Metropolitan Division Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the Philadelphia Flyers’ biggest rival and a perennial NHL powerhouse. We both hate and (kind of) respect them. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are both top-five forwards in the league. The team also boasts the likes of James Neal, Kris Letang, and the list goes on.

And yet, this powerhouse hasn’t made the Stanley Cup Finals since they won it all back in 2009. Year after year, experts and pundits pick them to win the whole thing and the Pens find a way to eff it all up. Last year, they were derailed by the Boston Bruins. The year before by the Flyers. The key to beating the Penguins? Questionable defense and goaltending. So yeah, the Pens will blow by you in the regular season, but once it hits crunch time, they can’t seem to dig deep enough to win it all.

Maybe the question should no longer be, “When will the Penguins win it all again?” but rather, “Will they?”

 

City Facts

Cole slaw and Iron City beer are actually a form of currency in Pittsburgh and they secretly laugh at outsiders when they consume them.

All of the yellow in the city is due to their love of urine.

Pittsburgh is actually an elaborate metaphor for purgatory.

 

Worst Jersey

I’m not a fan of the baby blues for the Pens. The team’s identity, as well as the city’s, lies with yellow and black. They look wrong otherwise. Their first Winter Classic jersey is okay, but the second? Stripe Hell. No thank you, Pens.

 

Key Players

Sidney Crosby – We all know Crosby. Best in the league when healthy, diver extraordinaire, blah blah blah. Been there done that. Let’s just make fun of his mustache-growing skills and duck lips and call it a day.

Note to internet commenters: It is spelled Sidney, not Sydney. He is not an Australian city, no matter how much he might wish that he was.

Evgeni Malkin – All photos of Malkin have been deemed NSFW due to possible trauma and have thus been banned from the site. I heard he once slaughtered a bunch of men at King’s Landing but ran away from some fire.

Some people argue that Malkin might be even better than Crosby. He can certainly be a force on the ice, especially when he put up 109 points in the 2011-12 campaign.

Kris Letang – Get a haircut! Letang may look Keanu Reeves dopey, but he’s a hell of an offensive defenseman. He has put up totals of 50, 42, and 38 points in the last 3 seasons (38 points in 35 games last season for the record) and is the main cog on the Penguins’ defense.

James Neal – Neal is dirtier than Pigpen from the Peanuts gang. Flyers fans remember him best for his cheap shots on Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier in the 2012 playoffs. He was always a decent player in Dallas, but has turned into a bonafide top line player with Crosby and Malkin on the Pens. Bluntly and frankly speaking, Neal is a pain in the ass.

Marc Andre Fleury – Nicknamed Flower, this once promising top pick is now one of the most criticized goaltenders in the league. MAF poops the bed more than your toddler. He was pulled for Tomas Vokoun in last year’s playoffs for a reason. Now that Vokoun is out indefinitely with a blood clot, there will be even more pressure for Fleury to perform.

 

Coach

Dan Bylsma – I still don’t know how to pronounce his last name properly. Bylsma was considered the NHL’s top coach a couple of years ago, but has come under extreme scrutiny after his last few playoff failures. Penguins fans in particular seem to have soured on Bylsma. He could be on the hot seat if the Penguins struggle at all.

He’s also called Disco Dan and we all know that disco sucks.

 

Key Offseason Move

The Pens actually made a terrific defensive move by bringing Rob Scuderi back to the ‘burgh. Scuderi is a very solid dman and helps the Penguins at a position where they’ve had their fair share of problems in the past few years.

 

Division Prediction: First place

There’s no denying how good the Pens are. I can make fun of them all day, but they’re still going to end up as one of the top teams in the league.

But they’ll still lose early in the playoffs because their goaltending sucks and Pens suck and bababooey bababooey.

Pens gif from our friends over at Broad Street Hockey