ESPN's Bottom Line Widget

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Beware Small Sample Size

Evgeni Malkin is "slumping."  So is Sidney Crosby.  To many this is worrisome.  To me?  Not so much.


Yes, right now the offense is sputtering and a big part of it is the fact that Sid and Geno aren't performing up to their superstar standards.  Unfortunate as it is to see there's truly no need to panic.

As of right now the Penguins are 10th in the league in goals per game at 2.88 goals per game.  Sidney Crosby isn't performing well.  Evgeni Malkin is trying too hard to do too much with too few on his line.  That will all change.

The bulk of the season Malkin has been without more than one true skilled winger.  As I've pointed out before Malkin does his best work with people he trusts, talented wingers he trusts to take the load off of his shoulders.  Ryan Malone was one of these.  Petr Sykora was one of these.  Most importantly, James Neal is one of these.  And James Neal is back.  The addition of defensively responsible and offensively capable players like Jussi Jokinen or Beau Bennett should make him even more at ease.

Sid?  Sid's not getting some breaks.  His line mates are giving him room but things aren't clicking.  Lundqvist stops him, Giguere stops him.  The chances are there, the goals will pour in shortly.  While Sidney Crosby may never score 50 goals again, it's a feat so rare it's unlikely more than a healthy Stamkos and Ovechkin will do it, he'll be a perennial 30-40 goal scorer again soon enough.  Continuing to go to the net will only strengthen this possibility.

Is it easy to worry about the fact that Sid and Geno are doing nothing?  Sure.  It's all in how you look at it, though.  The season is a journey.  There are ups and downs.  You can look as the Penguins as being 5-5 in their last 10, 4-2 in their last 6 or 0-2 in their last two.  Neither paint the true picture.

Sid and Geno are goalless in their last large handful of games.  It's unfortunate.  However the larger picture should be your focus.  Worry less, know it will change.  They're too good to be kept down for so long.
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