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What’s Wrong With The Penguins?

Jarrett Bailey, Sports Writer

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The NHL season is now in full swing, and through their first 27 games, the Pittsburgh Penguins are currently sitting 4th in the Metropolitan Division with a 15-10-2 record (as of December 10th). Now, some of you may be doing a double take at that number like I did when I realized what a poor season this team full of superstars and scorers is having. The Penguins, as we know, made the biggest splash of the off-season when they acquired Phil Kessel, yet another perennial 25-30 goal per year guy to go along with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Three of the game’s best in the world on the same team, plus a top 5 goaltender, plus one of the best defensive corps in the NHL, and the Penguins are still 23rd in the NHL in scoring, and 26th in power-play percentage. 26th?! The Pens first Power-Play unit is usually composed of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Olli Maatta, and Kris Letang. In total, this group has a combined 42 goals and 83 points, yet the unit can’t seem to put up very many goals on the man advantage. Speaking of Crosby and Malkin, it has been a tale of two seasons. Crosby is the best player on Earth, by popular opinion, yet he only has 19 points this season, compared to Malkin’s team-leading 25 (Patrick Kane leads the NHL with 43). No one on this team of superstars is really doing anything spectacular for the first time in quite a while. The only guy who is really playing great is Goaltender Marc-Andre Fluery, who is 7th in the NHL in save percentage (.926%), tied for fourth in wins (13), and posting a 2.23 goals against average. There’s no doubt that “The Flower” is the team MVP thus far. So, with all this talent on one team, why aren’t they winning as much as they should be? If you’re asking me, it’s a coaching problem. The Penguins barely made the playoffs last year under Mike Johnston, and were eliminated in 5 games by the Rangers in the opening round. This year, it seems to be more of the same. There is no way that if your team is decked out with 3 of the best scorers in the world, great goal-tending, and steady defensemen that you shouldn’t be near the top of your conference and dominating the league. If the Penguins repeat their success, or lack there of, from last season, it’s time to bring in someone else, because that is seriously ridiculous if you can’t take a team deep into the playoffs every year with the talent that this team has.

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