Friday, July 13, 2007


If you want an example of how to put together a championship team, look no farther than the Pittsburgh Penguins. This team reminds me of the Edmonton Oilers of the early 80’s, the young core growing together under the guidance of a few key veterans and the phenom leader with all the talent in the world. It took three years for the Oilers to make it to the finals and only one more to win the cup. I can see this Penguins team running along the same parallels already. Just like the upstart Oilers of 1979-80, the young Pens lost in the first round of the playoffs this past season and have made adjustments to go deeper next season. The free agent signings of Sydor and Sykora, the re-signings of Crosby, Roberts, Recchi, Whitney, Christensen, Scuderi, Talbot and Armstrong give this team another couple of years to make strides toward the ultimate goal. The burning question about this team is weather or not they will be able to keep the core group of Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Esposito and Fleury together long enough to realize the dream. Having Crosby resign for $8.7 million a year for the next five years is a step in that direction. He very well could have asked for the maximum of $10 million and have been worth every penny. With the Salary Cap rising each year, this contract will be a bargain in a few short years and allow the Penguins to afford to resign Malkin, Staal, Esposito and Fleury if they so desire. Ray Shero and company has quietly gone about building this team the right way adding key pieces to the puzzle each year. Under the guidance of coach Michel Therrien these Penguins will learn just what it takes to be champions, step by step, just like the mighty Oilers did in the early 80’s. The puck drops on October 5th for this squad to begin another chapter in their journey to the Promised Land, a date with destiny and perhaps the start of a dynasty.

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