We're hesitant to call last night's 4-1 loss to the Islanders a train-wreck because it takes energy to start a train. But what the Pens proved last night is that you can be part of a horrific train-wreck while exerting no energy at all. Let's start counting the bodies.
- Crosby and Malkin
The first six games have revealed the Pens as arguably the most top-heavy team in the league. We hope that resolves itself with the bottom getting heavier, but if that's not going to happen, then Crosby and Malkin have to be heavier.
These guys deserve more slack on their leash than anyone. Currently, they are still our only hope of generating offense. But they may want to entertain the idea of not trying to pass through 11 pairs of skates every shift. It's not working.
- Marc-Andre Fleury
He needs to be benched. The Pens are a team in need of an infusion of some sort of energy, whether that infusion be positive (like a new or young player scoring a goal, haha) or negative (benching an important player). The NBC Sports crew last night said Bylsma had planned on splitting Fleury and Vokoun 60-40 this season. Bylsma (more on him later tonight) should flip it and announce that, at least temporarily, he's going with Vokoun as the presumed 60% guy. If it's hard for Flower to handle being sent to the bench, perhaps the team can make it a more familiar procedure for him by having him start in the net and then skate over to the bench.
He has two good games this year and two awful ones, which is reflective of our confidence in him right now: it feels like the other team is going to score on half of their shots. He can still win games for the Penguins, but when he plays shitty, it's so bad that the Pens are non-competitive.
More after the jump...
- Consol Energy Center
This seems like a minor problem, but it's really not. You have to have a home-ice advantage to be successful. The only home ice advantage the Pens have now is that opposing teams can't feed off of quieting the crowd because they're already silent. Great fan base, terrible crowd. (On the positive side, the booing last night was totally justified and may have even been too timid in light of what the team put those poor people through last night).
The extreme volume of the goal horn when the Pens cut it to 4-1 late in the 3rd period last night was reminiscent of when Ovechkin scored to cut the Pens lead to 5-1 in Game 7 of the 2009 playoffs and the Verizon Center speakers exploded like the space shuttle was taking off. It's horrifyingly embarrassing and makes us feel ashamed. Whatever in-game entertainment company has convinced teams that fans across the country want to hear a goal horn like that when the team is vomiting all over itself should face a class-action lawsuit. Instead of focus group studies about how to entertain a crowd, how about turning over control of the scoreboard and sound system to a person with knowledge of hockey, who can read the game and the crowd and adjust accordingly? It's entirely possible that the Consol crowd would be a good crowd if they weren't forced to listen to Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha after every icing call.
Dear Jumbotron Operators, you're ruining our lives.
- Matt Cooke, LW, Healthy scratch candidate
If the season ended today, we're not even sure Matt Cooke would get a participation trophy. Can he please get in someone's face at some point and return to being disruptive to play against? There is some virtue in his reformation from a gritty-but-felonious grinder to tactful-and-dainty 19-goal scorer, but not much. After all of his travails the Pens needed him to dial back the nastiness from 100mph to 90mph. Instead, he turned the car around and drove home. Does this team have a single player who other teams hate to play against? Matt Cooke acting like a dick on the ice is good for the Penguins. Matt Cooke getting consideration for the Masterton Trophy is good for Matt Cooke's chances of not getting kicked out of the league. There's a balance. He hasn't found it.
- Brandon Sutter
Artistry will have some thoughts on Dan Bylsma later tonight. We're also planning a post showing Ray Shero's worst moves as Pens GM (it's only fair, given how much he's adored by us and many others). We're taking suggestions.