8. With all the garbage I've been eating this summer, I shouldn't be trusting my gut. But something tells me the Pittsburgh Penguins are headed for a huge fall. The darlings of the NHL last year when they gave Detroit all it could handle in the Cup final, the Pens go into the new season missing some key pieces to the puzzle. Marian Hossa and Ryan Malone are gone and key defenceman Ryan Whitney will miss the first three to five months with a knee problem. To make up for their missing offence, the Penguins are counting on getting some big minutes and big goals out of the mercurial Miroslav Satan, who lit the lamp just 15 times for the Islanders last season. Sure, the Penguins still boast the one-two punch of Crosby and Malkin. However, Tampa Bay finished in the cellar last year despite sending Lecavalier and St. Louis over the boards every night. Prediction? Coach Michel Therrien doesn't last the season and the Penguins shock the NHL by struggling just to make the playoffs.A couple of things:
1) This guy loses me as soon as he says Ryan Whitney has a "knee problem". It's his foot Mike, his foot.
2) He compares the 08-09 Penguins to the 07-08 Tampa Bay Lightning. See, here's the thing Mike, Tampa had the following goaltenders trying to stop the puck last season: Karri Ramo, Marc Denis, Johan Holmqvist, and Mike Smith. I think it's safe to say Marc-Andre Fleury is better than those four...combined.
3) Finally, his prediction is just senseless. Michel Therrien won't last the season? He just signed a new three-year contract in July. Unless the Pens lose their first 20 games or Lou Lamoriello takes over as general manager, Therrien isn't going anywhere. I agree with him the Penguins will struggle this season, but to me, it'll only be at the beginning when they are still recovering from their trip to Stockholm. What teams in the Eastern Conference bettered themselves in the off-season that didn't make the playoffs last year? I think only Carolina and Tampa Bay have the best shot of all the non-playoff teams from 07-08. And as for the teams that did make the playoffs? New Jersey and Ottawa are ready for a slip.
October can't get here soon enough.
UPDATE: How could I forget the fact that the Pens were one of the best teams last season all the while missing Crosby and Fleury as well as not even adding Marian Hossa until the trade deadline.