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Game #33 – Penguins vs. Hawks Q&A: Mike Darnay of Pensburgh.com

Mike Darnay (@MikeDarnay) has been our Penguins friend for a while now. So that’s where we go whenever the black and gold show up. His work can be found at Pensburgh

Hey look, you guys aren’t very good a couple years after your third Cup either. Is this just the way things go?

Partly, I think so. It’s much harder to replicate repeated success than it has been in past years, and the expectations are still just as high. I am guessing in Chicago’s case, as long as Toews, Kane, Keith, and Crawford are in the picture, the expectation is going to be for success regardless of any other mitigating factors. In the Penguins case, they are habitual slow starters. It’s a dangerous game to play, but I think they manage it well. This season may have taken it too far, but as it stands right now they are in 3rd place in their division despite losing 9 out of 10 games less than a month ago. It’s a weird league right now and a weird division and despite their struggles, I think they are able to tread water well enough even when they aren’t on their game.

This is the second straight season that Matt Murray has struggled. Is there a worry that this is what he is and will be?

From many, yes. From me, not really. We saw the level of success that he was able to get to in consecutive postseasons. He wasn’t even *bad* in the 2018 Playoffs. Taking the eventual Champions to six games isn’t all bad. He’s coming off of his worst season that featured several injuries and a major personal thing for a young player to go through. I think he tried gutting it out this year for the better of the team, but ultimately it worked out the other way around. If he can get fully healthy now and give himself the time he needs, I am confident in his ability to return to form.

So the Jack Johnson thing was just a joke, right?

He stinks. There is no way of polishing this turd. He’s just bad. I still can’t believe he was given the TERM that he was. It’s so bad. And he can’t do anything well. Buy him out or ship him to Seattle.

Kris Letang is on pace for what could be a career season. What’s going on there?

To be honest, I think it’s quite simple. He missed several months at the end of the season in the spring and summer of 2017 when the Penguins won their second of the back-to-back Cups. He was on the shelf for most of the summer and didn’t get a full training in at all but was still ready for the start of the season. After the team was eliminated from the 2018 postseason earlier than usual, he was able to get a rest and get a full offseason training program in. How that reflects on the ice — i think it’s important to understand that with the style he plays, being able to trust your body is vital and not playing hesitant allows him to fully expand his skillsets.


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