The majority of the blame for the Penguins’ disappointing performance over their last five playoff years must be placed at the feet of GM Ray Shero. Any housecleaning must include Shero as well as Coach Dan Bylsma.
The Penguins’ roster is incredibly flawed. It’s the softest Penguins team I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen them all.
In trying to set an example for how hockey should be, Shero constructed a team that is infinitely removed from what’s needed to win.
The Penguins had zero grit. Most of their players are wimps by birth, never mind choice. Lack of grit means the opposition has no accountability.
Before every game, I guarantee the Rangers were in their locker room saying, “Go after Crosby. Go after Malkin. They won’t do anything about it.” The Rangers tortured those two, especially Crosby. The Penguins had no remedy.
The stockpiling of defensemen was insane. Signing a washed-up Rob Scuderi was the final nail in that coffin.
The Penguins had Brian Gibbons playing first-line wing. Simon Despres, their first-round pick in 2009, is playing defense in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. AHL wingers in the NHL. NHL defensemen in the minors. Crazy.
Despres has never gotten a fair chance. RW Beau Bennett has never gotten a fair chance as befits his skill set.
The best way to get a fair chance with the Penguins is to have no talent. Brian Gibbons, Joe Vitale and Deryk Engelland should not be in the NHL. Craig Adams is over the hill. But all those players got more nurturing and respect than young players with legitimate pedigree.
Bylsma has to go. Shero has to go. The whole hockey staff should go.
A promising situation got totally F’d up. There is blood everywhere. Nobody should come back. Anybody who does is the face of failure. These last five years should have been glorious. Now, they need to be buried.