Over the next week or so each of us here at PenguinPoop will be taking a hard look at whether or not the Pittsburgh Penguins organization needs to make any changes. Second up is Horse.
The most important thing that has to be done if the Penguins are going to win another Stanley Cup is fix Marc Andre Fleury. He shows spurts of brilliance. But then, so does every other goalie in the NHL. A goalie’s job is to make big saves at key times and not allow bad goals at critical times. In the Pens series against the Flyers, he performed this task during two minutes of Game 5. The rest of the series he was busy putting the puck in his own net. Every time the Pens generated any momentum, he ended it. Nothing breaks a team’s spirit more than when a bad goal is allowed soon after the players have scored a goal to get back into the game. MAF did this often in this series. It also could be said that nothing lifts a team like a big save at a key time. MAF did this in only one game.
MAF was a first overall pick in his draft year. His physical tools are certainly among the best in the league. His problem is FOCUS — allowing goals early in games and a horrible save percentage are a product of his lack of focus. So the question is this — How does Marc Andre Fleury improve his focus? He needs to work with Gilles Meloche and a sports psychiatrist to hone his focusing skills.
The second most important thing that needs fixed is the Penguins coaching. A coach is most important during the playoffs. Over the course of a series, adjustments have to be made to counteract successes of the opposing team. Dan Bylsma has failed miserably at this for three consecutive years. 2010 — He couldn’t find a way to stop Mike Camalerri. 2011 – He couldn’t fix the power play. 2012 – He couldn’t fix the penalty killing. Even though their defensive zone play was weak, they could protect their leads. They did not lose a game this season going into the third period with a lead. That changed in Game 1 of this series. Even Scotty Bowman and other stellar coaches have been fired, so no NHL job is safe. This will be Dan Bylsma’s last chance. He will learn to make changes and implement some semblance of defensive zone coverage so his team can win in the playoffs, or next year will be his last.
I don’t believe that the lineup needs a lot of adjustment. Paul Martin and Zybenek Michalek came here with high pedigrees. Ray Shero was not the only General Manager who wanted these players. That was why their price tags were so high. They played well in 2010-11 and I think they will again. They both have to because they aren’t going anywhere. We saw the impact of the Flyers’ talented young forwards. The Pens do not have one. If a promising young defenseman can be dealt for a high quality young forward, Ray Shero must pull the trigger.
Most importantly to keep in mind, if Fleury had outperformed Bryzgalov, we wouldn’t have had to write this article.