The past few weeks, I've read a bunch of posts from the internets predicting the Penguins to fall back a little bit from their highly successful 2007-08 campaign. Their roster was raided by the rest of their league and they could only replace the likes of Hossa, Malone, Roberts, Hall, Conklin, Ruutu, Laraque, and the injured Whitney with Miroslav Satan, Matt Cooke, Janne Pesonen, Ruslan Fedotenko, and Eric Godard.
It's a fair enough assessment from someone outside of the circle of Pittsburgh and their fans. The Pens lost some grit and good character players, even a valuable back-up from last season. They were replaced with two reclamation projects, an unknown quantity, a pest, and a fighter. When someone hasn't watch Sid, Gino, Staal, and Fleury play on a regular basis like Penguin fans, can you blame them for their thinking?
Let's also not forget. It's only September 5th. Some of these posts were dated in August. Yet, since these posts have gone up, I've seen nothing but vitriol from Pens fans who were, for some reason, offended by the thought that Pittsburgh might take a small dip in the standings from an outsider. Take it easy. That's what predictions are. "Statements made about the future." And it's also fun to predict something out of the ordinary and off the tracks so that, if said prediction should happen, you can come back to it and make yourself look smart. This isn't Communism. We all don't need to subscribe to your though process.
How many people thought teams like Montreal, Washington, Philadelphia, and Dallas would have done so well last season? Wasn't Ottawa supposed to run the table, too? Edmonton was one win away from the Stanley Cup two years ago? Who would have predicted that?
Now I'm not here to said that the Pens will be much worse than last year, but I'm here to say that there's no reason to go apeshit over someone saying they will. Isn't that the fun about trash talk and rubbing it in people's faces? We can sit back here and let pundits predict whatever they'd like for the Pens and then come April, when they're at the top of the Eastern Conference, we can smile and then trash our razors for two months in preparation for the playoff beard.
My boy Wyshynski at Puck Daddy can say the likely scenario is a 6th or 7th spot in the Eastern Conference, but is that his Devils bias kicking in? Probably not. Just a deduced thought from the Pens European trip to kick off the season to the roster raid to the loss of Ryan Whitney until mid-season. Is that so crazy? Who cares. It's f'n September.
Let's also not forget that Greg has to watch the Devils play hockey at least 82 times a season.
(Insert Devils fans' 3-time Stanley Cup comment here)
So, over the next couple weeks as the preseason predictions come out, if you read something derogatory about the Penguins, just relax. Don't fire off angry emails. Don't call your local congressman. Don't go on a hunger strike. Just let it be. What fun would be reading predictions that are all the same?
You think our "5 Ways" series at Puck Daddy would have been so much fun if all 150+ suggestions were:
1. Fire Bettman
2. Fix the All-Star Game
3. Widen the rink
4. Lower ticket prices
No, it would have redundant and uninteresting.
Same with predictions. Some make them to rile up a crowd and draw attention to their post. Others make them with serious thought and belief. And others, well, just don't know what the hell they're talking about.
Mario Lemieux Foundation: $40