This is proof that this team isn't as bad as the record indicates. They've beaten some good teams this year. When the effort and the confidence are there, they can compete. By no means are they a good team even with great efforts like tonight, but they're not last in the league.
Early on, I think the problem was largely effort. This team was too relaxed. The older players were running the show, and they weren't exactly cut out for the new NHL. Right now, it's more of a confidence issue. There are so many young players on this team that just don't feel comfortable in the NHL yet. Look at Ryan Whitney. He played with confidence tonight, just as he did when he first was recalled, and he looked great. Most of the time, he's unsure of himself, and he struggles.
Ultimately, of course, it boils down to a lack of talent. There are too many fringe players on the roster. Guys like Endicott and Koltsov take regular shifts and produce absolutely nothing. Cory Cross got embarrassed tonight. Rita doesn't really impress me. Even a guy like Colby Armstrong, whom I like, is a third liner playing on the top line. I did think Christensen brought something we've been missing. Hopefully he and Talbot are back up for good after the Olympics. They aren't going to be world changers, but I think we'll see some difference with them on the roster over an Endicott (hopefully) and Koltsov. One guy that will really make a difference for the Pens next season is Malkin.