Thursday, September 6, 2007

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Pittsburgh Penguins

The don't call him the second coming for nothing.
The Hammer
Quick hits
  • It's quite possible that Sid the Kid is what's keeping you alive this summer.
  • I always liked it better when Penguins wore scarves.
  • The 105 points that the Penguins recorded last season was the second highest total in team history and nearly doubled their total of 58 points in 2005-06. It was one of the biggest turnarounds in NHL history.
  • Things have turned around so much in the Steel City that the Penguins now have a waiting list for season tickets.
  • Along with the Islanders, the Penguins have never won the Atlantic Division since the NHL moved to it's current divisional format in 1993.
Odds for the folks at gambler's anonymous

5 to 1: The Pens win the Atlantic for the first time and Sidney Crobsy retains his title as NHL scoring champion.

45 to 1: Frank Pietrangelo is spotted downtown, eating spaghetti.

132 to 1: Jean Claude Van Damme makes a blockbuster sequel to Sudden Death and it puts the NHL back in the forefront of American's minds.

Obligatory serious analysis

The Penguins made an epic turnaround during the 2006-07 season. Last winter, it looked as if the team would surely move to Kansas City, but the powers that be kept it in Pittsburgh, and things could not have turned out better. There is a waiting list for season tickets, Sid the Kid led the NHL in scoring, and the team came within two points of the Atlantic Division title. The Pens went from a 58 point performance in 2005-06 to a 105 point season last year, and finished tied for fourth in the East. They lost in their return to the post season to the eventual conference champion Ottawa Senators, but the Penguins proved that they have arrived and are here to stay.

Everyone knows they're loaded with young talent; Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal. The list goes on and on. If you were not paying close attention this summer, what you might have missed was the Penguins adding some veteran presence to a team that will surely contend for the division, and potentially eastern conference titles. The team re-signed Crosby, Ryan Whitney, Maxime Talbot, Colby Armstrong, and Rob Scuderi (Nassau County represent!). Not only that, but they decided to keep veterans Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts around for another year. The duo will earn two million and two and a half million dollars, respectively. Adding to the veteran depth will be defender Daryl Sydor from Dallas and Petr Sykora from Edmonton. But calling those two 'depth' may be a bit insulting at this point. Sykroa has 53 points for the Oilers last season, and despite being 35-years old, Sydor is still a top 2/3 defender.

While other teams in the Atlantic made a huge splash in free agency and vastly improved their on-ice products (see: Rangers, Flyers), the Penguins made some quiter moves. Don't let that fool you -- this was already a top notch team, and the additions of Sykora and Sydor should put them over the top, giving them the ammunition for a deep playoff run.

Prediction: It's going to be a dog fight for the division crown between the Rangers and Penguins, but I'm going to put my money on Pittsburgh. The Penguins will take the Atlantic (barely), and with it the 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference.

The best looking ice girls in Pittsburgh
The Pens do have ice girls; the Delta Dental Pens Patrol. Nonetheless, I think this was a much better find.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay


  1. i totally just netflixed that movie.

  2. I've never seen it but I imagine it's got to be at least half interesting since there's hockey involved!

  3. I fully support any movie that gives Luc Robitaille dialogue.

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