Was Pittsburgh’ 5-2 loss to the tanking Chicago Blackhawks Tuesday night the worst loss of the Sidney Crosby era?

Absolutely it is, unless the Penguins receive another gift from the New York Islanders Wednesday night and stave off elimination and go on to lose to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the season finale…………That would be something.

Let’s hold off for a day on writing the Penguins obituary until the team is officially eliminated, but as all of the criticism and out-rage is on Ron Hextall as it should be in a number of cases, we’ve reached the point where it’s utterly ridiculous that Mike Sullivan goes unscathed. Said it prior to the trade deadline, the Penguins have a roster and a system problem. Instead or prioritizing

Sullivan has become so stubborn in his ways that there is evidence for months now he is just not the right guy for the next phase of this organization in trying to be as competitive as you can in Sidney Crosby’s final years and toeing the line of embracing younger players.

The Penguins in their 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks can again pat themselves on the back for dominating shot-attempts, possession time, ect, but here we are again where the team can’t finish. There’s a reason for that. And that always comes to the style of forward Sullivan believes in to play his rush system the best. The Penguins just don’t have enough blue-paint forwards and the system is so predicated on the d-men being #2 and #3 options off the rush.

How the coaching staff has never adapted systematically through now 80+ games remains’ a great mystery. Not to sound like a broken record but the organization in wide agreement made a decision last summer to get heavier on the backend. Yet, they’re running the same system as if they acquired two more Mike Matheson’s instead of the reality of having a cone on the ice in Jan Rutta. It’s insanity.

The Blackhawks sunk the Penguins in the third period by scoring twice in a 26 second span as the game quickly went from 1-1 to 3-1. The Andreas Athanasiou bank in goal felt like a season-ender. The leadup to the goal was everything that has held the Penguins back this despite the glaring holes they have.

System and Goaltending.

  1. In a classic rinse and repeat of the Penguins system, three forwards are deep on the forecheck and of course Brian Dumoulin pinches on less than a 50-50 puck and the Blackhawks are off to the races for a 2-on-1 led by the speedster Athanasiou.
  2. Tristan Jarry makes initial save than stumbles and gives up a crushing goal in a situation that what his Penguins career has become. He’ll get you .920 save percentage and a few All-Star appearances but when you really need him in high pressure situations, he’s just not the guy.

Hextall Out, Sullivan to mutually Exit?

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