Why is the Pittsburgh Penguins Defense so Bad? – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Why is the Pittsburgh Penguins Defense so Bad?

The Penguins have new lineups for their first and second power plays. The first power play has the same players on it with one small twist. Evgeni Malkin will be on the point and James Neal will be moving up. The interesting thing is the Penguins second powerplay which practiced with Dustin Jeffrey and Paul Martin at point.

LetangThe Penguins have had 8 defensemen on the roster all season.  Do the Penguins seriously not have two defensemen good enough to man the second powerplay let alone the first?

The horrible truth that no one wants to hear is that the Penguins do not have a defenseman that can shoot. Kris Letang who is widely considered the Penguins most offensive defenseman hasn’t taken a full slapshot yet this season. Three maybe four half slap shots and the rest of the time he wrists the puck on net. Most troubling is that even though he hasn’t taken a full slap shot, he leads the team missing the net on shots.

The Penguins power play is much easier to defend when the defense can’t shoot. Malkin at the point will fix much of that problem.  Malkin has played the point for an extended time in the past.  In fact the powerplay put up it’s best numbers in the Crosby/Malkin era. The problem as everyone knows is that Malkin is never happy playing point.  That and the fact that the Penguins still don’t have a defenseman that can shoot the puck.

Hopefully the future holds something better, three of the Penguins last four first round picks were defensemen. The best scenario would be Letang re-inventing himself with a low hard slap shot.

Empty Net Goals:

  • In second on the Penguins in missed shots is Malkin.
  • Kris Letang leads the team and has three times as many giveaways as the next closest defenseman.
  • Malkin is second on the Penguins in giveaways .
  • Yes, the Penguins first powerplays defense are the two guys that lead the team in missed shots & giveaways.
  • From the even scarier file: The Penguins haven’t lost a game yet that Tangradi primarily played on Malkins & Neals line.
  • The forwards on the second powerplay are Kennedy, Sutter & Dupuis.
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  1. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    February 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I like the defense better now that Robert Bortuzzo’s in the mix. After looking a little lost in his first game against the Rangers, I think he’s played pretty well the last couple of games. He’s a no-frills guy, but he gives the Pens a little size and physicality. He and Deryk Engelland make a nice No. 3 pairing …

  2. February 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Amazing, two days in a row a Pens defenseman takes a full slap shot, and we score

  3. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    February 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    At least part of the problem stems from the team’s overall defensive structure … or lack of. How many times have we heard Dan Bylsma allude to offensive zone time as the measuring stick for how the team is performing? Frankly, I don’t think he spends a lot of time teaching defensive structure, which is a mistake. You don’t win Cups without being able to play defense.

    Along those lines, the Pens will have trouble defensively as long as Bylsma and Shero stress speed and skill over size and toughness. The Pens need a more balanced mix on ‘d’ … something the brass seems reluctant to try. When we won the Cup we had a near perfect blend of skill (Gonchar and Letang); size and physicality (Gill and Orpik); and defensive conscience (Eaton and Scuderi). For now, we’re too skewed towards smallish “skate and move the puck” types like Martin and Niskanen.

  4. February 1, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    How about some defensemen who can actually defend? Offensive defenseman often means soft. The Pens have not been the same team since losing Scuderi and Gill. If Shero does’t make some sort of substantial upgrade to defense I fear that the big minutes being logged by the top 4 will take it’s toll, and we will be quickly sent to the golf course when things tighten up defensively in the playoffs. Also Shero is not proving to make great draft choices.

    • Tyknee's Gravatar Tyknee
      February 1, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Is there anyone he drafted that worked out yet? His ability on free agent day though seems to be quite amazing.

  5. 55 on point's Gravatar 55 on point
    January 31, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s so much that they don’t have a defenseman, or defensemen, who can shoot, it’s that they don’t shoot enough. With the firepower on this team anything less than 40 shots per game is wimp territory. The defense isn’t the only thing that’s been bad. They’re even having trouble getting into the offensive zone against marginal teams with marginal defenses. You not only can’t score if you don’t shoot, you can’t score if you spend most of the game on the other side of the red line. They won the first two games because they were all over the puck. They won most of the little puck battles. Now it’s like their sticks have puck repellent tape on them and the whole team seems to be asleep on skates. The passing has been abominable. Not only are they making terrible passes — and I’d start fining anyone who makes another of those awful behind-the-back, drop-passes to the opposing team — they’re making too many passes. Shoot the damn puck! I don’t think there’s anyone on the team who doesn’t have a handful of giveaways, including Fluery. And to add to the misery, no one goes to the net. This team, like all the rest in the league, are over-coached. It’s killing the game. Screw matchups and systems. You put your five best guys on the ice and they put they’re five best guys on the ice and let them play hockey. This isn’t rocket science. These guys have been playing hockey since they could walk, they don’t need charts and graphs, mathematical equations and Bylsma’s Theorem to find the net. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to knock a guy on his ass when he’s coming across the red line with the puck.


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