The Penguins Will Get Better – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

The Penguins Will Get Better

The Penguins are 6-5-1 through their first twelve games.  They have been short of a completely healthy lineup by at least two players and as many as four players throughout the entire beginning stretch.  It appeared that Staal was going to play Wednesday in Dallas.  Word is now that he suffered an upper body injury at practice today.  Neither Letang nor Malkin practiced and Goligoski left the ice early.  The experiment of Malkin playing left wing on Staal’s line may be pushed back even further.  Even though this might work, I don’t like it.  The strength of this team has always been at center.  Malkin IS a center.  He is a very creative force on the ice.  His playmaking abilities are somewhat stifled at wing.  The sooner that the management team realizes this, and the sooner we have all bodies on board, the sooner the team will reach it’s full potential.  Even without a full lineup, the Penguins could have had more success through the first twelve games with better play at home, a more productive powerplay, and the real Marc Andre Fleury.  I know the Penguins want to entertain at the CEC.  That is a good plan.  I don’t know about all of the fans, but my enjoyment from attending a game comes from seeing a victory.  If a more simplistic road approach to games at home results in a better home record, I am all for it. 

The powerplay somehow remains an issue.  Losing all of these one goal games when the powerplay goes empty is very disheartening — even moreso when they give up so many shorthanded chances.  We can’t even blame Yeo any more.  One immediate cure for the powerplay is simple — get Malkin the hell off of the point.  He doesn’t want to be there, he doesn’t belong there.  He belongs on the right wing boards.  The Penguins have three defensemen who are very capable pointmen — Letang, Goligoski, and Martin.  The more that those three play there, the better they will be.  Of course the powerplay needs a net-front presence.  For now it can still be Kunitz.  Eventually this is the job for Staal.  This leaves Crosby with the freedom to go to the left wing boards, behind the goal, or in the slot.  Who would know better how to utilize these options than Sid? 

Everyone is on the Brent Johnson bandwagon.  You have to be happy with the way that he has played to date.  So if he plays a little more this season than originally anticipated, and continues to be as sharp as he is right now, that is a good thing.  I don’t think it’s time to throw Fleury to the wolves just yet.  He is a 25-yr. old with a Stanley Cup ring who has won eight of his last ten playoff series.  He will work through this — he has too much talent not to.  I still feel confident that he will be a big part of the Penguins’ success this year.  That’s the view from 207. 

Note — Engelland has proved his value — not just as a fighter.  He has been very solid and when everyone is healthy, he should be the sixth defenseman.  Goddard now has zero value.

Note — I hope Letestu’s start wasn’t all adrenaline.  He has done nothing the last several games. 

Note — Until everyone is healthy, it is hard to decide what the final lines will look like.  Comrie should eventually end up with Malkin.  If he can’t produce there, he should be released.  Tangradi is not far away.

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  1. 55 on point's Gravatar 55 on point
    November 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the team has been beset by injuries, and that has had its part in a somewhat underwhelming start. Injuries aside, key players aren’t performing. Crosby and Malkin have been run-of-the-mill, at best, and Fluery is simply lost in net. There are a few others who need to step it up a bit too. If not for some unexpected, but welcomed scoring from the defense and some guys who might not be here much longer, Johnson between the pipes, and solid defense most of the time, they could very well be 3-7-1. It won’t matter if Staal comes back and brings his whole family with him if Crosby, Malkin and Fluery don’t start firing on all cylinders — regularly. They are the team leaders. Take the lead boys.

    Malkin may be a center, but that’s just the name of a position. He’s a goal-scoring forward and he should be able to do that, even from the locker room, if necessary. In past years he has shown that he can. The fact is, he ain’t putting out on the ice, period, at center or wing, and nobody knows why except maybe Malkin. Besides, he’s terrible in the face off circle.

    As for the power play… For starters, they need to shoot the puck more. This power play is stale and every team in the league knows it. They watch the tapes. If it wasn’t stale, and oh so apparent, the opposing penalty killers wouldn’t constantly be challenging the puck at the blue line and leaving only one defender down low most of the time. You’d think someone on the Pens would figure that out and send someone, and the puck, to the net. The few times they did that this season, they scored.

    I agree it’s not time to show Fluery the door, but perhaps he needs to be reminded from time to time that it’s right over there. It’s nice to say he’s got a cup and he’s been stellar in net, but, right now he simply isn’t performing either. Trying to guess why is a waste of time, and defending him because of past performance doesn’t matter. The object is to win. He isn’t. I don’t know what the answer is, or even the problem. I know he isn’t cutting it and he needs to find his game asap. He is the number one goalie, that’s a certainty. Now he needs to play to the status of that position, and understand when you’re losing, everyone becomes expendable.

    And, one other point: It’s a 60 minute game and you will rarely win when you only play hockey for the first ten minutes and the last two, because in those remaining 48 minutes you can be certain, most nights, you’re gonna have your ass handed to you. I don’t know if it’s a work ethic problem, or a what ever problem. What I do know is that it is a problem with this team. And, I don’t want to hear, “They have yet to find their identity.” That’s a cop out, coach. Go out on the ice and play hockey for 60 minutes and you will “identify” yourselves nicely, and without any “soul searching.”

    • SEP66's Gravatar SEP66
      November 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I agree, it doesn’t seem like that bysma all out hockey they won the cup with when they only do it for 12 minutes a game.


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