Saving the sinking ship, John Hynes, Bylsma/Coaching Market & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Penguins head coach Mike Johnston is a coach that looks to be overwhelmed right now and quite surprised at what’s transpiring with this hockey club in that his message just isn’t getting through. Johnston is a believer and rightfully so that it’s not always about the scoreboard but it’s about whether you’re playing the right way. There was a sequence in the second period of last night’s game when the Penguins started breaking down defensively and Johnston is shown on a couple occasions trying to fire up his team and there was no response what so ever from the players and it looked like he was talking to a block wall. As others have said, the Penguins are a group that feels one Stanley Cup made them entitled and it started long ago with everyone in the organization always telling them how goodRead More »

Penguins mangled cap situation, Tampering/Jordan Staal & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Associate GM Jason Botterill is regarded as one of the best cap experts in the NHL but if there’s anything the Penguins can learn from this season is the need to manage the cap better for when it comes to operating the NHL roster on a day to day basis. They put themselves so tight against the cap to start the season that it led to a situation now after all the roster moves and shuffling where the organization was scrambling Wednesday to find any loophole to see if they could make a forward callup for tonight and remain cap compliant. Well they can’t and the Penguins will play with just 17 skaters tonight. The Penguins, according to a source, had under $100,000 in cap space as of Wednesday morning. In Tuesday night’s post-game press conference, Penguins head coach Mike Johnston cited “4Read More »

“Scripted offense” — Are the Penguins being over-coached? Ehrhoff playing scared & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. “Scripted offense?” – Ben Lovejoy made comments during the telecast of last nights game in how the Penguins have a “scripted offense” for the defensemen and in a good way Lovejoy said he’s never seen something like it before. The comment caught my attention at the time but even more so when a former college hockey coach texted me after the game asking if I had heard it. His argument has been that the Penguins are being over-coached and its playing a part in the Penguins lack of creativity from the forwards. Goals are down throughout the league but the Penguins lack of identity offensively and lack of creativity from their forwards has been something never seen during the Crosby era. I’ve touched base on some issues pertaining to the system over the past couple weeks such as the Penguins inability to createRead More »

Letang no lock to be a Norris Trophy finalist, Pens Front Office Rumblings, Steelers fixated on CB & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Kris Letang has been looked at as a likely Norris Trophy Candidate for months now but don’t take it for granted that he will be. The race to be one of the three finalists really seems to be coming down to Letang, Shea Weber, PK Subban and Erik Karlsson. The top-3 should be Letang, Subban, Karlsson but as mentioned before, there’s a media obsession (media votes on the award) with Weber right now in that he’s paid his dues and will win it this season. Karlsson has emerged as a legitimate contender to win the award due to the Senators emergence into the playoff mix and he leads all defensemen in points with 59 and leads all NHL players in points since February 10. Karlsson and Letang lead all defensemen in averaging 0.82 points per game. Karlsson is looking like a lock toRead More »

Why Polamalu could have value in a mentor role like Harrison, Lovejoy trying to establish a voice in the room, Huggins ability to adapt & more in today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1.James Harrison was the Steelers best pass rusher last season and Kevin Colbert has called the starting right outside linebacker position “open competition”. The Steelers didn’t want to play Harrison 60 snaps a game last season but they were forced to because he was their best option and it’s not a stretch to think that scenario plays out again. If that does happen, it means Jarvis Jones can’t beat out Harrison again or the Steelers are forced to move one of them over to the left side. Both are strong possibilities. The Steelers need Jones to take a giant step in year 3 but the worst thing the Steelers can do is hand the job to Jones and at least publicly make it seem to Jones that the position is not up for grabs. Smart on Colbert yesterday to call it an open competition.Read More »

The Heat is on Mike Johnston, how Bill Guerin’s comments will sit in the room, Hornqvist, Winnik & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* View image | 1. Fair or not, the heat is on Penguins head coach Mike Johnston and it’s not coming from the GM but ownership. He will not survive a first round exit and ownership is growing concerned by the day about the Penguins lack of identity and the product that’s being displayed offensively, multiple sources say. Johnstons biggest threat has always been Rick Tocchet not Mike Babcock when it came to his long-term job security and things are being so closely watched right now. Is Tocchet even a threat now if things don’t turn around in the next 10-14 days? Don’t see it getting that far but the talk won’t go away from those close to the situation, which shows how concerned those who call the shots are and I’m not talking about Jim Rutherford. Don’t forget Johnston was the Penguins fourthRead More »

One NHL rule change that would create more offense, RMU’s Andy Toole, Dri Archer, Tony Sanchez & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The NHL may introduce both 3-on-3 play during overtime and the availability of a coach’s challenge as early as next season. 3-on-3 will bring excitement to the game in OT, especially in Pittsburgh where you can put Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang on the ice together in a 3-on-3 scenario, and the NHL has been behind the times in not having a coach’s challenge. The league, though, will continue to turn a blind eye to the increased obstruction going on in all games as they remain more fixated on players diving than anything else. Complaining about obstruction seems to be a lost cause but an intriguing area to create more offense, especially more offensive chances, would be to expand the restricted area for goaltenders to behind the net which would lead to goaltenders being unable to stop the puck behind theRead More »

Penguins must start dictating style of play to their strength’s & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Watching the Penguins – Devils game over this morning, you would have thought the Penguins were playing the 2000 New Jersey Devils based on the Root Sports Telecast and that Kris Letang got his leg blown off on the non tripping call late in the game. At the forefront of the Penguins issues right now is their inability to dictate the style of play. The first forty minutes, a very bad Devils team with a great goaltender were able to dictate the style and tempo of the game. Even with the Penguins missing Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist, they still had a superior team on the ice than New Jersey. It’s like mentally the Penguins have just accepted that the league has evolved into tight checking games and there’s little the Penguins can do to push the pace and open things up offensively.Read More »

Rutherford defends Crosby, Pirates window, Holmes & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. At the General Manager meetings on Monday, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford came to the defense of Sidney Crosby, saying people are nitpicking about his drop in play. “It’s total nitpicking because there’s nothing wrong with him,” Rutherford said via the Canadian Press. “His play, to me, has been as good as it’s ever been.” Rutherford wasn’t around the team during the days of pre-concussion Crosby, especially the 2010-2011 season where Crosby was on a level we’ve never seen from him since or maybe anyone since the 90’s, but really what else is Rutherford going to say. Rutherford’s next quote is what really stands out and this is what Penguin coaches and management have come to believe; the league has changed and Crosby’s adjusted to becoming a stronger two-way player with more defensive responsibilities, a reason for his dip in offensive production. “From anRead More »

Scouts question Penguins offensive system, Kunitz gets mocked for medical condition & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Mike Johnston says the right things after games when being critical of obvious flaws that popped up against Edmonton Thursday night and Detroit Sunday night, which is always good to see, and he has brought the right mindset to the table, but is his message getting to the players? Not even the “great Mike Babcock”, who some feel could walk on water, would change this core in how they act like immature brats on the ice. Two major question marks the Penguins have right now is — 1. Whether they are mentally strong enough to stay composed when dealing with adversity during a potential long playoff run and adversity is going to happen a lot in the playoffs and 2. Where are the goals going to come from? The Penguins have been fixated on becoming a stronger puck possession team, and the numbersRead More »