Post Game Thoughts
The 7-16-9 Tampa Bay Lightning came into Pittsburgh Tuesday night, outshooting the Penguins 29-15 and beating them 2-0 on the scoreboard as the Penguins loss for the sixth time in nine games. The Penguins had (11) giveaways compared to the Lightning‚Äôs (4) and defensive breakdowns in front of the net continued as Paul Szczechura and Matt Pettinger each scored for the Lightning. Mark Recchi recorded two assists to give him 1,401 points for his career. The Lightning won for only the second time in their past 14 games. Could changes be on the horizon for the Penguins?
The mood in the Penguins locker room and on the bench has not been good. As Michel Therrien mentioned in his post game comments there has been some bickering between the players. A source tells me some players have tuned out Sidney Crosby who has done his share of calling out players on the bench recently. He demands a lot of his teammates and some players aren‚Äôt reacting well to it.
There‚Äôs a lot of finger pointing going on between line mates coming off after shifts. I‚Äôve heard Jordan Staal has been very vocal and he‚Äôs really had no room to talk lately. The problem is players are calling out players and those players doing the calling out, aren‚Äôt carrying their weight. That has been the issue. Sources tell me Therrien is tired of it and he‚Äôs not going to put up with it anymore.
The team has turned to Evgeni Malkin as their leader on the ice.
Defensively the Penguins have issues. Breakdowns in front of the net have been a regular theme in recent weeks.
Mark Eaton is a liability and Philippe Boucher is playing exactly how people in Dallas described him. He is no longer physical at all because of his shoulder problems and he continues to struggle with the puck.
The Penguins are getting nothing from Jordan Staal, Miroslav Satan and Max Talbot right now. Talbot needs to get back into his role as a third line center. He is moving around in different roles too much.
Therrien is not a fan of Miroslav Satan.
Again the Penguins need Jordan Staal to play with more consistency. He thinks he‚Äôs a big time player and now he needs to back it up. He’s the key to the season.
The Penguins are a mediocre 7th or 8th seed playoff team. Ryan Whitney is not going to solve all of their problems. There losing battles in the corners and they don‚Äôt have the drive that they had last year. Too much turnover? Maybe‚Ä¶..
There does not appear to be a panic just yet but there is some serious concern from management and the coaching staff. Ownership is spending up to the cap because they expect a deep playoff run. Expect some changes to be coming…..
The Penguins begin a four game stretch against New Jersey, Montreal, Boston (Home and Home series)
More to come following the Christmas Holiday break. Everyone have a safe Holiday.
Merry Christmas to all
Pittsburgh Penguins (18-11-4) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (7-16-9)
Dupuis – Crosby – Malkin
Fedotenko – Staal – Sykora
Cooke – Talbot – Satan
Wallace – Taffe – Godard
Tentative D- Pairs
Orpik – Scuderi
Eaton – Whitney
Goligoski – Boucher
Marc Andre Fleury
The Penguins held an optional skate this morning. Defenseman Kris Letang will be held out of tonight’s game after taking a shot off of his ankle in Monday’s game. He is listed as day to day.
Defenseman Ryan Whitney will return to the lineup for the first time this season after off-season foot surgery.
Former Pittsburgh Penguins Ryan Malone (13pts), Mark Recchi (18pts), and Adam Hall (4pts) will be in the lineup tonight for Tampa Bay.