Letter to the editor: Penguins déjà vu
This happened before. The Pittsburgh Penguins fire their head coach mid-season. New coach institutes an up-tempo system (Bylsma/Sullivan). The team rallies and wins the Stanley Cup. Eventually, the league cracks its unstoppable offense or learns from the Penguins and does it better. The team sputters, but the head coach sticks with his system, saying, “We need to get to our game.”
The GM (Shero/Rutherford) trades a first-round draft pick, players and prospects for an over-valued player (Iginla/Brassard). The GM signs a turn-style defenseman to a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract (Scuderi/Johnson). The coach favors a fourth liner more than a younger player with more talent (Adams/Sheahan).
There are other similarities between Bylsma/Sullivan and Shero/Rutherford. Hopefully Sullivan and Rutherford make changes before the Crosby-Malkin window closes. Sullivan needs to reign in his defensemen and not “pinch” every shift and order his forwards to cover the defensemen when they do pinch. Better yet, Sullivan and Martin should consider implementing the neutral zone trap at times to spark the offense. (Which doesn’t mean experiencing déjà vu with the 1990s New Jersey Devils.)