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Regrettably, Mike Sullivan has lost the plot

March 19, 2023, 2:47 PM ET [92 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Penguins headed into the past week with a great opportunity to reshape the standings and close in on the New York Rangers. It was a pipe dream. They came up way short. After sneaking out an overtime victory over the Rangers last Sunday they blew it against Montreal and then dropped two consecutive games to the Rangers at MSG. They’ve lost three in a row for the sixth time this year. Now, the Rangers are now 12 points ahead of the Penguins, but worse is the wild card picture. After the victory over the Rangers last Sunday the Penguins had a 96.1% of making the playoffs per MoneyPuck.

After this week the Penguins have slipped to 64.4%. The Islanders were 47.8% and are now 63.3%. The Panthers were 41% and are now 66.4%. Those Panthers are sitting behind the Penguins with the same number of games played and only a single point down. There are 13 games remaining and the Penguins don’t look able to fix the issues which plague them almost every game.

The repetitiveness of how the Penguins come up short has made both maddening and boring. It is like watching the same bad movie over and over again. Jeff Carter, Brian Dumoulin, and Tristan Jarry have combined to sink the team more times than not. There is nothing to suggest there is a willingness to change and try not to let this happen. Mike Sullivan is doing some of his worst work as Penguins coach this season. Make no mistake his general manager has given him subpar ingredients, but if we are to believe Mike Sullivan is a top end coach in the league then perhaps he shouldn’t be making his lineup choices based on faceoffs.

Who cares? It doesn’t matter. He is poison to this team on the ice. A few faceoffs are never going to outweigh his other catastrophic flaws this year. It is insane how many goals Carter is directly responsible for this year. Winning draws is less important than what the players do after them. This is excuse making behavior for a player who doesn’t deserve it. Also, even when Carter is at his best on draws it doesn’t do much.

Carter is out here proving how overrated faceoff percentage is while his coach quadruples down on it.

I don’t expect Mike Sullivan to bury his players in the media. It isn’t his style. I do expect him to give a generic answer instead of admitting he is out to lunch on maximizing his roster

Those players are big problems, coach. Incredibly obvious and transparent problems. This isn’t some campaign to intentionally slander players who don’t deserve it. People spend their evenings and afternoons watching this team as an entertainment outlet. Almost everybody who does so is coming to the same conclusion(s). Probably the most disappointing comment was the lack of awareness Sullivan showed in his role with it all

Stop putting them in difficult circumstances! You control the player deployment! They can’t handle it. This is admitting in bright neon lights what a bad job you are doing as a coach. I want more from the head coach who’s three-year contract extension doesn’t kick in until AFTER the 2023-24 season.

Lastly, you can’t really do much if your goaltending stinks. The Penguins #1 guy hasn’t been good lately. He’s sprinkled in some acceptable starts since coming back. More times than not he’s been down right rotten.

Between this and the coach’s choices these next 13 games are ripe for frustration.

Thanks for reading!
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