Hot or not
Should Mike Johnston be on the hot seat for the Pittsburgh Penguins?
@ESPN_Burnside: We have spent an awful lot of time this season pondering what's wrong with Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Well, Crosby has points in seven of his past eight games and the Penguins still can't score, or at least can't score enough to win consistently. They came up with four total goals in in a 24-hour period in California over the weekend and unsurprisingly came up away with a 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings and a 2-1 defeat against the Anaheim Ducks. Maybe Crosby isn't anywhere near his normal production, but he's come around, and Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin have combined for 21 goals. So what about the rest of the lineup? Well that's an issue isn't it? Kris Letang, out with an injury after being heralded as a potential Norris Trophy candidate this season, has one goal. Chris Kunitz, David Perron and Patric Hornqvist, supposed top-six forwards, have combined for 12 goals and two power-play goals. Yes, two, for a Pens power play that stinks, ranking 26th in the league. That's where the Pens rank in goals per game, too. If not for Marc-Andre Fleury, who is backstopping a top-10 team defense and a penalty-killing unit that is also in the top 10, we'd be talking draft lottery. As it is, it's fair to wonder whether Johnston will find a way to get his talent-laden squad into the playoffs. Or maybe the sharper question is whether Johnston is the right guy to get this talent-laden team into the playoffs. Thoughts?
@ESPNJoeyMac: Scotty, if not Johnston, then who? Maybe a team of superstars like the Penguins could have used a voice and presence like John Tortorella, who's been coaching the Columbus Blue Jackets since October. Tortorella scratched veteran Scott Hartnell on Friday, and Hartnell responded the following night with a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Point is, maybe Johnston should consider something similar with his roster. Crosby has picked up his game, and Malkin has, too, after calling out the team last week. Johnston has tweaked his lineup at times this season, but maybe he needs to send a message. We think every season that the Penguins will go on a deep playoff run, but it just hasn't happened of late. Pittsburgh definitely has the talent, but not everyone is producing as a team.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: It really is amazing that the Penguins are 26th in goals per game at 2.31 with all that firepower. I mean, a team with Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, can't score. Of course, a 26th-ranked power play is partly to blame for that, too. And again, a power play that can choose from the likes of those three stars up front plus Letang on the point among others, I mean, how can it not score? It boggles your mind. And it tells you that if things don't change, Pens GM Jim Rutherford must contemplate bold changes.
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