Pittsburgh Penguins: No. 25

Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

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Last year's ranking: 7
Title track: 21
Ownership: 14
Coaching: 115
Players: 59
Fan relations: 19
Affordability: 62
Stadium experience: 15
Bang for the buck: 24

The Penguins find themselves at a crossroads following yet another playoff collapse last spring. On the one hand, Pittsburgh still has the game's best player in Sidney Crosby, and -- when he's in the mood -- arguably its second best in Evgeni Malkin. On the other hand, the quality of the supporting cast has dropped as the superstar duo's combined salary-cap hit climbed after long-term contract extensions. A second-round series loss to the Rangers marked the Pens' fifth consecutive postseason elimination by a lower seed since they won the 2009 Stanley Cup, Pittsburgh's lone title of the Crosby/Malkin era. The most recent failure cost coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero their jobs. The Penguins actually have more crossroads than downtown Pittsburgh; the team fell in each of our nine categories compared with last year. (Bylsma plunged 80 spots, the biggest descent of any bench boss in sports.) On the whole, though, Penguins fans still have it pretty good. Only 10 NHL teams rank higher overall, and despite their across-the-board decline, the Pens are still in the league's top seven in stadium experience, title track and bang for the buck. Ownership, led by classy club icon Mario Lemieux, gets particularly high marks. Still, the on-ice product is what matters. With Crosby and Malkin locked up and just now entering their primes, it's up to new GM Jim Rutherford and coach Mike Johnston to steer the underachieving Penguins up the rankings, and get them back on a championship course.