Dave Molinari's Penguins chat: 5.15.17
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Dave Molinari
1:00
OK, let’s get this chat started. Lots of good questions on a variety of subjects already have been submitted, but there is always room for more. Please pass one along if you have it.
Chad
1:00
Do you think there was some Washington hang over that affected the Pens Saturday night ?
Dave Molinari
1:02
Whether the players acknowledged it or not, I think there clearly was a carryover from Game 7 in Washington three nights earlier, when the Penguins made an exceptional physical and mental commitment to secure their place in the Eastern Conference final. Their decision-making often was poor in Game 1 and their execution wasn't much better. A letdown after the Capitals series was completely understand, but that pass doesn't apply to Game 2 tonight. Any shortcomings by the Penguins this evening is totally on them.
ben
1:02
Do you think the Senators are any good and can we beat them?
Dave Molinari
1:04
No, Ottawa clearly has reached the Eastern Conference final on the strength of black magic and selling the franchise's soul to the Devils. The Senators' 8-4 record in the playoffs has nothing to do with Erik Karlsson's brilliance or an opportunistic offense or Craig Anderson's solid goaltending or coach Guy Boucher's well-devised system that is executed efficiently. Ok, maybe those things have just a little to do with it ...
Matt
1:04
Do you think hagelin has been injured or a healthy scratch lately
Dave Molinari
1:05
I think the reality is somewhere in the middle, actually. Hagelin is coming off a foot injury and, while he is healthy enough to be in the lineup, he isn't back to his pre-injury form. The Penguins certainly would like to have his speed in their lineup -- and coach Mike Sullivan didn't rule out him playing tonight -- but if he's not able to perform at his usual level, sitting him makes sense.
Carl
1:05
If the Penguins lose tonight is Matt Murray in the next game? I find that Murray is more calm and makes the rest of the team more confident.
Dave Molinari
1:07
I don't think the outcome of Game 2, in itself, will affect who starts Game 3. For example, Fleury was the losing goalie in Game 2, but I don't think anyone blamed him for the defeat. Having a guy like Murray as a backup is an incredible luxury, but Fleury hasn't given the coaches any reason to seriously consider sitting him to this point. Fact is, he's been their best player through the first two rounds.
Steve
1:07
Why are so many road teams winning this year? Doesn't the home ice mean anything anymore?
Dave Molinari
1:07
Discussed that with a few Penguins players after the game-day skate, and no one really had a firm explanation for why thatDon't know that
1:08
has been the case. There's no disputing the numbers, though: Road teams are 36-35 in these playoffs, and the Penguins have a better away record (4-2) than they do at home (4-3). (And sorry for the split response.)
SL
1:09
When does voting for Conn Smythe happen, and does it ever not get awarded to someone from the winning team?
Dave Molinari
1:11
The Conn Smythe trophy, which goes to the playoff MVP, is voted on during the third period of any potential Cup-clinching game during the final. The winner is selected by a small panel of Professional Hockey Writers' Association members. If the series does not end on the night when the votes are cast, they are discarded and the entire process is repeated during the next game. And yes, there have been a few Smythe winners whose team did not win the Cup, but they are (understandably) a minority.
AR
1:11
It's very easy to say shoot more but if you look closely, the senators really collapse in front of their net, there is no where to get a puck through.... need to move the puck and shoot quickly or fake or something, just blasting it into a crowd wont get it done
Dave Molinari
1:11
I don't know that anyone has proposed simply shooting the puck when it has to pass through a body to reach the net.
Rahn
1:11
Bryan Rust and Dustin Jeffrey exit the locker room at the same time: Who reaches the ice first? Rust has speed; Jeffrey had size.
Dave Molinari
1:12
Depends. If they're heading for the game-day skate before a Game 7, my money is on Rust. He always seems to find a way to win on those days.
Mike
1:12
Am I the only one who believes Olli Maata is overrated? Not only in the playoffs, but also during the regular season. He is slow, soft, and provides no offense. Why does he continue to get so many minutes. There has to be a better option.
Dave Molinari
1:16
Questions -- and complaints -- about members of the Penguins' defense corps seem to be pretty popular this week. That's understandable, considering that no one is going to confuse this group with, say, the Montreal defense of the late 1970s, but it actually has held up pretty well, given its limitations and the circumstances. As for Maatta in particular, he hasn't reached the level expected based on his play early in his career, but he's also had to deal with some serious, highly unusual health issues. Also, his average ice time (20:07) is fourth among Penguins defensemen in these playoffs, but his plus-minus rating -- admittedly, a severely flawed stat -- is plus-7, best among their defensemen; next among those who have played in all 13 games is Brian Dumoulin, at plus-3.
dave
1:16
What do you think has happened to Connor Sheary's game?
Dave Molinari
1:18
If I had a good answer to that one, I'd sell it to the Penguins for a lot of money, because they surely could use the dimension he can add to their offense. At this point, I suspect a lot of confidence -- the inevitable by-product of a slump for almost any player -- is as big of an issue for him as anything else. If he can get a goal or two and regain his belief in his abilities, it won't be surprised to see him go on a bit of a tear. That's a big IF, though.
nfshel
1:18
Dave, there has been a distinct difference in how the Pens have looked in their first 7 games of the 2017 playoffs compared to how they've looked in their last 6. Is it just wear and tear and is there a chance we will see Dailey at some point in the Ottawa series?
Dave Molinari
1:20
Dealing with fatigue is one of the many challenges a team faces if it wants to win a Cup, and it's probably more of an issue for the Penguins than most clubs because of their championship run last spring and the fact that so many of their players participated in the World Cup of Hockey last fall. And when Trevor Daley is healthy enough to play -- he skated on his own this morning -- I'm pretty sure he will rejoin the lineup. Rushing a guy before he's fully ready to play is a gamble, at best.
Al Lewis
1:21
Do you see this series going seven games?
Dave Molinari
1:22
I picked the Penguins to win in six, for whatever that's worth. So many variables -- injuries, slumps, bounces, questionable calls, etc. -- can influence the length and outcome of a series that it's really impossible to predict with any certainty, most of the time. No doubt that it's conceivable that this will go seven.
Marc Bowers
1:22
In respect to the upcoming expansion draft and our goalies, we don't we sign an NHL goalie (like a Jeff Zatkoff) to contract and expose them to the draft? Murray does not need protected because he has less than 2 yrs experience and we have to protect MAF. What is wrong with my logic?
Dave Molinari
1:24
The major flaw in your logic is that Murray DOES have to be protected. This is his third pro season. That said, if the Penguins can work out a deal with Las Vegas to not draft Fleury (who would have to waive his no-movement clause to be eligible for the draft, allowing the Penguins to protect Murray), they would have to sign a goalie to expose in the draft. No one in the organization outside the NHL meets the criteria for being exposed.
Matt
1:25
Dave, With JB now in Buffalo, who in your opinion is the heir 2 GMJR? Will it be Karmanos? Recchi? Guerin?
Dave Molinari
1:26
That probably will hinge, in part, on how long Jim Rutherford decides to remain as GM. The plan when he was hired three years ago was for Jason Botterill to succeed him, but that option disappeared when the Sabres hired Botterill (an excellent move on their part, by the way) last week. There's no way of knowing which, if any, of the guys you mentioned still will be with the organization when Rutherford departs, and neither is there a guarantee that his replacement will not come from another team.
Mike
1:26
Dave, Is it just me or has Evgeni Malkin looked like a shell of his normal self over the past few games... Multiple turnovers, lack of aggressive back checking, more "I than team"? It is time for Coach to send a message similar to the message Trotz sent to Ovi? No one player is above a "benching", right?
Dave Molinari
1:28
Malkin absolutely can elevate his game -- that's only fair to expect of a world-class talent -- but he's also the leading scorer in these playoffs. He can do more, without a doubt, but he's hardly been a liability on a regular basis. I don't think you'll see him centering the third line anytime soon. And he certainly won't be bench. The Penguins are deep at center, but not THAT deep.
Albie
1:29
Our fans seem to be a quieter than normal in these playoffs, unless they are booing their own team. Do you think a lively crowd energizes our team?
Dave Molinari
1:30
There's no question that a loud, enthusiastic crowd and work to the benefit of any team. That said, there's nothing wrong with expecting a team to earn that support, by virtue of a strong period.
OK, thanks everyone. Our time is up. Appreciate all the great questions very much.
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