Industry Buzz: What Penguins do or don’t do with Mike Sullivan contract situation will tell a lot

 

Latest Penguins Buzz — Scuttlebutt on Mike Sullivan’s Future in Pittsburgh & Will the 2013 Extension for Dan Bylsma have any weight on ownership’s willingness or lack their of to extend Mike Sullivan before the 2019-2020 opener?— Of all the head scratching things Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said at Thursday’s season ending press conference, Rutherford saying he’s going to take some time in the evaluation process of what went wrong this season before coming to any decisions is the smartest route he can take with lots of time on his side and a pivotal decision or two to be made with this core . “We are still a bit emotional with how this ended,” said Rutherford on Thursday. “The best thing for me is to take a little time to think through this. Some big decisions will be made.” What is the Penguins No. 1 off-season priority? Developing an IdentityRead More »

Lessons Learned? A needed Defensive Overhaul for Penguins in 19-20 puts the microscope squarely on Kris Letang’s future in PIT

 

Changing the Core starts with a major defensive overhaul How did the Penguins not come out of Round 1 with at least one win? “I don’t have an answer for it,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “The reality is we win as a group and we lose a group and we’re all a part of it. We’ve all got to take responsibility. It’s disappointing. We had high expectations of this team. We believe we have good players and we have the potential to be a good team, and we obviously did not play well enough to win.” What matters into the summer and next season on the ice is whether the New York Islanders four game sweep of the Penguins will actually be a lesson learned for the entire Penguins organization from management, coaches to the players? The Penguins after their four game exit were at least saying all the rightRead More »

Game 4: It’s a big night for Mike Sullivan to try to get this tuned out group to buy-in and execute needed adjustments

 

  Game 4 Pre-Game Buzz Will the Penguins really go down this quietly? What continues to be so stunning from the Penguins through three games is not just how they’ve been out-classed, out-performed in all three zones, but how hap-less they’ve been with no pushback as the noise is getting louder and louder over the last 24 hours that some in the room can’t wait for this season to end. And that type of talk isn’t about some 4th liners getting 7-8 minutes a night. That’s what makes tonight so interesting on whether there’s actually going to be a pushback from the Penguins and a group that comes out and plays with some actual pride. If they fall in Game 4, will it be going down swinging or just another Game 3 ‘whatever’ attitude? The first 5-7 minutes could tell us a lot on the Penguins care level. For howRead More »

Penguins to tweak top three lines

 

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan will tweak his top three lines in a do or die Game 4 tonight. Among the changes is Jared McCann moving back up to the line with Jake Guentzel and Sidney Crosby. Bryan Rust who has yet to get going this series, will start tonight’s game on Evgeni Malkin’s left wing while Sullivan and his staff will reunite the third line of Dominik Simon – Nick Blugstad – Patric Hornqvist. Despite Jack Johnson struggling badly in Games 2 and 3, the coaching staff is sticking with the Jack Johnson – Justin Schultz pairing as Olli Maatta is expected to be scratched for the third straight game. GAME 4 PROJECTED LINEUP FORWARDS McCann-Crosby-Guentzel Rust-Malkin-Kessel Simon-Blugstad-Hornqvist ZAR-Cullen-Wilson D-Pairs DuMoulin-Letang Johnson-Schultz Pettersson-Gudbranson Goalie Murray

Game 3 What We Learned: On the brink with an identity crisis and no buy-in

 

GAME 3 WHAT WE LEARNED Do the Penguins have any interest in even putting up a fight Tuesday night to send the series back to Long Island or have they mentally checked out? It’s a valid question after the Penguins 4-1 loss in Game 3. The Islanders have not only out-classed the Penguins in nearly every area through three games, today’s loss was so crushing in how there was just no fight, no pushback from the Penguins. Some of the signs were there in Game 2 and that continued in Game 3. This team is stale and mis-managed but when the going got tough today, the Penguins just called it a day. Pittsburgh managed just three shots in the final 10 minutes of the third third period, coincidingly the Islanders took a 3-1 lead at 10:27 of the third period and put an exclamation point on Game 3. Mike Sullivan,Read More »

Islanders take a commanding 3-0 series lead

 

The New York Islanders have taken a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 4-1 win in Game 3 at the PPG Paints Arena Sunday afternoon. The Penguins entered the third period of Game 3 down just 2-1 and looked like a team in the third period that had mentally given up. There was no push, no emotion from the Penguins in a dud of a performance with the Islanders putting on a clinic in period three and a Leo Komarov goal at 10:27 put an exclamation point on the game. The Penguins looked everything of a hockey club ready to make those tee times Wednesday afternoon. Game 4 is Tuesday night.

Islanders beating Penguins at their own game with quick strike ability

 

Pittsburgh scored the opening goal in Game 2, a lead that was short-lived as the Islanders would score 2:51 later, en route to three unanswered goals and a NYI 3-1 win on Friday night. Game 3 has been the same story. After a Garrett Wilson goal at 12:54 of the first period, Jordan Eberle responded 28 seconds later in beating Matt Murray from a bad angle and the Islanders would then tack on another one as an atrocious pinch from Justin Schultz led to a 2-on-1 the other way and Brock Nelson burying one past Matt Murray to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead. The Eberle and Nelson goals were a 1:02 apart. After a scoreless second period, the Islanders are now 20 minutes away from taking a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Garrett Wilson scored 1st career playoff goal in Game 3

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins struck first for the second consecutive game on a tip-in goal from Garrett Wilson at 12:54 of the first period. The even strength goal came at the conclusion of a power play as Dominik Simon won a board battle and Wilson tipped home a Marcus Pettersson shot. It was Wilson’s 1st career playoff goal. Pittsburgh’s 1-0 lead would be short-lived as the Islanders would strike twice in a 1:30 span to take a 2-1 lead.

Game 2 What We Learned: Alarm Sirens are now going off in Pittsburgh

 

Game 2: What We Learned They say a series doesn’t start until the road team wins. That’s about the only logic the Penguins can fall back on after a 3-1 loss to the Islanders in Game 2. Game 2 was very alarming for the Penguins as the Islanders have taken control of the series. Most concerning is the Islanders pre-series strength’s of a speed, energy game combined with a tight defensive structure have not only out-shined the Penguins strengths of being a much more talented hockey club through two games, the Islanders have even been the superior team in pushing the pace. They’ve dictated the style of play while also being able to beat the Penguins at their own game in pushing the play off the rush. Through two games the Penguins have had about one period, the second period of Game 1 where the Penguins can hang their hatRead More »

What We Learned: Situational Awareness sinks Pens in Game 1; Reigning-in Letang a must moving forward

 

Game 1: Penguins – Islanders What We Learned Penguins – Islanders felt like at least a six game series coming in and Game 1 did nothing to dispute that notion. Some of the expected played out: The Islanders forecheck and speed/energy game caused the Penguins fits in stretches. Pittsburgh was not ready to play at the drop of the puck and were very fortunate come out of the Islanders 3-4 minute opening period surge not to be down 2-0. If that type of start happens again for the Penguins in Game 2, shame on them. There will be no excuse Friday night for the Penguins to come out and play the way they did in the first couple minutes of Game 1. As the game progressed Pittsburgh adapted, but the amount of momentum swinging shifts from a speed/physical standpoint was clearly in the Islanders favor in Game 1 and that’sRead More »