The Penguins are off to one of their best starts in team history and everything seems to be coming together except one area. The shootout.
Now, being a fan of old time hockey, I'd prefer to see the shootout go by the wayside. But being in the minority and seeing how the fans react, I'm afraid it is here to stay.
Therefore, the Penguins coaching staff needs to reevaluate who they choose to be in the shootout. As of late, it has been the combination of Sykora, Malkin, and Crosby. Only Sykora has shown any good history in the shootout. But this season none of the three have yet to produce any viable results.
The solution seems simple. The scouting reports are quite extensive on superstar players. Coaches and goalies alike study films of the snipers they are going to face that night.
It gives the goalie the edge and allows them to make the last move to stop the shot. I say have players such as Letang and Goligoski as part of your top three shooters. They are defensemen with some success in the shootout in the past. There won't be much film on these players and the goalies will be guessing.
With the departure of Ruutu and Christensen, both shootout standouts last year, the Pens have been lackluster at best in this area. Yet, Coach Therrien continues to send the same three players out shootout after shootout.
Lately, the stellar goaltending of Fleury and Sabourin have kept the Pens alive in the shootout so we can get past the same Sykora, Malkin and Crosby.
I say it is worth a try. The results can't be much worse. In this tight division, the Penguins need all the points they can get in the quest for the cup. Settling for one point and conceding the other in the shootout will not get the job done.