Dave Molinari's Penguins chat
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Dave Molinari
1:00
OK, let’s get this chat started. Some pretty good questions already have been submitted, but there always is room for more, so feel free to pass it along if you have one.
Andy
1:00
Would you replace Daley with Ruh or Streit? Looks like Sully is going with Ruh, right? He's younger. Is he better defensively? Is that the reason for the choice?
Dave Molinari
1:02
From all indications, Chad Ruhwedel will replaced the injured Trevor Daley this evening. Coach Mike Sullivan would not commit to using Ruhwedel, so he didn't offer a justification for the move. Had it been my call, I likely would have been inclined to dress Mark Streit. He has experience in high-stakes games, and this would be Ruhwedel's Stanley Cup debut. On the other hand, Ruhwedel adds a right-handed shot to the mix, so a case can be made for using him.
Andy
1:02
Is Sully really going to back to HBK? Has he watched them this year even in the playoffs. Hagelin has not been himself and Bonino has not been the playoff warrior he was last year. What's the thinking?
Dave Molinari
1:03
Sullivan said only that reuniting Hagelin, Bonino and Kessel today is "a possibility." They were together during the game-day skate, so it certainly seems like that they will at least start Game 6. And yeah, I'm pretty sure that Sullivan and his staff have watched those guys play together, although I suppose it's possible they are using that tablet they have on the bench during playoff games to watch Game of Thrones reruns.
copall
1:03
Should the Pens consider going with 11 forwards and 7 d'men for tonight and/or Wednesday night (if necessary)?
Dave Molinari
1:05
There's nothing to suggest that the Penguins plan to do so, and that's nothing something I endorse except in extreme circumstances. Adding a defenseman and removing a forward causes too much havoc with personnel combinations, in my opinion.
gamer
1:05
Any chance MAF's confidence is starting to wilt (besides all the SOG) by MM's return (practicing)? Although outstanding in these playoffs, I think he's still fragile and a soft goal away from losing it like in playoffs-past. And for the love of Badger Bob, if you see him please tell him to stop handling the puck behind the net! Thx
Dave Molinari
1:06
We probably won't get any insight on Fleury's mental state until the game has begun this evening. He stayed on the ice much longer than usual this morning, although that doesn't necessarily indicate anything significant. Frankly, his confidence should be pretty high. He gave up at least one goal in Game 5 that he probably should have stopped, but Fleury has been the Penguins' best player to this point in the playoffs, and is the biggest reason they will have a chance to advance to the conference final tonight.
Pinkie Pie
1:06
Hey Dave, thanks for taking some of your time to run this chat. What's your take on the officiating of this series thus far? There have been so many missed calls and controversies (i.e. the Bonino/Oshie high-stick), and the overall inconsistency of their calls have been really maddening, but what say you?
Dave Molinari
1:08
I generally try to refrain from criticizing or second-guessing officials, because I think it is an almost impossible job to do flawlessly (or close to it). That said, the lack of consistency, as well as some missed calls that seem pretty obvious (at least from the press box or on television), can be a bit maddening, at times.
BJT in the ATL
1:08
How much of a difference do you think Letang would have made in this series and in what way?
Dave Molinari
1:10
That's a hypothetical, obviously, and there's no way of being certain what impact he could have had. However, on those occasions when he's healthy, Letang is a difference-maker and is exceptional at moving the puck (whether it's with his legs or his stick), and that ability would be a major asset in this series, when the Penguins often have had trouble getting the puck out of their end. The bottom line, though, is that dealing with injuries is part of the challenge of succeeding in the playoffs, and the Penguins have proven that when other facets of their game are performing to their potential, they can compensate for being without Letang.
Chad
1:10
Dave what is the home ice scenarios if the Pens advance ? I'm assuming Pens would have home ice throughout since they would have the most points of the remaining 4 teams although the Rangers don't have home ice vs the Sens and they had more points than Ottawa. This new playoff format needs to be changed this offseason its terrible.
Dave Molinari
1:12
The winner of the Penguins-Capitals series will have home ice for as long as it remains in the playoffs. That's because Washington had the NHL's best record during the regular season, the Penguins had the second-best.
Chad
1:12
We all wondered when MAF would break and he did for 5 minutes of the 3rd period Saturday night. He's still been outstanding and nobody should fault him but if he has a bad game tonight is there any chance Murray could be available for game 7 ?
Dave Molinari
1:13
Matt Murray has yet to participate in a practice, so it's pretty much inconceivable that he would get into a game in this series unless Fleury and Tristan Jarry retire, which seems a bit unlikely. And Fleury has had very few hiccups during the first 10 games. Certainly, he's done nothing to merit getting a quick hook.
SL
1:14
Have you seen Letang around, ever? If so, does he seem to be in good spirits? (we fans are still missing him and wishing him well!)
Dave Molinari
1:15
He has been spotted at the practice facility (and the arena, if I recall correctly), but has kept a relatively low profile since undergoing his neck surgery. And fans aren't the only ones who wish he was playing; Letang's teammates would love to have him in the mix now.
Joel
1:15
What's the score going to be tonight?
Dave Molinari
1:15
If I knew, I would be on my way to Las Vegas, not conducting a chat.
Jake
1:16
Hey Dave why doesn't Management trust Sprong? I got to think he'd bring more than Kunitz and Sheary with him struggling. His speed would give the Caps trouble
Dave Molinari
1:18
There's no question that Sprong is an exceptional prospect, with sensational offensive talents. He's also a young guy who spent the season in junior after recovering from shoulder surgery. Asking a kid like that to step into the middle of a Stanley Cup playoff series wouldn't be fair to him, or to his team. It's entirely possible that he'd score a goal, but with his defensive game being a work-in-progress, it's also possible that he'd be responsible for giving up one. Or more.
Guest
1:18
Which of the pending UFA will you miss working with most, if tonight's game is their last as a Penguin?
Dave Molinari
1:19
The good news for those guys is, this won't be anyone's last game with the Penguins. The worst-case scenario for them at the moment is that there could be a Game 7 in Washington Wednesday.
SL
1:19
Personal question for you, Dave: do you consider yourself a fan of the Penguins? (If not, which is your favorite team?)
Dave Molinari
1:20
It's not professionally healthy for a reporter to be a fan of any team. At the very least, that could cloud one's judgment, which would be a disservice to readers. Consequently, I'm a fan of good, highly skilled hockey rather than a particular club.
Jim
1:20
My take on the Pens to this point has been they have conducted themselves as the defending champions. They haven't been too high or too low. Have you noticed any change in their demeanor as the series has progressed?
Dave Molinari
1:22
No, and that's more of an asset that a lot of people might realize. It seems like many fans get too high or too low, based on the result of a single game. Either their team is going to win the Cup, or is doomed to be eliminated any minute now. It's critical for players to keep an even keel, mentally, and what the Penguins experienced a year ago probably helps to make that possible.
CC
1:22
What do you think is an ideal time on ice for fourth line?
Dave Molinari
1:23
That depends on the circumstances of a particular game (to say nothing of the makeup of that particular fourth line). If a team is playing well and winning, ice time often is split somewhat evenly among the fourth lines. If it is trailing and needs to generate offense, the fourth line probably won't get onto the ice very often.
SL
1:24
You skipped the interesting part of Guest's question. Which UFA would you miss working with most, if he doesn't return next season?
Dave Molinari
1:24
Haven't really thought about it yet. There's still a season in progress. Ask again once it's over, if you'd like.
dkny
1:24
Dave, do you feel the momentum is totally on the caps side now? I never thought they'd have a shot when they were down 3-1, but now with Crosby coming back in, and pens still failing to close them out Saturday night, I'm scared the caps are going to break their spell and finally bust loose out of round 2! I pray im wrong!
Dave Molinari
1:27
There is a school of thought that momentum does not carry over from game to game, and I tend to believe that. That said, anyone who doesn't recognize that Washington is a quality team fully capable of winning three games in a row -- and that the Penguins are playing with a diluted defense corps -- is deluding themselves. At the same time, the Penguins have met pretty much every challenge they've faced during the first two rounds, so it's a bit premature to write them off, either.
Adam K.
1:27
Obviously any team can win any game on any night, but is tonight our game 7 pretty much? I can't see them going into a game 7 in Washington and winning after dropping 2 straight
Dave Molinari
1:28
Winning at Verizon Center is a challenge for any team, at any time, but the Penguins proved in 2009 that they're capable of winning a Game 7 there, if the series goes that far. Past results are no guarantee of future success, of course, but I don't think they'd be intimidated by the idea of playing a winner-take-all game in Washington. Obviously, they'd prefer to avoid it.
beads
1:28
what's the problem with the pp not taking shots
Dave Molinari
1:30
That's been an issue for decades with this team. There is so much talent on this team that it sometimes seems more interested in scoring a pretty power play goal than simply scoring. Sometimes, it works, like the very pretty goal Kessel scored Saturday. Sometimes, it makes life relatively easy for the penalty-killers. Suffice to say, the Penguins are in no position now to worry about style points.
1:31
OK. Our time is up. Thanks for all the great questions, and for following along.
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