Pittsburgh Penguins Just Making It with Dynamic Duo

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Pittsburgh Penguins Just Making It with Dynamic Duo

 

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The Pittsburgh Penguins could go down in history as a storied sports franchise. 

 

They have a long way to go to catch the Steelers, and even the Pirates, in Pittsburgh, but they are certainly making a grand show of it lately.

 

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin lead one of the most high-powered offenses in the NHL. They are two similar, yet different players. 

 

Crosby plays with finesse and a little grit. Malkin employs a large frame and exquisite skill. 

 

And they complement each other beautifully.

 

Consequently, one would be hard-pressed to find another duo in the league capable of producing as well as these two do, even on a mediocre day. 

 

Ovechkin is so good, he makes everyone else around him look good, too.  Datsuyk and Zetterberg are a force, but not quite as skilled as the Pens' top two. 

 

Although many would hate to believe it, these two guys will be together in Pittsburgh for a long time, and they are probably better-suited to each other than Jagr and Lemieux, or possibly even Gretzky and Messier were.

 

The question then becomes, what would the Penguins do if they lost one of these great stars? 

 

The answer lies in last season.

 

Crosby went down with an injury for six weeks, and was very fragile for the next three. Malkin emerged as a force in his absence. 

 

Quite honestly, it was probably better that way. Malkin was able to meld with the team and showcase his talents while not in the shadow of "Sid the Kid." Now, they work better together.

 

Granted, the Pens do not have the supporting cast they had last season.

 

Ryan Malone, Colby Armstrong, and Erik Christiansen have all departed.  Fleury has been blowing hot-and-cold for much of the season, and, while Dany Sabourin has been capable, Ty Conklin was a much better option in '07-'08.

 

Pittsburgh is also without their top two defensemen until early in 2009.

 

All that said, an injury to either Malkin or Crosby would be devastating to the team at this point. 

 

Jordan Staal could be the next to step up his game, and Pascal Dupuis still has some gas in the tank. Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko both have shown flashes of brilliance, particularly in the playoffs.

 

While the Penguins will continue to contend for the Eastern Conference crown, Fleury must work on staying healthy and consistent.  One other player, preferably a defenseman, needs to step up and take command of the blue line—Phillipe Boucher was supposed to be that guy until he was hurt.  Brooks Orpik is the logical choice, but it might have to be Kris Letang.  He’s younger, but he’s probably a better option to quarterback the point on the power play and be a strong penalty killer.

 

In the meantime, Crosby and Malkin will continue to work their magic and make everyone else on the team better.

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