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Burke: Pens can contend for Stanley Cup

The Penguins team president spoke recently on NHL Network Radio.

2021 NHL Draft - Round 2-7 Photo by Evan Schall/NHLI via Getty Images

The Penguins can contend to win the Stanley Cup this season.

Is that the message being conveyed by Penguins team president Brian Burke or a general consensus around the NHL following a 10-game win streak? Perhaps it’s a little bit of both.

It’s definitely the former, though, and those comments were recently given by Burke in an interview with NHL Network Radio.

“Do we believe we are a contender? Yes, we do, and we (Burke and general manager Ron Hextall) have since we got here,” Burke said in the interview.

He went on to discuss how things will be fairly limited regarding the salary cap and that it will likely be difficult to make any type of ‘big deal’ before the trade deadline.

Burke also discussed how it’s not likely that the team will give up assets if it only gives a small boost in increasing the team’s winning chances.

The team recently just came off of a 10-game winning streak that ended with a loss in Dallas on Saturday, and several Penguins players are making headlines.

Jake Guentzel is riding high on a 17-game point streak (interrupted by injury), with 15 goals and 11 assists in those games.

Fellow forward Bryan Rust is riding a hot hand as well, with 7 goals and 11 points in his past three games.

Captain Sidney Crosby and alternate captain Kris Letang are both quietly putting up numbers this season, as quietly as players named Crosby and Letang can do. Both players, nearing 35 years in age, are producing nearly a point per game.

Evgeni Malkin has yet to take the ice for the team this season due to offseason knee surgery, but his return to the lineup is imminent.

Lastly, Burke praised the work of head coach Mike Sullivan, saying he deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Penguins successful in spite of the number of the injuries the team has undergone as well as the COVID-19 protocol lineup adjustments that have been needed.

“You have to be a general, there’s lots of colonels. You look at the hierarchy of the U.S. army, for every general, there’s 20 colonels, probably higher. This guy is a general.”

The Penguins will look to get back in the win column tonight when they kick off a Western road trip, starting things off with a 10:00 p.m. puck drop vs. the Ducks in Anaheim.