Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



The NHL has an 82-game season. The NFL's is 17. It’s not fair to parse what happens in every Penguins game like it’s the Spanish Inquisition. 

But the bottom defense pair and bottom-six forwards provide early worry. 

The bottom-six forwards are easy to analyze: After four games, none of them has a goal.

Bottom-six forwards don’t have to score a lot. But they can’t not score at all. 

A shakeup is imminent. Winger Jansen Harkins got waived. Center Noel Acciari is injured. 

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton farm club harbors lots of excrement to throw at that wall. Not least Radim Zohorna, who had a good training camp with the Penguins. 

The bottom defense pair is a more complicated story. 

Chad Ruhwedel and P-O Joseph mangled Wednesday’s 6-3 loss at Detroit. 

Ruhwedel played 8:59 and was minus-2. Joseph played 11:36 and was minus-3. 

You can’t be on the ice that little and hurt the team that much. 

Ryan Shea and John Ludvig await their chance to man the blue line. Each has been a healthy scratch the first four games. 

Both play left-handed. Coach Mike Sullivan doesn't often play defensemen on their opposite side. But Sullivan might not have a choice: Kris Letang is hurt.

The most basic solution is that the players in lesser roles must do better 

Jeff Carter missed two nailed-on chances at Detroit, including a breakaway. 

Ruhwedel and Joseph were absolutely flailing Wednesday night. 

UPDATE: Letang and Acciari practiced Friday. So, the only definite decision to be made appears to be who plays in place of Harkins when the Penguins visit St. Louis Saturday night. 

Chicago Blackhawks v Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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