Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Therrien blows a gasket


"I'm really starting to believe the goal of our defense is to be the worst defensive squad in the league," [Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Michel] Therrien said. "They're doing the best job to be the worst defensive squad in the league.

"They turn the puck over. They have no vision. They suck. I've never seen a bunch of defensemen suck like this. The guys don't care. They pretend to care, but I know they don't care."

Therrien has a reputation as a hothead, a disciplinarian, but I can't see how a public lambasting like this is going to help the club. It reminds me of Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella laying into John Grahame, something that has hardly helped his starting goaltender.

The way GM Craig Patrick assembled the club's defence core, it wasn't hard to see the Penguins would struggle on the blue line. Lyle Odelein is still playing a regular shift in the NHL. 22-year-old defenceman Ryan Whitney has played nearly 24 minutes a night. 'Soft' defencemen Rick Jackman, Sergei Gonchar and Dick Tarnstrom bring far too many of the same elements to a club in need of far more sandpaper. Team speed is also a huge issue.

How does a coach deal with that? It's time for Therrien to bring up some hardworking bodies from his former club, the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He's also got to temper his tirades lest he get into the kind of trouble he found at the end of his tenure with the Montreal Canadiens.

UPDATE Things could get ugly considering the start the Penguins have had in Columbus tonight. After Rick Nash scores 10 seconds in, David Vyborny gives the Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead less than five minutes in on a short-handed marker. Unbelievable.

Career minor leaguer Dany Sabourin is in goal for the Pens as Jocelyn Thibault's season looks over due to another hip injury.


At 11:04 a.m., January 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you heard any rumours about Sidney Crosby getting under the skin of his teammates? I heard something on TSN the other night that blew my mind, that vets like Leclair and Recchi hate Sid the Kid's guts... Sure, he's a big mouth and still a kid, and SuperMario has his back, but does he deserve a new label? Sid the Lip? Sidney Whiny? If you can do a post on this, or point to stories confirming it, that'd be great.

At 12:15 p.m., January 12, 2006, Blogger sacamano said...

Frankly, if the vets can't handle getting some lip from Crosby -- just about the only player on the team who is actually producing -- they won't get much sympathy from me.

Just about the worst thing I can imagine is Crosby becoming comfortable and buddy-buddy within that clearly dysfunctional Penguins organization.


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