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Friday, March 31, 2006

Life As A Pens Fan

In a recent conversation with my roommate, Greg, I figured out that I have supplanted the suffering from being a Red Sox fan with being a Penguins fan.

Follow me on this, back in the early 90's the Penguins won two Stanley Cups while the Red Sox were busy sucking it up. Thoughts of never seeing the Sox win a World Series resonated throughout New England until 2004 when it finally happened and somehow the world didn't come to an end.

I know its only been 14 years since the Penguins won a Stanley Cup, but I am starting to wonder if they will ever do it again. A series of events of the past 14 years had led me to this state of mind I am in right now, capped off with the past two NHL seasons which is why I am going to take over the Pittsburgh Penguins and restore them back to the league's elite teams.

Here are 4 things I would do to the team if I took over this off-season.

1) First and foremost this team needs some defense. As of right now they have given up a league high 287 goals through 72 games this season, which is 15 more than the Washington Capitals who rank 29th in goals against.

There are plenty of unrestricted free agents on the market this upcoming season and here is just afew that would be a good fit in Pittsburgh.

Dallas Stars D- Willie Mitchell- Although he came over at the trade deadline, it would take some work to get Mitchell into the black and gold. Mitchell would bring a physical presence to an already soft defensive core.

Nashville Predators D- Marek Zidlicky- Again the chances are slight that the Preds would allow Zidlicky to go elsewhere. This is an electric defensemen that is smart enough to know when to jump up in the play and has a lethal slapshot from the point on the powerplay. Combine that with Crosby's skill level and an already scary powrplay and opposing coaches would being losing sleep over how to stop it.

Ottawa Senators D- Zdeno Chara- The Sens appear to be looking to keep Wade Redden over Chara, but if there was ever a guy that would bring a mean streak back to Pittsburgh, he'd be it. At 6'9 Chara is the biggest man in the NHL and is downright scary when he winds up. His reach is unmatched making him almost impossible to get around in the defensive zone. He has said he wants to go to a winning team, but I'd make a serious push for a player of his caliber.

2) A solid veteran goaltender that has actually proven something in the league, unlike failed experiment Jocelyn Thibault. Hopefully there are no hard feelings between Curtis Joseph and the Pens after the boched signing attempt last summer. Marc-Andre Fleury is a great young goalie, but if he the tutilige of a proven goaltender, his maturation process would be accelerated.

3) What this team needs right now aside from the above is veteren players who are not old, like their signings last summer of John LeClair. Guys like Marc Savard who are proven scorers and who can cut it in the new NHL. Also on the market is Daniel Briere and Maxim Afinogenov from the Buffalo Sabres who have been much improved this season in helping their team sneak under the radar and become a playoff contender.

4) Now on to the current team and players that are not helping and are not a good fit on this young Penguins team.

John LeClair- Granted he's been better of late, but an overall disappointment this season. LeClair has made a career of parking himself in front of the net and getting garbage rebound goals. This season it appears as though he thinks he is 20 again and can skate with the best of them. Hey John wake up and realize how old you are and leave the Pens or go back to what made you a great player.

Sergei Gonchar- Another complete bust and waste of money. Classic example of a player who was great in the old NHL, but for some reason could not adjust to the faster game.Something tells me that he will be a better player next year, but if I had it my way he would have been out of Pittsburgh a long time ago.

I would have gone on to rip Ziggy Palffy, but that's right, he picked up and left faster than your friend who got walked in on by his girlfriends father while they were engaging in pre-marital relations.

Andre Roy- Real tough guy, took one punch to the face in the begining of the season and broke his orbital bone. Pretty hard to protect Sid the Kid when you're in the luxury box with a patch over your eye.

Jocelyn Thibault- See above, but an additional note. If you cannot stop a beachball in the net, why continue to play goalie? Find a job elsewhere seling balloons to little kids at the circus or something. Yes I blame the begining of the season and the ultimate downfall on him. I am not quite sure on this one, but I'm pretty sure he set the record for most 3 goal blown leads in one season.

Stay tuned for the next couple seasons as this team should be one to look out for, but then again I could be right back here writing this same thing again.

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