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Odds and ends: World Cup, Crosby, Talbot's new team and more

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Some thoughts on the snub of Phil Kessel from Team USA, the greatness and success of Sidney Crosby and the Pens over the last 10 years, Max Talbot has a new team and more!

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James Mirtle with a great piece here and interesting perspective on Sidney Crosby. What stands out

The reality is that by the end of this series, the Penguins will have played in more playoff games than any other team since Crosby entered the league. More than Chicago. More than Detroit. Win or lose against the Sharks, Crosby has already led them to greatness – a sustained greatness.

Even under Mario Lemieux, the Penguins never posted a decade like this, with at least 130 playoff games, 70 playoff wins and three runs to the final.

Maybe it's the twitter/blog/social media age, but there's been so much criticism about Crosby and the Penguins since 2009. Some deserved, some overblown. It's really an eye-opener to have a step back and realize just how special the Pens have been in the last decade under the stewardship of their best player. Which it feels obligatory to point out is the active leader in playoff points/game, with the other big lightning rod/scapegoat Evgeni Malkin being #2 in active playoff PPG.

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Speaking of appreciating playoff successes over the years, our SB Nation Calgary Flames Matchsticks and Gasoline blog came up with a formula for the past 10 years of success and they found the Pens are #2. And based on the stats they used, Pittsburgh should be going up to #1 after the results of the Finals no matter what happens.

Bottom line of this extended point: the Penguins have enjoyed a #blessed time over the last decade, so soak it in and enjoy it while it lasts. Pittsburgh's window isn't closing in the next few years, but they've given us a ton of really special moments and even though it's easy to nitpick, it's worth remembering that we've had it really, really good as Pens fans.

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Teams announced their final candidates for the World Cup yesterday. Of note to our interests...

Congrats to Carl Hagelin and Patric Hornqvist who both made Team Sweden. Hags was on the 2014 Olympic team, but Hornqvist wasn't, so that's a nice step-up for them to recognize him with this honor.

Phil Kessel was a snub for Team USA, who took guys like Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and James van Riemsdyk over the Thrill. Their loss. But considering John Tortorella is the coach, it's probably for the best that Phil doesn't have to block shots and can focus on next season for Pittsburgh.

TeamUSA also, somehow ignored studs like Justin Faulk and Kevin Shattenkirk in favor of Erik Johnson and Jack Johnson. Doesn't make a ton of sense across the board, but that's the brain-trust of USA Hockey for you. Good luck with that 5th-7th place finish.

Kris Letang had an outside shot at making Team Canada, but based on LH/RH pairings, they chose to take on Brent Burns and Alex Pietrangelo over Letang. Hard to complain when P.K. Subban also didn't make it. Just one of those things of being a victim of geography. Letang easily makes any other team's defense. But, probably even more so than Phil, not risking Letang to fairly meaningless game action is only a positive for the Penguins 2016-17 season, so even though it sucks for him to get passed over again, I'm not too sad as a Penguin fan.

The complete list of Pens who will be participating in the World Cup is:

Canada: Sidney Crosby

Russia: Evgeni Malkin

Sweden: Hornqvist, Hagelin

Finland: Olli Maatta

Team North America (aka Under-23): Matt Murray

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Did you see that former Pens Game 7 hero Max Talbot already has a new team for 2016-17, and it's in Russia? Well you could if you check out the newly named Pens Pins section right under the main stories of the day. Ari's done a great job compiling a lot of social media items and interesting little stories that will help fill the gaps in coverage. Check it out or you're missing out.

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Just checked in on the Pensburgh NHL.com playoff predictor bracket (filled out prior to the playoffs) and it looks like someone named GeorgeXVIII has it all wrapped up for our competition. Old George correctly predicted a Pens/Sharks SCF and also nailed 3/4 semi-finalists and and 6/8 first round winners. Pretty impressive for a mid-April guess.

Me? Well I'm unimpressive 131 out of 213 entries in the Pensburgh pool - I guess a lot of us picked Pittsburgh to go far. I'm in the 91% percentile and 85,356 of the many total who entered, so that's not too bad. I joined the reddit r/hockey pool where I'm 2,593rd out of 25,876 people so that makes me feel a little better about my picks, despite the fact that I'm lagging in my own pool.

I don't recognize the GeorgeXVIII as a regular commenter name, so if you're out there and reading this please shoot me an email at hooksorpik @ gmail dot com and we'll talk about getting you the grand prize, which I announced was going to be a Paul Coffey signed puck and maybe another random piece of memorabilia that I have.

Second place is still up for grabs, and I said I'd give them a Brandon Sutter signed puck that I got in the Pens charity grab bag from last season...So we'll wait and see who emerges to be that big "winner" as well. And I promise I won't trade you to Vancouver.

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2 more sleeps until Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup finals hockey, you guys.