Tag Archives: Carl Hagelin

Meesh’s Weekly Pens Thoughts: Week 6

It’s always nice to get the extra point in overtime and shootout losses, but those points can easily make you forget the final results.

Did anyone notice the Pens have technically lost 6 of their last 8? I certainly didn’t.

But alas, it’s still just mid-November and the Penguins are 3rd in the Metro as I write this (we’ll ignore that they’ve played more games than anyone else in the division..), so on to the weekly thoughts:

5v5 Play

Nashville’s broadcast was nice enough to put some concerning stats up about Crosby and Pittsburgh as a whole:

Crosby now has 0 goals in his last 11 games, which is definitely concerning.
The Penguins did manage to get some offense against Nashville at least, so let’s bump that up to 21 goals in their last 11 games.
0-4-2 is now the record in the 2nd of back-to-backs (only 13 more to go!).
The Pens brought their 5v5 shooting percentage up to 5.03…still good for last in the NHL.

Crosby will work his way out of the slump, the Penguins will score more goals, the 2nd half of back-to-backs has improved drastically and that record will get better, and the 5v5 shooting percentage really has nowhere to go but up. That shooting percentage actually gives me some hope, because there is no question in my mind that it will naturally rise as the season continues on.

The biggest concern I have in all of this is Crosby. His 5v5 shooting percentage is 2.78 (last year, he finished over 15%). That number will undoubtedly rise, so that’s not actually my concern.

This is my concern (tweets from the Caps game):

Brian was generous with calling it a “Tough night…”. If we’re being honest, it’s been a tough season at this point.

Crosby has definitely been wandering in the defensive zone a bit this year. I can’t say it’s limited to him, because I noticed Geno doing the same thing a few times, but it has definitely hurt Crosby’s line the most on the scoreboard. I can’t say there is a clear reason or methodology to these missed coverages though (at least that I can see). Sometimes he just follows a forward too deep into the zone instead of letting the defense take over, which leaves the next guy in wide open. Sometimes he’s heading to the corner trying to anticipate movement along the boards that doesn’t end up happening. Sometimes he literally looks like he’s not sure who to cover.

The last one brings up one of my thoughts from last post, which is that I think Letang’s and Crosby’s improvement will likely coincide. They often seem lost together, which turns into longer defensive zone shifts, fewer potential scoring opportunities, and some costly chances against. Whether it’s Letang’s improvement helping the Crosby line break out or Crosby’s improvement putting less defensive pressure on Letang’s pairing, there will be a huge impact when either one of these guys gets back to normal.

Perhaps that’ll happen in a month when the schedule lightens up…

Back-to-Back Improvement

Speaking of getting back to normal, the Penguins are starting to look like a competent hockey team in the 2nd half of back-to-backs. Though they still haven’t won in such a scenario, the OT losses against Calgary and Nashville have shown some promise. The Nashville game even provided me with hope. The night before, the Penguins (and the Capitals for that matter) looked mostly lifeless in a sloppy game overall. The entire team looked sharper against Nashville and appeared to have more energy even late in the game. The fact that the Penguins faced a sudden 3-1 deficit and didn’t roll over and die was also a nice change of pace in a back-to-back scenario. Of course, good feelings and hope don’t lead to two points, but it was another step in the right direction for the Penguins.

Keep in mind, back-to-back issues aren’t limited to the Penguins either.

Philipp Grubauer of the Capitals has faced similar issues, even though the Caps haven’t gotten throttled like the Pens did early in the season. As of the middle of last week, Grubauer had played in the 2nd game of all 4 of Washington’s back-to-back situations and the Capitals lost all 4 games, scoring a total of 5 goals. Grubauer isn’t tasked with scoring, but he did provide a fun quote after with “I’m sick of [expletive] losing.”

All-in-all, I think the bigger picture takeaway is most teams are awful in back-to-backs early in the season and climb their way out of it as the season progresses. The Penguins appear to be doing just that, slowly but surely.

Trade Talk

Supposedly, the Penguins made a last-second offer to try to get Matt Duchene before he was sent off to Ottawa. Mind you, there are absolutely zero details about this, but supposedly it happened.

I think the more interesting part of this Sportsnet discussion is that the Penguins are looking for a veteran goalie and also veterans in general. I fully agree with the veteran goalie idea, especially as the schedule lightens up, so Jarry isn’t sitting around doing nothing for weeks at a time.

The veteran skaters part…confuses me. Sure, the Penguins lost Cullen, Kunitz, and Bonino to free agency. But replacing them with “veterans” and trying to find “leadership” and “experience” seems like a lazy thought process to me. This team has won back-to-back Cups with several guys on the roster right now – did they not gain experience and leadership along the way? When I look at those 3 names, my thought isn’t veteran experience and leadership, it’s high hockey intelligence and strong defensive awareness. The Sheahan trade was a move in the right direction for replacing those abilities, but it was only a raindrop in a lake compared to what was lost (and Sheahan has been the definition of mediocre so far to me).

I’m very curious who Rutherford plans on targeting, because chasing veteran experience doesn’t always turn out as planned (see: Ray Shero in 2013).

Reaves Watch

First off, this video after the Arizona game was just amusing:

But just a quick 2 cents on Reaves – he gets more flack than he deserves and also gets more credit than he deserves (how does that work? I don’t know).

He’s a 4th line guy playing low-end 4th line minutes and he hasn’t really harmed the team, which is all I care about.

He honestly has provided me with a baseline for who should be receiving more criticism.

Reaves – $1.125 mil cap hit, 7:18 TOI, 3 points in 19 games
Hagelin – $4 mil cap hit, 16:04 TOI, 2 points in 18 games


I realize Hagelin plays PK and is theoretically better defensively, but….what?

While everyone praises Reaves (he’s not doing that much) or complains about Reaves (he’s not doing that much), I’m gonna go ahead and mutter angrily at my laptop about Carl Hagelin right now.

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!!

4/24/15: ECQ Game 5 – New York Rangers 2 Pittsburgh Penguins 1 (OT)

1st Rangers Goal (Stepan), Powerplay

  • NY Rangers Contributions
    D. Boyle – stops Lovejoy’s clearing attempt along the left-side boards in the Penguins zone, then chips the puck down to Kreider halfway down the boards (cont.), takes a quick snapshot from the blue line that hits Fleury high in the chest, but he can’t control the rebound or cover the puck, so it drops onto the crease in front of him
    C. Kreider – holds the puck for a second at the outside edge of the faceoff circle, then passes it a foot towards the boards for Brassard helping him out
    D. Brassard – tries to make a pass that gets deflected back to Boyle at the middle of the blue line
    D. Stepan – kicks the loose puck at the top of the crease from his left skate to his stick and fires the puck past Fleury, who didn’t realize he didn’t have control of the puck
  • Pittsburgh Faults
    N. Spaling – in the penalty box for tripping
    B. Lovejoy – gets the puck in the left corner of the Penguins zone and throws it up the boards, but fails to clear it as Boyle stops it before it exits the zone
    M. Fleury – doesn’t control/cover the puck after a shot hits him high in the chest and falls in front of him, then doesn’t realize that he doesn’t have the puck as Stepan kicks it to his own stick and fires it in
    R. Scuderi – doesn’t have positioning on Stepan and doesn’t even attempt to tie him up as Stepan scores

1st Penguins Goal (Spaling), Even

  • Pittsburgh Contributions
    N. Spaling – pokes the puck off of Miller’s stick when he tries to play the puck behind the left side of the Rangers net, sending the puck to Crosby behind the right side of the net (cont.), has the puck go into the net off of his left arm after several odd bounces
    S. Crosby – skates just above the goal line and tries to center the puck for Downie, but the puck goes off of Lundqvist’s stick, into the air, then off of Lundqvist’s blocker
    S. Downie – gets his stick on the puck in the air after it hits Lundqvist’s blocker, which keeps it in the air
  • NY Rangers Faults
    J. Miller – gets the puck behind the Rangers net after the puck is sent down the boards, but then has it poked away by Spaling for a turnover

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4/22/15: ECQ Game 4 – New York Rangers 2 Pittsburgh Penguins 1 (OT)

1st Penguins Goal (Hornqvist), Even

  • Pittsburgh Contributions
    C. Kunitz – knocks Staal off of the puck against the backboards in the Rangers zone after a dump-in, gets control of the puck, and plays it behind the net for Crosby
    S. Crosby – tries to push the puck to Hornqvist at the crease, but the puck slides past him, off of the skate of Glass, and to Martin above the slot
    P. Martin – makes a backhanded one-touch pass to Lovejoy at the right point
    B. Lovejoy – corrals the pass and takes a quick wrist shot towards the net
    P. Hornqvist – deflects Lovejoy’s shot with the shaft of his stick two feet in front of the crease so the puck drops down and goes through Lundqvist’s five-hole
  • NY Rangers Faults
    M. Staal – gets to the puck first after the Penguins dump it in, but then gets knocked off of it by Kunitz after being too slow to play it / too worried about Kunitz approaching

1st Rangers Goal (Brassard), Even

  • NY Rangers Contributions
    R. McDonagh – skates back to the Rangers zone to retrieve the puck, takes it behind the net, then backhands it to the corner for Girardi with pressure coming (cont.), gets the puck from Zuccarello, enters the left side of the Penguins zone with speed, takes the puck to the corner, and tries to make a centering pass that goes off of Lovejoy’s skate and stays in the corner for Nash following up
    D. Girardi – gets immediately pressured and moves the puck halfway up the boards to Zuccarello
    M. Zuccarello – takes a couple of strides and makes a pass across the ice to McDonagh, who had continued skating into the left side of the neutral zone
    R. Nash – picks the puck up in the left corner and throws it in front of the net where Fleury tries to catch it, but he only gets a piece of it as the puck goes off of his glove and hits Brassard at the top of the crease
    D. Brassard – has the puck go off of Fleury’s glove, off of his body, and drop down into the crease, where he jams at it as Fleury tries to stretch out to cover the post, but Fleury slides off of the post and Brassard gets the puck behind Fleury’s skate and jams it into the net
  • Pittsburgh Faults
    M. Fleury – reaches out to glove Nash’s pass in the air to the front of the net and knocks it into Brassard so it falls into the crease where Brassard can finish the play
    P. Martin – loses positioning on Brassard in front as Brassard shoves him aside and makes a play on the puck
    C. Kunitz – gets to Brassard before he can jam the puck into the net, but slashes down on Brassard’s stick instead of trying to lift it, so Brassard can still force the puck into the net

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4/20/15: ECQ Game 3 – New York Rangers 2 Pittsburgh Penguins 1

1st Rangers Goal (Hagelin), Even

  • NY Rangers Contributions
    J. Miller – gets the puck along the boards in the Rangers zone after it’s knocked away from a puck battle behind the net, then passes it to Girardi below the goal line as both teams look to change
    D. Girardi – holds the puck as everyone starts to move out of the zone and passes it across the zone to Yandle
    K. Yandle – starts to skate forward to exit the left side of the Rangers zone, then passes the puck through the neutral zone to Hagelin breaking into the middle of the Penguins zone
    C. Hagelin – splits Cole and Malkin coming off the bench as he takes the pass from Yandle, enters the Penguins zone on a breakaway, and takes a slapshot from the slot that just gets under Fleury’s left pad before he can get down to stop it
  • Pittsburgh Faults
    I. Cole – sees Hagelin breaking towards the middle of the Penguins blue line but doesn’t adjust to get the passing lane in time to prevent the breakaway
    R. Scuderi – makes an extremely sloppy change as he stares at the bench instead of keeping an eye on the play, so he’s caught on the ice by the bench during a slow change as Hagelin enters the zone for a breakaway

2nd Rangers Goal (Kreider), Even

  • NY Rangers Contributions
    K. Yandle – knocks Lapierre off of the puck in the corner of the Rangers zone
    D. Boyle – picks up the loose puck after Yandle and Lapierre skate past it, then makes a pass to Stepan skating through the Rangers zone
    D. Stepan – carries the puck to the Rangers blue line and passes it to his left for Kreider skating through the neutral zone
    C. Kreider – carries the puck into the left side of the Penguins zone, cuts through the middle of the ice in front of the defense, and passes the puck to Brassard at the outside edge of the right faceoff circle (cont.), knocks the puck out of the air as it bounces to the left of the net off of the backboards and puts it past Fleury before he can scramble to get to the post
    D. Brassard – holds the puck in the right corner and then passes it up to Girardi coming to the right point
    D. Girardi – moves the puck to Staal at the left point
    M. Staal – takes a slapshot wide to the left of the net so the puck bounces off of the backboards and back above the goal line to the left of the net where Kreider is
  • Pittsburgh Faults
    M. Lapierre – takes the puck deep into the Rangers zone but loses it when he’s knocked away from it by Yandle, starting the Rangers’ breakout the other way
    P. Martin – abandons his coverage area at the right point (out of the penalty box) to challenge Brassard in the corner, opens up Brassard’s passing option to the point and forces Crosby and Winnik to rotate, which they have no chance of doing in time to take away the rest of the play

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4/18/15: ECQ Game 2 – Pittsburgh Penguins 4 New York Rangers 3

1st Rangers Goal (Stepan), Even

  • NY Rangers Contributions
    R. McDonagh – gets the puck just inside the Rangers blue line as the Rangers are backing up while the Penguins change, skates the puck back into the neutral zone to the left side of center ice, then passes the puck to Miller entering the left side of the Penguins zone
    J. Miller – takes one stride into the Penguins zone and passes the puck through the middle of the zone across to Stepan skating by himself into the right faceoff circle
    D. Stepan – takes the pass, carries it to the right faceoff dot, then rips a wrist shot past the right arm of Fleury, off the post, and in
  • Pittsburgh Faults
    R. Scuderi – gets turned around as he’s situating himself in the defensive zone, so he can’t make a play on Miller’s pass and is too far away to step up on Stepan
    B. Comeau – is the last player to jump on the ice for the Pens and makes a straight line across the ice towards where Miller is getting the puck, which leaves the entire backside open for Stepan to skate through uncovered and untouched

1st Penguins Goal (Sutter), Powerplay

  • Pittsburgh Contributions
    I. Cole – gets a loose puck in the right corner of the Rangers zone after it was deflected wide of the net, then passes it to Sutter in the right faceoff circle below the dot
    B. Sutter – drops the puck back to Kunitz at the top of the right faceoff circle (cont.), gets positioning on Stepan as the puck falls into the slot and fires it into the net as Lundqvist can’t find where the bounce went
    C. Kunitz – wrists the puck towards the net from the top of the right circle
    S. Downie – blocks Kunitz’s shot, sending the puck up into the air so it lands in the slot
  • NY Rangers Faults
    C. Hagelin – in the penalty box for tripping
    D. Stepan – loses positioning on Sutter as they try to get to the puck in the slot and can’t tie Sutter up to prevent him from scoring

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11/15/14: Pittsburgh Penguins 3 New York Rangers 2 (SO)

1st Penguins Goal (Comeau), Even

  • Pittsburgh Contributions
    C. Ehrhoff – skates back towards the defensive zone and knocks a loose puck up the right-side boards in the neutral zone towards Malkin at center ice
    E. Malkin – redirects the puck at the red line to Hornqvist looping through the neutral zone
    P. Hornqvist – gets the puck from Malkin in the neutral zone and enters the middle of the Rangers zone with Comeau on his left, skates the puck down to the high slot, and makes a pass to Comeau just above the left faceoff circle
    B. Comeau – one-times Hornqvist’s pass just under Lundqvist’s right arm as he’s trying to get across for the shot
  • NY Rangers Faults
    M. Staal – abandons the area Hornqvist is skating into in the Rangers zone to move towards Malkin, who is along the right-side boards; then realizes his mistake in coverage and tries to stay with Hornqvist, but it’s too late as Girardi has to slide to Hornqvist and leave Comeau open due to the lapse in coverage

1st Rangers Goal (Stempniak), Even

  • NY Rangers Contributions
    K. Hayes – gets the bouncing dump-in in the right corner of the Penguins zone and centers the puck to the front of the net
    L. Stempniak – subtly interferes with Scuderi as the puck gets to Hayes, giving Hayes time and space to work with (cont.), throws the puck back up to the top of the zone for Girardi from beside the net (cont.), redirects Girardi’s shot into Fleury as he gets positioning on Crosby, then taps the rebound in past Fleury’s right pad before Crosby can defend him properly
    C. Hagelin – gets his blade on the centering attempt by Hayes, which knocks the puck below the goal line towards Stempniak to the right of the net
    D. Girardi – takes a wrist shot from the top of the zone towards the net
  • Pittsburgh Faults
    R. Scuderi – misses a bouncing puck to the right of the Penguins net and then can’t get back to the puck after he over-skates it and Stempniak subtly interferes with him
    S. Crosby – loses positioning to Stempniak in front of the net and then doesn’t try to tie up his stick on the rebound attempt when Stempniak scores

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10/12/14: Toronto Maple Leafs 6 New York Rangers 3

1st Maple Leafs Goal (Franson), Powerplay

  • Toronto Contributions
    D. Phaneuf – has the puck at the left point in the Rangers zone and moves it to Franson at the right point (cont.), gets the puck back and moves it to Kessel at the left side boards
    C. Franson – gets the puck and moves it back to Phaneuf (cont.), skates the puck to the right faceoff dot and takes a slapshot that beats Lundqvist’s right pad
    P. Kessel – skates up and down with the puck along the left side boards and finally moves it to Bozak below the goal line
    T. Bozak – holds the puck as Kessel skates towards him, but then passes the puck across the slot to Franson above the right faceoff dot
  • NY Rangers Faults
    D. Moore – in the penalty box for tripping

1st Rangers Goal (Nash), Even

  • NY Rangers Contributions
    M. Staal – retrieves a puck along the boards in the Rangers zone after a shot went wide, then passes it across the ice to the right side boards in the neutral zone for St. Louis
    M. St. Louis – gets the puck skating into the right side of the Leafs zone and passes it to Nash going to the net with a step on Polak
    R. Nash – gets the pass from St. Louis in the slot and puts it past Reimer’s blocker
  • Toronto Faults
    R. Polak – realizes too late that Nash is behind him and can’t catch up to him as he and St. Louis enter the Maple Leafs zone on a 2-on-1

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