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Going Down The Dark Road In Pittsburgh

from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

I can’t help but think of another team as the Penguins fade. It’s the team that helped shaped this one in its formative years. The one that showed them what high-stakes hockey was all about.

I’m talking about the Detroit Red Wings and how, after losing to the Penguins in the 2009 Stanley Cup final, they began to erode, imperceptibly at first. They still had a couple of 100-point seasons in them. Still a few trips to the conference finals. You always knew they would make the playoffs. They did that for 25 straight years.

By 2016, though, the Red Wings had become garden-variety, first-round flameouts. That is where their season ended three straight years (sound familiar?). They still seemed dangerous — at least to where you could conjure images of one last title run if you tried hard enough.

But by that time, Detroit’s Big 3 — their Crosby-Malkin-Letang — was down to one: an aging Henrik Zetterberg. Nicklas Lidstrom had retired in 2012. Pavel Datsyuk was headed back to Russia to finish his career.

Instead of competing for championships, the Wings were competing for playoff spots.

I always wished the Penguins and Red Wings would play a finals rubber match and be linked in history forever.

Instead, more than a decade later, they are linked in another way: These Penguins have become the late-stage Red Wings.

The Penguins won’t fade easily. Once-great teams rarely do. They will rage against the dying of the light. No Mike Sullivan team would go down without a fight (except the one in the bubble two years ago).

But let’s be honest here. It’s getting awfully dark.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Kaszycki and his Krew's avatar

I sure hope so, but if not for bad goaltending last year - they were a tough out.  Jeff Carter really helped them.  Now hearing Sid and Gino are out for a bit to start the year -they better get off to a decent start.  Having been a fan of a team that was beaten routinely by TEAM NBC and Bettman’s favorite team (Penguins) ad nauseum over the years - sure was great to see PENBC get waxed 2 years straight by the Isles.

But I have to agree with the author, the Pens could have gone far last year.  Losing Tanev will really hurt them.  I found him to be a very effective player for them. 

As an NHL Fan - I will be keen to see if the fanbase in PIT will support a rebuild.  Can’t tell from last year if the pipeline they have from Wilkes-Barre team is any good anymore.  I can see them missing the playoffs as well as the Caps.  Isles/Carolina/Flyers/Rangers/Pens/Caps /NJD are all teams that have a sot to make playoffs.  CBJ not so much.  But I will be thrilled to see a DNQ next to PIT after this season.  They can take the Rangers with them!  smile

I like the approach Detroit is taking and would be patient with it.  Gotta hit on some of those picks though.  Some of these players like Moritz Seider - Veleno and Rassmussen gotta hit out and make an impact.  Based on his prior track record - I have faith in Steve Y.


Posted by Kaszycki and his Krew on 09/10/21 at 03:55 PM ET

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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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