Yesterday I defied the heading you just read. I’ve been frustrated with the Penguins performances lately, and whilst I’m not watching every game, I try to follow the team as close as time allows and watch games whenever I can, albeit most often just the 2nd and 3rd periods. I encountered an article that proposed an argument of why the Penguins should fire Dan Bylysma and didn’t disagree with it. I still don’t. Problematic to me is that it’s not all his fault, I don’t blame him for last year, that was on Ray Shero. He took a pick axe to the locker room chemistry. It’s been tried before and failed, but it worked when last the Pens won the cup; Bylysma coached up Therrian’s team, who had lost the locker room.
Every local sports area has the iconic guy that people either love or hate. Usually that guy is decidedly negative and always has a crappy opinion about everything, and how it’s all terrible. If you’re not a Pittsburgh sports fan, this guy is Stan Savran. He’s the guy who never quit waiting for the other shoe to drop during the Pirates run to the playoffs, and when they lost in the divisional round espoused “I told you so’s” like manna for the people. During the Pens pregame I’m watching he came on to talk about how terrible they’ve been since the Olympic break. In the graphic they showed, pre-Olympic Penguins were 6th or tied for 6th in goals, power play goals and assists (respectively). Post-Olympics, they’re tied for 4th in goals with 9, 2nd in power play goals with 3, and last in assists with 12.
I hate being on the side of Stan Savran, and I’m not after seeing that graphic. Statistically they’re not worse, it’s just that the pressure is on. The assist statistic is the sole reason that they’re losing games. I’ve never seen anyone pass more poorly, at all, ever. They may as well intentionally be passing it to the opposition because at the rate they miss their passes they’d be more likely to hit their own player with the puck. #1, #2, #3 on what to fix is passing. The rest are defense. I understand he’s not going to give up the ghost on dump and run, push to the blue line and hope for the best style of offense, but if you can’t pass it’s just not going to work. I’m not going to panic, I’m going to hope that I can spend my birthday watching the Pens competing for the Stanley Cup.