Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



I wrote a column for the Trib that says the Penguins need more from Erik Karlsson and Evgeni Malkin. Here’s an excerpt detailing Karlsson’s flaws: 

Karlsson is a human hand grenade on defense, an exploding pinata of puzzling turnovers and odd-man breaks against.  

Karlsson's stats are OK: Seven goals, 25 assists, plus-10 in 43 games. But they don't justify his defensive lapses. 

Letang has just three less points despite being relegated from the top power play by Karlsson. Letang has outplayed Karlsson badly. Full credit to Letang, but that wasn’t supposed to happen.  

Karlsson has been rotten on the power play, mostly refusing to shoot.  

I expected, after victories, to more often say, “Wow, Karlsson did a lot to win that game.” That hasn’t happened. Karlsson hasn’t had proper impact, not for a defending Norris Trophy winner who’s making $11.5 million. 

To read the entire piece, click HERE

On the other side of that coin, Letang has been great. 

Besides Sidney Crosby, Letang is the Penguins’ MVP. 

Letang has accepted his de facto demotion because of Karlsson’s presence with zero complaint. He’s picked up his defensive game, administered grit and physicality in ready amounts, and his production is still solid: Three goals and 26 assists in 43 games. Letang provides his usual one-man breakout. He does fine with whatever power-play time he gets. 

It’s shaping up as one of Letang’s best seasons. Acknowledge him. 

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers

Photo: Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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