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Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Time to Win is Now by @kamo33090

The Time to Win is Now

By Jeff Kamovitch, Freelance Contributor

 There’s an old adage that every road has a beginning and an end. It’s not so much about the starting point, they say, or the destination for that matter. It’s the journey that counts. Ray Shero knows best. 

This current Penguins team is spectacular. This is the apex of the Crosby-Malkin era. Relish it. Enjoy it. Fans, take note: you’re witnessing some of the best hockey ever played. Ever. Some records are being broken, others are coming close, and others are falling just short but giving old ones a laudable run for their money. Everything is clicking on all cylinders, but like all cylinder-based engines, after a long run of miles, they draw to a close. Now is the time to win. Again, Shero knows best.

Fans, go buy tickets. See a game live.

Seriously. This is history, be a part of it. You won’t regret it.

When last did you have the opportunity to see one of the top hockey teams ever fielded? Perhaps back in the early nineties. But don’t miss it this time. It may not come around again so soon.

Sure, there have been injuries. That will happen. But in the absence of the perpetual top three scorers on the team, the depth forwards have picked up wonderfully. As have the depth defensemen. In spite of the inevitable rookie mistakes, Simon Despres has been a standout all season and should be a staple at the Pens blue line down the stretch. Robert Bortuzzo has shown ample skill and has supplied much needed grit, although he has seen a minimal amount of ice time.

Brenden Morrow’s chapter in the Penguins history books sits right next to the legendary Gary Roberts. After scrapping with the loathsome P.K. Subban on April 17th, Morrow spent the entire time in the penalty box telling P.K. Subban how to take a hockey helmet off and warning the young defenseman what was going to happen when the two were freed. Morrow’s grit, net-front presence, and scoring prowess have paid dividends since coming over to the Steel City.

And Jarome Iginla needs no justification—his locker room presence and skill set bring another superstar presence to the most talented team in the league. Even last-minute acquisition Jussi Jokinen has been a force on a nightly basis, offering both blazing speed and a keen hockey sense that made him a bargain for the Pens to pick up.

Kris Letang has returned after suffering a broken toe. He has returned in exactly prime form, surging toward the coveted Norris Trophy for best defenseman. Paul Martin, who drew the ire of Penguins fans last year for under-performing his contract value, appeared to be the team’s best defenseman before he sustained a broken hand bone. Martin is inching close to return. Behemoth Doug Murray has been leaving opponents’ players flattened, battered, and bruised.

And what about goalie problems after last year’s meltdown in the playoffs? If you feel a breeze, it’s probably the exhale of every Pens fan that has held their breath every time the ever-shaky Brent Johnson made a start. Tomas Vokoun, seeing his first workload as a backup, has been absolutely stellar. Near perfect, even, at times. Marc-Andre Fleury has had the ability to stand on his head several times to make jaw-dropping saves. The flower, pardon the cliché, is in full bloom.

This team is absolutely undeniably coming full circle. It’s composition of highly-skilled players—veterans, journeymen, and rookies alike, provide the perfect equation of talent, speed, and mentality that will take this team far into the playoffs. This is hockey on a level that hasn’t been seen, perhaps, ever.

Things are clicking on all cylinders.

Bring on the playoffs. I don’t care who, I don’t care when.

This is the best Penguins team ever assembled,

First round prediction? Pens in 4. 

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