The Penguins still have 25+ games remaining on the schedule, so anything is possible. But with all of this talk of the Penguins needs - a scoring winger, a defensive defenseman, a comparable backup goaltender, a new coach - it's only right to take a look at the team and see why they allegedly "need" these things.
If all of the players on this team played up to expectations, the only thing the Pens would need right now is good health. We all know what Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are capable of, but this is more than just a two-man show.
As we've seen through the progression of this season, injuries have left a few players down and out at times (Ruslan Fedotenko), but overall there has to be something else. Someone else. Who can step it up for the Pens as they head down the stretch?
|2008 - Miroslav Satan||14||17||31||-1||32|
People are raggin on Miroslav Satan and perhaps with good reason. He's a natural goal scorer, or so they say, who can work his way into any system. Earlier in the season I remember Satan's projections being somewhere in the 40+ goal department. It was wishful thinking at it's finest.
While Satan is definitely not playing up to par this season, he's not the only one.
|2008 - Tyler Kennedy||9||11||20||7||15|
Where has Tyler Kennedy been?
Two of those nine goals came in the season opener against Ottawa when the Pens opened up in Sweden. Granted TK had a bit of an injury problem for 2-4 weeks (if I remember correctly it was rib/upper body related), but his production leaves much to be desired. He's a hustler, I'll give him that. You'd hope that consistent focus like that would ultimately lead to a few pucks rolling his way. As the Pens head down the stretch here, that's unfortunately the kind of hope we as fans find ourselves relying on.
|2008 - Matt Cooke||7||12||19||-6||67|
I can't figure this guy out. Is he top line material? Is he better on the checking line? It's so hard to say. The first night Michel Therrien experimented with Cookie alongside Sid it looked like the future would be brighter, the Penguins' goals much higher and the hopes of a playoff berth all the better. And then what - he just kinda disappeared.
Cooke has played his part in drawing penalties and sticking up for teammates, but the added bonus, if not the slight tease, was what he brought to the ice when on Sid's wing.
|2008 - Ryan Whitney||1||9||10||-11||12|
When Ryan Whitney returned on December 23, Pens nation felt this was just the remedy the power play needed. One of the team's top two defensemen was back in the lineup and would hopefully produce efficiently enough to boost the team.
|2008 - Pascal Dupuis||9||6||15||-1||18|
If not for the occasional penalty I'd almost forget this guy played for Pitt. Four assists over the past seven games is worthy of playing time, but since his hat trick against the Islanders on December 11, Dupuis has only hit the mesh three times over 18 games.
Doop's role on this team is not that of a sniper. He's a PK guy and a third liner. The disappointment comes in the false hope of it all. If his slapshot were a sports car he'd have his license suspended. He's not a finesse player but he is the ideal guy you want to have putting pucks on net for rebound chances. In other words, if he can't find the back of the net then hopefully he can help others in doing so.
Those are just a few of the guys I feel need to step it up as we head down the stretch. Clearly there are others you can toss into the mix, but it's almost at a point where you can include the entire team. So step up and let me know if I missed someone, if you disagree with my choices or if you think someone from the farm might be a bigger help than someone on the team already.