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24 February 2009

Current State of the Unions Address (Pens Style!)

Besides the fact that I missed the last two games for a very good reason...I was drilling with my National Guard unit...I did get to see all the highlights and lowlights from the weekend. I have come to many conclusions here. My first thought is that I love the offense, when we want to have it. It seemed that we were flying so high after that win against the Flyers, our big, in-state rival. We then went into Washington and looked as though we died. Back to back games against these particular two teams is one thing, but for us fans to expect the Pens to win both of them on the road is a significant issue.

I read alot of blogs almost bailing on the Pens after that loss. For instance, read the last sentance in Experiencing the Evolution,"One thing is for sure, if Ray Shero isn't considering the Penguins as deadline sellers after this afternoon's performance, he never will.", Staal Tactics wasn't too encouraging, The Pensblog is as positive as you can be considering all things, and Pensburgh did a good job putting it into perspective. Washington is a very good team, they have a home record of 24-5-1 now. Hell, Philly is 17-8-3. Both those records are brilliant. To go into both towns and win would have been borderline miraculous. Especially considering how we have been playing on the road this year. We are 13-14-4. To pull off two really emotional upsets to days in a row should not be expected from anyone in our position. It was an exhausting couple of games and the schedule wasn't kind. The nice thing is that now we have a couple days to regroup and now we play the New York Islanders Wednesday night.

It is a good team to rebound against. Now, I know the last time we played them, we lost in that shootout. It was, if you remember, the day after Therrian was fired. Bylsma did not have any time to get the team organized to where he wanted them. We should come out with alot of energy. We should also see Kris Letang back on the ice. I would love to see Hal Gill riding the pine simply because of the new style of play. He just doesn't have the speed to keep up. I would also like to see Bill Thomas out there instead of Chris Minard.

I am still keeping up on the possible trades and improvements to this team. It is down to the last week till the deadline. I love this time of year, just to see who thinks they are contenders and who don't think that. I also like to see what teams are willing to do to win the cup. Last year, we gave up alot for a Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis. It was a blockbuster trade, but a bust nonetheless. Dupuis does fit in nicely, but we gave up our first rounder and our latest prospect in Angelo Esposito. At the time, it wasn't too much, but now, it seems that the energy has been zapped from this team because of Hossa. He was like the Terell Owens of the NHL. He hung us out to dry, until there was no way we could keep some of the important pieces, and then left. Onto better thinking. I would like to see what we do at the deadline. I know we have Ryan Whitney and Jordan Staal on the block. Like I have said in previous blogs, I know I would love to see both Staal and Whitney in a Penguins uniform next year, but they bring too much in return right now and we can't overlook that. Staal is essentially a third line center on the team, but he would be a first or second line center on others. This is because we have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin running those lines. I am really looking forward to seeing what Shero does this year.

What we have now is the opportunity to get into the playoffs. We need to win twice as many games as we lose. In other words, go about 14-7 from here on out. I know we are capable of doing this. If Marc-Andre Fleury will play like he is capable of, then I believe we will be fine. All our hopes fall on his performance. It is alot of pressure, I know, but he has been here for five years now and has won alot and lost alot. He knows how to shake it off to be a winner. It is time for that Fleury to show up.

Here is to the playoffs!

Let's Go Pens!


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