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The Penguins had a major identity crisis last season from management to the coaching staff. How the Penguins wanted to play and were built seemed to change on a month by month basis.

Things went from the Penguins wanting to be a possession team with four scoring lines that had Mike Johnston in his first training camp telling reporters any player who dumps the puck in will be “tasered.”

A couple months later, suddenly the organization bought into a philosophy of trying to win games 2-1 and going out and acquire players like Max Lapierre and Daniel Winnik.

The Penguins mid-season adjustments during the 2014-2015 season were abysmal, highlighted by the Simon Despres trade. The Penguins biggest issue was that they were reacting to others.

This season started out the same. The Penguins were slow, lacked a youth enthusiasm in their lineup and had an identity crisis again.

While the coaching staff and management group were not on the same page, which was a problem for a group just a year into a relationship, management at least had a vision since the summer of how the Penguins should be built and have stuck to it after it took a few months to come to fruition.

Things started slowly changing when Pascal Dupuis was forced to retire. As sad as it was for many in the organization to see Dupuis have to call it quits, it was a blessing for the Penguins on-ice.

Then the perfect storm happened in the Penguins becoming a faster, attacking team in the months ahead.

The coaching change, Trevor Daley for Rob Scuderi, Carl Hagelin for David Perron and maybe just as important, injuries to disappointing players like Nick Bonino, Beau Bennett that opened opportunities for players like Bryan Rust, Tom Kuhnhackl to get legitimate shots to earn full-time roles and add the dynamic to the Penguins lineup they haven’t had in young players coming to the rink everyday because they love to play the game, not because it’s their job to show up.

Bennett’s time as a Penguins nearing an end

Beau Bennett is an extremely honest person, which is a great thing, but Bennett informing the Penguins in early February he needed some time away from the team to contemplate his future hasn’t won him over [hide] any favors with the coaching staff.


Also in a discussion with Jim Rutherford prior to the trade deadline, Bennett wondered if a fresh start would be a help to his career but did not officially demand a trade by any means, a source says.

Rutherford explored his value and other than some talks with the New Jersey Devils, nothing materialized.

Two sources close to Bennett say the winger was medically cleared to return to the lineup two weeks ago but Bennett not appearing in a game yet has been about the coaching staff wanting Bennett to prove he’s all-in.

“This is not an injury situation,” a source said on why Bennett’s not dressing, indicating it’s “strictly” a coaches decision. “He’s ready to play”.

Even after the Evgeni Malkin injury, Penguin coaches have not planned to make Bennett a regular in the lineup believing others have earned their spots with their on-ice play and commitment. The Scott Wilson injury, though, should open the door for Bennett to get a shot in the lineup as early as the Devils game but we shall see.

The relationship is a bit strained right now and it’s likely Bennett will be moved in the summer. [/hide]