Student Advisory Board
As the NHL season gets underway, there are many headlines heading into the new year. The offseason was filled with many trades that had many star players end up on new teams. One of the bigger names traded was the speedy, right winger, Phil Kessel. Kessel was a big name many general managers wanted to get on their team. The Pittsburgh Penguins were fortunate enough to land the former Toronto Maple Leaf. With the addition of Kessel to the Penguins, it just adds another superstar to a team full of stars already. With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Marc-Andre Fleury, and now Phil Kessel, the team has been over powered with high caliber players ready to win a Stanley Cup.
The season opened up for the Penguins on October 8th against the Dallas Stars, which was a strong first opponent to go up against for the first game. Nobody would have predicted a shutout loss to the Stars as the Penguins lost three to zero. With the star power on the team and the way they clicked in the preseason, being held to no goals was a bit of a shocking result. Another odd note to the game was Sidney Crosby was held without a shot on goal. He is an elite player and for him not to get even one shot on goal is not up to his standards. The Penguins can’t succeed without their star players performing at their high skill level.
The next game was against the Arizona Coyotes, and again with the talent that the Penguins have there was no way they would lose two in a row. But, Arizona’s goalie Mike Smith was on his game and shutdown the Penguins, as the Coyotes won two to one. A positive out of the loss was the fact that the Penguins got their first goal of the year from newcomer, Phil Kessel. On the goal though, it was unassisted, so the Penguins only have one point on the year, so far. The Penguins should have more than just one point on the season, since they have such great talent. Luckily it is early in the season, but it just doesn’t look good when a team with such star power is having troubles scoring.
For their third game of the year the Penguins were up against the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens have a MVP and Vezina Trophy winning goalie on their team, Carey Price. This is a little bit of a concern, since the Penguins didn’t look like they were on their game for the first two games. But, the Penguins hung in against the Canadiens and actually scored more than one goal and got some assists on the goals as well. The defense and mistakes led to three Montreal goals, which proved to be enough hto beat the Penguins three to two. Evgeni Malkin tallied his first assist, but Crosby was held pointless and just didn’t look like his normal self again.
The overall theme so far from the past three games is the defense looks to have problems that need to be addressed and the super stars need to score a lot more. Certain aspects that are obviously an early problem is they need to find a way to get the power play going again. This team should be number one in power play rankings with all of the skill and fire power they have. The defense looks slow and over powered already, which isn’t a good sign. With the low point production and from what has been seen of the superstars They haven’t had a power play goal yet, and they just don’t look good when they are getting there opportunities. The Penguins are built to win now, since Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Letang, and Kessel are getting older and slower. There doesn’t seem to be the certain desire or drive to win like there was when they won the Stanley Cup in 2009. It definitely is early in the season, but I don’t think this is the way that the Penguins wanted to start of the season. Early playoff exits, not being able to beat teams in their division, and lack of production late in the year have been ongoing themes that need to change if they want to win again.