While you may believe the Pittsburgh Penguins are wrong for “running it back” by keeping the same core intact for the better part of the last 20 years, this summer has also been marked by one of the largest amounts of roster and executive turnover in franchise history.
The almighty Kyle Dubas was cast away from Hockey Mecca in Ontario and arrived in the Steel City, looking for a fresh start with a team that badly needed a jolt of new, young blood.
In one fell swoop, the analytically-driven general manager managed to erase just about every mistake the prior administration made, all while acquiring one of the greatest defensemen of all time to help reinforce one of the greatest offensive teams of the salary cap era.
We all know this. I don’t need to continuously wax poetic about the trades, free-agent signings, and so on.
Now, all eyes begin to shift to the end of September. On Sept. 24, preseason play begins against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
And while preseason play is often ignored, as the games are mere exhibitions with no meaning, the Penguins and their fan base have much to be excited about for the first time in quite a few years.
“What excites me most about this group is that it has a lot to prove, and there is a lot of doubt in hockey that the group can still contend,” Dubas recently said to Penguins team reporter Michelle Crechiolo. “Starting this month, our entire program will have a chance to prove those who doubt it wrong, and that excites me because this is a very proud group that has a championship history. This season is the chance to show that we are still a championship contender.”
“We feel that training camp should be extremely competitive with the depth additions that we have made at all three positions to our group, and that competition will carry over deep into the season as players push to win more ice time and opportunity,” Dubas added.
Are the days of hoisting the 35-pound silver chalice at an end? Maybe.
But for me, it’s not about championships anymore. Sure, it would be glorious to witness another Stanley Cup parade down the Boulevard of the Allies while every player slings back cold, adult beverages.
Legacies were cemented a long time ago. Any other accomplishments are cherries on top of the icing on top of the cake.
Additionally, an ownership collective with deep pockets and a desire to make more money has not been afraid of making changes to several aspects of the organization, from hockey operations to arena upgrades and production adjustments.
A colossal scoreboard will linger above the action below it. Fenway Sports Group added more suites and luxury areas to make PPG Paints Arena a more robust entertainment venue rather than a plain, old hockey rink.
“We took full advantage of the offseason to make incredible new improvements to PPG Paints Arena and are excited to welcome fans back in September for another exciting season of Penguins hockey,” said Kevin Acklin, President of Business Operations.
FSG also has taken control of the Penguins’ local television rights with the dissolution of the AT&T SportsNet regional sports network. Enter SportsNet Pittsburgh and a new, to-be-announced broadcast tandem.
That is a lot of change at all levels of an NHL organization over what, five months? And I may have missed a few key changes as well.
And so I will conclude this collection of aimless words with one final question: Are you excited for what’s to come in just a few weeks?
How excited are you for the 2023-24 Penguins season?
This poll is closed
I’m running through a brick wall with nothing but a Sidney Crosby jersey on my body
Cautiously optimistic about a playoff berth
Meh, I have no expectations for the team
We’re probably missing the playoffs again this year
I think I’m switching to the Philadelphia Flyers fandom