Let me start by writing, I hate excuses! Look honestly, find the problem and fix it. Do not play the blame game, unless you are the one who accepts the blame and does not try to transfer it to someone else.
Why am I writing this?
When I woke up this morning, I saw another blogger writing an article titled “After Malkin’s Return, Penguins in Flux, Turnovers, Mistakes & Passengers”. Said blogger kept writing that it was not Malkin’s fault, over and over, and thus blamed Evgeni Malkin.
Let’s first address the idea that the team is turning the puck around more now that Malkin is back – FALSE !!
Using the NHL’s own website, before Malkin returned, Our Pittsburgh Penguins Gave away the shooter 7.15 times per 60 minutes (Gv / 60). In the games in which Malkin played, the Black and gold GV / 60 is 6.96, down 0.19. Conversely we favorite flightless bird only managed to remove the shooter 7.07 times per 60 minutes (Tk / 60); which represents a -0.08 in the Tk – Gv / 60 differential. Since Malkin we returned hometown heroes has a Tk / 60 of 7.95; the Tk / 60 jumped 0.80 and the Tk – Gv / 60 differential is now on the positive side +0.99. Our team’s Tk – Gv / 60 jumped 1.08.
Let me repeat it for those Malkin Hatersays, the statement that the team has more turnover with Malkin back is absolutely FALSE !!
So, what’s wrong with our Penguins?
First, at least at this point, maybe nothing is wrong. The team was only on a 3-game losing streak, but picked up 2 points in those losses because 2 of those losses were OT / SO.
Second, if the team is about ready to slip; Oh, I do not know, maybe I was right when I said do not get too excited while our pins were on their illustrious 18-2 series, they played at the bottom of the league. During that 18-2 streak, the average position in the league rankings that Mike Sullivan‘s team faced was 21.05; bottom third of the league. The average points percentage Pts% of our opponents was 0.492, or below 0.500.
I know some people will say, “every team has to be played and the Penguins do not make their own schedule”; I know, but that reaction is to not really listen to what has been said, or more accurately, not to think critically about it. I said do not get too excited, do not buy your Stanley Cup Finals tickets yet. Sidney Crosby and the crew just did what they had to do, beating the bottom third of the league.
Before that 18-2 series against the bottom third of the league we were Penguins 17ste in the league with a Pts% of 0.568.
Honestly, why does no one ask why the [your favorite euphemism inserted here] is Dominic Simon still in the series? In the 20 games against the bottom third of the league, only 1 goal (G) and 3 assists (A) were scored and took stupid penalties at critical times.
When I wrote my pre-season predictions, I wrote: “when Evan Rodrigues plays center and in a top 6 role he will excel, when Malkin returns and he slips off the line, to a bottom 6 role, especially on the wing instead of center he will disappear ”. What does Sullivan do? He started playing E-Rod on wing and bottom 6.
When Sullivan Had Radim Zohorna, Malkin, en Jeff Carter together they have a CORSI% 70.00%, and they control the puck with an 80% Offensive Zone Face Off Percentage (OZFO%). They got the puck in the O zone and kept it there. So what did Sullivan do? Avoid reassembling that line. But then again what should I expect? Jake Guentzel‘S With-of-Without you (WoW) numbers have always been higher with Malkin than Sidney Crosby, but you see Guentzel only with Malkin in games Sid was hurt.
If Sullivan really wants to maximize this team’s chances of winning, he should try to put the Zohorna-Malkin-Carter line back together and keep it together for more than the 6 minutes and change you handed out to it. He needs to move E-Rod to 3rd line Center with Kasperi Kapanen; they worked very well together early in the season. However, our Coach also had to break up that Combo.
In reality, Jason Zucker actually looks at his best (relative term) when he skates with E-Rod and Kapanen – when Zucker recovers, puts him back out there with E-ROd and Kappy.
And out of love for hockey, give up Simon and send him to Wheeling; skip Wilkes Barre – Scranton (WBS), send him to Wheeling. Or lend him to the French or English leagues, these are the teams he plays best against (See the World Cup of a few years ago).
There are at least 7 players either in WBS or on the Taxi squad that I would rather see in the lineup than that oxygen thief.
NO! Malkin is not to blame. The statistics show that the general Malkin complaints are far, far from the basis. Furthermore, the team is currently only on a speed bump after the last three games, not a full-scale downward spiral. Just as I warned that the 18-2 draw does not mean getting your final tickets, this current slump does not give me any false hope of getting a chance to draft Shane Wright.
If there’s a problem here (and you know I think so, yes) it’s the Coach. He puts players in a position to fail not to succeed. Zohorna-Malkin-Carter worked well together – putting them back together. Zucker-E-Rod-Kapanen worked well together – put them back together and you probably will not have to ask where this player of that player is.
Odds and Sods
To get back to my opening statement about apologies and the blame game; I still do not like the trade, but two games back Mike Matheson impressed me. During an interview between periods, even though I did not think he was playing so badly, he got the blame for the Goal Against (GA) in the previous period.