Preseason Thoughts: Game 2 vs Detroit

Welcome back Pens fans! If you’re new or have forgotten what I do in the postgame thoughts, here’s a quick introduction/recap. Speaking of, don’t expect recaps. It’s purely thoughts and analysis of specific plays and players. I hate +/-, so I do my own goal assessments and award a “+” if a player contributes to a goal for and a “-“ if a player is at fault for a goal against (or is in the penalty box for one). I ignore PP and PK situations. There will be a running tally through the regular season.

Also, I’m going to try to add something new this season and evaluate penalties as well. The plan is to judge them as a good penalty to take (necessary to negate a prime scoring chance), bad/unnecessary, inconsequential (coincidental minors and such), or a bad call by the ref. I’ll keep a tally on those as well through the season.

If you have any thoughts, comments, or ideas, feel free to let me know!!  (Also, the format will change and everything will look nicer with pictures once the regular season starts.)
By:  Meesh Shanmugam (@HockeyMeesh)
*Intro will disappear after preseason is over*

Preseason Game 2: Red Wings 4  Pens 1

Sutter (1) from Conner and Martin

There would normally be a Stat Leaders section and a Video Recap here, but neither are available.  Both will return during the regular season.

Goal Assessment

1st Goal Against (Tatar): – for

  • Engelland – loses his man (who has the puck) in the corner as he misses on a hit
  • Jokinen – is slow to follow Tatar from behind the net, leaving him open for a pass/shot
  • Despres – stands on the crease and isn’t positioned to intercept the pass across the crease

1st Goal For (Sutter): + for

  • Martin – passes the puck up the boards to Conner
  • Conner – receives the pass, leaves the puck in open space, and ties up his man on the boards
  • Jokinen – enters the zone with Sutter on a 2 on 1, drawing the defender to the middle and away from Sutter
  • Sutter – picks up the loose puck, skates it into the zone, and fires a wrist shot past Howard

2nd Goal Against (Almquist): – for

  • Crosby – in the penalty box for hooking
  • Jokinen – got caught too deep in the zone when he was supposed to cover the passing lane to the point
  • Adams – tries to block the shot but misses, causing a slight screen
  • Letang – doesn’t attempt to clear the crease in front of Vokoun, allowing a forward to screen him

3rd Goal Against (Almquist): – for

  • Uher – in the penalty box for tripping
  • Sutter – loses his stick on a poke check and can’t do anything
  • Jokinen – gets too deep in the zone again and has no chance at getting out to the point
  • Orpik – leaves the man on the crease completely alone to screen Vokoun and also adds to the screen by missing a block attempt

4th Goal Against (Datsyuk): – for

  • Crosby – can’t handle a pass in the neutral zone and turns the puck over to Datsyuk
  • Martin – gets turned inside out by Datsyuk and loses positioning and footing
  • Orpik – doesn’t play the rebound quickly enough and allows Datsyuk to recover it and score

Penalty Assessment

No clue what I’m doing with this, bear with me as it changes game by game during the preseason.

Crosby – Hooking: Bad, Tried to gain positioning advantage in the offensive zone even though the Red Wings had the puck.
Vokoun – High-Sticking: Bad, Probably more of a hook, but regardless he got the stick into a player’s chest.
Despres – Delay of Game: Bad, Wasn’t under pressure and put the puck over the glass.
Uher – Tripping: Good, Prevented a semi-breakaway as he was a forward covering for the defense.
Crosby – High-Sticking: Bad, skated through the neutral zone with his stick up and then engaged with a Red Wings player and hit him in the head.

Player Assessment


Brandon Sutter – Sutter was probably the best player on the ice for the Penguins through the game. In addition to his goal, he had several smart poke checks and pass interceptions in the neutral zone. He also provided great puck support on offensive zone entries.

Dominik Uher – Uher only got into the lineup because Matt D’Agostini’s wife went into labor and he took advantage of the opportunity. He looked especially strong in puck battles, drew an interference penalty, and provided strong support on the boards.

Harry Zolnierczyk – Take him for what he is, Harry Z is certainly a pest. Despite all the bad publicity around him, he had a solid game. He drew a penalty and looked very responsible in the defensive zone with helping out clearing attempts. His quickness looked good too.


Olli Maatta – Maatta had a quiet, but solid game. He looked very cautious and like he didn’t want to make any mistakes; inherently he didn’t really make any mistakes. He didn’t do anything flashy either, but he looks like a smart, reliable defenseman.

Craig Adams – Adams slid into his usual role with ease with a solid PK effort. He had a couple of nice blocks and great poke checks on the PK. You know what you’re getting with him.

Paul Martin – Martin looked a little out of sorts when it came to his skating, but he also had solid positioning to help out Maatta and Despres when they had problems with him on the ice. He looked bad on the Datsyuk goal, but hundreds of defensemen can lay claim to that as well.


Simon Despres – Despres had a very disappointing game from start to finish. He looked hesitant with his decision making (leading to a couple of turnovers), took a delay of game penalty with no pressure on him to clear the puck, and was sometimes found covering no one at all. Despres appeared to be flat-footed a few times and really just had a bad game overall.

Sidney Crosby – Crosby was surprisingly hot-headed in this game. He had a couple of bad turnovers, a couple of penalties, and generally looked frustrated as the game went on. Oh well, it’s Sidney Crosby.

Jussi Jokinen – Jokinen looked awful in the defensive zone, especially on the penalty kill. He had poor gap control with the points, contributing to both of the Red Wings powerplay goals. He also was slow to keep up with his man on the first Detroit goal.

Misc Thoughts

Penalty Kill – It’s only two preseason games, but the Penguins seem insistent on not moving the man on the crease during penalty kills. There have been 3 goals in the first 2 preseason games where an opposing forward has just stood on the crease to screen the goalie and has successfully done so on a goal. All 3 times, no Penguins player even put a glove on the man. Fleury and Vokoun are in for a lot of bad penalty kills if the Penguins are going to be that passive. As it’s preseason though, we’ll see how it plays out.

Meaningless Games – While these games are meaningless, I’m not sure you would convince Sidney Crosby of that. He clearly was irritated by how the game went and the whole team started hitting harder as the game slipped away from them. I’m not ready to watch a frustrated Penguins team quite yet, especially in the preseason.

Thanks for reading! Next preseason game is Thursday, 9/19 @ Chicago, 8pm.