Memo to Pens: Clean it up or no Cup
I have been watching a lot of Penguins hockey this season since upgrading my Dish Network to include Fox Sports Pittsburgh. I generally try to catch two games a week, give or take.
They’re in better position in the standings this season than in years past at this point, which means in the second half they won’t need to play catch-up to get into the playoffs. They’ll be in the playoffs and probably as one of the top 3 or 4 seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The thing is, this season they’ve been leaning heavily on Sidney Crosby to win games for them. When he has done well, the Penguins win more often than not. Their first run to the Cup a few years back, Sid was injured for a portion of the year. Other guys stepped it up in his absence.
I’m not saying the role players aren’t doing well at all this year. The Penguins are usually very crisp, however, and I don’t see that. I can remember watching games in past seasons and thinking “WOW – did you see that pass?” They almost never missed a pass and always had guys in front of the net, and never seemed out of position on defense. Not so this season. They have played sloppy – missed opportunities, players out of position on both ends, and not enough other guys stepping up on a consistent basis.
If these Penguins want to bring Lord Stanley back to Pittsburgh, they’ll have to start playing with more of that “wow” factor.
The good news is that they’ll be in position to have an opportunity to do that in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.