Will Marc-Andre Fleury's Return Jumpstart the Pittsburgh Penguins?

Scott BarnerContributor IDecember 17, 2008

As we get closer to the halfway point in the season, the Penguins are looking for a spark to ignite their lackluster play.  

Could the return of Marc-Andre Fleury be the answer?  

At this point, anything can help.  

Sabourin's play has been uninspiring, to say the least.  He just didn't step up the way Conklin did last season during Fleury's absence.  

He showed some signs of brilliance, but also seemed distracted at times, wandering too far out of his crease and seeming a bit confused,  

As the Pens begin to slip a little in the Atlantic Division, Fleury's return will be just what the doctor ordered.  It also appears that Ryan Whitney is not far from coming back into the lineup to help quarterback the sputtering power play.  

With all the recent injuries and call-ups from Wilkes-Barre, the team was out of sync. When they can get everyone out of the training room, the team will gel again and begin to get back the ground it lost recently.

A trade to bring in a scoring winger is also not out of the question.  More than most likely, someone from the defense corps will be used in such a trade.  When Gonchar comes back from his injury, the Penguins will have a glut of rearguards on the lineup, making someone expendable.

The third- and fourth-line players also need to pull their weight.  The Pens can't expect Sidney Crosby And Evgeni Malkin to carry the team every night.

Recently, the Pens have received some help from Sykora and Pascal Dupuis. Even Jordan Staal has improved his steady two-way play as of late.  

More production is needed from Miroslav Satan and Rusian Fedotenko.  Neither have been consistent.  Both need to step up their play if the Penguins are going to make a second half run to the playoffs.

The Penguins need a fast jump start to keep up with the likes of Philly and the others—and they need it now.

Fleury's return hopefully will be just that spark the team needs to keep up the pace in the Atlantic.