Sports Magazine

Kipper : What Happens When The #Pens Play For An Entire Game? ...

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
...Dan Bylsma and his staff don't look as incompetent as they look when the players are out their skating at half speed and playing with half the energy of their opponent.
The tricky thing with coaching is that it looks great when you're winning and is easiest to blame when you lose. There's not a coach on this earth that looks like a genius when their team loses. When the Pens got bounced from the 1993 Playoffs, the great Scotty Bowman, didn't look so great anymore.
Every coach has their own mind farts during a season, during a series and during games. Despite popular beliefs, there's more in game matchups occurring than most fans realize, since most fans don't notice, or even know what to look for to begin with. It's simply more simple to say "He doesn't make adjustments", when the team looks stale and life-less for most of a game. In reality, if you put forth half of the effort.. any system, any scheme, any adjustment is going to look bad. None of them are designed to be performed half-hearted!
This should be of no surprise to most Pens fans, but it is and at a mind blowing rate! Dan Bylsma's system is an aggressive pressure based system. It needs to be performed at 90% + energy for 60 minutes or it won't be performed to maximum capacity. He also shouldn't adjust his system during a game because his players aren't putting forth the effort that is needed. They're extremely well paid athletes that should be giving it their all and energy 120% every night. There's no adjustment that can get production from players not willing to put forth the effort.
Tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets back at the Consol Energy Center, we saw that "energy". We saw a team play for 60 minutes. We saw the Pens finally match the Blue Jackets Hit for Hit in this series. They badly outshot the Blue Jackets, which is what happens when you control the possession game and win races and battles for the pucks. These are the results of the little things that occur but can only occur when you move your legs and try at least as hard as your opponent.
The Penguins put in that effort tonight.
Should they have scored more than 2 Goals (not including the Empty Net goal)? Absolutely. right now, the skilled players aren't producing and that's nobody but their faults. They've been in a position to succeed and they aren't putting pucks in the net when they have their chances...
... however, it's difficult to imagine that production wont come, provided the Pens advance to the next round.
For now, to get to the next round, to put this series away in Game 6 back in Columbus, the Pittsburgh Penguins need to repeat tonight's performance. They need to go into Nationwide Arena and play with 120% effort. If they do that, the only thing that can get in their way is bad luck and a goalie playing pucks when he shouldn't!

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