From The Hockey News' Ken Campbell:
So how does an organization manage expectations when both the immediate and long-term futures look so retina-burning bright? You don’t, according to Penguins GM Ray Shero, who sees that sort of thing as just a bunch of white noise.
“It doesn’t mean a goddamn thing to me,” Shero said. “I don’t think as a group, as a team, as a coaching staff, we ever look at expectations. It’s just somebody’s opinion. I don’t think our group pays any attention to it. If someone says the Rangers are the favorite to win the Cup, does it bother our group? It doesn’t bother them at all.”
Plus, it’s easy to carry the weight of expectation around when you’ve already accomplished so much with what you have. This is not an upstart here. It’s a group of players that is experienced far beyond its collective age and the ones who haven’t been at the top of their craft are on their way there. With Malkin’s talent and the kind of chemistry he has with Neal, it’s easy to envision the latter as a future winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy. And as far as Letang is concerned, he was well on his way to making a run for the Norris last season before he was injured.
A look at the winning weekend in Philadelphia and New York, courtesy of the Penguins:
Couldn't ask for a better start to this abbreviated season for the Penguins.
Not only did they defeat two divisional rivals, both of whom are considered Stanley Cup contenders, both of those teams went 0-2, giving the Pens a 4-point lead in the Atlantic Division.
So yeah, it's way too early. I get that.
But you might want to remember these four points come playoff seeding time.
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Shelly Anderson:
Asked earlier this week to describe new winger Tanner Glass' game, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma twice used the word "grit."
That's a commodity the Penguins always can use when they visit rival Philadelphia as they will this afternoon to open the lockout-shortened season.
For a little word, though, grit has a broad meaning in the NHL. It goes way beyond fighting or thundering hits or anything that can be found in a statistics packet.
"I think it's a willingness to battle on pucks, to be along the boards and win battles in front of the net, to outwork somebody to score a goal or outwork somebody to poke a puck away from them," said Penguins winger Chris Kunitz, a player who has a physical element to his game and could be called gritty despite holding a spot on the top line and having numbers that indicate he possesses a good deal of skill.
"You realize over that period of time that you just want to compete and be with your team and go through all the normal things that an NHL season brings. I'm just excited for that," Crosby said.
"I always thought I appreciated the game; I'd be the first one to say that I don't think I took it for granted. I've always worked hard and realized how lucky I am and tried to make the most of my opportunity to play in the NHL.
"But all that being said, I think I do appreciate it even more than I did before. Going through that, I think anyone would probably feel the same way. It's tough when you can't play. You get used to that, and then I think you realize how much passion you do have for the game and how much you do love it."
Sidney Crosby, on his return to playing...
UPDATE: Highlights after the bump
The lineups have been announced for tonight's Black/Gold Scrimmage at Consol Energy Center.
Tickets and parking are free.
Lineups and other info after the bump:
Evgeni Malkin's first media availability since returning from the KHL:
Great to be back at KK.
As Paul mentioned on Sunday, I'm scaling back from a daily blog to less frequent opinion-based articles. The day-to-day grind is what eventually burned me out after six years of blogging.
So before we take a look forward with the Penguins, let's take a look back:
Now that we’re in the summer doldrums, awaiting the start of training camp, I’ve had lots of time to think things through.
And so it’s after a lot of thought that I’ve made a decision:
I’m stepping down.
From Canada.com’s Bob Duff:
A little bit of NFL mixed in with some NHL and a hint of hoops.
That’s the formula for an upcoming celebrity wedding.
On Aug. 12, Los Angeles Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth will tie the knot with his fiancee Meagan Cowher.
About The Confluence
Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.
Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes. I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.
If you’d like to follow me on Twitter-