The Pittsburgh Penguins Formally began the quest for a Stanley Cup Three-peat this week.
Even after only a few matches, we discovered a few important points in the Pittsburgh Penguins slow beginning.
Winning is Difficult
I wish I had a buck for each time that I have composed or read this, but yes, winning matches at the NHL is difficult. While this may seem obvious, the more subtle thing here is that even the top teams want drama close to the top of the game to win frequently. The very first takeaway from the beginning of this year? The Penguins continue to be a work in progress.
Even from the eye evaluation, it’s simple to realize that the new bits (Reaves, McKee, Hunwick, as well as Niemi) haven’t settled into the Penguins system nonetheless. This isn’t to state the Pens appearance poor, they simply don’t look prepared for the Playoffs. Two games into this season, a slow start isn’t a terrible thing. It unlocks the new players flaws and provides staff and coaches something to concentrate on.
Defense is Hard
The glaring weakness for the Pens from this gate is protection. Again, it is not that they’re bad, just not good. To be honest, they’re enjoying some very good teams to begin this year, so it may be reasonable to anticipate a slow beginning. But, it’s apparent that the new bits on D (as well as Letang because of lack) are still working out the kinks.
The Penguins defensive system is geared toward puck recovery and motion (instead of state boxing outside and knocking out teeth). That needs D-men to think quickly, and make intelligent controlled plays with the puck. Thus far, there are a plethora of awful outlet passes, turnovers, and guys from place. Given the rate and sophistication of the Pens’ system, some of this is inevitable through the learning curve. As time passes, these men will settle in — which will go a very long way to helping smooth out the rough edges in the Penguins puck-possession game.
Goaltending is Hard
Well, with this kind of huge sample size (1/2 of one interval) it is difficult to dismiss the drama of recently obtained backup goaltender Anttti Niemi. I am not actually going to select him here — he’s an excellent goalie who had a nightmare start to the year. And point in actuality, the Pens did not fare much better with Murray from the web. Make no mistake, that 10-1 blowout loss to the Blackhawks has been a group effort. There was a significant problem on screen in Niemi’s game, however, and one that he must fix if he’s to keep on because the Pens backup. His rebound control was, well, non-existent. I’ve written before how crucial rebound control is to get the Pens. The whole defensive system is based on it, and that explains the reason why the Pens play so well before Matt Murray. Well all the time.
So there it is — tough beginning to a very long season, a couple items to work on, but nothing to be worried about yet. As coach Mike Sullivan is fond of stating following declines, the Pens aren’t yet “enjoying the game the perfect way.”
But do not worry, there are a lot of matches left.