That Matt Murray guy wasn’t so bad after all was he?
Tristan Jarry proved in Game 6 he was cooked mentally before the puck even dropped. That was the worst fear coming into Wednesday night and it played out. Jarry put it all on tape of a how a goaltender loses you a series.
This could shape his career, that’s how damaging his performance was the last two games of the series. He just couldn’t handle the pressure.
And here the Penguins now sit with three straight first round playoff exits.
“You win games as a group. You games as a team, you lose games as a team,” Mike Sullivan said in not pinpointing the series on Jarry.
There’s no denying this year was different than the past two postseasons in how the Penguins transformed over the final couple months of the season into the team that legitimately could have made a run.
“We did a lot of good things this year,” said Sidney Crosby. “You can look every year and analyze it differently, but I think this year we had a good group and did a lot of good things. We easily could have made a run. I feel really confident about this group with the way we were trending and the way we finished out [regular season].”
But they didn’t and 2017 was so long ago.
I already hear arguments being made for the new regime to just sit back and decide a month from now to ‘let’s run it back one more year’ with most of the club intact, aside from adding a goaltender to supplant or compete with Tristan Jarry.
Okay, but if you claim the primary goal is try to maximize Sidney Crosby’s final good to great years, that’s quite the gamble.
The older core in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Letang will all be another year older. Malkin and Letang will each be 35 years old when next season ends. Jeff Carter ended up being a significant trade deadline addition who you absolutely hope comes back for one more season. Pittsburgh saw the Jeff Carter of 6-7 years ago and was a great fit in the room.
But here’s the caveat:
Carter will be 37 years old next season and a grueling 82 game schedule is a lot of different at his age than coming in rejuvenated for a short-season playoff run from a rebuilding team. There’s just no way the Penguins will get production like they got from Carter this season again.
At the end of the day, the Penguins just can’t act like being 3-11 in their last 14 playoff games has just been bad puck luck. This is a group that now expects to lose in big games.
Something has to give.
Immediate Burning Questions for the Penguins Off-Season
1. New Regime Will & Must take a hard look at Mike Sullivan
Mike Sullivan did an amazing coaching job in the regular season. His best coaching season since the spring of 2016. That’s how much he was able to get a buy-in of the Penguins to remerge into a systematic fast paced style hockey club. But, has Mike Sullivan’s system/ways reached an expiration date?
Sullivan has put it all on the table that he’s doubling down on how he believes the Penguins should play and how he’s going to coach. The arrogance that our best is better than your best has backfired now.
Game 6 was another classic example where Mike Sullivan’s system lives and dies with pinching defenseman and it’s crushed the Penguins in multiple postseasons. Sullivan’s system continues to just put way too much pressure on the forwards to defend in transition. Where you team doesn’t score enough dirty goals and shoot wide as much as any team in the NHL, you have to pick your spots when to be aggressive and when not to be.
And the million dollar question this offseason was always going to be how Sullivan adapts and feels about the obvious in how the new regime wants to remain a fast/skilled team but evolve slightly into a heavier team.
“We didn’t lose this series because we weren’t big enough,” said Sullivan
2. Rule Out Extensions for Malkin & Letang
The new regime if they haven’t already needs to rule out extending Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin this summer. There’s just no reason to go down that road this summer. Neither player wants to go anywhere and in Malkin’s case, he has full power in being able to block any trade. Push it down the road to next summer (2022). It’s not the worst thing to make things a little uncomfortable.
3. Decide to Go Big Game Fishing
Sidney Crosby remains one of the best 200 ft players in the game as he ages. The Penguins still have years left to be competitive with Sidney Crosby at the helm if you can build a responsible two-way type of team around him, but here’s the reality for the Penguins:
Crosby’s days as an top 5 offensive game changer are over and that has become more of a fact the last couple postseasons. As one NHL evaluator tells me, Crosby needs help moving forward in the sense of the Penguins desperately needing to add a game breaker to the lineup. Someone that could carry his own line, a dynamic 1To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!
Sullivan may not know how to adjust?
I think he can… My one sticking point is he is too loyal to some of his players. Too many times he doesn’t sit/bench or press box Letang or Malkin.or any other player for consistent poor choices and play..
He kept this team together throughout a shortened season, 230 man games lost due to injury, and major distractions.
1st place which we haven’t done in a while… well done
Philadelphia Eagles hire Catherine Raiches as their VP. A woman from Montreal
I always knew canadians do better jobs then Americans in men department now woman too
So sad being American. They bribe to get to dummies vaccinated. Hey stan did you get free donuts after getting vaccinated. I heard npl won lifetime free hot dogs from Nathan hot dogs
I hope she went to a better school than you did. If you are going to try to insult people, at least pretend you have a 3rd grade education.
I missed you Sam
I rather get Nathan from Colorado then jackasss Eichel
Everyone would but he’s not available. Id rather have McDavid than Eichel.
Well if you and wagons here didn’t drool over malkin maybe we could’ve had a chance to get either of them.
Eichel and McDavid were never an option and the Pens did not want to trade Geno for Nat bc he was having such a horrible year when that trade was proposed. Sam(e) just likes to make shitt up. Troll.
Lol so if a couple of us didn’t give Malkin credit for being the player he is, we’d have McDavid or Eichel? That’s incredible.
No one is getting Nathan…dumb to suggest that..
If you could move guentzel for any kind of a game breaker you do it
That’s a good question…???? I love Jake and he is magic with Sid it would have to be areal good game. breaker.
Maybe a Johnny Gaudreau LW Calgary….. Johnny hockey 27
jake left wing 26
There are many other players on the team I would move before him.
I think Hextall / Burke need a moment to let the disappointment pass and the dust settle. This is a first place club who yes lost in 6 games but outplayed the Islanders in games, 1,2,3 and 5. There are some decisions to be made, some tweaks to be made, but blowing a first place club up is nonsense.
Maybe one says that after the dominating sweep by the Islanders in 2019 but not this year
Blow it up. Pens are boring and predictable
Lets Blow up a first place club…sounds like a good move
He also wanted to blow it up a few months before they won the cup in 16…
Regular season doesn’t matter. They lost in the first round 3 years in a row. They suck.
No Yoda you suck….LOL
This is a good team that got beat because their goaltender was average and soft…period
ONCE AGAIN AN HONEST AND BRILLIANT ARTICLE!
D- who would you use as an example of a “running mate” that isn’t impossible to acquire?
You know defenseman Dougie Hamilton of the Carolina Hurricanes had a terrific year and is a UFA. He would be a perfect fit with Dumo on our number one pair Hamilton can be the point person on the number one power play. If we lose Pettersson, Zucker via trade and I think Mccann we will lose in the expansion draft That is $12.6 million off the books… losing Zucker, Mccann and Pettesson You have a bunch of UFA’s you don’t resign (except maybe Ceci) Jankowski $700,000 Gaudreau $700,000 Rodriquez $700,00 Weber $700,000 that is $2.8 million Ceci $1.25 million (try… Read more »
If they some how manage to move Pettersson and Zucker they will probably be for position players with similar salary cap. $12 million will not magically appear. JR gave out some bad contracts and H/B are going to be hogtied creating cap space. McCann was misused in the playoffs.
Marcus Pettersson could be moved for a pick…
Zucker for Zadorov we save $ 2.4 million so there is money available..
losing the UFAS alone is $2.8 million and $4 million if you dont resign Ceci..
Calgary, Detroit, LA Kings, Edmonton could all use a decent (all be it soft stay at home defender Pettersson) and have th cap space..
Aside from JR, I would like so see who would give up a draft pick and no salary exchange for Pettersson with 4 yrs / $4,025,175 per left on his contract.
You would be surprised teams with cap space that suck will do that…look it doesn’t have to be high ill take a 4th, 5th, or 6th.
We don’t need to be picky….whatever you can get
There are some crap teams that need a steady defenseman.
Edmonton, Detroit, Buffalo, San Jose, New Jersey Devils Columbus, Calgary all could use a decent defender..
Why would you wait until next summer to extend them? That makes no sense. Try to extend them now while the cap is lower and you still have options. If they don’t sign an extension, they obviously want to explore free agency and you can move them for a kings ransom this summer. Essentially, find out now if they want to maximize their contract by hitting FA. If they do, which will price them out, move them this summer. It would also start everything moving forward a year earlier. How many years in a row are they going to keep… Read more »
Of course he was less banged up since he had his annual vacation in this short season
Goaltending and defense is what we need to upgrade.
Coaching has been terrific…first place , the staff had to deal with 230 plus man games lost due to injury….well done
Now lets hope Burke and Hextall don’t turn us in to the big slow Capitals.. You see how the Capitals are looking big, physical teams don’t last its punishing to play every game that way. Tampa did it right speed, skill, with the right amount of grit, push back and sandpaper.
Aha D missing fraud Murray and his magic number