PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Sportsnet NHL analyst and former NHL coach and general manager Doug MacLean joined “The Fan Morning Show” on Wednesday to talk about the Penguins’ recent highs and lows as they prepare to face the Rangers in Game 4 of their first round series.

MacLean finds it hard to assign blame to anybody involved with the Pens for the team’s recent struggles. He thinks that the absences of Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, and Christian Ehrhoff are having a pronounced effect on the team’s ability to compete.

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“They’ve got a challenge to say the least,” MacLean said. “There’s not another team in the league competing in the playoffs that have these kind of injuries. That’s a tough hill to climb. So, I’m not putting this on anybody. I just think it’s tough to compete with these three guys out and you’re going against a pretty good hockey team – and I’m not counting them out yet.”

MacLean also has trouble faulting the Pens for their issues dealing with the salary cap, because so many good teams face the same conundrum.

“I chuckle about the salary cap issues. Any good team has salary cap issues in the NHL,” MacLean said. “What has caused it? Well, you’ve got to say there are some injury problems. When you’re a good, good team and you don’t win, you run into cap problems. It happens to all of them. It happened to Chicago. It happens to all the good teams. You run into it when you’ve got the superstars in your 1-2 hole that are making a lot of money.”

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MacLean thinks that the Pens should know what it takes to win in the playoffs, but that not every team can make it happen year in and year out.

“They’ve got enough veteran guys there that they know what it takes at playoff time,” MacLean said. “Yeah, the coaching staff comes up with the strategy – they have to and they do. But, your leadership group – I watched the Blackhawks last night, and I’m saying, oh my God, they do whatever it takes to win. They’re a unique group. There’s not many teams like them in the NHL, guys. There’s not many teams that have the leadership that they have. You know, you see Ovechkin and those guys in Washington, they’re going through a little bit of the same thing.”

The interview can be heard here:

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