Dave Molinari's Penguins chat: 6.5.17
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Dave Molinari
2:00
OK, let's get this chat started. Thanks for all the great questions already submitted, as well as all the childish ones that no one except I will ever see.
Dawid
2:00
Who will win game 4? Do you think that Pens will be able to recover if they lose again tonight?
Dave Molinari
2:02
If I knew who was going to win Game 4, I would be on a flight to Las Vegas, preparing to make a huge wager, rather than sitting in a dark, drafty workroom in Nashville. And, yes, I believe the Penguins could recover from a loss in Game 4. After all, the series would be best-of-three, with two of the games in Pittsburgh. At the same time, I don't think a loss in Game 4 would be fatal for Nashville, either, although it would be much more of a setback for the Predators than for the Penguins.
Pinkie Pie Wants The Cup
2:02
Though the Penguins loss in Game 3 was more of a "team effort", which player(s) in particular do you expect to have a bounce-back game tonight?
Dave Molinari
2:04
I expect Matt Murray -- who hardly was to blame for their Game 5 loss -- to play well, if only because of his history of strong performances after losses. I also think Crosby, Malkin and Kessel will have more of an impact than they did in Game 3, although that certainly isn't setting the bar too high, since they were pretty much non-factors Saturday.
SL
2:04
From what you've seen in the first 3 games, what's your prediction for the SCF?
Dave Molinari
2:04
Before the series, I predicted the Penguins to win in seven games. I've had no reason to change that, to this point.
Matt
2:04
What kind of game do you expect from the pens tonight, after a fairly underwhelming game 3
Dave Molinari
2:06
They have been a resilient team all season -- ever since Mike Sullivan took over as coach, really -- so I expect a solid, focused performance from them in Game 4. That certainly doesn't guarantee that they will win, but I believe they will be much more competitive than they were on Saturday.
Dan
2:06
Dave let's look ahead ! This team is going to be significantly different next year.In your opinion how much change will there be and do you think there may be a surprise addition or deletion?
Dave Molinari
2:08
The Penguins returned virtually their entire team from last season in 2016-17, but that won't be the case for the coming season. They almost certainly will lose a significant contributor in the expansion draft, and no fewer than seven players who have dressed in these playoffs -- Matt Cullen, Nick Bonino, Chris Kunitz, Trevor Daley, Ron Hainsey, Chad Ruhwedel and Mark Streit -- will be eligible for free agency. A few might return, but most will not. That alone will assure significant turnover before training camp.
Andy
2:08
Do you think Bonino plays tonight and if so, will he help or hurt them? No reason to have him out there, right, if he's going to play tentative or he can't go full speed, which for him is not not great to begin with?
Dave Molinari
2:10
There's really no way of knowing for certain, since the Penguins had an optional game-day skate in which Bonino did not participate today. My hunch is that he will not play tonight, and it certainly would be short-sighted to use him if he's not close to 100 percent. Bonino is a valuable role player, but Carter Rowney can fill in for him at center reasonably well, and the Penguins have a number of forwards who can take on Bonino's penalty-killing duties.
Connor Plante
2:10
What do you make of all this talk about Kessel and Tocchet from practise yesterday? Overblown or is there something more here.
Dave Molinari
2:11
I have not idea what "all this talk" is, but I hope we haven't gotten to the point where a player and assistant coach can't have a conversation without generating headlines. Unless they were discussing someone's halitosis, of course. Then it's international news of the highest order.
Scott
2:11
Did our PP look different in practice
Dave Molinari
2:13
Because the game-day sakte was optional, there was no power-play work done. Sunday, Kessel and Crosby switched sides, which effectively takes the one-timer out of Kessel's arsenal. That's no big deal, though, if only because he hadn't been using it much. Assuming the switch holds tonight, it seems possible that the coaches will now tell Kessel to throw as many pucks as possible at the net from in or above the right circle, but that's strictly a guess.
Pope
2:14
Do you think we might see some fresh legs in the lineup tonight w Ruhwedel, Kuhnhackl or Archibald?
Dave Molinari
2:15
There was no indication that the Penguins are planning any personnel changes for Game 4, but it's always possible that coach Mike Sullivan will drop a surprise on us. It really would be a surprise, though.
Pope
2:15
If the Pens win the cup, has Guenztel closed the gap with Malkin for the Conn Smythe?
Dave Molinari
2:18
It's a little early to say who the favorite for the Conn Smythe, which goes to the playoff MVP, is, but Guentzel certainly has injected himself back into the discussion with his play through the first three games of the final. Malkin likely will get support, at least if the Penguins win, and Sidney Crosby figures to, as well. If Nashville wins the series, Roman Josi seems like a worthy candidate, as does goalie Pekka Rinne (despite his miserable play in Games 1 and 2). And, for the record, the Smythe winner does not have to come from the Cup-winning team, although that almost always in the case.
DWWarehouse
2:19
Do you agree with Ron Cook that the Pens can't win the Cup without Letang?
Dave Molinari
2:21
The Penguins need two more victories to win the Stanley Cup. Nashville is the only other team with a chance, and it needs three. In light of all that, it's hard to say that the Penguins can't win a Cup without him. Certainly, they are a much better team with him in the lineup and they have needed -- and, for the most part, gotten -- more than could reasonably be expected from the rest of their very ordinary defense corps, but when a team has won 14 playoff games, it seems reasonable to believe that it's capable of winning two more.
carl
2:21
any chance, is it even possible?, that the conn smythe gets awarded to both Murray and Fleury? both are the main reasons the team has gone this far, imo.
Dave Molinari
2:23
There is a logic to your position, for sure, because the Penguins' goalies have been their greatest strengths through 3 1/2 rounds. There is, however, no precedent for two players to share the Smythe, and I haven't detected any real sentiment to have that happen this year, either.
HB
2:23
Even if the pens lost a couple players I feel like we have more than enough talent in Wilkes barre to fill those gaps
Dave Molinari
2:25
For a team that hasn't had many high draft choices in recent years, the Penguins have done an exceptional job of identifying and developing prospects who have been able to contribute significantly in the NHL. There has been a productive pipeline between Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh for a number of years -- thanks largely to now-Buffalo GM Jason Botterill -- and there's no reason to believe that will change anytime soon.
Florida Beach Guy
2:25
Do you think Murray will be on a short leash tonight?
Dave Molinari
2:26
I'm not sure why he would be. Game 3 wasn't his finest, but there were a lot of guys who had worse nights than he. It's also pretty obvious that Murray is Sullivan's goalie of choice, so it probably would take either an injury or a complete implosion by Murray to get Marc-Andre Fleury into a game.
SL
2:26
Do you think that if GMJR knew Letang wouldn't be available for the playoffs, that he would have been willing to pay the price for Shattenkirk? And do you think that having Shattenkirk would have made much/any difference for the Pens this postseason?
Dave Molinari
2:27
The Penguins were interested in Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approached, but there's no way of knowing whether they would have pursued him more vigorously had they know Letang wouldn't be available for the playoffs. The guess here is that Rutherford might have been more aggressive, but probably wouldn't have gotten into a major bidding war for him.
Casey karger
2:28
What do you think will be the biggest surprise we see this off-season?
Dave Molinari
2:28
If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise anymore.
Bryan
2:28
Do you get a similar feeling to last years Cup Final, where Game 4 is make or break. If the Sharks win last year in Game 4, its a whole different scenario than 3-1, exact same situation this year.
Dave Molinari
2:30
It's not a make-or-break game for either team, but it's probably a bit more significant for the Predators. The worst-case scenario for the Penguins (outside of a spate of major injuries) is that they would lose Game 4 and be playing a best-of-3, with two of those games at home. That's a situation almost any team would like to be in.
We're out of time. Thanks for the questions, and for following along.
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