Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

History Can Wait Until Penguins Are Done Making It

The desire for more a year ago helped fuel the Penguins’ quest to repeat this season. Should their thirst for yet another Cup prove as unquenchable next season, there’s no limit to what they might yet achieve. Even a Three-peat.



The Penguins may have made history by winning the NHL’s first back-to-back Stanley Cup championships since 1997-98, but they aren’t interested in historical perspective as it relates to their individual and collective legacies.

Not yet, at least.

“I’m not think about that,” Evgeni Malkin maintained in the immediate aftermath in Nashville. “We still play together like long time. Maybe when we’re retired we think about that. But now we’re still young, we’re still hungry. And of course we want more.”

The desire for more a year ago helped fuel the Penguins’ quest to repeat this season.

Should their thirst for yet another Cup prove as unquenchable next season, there’s no limit to what they might yet achieve.

Even a Three-peat.

Malkin will turn 31 on July 31.

Captain Sidney Crosby will hit 30 on Aug. 7.

They’re in their primes, not approaching the end of the line.

When you have that, you have a chance.

And when you have the intangible mix that complemented the Penguins’ top-end and role-playing talent this season, the chemistry that head coach Mike Sullivan referenced repeatedly as “a competitive advantage,” you have more than that.

The story of the 2016-17 Penguins was as much about personality as it was performance.

It was as much about camaraderie as it was combustibility.

The bond shared between the players was such that winning the Cup was actually a letdown in at least one respect.

“It’s kinda sad that we finished the season,” Chris Kunitz insisted. “We honestly have that much fun playing together and coming to the rink every day.”

It’ll be a different collection that reports for training camp in September.

But for every Kunitz or Matt Cullen that ends up elsewhere, there’s a Scott Wilson or a Carter Rowney positioned to pick up where those destined to depart will leave off.

Free agency, the expansion draft or some other force of attrition doesn’t figure to rob the Penguins of the standard that’s been established and demanded in the locker room.

NHL veteran Ron Hainsey recognized that almost immediately upon his in-season arrival.

“There’s an expectation the group has, I don’t think there’s any question about that,” he said. “And when they’re not up to that level that they expect of themselves, deal with it and move on to the next day. There’s a lot of self-confidence in that room, as there should be.

“That’s something that’s just kind of earned _ it can’t be taught _ and plenty of guys here have it.”

Probably a few more now than when Hainsey was acquired on Feb. 23.

Enough that the 2017-18 Penguins will have an array of players experienced in the art of winning no matter the specifics of their configuration.

They’ll have a coach who has done nothing but bring out the best in them on the way to winning two Cups in his two seasons on the job.

They’ll have a goaltender, Matt Murray, who has put two Cups in the bag before graduating from NHL rookie status.

They’ll have their best defenseman, Kris Letang, presumably back and eager to make up for lost time.

They’ll have Malkin, who grew immeasurably off the ice as a leader and a veteran presence this season.

And they’ll have Crosby.

“Everybody has seen the way he plays, everyone knows how he plays, but I love and am just so impressed with the way he steps up when his team needs him the most,” Cullen marveled after Crosby’s signature performance in Game 5 of the Final. “He’s one of those unique players that has that sense when it’s time to raise the level, and he’s one of the very few that can raise his level that high.”

The level Crosby attained with the Final tied at two games apiece, in Cullen’s estimation, was one at which Crosby “took the team on his shoulders and said ‘follow me.’”

There’s no need to contemplate legacies until the Penguins discover exactly how far into history that might lead.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Peters Township Native Wins Silver Medal in Speed Skating

After swine flu kept him from competing in Sochi in 2014, short track speed skater John-Henry Krueger finally won a spot on the podium at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

Perspectives: A Better Life

A former Pittsburgh television reporter recounts the lessons taught to him by his grandfather who spent more than four decades as a Pullman Porter.

Pittsburgh MultiStories: Phipps Legacy – The Fulton Building

With its distinctive seven-story archway, the Fulton Building (now the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel) remains a beloved Pittsburgh landmark.

Kick Back and Relax with a Baby Sloth

For $150 you can book an up-close hang out session with Vivien the two-toed sloth.

Jack Kerouac: Manager of the Pittsburgh Plymouths

In a league of his own making, the famous writer cast himself as the skipper of a (fantasy) Pittsburgh ball club.

Bucking the Trend: Gallagher’s Groovy Growing

Megan Gallagher is part of a small cadre of young farmers bucking demographic trends.

Meet the Woman bringing Dignity and Diversity to Twitter

As Twitter's vice president of intersectionality, culture and diversity, Candi Castleberry Singleton, who splits her time between Pittsburgh and San Francisco, works tirelessly to bring inclusion and respect to companies.

Where's the Flu Bug Biting Hardest? There's an App for That

The Doctors Report Illness Tracker has the scoop on germ hotspots all over the region and beyond.

Black Panther is Marvel's Best Film

Reviews of "Black Panther" and "Early Man," plus local movie news and notes.

First Look: Poulet Bleu in Lawrenceville

PM dining critic Hal B. Klein takes a look at the new Richard DeShantz restaurant ... and he has the scoop on what's next from the energetic restaurateur.

Meet Pittsburgh's James Beard Award Semifinalists

Pittsburgh has eight nominations in six categories.

Urban Beekeeping Creating Environmental Buzz in Pittsburgh

No backyard? No problem. The country’s first community apiary brings beekeeping to the city.

Dig In: The Next Wave of Pizza in Pittsburgh

Now is the time to be eating pizza in Pittsburgh. Pizza makers are crafting pies in a variety of styles from New York to Old World. We round up our nine favorite destinations.

Can Anthony Hamlet Fix Pittsburgh Public Schools?

The superintendent, and former NFL player, is using a new school of thought to change legacy problems.

5 Pittsburgh Craft Distilleries Earning a Place on the Shelf

Uncovering the hidden gems of western Pennsylvania’s craft spirit world.