lowest Quality of Competition of all Penguins forwards.

        • Kris
          April 25, 2014 at

          Yeah him and Glass are awful.

        • May 6, 2014 at

          The interesting thing is that they have to get their payolrl up to the league minimum of $28 million but right now they sit . I wonder if a New Jersey salary dump will somehow end up in Pittsburgh. How about Dan McGillis and Vladimir Malakhov to the Penguins for a bag of pucks (aka 7th round draft pick).

    5. Saj
      April 25, 2014 at

      Is there any credible reason why Sid and Malkin don’t play the last minute of every period together? It seems to me the coach should be looking for opportunities to up that ridiculous 1.9 5-on-5 minutes quoted in the article, using commercial breaks, time-outs, intermissions, end-of-PK etc.

      I don’t know how to look these sorts of things up, but my guess from occasionally watching Detroit is that Babcock does a better job of sneaking Datsyuk and Zetterberg out together.

      • May 6, 2014 at

        hey Poindexter – you’re living up to your name. fyi, Crosby and Malkin were NOT drftead by Shero. However, Jordan Staal – the guy nobody expected to make the team last year, let alone make a difference – was, and Shero could’ve easily traded the pick. He also brought in Ruutu, Roberts, Laraque, Sykora (the best-producing FA for the $ from last year), Ty Conklin (and a whole other host of crucial depth with help from our asst. GM), and oh, yeah, Dupuis, Gill, and some guy named Hossa. Darryl friggin’ Sydor (yet another Shero signing) is our healthy scratch. He didn’t fire Therrien just for the sake of bringing in a coach that he’d chosen. He also modernized the entire organization and instilled a much more positive and supportive atmosphere than was present at the end of the Craig Patrick regime. And guess what? One of “those phenoms” WAS off the team for a significant portion of the year. At the same time the #1 draft-pick phenom goaltender was missing. And they hardly turned into “Eastern Conference also-rans”. Your bitter is showing.Ignorance and cliched groupthink embarrass you much?

    6. Scrivy
      April 26, 2014 at

      Hey Tyler, did you notice it was Jack Johnson whom CBC claimed was shutting down Crosby and dominating games? I thought you’d like that one.

      The old eyeball analysis of old hockey players.

    7. tms71
      April 26, 2014 at

      I’m surprised that Goc hasn’t helped more. I thought pretty highly of him.

    8. Hockeyfan
      April 26, 2014 at

      I don’t know what the Corgis are saying, but CBJ doesn’t belong on the same sheet of ice in PIT, which is apparent to anybody who is, you know, actually watching the games. They were one Fleury bon.er away from having this series already in the bag.

    9. May 19, 2014 at

      Interesting factoid completely lost in Pittsburgh’s series loss/GM firing: Fleury quietly had a very strong playoffs, with a 0.933 Sv% at 5v5.

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