by Tony on 12/24/08 at 09:20 PM ET
It’s not just a Penguins thing, nor is it just a Pittsburgh thing (we’re notorious for complaining about the Steelers too), I’ve been reading Rangers and Wings fans moaning about their first place teams for a few weeks now as well.
But the Penguins blogosphere and message boards are getting hammered regarding the mess that is playing out on the Igloo ice recently. Putting it bluntly, the Penguins are simply playing bad, bad hockey and things are going to have to start changing, and soon.
There have always been people that haven’t been Michel Therrien fans, but the numbers are growing fast that now want Therrien and his staff fired. But that’s not even the eyebrow-raising recommendation some of the fans have been putting out there;
Some even want Sidney Crosby to lose the “C”, at least temporarily.
Many, many Penguins fans are clamouring for one or both of those, mainly on the two major Penguins message boards at LetgoPens.com and at HFBoards.com. They’re tired of the same old song from HCMT, complaining about the lack of work ethic, complaining about the lack of a steady forecheck. Now, they’re hearing him say that the players are arguing with each other on the bench.
We’ve been hearing excuse after excuse. Injuries, injuries, injuries. You’d think that Sergei Gonchar played all 60 minutes rotating between forward and defenseman for as much talk there is regarding his injury. Lately, it’s been the schedule, as if no other NHL team is given games played in a short timeframe.
However, it can’t be forgotten as well that with all of these valid problems, the Penguins still have had one of their better starts in franchise history. It’s not like the Penguins are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Surely, some of that has to be attributed to Therrien, no ??
But let’s get back to the work ethic/forecheck/arguing points. You hear that stuff once, you brush it off as hopefully an anomaly. But if you keep hearing it, does that not signify that the coach may have lost this team ?? Primarily, I see the problem being that I don’t see any improvement after any of these rants from the Coach. I see the same average forecheck, I see no changes in the powerplay, I mean, it’s status quo, you know ?? So the question really becomes how long will the Penguins leadership continue to allow the poor performance from the team continue.
But if your answer was “no” to whether Therrien has lost the team, could that mean then that the Captain is not providing sufficient leadership ?? Crosby, although the NHL’s 2nd leading scorer behind teammate Evgeni Malkin, is in a bit of a funk himself recently. His recent controversial goal vs. Buffalo was his 1st in 9 games. I think Sid himself would admit that his play has certainly been one of the reasons behind the team’s slump. His knack for turning down shots is getting to a career high. Rather than beat the D-man down the left side, he’s attempting to dangle the puck between his legs. Instead of putting a solid wrister on goal, he’s attempted his spin-o-rama backhand in the last two games.
In terms of providing leadership, or not, that’s obviously impossible to track from an outsider’s point of view. We have no idea what goes on in that locker room. All I’ll say is that it would be an extremely drastic move for Therrien to take away Crosby’s “C”. And because I haven’t seen much of anything really change when it comes to Therrien, I highly doubt he would ever do it.
One thing’s for sure though: Something’s gotta change. The team is barely keeping its head above water as it is, but that won’t last long. There are no pushover games anymore, the Toronto and Tampa games should be proof of that. The team is gonna have to get back to basics, getting a shots on goal total that’s not in the teens would be a good start. Lose the hotdogging. Getting some goals from someone not named Malkin or Crosby wouldn’t hurt either.
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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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