The Penguins have looked extremely slow since the recent additions/injuries and that is to be expected when a team loses the likes of Crosby, Letang and Martin - each an outstanding skater in his own right and arguably three of the best skaters on the team. Also, all four of the guys we have added are slower types of players - even Iginla to an extent.
Also, winning streaks like the one we just had take a TON out of a team and are usually followed with a few bad games in a row. That is why I am SO glad to see that meaningless regular season streak come to an end when it did. Now, we have time to fully decompress and get healthy for what promises to be a grind over the next several months (touch wood).
However, I think the bigger issue is that of the guys left, most are either adjusting to a brand new system or a new position and/or role within the system. That is causing everyone to think out there instead of reacting and that is clogging up the machinery.
I think that's as plain as day and not enough people are talking about it.
Think about it for a second; we have had Kennedy playing C for the first time since juniors instead of his normal RW. The same goes for Neal, who has played on the right side for the past few years now. Now, he's completely miscast on the left side, IMHO. Neal has a quick release and a heavy shot. That is largely wasted on the LW, IMHO. Matt Cooke can play on the right but he has mostly manned the left during his Penguins career. Hell, we've even experimented with Dupuis at the point on the PP - a position he has never played at this level.
That is a TON of upheaval - too much for any one team, IMHO.
When Crosby returns in a few weeks, I would advocate that our forward lines look something like this:
14 - 87 - 9
10 - 71 - 18
24 - 16 - 12
27 - 36 - 48
I know that lineup (with Iggy on the 3L) is going to make some of your heads explode but I am convinced it is the way to go. I believe that our depth is what overwhelmed opposing teams in 2009 and I would like to try that again.
If you are Boston for example, imagine the choices you would have to make on the defensive side of the puck. Chara can only play so many minutes and when he does I would make sure that he got run over more times than Wyle E. Coyote. This lineup allows us to do that and maintain our threat to score. Also, these are all defensively responsible alignments for when the other team has the puck.
I really believe that trying to cram Iginla into a Top 6 forward group that was already rolling was a mistake and we need to correct it going forward or we are going to deeply regret it, IMHO. If you MUST include Iggy in the Top 6 them switch him for Duper. Personally, I would not favor that alignment - I would never mess with a line that was tearing up the NHL for the past two seasons it was together - but even that is better than what Disco has come up with so far.
Please don't misunderstand this post. I'm not panicking at all. We have worked very hard to be afforded this luxury to experiment with all of our new toys and we would be foolish if we didn't take advantage of that opportunity by experimenting with all kinds of looks. However, I firmly believe that our greatest advantage over everyone else will prove to be our exceptional depth at forward and to piss that away in some vain attempt to please everyone is a terrible, terrible mistake, IMHO. This is about winning a Cup, not assuaging anyone's ego. Everyone in the top nine will see plenty of ice time and even the guys on the fourth line and lower will have their opportunities to make a difference at some point.