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The 2022 - 2023 Penguins Thread

11740 Views 407 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Danesdad
It's a hockey night, and five minutes in the Pens have put up three already. Word is that Matt Canada DID NOT script the first five line changes....😄

Let's go lads, 82-0!
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Wow. I knew this team didn’t get any better in the offseason, and that it would be a struggle to make the playoffs again but they look absolutely DONE out there. Hope the business decision to keep “the core” together to put butts in the seats was worth it…

My favorite part is STILL, after all these years, watching the Pens get manhandled out there night in and night out and the injuries piling up. And after 17+ years in the league, the stars still get rattled by it when the other team gets rough with them. They added a little size on the blueline, and have some more “grit” in the bottom 6, but they are still getting outmuscled game after game and looked totally outmatched by teams that ON PAPER are much weaker.

Complete embarrassment at this point in time. It’s a dumpster fire train wreck…
WOW is this team bad. BAD.

Sloppy, unorganized, bad goaltending, the whole kit and kaboodle downright stinks. Holy crap is this as bad as I’ve seen them in quite some time.
Bottom line is that the team as currently constructed cannot play Sullivan’s system because they are old and slow. SO, either Sully has to adjust the system to compensate for it, or players that fit the system have to be brought in and others jettisoned away, or Sully needs to be spent packing and a coach that can play to the strengths of this roster needs brought in.

It’s great that they kept the band together so to speak, but it is is hamstringing the team as currently constructed. Guys like Dumo, Carter and Rust are liabilities and yet Sully can’t help but give them big roles night in and night out.

They can’t play a full 60 most every night and it shows.
Well, things are coming full circle and really have been for quite while now…

Ive been saying it for quite a few years now, that Sully and the Pens trying to rekindle the lightning in a bottle from 2016-2017 is a futile effort that leads to first round exit after first round exit and may lead to missing the playoffs this year.

This team has historically struggled against heavy teams that forecheck hard and aren’t afraid to get rough and nasty. They are back to playing like those 2010s teams that would lose their minds against teams like Philly and Columbus, frustrated with getting roughed up and getting sucked into a gong show. Size and physicality is still king in the NHL, especially when it comes to the postseason. Every contender in the league has at least one guy that can change the tone of any given game with a hit or a little rough stuff after the whistle, and most of them have more. Who do the Pens have? NOBODY. Instead it’s still Sid and Geno fighting their own battles after getting roughed up. At this point, I’m all for loading up the roster with goons and just going all Slapshot on certain teams as a sort of “revenge” tour to close out Sid and Geno’s careers. They aren’t winning crap with rosters constructed like this anyway…
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This team may scrape into the playoffs but they won’t make it 5 games in the first round…

Burke and Hextall CLAIM to still be in “win now” mode, with the core but none of the moves that have been made show that. They have made the decision to get older, smaller, AND slower, somehow thinking that, that is the recipe for success…

The 4 game winning streak is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. It did nothing more than to give fans, and apparently Nextall, hope/belief that this team can compete. But they are an undersized, diminutive, passive team that gets easily pushed around and beat up and frustrated when they can’t score. And while other teams aggressively go after Pens players in the crease, or when they run one of their players, the Pens stand by and do nothing the other way. Seriously, watch Jake or Sid or Zucker get mauled in front of the crease repeatedly, then watch opposing players literally camp out in front of the Pens net without so much as a push from a defender. And both Jarry and DeSmith have been run plenty of times this season and NEVER have you seen the Pens go after anyone like the Panthers did Zucker, including Bob by himself. Overall, this team continued to get further and further away from what a playoff contender looks like and more and more like some Euro team with zero to physicality.

And people will continue to dump on the goaltending as being the biggest problem, but what do you expect behind that joke of a team defense? How many odd man rushes a game? How many times do they make the first save, only to have one or two guys uncovered to bang home a loose puck? No, neither of these guys are elite level goalies who can steal games every night, but the lack of defensive structure leaves them both out to dry night after night.

I have nothing against Granlund, Bonino, or Kulikov. but these are all lateral moves at best. I realize that some of it is to free up cap space for the future and such, but the team has become almost unwatchable. And if this is the case, as I have said before, at least load up with goons and go on a revenge tour with Sid, Geno and Letang. Start dishing out the punishment instead of taking it every night.

But alas, for the final few years of the core, we will watch this team get bullied and pushed around every night and get frustrated and look like whiny babies on the ice, while Sullivan keeps trying to run his speed game with geriatrics…
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Not that I disagree with anything you said but, goaltending is part of the problem.
Sure, but IMO those issues are caused by the poor defensive structure and constant breakdowns that put the goaltenders in almost impossible situations, and it affects their confidence over time.

I believe that the goaltending is salvageable and that the much bigger issues lie in the poor PP and PK, mismanaged line combos and defensive pairs and that crappy overall team defensive structure. All this leads to countless odd man rushes for the opposition, guys left uncovered to tap in rebounds, poor defensive switches, guys flying the defensive zone without getting a clear, etc. This leads to the barrage of shots you see the Pens giving up every night and the goalies getting shelled relentlessly.
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They are pretty loosey goosey defensively. Plus, they aren't as fast as they probably need to be to play the style that they like.
A lot of truth here.

But Sullivan refuses to adjust the style to the lineup he has. He’s trying to play his 2016-2017 speed game with a much older and slower roster. It’s almost as thought there is a power struggle between Sully and Hextall, and Rutherford before him. Management has wanted to build a roster that has more size and grit, they acquire players that fit the mold, Sully refuses to play them or puts them in positions to fail, they’re shipped out and the process repeats itself…

And when I talk about “toughness”, I’m not talking about a lineup goons who can’t play hockey. I’m talking about agitators and players who hit hard and are generally a pain to play every night. Who on the current roster fits that mold? Most of us would like for the league to be all about skill and “playing the right way”, but it’s not and the Pens refuse to acknowledge that.
Another game in which the goaltending will be blamed as the team lets odd man rush after odd man rush, isn’t covering anyone, turning the puck over with regularity.

And once again, Hextall has assembled a super old team that’s slow and undersized as well. What a monumental achievement in a league that is getting bigger and faster.
Lucky they were playing one of the worst teams in the league. This sleepwalking through sections of the game won’t cut it against elite teams.
Again, what can be said? Team is an absolute joke. They absolutely CANNOT play a full 60 minutes of quality hockey, and blow leads like nobody’s business.

And of course, all the blame will be deflected on Jarry, or goaltending in general, but what do you expect? For about 50 minutes if this game, the Pens dictated play and insulated Jarry for the most part. But ONCE AGAIN, when push came to shove (LITERALLY), this group of soft weaklings could not clear Anders Lee or Brock Nelson from the crease. It’s been an ongoing issue for YEARS and still nothing has changed. Meanwhile, we watch Sid get ragdolled twice on the same shift by Matt Martin at the other end…

They have a relatively “easy” schedule for the rest of the way (after going through the Rangers meat grinder 3 times in the next week), and will likely stumble into the playoffs, but they will get absolutely embarrassed once they do. Enough to change the direction from management? Not likely. They’ll just reload with more aging Smurfs for next year.

Again, I’m sure most of us would like to see a league in which skill takes precedence over the obstruction and goonery, but that ain’t happening. The Pens can keep thinking that “playing the right way” will catch on and if they simply play nice, opposing teams will not get physical with them, and they will continue to lose. The top contenders in the league don’t have rosters full of goons, BUT they all have at least a few guys that can dish out punishment and/or agitate. And they can actually play hockey as well. Boston has Marchand as there be agitator, plus guys like Fredric that can ragdoll people and drop the gloves. Tampa has Perry in the agitator role and guys like Hedman to bring the physicality. The Islanders have big bodies like Lee and Nelson and Matt Martin lays the wood. The Rangers have really beefed up and still have Trouba employed, who knocked Crosby out last year in the playoffs. And on and on.

Who do the Pens have to play any of those roles? These roles become extra important come playoff time…

But of course, Jarry will take all the flack a s the glaring weaknesses of this team will continue to be ignored. He and DeSmith certainly aren’t Vasi or Shesterkin level, but them playing behind this joke of a defense is like having a quality QB behind a terrible offensive line. If it’s not odd man rush after odd man rush coming at them every night, it’s the opposition camping out on the crease while Letang and Dumo and crew wave their sticks around aimlessly.
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You just have to accept that this team will never learn. They can hope and wish and cry and whine about how the league operates but the reality is that it ain’t changing…

So they’ll continue to ice a team that is old, slow, lacking finish, and weak both physically and mentally. And we will watch them get ragdolled all over the ice, show inability to clear their own crease or establish a net front presence at the other end, watch the defensive structure not exist, watch the inability to finish, watch odd man rush after odd man rush, etc, all while droning on about “playing the right way”.

But there will always be whipping boys for fans to blame.They will insist that it’s all on goaltending or Malkin while ignoring that entire “identity” of the team is rotten to the core. Matter of fact, what is their identity? Punching bags? Door mats?

I have no clue how they think this roster is supposed to compete in this league. How Hextall and Burke could sit up there and watch their forwards get ragdolled all over the ice, watch their top defensemen get outmuscled in front of the net night after night, see odd man rushes handed out like candy, then double down on it is beyond me.
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Another stupid penalty by Malkin leads to a under a dozen seconds left in the period goal
Already see where this is going…

while it was a stupid penalty, the blame will be put on Malkin and Jarry once again, while totally ignoring the garbage, defensive structure and inability to finish…
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Yep, when the game is over, the game will be blamed on Jarry and Malkin…

3 on 1, 4 on 2, guys wide open in the slot with another guy untouched in the crease screening Jarry, but it’s all his fault. Fifth will probably be blamed on him somehow too…
Oh no, we suck again!

6-0 and Jarry gives up 4 on16 shots. BY Tristin.

DeSmith, 2 on 4 shots. we blow!
with all due respect, do you see the defense in front of the goaltenders? Odd man rush after odd man rush guys wide-open in the slot guys camping out in the crease. It’s literally high danger chance after high danger chance for the opposition all night long. Jarry and DeSmith aren’t elite, but come on now they get zero help…
No Bugle boy it’s not Malkin’s or Jarry’s fault. This team has been bad all season and it starts with the front office
Correct. But the front office in the coach never gets the blame from the fans. It’s always the goalttending or stupid Malkin or something else. This allows the garbage to continue because no pressure is ever put on management.
Sorry guys, losing is losing. There is plenty of blame to go around, and Jarry has been pulled 3 times in 4 games.

Oh no, we still suck!
And I will contend that the type of defensive structure, or lack there of that this team plays with has led to mental breakdowns from flurry Murray, and now Jarry. It’s literally a shooting gallery night in a night out.
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Let's see....We have 6 defenseman, NY has 6 defenseman. Malkin took a stupid penalty....but Malkin had only (only?) 4 penalty minutes (2 penalties). Now, I watched the game up to the last 15 seconds of the 1st period....when, on cue, the Pens gave up goal #2. I then turned to basketball....and it didn't matter who was playing.

When I turned the game back on, it was 6-0.

Again.....we have 6 guys rostered on the D. They have 6 guys rostered on the D. Is it the's the quality?

So...I just tossed some numbers on a spreadsheet....'cause I usually have a spreadsheet for anything. The average age of the Pens defense is 30. The average age of NY defense is 26. The defenseman who played the most for the Pens (LeTang..age 36) played 24.23. The defenseman who played the most for NY (Miller...age 23) played 22.55 .

Now, I'm not going to say that Letang is a bad player. He's not. He's a good player. But age "catches up" with everyone. Also, one man does not carry a any team sport. And hockey is one of the toughest "endurance" sports with the average shift of...what?...from 45 seconds to 90 seconds.

I can't blame the team or the coach. But I can blame Hextall. Now...Hextall gets his marching orders from the ownership group. So, I have zero knowledge of what that discussion is.....but I have to think the "ownership group" wanted to keep Crosby, LeTang, and Malkin....along with Carter. I think that's what happens when non-hockey guys get involved in hockey decisions. Look at the Dallas Cowboys.

It's all over for this year. They may make the first round.....but after that I have no visions of Stanley.
It’s not just the age of the players it’s their style of play as well. None of the Pens defenseman have the ability to clear the crease make a big hit is also struggle to move the puck out of their own zone when trapped. They also get injured a lot. Why is that? Age could be a factor but it is also because they are soft and get punished easily by the other team on the forecheck. Letang has all the elite superstar physical capabilities, but has always lacked a strong hockey IQ Same can be said about Malkin. And as they get older and slower, they don’t have the ability to recover from their dumb decisions and mistakes anymore. Hockey is literally a game in which, as you grow older and lose a lot of your physical abilities, you must become a smarter overall player and not put yourself into bad positions, they also get rattled very easily and it’s been that way their entire career. And I’m sorry, but Brian Dumoulin is finished. And the funny thing is the three defenseman that were brought in to be physical are all injured right now. Petra, Rutta, and Kulikov…

There is a lot of blame to go around. From management to coaching to the players themselves Sullivan has a history of being very stubborn and refusing to play certain players that management has brought in. Certainly players have a much shorter leash while others seem to be able to get away with anything. It just seems unbelievable to me that Sullivan wants to play the fast style that one them back to back Cups yet the roster has to be one of the slowest in the NHL right now. And I’ll say it again. The speed game with small under size skill players is not what is successful in the league right at this moment. They caught lightning in a bottle in 2016 and 2017, but the league is geared towards bigger more physical players at all positions. It would be one thing if they had a smaller roster, but still had speed and quickness and skill but instead they have a small roster that is slow as molasses Soft as butter and can’t seem to finish any goal scoring opportunities that they get. So Sullivan will bench a guy like Kap but continue to give big minutes to guys like Carter and Dumolin. It boggles the mind.

And once again the goaltending is not great by any means but the team in front of them gives them no chance night in a night out. They consistently see odd man breaks, breakaways, guys wide-open in the slot, dudes, camping out in the crease, basically guys just rolling around on covered in the defensive zone. If you don’t think that that mentally starts to wear on the goaltender when he’s given no chance night in a night out to make saves them I don’t know what to tell you.

It’s an ugly situation from top to bottom, and nobody seems to be anywhere close to coming up with a solution.
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HIt is incredibly rare and lucky that Sid and Geno are still playing at this high of a level and staying healthy ar this aged . And the Pens are just urinating it well away with terrible team management and coaching. Outside of a couple top 6 players, this team is full of warm bodies. It would at least be one thing if the bottom 6 were a shutdown group or brought some thump and energy to their shifts, but they are just 6 blank faces who do nothing well and are overall, unremarkable.

But even the top 6 has major flaws. Jake still shows flashes of great play but I honestly believe that the abuse he takes (because of his size) and that nasty shoulder injury a couple seasons ago has really altered his game. He looks very passive most nights (especially against bigger, heavier teams), and his body language when he gets frustrated is bad. Rust looks like a guy who got paid and now doesn’t care most nights. That tantrum last night when he blocked the shot on the PP and then took himself out of the play, leading to the winning goal illustrates that. He even called himself out for that poor excuse after the game. Rakkel looks ok most nights but is inconsistent. Zucker is probably the best winger they have right now. He crashes in on the forecheck, battles hard all over the ice, finds openings to get shots off, etc. BUT, he is oft injured. Sid flashes moments of brilliance but also looks like he just gives up and takes games off when he gets frustrated. Malkin is still the same old Malkin. He has been pretty good this year but still loses his mind and does dumb things too often. And him and Letang consistently torpedo the PP with their blue line shenanigans.

And as always, the D corps is undersized, make bad decisions, can’t clear their own end, etc…

The rest of the east is getting bigger, faster, younger and more hungry. Meanwhile, the Pens are getting smaller, slower, older, and more content. What is management and the coaching staff thinking?
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I HOPE that this game seals their fate this season.

Yet another prime example of how this team is poorly constructed and poorly coached. Boston didn’t have Bergeron, Foligno, or Hall in their lineup, and were playing their back up goaltender and the Pens still found a way to lose epically in another soul, crushing fashion. SIX PowerPlay opportunities, and nothing to show for it. Consistently outhustled, and outmuscled all over the ice by another bigger tougher and hungrier team. Funny too, since Boston doesn’t really have anything to play for at this point besides record chasing.

Does anybody here wanna see the Pens get embarrassed in the first round by this team? 2014 all over again?

And worst of all since Rust scored two today, Sullivan will keep him stapled to Crosby‘s hip, despite the fact that he has been dragging down that line for weeks now….

This team lacks physical, toughness, mental toughness, finishing ability, composure, structure and any sense of identity.

With Florida’s cakewalk schedule in Pittsburgh’s propensity to blow games that they should win. I’m hoping that they missed the playoffs in real changes are made this off-season.

But who am I kidding? Sully will be back. The team will simply be a rehash version of the undersized in weak one that they have now, and we will watch them continue to be pummeled into the ice against properly constructed teams in the NHL.
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repeat- Pens are in in serious need of a quality goalie
I don’t disagree, however I feel like simply blaming the goalies and injuries means little to nothing will change this off-season. The team is full of vanilla mediocre warm bodies on skates. They struggle to finish glorious chances to help out their goalies with some sort of run support and meanwhile, the defensive structure of the entire team gives up glorious chances to the opposition, and they finish them. The whole ball of wax is a mess.
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