When the Pittsburgh Penguins are being discussed in articles, on TV or any other media outlet the first forwards mentioned are inevitably Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal (usually in that order). There is very good reason for this to be the case.
Sidney Crosby is the face of the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise, as well as the NHL. He is arguably the best all-around player in the game today and deserves all of the recognition and accolades that are constantly showered upon him.
Evgeni Malkin is the reigning NHL scoring champ and the Penguins playoff MVP from their 2009 Stanley Cup Championship run. He is a supreme talent who even overshadows his all-world teammate Crosby on many nights.
Jordan Staal, the youngest of the trio, is a tremendous two-way forward who has the potential to skate away with his fair share of Selke Trophies in the years to come. Whether five-on-five or short handed, Staal is always a threat at both ends of the ice.
With all this attention heaped upon the Penguin’s dynamic triumvirate, it is easy to forget about the rest of the forwards who help make the franchise a legitimate threat to defend its Stanley Cup Championship.
There is the veteran presence of Billy Guerin (or Grandpa Bill as I like to call him) and the aggressive, straight-line game of Chris Kunitz who both flank Crosby on the Pens top line.
Penguins GM Ray Shero brought in some more firepower at this year’s trade deadline by adding ex-Maple Leaf left winger Alexei Ponikarovsky to form an all-Russian speaking second unit with Malkin and clutch playoff performer (I’m not really sure where “Mr. Clutch” goes during the regular season) Ruslan Fedotenko.
Finally, who could forget the Stanley Cup Playoff heroics of Mad Max Talbot? The man with the calming locker room presence, quick wit, and team-first attitude.
Even the aforementioned five forwards receive more attention and notoriety then the players I would like to recognize in this article.
I’m here to talk about the grinders, the shot blockers, the penalty killers, the scrapers and the energy bringers (Yes, I know Talbot falls into this category, but he is “The Grinder” when it comes to the Penguins and is usually the first player in that category discussed, so for the purpose of this article Max gets enough face time).
Those “other” Penguin forwards who deserve to receive more attention then they often garner.
These six skaters are the unsung heroes of the Pittsburgh Penguins forward group and if only for one time, in one article they are the players being put in the limelight…besides, Crosby, Malkin, and Staal could use a break.