That’s the question that has plagued Penguin and non-Penguin fans since the beginning of the NHL season.
Whether it be the total and complete lack of scoring from the offense to the abysmal production of the top talent, many have reason to be concerned about the Penguins.
I, myself, am baffled by the events unfolding and find it increasingly difficult to watch a Penguins game in its entirety.
Heck, on Mondays and Thursdays, I’ve been tuning out in favor of watching Monday Night RAW and Thursday Night Smackdown! (that is another topic on frustrating television, mind you), which is something I never thought I’d find myself doing.
And yet, here we are.
But what exactly is the cause for the Penguins struggles?
Can the blame be pinpointed to one specific factor?
First, you have an underperforming offense.
Of all the talent on the roster-Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Patrick Hornqvist-you’d think the Penguins would be one of the most offensively productive teams in the NHL.
Yeah, they rank 25th in the entire league and are averaging 2.2 goals per game.
Crosby, supposedly the best player in the league, has a total of 15 points and five goals through 23 games.
Kessel, who was brought in to bolster the Penguins’ offense, has seven points.
The power play is abysmal and scores only 16-percent of the time.
These are hardly numbers of an elite offense, let alone a decent one.
It is simply inexplicable as to why such a stacked offense should be struggling as much as they are.
Many would point to the coaching staff as the source for this atrocity, and while I don’t believe all of it is their fault- the players aren’t exactly giving it their all- a good portion of the blame can be laid at their feet.
Mike Johnston was supposedly brought in to remedy the mistakes of former head coach Dan Bylsma, and yet we’re just seeing more of the same, with one key exception: Bysmal advocated for fast-paced, east to west offense, whereas Johnston favors a grounded defense to capture victories.
Is this really a style suited for the Penguins?
Should they be utilizing a trap-style of defense when they have a talent pool capable of a high-flying offense?
Needless to say, the Penguins have a lot of work on their hands.
Can they improve?
They better be quick, or else they’ll have quite the hole to dig themselves out of.