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Penguins 4, Phantoms 3: ?We?re not paddling in the same direction?

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  • Penguins 4, Phantoms 3: ?We?re not paddling in the same direction?

    After the fourth Penguins goal, Jon Kalinski smashed his stick over the crossbar. A lot of people probably felt the same way. For the first time in a while,*this seemed*like*it was November again. I saw some of the same tendencies returning — awful turnovers and sloppy neutral zone play — that left their goaltender out to dry. It seemed the Phantoms really struggled to break out of their own end.

    Some of the postgame quotes sounded the same familiar as well, like the one above, that questioned the team’s cohesiveness and competitive level. Here’s the full version from coach Greg Gilbert:

    “Itís the things that keep killing us every night when we donít win hockey games: itís turnovers, itís silly plays, itís lack of commitment to work ethic and competitive level. You canít win with a half a team. There are a lot of guys that are going to have to pick things up. As a group we have to pull back together. The analogy I used is weíre a canoe and weíre not paddling in the same direction.”

    By my unofficial count, turnovers led to three of the four Penguins goals, including two by the fourth line. The Phantoms made offense easy for them. “We didn’t have to cheat to get offense,” said former Flyer and Phantom Jesse Boulerice, who scored for the second straight game.

    If it wasn’t Phantoms’ turnovers, it was defenseman cheating too far, as Denis Bodrov did a couple of times, including once on the power play. The Penguins had two odd-man rushes while shorthanded in the third.

    Bad luck again for John Grahame, who dropped to 2-9, but gets not help from the team in front of him. The Boulerice goal was the only one I thought he had a chance on.

    The Phantoms rallied and cut it to 4-3 in final minute with Grahame pulled, *but*they iced the puck twice in the last 30 seconds and couldn’t get the goalie pulled again. On the first one, the Phantoms had a set play designed off the faceoff, but when it didn’t develop, the player misread the situation and fired it deep anyway.

    I’m not going to say much more, because the quotes are pretty telling and worth reading.


    Greg Gilbert

    On the cause of turnovers/miscues:

    “Youíve got to try and play a simple game and let the puck do the work and not try and do more and more and then it backfires. Thatís exactly what happened. Itís like the line from The Replacements, the harder you struggle the deeper you dig in the hole. Itís like quicksand Ė you try to do too much and you just sink farther and farther down. Thatís not how the game is played and you have to work together as groups, as units, as teammates and be willing to compete and pay the price for each other. Thatís what we have to get back to.”

    On consistency, or lack therof:

    “There are parts of the game we have to focus on. Itís the details and how we want to play and what we are as a team. And those details have been inconsistent all year. Thatís the one thing thatís been consistent for us this year is inconsistency. There are nights where we pay great attention to detail and we win hockey games and we play really well. And there are other nights where we donít. Thatís usually when we get the short end of the stick.”

    On giving Kevin Marshall and Marc-Andre Bourdon a one-game rest each this weekend:

    “Both guys, I donít want to say are struggling, but their gameís been falling off a little. I talked to Kevin today and I didnít get a chance to talk to Marc today, but there are other guys we have to get in and play also. We have to go into some kind of rotation and weíll see what happens. But from here on in the guys that are playing best are going to get in.”

    Jesse Boulerice

    (I didn’t know that Boulerice grew up in Rouses Point, about two hours north of Glens Falls).

    On scoring two goals this weekend. He has three on the season:

    “Iím never one to get a lot of points, but itís been a really slow year, kind of hard to take, especially at this point in my career. I feel like better than I was five, 10 years ago. Anyway, I feel like theyíre starting to come and hopefully, theyíll keep coming. Our line really contributed well and thatís going to be the difference the rest of the year. When we have four lines going and our fourth line can chip in a goal or two per game, weíre going to have a lot of success that way.”

    On the Penguins three-game sweep of division teams this weekend, including stopping Hershey’s 11-game winning streak:

    “Yeah, we needed to get going. We needed a good feeling in our room. The game against Hershey was huge. We played solid, kept coming at them. And when they came at us, we had a bend, donít break mentality, weathered the storm and played our best hockey over the weekend, really got things going our way right now.”

    On his goal, a 2-on-1 that made it 3-2:

    “My linemate bottled the puck up on the wall on the red line and ended up turning it over and allowed me to come in on a quick break. And I was actually kind of shooting far pad to see if the rebound would kick out to my linemate driving the net, but it ended up sneaking under his leg and it was a great goal for us.”

    Todd Rierden

    On taking advantage of Adirondack turnovers:

    “I think we play an aggressive brand of hockey and try and force turnovers. And I think right now weíre capitalizing on our chances around their net. That fourth goal ends up being a huge one for us. That was a big goal at the right time, but for us it was about playing in the offensive zone and buying into that way of playing Ė keeping the puck there and eliminating their chances.”

    On the importance of the Olympic break and the closeness of the East Division:

    I think with the Olympic break starting today a lot of teams are going to get their players back. I think thatís an important two week period where you pretty much have your best possible lineup in the American Hockey League going …**I think you start to plug in what you think youíre lineup might be at the end of the year. So I think itís an important two-week period. At that time itís the only game in town other than the Olympics, so itís an important stretch for teams three through seven. I think itís very tight and a competitive division where any team can beat anybody, as we showed last night against Hershey.”

    On getting two fourth-line goals:

    ďWe play four lines and we need contributions from every one. Especially when we have a situation where we have three games in two and a half days. Youíre not getting it done by having one line carrying you.Ē


    Scracthes: Josh Beaulieu (away tending to family matter), Matt Clackson (healthy), David Sloane (healthy), Matt Clackson (healthy), Marc-Andre Bourdon (healthy), Krys Kolanos (long-term injury).

    Lines: Maroon/Matsumoto/Laliberte; Pyorala/Ross/Legein; Nodl/Kalinski/Ward; Klotz/Dingle/Bellamy.

    Defensive pairs: Mormina/Lehtivuori; Marshall/Stephenson; Bodrov/Curry.

    – Tim