Excuses for NHL Players

There’s about 15 of them on one team.

Fresh off of a 5-0 rout by Minnesota, Mark Recchi officially called this, “the lowest point in his career”.
When will anyone else on the Penguins join in his honest and genuine frustration. Reading the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette daily, you would not believe how many, “It’s a little frustrating.”; “we maybe could have come out with more energy tonight.” “We should be better than this, with all the talent we have in here,” defenseman Dick Tarnstrom said. “It’s kind of frustrating.” “KIND OF”?!?! What is wrong with these players? I hope they are just *****footing around the truth, because if they legitimately only feel “kind of” frustrated, that is pathetic.

And what does all of this show? That Olcyzk should stay. If these players cannot get themselves fired up for a game that they all agree during the week is a “must win”, then the players are the problem. Maybe Edzo didn’t deliver a twice in a life time, truly inspiring speech before the game, although I don’t know that even that would have done the job, but if you need a speech like that to at least come out with energy, then something is wrong with your desire to play the game. Yea, there’s no doubt there are some systems issues with this team that fall back on the coaching, but when you can count the number of players that showed heart in a “must win game” on one hand — thats on the players.

Sidney Crosby, Erik Christensen, Mark Recchi, John Leclair are really the only fowards that showed any kind of life last night, and all but Christensen might even be a stretch. You could maybe throw Murley and Talbot in there, but thats more because of their role. Brooks Orpik played a decent game, but Gonchar and Tarnstrom looked utterly lifeless. I would have offered Thibault as someone who played a strong game, but after giving up 5 goals for the 6th time this season, he had this to say last night: “It’s starting to be a little frustrating,” Thibault said. “I’m sure everybody here wants to win. … We have to turn it around. I don’t know what to say.”

Well I just hope that Edzo doesn’t turn into the scapegoat for these apathetic “professionals”. Its clear to the leaders of this team that there are guys playing without the urgency that you need to have when your team as at this point in the season. “It’s going to be a sleepless night for a lot of people who care,” forward Mark Recchi said. “There have been a lot of sleepless nights lately.” I’m sure that Recchi knows who the people who care are, and its about time that someone step up and call out those that don’t.

I guess the problem is, there’s really players that can be dealt to send a message. To bring someone in to change the make up of this team, the Pens will need to deal picks and prospects, and that doesn’t send the same message it does to trade one of the habitually lifeless guys playing for the team now. I’m about to start longing for the days of 03-04 when the Pens at least put a team with some desire on the ice.

Time’s about up for this team to get it together and play like pros.

(all quotes taken from Pittsburgh Post Gazette: http://www.pittsburghpostgazette.com/penguins)

37 Responses to Excuses for NHL Players

  1. d_only_Flames_Fan says:

    Your never going to hear a guy come out and say “We played like s*** tonight, I hate this time and we all suck terribly.” That’s the kind of stuff that gets you fined, not to mention a little tension between whoever says that and teammates.

  2. Flyers_01 says:

    What’s up with the continuous benching of Jackman? Seriously, he’s been their best offensive dman and not the worst one defensively. When you keep benching the same guy and the defense doesn’t improve, maybe, just maybe your benching the wrong dman. *cough* Gonchar *cough*. It seems the only guys Eddie will do anything to are the ones that don’t have Mario’s number on speed dial. A lot of guys have been sucking that haven’t lost one minute of ice time.

    The only rationale I can come up with is intentionally tanking the season at this point because they are trying to ice a starting lineup made up entirely of #1 or #2 overall draft picks. They get that third top 2 overall forward and they might do it.

  3. Lint07 says:

    Good article. I said it once and I’ll say it again:

    Goaltending isn’t what’s wrong with this team.

    NONE of the Pens goalies are to blame this year, no matter what their individual win-loss record may be.

    These players (forwards / d-man) couldn’t play defensively to save their life. If their brutal record didn’t ring a bell yet then maybe when you give up 45 shots against the Washington Capitals… the Washington Capitals?!?!?! The team with a #1 power play including Chris Clark and Jamie Heward??? Then somebody has to realize that there’s a major problem with this team.

    To blame their goalies for their problems is way too easy and it disgusts me. It seems like the goalie should steal the game in order to get a win and the Pens management seems ok with it.

    I’ve been to Pittsburgh recently and saw 2 games (Florida & Atlanta) and the best player on the ice was easily Sidney Crosby (whenever an 18-year-old kid is your best player night in night out, there’s a big problem… no matter how good he may be) and the one playing with the most heart was Ryan Malone.

    Other than that, no player on this team impressed me at all. I’ve been VERY disapointed by Zigmund Palffy.

    Bottom line, their defense is brutal and they have zero discipline, taking stupid penalties… which is a very bad combination.

    It must be hard being a Pens fan this year…

  4. Flyers_01 says:

    Must be doubly hard for the Pens fans who were convinced that the Penguins were the team to beat this year. I have to admit tho that it never occurred to me that they’d be this bad.

  5. montrealbruinsfan says:

    Reading this article and your response to it made me feel deja vu. That is exactly what is going on in Boston this year. No one is playing with any heart and goalies (mostly Raycroft) are being left out on their own. The only difference is we have guys, Raycroft, coming out and saying “”It’s a different day, same story, there’s not a lot to say – positive anyway”. The frustration on the Bruins is easy to see, it seems to me the Pens don’t have feel the same. Maybe a big trade will shake things up?

  6. wingerxxx says:

    Honestly, right now, the Pens kind of remind me of Rangers teams of the past. Only they are more talented. It’s incredibly strange to see the struggling, considering that they are custom-built for the new NHL rules. The defense is a cause for huge concern. It is looking more like a case of what Gretzky said about the Rangers some years back of “having too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” I think that they can turn things around, you should never count a team out, much less a team of this talent, but something needs to change, and soon.

  7. Stuv_Dogg says:

    Not that I know anything (don’t all agree at once) but I’d heard theories that your assistant coaches are where the problem lies. It figures like this: Both your head coach and his top two assistants are former players. Yes, they can lend their experience and give points, but coming up as a player they don’t have as keen a sense of positioning and tactics and systems as someone who was brought up as a coach would have. They were discussing this on a Toronto radio station a couple of days ago, apparently the Pens lost their X’s and O’s coach after last playing year, and its showing now because there is noone on the coaching staff with a true coaching pedigree. Just relaying what I have heard, I don’t know enough about this years version of the Pens to yay or nay it, but it sounds logical enough.

  8. nyrules11 says:

    exactly…. Palffy needs to be a leader on the team, but with all the spotlight on Sid and Lemieux, he is completely overshadowed. Even Recchi and Leclair have gotten spoken of more. It’s not like he was playing too bad either.

  9. 24_cups_and_counting says:

    Why is everyone bashing the penguins? The precious Toronto Maple Leafs do the exact same thing after a loss. They usually have a 10 minute interview with Quinn. You can usually hear the violins in the background. Then they usually move on to “Tie Dummy”, “No Defense” McCabe, and Sundin. When are they gonna stop saying that it was a frustrating loss and admit that there pissed right off cause there team sucks large?

  10. PensFansRejoice says:

    Were you watching the same game as me? There wasnt a single Penguin that showed any signs of life last nite. It was pathetic. Edzo puts out a ‘top’ line of Crosby, Malone & Endicott and expects them to click? Malone has looked lost all season, Endicott is a 3rd or 4th line center and thats me being generous and Crosby is Crosby, but even he needs help. A minute into the game, Endicott tries to make a move at his own blue line and gets mugged by Gaborik who proceeds to destroy Thibault. The Pens stink at this moment. A coaching change will not fix this problem. Craig Patrick has failed as a GM again. He may have been a great GM in the early 90s, but it all boils down to ‘what have you done for me lately’. What sucks about this is he put together this crap squad but since he is a card carrying member of Club Lemieux, itll be Edzo that gets shown the door.

    Of course, Edzo using Ric Jackman as the team scapegoat is pretty pathetic as well. The guy has done everything he did last season, putting up the points and such. I guess Gonchar gets a free pass since hes making 5 million a year? Its sad really. Jackman has been a healthy scratch at least 4 maybe 5 times this season now and he is STILL our top defensive scorer. The Pens continue to play Steve Poapst, who is 36 years old and has only 260ish career games in the NHL? Theres a reason he has only played that many games in the NHL… Josef Melichar has only looked good in front of his own net, protecting the goalie, any where else on the ice he looks pathetic. BUT, I guess thats all Ric Jackman’s fault….

  11. Kraftster says:

    I’ve noticed that a lot of people are going back to the defensive issue with the pens in response to this article. Actually, the Pens have had much better defensive play lately. At least the Dmen have been much more responsible in their own end, and have been better positioned than they were earlier in the year. It’s not the same issue that it was during the last losin streak (10 games). This losing streak (7 games) has seen the work ethic/desire of the team creep in as a problem. The Penguins just are not getting to loose pucks. In a way that is a defensive issue, but its happening in both zones, so its more than just defensive inability. The team is just not working hard. They are not playing with the urgency that a team in their position should be playing with.

  12. Kraftster says:

    Good call. I am as puzzled as you are. The fact that Gonchar has not been benched once this entire season is impossible to justify. Especially in the face of Jackman’s consistent benching.

    There is no reason that Tarnstrom should be in the line up over Jackman on any night based on performance this year, the same can really be said for Gonchar.

  13. Kraftster says:

    I could not agree more about Endicott. He looked pathetic, and frankly should be in WB without a doubt.

    I also agree about Jackman as I said in a response to another comment. I think Steve Poapst has played sound defensive games in the past month though. He’s never anything extraordinary, but he gets the job done. His lack of speed is a liability sometimes, but he’s been one of the better “defensive defensemen this season.

    I’m n ot sure I understand what you are saying that I said that indicated we were watching different games. I agree with everything but Poapst, can you explain?

  14. PensFansRejoice says:

    I expected alot more than this from the Pens, but I didnt believe they would win the cup. I thought they would at least be competitive but they have absolutely no idea what to do when on the ice. Ive been to 2 games this year (Florida & Buffalo) so far, thats 1 more then last season and the crowd gets there with such hope for a victory only to see the Pens give up a goal in the first couple of minutes, usually a weak one that no goalie wants to give up, and the crowd comes back down and realizes it wasted $30 a ticket…

    The entire team is the problem. Its Club Lemieux and its infected the entire team…

  15. PensFansRejoice says:

    you said christensen, crosby, recchi and leclair showed signs of life. all i saw the entire game was a flatline…

  16. Kraftster says:

    I actually kind of disagree. I don’t think that Palffy, Recchi, or Leclair are players that are at all impacted by feeling that there’s only room for one of them.

    In Mario’s current form, thats not the case for him either.

    None of those guys are superstars in the sense of being “the guy” on a team before, so I don’t see why they would need that now. This team is just lacking in other areas.

  17. PensFansRejoice says:

    The pens gave up 5 goals to the team with the 27th most goals for in the NHL and didnt score any themselves. They drew what, a single penalty? They have no work ethic, created 3-4 actual scoring chances? This team was built to score goals and it hasnt performed. Its the GMs fault and his fate should be tied to that of Ed O’s.

  18. Kraftster says:

    Ahh, I understand. Well, as I said, to me, Christensen stood out the most in terms of heart. He continues to work hard night in and night out, and last night his 2 & 10 was a clear indication that he actually cared about what was going on in the game. He actually cares that this team (which he has only been on for half the year!) is about to be eliminated from playoff contention. The penalty couldn’t have hurt the pens, and to me, it at least showed that he cared what the hell was going on.

    I guess when I refer to Crosby, Recchi, and Leclair I just saw them at least trying to get to loose pucks. I guess it is a sad state of affairs when getting to a loos pick stands out that much, but thats the point we have reached.

    Endicott looked so bad I can’t understand why we would keep him around up here. On 3 occasions (1 on Gaborik’s goal, 2 in the corner in the offensive zone) he flat out couldn’t stick handle. He couldn’t pick his head up without losing the puck off of his stick. Just awful. Thankfully, by the end of the game the line was Malone – Endicott – VanDB, so that at least tells us that Edzo maybe recognized that Endicott is a waste right now.

  19. Kraftster says:

    Their failure to perform is the GM’s fault? How do you figure that? If someone asked Gonchar why he was skating like Frank Leroux this season and he said, “It’s CP’s fault” would you take him seriously?

  20. PensFansRejoice says:

    CP put this team together…

    As for Gonchar, I guarantee you, if you go back and watch his career highlights before this season, he was solely a clutch and grab defensemen and it shows glaringly in his game this season. He cant play defense and he doesnt look like all that great a skater. And we are stuck with this 25 million dollar waste on a team that can ill afford to make monetary mistakes on players like him… It looked good in the off season but no one asked if Gonchar can play defense. His offense has been virtually non-existant.

    Craig Patrick went out and signed an offensive dman for 5 yrs 25 million when the team came off a season where 2 of its best offensive players were Dmen. Take into account the fact the Pens have drafted offensive dmen and stockpiled them, signing a Gonchar makes little sense. 5 million that could have gone to a 2nd line Center and a Defensive Dman, that only 2 needs the Pens lacked after they won the draft lottery. Most of the players you arent mentioning as putting forth an effort are Penguins draft picks, picked by non-other, Team Craig Patrick. The only picks he has had that have panned out are cant miss players, Crosby, Fleury and hopefully Malkin. Christensen, Orpik and Whitney are hopefuls. The rest of the picks he has made have not looked all that great at all. Is it Craig Patrick to blame for this? Im saying yes because he put this team of scouts together too. He needs to be held accountable because the Pens will leave town in a year and a half and the fans will watch them do so with a fresh memory of 5 straight losing seasons.

  21. LeafsJaysRapsBillsManU says:

    I guess maybe the Leafs should start shoving around linesmen when they lose like Andrei Markov.

  22. Kraftster says:

    I have no problem agreeing with you on that stuff. They way I read your comment, it was saying that the player’s failure to perform can be traced to CP. That is what didn’t make sense to me.

    I completely agree about Gonchar, I was actually disappointed with the signing and most every penguin fan I talked to disagreed with me. I would have rather spent a little bit more to get Neidermeyer no doubt.

    For Patrick’s drafting. Well, I don’t know that drafting can be traced entirely to the GM, but I agree that GMs bear some of the blame for poor drafting. I actually don’t think the Penguins have drafted poorly. They probably are not in the top group of drafting teams, but I don’t really see how they fall below average really. They drafted Ben Eaves well before he developed into a Baker candidate. Welch appears to be on his way to the NHL as a solid two-way dman with good size. People rave about Lannon too. I don’t see Talbot leaving the NHL for the next 12 years. I think there will come a point this season where they will finally give him some better linemates and expand his role and he will embrace it. He never struggled to put up points in the past, and there’s no reason why he can’t turn into a very solid defensive center that can chip in 15 goals and 40 points. If he improves on faceoffs, he’ll fin that niche that so many players of his size have found their way into in the past.

    I’m not really sure what happened with Ondrej Nemec, but that was a pick from a bit further back that some people thought could be a solid top 4 dman in the NHL. The lockout may have stopped that from happening, it at least prevented the Pens from being the team he will come over with if he ever does now.

    Colby Armstrong puzzles me. I think a player like that needs to get his feet wet in the NHL. They’ve never really given him a chance. Lots of times I feel like the Pens have some unfounded uberstandard for 1st round picks.

    I really think that we could use Milan Kraft right now, I think he was finally coming around and he could have proved to be a fairly solid pick.

    You can’t fault the pick of Koltsov. If someone said to you, you are drafting in the middle of the first round and you could draft maybe the fastest Russian player ever who is lacking hands right now, but they might come around…well I think thats a perfectly fine pick to make, even though it is now obvious that his hands will never come around.

    The jury is out on Stone, Filewich, Bissonnette, but things look good for those three. Dixon and Salmonsson aren’t making great transitions right now, but there’s still lots of time for that to change.

    Murley, Hussey, and Ouellet are all just breaking into the NHL, and Malone showed tons of promise in his rookie season. The Pens haven’t had any diamond in the rough picks, but I think that they have done a perfectly adequate job drafting.

  23. Kraftster says:

    Also, I wanted to mention that I think one of the big reasons that Gonchar was signed was because he played with Malkin in Russia and the team probably thought that having someone like him over here would make the transition for Malkin next year (and at the time what they were hoping was this year).

  24. Marky2Fresh says:

    You can’t possibly be blaming Lemieux

  25. habs_punk says:

    Oh God, that was a good one. Maybe the Habs should start beating up fans in the penalty box like Domi.

  26. habs_punk says:

    Come on now, where are all of you that picked Pittsburgh to win their division? There really seemed to be a lot of Penguins fans at the start of the season, a large majority of them seem to have disappeared. All of you that said Pittsburgh’s lack of defense wasn’t going to matter. Time to say “I told you so”.

  27. guinsfan4life says:

    This organization right now couldn’t have more egg on its’ face than it does.

    First of all, the franchise and its’ fans (myself included) *****ed and moaned and groaned for years that they are unable to compete because of the market. The owner says we can’t compete because we don’t have a chance at the better players.

    So the cap is installed, and the GM goes out and spends money on all of the wrong players and puts the team in cap hell.

    And keeps a coach in place that is inexperienced all the while giving him votes of confidence

    And making roster changes to third, and fourth line players, refusing to call up the franchise goalie because you can’t afford him, ignoring the fact that your owner is himself a great reason why the team is where it is and is so terrible defensively–

    All this and the pathetic performance of last night and we keep on going. No changes. They keep throwing the same lineup out there night after night.

    Meanwhile, their minor league affiliate has had the most successful beginning to a season in AHL history–while his players are getting called up and shuffled in and out. He keeps winning. Michel Therrien…

    This organization is a joke right now. A laughingstock.

  28. PTack says:

    Something must be wrong with Jackman either he is a drunk or an ass because he was being scratched as a Leaf and as a Penguin. Jackman is by far one of their top dmen and yet still gets scratched. The guy didnt have a lot of confidence in Toronto so scratching him while he leads your dmen in points must be a new low for him. Jackman needs a new team, i bet when his contract is up he’ll be out of pittsburgh so fast…

  29. thinice987 says:

    As a Penguins fan who has watched virtually every game since the mid 1980’s:

    Craig Patrick is an above average GM. He has made some good trades over the years, and a few bad ones ex. Sergei Zubov for Kevin Hatcher. Craig Patrick has had no money to spend for the last 7-8 years, but with the drafting of Crosby, and the Pens willingness to spend some money Patrick was in a great position.

    Rather than offering Peter Forsberg or Scott Neidermayer a contract that they could not refuse he settled and took a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

    If the Penguins were not going to go out and sign a true starting goalie, they should have given Fleury the shot rather than signing T-BLOW for two years. He is the worst goalie to wear a Penguins uniform since the 80’s. They need to send him down to the minors and then try to bring him back up in the hopes that some team would be willing to pick him up (with the Penguins covering half of his contract). Cut your losses with him already.

    The Penguins obviously messed up by signing LeClair who looks like he is 45 on the ice. He isn’t even a factor in front of the net. When John LeClair stopped being a factor in front of the net it is time for him to retire.

    Mark Rechi has given the Penguins some spunk, but is in a funk lately.

    What can you say about Gonchar? He has just been terrible. He looks like a lost rookie on the ice. How can Sidney Crosby play with so much poise and Sergei Gonchar looks like a lost soul???

    Since being called up Ryan Whitney has been the Penguins best defensemen.

    The Penguins should play Jackman and give him lots of powerplay time and let him rack up the points for a few weeks in the hopes that they can trade him, because he is the biggest defensive liability on this team.

    The Penguins need to cut their losses with their “system” and try a new one. Earth to Edzo … your system isn’t working with these players. CHANGE IT.

    Finally, I wish Mario Lemieux the best with his health. He is a great person, and a great hockey player and the city of Pittsburgh has been very lucky to have you as a player and as an owner.

    Trade some of these bad pick-ups like John LeClair for players with a little more jump in their legs before the deadline and work to build a better team for next year.

    Malkin looks great in Russia!

    How hard is it to build a winning team around Sidney Crosby and Malkin? Come on Craig Patrick … anyone could do it. Step up to the plate.

  30. guinsfan4life says:

    I know their defense has been a major sore spot, and while I didn’t think it would be a strength, I certainly think it would be this bad.

    I mean if lack of defense was their only problem, they’d be a hell of a better team right now.

    Goaltending, offense, the entire game of hockey seems foreign to these guys.

  31. guinsfan4life says:

    Have you watched Thibault?? He’s been responsible for at least 3-4 losses on his own of games that–even as bad as we are, could have won with Fleury in net.

    With that said, I think the problem with this team is the system it is running. They frequently allow opposing teams to enter their blueline with ease. They back up onto Centre avenue and allow teams to come at them at will. Teams know if they press hard, they’ll get shots, we’ll make mistakes, and they will score.

    The problem is also that they have been relying on GREAT goaltending night after night in order to win. But the goaltending still has been inconsistent at best, and you’d know that if you watched all of the games.

    It is very, very hard being a pens fan this year…

  32. Mullet says:

    That Toronto Boston rumour has been reported at least 3 notable sources. CBS has reported it, Eklund has reported it, the other however has not been revealed. However, the deals are different from what the CBS said, the other two reported it would be Ken Klee, Nik Antropov and Justin Pogge for Glen Murray and either Nick Boynton or Hal Gill. However, other rumours have said the Leafs may need to switch Pogge with Colaiacovo if they want Gill or Boynton. However, I beleive this deal will happen very soon and the Leafs will be minus Klee, Antropov and Colaiacovo but plus Glen Murray and plus I would believe probably Hal Gill as he makes less than Boynton.

  33. PensFansRejoice says:

    what the heck does that have to do with anything going on in this thread…

  34. wingerxxx says:

    I agree with you about LeClair…although…it was probably when he lost a step or two that he started heading downhill. When power forwards lose their skating, it tends to turn ugly for them, the same thing happened to Kevin Stevens. Both LeClair and Stevens had a great head of steam when they would start plowing down the ice in their heyday…but that tailed off for both of them, and it killed their effectiveness. And LeClair really doesn’t have the versatility to make up for it.

  35. 24_cups_and_counting says:

    Do u just like to hear yourself talk or something? U’ve posted this crap under 3 or 4 articles.


  36. Mikeyribs says:

    I watch Hockey because its fun. I was pissing myself when I heard Markov shoved the guy. FINNALY, someone realized the ref sucked. Its funny cuz when you are at home, your telling yourself that someone should punch the guy then you hear Ā«Andrei Markov has been suspended for hitting a refereeĀ«. LOL

  37. nyrules11 says:

    In LA, Palffy was “the guy”. Who else was he playing with for all those years? Deadmarsh and Allison were out for abuot 3 years. With the Islanders Palffy was “the guy”. He always seemed to score when the pressure was on and needed most.

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