Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/29/13 at 06:59 AM ET
from Corey Masisak of NHL.com,
We're a good team with good players that are entering the prime of their careers," Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero told NHL.com. "The core of this team, and you talk about Crosby and Malkin and now Kris Letang, there's not a team over the last seven years that has won more games than the Penguins. We’ve been to the Final, we've won the Stanley Cup in that period.
"It has been four years since we've been to the Final and won the Cup. When you have Crosby and Malkin that is the expectation. I go back to the fact that there are good teams. The salary cap has evened the playing field a little bit, but those are the challenges that good teams face. We're one of those teams, I believe."
Losing to the Montreal Canadiens in the second round in 2010 was a shock, but the Penguins had made back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and 2009 and some fatigue could be forgiven. The 2011 playoffs essentially were a throwaway, with Crosby and Malkin unavailable because of injuries; just reaching the postseason was commendable.
But in the past two seasons, things went awry. Crosby returned from his concussion problems near the end of the 2011-12 season and the Penguins were one of the favorites to win the Cup, until the rival Philadelphia Flyers bounced them in a memorably wild first-round series.
The Penguins again were one of the favorites in 2012-13. After adding Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow and Douglas Murray before the NHL Trade Deadline, Pittsburgh began to evoke comparisons to some of the juggernaut teams of the past two decades. They reached the Eastern Conference Final, but were dismissed by the Boston Bruins in four games, a defeat as shocking as it was swift.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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