When Marc-Andre Fleury was struggling all through October, some started to write off this team.
When Sidney Crosby stayed down after that hit by Hedman on January 5, the bandwagon got noticeably lighter.
When Evgeni Malkin crashed into the boards against Buffalo, February 4, the whole of PensNation held their breaths, fearing the season was over.
When our forwards started dropping like flies, the season looked to be over.
One thing this team doesn't lack is character. It took character to be the hottest team in the league going into the Winter Classic. It took even more to survive losing our leader to injury. Lesser teams would have folded after that, and faded away into the off season if they had their second best player go down so soon after.
For that reason. I'm very proud of our Pittsburgh Penguins.
It was a season for the record books. A television crew in the locker room gave us so much insight into the team. It made them heroes.
Not many teams can survive the loss of a Sidney Crosby for the season. To be still in the hunt for Top Seed in the East all the way till the final day of the season? Just like one of those low rent underdog movies about peewee sports teams, you can't help but want to root for this team.
So while I'm still bitterly disappointed that the season is over for us, no many even expected us to even be hear back in January. There are still so many thing we can take home from this season. It's not a complete loss.
- Our Defense has arrived. - We are kings in our own blue line & unmatched on the Kill.
- Fleury is the elite goalie we've been waiting for.
- We finally have our Top 6 winger in James Neal.
- We can still compete with the best teams in the league, even without our stars.
- Our farm system is a great source of hope.
This year's team lacked that little extra something to push them over the wall & beat other teams. Next year, we will have that something back. Their names are Sid & Geno & they'll be happy to beat you.
A full training camp with new line mates? That already makes me want to cackle like a super villain. We also forget that the great Staalkin line has yet to have substantial ice time together. Even if we stood still, just having Sid & Geno back would make us a contender. We also have so many tools for our powerplay, especially surprisingly Zbynek Michalek, that it will have to click sooner or later.
We're gonna have to say good bye to some friends over the off-season. Guys like TK, Max, Rupper & Duppers. But unlike the Hawks last year, we will still be relevant again next year. Our main core of players will still come back. To achieve this kind of success without mortgaging our future, it's credit to Shero & Bylsma. Plus if it brings us some help on the Power Play. I'll allow it.
So thank you, Pens! Thanks for making this season such a ride. Next year, we're gonna end lives.
And thank you all on Pensburgh for making this so much fun (and sometimes uncomfortable) all year. In some ways, I'm glad this season ended here. I highly doubt I'd be able to look at myself if we lost to the Flyers or the Capitals instead.
And did I mention we're getting Sid & Geno back?
Because I think it matters... ;)