Penguins Wouldda Couldda Shouldda Won

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 04: The New Jersey Devils celebrate a first period goal by Dawson Mercer #91 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Prudential Center on April 04, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - APRIL 04: The New Jersey Devils celebrate a first period goal by Dawson Mercer #91 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Prudential Center on April 04, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

As you know our beloved Pittsburgh Penguins missed the NHL Playoffs for the first time in 16 seasons.  Ouch, that hurts, just saying it out loud.  The reality is, they would have been one and done, given the make up this years’ edition.

I am still bitter over how this season played out and how it ended.  Which is why I have taken some to time away from writing about this team.  I cannot believe what a missed opportunity this season turned out to be.

Now, some of you are 100% Black n Gold believers and feel every year, is our year.  I am a positive person; however, I am a realist as well.  The reality was… this was not going to be our year.  Period.

Now, given how last season ended, in game 7 against the Rangers, I truly did believe that a slight re-tool was needed and Bingo, Bango, Bongo, we had a shot at it this year.  However, if and only if the Penguins Management Wouldda… and the Penguins Coaches Couldda…then the Penguins Players Shouldda…Won.

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How the Penguins ended last season, gave us all hope for better things in 2022-2023.  Losing in Game 7, means that you are actually oh – so – close to moving on to the next round.  However, tweaks were needed to be made by Penguins Management, LAST OFFSEASON, in order to have a legit shot at it all, in 2022-2023.

Of those upcoming Free Agents, only some would need to be signed, at Penguins friendly prices, while others would need to be let go.  That Did Not Happen.

Those Issues in Net would need to be addressed.  That Did Not Happen.

The Lack of Gritty Depth on forwards was an issue and would need to be addressed. That Did Not Happen.

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So, we all knew as of last season, that the Penguins had a Goaltending issue, both with injuries and Depth.   Penguins’ Management chose not to get a healthy goalie in the offseason.

Penguins’ management chose to re-sign what they knew has not worked in the past.  Even as they approached this year’s trade deadline, they did nothing to correct this major issue  What an Epic Fail.

Now don’t get me wrong, I would not have overpaid for goaltending at the trade deadline, however I’m sure the Penguins had options leading up to it.  It’s really funny how they got rid of Fleury and have been searching for a goalie ever since.  What an Epic Fail.

We all knew that the Penguins were entering a cap crunch, given who was about to become Free Agents and how much they wanted.  Again, Cap issues were created by Penguins Management.  Remember they handed out contract extensions to aging players?  How about re-signing struggling players for the same money and more term but expecting different results.

I think that is actually the definition of insanity.   Einstein said,  “the definition of insanity is, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.  Ta-da.

Yes, I like our players.  No, I do not like how much some get for their production value (which is defined as Point Production or Defensive Play or Faceoff win %..etc…)  Another Epic Fail.

We all knew this Penguins team was getting older.  That is rarely a recipe for success in sports.  Youth was never addressed, and if it was, then those players were not injected into the lineup properly, in order to make a difference in the games.  Another Epic Fail. (both Coaches and Penguins Management)

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So again, I come back to how it all ended last year.  The Penguins were a very skilled passing team that could make plays at top speeds.  They also played a gritty style of hockey.  They literally played some of the best hockey I have seen for a while from Mid November 2021 until Mid February 2022.  However, as we all know, the Playoffs begin in April.

This years’ edition of the Penguins, which was basically the same team as last year, never brought that same style of play to the rink each and every night.

This years Penguins struggled to play with pace. (They were the 3rd oldest team).  Time caught up to them and they are slow compared to ummm, say, New Jersey or Carolina.

This years Penguins gave the puck away like they were handing out Free Pizza’s.  This group had a hard time making plays at full speed, at all ends of the rink.

This years Penguins constantly gave up leads in games and rarely won the close games.

This years Penguins had a hard time winning in Overtime…?  They shouldda been able to overcome a few of these OT results, which would have got them into the Playoffs.

This years Penguins had heart but rarely showed it.  It’s not that they did not care.  It’s simply the long-term effect of been there, done that, and having nothing really to prove any longer.

An Epic Player Fail.

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Pittsburgh Penguins  Record as of March 31.2023

37-28-10 = 84 pts

5th – in the Metropolitan Division

7th – in Eastern Conference (ties)

12th -Tied Overall in NHL

Pittsburgh Penguins were holding the #2 Wild Card Playoff Spot, Eastern Conference.

At this point in time, the Penguins had 7 games remaining on their schedule.   All they had to do was win 4 of the 7, to make it into the Playoffs.  This was like the Play-In tourney in the NBA and they could not pull it off.

They could not do it when it mattered most.

So, it’s Game, Set and Match…Golf Season.

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My View from the Cheap Seats

The Penguins Wouldda Won if they would have signed a few Free Agents at better contracts and let go others to protect their cap space.  They would have had better results if they would have signed more gritty players to fill out the bottom 6.

The Penguins Couldda Won if they could have traded for a legit, healthy goalie and some back up G-Men, to help with load management.  I really believe that adding a little more youth into the line-up, could have helped the cause as well.

The Penguins Shouldda won with a lot more heart, desire, urgency, and Will to Win, especially with another productive year from Crosby and a healthy year from Malkin.

Wow, Penguins Management, what a huge Wouldda, Couldda, Shouldda Epic Fail.

I think the thing that bugs me the most is that Penguins Management did not address the issues last offseason.  Then when those issues remained a stumbling point on this season’s team, it was just really frustrating to watch.

You know, Rob Pelinka, GM of the NBA LA Lakers, created a team last offseason, he thought would work.  By the Happy New Year of 2023, it was obvious to all watching, that it did not.  He admitted as such by re-vamping the team prior to the Trade Deadline.  The LA Lakers are currently in the Conference Finals.

It’s really hard when you have a vision or a goal, create something you think will get you to that vision/goal, then realize that it’s not going to plan.  A true leader can see the barriers in front of the vision/goal and do everything in their power to remove those barriers, in order to attain that vision or goal.

Well, at least Penguins Management knows, what WOULD work, what they COULD do to fix it and what they SHOULD do about it….NOW.

Quote of the Day:

“It’s Time for Change”

Marc Penner – Writer / Author – Site Expert