As we inch ever closer to the one-month anniversary of the Pittsburgh Penguins' 2009 Stanley Cup championship, the Pens have already begun to undergo what we all knew would be unavoidable changes.
Firstly, Max Talbot underwent surgery today and will miss four to five months.
According to the Pens' website, the surgery was successful, but Talbot will miss at least one, possibly two months of the 2009-10 season.
At least he'll have plenty of time to watch the replay of Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals while he polishes his ring on his living room couch. What a human.
The USS Hal Gill raised its anchor from the depths of the Susquehanna and set sail for Montreal last week.
The Habs signed Gill to a two-year deal, worth just over two million dollars per season.
No one is discounting the importance of having Hal Gill on your roster in the Stanley Cup playoffs; it's his regular season inconsistency that presents a problem.
But when you're the Montreal Canadiens, you don't have to worry about the Stanley Cup playoffs. Whoooooooooooooo.
Yeah, 24 Cups, I know. See yinz in October.
Losing Gill might have been a tough pill to swallow for some Pens' fans, or you might be indifferent on the matter.
Regardless of how you felt about watching Gill cross the border to the north, nobody felt good about watching Rob Scuderi head to the Left Coast.
Scuds has matured from a number three or four defensemen in the American Hockey League to a sure fire shut down d-man, capable of slotting in to the top two defensive pairings on any roster in the National Hockey League over the past four years.
After turning down an offer from the United States Federal Government to be employed as President Obama's lone bodyguard, Scuds accepted a hefty contract from the Los Angeles Kings.
But, you can't blame Scuds for getting paid.
The Pittsburgh Penguins might have been able to pay Scuderi a million dollars a year to play defense.
The Los Angeles Kings are going to pay Rob Scuderi $3.4 million a year to play defense.
It's just too bad we won't get to watch him in the playoffs next year. Whooooooooooo.
Mathieu Garon rounds out the list of the faithfully departed from Pittsburgh this offseason.
Garon signed a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he will back up this year's rookie goaltending sensation Steve Mason.
Now, enough about those who have left us, what about those who have signed on for another go-round in the Steel City?
The Pens signed forwards Craig Adams, Bill Guerin, and Ruslan Fedotenko in the opening days of free agency.
Adams signed on for two years and took roughly $50,000 less than what he made last season.
Fedotenko took a pay cut to stay in Pittsburgh for another season.
Veteran forward Bill Guerin also signed a one-year deal, and also took a substantial pay cut of roughly $2 million to play what could be his last season in the NHL for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Penguins' GM Ray Shero also added a couple of new faces to the Penguins' roster since July 1.
Former New Jersey Devil Mike Rupp gives the Penguins cheaper toughness than what resident bad boy Eric Godard is capable of providing.
Due to the Rupp signing, Pierre McGuire has a better chance at suiting up for the Penguins than Eric Godard does in 2009-10.
The Pens also signed Pittsburgh native Nate Guenin as a possible depth defenseman.
Guenin spent last season with the Flyers' AHL affiliate in Philadelphia, so chances are he will need at least a full season to recover from spending every waking hour surrounded by jokes and then trying to play decent hockey.
Realistically, he's probably a nobody.
Shero also struck deals with forward Chris Conner and defenseman Chris Lee in an effort to add some more depth to the Penguins' organization.
Conner probably has a decent chance of seeing some time with the big club, but Lee is most likely headed for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
As free agency progresses, the Penguins still have some work to do.
Petr Sykora and Mike Zigomanis still have not received offers from the Penguins, or another organization since the start of free agency on July 1.
Sykie and Ziggy figure to be the last of Shero's "priorities" this offseason.
Phillippe Boucher's time in Pittsburgh is done. He's too old, too slow, and too expensive to fit into Dan Bylsma's system.
Likewise, Miroslav Satan has probably played his last game as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Satan just doesn't fit into Bylsma's fast paced, aggressive system, and even if he did, he would be required to take a pretty ridiculous pay cut to stick around as a third or fourth liner.
So while the Pens should be busy for the rest of the summer, so will the rest of the league.
People are already saying that every team in the Atlantic Division has gotten better this summer.
The Rags got rid of Gomez and brought in Gaborik. He'll probably be healthy for like 12 games.
Good thing Lundqvist is a beast.
The Devils lost a lot more talent than they gained. Actually, did they even sign anyone? No one has cared about New Jersey since the mid-'90s. At least Brodeur will see the Atlantic Division Championship banner in the rafters of The Rock when he is trying to shield his eyes from the glare of Marc-Andre Fleury's ring.
The Flyers have added Ian Laperriere and Chris Pronger. Ray Emery will likely be their starting goaltender. Former San Jose Shark and second time Flyer, Brian Boucher will be their back up.
Or in other words, the Flyers will be the most penalized team in the NHL and they will be in the top 10 in goals against.
But, they still have Mike Richards' leadership, and that is greater than any number of Stanley Cups. Whooooooooooooo.
The Islanders may have actually improved more than any other team in the Eastern Conference, with the Habs coming in a close second.
Not only did the Isles' pick up John Tavares with the No. 1 pick in the NHL Entry Draft, they also added Dwayne Roloson to back up Rick DiPietro...or to take over the starting job when DeePee has a season ending injury in November.
Additionally, the Isles have been stockpiling young prospects in the recent weeks who, after some grooming in Bridgeport, will likely see some time in the NHL.
Tavares, Kyle Okposo, and Josh Bailey offer a solid tandem of gifted forwards to go along with Mark Streit and Jack Hillen on the blue line and one of the better combinations of goaltenders (at least until DiPietro gets hurt) in the Atlantic Division.
Now, the Isles aren't going to win the division and they probably won't make the playoffs, but it seems as though their days of finishing in the cold depths of the Eastern Conference cellar could be nearing an end.
It's been a rather cold and wet summer so far in Western Pennsylvania.
Apparently it has something to do with the excessive amounts of water vapor being added to the atmosphere as warm air passes over the city of Detroit, MI and evaporates millions of gallons of tears.
Let's Go Pens.
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