All this talk about the "system"...I dont think the system was the problem. They didn't play any system during the Flyers series so you can't blame the system. You can blame Bylsma for not making any adjustments are having control over his players. PP adjusment, PK adjustments, 5-on-5 adjustments? Where were they?
While we are on coaches, why no venom for Todd Reirden? Have any of the team's defensemen improved since he took over? Any of the young guys getting better? Any of the older guys not regressing or playing worse? And what about Gilles Meloche? Fleury's puck handling getting worked on? MAF having another below average postseason, not good for the goalie coach you would think.
As far as players go, do you people realize how much dead weight was on this team during the Flyers series?
The entire 4th line was awful. Did they provide any energy or hitting or penalty killing or cycling or size or strength? No.
The 3rd line outside of Staal was non-existent. The type of hockey Cooke played this season, there is no difference between him and Richard Park. If Matt Cooke doesn't hit, intimidate, play rough, excel on PK, and play the role of agitator, he's worthless. He's basically been neutered as an NHLer and the next time he hits somebody he's getting suspended for 20 games. Find another GM dumb enough to take him. (Cooke was one of my favorite players 1-2 years ago.) Right now he's no better than an AHL call-up or Richard Park.
The top 2 lines I have no problem with.
The defense, they all played poorly and the flaws we knew existed all year showed up in the playoffs. Not sure why Shero values a "puck moving defense" more than a "tough, physical, defensive, shutdown defense." I guess he values the "first pass out of the zone" more than he does keeping the puck out of the net, winning board battles, clearing the crease, etc...
Strait, Lovejoy, Despres saw time during the postseason. Dressing 7 D and rotating in AHL caliber defensemen during the 1st round of the playoffs? Not good on Shero to have no NHL quality depth at the ready. Despres should have been in the NHL all year and been ready for the postseason. He's light years better than Lovejoy.
And in goal MAF was subpar.
To summarize 50% of the forwards are dead weight. The forwards are too small and too easy to play against. The 3rd/4th lines provide no energy or lift. The 4th line is the worst 5-on-5 4th line in hockey. 7 of the 8 defensemen are soft. Almost all of the D on the team and in the system are like 5"11, don't hit, don't clear the crease, and are alleged to make a good first pass out of the zone. And the goalie stunk. That's how you lose a series. Bylsma didn't help matters but the players didn't play well.
I blame Shero for putting together a playoff roster that lacked many of the key elements needed to make a deep Cup run. This was the healthiest Pens team we've seen in years. What a waste of a season.