Pens Will Only Go as Far as Sid and Geno Will Take Them by @ChrisRBarron - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pens Will Only Go as Far as Sid and Geno Will Take Them by @ChrisRBarron

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will decide the Pens' future.
Hockey is a complex team sport, unlike basketball, a team’s prospects rarely ride squarely on the back of one or two players.  Wayne Gretzky scored a league leading 163 points for the 1990-1991 that didn’t even make it to the Stanley Cup – falling to the Edmonton Oilers in the division finals.  We Pens fans know all too well how Mario Lemieux’s league-leading 160points in 1992-1993 weren’t enough to get them back to the Cup finals.  So if the Great One and Le Magnifique couldn’t single-handedly win a Cup, it’s fair to say unequivocally that a team’s prospects can't be determined by just one player.

That being conceded, the truth is that this Pens team may come as close as any other team to challenging that basic assumption – because this team will only go as far as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will take them.
That doesn’t mean they alone will do it.  The Pens still need Fleury to play well – especially during the playoffs.  The Pens still need to have one of their young defensive prospects finally blossom – give them depth on the blue line and flexibility at the trading deadline (especially if they decide to try to move Paul Martin).  The Pens still need to find another top 6 winger (whether its glass jaw Beau Bennett or whether the team brings in someone else).  And the Pens still need depth on the bottom six.

But even if the Pens get all of that, this team won’t be hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup without superb play from its top two players – Crosby and Malkin.

Just how tied are the Pens to the performance of its two superstar centers?  Look no further than how things have played out in the first seven games.

In the Pens four wins, Crosby and Malkin have been spectacular.  Against the Ducks, Maple Leafs, Islanders and Predators Crosby has scored 4 goals and 7 assists for 11 points.  Against those same teams Malkin has scored 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points.  That’s 7 goals, 11 assists and 18 points in just four games. 

While Malkin and Crosby have come up big in the Pens wins, they have been painfully absent in the Pens losses.  In their two regulation losses against the Stars and Flyers the two have combined for just 1 goal and 2 assist between them (Crosby 1G, 0A, 1PT and Malkin 0G, 2A, 2PT).  In the one OT loss to the Red Wings, 87 and 71 managed just 1 measly assist between them.  That’s a grand total of 1 goal, 3 assists and just 4 points in the 3 total losses by Sid and Geno.
While I am not suggesting that Sid and Geno can do something that Gretzky and Lemieux couldn’t do, I am saying that at the end of the day, even if everything else goes right for this team, we won’t see a Stanley Cup parade in Pittsburgh unless our top 2 stars play at or above expectations.

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