Features: Five Questions the Pittsburgh Penguins Must Answer to Raise Another Cup



1. Can Bill Guerin keep up his post-trade play of 2009 through an entire 82-game season?

After Ray Shero saved Guerin from "hockey purgatory" on Long Island, the veteran winger notched 10 points in his first eight games in Vegas Gold. But once that initial rush of playing with Sid wore off, his production seemed to tail. In the final 33 games (including 24 in the playoffs), Guerin rung up just 17 points, despite never leaving the top line and seeing significant time on the first power play unit. And as much as he probably doesn't want to be reminded about, he does turn 39 in November.

2. Can they replace the "shutdown" defensive pair of Rob Scuderi/Hal Gill?

Brooks Orpik's hits may have rattled many a Plexiglas pane over the last four seasons, but it was Rob Scuderi's "silent but deadly" approach that helped keep things clear in front of Marc-Andre Fleury. And while Hal Gill didn't win many races to loose pucks, his presence (and Go-Go-Gadget poke check) will also be missed. The off-season signing of the "defenseman's defenseman," Jay McKee, should help ease those losses, but they do seem to have more offensive-minded blue liners than last year.

3. Will they receive help from "new blood" like Dustin Jeffrey, Luca Caputi, Tim Wallace?

The core of their Stanley Cup-winning roster returns intact, but over the course of 82 games the Pens are sure to have several key players watching games in street clothes from the press box. And remember - they traded away two first-round draft picks to Atlanta in the Marian Hossa deal in '08, so their top-level minor-league depth could be depleted. The aforementioned forwards (Jeffrey, Caputi, Wallace) all saw time with the "big club" last year and might be counted on to actually contribute this season. One name to remember from their minor-league ranks: defenseman Ben Lovejoy.

4. How will they be affected by Max Talbot's early-season absence?

It's too early to tell how many games Mad Max will actually miss, but it would seem to make sense NOT to rush him back for games in October and November when the team is virtually a lock to make the playoffs regardless. One year ago, Talbot's absence would have simply deprived the team of a fourth-line center. But after his apparent chemistry with Evgeni Malkin blossomed during their Cup run, the Pens are now left with a gaping hole on their second line as the season begins.

5. Can they play with a target on their back?

The last time the Penguins defended a Stanley Cup championship in 1992-93, they did so with a roster that many still believe was the most talented in team history. They captured the President's Trophy that season, winning more regular season games than any team in the NHL. But one David Volek overtime goal in their second playoff series ended their visions of a three-peat. The 2008-09 playoff run was one for the ages...can they find that magic two years in a row? It says here there is a good chance.

Craig McConnell is a born-and-bred Pittsburgher. He is a coordinating producer at FSN, where he's worked since 2001. Before joining FSN, Craig worked as a videographer at WSYX-TV in Columbus and WTOV-TV in Steubenville. He lives in Hampton with his wife, Jill, and their two kids, Derek and Leah.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.
Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.
Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.
First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

Believe it or not, yogis have been practicing with goats in the Unites States for more than a year.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Yinzers Eating Chicken Wings Are Going to Be on TV

Yinzers Eating Chicken Wings Are Going to Be on TV

Mt. Washington’s Bigham Tavern is the latest ‘Burgh eatery to host a film crew.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments


Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

The Irwin business offers the chance to smash inanimate objections for a little "therapeutic demolition."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the latest entry in the massive franchise.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

A local wedding photographer has created a business to connect same-sex couples with LGBTQ-friendly vendors.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

The new season of the home improvement show featuring Pittsburgh siblings Leanne and Steve Ford debuts on HGTV in January.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module