The Pittsburgh Penguins are on thin ice

The Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t missed a playoff since Crosby’s rookie season in 2007. But this year might be the end of their 16-season streak. This has me asking, “OK Google, What the $#%& is going on with the Penguins?”

I am not super knowledgeable about hockey in general. However, I chose to become absolutely infatuated with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the beginning of my freshman year, and right now… I’m kind of regretting it. They’re currently doing absolute garbage, having lost just as many games as they’ve won (24-15-9) overall, and just absolutely eating shit in their last 20 games (8-7-5). They’re on an unsteady path towards the bottom of the league, so what gives?

While most of my Penguins news comes from a few select Instagram and Twitter accounts, I believe I am informed enough to say that the recent slew of injuries is certainly not helping. It all started with Jason Zucker… just kidding. Even before every single player that has ever been helpful went out for various injuries, the Pens started the season off wrong with a seven-game losing streak that crushed my spirit. As far as I can tell, a lot of people like to blame that losing streak on Teddy Bleuger being out for an injury for the first 15 games of the season. I’m not sure how much I buy it, but things did start to look up for a bit after he came back. I personally would like to blame that streak on their special teams being sort of ass during that period. On that specific losing streak, the Pens only scored on four out of a whopping 26 power plays, and allowed seven shots on 22 penalty kills. This is pretty garbage!! Compare this to a stretch of seven better games from the beginning of December, where they successfully scored on 11 out of 27 PPs and killed 18 out of 22 penalties. We know what the Pens are capable of, so what the hell was going on?

Anyway, enough about October, back to the Penguins’ recent major suckage. I’ll go back to blaming this on injuries for now. Since mid-December, the Pens have been coming and going like mad. First Zucker, then Malkin, then Archibald, Poehling, Letang. The one that really broke my heart was seeing my most dearly beloved Tristan Jarry leave the Winter Classic halfway through the first period with a vague lower body injury, but the bad luck didn’t stop there. Just as we started to finally get a few players back, we were hit with more injuries to Petersson, Rutta, and Kapanen. Jarry returned for a whopping two games before leaving again with a brand new, unrelated upper body injury. What the hell is going on here? Do we need to wrap the players in bubble wrap to have a chance at the playoffs? Is this what we get for having the oldest team in the NHL? Am I being punished for something? The questions keep coming, but the answers remain elusive.

My final Pens Beef™ is their absolute lack of any sort of skill as soon as regulation play ends. If I’m listening to or paying attention to a game, I literally abandon hope as soon as I know it’s going to OT. “But Haley,” you might be saying, “that’s so pessimistic, don’t you have any faith in the skills of your team?” NO I DO NOT! In this season, the Penguins have gone to overtime on 13 different occasions. Out of those thirteen times, do you know how many lead to a Peng-win? FOUR!! What is going on here?! Do they just forget how to play after 60 minutes? Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was less than that! They like to do this thing where they play one EXQUISITE period, and then proceed to be absolute dogwater for the rest of the game. How in God’s name did they blow a five point lead to the Redwings? Who knows! Certainly not me, and if bestie Mike Sullivan knows, he’s doing a dogshit job of fixing it.

On a slightly less objective note, I personally like to blame Casey DeSmith for a lot of the Pens’ losses. I know it’s not really his fault, but blaming him is easy and free, and no one can stop me. Besides, how can I not hate him next to Tristan Jarry? With his 7-9-4 record up against Jarry’s 16-5-5, can you really blame me for crying out in anguish every time I hear DeSmith is in the net?

In conclusion, no one can really name any one reason that the Pittsburgh Penguins are soggy right now. Maybe it’s because they’re old, maybe it’s because they’re injured, maybe they’re not giving it their best effort, or maybe it’s all that damned Casey DeSmith’s fault. Whatever it is, something needs to change fast if we want any shot at another Stanley Cup anytime soon. Better yet, what the hell — why not just tank for Bedard?