If anyone believes that the Penguins were out-worked Wednesday night by the Lightining, think again. The Lightning did NOT have to work to win that game. They just had to show up. The next time that the Penguins decide ‘as a group’ to go through the motions for 6O minutes, I would prefer if one of them would call me so that I too can find something else to do that night rather than make the 100 mile round trip to watch paint dry. I understand that it is hard to be on top of your game every night, but there has to be at least a little bit of compete-level in any game. Wednesday there was no compete-level by any player. Every Penguin should donate 1/82nd of his salary to his favorite charity. Mike Smith picked up his second shutout of the season without breaking a sweat.
I don’t know exactly what was said in the closed door meeting. It couldn’t have been anything that the players didn’t already know. It had to be something like — “We only have five games left and are battling for a division title, so we should be playing harder.” If they weren’t already aware of that, something is seriously wrong.
Once again, one of their biggest warts surfaced. Tons of giveaways, 11 to be exact, and no takeaways as in zero. This statistic almost always tells the story of the effort being exerted by the team. As I’ve said before, giveaways result from laziness and a lack of focus and takeaways are created by hard work. The Lightning game was filled with the former and none of the latter — making the Penguins’ effort the poster child for how NOT to play a hockey game. Fortunately that dreadful performance is now in the past. Five games remain. Wins will be important — how they play will be moreso. Saturday versus Atlanta is the time to get everything back in order. I know they have the personnel to do it. That’s the view from E-11.
Note — I would like to offer a reward for the player with the most takeaways and somehow punish the player with the most giveaways to get the message across in both directions.
Note — I felt that Malkin joking with reporters that he felt 100% and was going to play, and then laughing and saying he was kidding was totally improper. They need him in the lineup and his availability is not something to be taken lightly at this time of the season.
Note — Letang’s signing was important. His contract is too high. He hasn’t been around long enough to earn almost as much as Orpik.
Note — Nothing happened Wednesday night to change my mind about Goligoski coming out of the lineup when Gonchar returns. He handles the puck like it’s a grenade. Up front, however, if Rupp is still the choice, Guerin has to also be considered. I thought after the Olympic break he would be rejuvenated. He is playing like he needs another break.