For those of you that didn’t know that the Penguins’ defense is payed a whopping 26.5 million dollars, second only to the Winnipeg Jets’ defense, it may come as quite the surprise. Many would have never imagined the Penguins defense was that expensive, mainly because as of late, their defense hasn’t been showing that they are deserving of holding the title of Second highest paid defense. But somehow they took this extremely pricey, and often referred to as a “no-name”, defense to back to back Stanley Cup Championships.
There is a common phrase, “Sometimes Defense is the best Offense”, which certainly is true with this Penguin team, but the opposite is also true, “Sometimes Offense is the best Defense.” The latter seemed to be the motto from the 2015-2016 Penguins. They can’t score if you are the one taking the shots. Especially during the playoffs, the Penguins were in their opponents end most of the time. The defense could so easily get the puck out of their own end and get it to their forwards. And when that didn’t work, a young but solid Matt Murray was able to thwart most of the opponent’s attempts.
The Penguins seemed to take a little bit of a different approach this past season. They tried to weather the storm and then jump on any little mistake made by the opposing team and make them pay for it. That’s how the Penguins could win a game against the best team in the West with a mere 11 shots. They let their opponents wear themselves out and then took charge and threw everything that had at the net.
Now thus far, the Penguins defense has been looking really weak and nothing like a core that deserves to be paid 27 million. They haven’t been consistently, well, anything.
Then again neither has the rest of the team. In fact, one of the few consistently solid players has been Olli Maatta, who has looked insane both defensively and offensively. (Check out this piece by fellow Lets Talk Pens writer, Sam Salas, on Maatta here https://letstalkpenguins.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/maatta-improving-his-game ).
Maatta has already topped his point total from last year, but other than that and a surprisingly fairly decent penalty kill, the Penguins defense has been at best mediocre. There has been more than enough of sloppy play and poorly executed defensive attempts this season.
When they don’t have one of the top 5 goalies in the league behind them to bail them out, unspeakable things like the horrific 10-1 loss to the Blackhawks. They need to look at what made them successful in past seasons and try to get back to playing like that. So far the offense has certainly bailed out this pricey defense, but if the Penguins want to 3-peat, the defense can’t keep playing as sloppy as they have.