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10 reasons why Penguins can win Stanley Cup

Great teams don’t always win the Stanley Cup – as the 92-93 Penguins, 95-96 Red Wings or any Sharks team from the past decade will tell you - but they are always the most likely teams to win a championship.

The Penguins just might be great.

They were one of hockey’s best teams before the news broke on Tuesday that Sidney Crosby is coming back.

Here are 10 reasons to start thinking about that parade route in June. Winning the Stanley Cup is excruciatingly difficult, but the Penguins are starting to emerge as the favorite.

We’ll go in reverse order, just for drama.

 

10. The East isn’t very good

Before we even get to the Penguins, let’s analyze the rest of the league. The Rangers are running away with the conference and deserve credit for their terrific season. They’re really, really good.

But take a look at that lineup. Can the Rangers really score with the Penguins in a seven-game series? I don’t think so. It would be a wonderful series, but eventually, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will produce their points. They always do.

The Penguins match up well against the Rags.

Philadelphia? Talented, yes. But the Penguins are way better in net, better on the blue and at least comparable at forward. Crosby will never let the Penguins lose to that team in a series, anyway. Honest. He loathes them that much.

Boston? The Bruins made their run, and had a wonderful stretch at the season’s midway point, but they can be had. They suddenly feel stale.

New Jersey? Scary for Pens because they struggle with the Devils, but cream rises to the top. The Pens are just a better team.

Ottawa? Great story, but not built for playoff success.

No team should scare the Penguins when the postseason begins.

 

9. Special, special teams

It’s not a sexy topic, but it’s worth noting. The Penguins have the best combination of special teams in hockey. Their power play has been around the 20 percent mark all season, which is the sign of a good unit. Even strength goals are hard to come by in the playoffs, which means you better have a good power play. Remember last season against Tampa Bay?

And really, the Penguins’ penalty killing unit is outrageously good. Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, Zbynek Michalek, Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang and seven of hockey’s best penalty killers. And they all play on the same team.

Impressive. The Penguins are totally committed to killing penalties and do it better than anyone.

 

8. Marc-Andre Fleury

He’s the most underrated athlete in Pittsburgh, perhaps the NHL’s most underrated player and the best big game goalie in hockey.

Fleury is 27, just entering his prime and already has a Stanley Cup ring that’s getting dusty. He is playing the best hockey of his career, finally using his unprecedented athleticism in perfect harmony with a newfound mastery of positioning and poise.

For whatever reason, Fleury doesn’t receive the hype of goalies like Henrik Lundqvist and Tim Thomas. But I’d take him against anyone.

As long as Fleury is healthy, he always gives the Penguins a chance.

 

7. The three-center model

When you get a chance, research the centers on the Eastern Conference’s top teams.

Then, think about Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal.

No one can match those three. No one comes close.

And those three haven’t lost in a playoff series when they all played each game since 2008 against Detroit. And they were children then.

Now they’re men and they will be very difficult for anyone to stop.

 

6. Perfect mix of age

The Penguins are still one of the NHL’s younger teams, but they are extremely experienced. Most of their players have Stanley Cup rings, and there is something to be said for this.

Now, look at a few of their players who don’t have a ring.

Arron Asham. Richard Park. Steve Sullivan. Zbynek Michalek. Paul Martin. James Neal. Matt Niskanen. These guys are real pros, guys who would do anything to win a championship. You want this kind of hunger on a team. It’s nice having some players who have never won a Cup.

It’s also nice having guys who can show the way.

The Penguins have both, a perfect mix.

 

5. Fresh legs

It’s unfortunate that Crosby and defenseman Kris Letang have missed so much time this season. But they should be plenty fresh come playoff time, which is a good thing.

Also, consider that the Penguins haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2009.

If the Penguins fell to Montreal in 2010 partially because two consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup Final has sapped much of their energy, then aren’t we to believe that two early postseason exits should leave them fresh? I think so.


4. The Blue Line

Teams often lose playoff series because of deficiencies on the blue line. Subpar defensemen are always the easiest targets for teams to expose.

Where is the Penguins’ weakness? Sure, Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek have struggled most of the season, but they’ve been terrific during the past few weeks. Maybe they aren’t out of the woods, but they’ve been legitimate top-four defensemen recently, and are showing signs of confidence that I haven’t seen from them.

Kris Letang? He’s one of the top five defenseman in the NHL.

Brooks Orpik has been great during the past two months.

Matt Niskanen is really solid

Deryk Engelland is the team’s most underrated player.

Ben Lovejoy is better than you realize.

Simon Despres as insurance?

No weaknesses here.

 

 

 

3. Evgeni Malkin

With all due respect to Crosby, the best player in the world right now is Evgeni Malkin. (It’s gotten weird…I find myself calling Crosby the best player in the world, and I find myself calling Malkin the best player in the world. So, which one is?)

Malkin will likely win the scoring title this season, and it will be a gigantic upset if he doesn’t win the Hart Trophy as league MVP. He is an artist in full bloom, currently the game’s dominant player.

And he has a wonderful track record of postseason success. This is his time to shine, and he knows it.

2. Dan Bylsma

His accomplishments are often lost, and this is unfortunate.

What an exceptional coach. From the day Bylsma arrived, the Penguins have been a great hockey team. He has dealt with adversity brilliantly, has proven himself a fine tactician and has fixed the power play.

Bylsma and his staff – Tony Granato, Todd Reirden and Gilles Meloche are as good as it gets – will have the Penguins prepared this spring, no matter the opponent.

1. Sidney Crosby

Yeah, that guy.

We know Crosby is hockey’s greatest player, and we also realize that he’s potentially one massive hit away from having his career altered permanently.

And we also know that this is Sidney Crosby, and that he’s one of the rarest of athletes, whose legacy was seemingly written by the hockey gods a long time ago.

Miss 14 months with a concussion, career in jeopardy, then return to win a Stanley Cup?

Yeah, he’s that guy.

 

- Josh Yohe

Comments

  1. Tammie says:

    Josh you are a brilliant writer……this gave me chills……. everything you write is true and this team is a special team……a team full of character and heart…..a team that truly is a team in every sense of the word. From the coach on down……brilliant!!!

  2. bdef says:

    Well said Tammie, well said! I couldn’t agree more..too many ppl nit pick instead of enjoying what we have. If someone wants to tell me that they’re not impressed w/ what the pens have done w/ all the injuries over the last yr & a half, even w/ the postseason disappointments, then I’d say that person/ppl don’t understand character, overcoming adversity, & what it means to truly be a part of a team.

  3. bh says:

    Rethink item 3. Malkin’s good but he’s not even the best Russian in the NHL.

  4. Kevkiss says:

    I understand this is an article written for Penguins fans, and that there will be inherent bias, but the total lack of objectivity dissolves any credibility the author had. The author uses no facts and just mindless analogies to prove his point (i.e. how cream rises to the top; how is that evidence?). Other than the three center model,which I agree with completely, all the other points are either biased or just plain nonsense(such as suggesting Crosby playing 8 games since January 2011 is actually beneficial). If pittsburgh was far and away the best team in hockey the standings would support it.

  5. Mcpitt88 says:

    Great Work!!!! GO Pens!!!! Geno 4 Hart

  6. rick says:

    Agree…agree. And to me the most underrated Pen is…..Fleury. I’ve always been lukewarm towards him but I’ve loved his play this year, and it has improved as the season has gone on. I’ve also like what I’ve seen of Sullivan as of late. If we get everyone back healthy, this team is very deep. Looking forward to the rest of this season!!

  7. Van Man says:

    And 10 reasons why the Penguins can’t win the Stanley Cup:
    10. Martin, Michalek and Sullivan are major liabilities who will be exposed eventually.
    9. The New York Rangers and are better and more experienced, especially in goal and behind the bench. The Boston Bruins may be, too.
    8. This team has made a living off the power play, but there will be fewer chances in the playoffs, when the rulebook allows clutch-and-grab hockey.
    7. Malkin isn’t the same player in the postseason, as his track record shows.
    6. The back line lacks the kind of physicality that it takes to be successful in the postseason grind.
    5. The offense is top-heavy and lacks contributors on the third and fourth lines.
    4. It’s a long shot that Letang will be healthy throughout the playoffs. And without him, this team isn’t good enough to reach the conference finals.
    3. MAF ranks 38th in save percentage and 22nd in goals-against average. That’s hardly the definition of a franchise goalie …
    2. Not to mention that MAF has a recent history of lame performances in big games.
    1. The odds that Crosby will not miss at least one game in the playoffs are not good. And without him, this team probably won’t reach the conference semi-finals.

  8. Lady Di says:

    Van Man: At last, a Penguins fan who thinks with his head, not his heart!

  9. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Brilliant analysis, V-Man. Absolutely brilliant.

  10. Harry says:

    Van Man: Wow, that’s the most in-depth hockey analysis that I’ve read here all season. Kind of makes you wonder what these people do all day . . .

  11. Frank says:

    Kevkiss — Don’t you just hate the small-mindedness in the Pittsburgh sports media? I swear, sometimes I think we live in Paducah.

  12. Matt says:

    And Van Man, here’s 10 Rebuttals to your 10 Reasons…

    10) In the eyes of too many Pens “fans” Paul Martin’s a liability because of his plus/minus or because he doesn’t score enough to warrant his contract. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about him last season. Michalek and Sullivan as major liabilities? Because their experience won’t count for anything come the playoffs, right?

    9) The NY Rangers are more experienced? In what way? Besides Brad Richards who else on that team has won a Stanley Cup? How many of their big performers have even won a playoff series? Has Lundqvist been to the SCF twice and won once? Do Johnny Torts and Dan Bylsma have the same number of Stanley Cup finals and rings? So where are the Rangers more experienced?

    8) Check the Penguins PP% in 2008 and 2009 and tell me how much of a difference it made in getting to the SCF.

    7) Malkin isn’t the same player in the post-season…who won the 2009 Conn Smythe again?

    6) Brooks Orpik and Deryk Engellend. Who in the East is as deep on defense as the Pens are overall?

    5) The Pens 3rd line will likely be the same 3rd line they had when they won the Cup in 2009 (assuming Sullivan and Dupuis are Crosby’s wingers). I think those guys scored a clutch goal or 2 that year.

    4) The chances of Letang not being healthy are the same as the chances he will be fine and play 20+ minutes a night throughout the playoffs.

    3) MAF carried the Pens last season after Crosby and Malkin went down. And since save % and GAA is so important, who with a better save % and GAA would be better to have than Fleury?

    2) Game 5 of the 2008 SCF. Game 7 of the 2009 Caps series. Game 7 of the 2009 SCF. I’ll take MAF in a 7 game series over any other goalie in the NHL.

    1) Your medical degree is from where again? See the Letang comment above.

  13. Dbab says:

    Van Man: I agree with that the article may be written in bias and written toward real penguins fan. While everything he wrote may not be true, michalek is a fantastic defensmen he blocks more shots then any d man we have had sense rob sceduri. Sullivan has played better as of late. The last few years the powerplay is the reason the penguins cant win a serious so with it being much better how can you hold that as a weakness. Have you ever watched Malkin in the post season he gets better. The team as a whole is physical, the pens have some of the best 3rd and 4th line players in the nhl, MAF has been playing the best hockey of his career and besides last year has proven he gets better in the playoffs, what player doesnt have a less productive year then most? The question of Crosby coming back is still up in the air but the pens have proven they can win without them and with a series of experience without him in the playoffs that is to their advantage. Bottom line the pens are playing some good hockey right now. They”re fast and phyiscal and dont really on one man to carry them. Bottom line “THe top ten reasons the pens cant win the stanley cup” shows no faith in your team then again the top ten reasons they cant only shows a fair weather fan.

  14. Jay Walker says:

    Sorry, Matt, but Van Man kicked your (butt).

  15. Bob says:

    You’re going to count on two guys with a recent history of concussions? Uh, don’t think so.

  16. Cammy says:

    Why does the Lemieux statue show him beating two Islanders players? That’s an awful choice of opponents. We’ve never beaten the Islanders in a meaningful game in our history. In fact, our two biggest choke jobs came against them in the playoffs.

  17. Big Al says:

    I’d start Thiessen in the playoffs. The guy has been a stone wall lately.

  18. Van Man says:

    Hate the Lemieux statue. Brings back lousy memories against the Islanders, who absolutely own us in big games. His goal against the North Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals would have conveyed a far more positive message.

  19. Lady Di says:

    FYI: Malkin was a disappointment last postseason — 11 points, 13 games. Like MAF, he was a no-show in Game 7, too.

  20. Jared says:

    Um…aren’t you guys missing the point? The article is entitled 10 reasons the Pens CAN win the Cup. Not 10 reasons that the WILL. Could Fleury play badly in the playoffs? Yes. Could Lundqvist…or Thomas…or Bryzgalov? Yes, yes, and YES. Could Crosby or Letang be unavailable due to injury? Yes. Could Richards get hurt in game 1 of the first round? Yes. Could Gaborik suffer the 4,358th injury of his career and miss the whole postseason? Yes. Could Bergeron get his bell rung again? Yes. Could the Flyers find a way to lose yet more defensemen to injury? Yes. Could “Sideshow Bob” Hartnell get crushed and miss time, costing the Flyers a series? Yes. And while we’re on topic…show of hands…how many people hope that happens to him?

    Loathing of Hartnell (and, well, let’s face it…every other Flyer) aside…any conversation like this is entirely speculative, and everyone’s argument will suffer from that liability. No player…and no team…is perfect and immune from injury and slumps. It happens. But if I’m in the Pens locker room, I’m pretty optimistic these days. The Rangers are a grand total of 6 points ahead of the Pens…and the Pens are looking at getting two All Stars back in time for the playoffs, one of whom has played only 8 games all year. Does anyone seriously think that the Pens aren’t at least 6 points better (and thus in first place) this season if Sid had been able to play, say, 40 games or so to this point? My goalie, as Yohe points out, is playing well, is entering his prime, and has been there, done that with the Cup (and no other team in the East can say that). The three centers pose a nightmarishly difficult matchup problem for opponents if they’re all playing, particularly given Staal’s offensive progression this season. Their defense is vastly improved over the 2009 version.

    Nobody is guaranteed a Cup. But if they’re healthy (and that if applies to EVERY team), the Pens are a far, far better team than they were when they beat the Wings in the finals. And that’s the scariest part for the rest of the East.

  21. Jared says:

    Oh…and for those harping on Fleury’s GAA and SV%…the only statistic that matters for goalies is the number in the column headed “W.” I think you’ll see MAF’s name wayyyyy up towards the top of that one.

    According to I think it was the Trib, Fleury just became only the fourth goalie in NHL history to win at least 35 games in 4 consecutive seasons. All are modern (which is to be expected, as the NHL only went to an 80+ game schedule after major expansion started)…but they’re Fleury, Brodeur, Lundqvist and Kiprusoff, if I remember correctly. Think about who’s NOT on that list from the post-expansion era. No Fuhr…no Smith…no Parent…no Roy…no Dryden…no Belfour…no Miller…no Luongo…no Hextall…no Richter…no Vanbiesbrouck…no Thomas…no Cheever…no Vernon…no DiPiet- sorry…can’t even say that one with a straight face. But with regard to the rest of them…and I’m sure others who aren’t in the front of my mind at the moment…seriously great goalies (some of whom played for outright dominant teams for extended periods of time) couldn’t do what Fleury has done in the way of winning games.

  22. Rick says:

    Matt,

    You may want to chack MAF rankings again. GAA: 10th. Sv %: 20th. and most importantly, WINS: 2nd. It makes me doubt the rest of your post.
    Just saying.

  23. Rick says:

    Sorry, the comment was addressed to Van Man, not Matt

  24. Matt says:

    Gotta love the negativity of some of the Pens “fans”. The bandwagon train leaves the station on April 9th. It may not be full at that time, but should it run to June, there will be a lot of passengers on board. Jay Walker, your referee decision means about as much to me as the opinions of “fans” who still think Jordan Staal wasn’t worth a #1 pick.

  25. Tyler says:

    Lady Di thats almost a point per game player? A disappointment? Malkin is playing like he never has consistenly game after game thats just going to go away? About that Penguins third line werent they ahead of 2 players now that play for the Rangers Fed and Rupp? Marc Staal also a concussion away from not playing again this season. Ill take the pens top three point getters at 266 over the 229 the Rangers top 5 point getters produce and thats without Crosby who showed the first time he came back that he can still put up points. In the playoffs powerplay does make a difference and have to imagine the power play being better with Crosby on it. New York is 14.2% Pittsburgh 19.7% Penguins with only 20 more oppurtunities have 16 more goals. Goals per game Pens lead as well 3.09 third in the league New York 2.72. Shots per game Pens also lead 33.7 to 27.8.

    Fleury>Lundquist in playoffs
    Fleury 41-28 Lund. 15-20
    Fleury .910 Lund .909
    Fleury 2.52 GAA Lund 2.6
    So for those saying Lund is soo much better there pretty close but, Fleury has more experience. So theres some facts for you you all wanted facts.

  26. espo33 says:

    Matt here is some more info from your and Van Man post

    10. Martin hasn’t been good, and a lot of people were complaining about him last year. I thought he was terrible last year actually. Sully is a good player and handles the puck well. He is Michelak (when not playing with Martin) are not liablities.

    9. The NYR are not more experienced. Last year lost to Craps in 5 games, the year before didn’t make the playoffs. The year before that lost to the Craps in 7 games. And lost to us in 5 games the year before that.

    8. Pens avg 3.09 goals a game for 3rd. Of the 204 goals, 47 on PP. That would reduce them to 2.38. But lets look at Top 5 teams in scoring. Philly is 1s with 3.25 goals, but would be 2.42 w/o PP goals. Bos is 2nd at 3.18 goals, but would be 2.6 goals w/o PP goals. Det/Van are tied for 4th with 3.04 goals. Det would be 2.42 goals w/o PP goals, Van 2.31 w/o PP goals.

    Your logic doesn’t make sense. They don’t rely on the PP anymore then other teams. I guess having 9 goals SH shouldn’t be counted either…

    7. Malkin reg season 499 pts in 401 games, 1.24 avg. Playoffs 73 pts in 62 games, 1.18. Yeah he really sucks.

    6. Backline is not physical. I would agree. They weren’t tough last year and it is the same players.

    5. If Crosby comes back, Staal moves to #3, with TK (who will hopefully find his game) along with Cooke they will be fine. That is 40 goals right there. The 4th line of Park/Vitale/Adams/Asham has 17 goals.

    4. Without Letang, I could agree, but it depends who their opp’s are and if they play Depres to help out the PP. Nisk is a wild card. When playing well it balances the team more.

    3. MAF is actually 20th in %, and 10th in GAA. He is also 2nd in wins. He is also 41-28 in the playoffs.

    2. The last two years the Pens teams were not very good going into the playoffs. You can’t count last year not having Crosby or Malkin on offense and having really no scoring. They looked like they were waiting for the other team to score on themselves to get a goal…

    1. I guess we will find out.

    The point is everyone has an opinion and that is great. Some people like chocolate ice cream others vanilla. But if you are going to give an opinion have some creditable stats behind it.

  27. Lady Di says:

    Jared: In that case, Thiessen (2-0-0) is our best goaltender right now.

  28. Van Man says:

    As I write this, MAF ranks 34th in save percentage (.916) and 22nd in GAA (2.29), according to NHL.com. But in the ‘Burgh, we don’t pay attention to such trivial categories, right?

  29. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Matt and Espo33: The Rangers also have Rupp and Fedotenko, but you probably never heard of them.

  30. Harry says:

    Passed by the Lemieux statue on my way out the door and nearly threw up my $10 burger and $12 beer. The first person I thought of was David Frickin’ Volek. Sorry, you won’t see me near there again.

  31. Dano says:

    Yeah, as long as the Pens score four or five goals each game, Fleury is a franchise goalie. But the minute we score one or two, we’re done. O-ver-ra-ted!

  32. espo33 says:

    Dejan Shortpants-wow two other guys with playoff experience.

    Fed’s with 8 goals this year has 88 postseason games.
    Rupp who is averaging under 7 min a game has 43 post season games.

    They total 131 games combined.

    The rest 197 games for 328 games

    Look at their roster in the post season

    Johnny Mitchel, Stu Bickel, Michael Del Zotto, Anton Stralman, Carl Hagelin with 0 post season games.
    Artem Anisimov, Chad Kolarik with 6 games
    Eminger, Boyle, Stepan, Prust, Sauer and McDonagh with 5 games
    Jeff Woywitka, John Scott with 4 games
    Marc Staal, Brandon Dubinsky with 22 games
    Ryan Callahan with 27 games
    Dan Girardi with 32 games
    Gaborik with 34 games and 18 of them were in 02-03.

  33. espo33 says:

    Dejan Shortpants

    Now the Pens with 924 games. Heck the Pens D has 221 games, which is more then the whole NYR without Feds and Rupp.

    Kunitz 78 games, Cook, Dupuis 76 games, Adams 73 games, Orpik 69 games, Staal 67 games, Geno, Crosby 62 games, TK 61 games Asham and Letang 59 games, Martin 49 games, Sullivan 44 games, Park 38 games, Niskanen 23 games, Michalek 14 games, Lovejoy and Neal 7 games.

    I guess you don’t know the facts either.

    You throw out Rupp who would be the 14th most experience Pen in the playoff games if he were on the team. Good stat.

  34. Dejan Shortpants says:

    espo33: My point exactly! Del Zotto is the only Rangers regular who hasn’t been there before.

  35. Cammy says:

    We’ve got our franchise goalie at last . . .

    Thies-sen! Thies-sen! Thies-sen!

  36. Jandy says:

    What I wanna know is, who peed in all your cereal bowls this morning?

    Jeez, the negativity.

    Rob, good job with this article. The Pens DO have just a good a chance at winning as anyone up in the standings, maybe better than most.

    Go Pens!

  37. Harry says:

    Like Thiessen a lot. He doesn’t have girlfriend problems or make dumb mistakes.

  38. espo33 says:

    Dejan Shortpants-there is no way to get through to you is there? You sounded like you were agreeing with Van Man that the NYR have more experience then us with your comeback ever heard of Rupp of Feds… I clearly showed you and him they do not have more experience. We have 3 to 1 more experience and your comeback is I am showing your point exactly? How does having 5 games count as experience? Now you are twisting and saying they have been there before… Well everyone of the Pens have been to the playoffs at least once except Eng’s and Vitale. Try to make sense.

  39. Matt says:

    Dbab…Love the last sentence!

    Jared…Good points.

    Espo…Very good posts, you obviously put some time into it getting those stats.

    Dejan…Oh those 2 guys. Sorry, I didn’t realize they had won the Stanley Cup, you know, since they did it before 2007 and that was the year I became a Pens fan. Oh wait, sorry, that’s the “fans” who think every time the Pens lose its solely Fleury’s fault. The point was, as Espo showed, the Rangers don’t have any more experience than the Pens do, and besides Brad Richards(Feds and Rupper are role players)what big names have been to the SCF? How many have them have even won a playoff series? How many Penguins have been to or won the Stanley Cup?

    VanMan…As was stated above, the only stat that matters is WINS. Where does Fleury rank in that column? And just out of curiousity, what was Tom Barrasso’s GAA and Sv%? So tell me, if the Pens could trade MAF straight up for another goalie in the NHL, who would it be that would make the Pens better?

    And complaining about the Lemieux statue…really? Who cares if the defensemen are Islanders? Pretend their North Stars if it makes you feel better. It’s there as a tribute to one of the greatest hockey players ever and the greatest athlete the city of Pittsburgh has ever seen who just happened to save this franchise twice. It doesn’t matter if it was a statue of Mario sitting on a toilet taking a dump, it’s there to show appreciation to Mario Lemieux, so show a little of it.

  40. Matt says:

    Espo…you’re right, everyone has an opinion and its great for debate purposes. You seem to be a Pens fan who knows his stuff, so let me throw a few things at you in regards to your rebuttal to my rebuttal.

    To me Paul Martin isn’t as bad as everyone thinks he is. To listen to the way people crucify him makes it seem like he’s Link Gaetz back there(yes I went there). It’s always popular to rip the guy with the low +/-, it was that way with Whitney and Goligoski, now its Martin. Is he worth $5-million per season? No. And if possible I hope the Pens can move him in the off-season because thats a lot of cap room and Despres is ready for the NHL.

    The backline isn’t the same as last year. Engellend didn’t play any playoff games, he’s probably the Pens most improved player. Niskanen is a lot better this year than he was last year. Orpik was obviously hurt last year. I think the defense is actually improved from last year.
    Of course there’s a chance Letang could miss some games. But Letang is to the Pens defense what Gonchar was in 2009. Sarge went down against the Caps, and Goligoski(who only had a part of an NHL season under his belt) held it down. Despres could do the same thing in Letang’s place.

    Like you said, we’ll see what happens. I think its going to be a fun spring in Pittsburgh!

  41. Matt says:

    And just for the record, Marc-Andre Fleury’s save percentage(.915) is tied for 20th with Ryan Miller. It’s 17th best if you only count the goalies who have played in at least 35 games.

    And his GAA (2.29)is tied for 9th with Kari Lehtonen. It’s 5th best if you only count the goalies who have played at least 35 games.

    I guess in the ‘burgh we don’t bother looking up the correct stats when pointing out these trivial categories, right?

  42. Harry says:

    Matt: No matter how you try to fix the numbers, MAF isn’t one of the top 10 goalies in the league right now. King Henrik, Rinne, Halak, Elliott, Quick, Schneider, Howard, Lehtonen, Backstrom and Miller are better. Of course, you’d have to be objective to realize that, and Pittsburgh fans/media never have been known for that quality.

  43. Lady Di says:

    The Pens have scored the third-most goals in the league, so their goaltenders should have very good records, don’t you think? (Got that, Steigy?)

  44. Jay Walker says:

    You can have the statue, Starkey. Give me one more win against the Islanders in the 1975 and 1992 playoffs.

  45. Jared says:

    Lady Di…you’re just being intentionally obtuse. At least I hope it’s intentional. But for the record, here we go…

    If I had tried to make the case that winning PERCENTAGE was the only stat that matters for goalies, citing the winning percentage of a #3 goalie who has won his only two NHL starts (and against vastly inferior teams, at that) would be a valid reply. But I didn’t. I said that WINS is the only number that matters. I’ll take a guy who can consistently pull down 35 or 40 of those a year on my team anytime.

    And Harry…SERIOUSLY?!?!? You’re going to cite 10 goalies who you think are better than Fleury…only one of whom has won more games this season, NONE of whom have won a Cup, one of whom (Schneider) has never had a chance to prove he can be anything other than a backup…and at least one of whom (Miller) was playing so badly this year that there was a significant amount of speculation about him being traded at the deadline?!?!?

    Of the group you cite, Lundqvist is the only one I’d even THINK about exchanging Fleury for…and I still wouldn’t, becuase Lundqvist has never shown that he can win (there’s that word again) the big game. Much like Luongo, though, he HAS shown many times that he’s perfectly capable of losing it. I personally think Lundqvist is exceptionally talented…one of the few goalies that I would actually pay to watch on an individual basis…but until he shows he’s something other than the goaltending equivalent of the Capitals (you know, money in the regular season, not so much in the playoffs), he isn’t “king” of anything other than Rangers’ fans delusions.

  46. joshyohe says:

    Van Man,

    Your argument loses all credibility when you say Malkin isn’t the same player in the postseason. Were you watching in 2009? The whole Conn Smythe thing?
    And you say the Rangers are more experienced between the pipes? Fleury has a Stanley Cup ring and two trips to the Final. Hank Lundqvist is great but has never gotten past the second round.
    Also, you said the offense lacks much scoring from the third line. You realize Jordan Staal will be on the third line in the playoffs, right? Who do you want on the third line? Bobby Hull?
    Listen, I was just having some fun with this entry. Most people around the league agree that, if Crosby and Letang are healthy in the playoffs, the Penguins are the team to beat in the East.
    Hockey playoffs are especially unpredictable, so I have no clue what to expect. But picking on Malkin and Fleury isn’t real sensible. You can keep bringing up MAF’s save percentage. I’ll keep telling you that 25 of the league’s 30 GMs would kill to have him.

  47. Matt says:

    I’m not sure what’s funnier, Harry’s goaltending list that’s objectively his opinion or everything Lady Di has posted. Malkin being a no-show last post-season…umm yeah, he didn’t play last post-season and Fleury was about the only Penguin who DID show up for Game 7. Brad Theissen’s perfect NHL record through 2 games making him the Pens best goaltender, or the Pens goal scoring being the reason MAF has a good record. If that’s the case, why does Brent Johnson have a losing record?

  48. espo33 says:

    Matt-I am not a fan of Martin. When they signed him I thought it was for too much and too many years. He is good one on one most of the time with his stick. He plays on the left side and you should watch him when there is a 2 on 2 rush and the players cross even a little bit. He leaves his spot open every time and it puts the other D guy out of position. He doesn’t help his D man. I am just not a fan and do hope they trade him. I would rather have Despres up next year and maybe even Strait.

    I think it really depends on the coaching staff if Despres gets in during the playoffs. They would probably just use Lovejoy/Eng’s if Letang is out and use Despres only if another D guy is out.

  49. espo33 says:

    And I think I figured out why Mario is going against the NYI guys. He scored the 2nd most pts agianst them then any other team behind Philly. I wish those players were Philly… But he or the team didn’t want to incite any more hatred in the rival probably.

  50. bdef says:

    THANK YOUUUU TO MATT, JARED & DBAB. Many great points made by all 3 of you that I’ve been making for a while now, too many to acknowledge individually. & I’m not sure many of these ppl are pens “fans” at all..funny they’re reading articles on them tho. haha great points from all 3 of you in gengeral, esp. ab Fluery, the guy wins. Ask just ab any other team in the league if they’d be interested in Fluery & they’ll line up at almost any cost. Scanning thru the comments I’ve already seen too many rebuttals for the haters out there, but I’d be here til Tue. arguing. Idk of a better option in the league right now between the pipes than MAF. Pens are well rounded & solid all the way around, don’t understand how all these ppl can complain about an injury riddled team that tied the second hight season pts total in franchise history last yr, & could ver well win the atlantic division this yr (9 straight W’s). They just throttled & physicallly punished the “Big Bad B’s” earlier, yet everyone would rather have Tim Thomas, dude didn’t even make it past the 1st. haha ppl need to wake up, or need they’re eyes/brains checked b/c idk what they think they’re looking at. W/ Sid back they’re instant favorites, ask any team w/ playoff aspirations in the East if they want to see this pens team any time soon…exhibit A would be Boston today. I think we know the answer to that by what was put on display today.

  51. bdef says:

    haha & Lady Di, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking ab on any of these posts, you’d be better just retiring the name & sticking to reading w/o replying. But then again seems like you struggle w/ that at times as well. So maybe you should start reading articles on more of your favorite teams or players b/c the pens obviously don’t fall into that category for you.

  52. bdef says:

    As far as objectivity is concerned, im not an analyst, a journalist, or commentator of any kind. I AM A FAN, which is short for FANATIC. So being a fan means there’s no obligation to be objective. But all biases aside anyways, I still don’t see how Harry’s half way hilarious list of goaltenders “better” than MAF is credible in the slightest bit. I’ll admit any flaws I feel any of my teams I have, but ppl are grasping at straws here trying to FIND REASONS TO BE PESSIMISTIC. You sound like a bunch of philly fans!

  53. tomas says:

    Lady Di is a Cryers or Red Wangs or Craps fan. So many viruses on message boards.

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