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Insider Only Morning Pens Buzz: Lack of hungry forwards?

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Penguins head coach Mike Johnston gave another frustrating post-game press conference Tuesday night following the Penguins 2-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils and it seemed to have nothing to do with the final score.
With the playoffs just around the corner, the Penguins coaching staff is losing patience with the Penguins compete and battle level in key areas.
The Penguins have scored 1 goal or less in five of six games and if you dig deeper, they have been held to one goal or less in nine of 15 games.
Last night Johnston expressed frustrations about the Penguins lack of compete level around the net —- Where have we seen this before?
“In order to score, you’ve got to compete in the scoring areas,” Johnston told reporters after the game. “I didn’t like our desperation around the net. I didn’t like our compete around the net.”
Johnston continues to have the right mindset about what’s ailing the Penguins and is sending the right message after games but there’s no signs his message is getting to the players and that includes assistant coach Rick Tocchet. Tocchet’s message to get shots to the net and crash the net 5 v 5 and on the power play, is also not resonating.
The problem right now the Penguins have is a lack of true finishers in the top-6 and their bottom-6 players play more like perimeter players in the offensive zone than net-front players.
“When we go through scoring droughts, it’s the compete that I see in our team offensively that’s not there,” Johnston said.
One complaint from Penguins ownership last summer about the Ray Shero regime when they went on the record a few times to the local papers, is the Penguins lacked an infusion of young players who are hungry to play at the NHL level.
The Penguins look complacent right now and instead of recalling an AHL journeyman in Andrew Ebbett, how about getting a young player up here like Scott Wilson who plays with energy, intensity and would actually push a Beau Bennett and others.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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