Following a rigid set of steps or a specific formula does not guarantee any team the Stanley Cup at season's end. A combination of skill, team depth, determination, coaching, management and a bit of luck blend at precisely the right time can lead to a team hoisting hockey’s ultimate prize in early June.
Injuries to key players hurt the Pittsburgh Penguins after winning the 2009 Stanley Cup. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Kris Letang all sustained serious injuries over the next two seasons and missed a combined 235 games.
Depth, experience, coaching, management, the return of Crosby and Letang, the seemingly unstoppable Malkin, the emergence of James Neal as one of the league's top scorers and the All-Star goaltending of Marc-Andre Fleury make the Penguins not only a contender to win the 2012 Stanley Cup, but also a favorite.