Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First Two Games

Wow. I was impressed before by the way they were humiliating other teams, other playoff quality teams, but I'm equally impressed, if not moreso, by the way the Red Wings are currently humiliating the Penguins.

They have taken the Pens out of their game, they've spent the whole series on the good side of the blue line, every time it's even strength, they look like they're on the power play and every time they're on the power play, it looks like they're playing five on three.

I know that it's a cop-out for me to say that I don't know much about hockey and that I'm not sure how to fix what's wrong... but, it's also true. On top of everything else, I don't think that there is a way to fix what's wrong.

I think I vastly underestimated Detroit's talent, particularly on defense. I think I vastly underestimated their drive and determination. And, for sure, I underestimated the value of experience playing for the Stanley Cup.

But, truth be told, I still think that they can pull this series out. I know that the math is very, very against them. I know that they haven't been playing well at all, really even playing mildly well. I just think that, as soon as they score their first goal (which, God willing, will happen soon) they'll remember what that feels like, that it feels good, and that they'll do just about anything -- including, ya know, play well -- in order to have that feeling again.

I do know that they need to get more guys in front of the net (on both ends), that they need to stop dumping the puck, and that they need to stop it with the two-line passes. Detroit has been playing things very east-to-west with their puck possession. They haven't tried to pressure the defense with passes, rather they've had two guys running parallel to each other and, whoever the defense bites on, he passes the puck to his teammate. The Pens have had too many passes picked off due to throwing the puck down the ice north-and-south. They have the speed and the talent to run a passing game that goes east-to-west. That's sure to work better than completely changing all the lines after one game.

Hey, they're coming home. They're undefeated at the Arena in the playoffs this season. They're used to the ice, the boards, how the puck plays off of everything. Truth be told, they had a lot of lucky breaks go their way in the first three series. Truth be told, they haven't had any luck (as a matter of fact, they've had negative luck and the Red Wings have been pretty damn lucky) thus far in the Final.

If their luck changes and they figure out how to pressure the defense north-and-south instead of east-to-west, then they're in good shape and there's a chance that they could win the series. It all starts with that first goal. It all starts with that first win. They get a shot at both tomorrow and I think they win. I think they win both at home, actually.

But, then again, what do I know?

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