Shero's Stars Must Align for the Playoffs by @knucklepucker


Ray Shero arguably already had the best star power roster in the NHL. But he wasn't satisfied.

He goes out and adds a sure lock future hall of famer, a 500 career point winger, and a couple guys who go by "The Paralyzer" and "Crankshaft". Whammy.

You can make a strong case trading for former captains Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow, plus Jussi Jokinen and Douglas Murray without question is one of the best trade deadline efforts by a general manager in the NHL salary cap era. Yet with all of these superstars and role players Shero traded for, these new Pittsburgh Penguins have not played a single game with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin healthy. Iginla has only played 1:28 with Crosby. Technically just :50 TOI.

Since that dreaded home game hosting the Islanders March 30, the Pens first round opponent, Crosby has been sidelined with a broken jaw thanks to a redirected slap shot and Malkin had a nagging shoulder injury. Since February 24, Crosby and Malkin have only played five games together.

But we've all become accustomed to one or both halves of the two-headed monster watching games from the press box at Consol Energy Center. Thankfully all new faces Shero shipped in have been healthy for every game since being traded. And all four have been contributing with physical play and timely scoring.

You know they're all thirst to drink from the Cup, as none of the players Shero added have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup. Iginla experienced the Finals in 2004 falling to Tampa Bay in seven games. Morrow was a part of the 2000 Dallas Stars who lost to New Jersey in the Finals.

Can this team continue to ride the tide without their captain? The Pens won eight of their last ten, clinched the Atlantic Division and top seed in the Eastern Conference. "The Shero Four" have all been hitting their stride at the right time heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs under some unique circumstances. These guys have already seen the dynamic line shuffling head coach Dan Bylsma has had to pull on the fly juggling chemistry and injuries. Throw one more into the mix when the masked captain returns.

Sorcerer Shero has conjured up what could be the perfect concoction to hoist a fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history. But you can't argue how high the risk is if this doesn't work. And you know Bylsma's dressing room can feel the playoff pressure setting in.

Buckle up baby. Shero is all in. Cup or die.

Keep the conversation going. Tweet me @knucklepucker
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