Penguins Waddle Toward The Season

Penguins (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Penguins (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Penguins begin their Quest to return to the NHL Playoffs on October 10.2023 against Chicago.  The Penguins re-tooled their line-up and are looking to add their 6th Stanley Cup Banner to the rafters.

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The Penguins changed their Gm ( Kyle Dubas – former Toronto Maple Leafs GM).

The New GM brought in Doug Wilson as his Senior Advisor (former San Jose Sharks GM and Hall of Fame D-Man with over 40 years of NHL experience).

The New GM brought in Jason Spezza as his Assistant GM (19-year former NHL player).

The New GM changed some Front Office Hockey Ops people and brought in 3-time Team USA Olympic Medallist and 4-time World Champion, Amanda Kessel.

The New GM traded and upgraded the Penguins Roster by bringing in New Additions: Erik Karlsson, Ryan Graves, Reilly Smith, Alex Nylander, Lars Eller, Matthew Nieto, Noel Acciari, and Rem Pitlick.

I think at the very least, we all can agree, that this GM is really trying to make the Pittsburgh Penguins into a better team, this year, like right now.

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There are however, 3 things we should keep an eye out for, as this season begins, and early trends reveal themselves.

Team Speed

The Penguins will be and have been, the oldest team in NHL.  While having a Veteran Presence on the team adds to the calmness in the room, it also adds a level of caution by way of injury or a reduced level of energy.  Can the Pens keep up with New Jersey, NYR, or The Canes for 82 games plus Playoffs?

Time will tell.

Letang and Karlsson

It is so awesome to see those Two All-World Players in the Penguins line-up.  Now, can they get along?

There is a blueprint, (Vegas) if you have Elite Backend Talent, (Defensemen)

Martinez – Pietrangelo

McNabb – Theodore

Hague – Whitecloud

surrounded with Solid D-Men, you have exponentially increased your chances of Winning the Cup.  Tampa Bay also proved this theory to work (see 2019-20, 2020-21 Cups).  The Penguins now have this element on their roster.

However, there is also history that shows only a select few players can handle a change in their role on a team.  Reduced overall ice time, shared Power Play or Penalty Killing assignments, and how players handle these changes, let alone the dynamic in the room, all factor into a team’s overall success.

Can All-Star Elite players check their ego for the betterment of the team?  Have a peek at the San Jose Sharks over the last 5 years.  They added Karlsson to share the limelight with Brent Burns in 2018-19.  The Sharks lost in Round 3 of the Playoffs that year, then missed the Playoffs for the next 4 consecutive years.

Time will tell, right?

Grit and Toughness

The Pittsburgh Penguins missed the Playoffs for the first time in 16 seasons by 2 points.  The Penguins lost 11 times in Overtime / Shootout combined.  The Pens also lost many games due to the fact that, they simply could not hold on to the lead late in a game.

This all equates to Team Grit and Mental Toughness.  When you want something, like really want something, you are seldom denied.  Last year the Penguins just did not seem to Want It.

The Penguin players spoke about doing all the right things last year, however, they could not follow through with their actions.  I’m not sure if it was because of Old Age, Lack of Speed, or Lack of Will, they just seemed very complacent and just could not get it done.

Here is hoping the Player Changes made will add some Grit n Spice into this line-up.

Time will tell, am I right?

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My View from the Cheap Seats

Change is good.  At least there appears to be a level of hope that the Penguins can waddle up that mountain again.

There has been a fair amount of movement within the entire organization, so chemistry is still a mystery.  We will get our first real glimpse on October 10.2023.

It’s time to tell.

Here We Go…!!!

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Marc Penner – Writer / Author – Site Expert