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SBN Reacts: Rutherford’s departure sends Penguins’ fans confidence cratering

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All is not well right now for the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least according to their fans

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Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

This is SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NHL. Each week, SB Nation sends out questions to the most plugged in Pittsburgh Penguins fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.

The 2021 season has been far from smooth, both for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the rest of the league.

In the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, 21 percent of Penguins fans said they are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s down from 23 percent last week and 52 percent two weeks ago.

The main turning point of the season, at least for this poll, can be pointed directly towards January 27th. That’s the day general manager Jim Rutherford announced a stunning resignation, sending the future of the Pens into a shaky, uneasy feeling that has continued.

Despite dealing with Rutherford’s departure and a rash of injuries to the defense, the Pens are 7-4-1 in the last 12 games after losing the first two. Many advanced models still have them trending towards a likely playoff spot, but the team has not played all that well. Their power play has been a mess, Evgeni Malkin has not had a good season and several other players look more disjointed than on a roll.

Because of the up and down nature of the Penguins season, 83 percent of Penguins fans said they are concerned about the team’s depth.

The biggest issue facing the Penguins and every other team in the NHL is clearly problems surrounding COVID-19. Teams around the league have had to reschedule games and deal with players missing after testing positive. However, even with that less than one-quarter of fans around the country think the NHL needs a league-wide pause to the season.

To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.