Penguins Lacking Bodies In Front Of The Net

Scott BarnerContributor INovember 3, 2008

Depending on who you talk to or what local sports talk show you listen to, there are a variety of reasons for the less than desirable start by the Penguins.  

Some blame the lack of Whitney and Gonchar in the lineup, others feel that it is the constant shuffling of the lines by the coaching staff. Still, others feel it is players like Crosby and Malkin trying to make the pretty play and not sniping for the net.

As I see it, all of those are contributing factors, but none is hurting the Pens as much as a lack of someone parking in front of the net during offensive rushes.  

With the departure of Ryan Malone, the Pens have not found that "get your nose dirty guy" to park in front of the net and cause the opposing goalie fits.

Noone seems to want to get that dirty goal. The guy who should be there and has the perfect size and strength for the job is Jordan Staal.  Particularly since he has just one goal on the season and that was an empty netter against St. Louis last Saturday night.

He himself has been quoted as saying that his play has not been up to standards so far this season. What a confidence boost a few ugly goals from in front of the crease would be to this young player. Also, not to mention the help the Pens need as of late putting shots on goal and points on the board.

There are a few other big bodies on the roster with the likes of Goddard and Bissonette that should be sticking themselves in front of the net trying to pick up the garbage and torment goalies while creating traffic in front of the net.  

Kevin Stevens was a master at this during the cup years with the Penguins. He is now a scout in the Pens organization.

Maybe the coaching staff could call on Stevens to help school these youngsters in the art of "cherry picking." Kevin can tell you that with some sacrifice to the body can come some points on the board.

However the Coaching staff approaches this issue, I just hope it is soon.  Goalies are just too good and have too much speed to just let them make stop after stop with no bodies in front to pick up the garbage.