Wow, it has been a while since I have blogged. Mainly due to business of my schedule, and the fact that I was sick over break. Unfortunately, this is not my full time job, so I kind of put off the blogging for a while.
But, I am back.
So I wanted to discuss my thoughts on the scoring depth for the Penguins. It was supposed to be good, right? In regards to the guys the Penguins have playing in the bottom 6 on a given night, you’re looking at Hornqvist, Dupuis, Kunitz, Bonino, Plotnikov, Sprong, Bennett, and Cullen.
That sure sounds good doesn’t it?
Well, it hasn’t been good, unfortunately. And neither has either of the Penguins’ superstars, especially Crosby.
However, I will say that Malkin has actually been on FIRE lately. In case you didn’t see it, here was his goal that left me speechless for a good 24 hours. My favorite Malkin goal besides his goal in the playoffs in ’09.
I also want to note that since Malkin stepped up to the media after that terrible 4-0 loss to New Jersey, he has 10 points in 6 games, and has scored the Penguins’ last 4 goals.
Crosby is getting a little bit better, and Johnston has decided to reunite him with Dupuis and Kunitz on the top line tonight against the Sharks. I do not know how well this is going to work, but here’s to hoping all of these players find their chemistry and skill they had 2 or 3 years ago.
Anyways, back to the depth guys.
So when the stars don’t produce, the depth guys need to be helping out, right? GM Jim Rutherford made sure that should be the case after acquiring plenty of solid bottom 6 players.
Well, let’s see how these guys are doing.
Patric Hornqvist has 8 points in 23 games and is a -4. This is also considering that he has played a good half of the season on the top line.
Dupuis looked great for that one game he came back after his potential blood clot scare, but has not looked the same since. I just get that sense that Dupuis is just hitting that wall of age. Love him as a locker room guy, but he only has 4 points in 15 games.
Kunitz has looked better as of late, but only has 3 points, all 3 are goals, in 23 games playing on both the top line with Crosby and the 3rd line with Bonino.
Bonino is a good 3rd line center, and I do like him as a Penguin, but even he has only 5 points in 22 games played.
Plotnikov has also been much better as of late, especially against the Blues where the 4th line of the Penguins tortured them. That being said, he only has 2 assists in 17 games and has yet to find the back of the net.
Sprong has 2 goals in 14 games, but it’s hard to blame the guy. He plays with passion and energy but even when he is dressed, he rarely ever sees ice time. I’ll have an article on him specifically later this week.
Bennett looked so good in the preseason and even early on in the season, but it just does not seem like this guy fits in the NHL. I want too like Beau Bennett, but he is a -8 with 6 points in 18 games.
Cullen has 5 points in 23 games and is a +6. I am actually okay with what Cullen has done, especially in a 4th line role. A few more points wouldn’t hurt, but he has at least been doing what he needs to do.
So yeah, you can blame Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel for not scoring, but it is not always on them. The depth guys need to start panning out. But then again, having a head coach that has this offense ranked 25th in the NHL probably isn’t helping too much…