Since this season is so short many teams have an added pressure to perform well and make the playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins have even more pressure than other teams to perform well. After that horrible playoff series with the Philadelphia Flyers, in which the scores were high and full of surprises, the Penguins need to regain their step and confidence, to make a strong run in the playoffs. One player that will provide that step is Sidney Crosby who posted an impressive 37 points in only 22 games after coming off of that roller coaster concussion.
Crosby, who is one of the best players in the NHL, has been a leader for this team since he was named captain in the 2007-08 season. I can’t think of another player that is looking forward to this season as much as Crosby. The guy was on the shelf for over a year, didn’t know whether his symptoms would change day to day and had to watch his team on TV instead of being out there with them. Now that’s brutal. Sid the Kid will lead his troops into the trenches along with Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury when the season opens up January 19th.
One thing that concerns me is who will be playing with Malkin. There have been talks that Tyler Kennedy will fill that role but I pray that doesn’t happen. Kennedy has never posted more than 45 points in a single season and if you’re playing with Malkin and James Neal, you need to put up more points than that. Kennedy has filled in the top six multiple times due to injury and illness, so maybe if he’s given a full time role he will have a breakout season.
The Penguins need to make a strong push to win the Stanley Cup this year after a disappointing early exit last year. With some fresh new faces and Crosby back on his feet, I expect the team to return to the dynasty form we are all accustomed to.