Friday, April 17, 2009

Pitt-Philly, Game 2: The Genius of Dan Bylsma

Dan Bylsma is a genius. I remember Dan Bylsma playing for the Kings when I was a kid because he was the first player I remember watching and thinking, "Wow, that guy sucks." But I guess he took that amount of time he had sitting around watching good people play hockey to become a good coach, because he did a pretty masterful job during game 1. And most of it revolved around the centers.

The centers in this series are really the key to the whole thing. The Flyers generally use Mike Richards against another team's top line while Jeff Carter takes advantage of the fact that other teams don't have the offensive depth that the Flyers do. That strategy, however, doesn't really work against the Penguins because 1) Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are too good to be stopped by Mike Richards, and 2) Jordan Staal's line can severely hinder Jeff Carter. In Game 1, Bylsma generally rotated Crosby and Malkin while inserting Staal whenever Carter was on the ice. The strategy worked well: Crosby and Malkin both had a goal and an assist while playing only 17 minutes a game, while Jeff Carter was held scoreless (albeit with 8 shots on goal).

Of course, this will probably only work at home, because the Penguins have the option of last change. The Penguins kind of remind me of the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2001; they don't have the most depth or range of skill, but they do have Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling and that might be enough. The Flyers better hope Danny Briere does something tonight or this thing might be over soon.

(Oh yeah, I'm covering this series for James. Woooooooooooooooooooo)


  1. Interesting analogy. That Diamondbacks team somehow beat the then-unbeatable Yankees on the strength of those two and basically nothing else. Amazing how the Yankees have changed since then.

  2. To be fair, that was the year Luis Gonzalez had 57 homers. Fleury?