Another NHL play-offs has ended for my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins and I wish I could say that it was due to them once again hoisting the Stanley Cup but alas, I can’t. The team struggled to get past the New York Islanders in the first round of the play-offs, had a much easier time with the Ottawa Senators and were swept in 4 games by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Another season in whcih the team excelled during the regular season has ended in major disappointed but it is not that the team lost that is so upsetting. It is the manner in which they lost that hurts.
The Penguins became totally unhinged in the last 2 seasons and as a result of that break down were easy pickings for whoever they were playing. There is a lot of blame to go around and I believe that the only person who should not shoulder any blame is General Manager Ray Shero. Bringing in Branden Morrow, Jarome Iginla and Douglas Murray were great moves that should have put the Penguins over the top. They should have guaranteed them a spot in the STanley Cup finals but it didn’t. I believe that Shero did what he was supposed to do.
I am going to use a bullet point format to list changes that I truly believe the team needs to make to move forward from the lack of play-off success since 2009. Some people may agree with me and more may not, but change has to happen in Pittsburgh. This core group has been together for a long time and it is time to tear the foundation down and start re-tooling the team with new blood.
– Dan Byslma: It is time for a new head coach in Pittsburgh. Byslma’s failure to break up line combinations that were not working confounds and confuses me. His inability to make adjustments to counter what the opposing team was doing was mind boggling. He did not or could not reall the team in when they became unhinged and that meant that all hell broke loose and led to the team’s downfall.
– Marc-Andre Fleury: I am a huge fan of the man nicknamed Flower but I will admit that he has been a shell of himself in the play-offs after putting up stellar numbers during the regular season. Something happens to Fleury when the pressure of the play-offs hits him and he crumbles. I really hate to say it but it is time to move on from Flower. He has not been the same since Max Talbot left via fre agency and that calming factor Talbot provided Fleury has been absent. Whether it is via buy out or trade, Fleury needs a change of scenary.
– Kris Letang: I have no idea what the hell was going on with Letang during the play-offs. After having a season that saw him rewarded with his first Norris Trophy as the NHL’s premier defenceman, Letamg suffered a meltdown in the play-offs and was a true liability in his own end. The Penguins have a huge decision to make as Letang is due for a new contract and the runmor is he will be looking for almost 7 million a year. Hopefully that price went down after Letang’s play took a hit in the play-offs. If he can ne signed for 4.5 to 5 million I would keep Tanger, if not, move on.
– Evgeni Malkin: There has been talk that the man known as “Geno” may not take a home town discount this time, as he is up for a new contract as well. I believe that the Penguins will only have enough cap space to sign only Malkin or Letang but not both. One will need to be traded and Malkin may need to be the one as he may bring back the most in a trade. Acquiring a pure second line center and some depth or perhaps a first line goaltender would be huge for the Penguins.
– Pascal Dupuis: I really believe that the Penguins should resign Dupuis and commit to him as he has committed himself to the team the last few seasons. He has been a great leader for the team and leaves it all on the ice every game. If Dupuis is seeking for more than 4 million a season I think the Penguins need to let him walk but I am hoping that he can offer the team a small home town discount so that he can remain a Penguin.
– Tyler Kennedy: There has been much talk and conflicting views from Penguins fans on what to do with Tyler Kennedy. Is he worth the money he is getting for what he is accomplishing on the ice? Probably not, but he is an energy guy who can skate and will pay the price. I do fear that he is holding back some younger players who could really use the ice time at the NHL level. If there is interest and a decent return, do it.
– Jarome Iginla: I would make an attempt to bring back Iggy as he will want to make up for the bad taste that was left in his and Penguin fan’s mouths after this play-offs. There are 2 conditions however. #1 – he must line up along side Sidney Crosby as there is instant chemistry with those two. #2 – He needs to take a drastic pay cut as he is not worth signing for more than 3.5 million.
– Brenden Morrow: I like the game he plays but he struggled to fit in with the Penguins and did look lost in the play-offs. Morrow will earn a paycheck somewhere in the NHL but I do not believe that it will be with the Penguins.
– Douglas Murray: Another player that I think he is worth a re-sign if for a decent amount, Murray is a slow defensive defenseman who can bang bodies with the best of them. He will not get cheated and is tough to juke and jive around but he needs to be paired with a puck moving defenseman to limit his mistakes as he is not a sure thing with the puck.
These are not the only issues that the Penguins need to address but I feel that these are the players and issues that need to be looked at right now. It is my opinion that some of the talent needs an overhaul. The team is stuck in a rut and has been for 4 years and there needs to be some cre changes made to knock them out of this rut.
What do you think?
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