The Pittsburgh Penguins are picking up the pieces after a stunning sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins on Friday. Plenty of people would rather not hear the many excuses, particularly ones like “it was against a strong team” and “at least it happened in the conference finals.”
One can see where those critics are coming from when you look at the most troubling stats: zero points in the third-round series for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Almost as bad: two goals in almost 14 periods for the team that lead the NHL in scoring during the regular season.
Still, the Penguins have been one of the league’s best teams during the past several years, even with significant injury hurdles to clear almost every season.
Some want to push the red button and blow everything up. Others think it’s a bad idea to put too much weight in a four-game series when you consider the Penguins’ past successes.
Whether the decisions come swiftly or deeper into the offseason, the answers will eventually come. What do you think, though? Should the Penguins stay the course or blow it up?
Feel free to be more specific about which changes – if any – should be made.
The Girardi-for-Klein switch is no huge surprise. Both d-men have been battling injuries, with Klein only returning Sunday after an extended absence due to back spasms. Head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters that he “didn’t want to put two injured defensemen in at the same time,” so Klein gets the night off tonight.
AV says Girardi is back in tonight for Klein, who "felt a little tightness" after Sunday's game in Anaheim. #NYR
As for the potential scratching of Buchnevich, that decision would be slightly more controversial. The 21-year-old has two goals and three assists in his last 11 games, but clearly has not gained the full trust of his coach.
AV adds #NYR will have one extra forward and one extra defenseman during warmups tonight and will make final decision after.
Joe Gambardella, the UMass-Lowell senior that scored 52 points in 41 games this year, has signed a two-year, entry-level deal with Edmonton, the club announced on Monday.
Gambardella, 23, captured this year’s Walter Brown award as the top American-born collegiate player in New England. He beat out the likes of Clayton Keller, Colin White, Charlie McAvoy and Tage Thompson for the honor, and joined a distinguished list of past winners.
Gambardella is the first UMass-Lowell player to ever win the award, which has been given out annually since 1953. It capped off a nice year in which he also paced the River Hawks to the NCAA tournament.
The Arizona Coyotes will honor Craig Cunningham with a ceremonial puck drop on April 8 before their final home game of the season against the Minnesota Wild.
From the team press release:
Cunningham, who survived a medical emergency prior to the Tucson Roadrunners game on November 19, has made a remarkable recovery. Fans will have an opportunity to congratulate him on the tremendous courage, willpower and perseverance he’s demonstrated throughout his rehabilitation.
The 26-year-old’s hockey career is unfortunately over after doctors were forced to amputate part of his left leg due to concerns over infection.
True to form, though, he’s maintained a positive attitude.
“Obviously I miss playing every single day, and I miss the atmosphere around the locker room,” Cunningham said, per the Arizona Daily Star. “The guys have been great. From Day 1, they’ve been to see me every day. It’s been pretty incredible.”