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Pittsburgh It Is

I visited some websites this morning and read a few tweets and have come to the conclusion the Pittsburgh Penguins are the overwhelming favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

Agree, disagree?

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

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depends on sid’s health.  But with a healthy Crosby it would be hard to bet on another team over them.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 04/29/13 at 08:43 AM ET

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No goalie = No Cup

Posted by timbits on 04/29/13 at 08:44 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

A few deadline signings do not a Cup make.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/29/13 at 08:51 AM ET

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No goalie = No Cup

ouch!

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 04/29/13 at 08:52 AM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Injuries and Officiating.

You can have all the talent in the league on your roster, but you are only allowed to use them 6 at a time.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 04/29/13 at 08:52 AM ET

SolidTG7's avatar

Depends on which MAF they get, if its the one from the Philly series last year, good luck with that.

Posted by SolidTG7 on 04/29/13 at 08:54 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Their team defense is poor, and their goalie is suspect, but they can score a bunch of goals in a hurry, Crosby or no Crosby.  I would say Chicago has them by a hair, if only because they’ve had a hot goalie tandem all season.

Posted by Hootinani on 04/29/13 at 08:54 AM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

In addition to being fully loaded, the Penguins are playing great as a unit. You have to hand it to them - they look very legitimate.

I try to be aware of my eastern bias (99% of the games I watch are Eastern Conference teams) - and see Chicago seems to have everything going as well. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out if the powers in the east and west do, ultimately, collide.

But there’s a reason we play the games - it would be unwise for any team to look past their first round opponent.  I’ll keep cheering for Ottawa.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 04/29/13 at 08:55 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

the higher the expectations the easier they fall…

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 04/29/13 at 09:01 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

the higher the expectations the easier they fall…

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 04/29/13 at 09:01 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Their team defense is poor, and their goalie is suspect, but they can score a bunch of goals in a hurry, Crosby or no Crosby.  I would say Chicago has them by a hair, if only because they’ve had a hot goalie tandem all season.

Posted by Hootinani on 04/29/13 at 09:54 AM ET

One thing the “Crosby era” Penguins have in common with the Anaheim Ducks is the tendency to get easy frustrated and resort to gooning it up.  This used to be true for the Hawks but not anymore.  I think Toews and Kane are more mature than Crosby/Malkin, and that the Hawks can simply out grind the Pens in five or six games.  As long as Chicago stays defensively sound, I don’t think the Pens can beat them over the course of a series.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/29/13 at 09:01 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Depends on which MAF they get, if its the one from the Philly series last year, good luck with that.

Posted by SolidTG7 on 04/29/13 at 09:54 AM ET

This, 100%. Even with Crosby injured, I think the Pens are the favorites if you consider the skaters they can put on the ice. But MAF has never been consistent, and the defense isn’t stout enough, like a Boston or Chicago, to overcome the bad MAF. If they get the bad MAF, they will need Crosby healthy, because they will have to run-and-gun and just score a bunch.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 04/29/13 at 09:11 AM ET

topshelf14's avatar

You would be crazy to not think Pittsburgh is the favorite.  They have the best offense in the league, and a very solid defense.  They definitely need to have Fleury play steady unlike last year. But with Vokoun backing him up I can see Bylsma making the switch pretty quickly.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 04/29/13 at 09:13 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

I wouldn’t want anyone saying things like ‘overwhelming favorite’ about my team going into the SCP.  The sound of Giguere pitching a .963 in ‘03 still echo.  That said, I agree with Bezukov that I would expect Chicago’s defensive stinginess to win out in a series.  Except except; neither Pittsburgh or Chicago have been very good in the SCP last two years, and Chicago has been on cruise control for a month.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/29/13 at 09:26 AM ET

Zqto's avatar

16 to 12!

Posted by Zqto on 04/29/13 at 09:28 AM ET

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I think Pittsburgh is a heavy favorite to come out of the East, but I think any of four or five different teams in the West would be coin flips with them in a Finals series.  Chicago, St. Louis, LA and Detroit… all four of those teams would give Pittsburgh huge problems.

The thing is that this year there are so many goalies out West who should legitimately beat Fleury’s butt in any series that it’s pretty tough to take Pittsburgh.  Emery, Fasth, Schneider have all had huge years.  Quick’s slid, but we’ve seen him go nuts in the playoffs before.  Howard’s a playoff question mark, so we’ll have to see if he can do it before thinking he can do it.

That’s the problem with having no inter-conference games.  No real measuring sticks.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/29/13 at 09:32 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Them or Chicago. They’re the two best teams I’ve seen this year by far.

Of course, that doesn’t mean sh*t. If the best looking team in the regular season won the Stanley Cup every year, the Red Wings would have 8-10 Cups since ‘97 instead of 4.

Injuries and Officiating.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 04/29/13 at 09:52 AM ET

You said it. There is more luck involved in winning a Stanley Cup than any other championship in the four major sports. So many things have to go right, and your talent level coming through is just one piece of a larger puzzle. The Stanley Cup may be the most exciting playoffs in sports, but it also has probably the worst talent-to-outcome ratio, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective.

 

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 04/29/13 at 09:48 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

They’re a top team playing really good but “overwhelming favorite”? Favorite? Probably. Overwhelming favorite? Yeah, I think not.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/29/13 at 09:52 AM ET

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No goalie = No Cup

Hmmm, the year 2009 might disagree with you.

Posted by Garth on 04/29/13 at 09:56 AM ET

hockeychic's avatar

There is more luck involved in winning a Stanley Cup than any other championship in the four major sports. So many things have to go right, and your talent level coming through is just one piece of a larger puzzle. The Stanley Cup may be the most exciting playoffs in sports, but it also has probably the worst talent-to-outcome ratio, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective.

I agree with this.  Were the Kings the most talented team last year?  They had everything fit together at the right time.

You never know what can happen.  The only thing that is guaranteed is excitement and a lot of stress for the fans!

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 04/29/13 at 10:01 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by timbits on 04/29/13 at 09:44 AM ET


You meant he same goalie they made it to the finals with against the Wings and the goalie that beat the Wings the next year for a cup?  That goalie?

 

Considering Pitt put together a potential poor man’s 2002 type, that’s supposed to be impossible to do unless you have overall draft picks playing above their contracts.  Even though Thid and Malkin are on regular money deal.. plus they pick up perenial 40 goal scorer Iginla to go with sniper/sandpaper Neal and sandpaper/workhorse Morrow.  I mean, that’s a lot of proven, established, gritty, skilled, NOW mature team.  This team was missing maturity and it got it at the deadline.  I’d say they’re the favorite, but the NHL is always good for an upset.  Kings/Devils…  There were some stunner teams in the regular season last year too.  Not those two

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/29/13 at 10:05 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

You said it. There is more luck involved in winning a Stanley Cup than any other championship in the four major sports. So many things have to go right, and your talent level coming through is just one piece of a larger puzzle. The Stanley Cup may be the most exciting playoffs in sports, but it also has probably the worst talent-to-outcome ratio, which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 04/29/13 at 10:48 AM ET

It’s a fair point.  One has to wonder, but for Nick Lidstrom’s blueline lob against Vancouver in 2002… would Wings fans be talking about going for #12?

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/29/13 at 10:17 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Howard’s a playoff question mark,

Again, why? Except last year, I’ve demonstrated with stats how he played better or the exact same as the opposing goalie.

Not evey goalie has to play like Giguere/Hasek/Roy.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/29/13 at 10:20 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

It’s a fair point.  One has to wonder, but for Nick Lidstrom’s blueline lob against Vancouver in 2002… would Wings fans be talking about going for #12?

Oh .... but you just summoned from my memory the image of Cheli taking an extra long victory lap in Vancouver after he was named a top 3 star in game 3 or 4 after giving it to everyone—including Bert—all night long: the fans wanted to lynch him, and he was just lapping it up.  I love winning playoff games on the road!!!

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/29/13 at 11:02 AM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

This is the same prediction that national NHL writers have had heading into the playoffs for the past three seasons, right? 

What makes this season different is that they finally addressed a glaring need by getting some smart defenders in Eaton and Murray, they’ve been missing that attribute on the blue line since the 09 run when Eaton and Scuderi left town.  On top of that Letang needs to play like smart QB in the vein of Gonchar, if they can make all that happen they’ll win. 

There’s no doubt that they’ve got enough depth up front to score when needed and play in their own zone as well.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 04/29/13 at 11:25 AM ET

statelouis26's avatar

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/29/13 at 11:20 AM ET

Somebody is cheating on their man crush (helm).  Howard’s numbers in the playoffs are underwhelming.  Not bad or good, just ok.  13-15 2.63 GAA and .915 SV%.  He has not proven he can shoulder the Wings for a series.  When your given the contract he received can’t pull the Ozzie card.  The “25 save-night, make a save at the right time” mantra no longer applies.

The Pens are the hands-down favorite in the east and Black#ocks in the west.  Flower sucks so hopefully that will be the Pens downfall in the 1st rd in spite of Vokoun.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 04/29/13 at 11:31 AM ET

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They’re a top team playing really good but “overwhelming favorite”? Favorite? Probably. Overwhelming favorite? Yeah, I think not.

I think by “overwhelming favourite” he meant that so many people are picking the Pens, not that everyone thinks the Pens will have a cakewalk to the Cup.

Posted by Garth on 04/29/13 at 11:46 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Injuries and Officiating.

You can have all the talent in the league on your roster, but you are only allowed to use them 6 at a time.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 04/29/13 at 09:52 AM ET

THE most sagacious words on this post.  And that applies to all teams.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 04/29/13 at 11:56 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

It’s pretty brave to call a top seed a favorite going into the playoffs.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 04/29/13 at 12:13 PM ET

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It’s pretty brave to call a top seed a favorite going into the playoffs.

What does being brave have to do with anything?

Posted by Garth on 04/29/13 at 12:45 PM ET

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Again, why?

Because he’s been worse in the playoffs than in the regular season, when given the tighter nature of postseason play the opposite should be true.

Because he’s routinely the inferior goalie in playoff games, and not just when he’s playing against the top 3-6 best goalies in the NHL.

Because in key playoff games Howard tends to not always show up.

He’s relatively young yet, playoff wise, so maybe his future playoffs won’t be as uneven as his first three were.  Still, until that actually happens and Howard demonstrates he can play consistently (and consistently very well) in the playoffs, he’s not a guy you can write in pen in the ‘will show up’ column.

I mean, it’s pretty tough to make a case that Howard’s a better goalie than Antti Niemi as of today.  Antti.  Niemi.

So… question mark.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/29/13 at 01:47 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Because he’s been worse in the playoffs than in the regular season, when given the tighter nature of postseason play the opposite should be true.

He played in three postseasons. One as a rookie, when his “worse numbers” were still .915%. The next one, he save .908 in the regular season and .923 in the playoffs. Last year had one series, disagree with me but I won’t even consider it.

Because he’s routinely the inferior goalie in playoff games, and not just when he’s playing against the top 3-6 best goalies in the NHL.

I said it a month ago, you never answered:

“In the ‘11 epic SJ series, Howard and Niemi faced exactly 246 shots each, and Niemi stopped one more shot (possibly the 3rd on game 7, when Kronwall was above the opposite goalline and Rafalski had a brain cramp).

In ‘10, Howard had a .909sv%, and Nabokov a .886, being pulled after a period in game 4.”

I mean, it’s pretty tough to make a case that Howard’s a better goalie than Antti Niemi as of today.  Antti.  Niemi.

Howard’s playoff numbers: 2.63GAA, .915%
Niemi’s playoff numbers: 2.84GAA, .905%.

So… question mark.

Exclamation!

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/29/13 at 02:34 PM ET

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I would think Wings fans would know better than anybody that it’s completely possible to win a Stanley Cup with trash in net.

That said, Fleury and injuries are the only things that concern me as a Penguins fan. And Fleury worries me more than guys getting hurt. Vokoun’s a great safety valve, but not a perfect one, considering he’s been a streak goaltender his entire career.

Posted by larry on 04/29/13 at 02:39 PM ET

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I would think Wings fans would know better than anybody that it’s completely possible to win a Stanley Cup with trash in net.

Really?  When?  Last time they won the Cup Chris Osgood’s GAA was 1.55 and his save percentage was .930.

Posted by Garth on 04/29/13 at 03:03 PM ET

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Bad goalies can put up good numbers behind the best defensive players of their generation and the best coach of his generation during the peak years of their respective careers.

Osgood spent much of that playoff season seeing one to two clean looks on net per game. In the finals, Babcock had his guys stuffing every single set breakout Michel Therrien came up with. Almost every shot Osgood saw in that series was a weak one from the outside. Most chances from closer, which were rare, went in.

And of course, he lost the Red Wings the Stanley cup the next year by being way off his angle. Twice.

Posted by larry on 04/29/13 at 03:56 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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