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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Game 3: A Review and Angry Words by @MedinaMarie_PI

(Photo Credit: NBC Sports)
This series versus the Washington Capitals is living up to the hype. Both teams are battling hard for every inch and game three was as close a contest as we have seen so far, but, that isn't what people are talking about the day after. Once again, the main talking point at the water cooler is the goon-style hockey portrayed by, you guessed it, Tom Wilson.

After the 4-3 Penguins loss, it was learned that Zach Aston-Reese suffered a broken jaw that requires surgery. Aston-Reese also sustained a concussion from the hit.

If you are keeping count at home, that's two straight games in which Wilson has laid a head shot on a Penguins player. This makes it his third offense in just nine playoff games.

George Parros, a man with a colorful player history himself and head of NHL Players Safety, was in attendance at the game and was able to take in what happened with his own eyes. He also apparently got the message sent from around the league (from fans as well as current and former players alike). At approximately 9:30am EST, a tweet went out from the NHL Players Safety official Twitter account:
Pens Initiative will keep you up-to-date with any new developments regarding the (phone) hearing.
*Update: The office of NHL Players Safety have SUSPENDED Tom Wilson for three games.*

Keeping with the dramatics, I give you Barry Trotz, Head Coach of the Washington Capitals. In his post game interview, he made the comment that he, "didn't care" what Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan had to say regarding the game overall and what happened regarding ZAR and Wilson.

Well, Mr. Trotz, maybe you should. Maybe if you listened to what HCMS says, how he says it, and how he later executes what he says, maybe your team would not have to resort to goon-style hockey in order to win a playoff game. Maybe if you cared about just a little bit about what Sullivan (or any coach) says, your team would have more than just President's Trophies to show for their efforts. But please, continue to not care about what other coaches say in regards to physical play with intent to injure others because it is that kind of mindset that continues to perpetuate the laissez faire attitudes within the NHL when it comes to player's safety. *end of rant*

Dramatic aspects not withstanding, it was a pretty even game when it comes to overall play. Both Pittsburgh and Washington put up 22 shots on net. Each team had 48 scoring opportunities, and each team went 1-4 on their power play opportunities. It was a toss up game. A game that was, for all intents and purposes, winnable by the Penguins. While the cheap shots and slew foots had an effect on the game, it cannot be overlooked that the Penguins have glaring issues that continue to be exploited, and I'm not just referring to Matt Murray's glove hand.

Phil Kessel is no where near healthy and it is as obvious as a hot pink elephant in a room full of white rabbits. He isn't keeping up with any line mates, his puck handling has been poor, his passes aren't of their usual crispness and when he goes to try and make a shot, he can't set himself up correctly and you can see the discomfort in his face.

Having almost no production from one of the leagues top scorers will not help you win games.

Neither will the fact that Derick Brassard has been a complete non-factor for most of the post season. So much so that he was demoted to fourth line with Riley Sheahan taking over the 3C position once again. For a guy who keeps saying he wants to, "make an impact" that sentiment is not reflecting on the ice. Brassard needs to get his mind (and feet) going in the right direction before people start referring to him as a new version of the Jerome Iginla experiment.

Add in lack of effort from players such as Bryan Rust (who didn't have a great series versus the Flyers), the continued absence of Carl Hagelin, as well as giving up multiple odd-man rushes per game (which come back to bite them), and it is easy to see why the team can't seem to get much going in the way of dominance.  

To sum it all up, Game 3 was disappointing and the Penguins now trail in the series
two games to one. With Thursday's Game 4 looming, it will be imperative for the team to respond in the correct way and dig deep to even the series once again.

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