Stoosh wrote:I think a big reason why this team struggled early on was because they were getting absolutely NOTHING from their third and fourth lines. When the scoring slumps started to extend to guys in the top two lines, it only compounded the problem.
And we haven't even gotten to the defense yet, which was bad in 03-04 and didn't receive any real serious upgrade as far as play in our own end was concerned.
All told, maybe this was the problem. The euphoria of a favorable CBA combined with the elation of getting Crosby to create this illusion that this team could make up the 30-40 points in the standings that it would take to get to the playoffs. The fans lost sight of just how monumental a task that was but even worse, so did the front office.
That's not to say the free agent market will blow up in our faces every time. I actually thought CP was doing a great job with the Palffy and Gonchar signings. But again, I think everyone let themselves get too caught up in "let's make a Cup run for Mario", and free agency became a tool to replace the rebuilding process rather than supplementing it.
The problem can be fixed and let's face it...if you're going to rebuild, having Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, and Whitney in the fold is a nice place to start.
Well said, Stoosh. The thinking was that guys like Fata and Koltsov had put up some points as more top-line players, so they should be moderately productive as third or fourth liners. Can't argue with the logic, but it was a huge misjudgement.
But the far bigger error was a failure to upgrade the defense and understand how the new enforcement would expose them. I, too, had no problem signing Gonchar. But that should ahve been only one part of a total revamp. Instead, Patrick decided that guys like Tarnstrom, Jackman, Melichar, and Orpik would be just fine. That was a gross error, as was thinking guys like Poapst and Odelein could contribute at all in the new speed-oriented game.
They are going to have to go into the free agent market for defensemen, but it won't be easy. With the uncertainty over where the franchise will be, a FA will have a hard time justifying going to the Pens. In addition, if they aren't sold, I can't see current ownership going out and committing any money. A new ownership group will want a clean slate.
The future does look bright. I just hope they bring in a new GM to adequately assess the needs and then act smartly to fill them.