Orpik: "They Were Really, Really Tired"
I've never exactly understood why it is that when one team controls the ball, in virtually any sport, the other team ends up looking tired. Sure, there are some substitution rules that can work in favor of the offense--in both football and hockey at least--and sure, you could argue that you expend more energy playing defense. But some of it must be mental. Offensive linemen always talk about seeing d-linemen with hands-on-hips or gasping for breath, and then going for the kill. Why wouldn't sustained drives also make the o-linemen short of breath? Maybe it's just more fun to go for the kill than to wait for it on the other side.
Regardless, any time you see hands-on-hips, guys hunched over breathing hard after whistles, it's usually a good idea to ask what was going on.
"It was tough to control the puck with the way the ice was here tonight, but I thought about halfway through the game you could really, really see, especially their defensemen, were getting really, really tired," Brooks Orpik told me. "We kept chipping it behind them, and I don't know what the hits stat was, but we really, really did a number on their defensemen going back for the puck. And you could tell, especially in the third period, they were really, really tired."
The hits stat, for the record, was 44-31, in favor of the Pens. It's harder to quantify the hands-on-hips moments. Both teams were doing it, and maybe you just notice it more when a team seems back on its heels, but from the second period on there were moments--before faceoffs, leaving the ice for intermissions--when the body language clearly seemed to favor the Penguins.
"They had their foot on the pedal the whole second half of the game, and they deserved to win tonight," Mike Green said. "It's playoffs, you've got to suck it up. But it seemed like they were coming at us in waves and that's why we couldn't make any plays, and therefore we're running around in our own zone, wasting our energy. So yeah, we were a little bit tired, but like I said, they deserved to win tonight, they played a better game than us."
Some Pittsburgh players, who oozed the same kind of confidence we saw from the Caps after Game 3 in New York, said that their dominance was a result of them staying with their system, and not getting frustrated after the first two games.
"Guys were saying how if we kept playing the same way, keep the pressure on in the offensive zone and not let up, if we keep playing that way we're gonna tire them down and get opportunities," Pens Coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think we played for long periods in the offensive zone, they're on defense, they're forced to be there, scrums at the net, a couple icings they have to stay out, and that's when you can get teams tired out...That's part of how we like to play, and we were effective at that for many periods of the hockey game."
"We had a lot more time in the offensive zone, we had more control of the puck," Kris Letang said. "I mean, it's always tough to play defense, chasing the puck all night long."
"When we forecheck and when we hit those D, they're gonna get tired," Max Talbot added. "And I think we had the puck for most of the game, we were hitting them, and I think they get tired. And that's good for us."
For whatever it's worth, the Penguins are skating at their complex this morning. The Caps canceled their scheduled practice, and are meeting with the media this afternoon at their hotel.
Posted by: carsonspence | May 7, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: RedBirdie | May 7, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: poguesmahone | May 7, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: SteelHop | May 7, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: gidge | May 7, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: stormblue | May 7, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: makplan20002 | May 7, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bflorhodes | May 7, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AmyS1 | May 7, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AmyS1 | May 7, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: icantfeelmyface | May 7, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: LonnieBeale1 | May 7, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: billmelater | May 7, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: saintex | May 7, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: thiazzi | May 7, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: saintex | May 7, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TJ2008 | May 7, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: psps23 | May 7, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Stu_c | May 7, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jcurrin | May 7, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: poguesmahone | May 7, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.