Well folks, it's no secret, the Penguins (16-14-3) are bad. Coming into this game, the Penguins have lost their last three games and apparently Jim Rutherford is contemplating making a shakeup. They do have a chance to right the ship against just an awful Arizona Coyotes (7-22-5) team with puck drop scheduled for just after 8PM at Gila River Arena.
It's no secret the Penguins have been bad pretty much all season. Sure, they'll win two or three games in a row, but they'll follow it up with an awful performance or two sprinkled in there. A 2-1 loss to the Avalanche on Monday surely didn't help, and following the game Rutherford hinted at making a major shakeup saying, "We're coming into a critical period where we'll make a decision whether we need to shake things up or not." That quote alone should be a kick in the ass for the Penguins.
There are several reasons why the Penguins haven't been playing like the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions that we all know and love. One of them, and probably the most obvious one, is who the Penguins lost this offseason:
Who the Penguins acquired:
Antti Niemi (hahahahahahaha)
The Penguins obviously lost the ability to roll four solid lines, a strength they've had in both of these back-to-back Cup runs. In addition to not being able to roll four lines, the Penguins currently have a two-center model, instead of a three-center model, which helped them win their last three Stanley Cups. In 2009, they had Crosby, Malkin, Staal down the middle. In 2016 and 2017 they had Crosby, Malkin, Bonino down the middle. Currently the Penguins have Crosby, Malkin, Sheahan, with Carter Rowney currently as the fourth line center.
Yikes. That won't work.
Does fatigue play a factor? The Penguins have played 246 games since October 2015. That's a lot of hockey. Either way, it should be no excuse. Does Ryan Reaves slow the Penguins down and keep them from being that speedy team that everyone feared? I don't believe Reaves is the lone factor of the Penguins failure this season, but in the grand scheme of things, he's not underperformed this season.
Does losing Assistant Coach Rick Tocchet hurt? Oh yeah, he's coaching the team the Penguins are playing tonight.
It's also no secret that Kris Letang has been bad, despite his 22 assists. Granted he's coming off major surgery this offseason, so I'm not exactly faulting him for everything going wrong with the defense. It also does not help that the NHL's best defenseman, Justin Schultz, is hurt.
To be honest, Arizona is bad. If the Penguins don't win this game, Jim Rutherford may be doing something sooner rather than later. What that something is, I'm not exactly sure, but a 'major shakeup' doesn't sound like an Ian Cole trade or acquiring a depth forward. Buckle up, folks.
*Of course Scouting the Refs does not have the refs yet, but you probably knew this. Who cares?*
Rutherford quote was taken from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article. Find it here.
Arizona is 2-6-2 in their last ten games, that's not good.
Contrary to that, the Penguins are 5-5 in their last ten and if the playoffs started tomorrow, the Penguins would not make it.
Expect Matt Murray vs Antti Raanta tonight.
Phil Kessel is still a 2x Stanley Cup champion.
The powerful offense that's supposed to be, has scored just two goals in two games. Woof.
French Toast sounds good right now.
Shane Doan still sucks. Never forget when he ran Kris Letang. I am mad.
It's the Penguins vs Coyotes, how much can one truly write?
Do it, before the Coyotes change their name and move to a new arena.
Old Posts from our site, heyyyyyfannnssss (4/11-2/15). Cute name, but impossible to remember.