Jordan Staal-Chris Kunitz: Pass the Champagne!
A little more than 24 hour after Penguins GM Ray Shero officially sent Penguins fans whipping boy Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Chris Kunitz and possible "next one" Eric Tangradi, there is a roar brewing through the Greater Pittsburgh Area.
Trade Jordan Staal! I hear the reasons...
"He's a valuable trade commodity!"
"His numbers aren't like Malkin and Crosby!"
...and I began doubting myself.
My first reaction was "Staal, really...he's so young, good defensively," but I couldn't stop I've listening to the trade happy mob mentality, then looking at Staal, thinking maybe...I don't know.
Now after watching the first 10 minutes elapse of the Penguins game in Chicago, Jordan reminded me of what my instincts should have been...YOU'RE ALL NUTS.
Because Sidney Crosby is out with the groin ache, the Penguins may have discovered a concoction, much like Champagne was discovered, by accident. I'm watching Staal center the line of newly acquired Chris Kunitz and always high energy Tyler Kennedy, I believe the Penguins may have answered two of their their own questions.
Who can we get to be Crosby's wing?
What to do with Staal with Crosby and Malkin centering the top two lines?
The answer is mind blowing, are you ready? Are you sure? There's no turning back!
Make Jordan Staal your second line center.
"WHAAAAAAT!" you say. Okay here we go...
Watching this instant chemistry between Staal, Kunitz, and Kennedy (Staal and Kunitz have both scored and and assisted on the others goal, while Kennedy has registered an assist in the first 10 minute), the answer became obvious.
We FINALLY have a second line. The first line? Well, remember how dominating that pesky combination of Malkin and Crosby is when used? Why not make it full time? You haven't seen a constant, "will they end up together...they're so good together!" since Friends went off air with Ross and Rachel ending up together.
Don't make us wait nine years Bylsma!
You have a natural feeder with good shooting skills in Crosby and a sniper with good passing skills in Malkin...and for kicks, let's throw a side of Sykora in to complete the meal. Remind anyone of Gretzky-Kurri, Hull-Oates, or Lemieux-anyone?
Then the next obvious question would be who to use on the powerplay if all are on your topline. Simple, add Staal or Kunitz to be full time net presences for your two best players.
That would leave a Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, Max Talbot and Ruslan Fedotenko battle for a third line where all are more aptly suited than rotating into the top six positions.
Whoever isn't playing his A game gets demoted to lead the fourth line with Bill Thomas and Eric Godard, my guess would be Pascal Dupuis (personality aside, is bringing a big zero to the table). Keep in mind, the surprising Mike Zigomanis will be back in the fold next season as well.
That possibility would also leave me to finally say this...oh,my god I can't believe this is going to happen...it puts Satan where he belongs!
"SATAN, INTO THE PRESS BOX, I COMMAND THEEE!"
Into the press box until Shero either deals him before the trade deadline (please Toronto, let us have Antropov for him, we'll even give you any pick you want except a first rounder) on Tuesday or until his contract expires this summer.
I'm curious if that this is what Shero saw when he pulled the trigger or if this is just a wonderful by-product? Who cares.,,,,enjoy it like a sip of fine bubbley on New Years Eve.
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