It's Thanksgiving Day, and there's a lot to be thankful for as fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that's not even including Randy Carlyle having no clue how to coach a hockey team! Mario Lemieux saved the franchise from bankruptcy then helped get Consol Energy Center built to ensure the team has a place to play for years to come. Two of the best players in the world, and the current 1-2 in the Art Ross scoring race, play in black and Vegas gold. Ray Shero is the reigning GM of the year, and the ownership is right at the top of the league. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there, and this week for the holiday it's a Thanksgiving inspired read: What Thanksgiving food would players on the Penguins be?
Turkey -- Sidney Crosby
The turkey dominates the dinner table, sitting front and center, and is the main attraction to the Thanksgiving feast. Sound a bit like #87? Sidney Crosby has been the center of attention since before he was even drafted, with Wayne Gretzky predicting that Sid the Kid would break his records before his career was over. Through all the attention and the hype, Crosby has been nothing if not dominant throughout the entirety of his career and has earned being the center of attention.
Turducken -- Evgeni Malkin
While it will always live in the turkey's shadow, the turducken will take center stage when the turkey is not around, and there are those who will insist that the turducken is better anyways. It's a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey, and it's as enigmatic as it sounds as you never know exactly what you're going to get. Evgeni Malkin is the enigmatic Russian superstar 1b on the Pittsburgh Penguins, who despite the accolades and awards that rival his Canadian counterpart seems to always find himself in the background. He's a player that can be a 50 goal MVP, a hothead prone to taking stupid retaliatory penalties, or one of the best setup men in the game.
Stuffing -- Brooks Orpik
When you think turkey you most likely think stuffing as well, and stuffing helps lead the Thanksgiving meal as one of the staples of the feast. Wearing the "A" as an alternate captain, Brooks Orpik has been a staple on the Penguins blueline for years, and as the longest tenured Penguins on the roster has been a voice of leadership both on the ice and in the dressing room.
Mashed Potatoes -- Paul Martin
They're silky smooth and, along with stuffing, a staple of Thanksgiving side dishes. Silky and smooth are adjectives that perfectly describe Paul Martin's game. Outside of a season that made him the whipping boy of the fanbase, Paul Martin has been a reliable defenseman capable of eating big minutes every night against the opposing team's top line.
Cranberry Sauce -- Olli Maata
It's the dish on the table that takes the least preparation: Just open the can, pour the can-shaped blob into a dish, and serve. The cranberry sauce isn't a flashy dish compared to the rest of the meal, but it quietly gets the job done, even if most of the table doesn't notice it's there. Olli Maata didn't need any time in the AHL before making the jump from the London Knights to the Pittsburgh Penguins blue line. Originally called up for a 9 game trial, it was Maata's solid play and advanced hockey IQ that earned him his place on the team.
Green Bean Casserole -- Chris Kunitz
Green beans by themselves aren't bad as a side dish, but they leave much to be desired and are easily replaceable. Add in some cream of mushroom soup and some crispy onions and all of the sudden the green beans are a star. Chris Kunitz has been playing side kick to star players ever since his time in Anaheim, but it was in Pittsburgh where he transformed from a gritty complimentary forward to an offensive threat in his own right, fitting in perfectly with both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Squash -- Brandon Sutter
Squash is as traditional of a Thanksgiving dish as they come, being served for countless generations all the way back to the time of the pilgrims. It's no surprise to see squash on the table, just like it's no surprise to see a Sutter in the NHL. Brandon Sutter comes from the famous Sutter family who had 6 brothers all playing in the NHL together in the 1980s. Professional hockey is a family tradition with the Sutters,
Crescent Rolls -- Marc-Andre Fleury
Light, buttery, and a bit flaky, crescent rolls are the perfect addition to the Thanksgiving meal, no matter how much people complain that dinner rolls should be served with the meal instead. One way or another, they keep finding their way to the table, just like Marc-Andre Fleury keeps finding his way into the Penguins crease despite repeated calls for his head. The offseason changes to a sports psychologist and new goalie coach have helped MAF elevate his game to new levels, and hopefully have him ready to exorcise his playoff demons.
Tossed Salad -- Deryk Engelland
It's a completely useless part of the Thanksgiving meal. With this many dishes ready to be passed around and crammed onto the dinner plate, nobody has the time or the patience to bother with a salad, and those who do usually only go for a few courtesy bites. There's real food to be eaten, and plenty of it. Despite this, salad still seems to find its way onto the table, even if no one can really explain what it's doing there. Despite a talent level that screams 4th pairing/5th line, Deryk Engelland somehow manages to continuously find his way into the lineup despite rather obvious reasons why somebody else, anybody else really, should take his spot instead. While he'll get a few shifts a game, nobody really knows what purpose that serves and everyone seems to agree that it's completely unnecessary.
Pumpkin Pie -- James Neal
After eating a humongous meal, what better way to finish off Thanksgiving dinner than with a piece of pumpkin pie? Whether you prefer it served hot or cold, with whipped cream or without, it gets the job done. James Neal has one of the best wrist shots in the league, and as he's shown since coming back from injury that he finishes and he finishes often. When he gets open for a shot, there's a very good chance the puck is finding the back of the net.
Wine -- Kris Letang
It's a way to look both classy and elegant while drinking yourself into a drunken stupor that helps you escape the personal hell you find yourself in as you realize that committing yourself to spending the evening with your in-laws is quite possibly the biggest mistake you could have ever made. Kris Letang can make the flashy plays, is as smooth of a skater as you can find in the NHL, and has the hair that just can't help but be noticed. But let's face it: more times than not, watching him play is going to make you want to start drinking heavily.
Beer -- Joe Vitale
Wine might be fine for some, but many more will crack open a cold one (or 12) this Thanksgiving. When you think beer, you probably think of something cold and refreshing, something blue collar, and, if their mass advertising campaign is working well, something from St. Louis. Joe Vitale is the gritty, 4th line center who has worked his way up from being a former 7th round draft pick to finding his spot in the bottom 6. And yes, he's from St. Louis.
Wishbone -- Rob Scuderi, Beau Bennett, Tanner Glass, Paul Martin
After cooking and carving the turkey, the wishbone is saved to be pulled apart by two people looking for luck. One person grabs each side of the wishbone, and they pull until it breaks in half, with the person who has the top of the bone on their side getting a wish. The Penguins have been bit by the injury bug again this season, with broken bones making up a large part of the injury report. Currently Rob Scuderi, Beau Bennett, Tanner Glass, and Paul Martin are all out of the lineup with various broken bones. If there's one wish to be made from this, it's that the Penguins find themselves with a healthy lineup by the time the postseason starts.
Leftovers -- Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy, Eric Tangradi
While at one time looking like a promising addition to the Thanksgiving feast, this is the food that wasn't good enough to make it onto the plate and was banished to the refrigerator with the hopes that it could be useful somewhere else down the road. While it might create some excitement on Friday, almost certainly everyone will be sick of the leftovers by Saturday and they'll be thrown in the trash by Sunday.
Nothing else really needs to be said, those 3 players suck.