Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Martin says defensive mindset needs to change when protecting leads

Post-Practice Buzz
*I caught up with defenseman Paul Martin after practice and I asked Paul if he feels the Penguins mindset has to change, when it comes to protecting leads.
Martin agreed that the Penguins mindset needs to change but gave an interesting answer as to why the team is struggling to protect leads.
“Yeah, I think so, ” Martin said when asked about the Penguins “mindset” needing to change.
“Part of that is I think we haven’t been in that position {protecting leads} much this year. We’ve been coming from behind, getting down early and coming back. But, at the same time we can’t make excuses, ” Martin said.
“Defense is our attitude and hard work. You have to want to do the little things and have to do them right. Some of it’s sacrificing, getting hit, taking a hit to make a play, chipping it out and doing what you have to do to seal a victory.”
A hot topic of discussion surrounding the Penguins is their lack of structure under head coach Dan Bylsma, most notably their defensive system which has yielded the same results as last year despite the revamping of the Penguins blueline this season.
Pittsburgh ranked 20th in goals against in 2009-2010 and are currently 19th in goals against this year.
Could the issue be the Penguins system and not the personnel?
Martin talked about whether the Penguins system is the issue….

“No, ” Martin said. “I mean… part of it is making better decisions in all parts of the ice. “We have to make sure we have support from our forwards, the defensemen aren’t pinching and giving up odd-man rushes. It’s a lot of things, and we’ve been giving up too many chances.”
The Penguins inability to play lockdown hockey is frustrating leaders on the team such as Sidney Crosby and Brooks Orpik.
The freedom that the Penguins defensemen appear to have is where I get the sense a lot of the frustrations are coming from.
Crosby again today talked about the Penguins playing risky hockey.
“I think it’s just taking chances that you might not have to, and obviously when you have a lead you never want to sit back, ” Crosby said. “That’s the worst thing you can do. You want to also make sure you’re not giving up big chances and you want to err on the side of caution. We just need to be a little bit smarter, whether it’s in the defensive zone or making good reads and pulling back. Little details like that can create some problems.”

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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