by Tony on 02/27/13 at 10:01 AM ET
Last night's disappointing 6-4 Penguins loss to the Florida Panthers was one of those nights where you scratched your head and said out loud, a la Vince Lombardi, "What the hell is going on here!".
Lazy, undisciplined penalties getting called left and right.
The usually very steady penalty kill of the Penguins simply collapsing, allowing four Florida powerplay goals.
The fact that the Penguins came back from a 4-1 deficit only made the loss that much worse.
But the increasing frequency of the Penguins' trips to the penalty box should have the coaching staff concerned.
Through 20 games, the Penguins have taken 103 penalties, good for 8th in the NHL. While that's disappointing enough, the real issue is the type of penalties they're taking, such as lazy hooking, tripping and cross-checking penalties.
What's most alarming is the frequency of times the Pens have not only been shorthanded, but down two men.
By my highly unofficial research, the Penguins have been two men down nine times through 20 games, which have resulted in six goals.
There are some caveats that need to be mentioned, to be fair:
- It's pretty clear that the officials, at least so far this season, are much more willing to call that 2nd penalty to put the team down two men, as opposed to previous seasons.
- I don't think I'm the only one who has no frickin' idea what constitutes a boarding call this year.
- There's an emphasis on removing the hitting on icing calls. The problem with that, as happened again last night, is that even when both teams think icing has been waved off, and therefore the forechecker makes a hit, he gets called with boarding.
So for as good as the Penguins' penalty kill usually is, this trend has to stop.
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