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The Confluence

Penguins A Jekyll & Hyde Team Right Now

Gotta keep telling yourself, it's only four games, it's only four games.

For as fantastic a feeling it was for the Penguins to open the season with not only two victories, not only two road victories, but in Philadelphia and New York, only to then turn it 180 degrees in disappointing losses against Toronto in the home opener and last night in Winnipeg, it can be very frustrating to say the least.

But four games into the start of this unusually late-starting season, it should not be the barometer in terms of what kind of team this Penguins group will end up being.

Because frankly, at this point, it's becoming increasingly difficult to determine just what Penguins you're gonna get.

As we go further along in this abbreviated regular season, as all of the teams shake off the rust and as things settle down, we're gonna find out where the Pens really are in terms of being a supposed NHL powerhouse.

You can't objectively dismiss the rust aspect, even though it's been constantly repeated by every team ad nauseum.  It's certainly a legitimate excuse.  It's very plausible that it's that rust that's the difference between crisp, tape-to-tape passes and sloppy, erratic play.

Perhaps this is why the Pens have been looking so dominant one minute, and so haphazard the next.

The stars are not exempt from this either, although their immense talent can mask being a bit rusty much better than the average NHL player.  While heavyweights Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal have had moments of brilliance early on, they've also had uncharacteristic turnovers that have directly resulted in goals.

In terms of the Penguins' defense, I'm not so sure their lapses can be attributed to rust, or simply that this defensive group is not very good, and in legitimate need of some help.

It's already been reported by Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review that prospect defenseman Simon Despres is being shopped by GMRS for a Top 6 winger.  Despres is the same mold as several other young defensive prospects in the GMRS era - Smooth skating, offensive-minded defender that has some shortcomings in his own zone.  That's fine, but it's become pretty clear in recent years that the Penguins are in increasing need for a defensive defenseman.  And I would add, a physical defensive defenseman.

We'll just see which Penguins team comes ready to play on Sunday afternoon in Ottawa.

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The most frustrating aspect of this so far Tony, at least for myself, is that the same problems that plagued the team last year down the stretch and in the playoffs are rearing their head again.  Puck management has been a huge issue these past two games.  If I see another drop pass, I’m going to throw something out the window.  I can understand passes being off due to rust, but guys are forcing things that aren’t there.  The D isn’t in good position off of these sudden turnovers, which compounds things even more. 

Not only that, but the investment hockey system seems just about dead at this point.  Crosby led the team in hits last night, which is just crazy.  It is still early, so maybe I need to calm down a bit.  I would like to see Bortuzzo get an opportunity soon.  He’s a big body and last year played well until Rinaldo gave him a head shot.

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 01/26/13 at 03:50 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Trading away Michalek was a big mistake.

Posted by LiteWork on 01/26/13 at 05:01 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Yeah, I hear ya. 

Thing is, I don’t think GMRS will be very patient.  As I mentioned, he’s already shopping Despres, supposedly for a winger.  But I don’t think that’s gonna be enough to contend for a Cup.  He really needs a veteran D-man.

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 01/26/13 at 05:07 PM ET


The whole league is Jekyll and Hyde right now.  It will take about 10 games for things to settle.

Even then it won’t be a normal season.  Whoever gets hot in the end will be the Cup champ. 

Just have to make the playoffs.

Posted by 13 user names on 01/26/13 at 07:34 PM ET

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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