Penguins Need More C.L.O.S.E.R.S

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Penguins just ended a 6-game losing streak.  Yay.  However, it was their second longest losing streak of the season so far. Boo.  Remember, they had a 7-game losing streak in late October, November.

You know what they say, “Once is a Fluke.  Twice is a Coincidence.  Three times is a Trend.”

The Penguins only lost 4-games in a row, twice last year.  As well they stopped a few 3-game losing streaks.

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So, what does this really mean?

Well, for One

The Penguins are injured.  I know, that will always be an excuse.  They are missing Letang and Petry on D, and are an old team in general.  Old = Injuries.


The Penguins have lost 6 times in overtime.  I know, you need to score to win, however it just goes to show you, how fine the line is between ending a losing streak or not.

If the Penguins win in overtime against Boston on Nov 01, as well as win in overtime against Detroit Dec 28th, we are not talking about two, 6+ game losing streaks….not saying, just saying.


The Penguins are showing their lack of Team Depth.  I know, you had to make those deals and give up draft picks, in order to constantly go for the cup.  However, in time, you must pay the Piper.

“The Piper is Calling…He wants to be Paid.”

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There has been a lot of chatter of late about how Hextall, the GM, must make a trade to shake up the Penguins.  How the GM must get more scoring from the Bottom 6 forwards.

While this may be true, I simply have to laugh at the timing.  What a joke.

Gm Hextall, and the Penguins had the chance, to shake up the team, this last offseason.  The Penguins had a boat load of Players about to become Free Agents, and yet they chose to re-sign the players they had to long term deals.

The Penguins opted for signing what they already knew they had.  So, how can anyone be shocked at who they are or where they are in the standings?

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Penguins Re-Signing

Letang-D signed for $6.1 Million over 6 years. ( Older, Past Health Issues, Turnover Prone)

Malkin-F signed for $6.1 Million over 4 years.  (Older, Past Injuries are catching up, Poor Defensively, not motivated to defend, weak on the draws.  Career 44% Face-off win %.)

Rackell-F signed for $5Million over 6 years.  (Can be a 30-goal scorer, hasn’t been for 5 years now.  Weak defender, not tough along the boards)

Kapanen-F signed for $3.2 Million over 2 years.  (Was brutal last year, wait, what, the Pens re-signed him for more term? WTF-Why the Face? Already healthy scratched in…I did not see that coming…lol)

Oh yeah, and this contract allowed your swiss army knife, Rodrigues to walk over to the Avs for $2 Million.  (And people are crying for more scoring depth in the bottom 6…really.)  He wasn’t the answer, however, he wasn’ t the problem either.

DeSmith-G signed for $1.8 Million over 2 years. ( I was not convinced he was the answer, I’m still not convinced he is.)

Heinen-F signed for $1 Million over 1 year.  (As a depth guy, I like his game.  He hits and has some sandpaper.  He is not a scorer, but you knew that already right.)

Tokarski-G signed for $775k over 1 year.  (Depth in G-ok)

Penguin Trades

Knowing what they already had, the Penguins opted to trade defenseman Matheson and a 4th round pick in 2023 to Montreal for Jeff Petry-D and Ryan Poehling-F.

The Penguins also traded Defensemen Marino to New Jersey for Ty Smith-D and a 3rd round pick in 2023.

Note; All are still on the roster.  Petry and Poehling are injured, while Smith is getting some playing time.

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So What?

Well, this brings us to the fact that, had the Penguins won a few more times in overtime, the narrative would be slightly different.

The Penguins Have Lost 6 Times on OT.  That 6 extras points would give the Penguins 52 points and place them third in the Metro Division.

Yes, I know it’s tough to win all the games in OT.  However, maybe what this means is…

The Penguins are simply missing C.L.O.S.E.R.S

C = Confidence

I really think the Penguins are missing the Confidence of Youth.  Today’s youth are a more confident and skilled player, in general.  They show up and try things, with little fear of failure.  They have no past scars, no dog house moment, as yet.  Sometimes, oblivion works in your favor.

L = Love

I also think the Penguins are missing the Love of the game that Youth brings to the rink, night in, night out.  That willingness to literally lay your body on the line, to help the team win.

I know all the Penguins love the game.  However they have very little to prove at this point in their careers.  So, on those random cold nights in January, in say, Edmonton, are they really motivated to put their body on the line, for a puck in the corner?  In say game 32 of 82, plus playoffs?

O = Obedience

In general, Youth are open and willing to learn.  They have yet to prove themselves and are willing to pay attention to detail.  The Old Vets, have heard the barking for so many years now, its just background noise.

S = Speed

Father time catches up to all of us.  Nothing beats the Speed of Youth.  Period.  The Penguins are the 3rd oldest team in the NHL.  Experience does not catch a speedy winger.  Youthful legs might.

E = Energy

Motivation, in general, is really hard to maintain, day in and day out, no matter what profession you are in, or in life for that matter.  The Penguins are missing the Energy of Youth.  There is just something about being around that Youthful Energy, whereby the Energy is transferred to others, by osmosis.

R = Resilience

The Penguins are missing the Health of Youth.  Young Legs, a Young Body and a Young Mind, are all part of resilience.  It also comes into play over the course of 82 games.  Recovery Re-load.

Winning Key Faceoffs late in the game.  Taking a hit to finish a play.  Passing a puck to a certain area for retrieval.  Proper Line Changes.  All speak to Focus and Resiliency.

Mentally, the Penguins are simply not focused on the task at hand in key moments of a game.  Aka, losing leads late in games.  See Canes, Det, NJ, Bos…to name a few recent blunders.

S = Special Teams

Yes I know, we got the horses to score goals at will.  Yes, I know there will be good times and bad on the Power Play.  Well folks, with this much All-World talent on the ice at one time, I feel like they should be able to score at least 1 goal per game on the PP.  It’s time to make it happen boys.

The Pens have a Top 3 Penalty Kill.  All good here.  Enough said.

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My View from the Cheap Seats

I thought the Penguins should have moved on from a few of their pending Free Agents and use that money to round out the roster, as well as bring in some skilled youth.  They Didn’t.

I thought Jarry would have played All-World lights out this season, given he is in the final year of his contract.  He Hasn’t.

I suppose you can say they addressed their Goalie, Defensemen and Forward depth by re-signing what they already knew and had…However with No Cap Room where do go from here?

You know what they say, “Once is a Fluke.  Twice is a Coincidence.  Three times is a Trend.”

Quote of the Day:

“Cause two out of three ain’t bad.”

Meatloaf – Singer / Songwriter