Well, there was no Marian Hossa-esque last second surprise for the Penguins this season, but the Penguins did improve their team over the past week with several moves.
- Chris Kunitz (and Eric Tangradi) for Ryan Whitney....Kunitz is off to a great start, with 3 goals and 2 assists in his first three games. Kunitz has fit in beautifully with the Penguins on the ice, combining to make a natural fit with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy.
- Craig Adams off of waivers...The Penguins have some depth in the minors with forwards like Bill Thomas, Tim Wallace, and Jeff Taffe that could come up and do the job if needed. But Adams ought to bring a little more realibility and a little more grit to the lineup. Adams is an old Harvard guy, you know he's smart, and he's been able to stick in the league now almost 500 games. Wily, that one.
- Bill Guerin for a conditional draft pick...The maximum pick it could be is a 3rd, and the Penguins got a 3rd rounder from Tampa Bay in return for the June trading of Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts' rights. Guerin, who scored 36 goals two years ago, may still have a little in the tank and could give the team a help down the stretch....Maybe he doesn't. But anytime you can add a veteran leader for basically a wash it can't hurt, right?
And you know, what do all three of those guys have in common? All have some grit, all have experience too....And all have a Stanley Cup ring. Success breeds success, as they say, and given that the Pens locker-room is still collectively young that's an added benefit on the ice.
Now the question becomes, where do you slot them in? As mentioned, Kunitz has been a perfect fit with Staal, will he stay there? Or do the Penguins, as intended, bump Kunitz up to play with Sidney Crosby and try Guerin on the "3rd" line with #11? Either way, there's a lot of possibility, and all of it seems very bright.
And then today we lose:
- Miroslav Satan down to Wilkes-Barre. One almost has to feel bad for Satan, he wasn't a good fit and got knocked out of the Penguins shuffle. Even though Satan's effort seemed to be a notch higher under new coach Dan Bylsma, but apparantely it wasn't enough. The Pens got off the hook on the salary cap for sending him down, which enabled them the room to clear space for Guerin.
So that's that, lineups are now set, teams are built. Elsewhere in the division Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York all made moves to improve for a playoff run. Across the conference, Buffalo and Carolina also made moves. Now that the administrative moves are over, the hockey can resume again.