Penguins Update: It’s Early But … – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Update: It’s Early But …

… the Penguins remind me an awful lot of last season’s Stanley Cup winners, the Chicago Blackhawks. They’re playing with the same mix of speed, skill and grit, not to mention confidence, focus and desire.

pp0403Ray Shero should win his second straight General Manager of the Year award. Not only did the wily GM keep the team’s talented core intact, but he somehow wedged key free agents Rob Scuderi and Chuck Kobasew under the salary cap.

… Scuderi has filled the role of shutdown defenseman as easily as one slides into a comfortable pair of old slippers. Perhaps Scuds will be the missing “Piece” to the Pens’ Stanley Cup puzzle.

… how good has Matt Niskanen been? Six points in seven games and a plus-10 … wow. Kudos to Shero for not trading the Minnesota native as everyone predicted.

… new assistant coach Jacques Martin’s impact is evident. The Pens appear to be much more structured and composed in their own end. Heck, they’re even playing a left-wing lock. Another brilliant addition by Shero.

… credit coach Dan Bylsma for blending Martin’s emphasis on defense with the black-and-gold’s puck-possession style.

Marc-Andre Fleury seems reborn between the pipes. Five months ago he appeared to be a broken goalie. Thus far, Flower’s been cool, calm and collected … and ultra-effective. An assist goes to new goaltending coach Mike Bales.

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  1. 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
    November 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it is early in the season so one would hope there’s plenty of time to figure out what’s up with their stagnant offense. At some point you look at the numbers, league-wide, and you realize they are the pre-eminent underperforming team in the league. They’re 10th as of today. Even the Wild are better and they play in one of the better divisions. With this roster there is absolutely no valid reason they shouldn’t be number one. You can only use the “hot goalie” defense so many times before you own up to the fact your darling, high-priced offensive weapons are miss firing regularly, and usually with half-assed, cross-ice passes. How the hell can Sid turn over the puck to a man without a stick? I’ve been watching hockey for 50 years and I can’t recall ever seeing that before. This team is unfocused and careless and they’re only salvation may end up being they are the top dog in a shit division.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      November 13, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Great observations, 55 on Point. It seems the minute I posted this feature, warts started popping up all over the place (the Pens are 5-5 since Oct. 18).

      Since Rob Scuderi went down and Kris Letang came back, the team defense looks shaky. Even though I don’t think he’s played badly, Malkin’s on pace for a 15-goal season, which is unacceptable for a player of his pedigree. Dupuis is on pace for 10. While I like Jayson Megna’s speed and energy, the third line–once a great strength–has been a shambles. And going back to last season’s playoffs, the Pens aren’t penetrating inside the circles or getting into the slot against big, physical teams like Boston and St. Louis. They just cycle the puck aimlessly along the wall and in the corners. We could sorely use some functional size and strength up front a la ex-Pen Ryan Malone.

      I totally jumped the gun with this writeup. You’re right 55 on Point, this team needs a lot of work.

      • 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
        November 14, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Rick! I couldn’t agree more, except for blaming you for the maloika! Three losses, three goals, yet I didn’t see all-out defensive disasters. This can be fixed, but this team needs to show its heart. They need to get back to basics. What I’m seeing is a team so overwrought with a highlight reel mentality that they’re skating as if they’re watching themselves in a mirror. They’re overthinking the game. They need to make it simple again. You win only when you score more goals than the other guy and you don’t get bonus points for looking good while you do it. If you don’t or won’t work hard for ugly goals you’ll be watching from your Barco-lounger come playoff time.

      • Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
        November 14, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Rick! I couldn’t agree more, except, that is, for blaming you for the Maloika! All I can add is three losses, three goals, yet what I’m seeing is not all out defensive disaster. They need to give Stiegie and Errey something more to say than, “There’s another Penguins turnover in the neutral zone.” To do that they need to get back to basics, I think. This is Hockey 101 stuff. This team simply needs to work harder and stop skating like they’re watching themselves in the mirror. You only win when you score more goals than the other guy and you don’t get extra points for looking good while you do it. If you don’t, or won’t, work hard for ugly goals you will be watching from your Barco-Lounger come playoff time.

  2. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    October 27, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Me and my big mouth … I think I jinxed ’em. The Pens haven’t won since I posted this writeup … 🙁

  3. October 20, 2013 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    We would have won the cup last year if it wasn’t for his bad judgement. It’s a mystery why anyone would consider him for that award. Not just a mystery, but it boils my blood.

  4. October 19, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I’m thrilled with Fluery’s play so far, but until the playoffs come around he not going to prove anything.

  5. Pen's 4ever's Gravatar Pen's 4ever
    October 19, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Yeah so far so good… but it’s an 82 game schedule

    LET’S GO PEN’S!!


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