The Pittsburgh Penguins have been the most disappointing team in the NHL every year since they won the cup in the entire eastern conference. The Sharks arguably are worse, but then San Jose never actually won offering up the proof that they could, the Penguins did. Why is the new broom needed?

The problem isn’t lack of talent. Whatever else can be said of Crosby, Letang, and Fleury, they have not covered themselves with glory in the playoffs. When they did win the cup, Malkin was the Conn-Smyth winner, Fleury allowed more goals than any other goaltender in that post season. Crosby now has seventeen post season games with just one goal. In this years post season he generated zero points in six games. Letang was scoreless in ten games. In his case, he is coming back from a stroke and a lot of time off, but since being drafted he’s only crossed 75 games in one regular season. Whatever good Letang may do a team offensively, and that’s undeniable, defensively he leaves room for notable improvement.

If anyone needs explained to them why Marc-Andre Fleury needs to be ousted from the Pittsburgh crease, I really can’t help you. He’s a living blooper reel of post season gaffes. His ability to track the puck in pressure situations in almost non-existent. This years .915 sv% is by far his highest in five post seasons, last year he lost the starting job to a man who hadn’t played in the playoffs in about a decade.

Dan Bylsma has failed to keep this team focused in the playoffs every year since his first full season. Five playoff runs, all ending with him looking befuddled on his way to the handshake line after no visible attempts to camp the troubled waters on his bench in the previous several games. The last two years they’ve gotten through their first rounds not because they deserved to win based on the way they played, but because neither the Islanders nor Blue Jackets possessed any measure of playoff experience. This year with America’s best hockey players on his roster for the Olympics he did nothing. The team failed to medal because he is a one trick pony; put the two best offensive players together and pray. That’s it.

Ray Shero has been hunting a white whale for years. Year in, year out he goes out and looks for “someone to play with Crosby”, he brings someone in, they don’t gel, and that person gets shuffled to Malkin’s line where they normally produce at least at the level they did before arriving there. But the subtext to what Shero has done the past half decade is even more alarming when you realize who most of the players brought in were. Last year it was Jarome Iginla and Brendan Morrow, both former team captains, in the past almost everyone brought in has worn a letter. Why? Whether he is willing to admit it or not, some part of him recognized the lack of leadership at ice level. And yet, he kept doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

For Pittsburgh to improve the changes need to be wholesale; Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma need to be given their walking papers. Sidney Crosby and at least one of Marc-Andre Fleury or Kris Letang need to go as well. Without changing the supposed leadership, and the actual faces of the team you can’t change its direction, mental composition or yearly fate.

This is an occasional feature that will take a look at multiple issues, each in 100 words or less.

Team USA Management  Announced:

Dan Bylsma will coach, and David Polie will be the GM. Only one of those is hope inducing. Here’s a look at potential players. Given who performed in the playoffs, are Paul Martin and Torey Krug now on the shortlist?

Naoko Funyama Is Gone:

News hit that Naoko would not be returning to Bruins broadcasts this fall. Since then everyone has checked in keeping her name a trending topic through the night, even with the NBA draft, and she’s gotten support from coworkers, other professionals, players like Tyler Seguin, and fans. Will NESN revisit the idea?

Kris Letang

 

The Penguins have reportedly offered Letang north of $7.5 million a year. Somehow he didn’t take this offer and personally get the contract certified by the NHL before the Penguins could come to their senses. Rossi takes a look at the situation. Over $7.5m would have him in the top 3 NHL defenseman, and he’s just not that good.

The Buyout Boys

Of the seven NHL players to receive compliance buyouts, two may have played their last NHL games. Steve Montador and  Ilya Bryzgalov. Montador is 33 years old, and didn’t play a single game for the Blackhawks last season after stops in five other NHL cites. Bryzgalov has melted down completely in goal since landing in Philadelphia going from two straight years of .920%+ to just 900sv% last year.

Alfie Not Giving Up The Throne

So with Alfredsson coming back another year, the old guys club of the NHL is waiting on on Selanne, and Jagr to give NHL coaches someone they don’t feel the urge to cut their meat for.