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angryjay93

Pittsburgh Penguins

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Pittsburgh Penguins


Team Overview: To the untrained eye, Pittsburgh looks like a world beater of a team, what with Mario Lemieux and his 100 rating. Alas, the real life story is vastly different and it is indeed a difficult task to find a competitive line, especially for those who don't specialize in one-timers. The defense is also inflicted with similar problems as the offense, looks great, but plays below the expected level.

Forwards: This forward group reminds me a lot of Edmonton, except it doesn't have a top 15 forward such as Petr Klima. The biggest issue facing the Penguins is a lack of speed, weight advantage and shooting. A choice must be made, load up a line with heavy guys with skills or use a line featuring weight buggers with marginal skills. Choosing the middle road isn't an attractive option due to the fact that there will be very few strengths to utilize.

Feed Lemieux:
Mullen-Lemieux-Jagr

Joe Mullen: 6 weight, 4/3 skating, 3/5 shot, 4 sth, 3 pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: R

Joe Mullen is plan B when it comes to scoring, his 3/5 right handed shot on the left wing is very useful for unloading one timers. With Lemieux, Jagr, and Murphy passing the puck, Mullen should get ample opportunity to shoot. Mullen's other key attribute is his 6 weight, he is by far the most skilled Penguin at an acceptable weight, thus allowing him to be effective on defense and able to carry the puck up ice without getting mauled easily. So, whats Mullen's glaring issue you ask? His speed, only a 4/3 skater, he is not the fleet footed man this line is desperately in need of, also, hes a mediocre 3 passer, not ideal for a guy carrying the puck a lot.

Mario Lemieux: 10 weight, 5/4 skating, 4/6 shot, 6 sth & pass, 6/4 aware, Shoots: R

Lemieux is easily the most skilled player in the entire game, 4/6 shot, 6 sth, 6 pass, 5/4 skating, 6 off aware, Lemieux is the total package...except for his bulky 10 weight. Due to the fact that he can get knocked down by the majority of players in the game, Lemieux is at a distinct disadvantage when carrying the puck up the ice or dancing in the offensive zone. The user must be adept at picking their spots when deciding to go 1 on 1, if successful; Lemieux has all the tools to succeed. Where Le Magnifique really shines though is in his one-timing ability, he just sits in the slot and picks corners with sniper precision, this should be the main method of goal scoring.

Jaromir Jagr: 10 weight, 5/4 skating, 3/3 shot, 5 sth, 4 pass, 4/3 aware, Shoots: L

One of the more frustrating players in the game to use, Jagr is more or less in this spot by default due to his 5/4 skating, 5 sth, and 4 passing. Those skills are limited though by his 10 weight and 3/3 shot. Jagr must be used cautiously on offense, he is prone to being pushed around very easily, his passing and skating skills must be used to perfection to get much production out of him. Typically, Jagr will get attacked with vicious body checks, which could bring the defense out of position opening up a passing lane to Lemieux or Mullen, take advantage of it and try to get some quick offense. Defensively, Jagr isn't much help aside from the pokecheck.

This line doesn't provide a lot of 1 on 1 razzle dazzle or defensive prowess. What it does provide though is a skilled line that should be able to cash in on a high percentage of its chances, which will be vital since chances likely won't be aplenty.

Grinding Wings:
Mullen-Lemieux-Straka

Martin Straka: 5 weight, 3/3 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth, 3 pass, 3/2 aware, Shoots: L

Martin Straka is your run of the mill weight bugger, 3/3 skating, 5 weight. All we're trying to get out of him is some solid defense on a team bloated with heavyweights. He is capable of carrying the puck up the ice and using his 3 passing to dish off to Lemieux or Mullen. Don't get carried away with Straka on offense though, only a select few are capable of squeezing production out of him on a consistent basis.

To Hell with Skill:
Straka-Mullen-Mceachern

Shawn McEachern: 7 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/3 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

Mceachern is just a beefed up version of Straka, 7 weight and a 3/3 shot and skating, there isn't much at all special about Mceachern, but for those managers looking for the most capable weight bug line available should look no further. This line possesses a capable scorer in the middle and some feisty wingers, but it provides nothing more than expansion like speed and could easily be overwhelmed by a faster team.

Other options:

There are three other players I have yet to mention who possess varying skills...but of course, have maddening weaknesses.

Ron Francis: 9 weight, 4/3 skating, 4/3 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/4 aware, Shoots: L

Ron Francis is the most balanced of the three, but that doesn't help too much considering hes only a 4/3 skater with a 4/3 shot at 9 weight. He doesn't provide anything particularily helpful to any line combo, but he might fit in somewhere.

Kevin Stevens: 11 weight, 3/4 skating, 3/4 shot, 4 sth & pass, 5/3 aware, Shoots: L

Kevin Stevens is another frustrating player in that he has this great 77 overall rating, but produces very little on the ice. At 11 weight and 3/4 skating, Stevens is not suited to use his 4 passing or 3/4 shot effectively because he spends so much of his time on his butt. But if you got a thing for Stevens, then go for it.

Rick Tocchet: 9 weight, 2/2 skating, 4/5 shot, 3 sth & pass, 5/4 aware, Shoots: R

Lastly, Rick Tocchet possesses one of those coveted 4/5 shots, but at 2/2 speed and 9 weight, it won't get used often. He is one of the worst puck carriers in the league, and thus should only be used as a one timing option.

As a whole, this group is at a real disadvantage, it takes a lot of solid passing, creativity, and timing to utilize any trio that is iced.

Forwards Rating: 4.5/10

Defense: Aside from Ulf Samuelsson and Larry Murphy, there isn't a whole lot of depth in this unit. With that said, this group isn't completely lost, between Murphy and Samuelsson, this is a skilled duo that can pass the puck around effectively and help keep the fore checkers at bay.

Murphy-Samuelsson

Larry Murphy: 10 weight, 4/3 skating, 4/2 shot, 4 sth & pass, 4/5 aware, Shoots: R

Murphy has some elite skills at defense, 4/2 shot, 4 passing and sth, and 4/5 awareness. The downside is his 10 weight and slightly above average 4/3 skating. I find it preferable to hide Murphy behind Mullen or Straka because they can then help cut down or slow down on rushing forwards into Murphys area and it allows him to be a bit more freewheeling with his rushes up the ice. Although he isn't a quality body checker, Murphy does seem rather adept at protecting the slot in the defensive zone and picking off many passes that come his way, thus salvaging at least a little defensive value from him.

Ulf Samuelsson: 8 weight, 4/4 skating, 3/0 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/5 aware, Shoots: L

Ulf is a very solid defensive option, even though he is not a great open ice hitter, his 5 defensive awareness will often times keep him in the defensive zone protecting the slot. Like Murphy, Ulf is also adept at snuffing out passes in the offensive zone, hopefully that skill can help kick start some counter attacks. What really makes Ulf useful though is his 4/4 skating, this skill allows him to keep up with some of the faster forwards in the game and apply a solid poke check.

Other Options:

Paul Stanton: 8 weight, 3/3 skating, 4/1 shot, 2 sth, 4 pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: R

If injuries or penalties arise, Paul Stanton is the best option, his 3/3 skating, 4 passing and 4/1 shot at 8 weight allow for a lot of the same skills that Murphy has in a slightly more user friendly package.

Brian Fogarty: 8 weight, 1/1 speed, 1/0 shot, 2 sth, 1 pass, 2/1 aware, Shoots: L

Memo to new users, you don't get to draft this guy unless you are from Pittsburgh or you get clearance from the Pittsburgh boys, capiche?

Defense Rating: 6/10

Goalie Zone:

Tom Barrasso: 10 weight, 4/4 skating, 4 puck control, 4/4/4/4 save, Catch: R

With 4 ratings all across the board, Barrasso couldn't be much more solid without being spectacular. At 10 weight he can be a bit cumbersome to use in net as his acceleration is lacking, on the flip side, he will be very tough to ram into the net. He is typically picked in the top 5-10 goalies in most draft leagues and performs reasonably well.

Goalie Zone: 7/10

Final Word: Typically in the discussion for worst non-expansion team, the Penguins are a very difficult team to use. Despite this fact though, most users seem to do fairly well with them in classic league play, which means the skills of Lemieux, Samuelsson, Murphy, and Barrasso must be getting this team somewhere.

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Leaving Lemieux off the ice can be a dilemma for some. His skills are pretty high and if you can move through the lines he strikes gold either with the slapshot or his one-timer. Typically, it takes skill to be able to use these guys and win big in leagues. In that respect, the Flyers may have an edge with the forwards, but in d-men the Penguins have it better.

Barraso is solid, no question. He can come up with clutch saves and it's tough to break through his defenses if the other player is on the ball with him.

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Weight Bug Fix Analysis

This team is completely transformed from a team of slow-moving punching bags to a team of slow-moving wrecking-balls by the weight bug fix (WBF). The weight bug fix allows all their forwards to live up to expectations and transforms their blueline into one of the most frustrating in the game.

Forwards

With the WBF, no team can boast as intimidating a first line as the Stanley Cup Champions. Chuck Norris once shed a tear playing against this team (he was in the Blitz Farm league, it's true!).

Mario Lemieux now has the strength to carry the puck and go to the net. His 3 in checking makes him a respectable defensive force, as well, dropping his checking effectiveness just a bit from 10 to 9.6. The only downside remaining with Lemieux now is that his high weight still makes his acceleration pretty low. Still, he has the best deking hands in the game, in my experience, and a breakaway sense matched by few (and can't be run over from behind anymore).

Jaromir Jagr is still hampered by a disappointing 3/3 shot, but his 10/4 checking gives him a 10.9 checking effectivness, which, combined with his 5/4 skating, makes him great at creating turnovers or carrying the puck up the wing with straight-line speed. It's no surprise that he's 3rd all-time in assists in Blitz.

Kevin Stevens takes his place as a premiere power forward. Why he has a relatively average 3 rating in checking is a bit of a mystery, but combined with his 11 weight, it gives him a 10.4 checking effectiveness. His high weight and 3/4 skating will unfortunately make him difficult to control, but on the plus side he has a better shot than Jagr, 3/4.

Ron Franics isn't quite first-line material due to his 4/3 skating, but he also cracks the 10 barrier in checking effectiveness with his 9/4 weight/checking.

Joe Mullen and the other weight buggers aren't great options anymore due to their 3 speeds. Rick Tocchet is a little more useful now, but his 2 speed is still crippling.

Defense

Pittsburgh's defense is also greatly improved by the weight bug fix.

Larry Murphy becomes one of the most skilled defensemen in the game who can also dish out a body check, with his decent 4/3 skating, rare 4/2 shot, 4s in stickhandling and passing, and 4/5 awareness. He's been on the same team in the Blitz league for 4 seasons (making the finals twice), so at least one person is a big fan of his.

Ulf Samuelsson, despite his low 8 weight, has a 5 in checking, giving him a massive 10.6 checking effectiveness. While lots of players have a higher value than his, none other has it in such a mobile package. His 8 weight and 4/4 skating make him incredibly quick, able to line up and deliver checks harder and faster than any defensemen except Bourque. He is also ferocious under AI control. He leads all Blitz Defensemen in checks through the first 4 seasons (although Scott Stevens is hot on his tail).

Next, we have the best checking player in the whole game: Kjell Sameulsson. He's a completely useless offensive player with his 2s in agility, speed, and passing, but his 14 weight and 4 checking give him a 13.9 checking effectiveness.

All in all, this is a great team that could also compete well with line changes on.

Edited by smozoma

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CB Notes

Personnel wise, a whole lot may not change with the Pittsburgh lineup. What needs to be considered here are the tactics and what the new depth options may be, especially on defense.

Forwards

Mario Lemieux- Previously presumed to be a defensive catastrophe, Lemieux is now a defensive monster. Lemieux is a joy to handle as that sweet 5 agility will really allow him to hone in on even the fastest of forwards in the game and lay them out with a huge hit. Despite being prone to weight bug checking, Lemieux is now a well above average center as he can create his own offense with his new found checking ability. Opposing teams will need to be a bit more cautious with the puck in their own zone.

Jaromir Jagr- While benefiting much in the same way as Lemieux on the defensive side, Jagr is still a bit of an acquired taste on offense. His tepid shot rating and proneness to being abused by weight buggers are not remedied with this new tech.

Joe Mullen- A bit of a bigger target for heavier defenseman. Mullen wasn't tricky to bring down with a poke check and likely wont be tough to line up for a body check either. If anything, Mullen gets downgraded a bit from the high praise he received from my previous edition. With that said, he is still head and shoulders above the other options.

Kevin Stevens, Ron Francis, Rick Tocchet- Nothing too new to report here, Stevens is a bit unwieldy with his 3 agility at 11 weight but he could be useful for someone who is incredibly adept at the C-B check. Francis and Tocchet are still slow and bumbling heavy weights that will have difficulty using their newly found powers.

Shawn Mceachern and Martin Straka- They are a bit easier to pick off now for the heavier guys as neither is a skilled skater in their own right. Their utility gets downgraded a bit and it will be important to look at the matchup at hand. They can probably still hold their own against other lightweights, use with caution against a heavy team.

Overall, Pittsburgh gains very little on offense with these changes as they will still rely on quick passing and one timers to compete. Defensively is where the Penguins now transform from push over into a team that can really lay some lumber.

Defense

Larry Murphy- All of a sudden Murphy isn't such a turnstyle to the leagues fastest forwards. He still maintains solid defensive position and can use this advantage to really lay into some guys trying to work their way into the slot. Its the pesky guys with 9 &10 weight (Sandstrom, Hull, Turgeon, Neely) that will still give Murphy some fits as he is reduced to merely poke checking against them. On offense he is largely the same, a little slow and an easy target for a fast and light forward to get after.

Ulf Samuelsson- A little extra oomph has been added to those knee seeking body checks. Samuelsson was always a great skater and he can now lay out a Steve Yzerman type of player as he rightly should be able to do.

Kjell Samuelsson: 14 weight, 2/2 skating, 4/1 shot, 3 stick handle, 2 pass, 1/3 aware, shoots: R

Talk about weight bug whoring in the opposite direction. Kjell is a bit of overkill when it comes to using the C-B check as he will obliterate most anyone in the game. Better options are available to take down a lightweight speedster or a skilled heavyweight.

Peter Taglianeti: 9 weight, 2/2 skating, 3/0 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: L

Despite being a more reasonable option than Kjell there still isn't much to get excited about here with Taglianeti. He is a default sub so it's not unreasonable that he could get some ice time. I'm listing his vitals here more as a reference than as a suggestion to ice him over Murphy, Stanton or the brothers Samuelsson.

Bottom Line

The main and probably only change to note here is the defensive tactics for Pittsburgh. Once believed to be team comprised of poke checkers has transformed into a C-B machine. There are still a litany of issues with this team such as speed, skill, and depth but thankfully some gains have been made defensively.The Pens can attempt to play a defensive trap game that is fueled by a counter attacking offense. While still among the dregs of non-expansion teams because of their inability to keep up with speedy teams, the Pens are a much more viable squad against the middle tier teams.

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No love for Kevin Stevens :(

The most unappreciated player in the game.

  • Like 1

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I have Crack Monster's Bruins jersey. "....I'm a crack whore, but he's a crack monster....for every hit I was taking, he was taking seven or eight....I couldn't get high...."

the Genesis version is so weird! it's amazing that you guys are having the introduction of a revolutionary move decades later. so, you've got that going for you. "which is nice."

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No love for Kevin Stevens :(

The most unappreciated player in the game.

Do you insert Stevens on the wing or in the middle?

I tried some preseason games with Stevens at both wings and I had issues getting him involved. I found him to be a lesser puck carrier than Jagr and a less capable sniper than Mullen. Also it made the weight disadvantage too much to bear when I took Mullen out for Stevens, it seemed I needed Mullen just for the sake of needing a light weight guy.

If you were putting Stevens at C then that just seems sacrilegious to me. Lemieux has the skills to be a winger, but hes just SO GOOD at working the one timers in the middle.

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Fantastic analysis and breakdown of my favorite team!!!

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It's funny finding out that the Pens in this game are one of the worst teams. Especially considering the real life 93 Pens were one of the best single season hockey teams ever. How many hall of famers were on that team? After finding this site and learning about the weight bug and how important speed and agility are then playing with the Canucks, Redwings or Blackhawks going back to the Pens feels like slow motion mode is activated. Oh well, they will always be my go to team, I grew to love the game of hockey watching these guys play.

For a game with Line changes I think I will try these scoring two lines out:

Mullen-Lemieux-Francis

Jagr-Tocchet-Straka

Got solid shots down the middle, a little guy on one wing and a decent passer on the other.

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Heh. THey deserved to be lower. THey lost to the Isles with no Turgeon. Lemieux got outscored by Ray Ferraro.

It's a crime Kasparaitis is only 60 cuz he owned Mario hard

Edited by The Russian Rocket
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Karl, come play in the Plabax League!!

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