Monday, June 1, 2009

Europe 2 North America 0

1) Last year at this time we did a post called men-2-boys-0. with regard to the Finals. At that time the Wings thoroughly dominated the Pens in the first two games and clearly were the better of the teams. The Pens were the young up and comers and Detroit filled with older vets, just out classed them. The Pens finally did solve the Wings to extend the series to 6, but even in the 2 games the Pens won, Detroit was the better team.

2) This time around though the gulf between the teams is far less apparent. It could be argued that a favourable bounce or two for Pittsburgh, and we might have a vastly different complexion to the series. Certainly in neither game were the Wings the far better team. What has been clear though is that the Wings Euro-centric style appears to be holding its own quite well with the North American dominated style of the Pens. The Detroit puck possession style has frustrated the Pens at times (as it has most teams) However, the aspect of the Wings game that may have surprised some who haven't been watching them all year is their toughness. No, not toughness defined in North American terms by fighting majors, but on their terms with hard hitting and willing to take a hit to make a play. Willing to stand in front of the net and get slammed by the defense or hit by a puck to get the 'dirty goal'. Most teams could learn a thing or two by watching the Red Wings style of play.

3) Is the series over? Hell no! As stated earlier a bounce or two and we might be deadlocked 1-1 going back to steel town. However their margin for error is now nil. Pit can NOT afford to lose either game at home, else they are looking at an elimination game back in Mo-town this weekend. The Pens need to continue to play much like they are now. With the addition of trying to get Crosby away from Zetterberg. Which at home should be a tad easier. Keep drilling Osgood with shots and get in his face. Play their up tempo forecheck and force the Wing defense to work. Lidstrom is clearly not 100% and uncharacteristically is vulnerable.

4) It also has to be mentioned that Detroit created this 2-0 lead without their best player, Pavel Datsuyk, out with a broken foot (that's a guess as injuries are state secrets this time of year). No word if he'll be able to go tomorrow. The young Wings players like Helm (who plays like a human missal) have been instrumental. Not a good sign for Pitt when an unknown 4th liner Justin Abdelkader has more goals so far than Sidney Crosby. Zetterberg has been that good in blanketing the Penguin super star. (We bet Sid would have loved to have been Malkin last night, trying to punch Zetts lights out in frustration late last night). In the end its likely the Wings will win again. Not to fret though Pens fans, we believe the time for your team is just beginning. The core of your team is all under 25. If they can keep them together we will see Cups returning to Pittsburgh in the near future! All is not lost North America!

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