This Pittsburgh Penguins journey, is one of survival.
In the fall, when temperatures start to drop and a cool breeze rips across the dark, dry, cold, barren land, it is a sign that Winter is Coming. And when water turns to ice, we know that it’s Hockey Season.
Another NHL season begins, in which the Pittsburgh Penguins will strive to fulfil their ultimate goal, to Win the Stanley Cup.
Each year, the Penguins must take quite the journey, attempting to win such a great prize. They have been making such a journey since 1967. Some Penguins make it to their ultimate destination, (Winning the Stanley Cup in 1991, 1992, 2009, 2016, 2017), while other Penguins never quite make it.
In September, the Penguins leave the comfort of their homes and love of their family, in order to travel a great distance. All Penguins will meet at the PPG Paints Arena, in Pittsburgh, which will be the starting point, of this great journey together.
The destination is always the same, the path, however, is not.
This is a 10-month, long, dangerous, and seemingly impossible journey, to win the ultimate prize, Lord Stanley’s Mug. The Penguins must brave treacherous cold weather, endure the pain of injury, and remain battle-tested against all oncoming enemies.
The Penguins will not swim, nor fly their way to victory. In order to Win, these Penguins must waddle into each and every game and Skate Hard. However, they won’t skate alone. Together as a team, as a unit, the Penguins, will lace up their skates, grab their sticks, put on their helmets, and provide their utmost effort, in order to obtain a Win.
Early in October 2021, this Penguin journey began to encounter bumps and hurdles immediately. Injuries, inconsistent play, and Covid-19 were causes for the mounting losses. So much upheaval, that it almost derailed this Penguins journey, before it began.
It was in Mid-November, when the Penguins got healthy and took off to the Great White North in a 9-game Road Trip against all Canadian teams, in seek of some much-needed Wins. It was during this adventure, the Penguins finally found W’s, got themselves back in the win column, as well as back in the NHL Playoff Race.
History tells us that the Penguins will continue to be tested throughout this journey. Each and every game the ice shifts and provides a new test or a new roadblock for the Penguins to endure, adapt and overcome.
There have been constant challenges placed upon this team, like the inconsistent play of forward Kapanen #42 for example, or the poor play of the back up goalie, DeSmith#1. Oh yes and do not forget about the lack of secondary scoring. Ongoing hurdles, the Penguins have had to overcome.
They battled and persevered through these challenges with an amazing record in December (7-1-0), and carried it through into January, going 10-3-1 for the month, climbing in the standings as a result.
The Penguins have had to overcome harsh weather when traveling into hostile environments (road games). They have faced constant aggressive behaviors forced against them, from their opposition, game in and game out. However, the Penguins have kept their composure. The Penguins have taken the least number of penalties in NHL to date and as a result, have become victorious on many a night.
On February 14.2022, the Penguins reached one of their goals, First Place in the Metropolitan Division. Although it did not last long, the Penguins have been at or near the top spot since Mid-November 2020.
This journey is not for the faint of heart.
The Penguins have gained victory by banding together as one unit. Together, united, fighting against all odds for the sole purpose of winning games, which leads to winning a Chip (Championship aka, The Stanley Cup). Each Penguin will get their chance to shine, throughout this journey, the questions is, will they be ready when called upon?
Only the strong will survive this test.
As the weather changes again, we enter spring, and with spring, so too arrives the NHL Playoffs. Since 2006-2007, the Penguins just seem to know their way into the NHL Playoffs. They simply go about it differently each year. As the sun gets stronger with each passing day, so do these Penguins. It’s as if their natural instinct is guiding them towards the NHL Playoffs and beyond, towards the Stanley Cup.
Strong bonds are built among Penguins, because of the challenges they have faced together. Penguins are known to have thick skin, be self disciplined, show determination and have the will to live with and overcome many of life’s challenges that are thrust upon them. This Penguins Hockey Team, with what they have experienced since October, have shown that same determination and resilience.
These unbreakable ties will be tested throughout this 10-month long journey and what started out as a goal in October (making the Playoffs and Winning the Cup), is now becoming a reality, as we exit March.
40-18-10 = 90 Points
3rd in the Metropolitan Division (Up from 7th Place in Oct)
5th -Tied in the Eastern conference (Up from 13th Place in Oct)
6th -Tied in the NHL overall (Up from 22nd overall in Oct)
Pittsburgh Penguins are holding the #3 Playoff Spot, in the Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference).
My View from the Cheap Seats
As the Penguins enter the final month of the regular season (“the journey”), they appear to be a “Rock-Solid,” Playoff Team who is in the conversation as a Cup Contender.
I am impressed with the overall commitment to “Team D” (united they stand against all opposition). Another positive sign is to get out of the “Dog Days” of the NHL Schedule, with a relatively healthy line-up. Knock on wood.
In my humble opinion, these Penguins are battle-tested and have created a cohesive bond, which means they are ready for the final March towards the hardest trophy to win in all sports.
At the end of this Penguin pilgrimage, we are all hoping for a Penguins Parade.
However, after the ice melts and a Stanley Cup Champion is crowned, this Penguin family will go their separate ways. Back to their homes and loved ones. Only some of these Penguins will return in the fall to March again, while others will be lost to Free Agency, Trades or Retirement.
And so, continues the journey, the circle of life, the March of the Penguins.
Quote of the Day
Hubert H Humphries – American Politician