All posts by Ryan_Peterson

Will the Pens Repeat?

The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the most feared franchises in the National Hockey League. Ever since acquiring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the draft, the franchise has been built for success. Along the way, the Pens have also featured a variety of other star players, such as goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, wingers Phil Kessel and Chris Kunitz, and defensemen Kris Letang and Justin Schultz. With players of this caliber, an energetic Pittsburgh fan base and several successful seasons with Stanley Cup Playoff runs, the Pens should have no problem repeating their recent cup victory, right? In order to fully answer this question, we must look at a number of determining factors.

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Sydney Crosby (right) and Evgeni Malkin (left) are among the most elite players in the NHL.

They Have Been There Before…

Since the 2007-2008 season, the Pens have been to the Stanley Cup four times, capitalizing on three out of the four appearances. They have also had successful regular seasons in that time period, averaging only 24 losses per season in that span. Since 2007, they have had a great roster which helped them be this successful, with members like Crosby and Malkin. Thanks to their success, more than half of their team has massive amounts of playoff experience in the past two years, and a handful of them have already won multiple Stanley Cups in their careers. With these experiences as well as the recent success they have had, the Pens have a very high chance of raising the cup yet again.

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The Roster Speaks for Itself…

As mentioned before, the Pittsburgh Penguins have one of the best rosters in the NHL. Sidney Crosby has compiled over 1000 career points and has collected three cups as the captain of the team, Evgeni Malkin has accrued the same amount of cups and over 800 career points, and other great players and goaltenders provide the Pens with successful seasons. Furthermore, goaltending is one of the most crucial parts in a successful NHL team. Goaltenders like Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray have helped the Pens win games and be successful in the post-season. The defensive lineups from Kris Letang and Justin Schultz to Ian Cole and Trevor Daley have been outstanding in the regular season and postseason. These reliable blue liners led the Pens to two recent Stanley Cups. With wingers like Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz, Conor Sheary, Carl Hagelin and Patric Hörnqvist, the Penguins have had all of the puzzle pieces up front to be very successful for the past few years.

All factors considered, the Pens clearly have a very good chance at winning the Stanley Cup for the 2017-2018 season. This is not to say that they will be alone in the chase for the cup. Teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators and many more teams could challenge for the Stanley Cup next season. With the Predators’ hot stretch at last season’s end, we have honestly learned that any team could win the Stanley Cup; however, the aforementioned teams have shown great success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before, and will continue to make appearances year after year.

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Will they Win?

Given the roster and the past experiences of the Pittsburgh Penguins, some will say that the Pens will hoist the trophy at the end of the season. While we need to watch out for injuries, trades and lineup changes for next season before we can get a better read on their prospects, I absolutely believe that they will make a run at the Stanley Cup Finals in the 2017-2018 season. Teams like the Blackhawks, Bruins, Ducks, Caps and Sens will be there too and make it interesting, so it will be anybody’s cup come playoff time. Will the Pens repeat? Don’t bet your house on it, but they will make a run for it.

 

 

Is Ovi Destined for the Cup?

Alexander Ovechkin is by far one of the most dominant players in the National Hockey League today. With his outstanding statistics, gritty play and success in the regular season, he has the opportunity to lead his team to the Stanley Cup. So far despite his team’s consistent talent level, Ovi and the Washington Capitals cannot seem to find their way to get to the Stanley Cup; but why? There are a few major reasons why the Washington Capitals have not won a cup since the drafting of Alexander Ovechkin.

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The Team

In most of Ovi’s years with the Washington Capitals, the team has not been that great. As a whole, the Capitals have not been able to come together, specifically in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Caps have been incredibly successful in the regular season since the drafting of Ovi, accumulating three Presidents’ Trophies. Also, the Caps have had some outstanding players surrounding Ovechkin including (more recently) Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson. Of course, back in the mid-2000s, the Caps were somewhat successful but not as successful as they are recently.

Their goaltending has recently been one of their most talented positions in the recent years, along with their forwards. However, their defense has been non-existent since the departure of Mike Green. They have had some big names and some defensive success in the recent years, but nothing compared to some of the most successful teams in the NHL and, more specifically, compared to teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Washington Capitals have had some big names with hefty stats in the recent years, but can’t seem to pull it all together when it matters most.

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His Position

It’s all about the position. A top winger in the National Hockey League cannot have the same effect on a team as a top center. Ovi is one of the best players in the NHL, but cannot impact his team enough to create more success as much as a top center could. Centers have dominated the winning of the Selke Trophy since 2003. Wingers can’t seem to get enough time in the defensive zone to create their own success on the way to translating that into the offensive zone where they could accumulate even more success. Ovechkin is almost strictly an offensive zone player, even though he has the ability to make the team extremely successful in their own zone. Even though teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs look for goals and playmaking for numbers on the scoreboard, they put more responsibility on the 200-ft assignments given out to the centers than they do for any other forward.

Will Ovi win the cup? Only the future can tell. Things we need to look at are whether or not the Caps will still try to create another “stacked” team, if the coaching and goaltending is at its pinnacle, and if they in fact can make a push during the post-season. We can see Ovechkin still being extremely successful in the coming years, but it’s all about the team, versus the individual player, especially in hockey. Fans cannot figure that one player will win the cup; the whole team needs to come together and win it together.

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Every team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has a chance to win it all, but it is extremely hard to go the distance. In the past, we look at Jarome Iginla, Jeremey Roenick, Eric Lindros, Paul Kariya, Cam Neely and many other stars of their time who haven’t won a cup in their playing years. These players were top skaters and competitors in their association, but never held up the signature Stanley Cup. For Caps fans and players, we can only hope that they have a chance to win it. They surely have the talent. Will Ovi ever reach that moment? The future Washington Capitals teams will show you.