2. Mike Sullivan Can’t Figure it Out
Building on the previous point, Coach Mike Sullivan’s effectiveness in constructing lineups this season is under scrutiny, particularly with the power play.
The Penguins’ power play has grown stale, and much of this can be attributed to Sullivan’s lineup choices. His struggle extends beyond the power play; he has also had difficulty assembling a cohesive bottom six, especially at the beginning of the season. The core issue with these lineups is their predictability and the frustration they evoke among the fans.
A notable misstep was Sullivan’s decision to place Drew O’Connor on the Crosby line, a move that ultimately backfired. This decision, among others, raises questions about Sullivan’s current effectiveness, particularly when contrasted with his past success, including the Stanley Cup victories.
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While there’s no doubt about his effort, the results have been lacking, and unfortunately, that responsibility falls on him. In the high-stakes world of professional hockey, sometimes a coaching change is the catalyst a team needs to rejuvenate its strategies and morale.
It’s important to remember that coaching strategies that once brought success can become outdated. The NHL evolves, and so must a coach’s tactics. Comparing the Penguins’ current strategies with those employed during their Stanley Cup victories could reveal significant shifts in the league’s overall gameplay, necessitating a fresh coaching approach.
Another aspect to consider is player utilization. Are the Penguins’ key players being leveraged effectively in their current roles? I don’t think Erik Karlsson is being utilized correctly, and that’s something to consider.