Hard to believe the offseason is over already. Seems like just yesterday the Penguins were two games away from The Cup.
A lot happened during the off season. A lot can be expected this year. The kids are growing up. Let’s break it down:
Ins and Outs
Gone Baby Gone
25 to Life
Still Hangin’ Round
New Kids on the Block
This is year of the Sykora – Malkin – Staal line. Get ready folks, once they all get on the same page, this line is going to produce. Sykora and Malkin had a good run this year. Staal and Malkin clicked well their first year with the Pens. This will be a great chance for Malkin unite this line and start working towards that alternate captain’s spot.
What about poor Sid? Did GM Ray Shero ever find him someone to take Hossa spot? We’re hoping the combo of Satan and Crosby can make some moves this year.
Third and fourth lines? Talbot usually plays a key role here, but we could see him moving up to the first and second lines more. Eric Godard will need to fill the shoes of Rutuu and Laraque. Tyler Kennedy looks to prove he was worth a contract extension. Pens pride themselves on playing a four line system. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Troubled Times Already?
A big sore spot this year is the power play. With the loss of Gonchar and Whitney to injuries, Pens will be looking for the right combo for their power play unit. As I sit here watching the Pens vs. Sens game in Sweden, it looks like their throwing pretty much anyone out there.
We had some trouble at the beginning of last year with the power play, so this isn’t something the Pens haven’t gone through before. It’s just going to take some time to work out. We’re hoping Gonchar gets back sooner rather than later as he really is the focal point of our power plays.
Is This The Year?
As I mention in the title, this is the start of a new time for the Penguins. We’re not looking at teenagers that are new to the league anymore. We’re looking at guys who now have an idea of what it’s going to take to get back to the Stanley Cup finals.
The core of the team is locked up for the next few years. Sure they still have a lot of stuff to learn, but it’s looking more like junior year of college rather than freshman year. We’re getting more comfortable with who we are and what we are capable of.
I think this commercial sums it up nicely:
Although history is against us, don’t write off the Pens for another Cup run just yet.