!Blitzkrieg! of the Penguins
Forget the March of the Penguins, this is an all out Blitzkrieg.
They have just handed Nashville, the best team in the league, their hats and literally kick them out the door. In there own building no less!
With the recent success of the Pittsburgh Penguins I wonder just how far they can go.
Everybody knew this was coming. We all knew that one day the Pittsburgh Penguins would develop into a team that was going to embarass the competition. But nobody would have thought that it would be so soon.
I remember at the beginning of the year Bill Waters (along with many other prognosticators I’m Sure) stated that he was more than sure that the Penguins would win at least one cup in the next five years.
Now the Penguins have stampeded their way up the ranks to 5th place, and still have some leg left to go farther. New Jersey sits in 2nd place, and is the top in the division with 72 points, to Pittsburghs 63. But Pittsburgh has been beating the leagues heavy hitters and hottest teams. Making up 11 points in 30 games is far from a stretch, and Pittsburgh could very well take their division this year.
We all thought that this was 2 or even three years away, but half a season.
At the very least if the season were to end today the Penguins in 5th would play the 4th place Canadiens, who have developed a great little rivalry in the past weeks, and would be an amazing match-up.
While I think that even now the sky is the limit for the Penguins, they do need improvements, but not much. They are getting great goaltending from Fleury, who I admit I thought was a bust before this season. Most speculators and insiders truly feel that the Penguins are two stay-at-home defencemen away from being a true cup contender. And they can come cheap.
Penguins have an amazing chance this year as they have cap room, picks, prospects. They have it all, except for a new arena. And all they need to do is acquire a couple of strong S-A-H D-men and they are really rolling. With the assets they have now they could easily pick up some scoring depth to boot and really increase their chances. Any Vet that has the ability to put the puck in the net no matter who they play with would be great. Vet playoff rentals like Guerin, Murray, Tkachuk, O’neill, Bertuzzi and many others would really beef up this team.
The Pens are already looking for a hired gun to watch Crosby’s back now that players are beginning to take liberties with him. I am more that sure he can handle himself, but is better off staying out of the box and putting one in the back of the opposing teams net. They have a CAP hit of about 35 million for this year after paying out bonuses for Crosby and Malkin, who will undooubtedly hit all of their marks. That gives them roughly ten million to play with for the deadline.
I know that they would like to save money to qualify for revenue sharing, but a true shot at the cup is more than enough reason to spend the bucks. Especially for owners looking to sell the team, or maybe just move them.
What could possibly look better to an interested city than welcoming the Stanley cup champions as your new sports franchise or at the very least a conference finalist or perenial playoff contender. I doubt that if Anaheim was to look for a new city over the last summer that they would have had any problems. Mario Lemieux 1 City of Pittsburgh 0.
Think of the success the Penguins would have if they dealt a load of prospects and picks to Florida for Bertuzzi, what would this team be then? Is there anybody better than big bert to watch Sid the Kids back. Not only is he as big as any goon out there, and has the over the top enforcer credentials to prove it (just ask Steve Moore), but he can score too. Hell he could create more room for the zippy trio of Crosby, Malkin, Recchi. Look at the power play. Bertuzzi in front of the net, who even Chara would have problems moving, and Crosby, Malkin, Rechhi and Gonchar all playing the perimeter. CRAZY! That is a most likely a stoners wet dream, but it is an indication of what is possible. At 1/3 the price, Pittsburgh could make some huge splashed for guys like Bertuzzi, Stuart, and Boyton, even, Miller from LA.
If there is a team with better chance at a run at the cup with the potential to be better than they are, I’d like to see it. Buffalo is near the CAP and is relatively stuck, Anaheim has some wiggle room but not that much, San Jose has some space, but not the depth to do as much as Pittsburgh. NJ is already CAP busted.
Pittsburgh is really on the move. Look for them to be quiet over the next week or two, and if they are still in the middle of the standings and playing so well, look for them to make some big splashes at the deadline.
Forget the future, their time is already here.
I don’t think there is a team in the league right now that would choose to play Pittsburgh in the playoffs if they could avoid it.