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Cup Run Is Over In Pittsburgh

from Mark Madden of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

The Penguins were legit Cup contenders from 2008-18, winning thrice. That’s impressive.

But now they’re disintegrating organically, just like multiple Cup-winners before them in Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles. Aging out. Nobody should be blamed. Nobody should be mad.

There’s no trade to be made that can fix the Penguins. No more of the future can be mortgaged, anyway. It would be throwing good after bad.

The Penguins refuse to change how they play. To wit, the power play is exactly the same no matter who coaches it. But adjusting their method wouldn’t help enough.

The Penguins are just an average team now. They are determined. That’s why they’re 12-9-1 despite all their flaws. But they’re not very good.

With all due respect to Jim Rutherford and what he accomplished, Hextall is a better GM for this job.

Hextall plays the long game. He did that at his last GM job, Philadelphia, and the Flyers are reaping the benefits — with him gone. That’s why a lot of GMs and coaches don’t play the long game. Hextall’s Flyers made the playoffs in two of his four seasons, so perhaps he can engineer rebuilding even as the Penguins stay decent (but don’t contend). That’s not an easy task.

Let’s look at what Hextall said that most ignored.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink



No doubt about it.

And it’s so hard I’m sure from the inside to admit it

- especially when you don’t have the top picks and prospects to
go another way.

Crosby and Malkin are not in their prime.
They don’t have the goaltending.
Some decent but not great supporting players
will never be enough to compensate.

In spending high picks trying to find the right wingers for his top centers
Rutherford missed the forest for the trees.

Posted by lefty.30 on 03/07/21 at 03:13 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Love it. cheese

Posted by bigfrog on 03/07/21 at 10:55 PM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

I think he could be right, but then again, people thought this group was done winning Cups before the 2016-17 wins surprised them.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 03/08/21 at 11:00 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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