How is the personnel a lot worse when it's basically just Staal for Sutter? That's not a big downgrade at all defensively, and if one player was so unbelievably important to our PK then we have our own problems. Carolina's PK isn't all of a sudden amazing now (it's bottom third of the league, the same it's been for the past few years).
I'm not sure what's wrong with it. It seems like we're being less aggressive than we used to be. I think we'll get it turned around in time for the playoffs.
It's a big downgrade in terms of fit.
You can just stand there daring teams to find lanes if there's one guy blocking every possible pass in a ridiculous amount of area who can manage to pressure the D without doing anything beyond just being in the general vicinity. Sutter's a fine penalty killer, but he doesn't eliminate nearly as much ice as Staal did (which is not a knock on Sutter, by the way).
Whether that's a good strategy to begin with (we should stand here and let some freak of nature suck all the oxygen out of the other team's man-advantage) is probably a reasonable question, though.
Also, Staal was a one man disaster for any other team's breakout in all game situations. Just angled everyone into a less-than-ideal pass every time. There was no easy way to get the puck past him.
Definitely gotta clear the screens, for better or worse this year, our goalies need to see the puck.
This is the part I really don't get with the Pens' PK (in particular). They never clear the guy standing right on the goalie's doorstep. Other teams, you see the defenseman constantly pushing/shoving/boxing out anyone attempting to remain in front of their goalie. The Pens just basically glance at the guy, then try and block passes/shots from getting to him.
Is it possible the PK is much worse this season due to losing Staal and Z?
Goalies have played worse too this year. Things can't have this much of a turnaround without multiple factors involved. There was no one player that the Pens lost that was "that" critical to explain the huge difference.
System became much more passive
Goalies have a lower 4v5 SV% as a team (Vokoun's is only 75%) MAF only 90%
Lost best forward in Staal
Sutter not winning enough faceoffs
Orpik has been worse
Letang has also been worse
Cooke has seen a huge regression
Glass is a pretty poor all around player and awful at faceoffs.
Take your pick at what is causing it. It's everything above.