Five Penguins storylines to watch
1. Disco fever
Dan Bylsma isn't on the hotseat, but his team has lost three consecutive playoff series, most recently allowing 30 goals in six games against the Flyers. He never has changed his positive approach nor his up-tempo system. Will that change in his fourth full season as head coach? To complicate matters, he now must deal with a training camp that will only last a few days.
2. Flower wilting?
Marc-Andre Fleury has been to the top of the mountain in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He also has lost three straight series and has been pulled from a playoff game in four of his past five series. No one questions his talent, nor the success he has produced. But after such a humbling performance against the Flyers — and with a talented backup in Tomas Vokoun now in town — how is Fleury's mindset?
3. The sixth forward derby
The Penguins are blessed with numerous third- and fourth-liners who produce quality work. But who will be the wingers to play alongside Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin? James Neal, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis are locks. But one position at wing is open. Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy are the likely candidates to start the season on the top two lines. Don't be surprised if GM Ray Shero makes a deal for a scoring winger before the trade deadline. Eric Tangradi and Beau Bennett would love a crack at the top-six. But the question is, “are they ready?”
4. New guys learn on the fly
Brandon Sutter and Tanner Glass will be counted on heavily this season. Both guys will have about five training camp practices to learn Dan Bylsma's system. The good news? Glass is a Dartmouth graduate and Sutter has hockey instinct in his DNA. Perhaps learning Bylsma's system won't be so difficult for these two.
5. Solving special teams
Think special teams are important in the postseason? Two years ago, the Penguins scored only one power-play goal in a seven-game series loss against Tampa Bay. Last season, they let Philadelphia score 12 power-play goals in a six-game series loss. Special teams can make or break you in the playoffs, and Bylsma intends on giving both units a long look during this week's camp.
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