Pittsburgh Penguins

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The Pens and the Curse of Changing Expectations

The reactions and fallout from both Pens fans and scribes varied a bit after the unexpected sweep from the Eastern Conference Finals at the hands of the Boston Bruins last spring. The clamoring for large scale change rung far and wide that had fans calling for Head Coach Dan Blysma’s head on a platter and jettisoning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to parts unknown using any method available to General Manager Ray Shero’s disposal among other “blow it up and start again” knee jerk reactions. In fact, Shero himself didn’t escape the shark jumpers and over analyzers this time as his deadline acquisitions had impacted the roster negativel...

Firing Dan Bylsma? Penguins Fans Have This One Backwards.

There is currently a movement in the city of Pittsburgh that is headstrong on firing coach Dan Bylsma. Despite having the most injuries in the league and the likely probability of finishing second in the conference, the fans seem to have had enough.

Enough, you hear it time and time again. The callers on talk radio say they have had enough of Dan Bylsma, that his system clearly doesn’t work.

Enough of the consistent playoff appearances despite the massive injuries this team has suffered in the recent seasons?

Enough of the team overachieving despite having a clear lack of back end talent left from subpar drafting strategies?

In 2010-2011, the Penguins lost bo...

Peaking at the Proper Time; The Penguins Paradox of Finding Health and Consistent Play

Mediocrity, it is certainly one way to describe the Penguins play of late.

Their wins can be broken down into simply taking advantage of what is in front of you, while their losses have come from little effort and lack of dictating play. Some claim it is the toll of so many injuries finally taking its toll on the team, others quote from the book of a post Olympic slump, but either way the team is not improving.

Or are they?

While it is an argument that is destined to fall on deaf ears of aggravated fans, the Penguins are in a better position than they have been the past three seasons.

At 6-5-1 in March the Penguins are barely breaching the plateau of average. This ...

Peaking at the Proper Time; The Penguins Paradox of Finding Health and Consistent Play

Mediocrity, it is certainly one way to describe the Penguins play of late.

Their wins can be broken down into simply taking advantage of what is in front of you, while their losses have come from little effort and lack of dictating play. Some claim it is the toll of so many injuries finally taking its toll on the team, others quote from the book of a post Olympic slump, but either way the team is not improving.

Or are they?

While it is an argument that is destined to fall on deaf ears of aggravated fans, the Penguins are in a better position than they have been the past three seasons.

At 6-5-1 in March the Penguins are barely breaching the plateau of average. This ...

Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight; Beat Up Penguins Get Thrashed By Surging Flyers

Fleury was strong despite allowing seven goals.

Yah, you read that correctly. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed seven goals in just four periods of hockey, but he was good. He was actually really good. In Sunday’s game, there were at least five amazing saves that stoned the Flyers, only to let them score shortly after from poor defensive coverage. Fleury never lost his cool. Something that shows a more mature, prepared Fleury. If he can have a strong bounce back week after this weekend, then all will be fine in the Steel City.

Taylor Pyatt should be back in the minors.

He is big. That is about all I can say when it comes to a proper scouting report.

Since coming to ...

No Luck of the Irish this Weekend; Updated Penguins Injury Report and Preview of the Pens Back to Back with Philly.

Injury update: James Neal has been diagnosed with a concussion and will be out indefinitely as of today. Having missed practice on Thursday from “a maintenance day”, Neal revealed to the public that he had to see a doctor regarding his concussion.

Neal has had multiple career concussions, including one from just last season. There is no timetable currently set for Neal, however it is highly unlikely that he plays this weekend.

Chris Kunitz is banged up after taking a fall into the goal post on Tuesday night. In a similar scenario to that of Steven Stamkos, Kunitz was upended when heading toward the net. His shin smashed into the post, which resulted in instant pain...

An Underwhelming Trade Deadline Provides Depth; Shero Makes the Right Moves for the Organization

There was so much discussion over the potential trade for Ryan Kesler that many in Pittsburgh became blinded to what this organization truly needed. Thank goodness for the fans, Ray Shero was not “all in” for Kesler as some beat writers seemed to be reporting.

While Ryan Kesler would have been a good addition, it was a move that was seemingly a luxury. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, there is no need to have another top two line center in the fold when your depth is as poor as Pittsburgh’s was this season. To counter that, Ray Shero went and acquired Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak.

Goc and Stempniak were acquired from the Florida Panthers and Calgary Flam...

Kesler Report Becomes Official; The Penguins Are Foolish To View This As A Fix

When the rumor came out of the woodwork just a few days back, I was taken by surprise. I figured the Penguins were more interested in acquiring winger depth than trying to reestablish the dominant three center model that won them a Stanley Cup.

But what do I know about building a competitive hockey team.

Pittsburgh is reported by just about every major outlet to be heavily interested in acquiring Kesler’s services. He would be an instant upgrade at the third line center position and has the ability to play wing when needed; however, there is a big problem with this.

For one, Kesler would join the Penguins at a time of depletion. With Pascal Dupuis and Beau Bennett ...

Playing Catch Up; Big Injuries, Big Trades, and One Terrifying Press Conference

Shocking News

Before the Olympic break the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that Kris Letang had suffered a stroke. The breaking and shocking news had left many in the hockey community stunned.

Letang is a noted “freak” of an athlete. His training regimen mocks that of power lifters, cross fit, football players, and endurance athletes. His unique blend of explosive power and endurance allows him to play over 25 minutes a night in the NHL.

All of this makes a stroke seem highly unlikely, but as the doctors noted, a prior medical condition was the root cause.

In a short press conference Kris Letang revealed that he was found the morning of his stroke by his ...

Penguins Start the New Year Off Right; The Top Six Still Remains a Question Moving Forward

With the injury list for Pittsburgh starting to cool down in the New Year, the Penguins looked to regain their top form.

Unfortunately for the Penguins, an injury to top six forward Pascal Dupuis has left a major void in the roster. His top end speed and defensively responsible style made him a very good compliment to the offensive powers that are Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

In his absence, Pittsburgh was able to go 9-2-1 in January. Crosby had his production dip slightly into the range of 1.3 points per game, just below his 1.45 ppg career average. Since his departure Crosby has had a revolving door of wingers including the following: Tanner Glass, Jayson Megna, Brandon S...