In an effort to end more overtime games before reaching the shootout, the NHL changed the rules to make the extra period a 3 on 3 contest instead of the 4 on 4 they've been using for several years. The league also decided to shake up the All-Star Game by making it a 3 on 3 contest as well with each division represented by a team. The league announced the lineups yesterday, and Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang both made the team. Pittsburgh has had some elite offensive talent during their history - since Mario Lemieux first won the Art Ross Trophy in 1987-88, the Penguins have dominated the award, winning 15 of the 27 presented during that time frame along with 7 Hart Trophies and 9 Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay Awards. With all the talent that has come through Pittsburgh, the Penguins could put together a historically dominant team. Choosing from a pool of any player to wear a Penguins jersey, what would Pittsburgh's best 3 man lineup be?
Nicholas Case (@Nick422)
I'm going to go with one we've already seen: Lemieux-Jagr-Francis. No one needs defense, Francis was a Selke winner in a year he averaged well over a point per game (56 points in 44 games, a strike shortened year). He's also the #5 point getter all time. Jagr is the #4 point scorer who is one of the most dynamic players in the game (even to this day) and Lemieux is arguably the best NHL player of all time. Hard to top those three on any team, let alone the Penguins in history. I can't help but feel like no matter how you slice it the top three are going to the Lemieux trio. Malkin is the only one who can touch that raw talent, showing flashes of Mario. It's never sustained, though. But if you're choosing any era, outside the generational talents, hard not to include Hossa in that as well. Another guy that's dynamic at both ends. Hell, hard to leave Gonchar off of any of this.
Paul Clemente (@Evil_Shero)
Brian Keenan (@BrianK_PI)
Cassy Anders (@_MAF29)
If I were to choose the two best forwards and best defenseman in Pittsburgh history, while also considering the 3-on-3 format, I'd have to roll Lemieux-Crosby-Coffey. That combination just wouldn't be fair. And imagine if you're taking Lemieux and Coffey and putting them in today's strength and conditioning programs and giving them today's equipment to use.
Brian Blystone (@ToonsBrian)