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lord zeppelin's Weekly Pittsburgh Penguins Article...

Old 10-11-02, 03:08 PM
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lord zeppelin's Weekly Pittsburgh Penguins Article...

Since I no longer have my own website or other site to write for, and I'm still writing my weekly hockey and Penguins articles, I figured that I would tickle the fancy of the few hockey fans we have on this board...so here is my first crack of the regular season, written during the waning moments of a 6-0 opening night throttling at the hands of Mats Sundin and the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Enjoy!

Where does the line between business and personal end for the Penguins?

SoÖit seems that the Titanic sinking isnít the worst icy shipwreck in history anymore. No, that title now belongs to the Quebec Major Junior franchise masquerading as an NHL team known as the Penguins.

Optimism was guarded in the preseason, and rightly so, as anyone should give Mario the benefit of the doubt in any situation, especially in Pittsburgh, but this is by far enough. The question that has yet to be asked out of all that was said in the preseason is this:

WHEN DOES THE FRIENDSHIP END AND BUSINESS BEGIN?

Itís clear now that the Penguins organization is stuck where it is because of itís reluctance to let old friends go when it is their time. This is most evident in the case of Randy Hillier, whoís coaching has rarely come under fire, despite a suspect defense and penalty killing for the past 4 seasons. Is it time to let the fat lady sing for Randy? YES. Bring in someone who actually will get the defense to stay in position, not be caught flat footed on every play, and who will actually skate the puck out to head a pass to the highly skilled Penguins forwards. Sure, the personnel he has to work with isnít the greatest, but itís not the worst either. The young raw talent is there, and itís not being molded.

The second suspect is Craig Patrick. How many more ignored issues and bonehead trades are going to be enough? Craig demand the ultimate in respect, and he is a legend of the gameís front office, but itís time for him to step down. He canít live off the Francis trade forever, and the last three years, despite picking Robitaille and Hedberg off of the scrap heap, have been atrocious. The Rick Berry fiasco is just the latest in the series of crimes laid out on the Penguins blueline, which traces back to ditching Sergei Zubov, letting Jiri Slegr go for a bag of pucks, not signing the heart and soul Boughner, regardless of the money he got in Calgary, and never pushing for a number one defenseman for this team to supplement the collection of forwards. Donít even mention why Vladimir Vujtek is skating on this team instead of Eric Meloche or Kris Beech. Some ďyouth movementĒ, huh? Why couldnít Tom Poti be a Penguin, instead of being buried on the Rangers, yet still playing brilliantly. How many more seats would be filled at the Igloo if there was a breakout pass from a skilled defenseman springing Lemiuex or Kovalev in on a deer-in-the-headlights goaldtender? Itís speculation, but for the amount the Rangers gave up for him, the Penguins could have easily fit that.

The third suspect is yet another Patrick, but this time itís Glenn. Last year, the Baby Penguins finished just as bad as the NHL Pens, and the lack of enthusiasm, discipline, and general system can be traced back through the roots of the organization. There is simply no discipline or work plan laid out in Wilkes-Barre. Time to say good bye to dear old brother and stop doing him a favor by having him coach a team that a local high school coach could get more out of. Itís a family affairÖand the victims are Milan Kraft, Andrew Ference, and any other young Penguin who has played there. The most frightening thing now is that Orpik and Beech, the two cornerstones of this franchises future beyond whatís on the current NHL roster, are under his not too often wise tutelage. At this rate, Orpik and Beech will come of age in a front of a crowd in Houston or PortlandÖ

The fourth suspect is the long time Penguins alum, Rick Kehoe. Rick has lasted years upon years with the organization, through numerous coaching blunders such as the Hlinkagate scandal, the Constantine experiment, and now is the subject of an experiment himself Ė What happens when you promote someone to head coach just based on how long heís been with the team, regardless of if heís the right guy for the job. Kehoe is fine as a temporary coach, but heís not the motivator needed to be a full time head coach on this team. He honestly might be better suited for Wilkes-Barre.

The fifth suspect is a player, which is tough to judge in this, but still suspect none-the-less Ė Ian Moran. Ian is no doubt a senior statesman now on this team, as well as a leader in the locker room and a personality off the ice. Heís even a real nice guy. However, as the Penguins are a business, heís not producing or even holding steady at his job. How is this guy on the bench and not a healthy scratch, while Rick Berry was left exposed? It makes little to no sense, and thereís not much of an explanation coming from anyone. Heís been loyal to the Pens, and thatís admirable, but itís time to waive goodbye to Ian and bring in someone who can play solid night in and night out. Hire a stand-up comic for the locker room if need be. Hell, dress Bergevin up as a clown. Ian would be missed there, but not on the ice. He happens to be a fave of Pens management, and if the problem starts at the top of the structure, then the foundation that the players are has to be shored up too.

It all boils down to the Penguins having a love affair with friends and family, and while itís imperative to have both of these for the health of the organization, there has to be a line drawn between the business and personal ties, or the whole business will suffer. Welcome to the 2002-2003 NHL season in Pittsburgh.

Last edited by lordzeppelin; 10-11-02 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 10-11-02, 03:41 PM
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Great article! I look forward to future columns. What is your take on Rick Kehoe? Do you the whole front office and coaching staff need to be replaced? Don't you think Mario would want what is best for the Pens? Whats going on!!!
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Old 10-11-02, 04:25 PM
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Thanks. I think Kehoe is a good assistant coach, because he's detail oriented, but I seriously think there is a lot missing that is imperative to the makeup of a solid NHL coach. He's a smart guy, but he just doesn't have a system or the will to make one work on the team. he's hesitant and too quick at the same time. The lines stayed intact for all of 2 periods last night. That's roughly a month longer than was previously discussed, and eve pointed out by Kovalev earlier in camp about having a line together long enough to develop chemistry.

I don't think the entire front office and coaching staff needs a broom taken to it, but the key cogs in the machine need replaced. and not just repaired if you get my drift. REPLACED!

Mario does want what's best for the Pens, but I see him being too respectful and trusting of Patrick to want to rock the boat. That said he's the majority owner...so who knows. It's just very hard to tell what direction the team is intending to go, and it would truthfully have been better for the team to go with a younger crowd and tank, and be honest about it with season ticket holders and the media, than doing this plugging a damn with chewing gum crap that they are trying to sell as the next big thing.

Here's a nice barometer of the problems throughout the whole organization - Dan Lacoture, the only player to appear in all 82 games last season, and a guy who plays hard every second he's on the ice, even though not extremely skilled or flashy, is featured on the team's billboard advertisements as being one of the tough guys and a reason to watch the team - he is currently the odd man out on the team. Chalk it up with the rest of the follies...I swear, if I didn't live here and know better, I'd say that Laurel and Hardy are running this team.
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Old 10-13-02, 08:11 AM
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Great win last night. I didn't get to see it though. Did they switch up the lines? I saw Lemieux had 3 pts and Morozov had 2 goals. Is there hope yet? Did the 'D' play well or was it Aubin?
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Old 10-13-02, 11:53 AM
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I think the game against the Rangers was due to the following:

1) The Pens had to come out hard and fast, after the huge embarassment against Toronto.

2) The Rangers were without Lindros and Bure

3) The Rangers were playing their 3rd game in 4 days.

That said, I'm from the burgh, and hockey is my favorite sport, and I really hope that the team that played against the Rangers is the real Pens, but I don't think they are that good, and I hope that they aren't as bad as they showed against Toronto. I think the real Pens lie somewhere in between. At least now we have some hope.

Craig Patrick is still on my ***** list, though.
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Old 10-16-02, 09:15 PM
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Mario has a quiet 3 points and about 8 shots on goal thru two periods tonight. He is back!
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Old 10-16-02, 10:23 PM
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Right, but the defense is still suspect, and the penalty kill still eats.
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Old 10-17-02, 11:11 AM
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Originally posted by lordzeppelin
Right, but the defense is still suspect, and the penalty kill still eats.
Hopefully they will be able to iron these things out.
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Old 10-31-02, 08:34 AM
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A new article is overdue!
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Old 10-31-02, 05:25 PM
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Originally posted by The Governor
A new article is overdue!
Not really. I just haven't posted what I wrote. LOL

I'm going to be doing a month in review in the next day or two. I'll post that.
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