The Pittsburgh Penguins have some of the most highly-touted hockey players in the NHL, and with that luxury there comes great expectations.
Owning skaters such as Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Evgeni Malkin, winning the Stanley Cup shouldn’t be a problem for them right? Wrong.
Since capturing the cup in 2009, Pittsburgh has yet to make a finals return. And to make matters worse, they’ve only made it to the Eastern Conference Finals once in the past four postseason trips.
While viewers remain adamant about booking Pittsburgh’s ticket to the cup finals year-after-year, the team hasn’t lived up to the hype that the names on their squad provide. Exiting the playoffs is no picnic, but the way they’ve lost is what’s most devastating.
In their most recent postseason attempt, the Pens exited the playoffs by losing four straight to the Boston Bruins, who limited them to just two goals allowed the entire series. For a team who prides themselves on winning games offensively, Pittsburgh barely mustered two goals, after having demolished the Ottawa Senators in the previous round by doing the exact opposite.
Now, due to the possibility of anything happening because it’s the NHL Playoffs, Pittsburgh has to block out the buildup and execute like the champions they are. Nothing is preventing them from excelling, except themselves.
The Boston Bruins are a great hockey team and no one is taking that away from them; however, when you’re constructed as Pittsburgh is, there’s no reason to lose like that. Maybe the first-round scare from the New York Islanders foreshadowed the eventual ousting, but it’s hard to imagine they’d lose the way it played out.
Talent is important, but drive is necessary. And as much as Pittsburgh insists they’re doing everything they can to secure victory, at times they can be dependent on their skill-level rather than their effort. Not implying they’ve showed a lack of determination, but performing lackadaisically partly speculates being talent dependent.
Forget the fact that you have a Norris Trophy finalist, MVP, and the best player in the world — go out and perform the way you’re supposed to.
It’s a new team and a new year, perhaps Pittsburgh will finally come to grips with upholding their potential. Should they falter in the postseason once again — and that’s assuming they make it of course — players/coaches will certainly feel the heat getting hotter next offseason.
Hopefully, they’ve learned from their mistakes.