The Fansided NHL Network, that SenShot is proud to be a member of, is embarking on its NHL preview. Each day in September, one of its members will be posting a preview for their club. SenShot will look at their preview, and let you have a look. After that, we will provide our own perspective. Jared will handle the Western Conference teams while Tony will look at the East.
Today, we’ll preview the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Here’s what Pens Labyrinth‘s lead writer, Bill Mayer had to say:
Three words will determine the Penguins fate this season: Sidney Crosby’s health. If Crosby can return to form, the Pens will be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. If Sid misses significant time with post-concussion symptoms or – gasp! – gets re-injured, this could be another one-and-done playoff season.
There’s no doubt Evgeni Malkin’s and Jordan Staal’s health are also vital to Pittsburgh’s success, but let’s be honest – this is Crosby’s team. Without him last year, the Pens just couldn’t score. This proved to be a fatal flaw against Tampa in the playoffs.
Even without Crosby in the lineup, this is a playoff team. With a healthy Crosby, the Pens should compete for the division title and a top-three seed in the conference. But it certainly isn’t going to be easy. The division should be stronger top-to-bottom this season. I expect New Jersey and the Islanders to be better than they were last year, and Philadelphia and the Rangers should be tough. Then there’s Washington…and the defending champs…and the team that beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs last year. Here’s the rub – after two consecutive premature playoff ousters, the pressure is on. Sure, the Pens won it all three seasons ago, but this core won’t be around forever. And with this core, and a championship, expectations are always sky high. It’s time for this team to make another run at the Cup. With health, it can be done.
Click here to read the entire Pens Labyrinth’s Pittsburgh preview.
You can follow Bill on Twitter here for all your Pen’s news and info.
Here’s SenShot’s take on the upcoming Pen’s season:
Even though the status of Sidney Crosby will be the main topic around Pittsburgh until he returns to the ice, I think this year will belong to Evgeni Malkin. Sometimes the forgotten superstar in Pittsburgh, Malkin is still a top five star in the league. After an injury plagued 2010-2011 season, Malkin is back and healthy and is ready to put the team on his back.
With the Pens returning most of their roster from last year, a healthy Malkin should make an impact that can make the Pens a contender in the East. Will the Penguins make the playoffs this season? Yes they will. But is their window closing? With only two years left on Crosby and Jordan Staal’s contracts, the Penguins will need to manage their salary cap if they hope to keep their current core together.
Check back here tomorrow when we preview the Phoenix Coyotes and their upcoming season.
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