Curb the Negativity Towards the Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Penguins Twitter

Remember to follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook for continued Pittsburgh Sports coverage: 

This Pittsburgh Penguins season has been a blessing, at least through my eyes. We’re seeing Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang still dominate in their mid-30’s and hardly showing any signs of aging. It’s rather impressive. Their team is on pace for 108 points.

This season, the Penguins will qualify for the postseason for the 16th consecutive time meaning Crosby has missed the playoffs only once in his entire career, his rookie season. How many other athletes can claim that achievement?

The core may being playing its final season together with Malkin and Letang’s impending free agent status. It seems more likely that Malkin will return to Pittsburgh than Letang simply because of their contract demands. Malkin has stated a desire to take lesser money to stick around and try to help the Penguins build around him. Letang, rightfully so, is likely looking to cash in big wherever the money is.

When you start to add this all up, it becomes hard not to look at it all and appreciate what’s going on and what Penguins fans have had for far longer than any NHL franchise can claim in recent memory. The Penguins just won’t die.

The past few seasons, Pittsburgh has been counted out before the season even started. Pundits saying that the aging core was finally going to show signs of being too old to carry the team to the postseason again. And, just like The Undertaker on this WrestleMania weekend, the Penguins rose from the dead and will be going to the all mighty dance once again.

I have a question though regarding all of this.

Why on earth is there so much negativity towards how the Penguins are playing?

Yes, maybe they peaked a few months too early when they went on a 17-2 stretch in 19 games. Certainly the secondary scoring that once made the team look deeper than an Oneil Cruz river shot has dried up a bit. Considering how crazy it is the Penguins are on a 108 point pace at this stage of the Big 3’s career, how can anyone be upset?

I get it. We’re all passionate. I certainly get as frustrated as any Pens fan when we watch Evan Rodrigues shoot puck after puck that doesn’t go into the net. Watching Danton Heinen skate entirely too many minutes a night on Malkin’s wing is maddening. Jason Zucker getting injured twice this season just one game into his return is hard to watch as well.

But consider all the good that has come out of the season.

Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Crosby, Bryan Rust, and Jake Guentzel have driven the offense. The stars are at the helm and there’s no doubt about that. Tristan Jarry’s rebound from last postseason has been outstanding and has supplanted him among the top goalies in the league. Heck, even 90-year old Brian Boyle is playing like he’s in his late 30’s again. It’s hard not to appreciate all that.

Of course, the goal in making the playoffs is to go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. No one wants to be a one-and-done when they get there. That’s no fun.

But consider all of the good. The Penguins are good enough to give any team a series in the playoffs. Can they beat the Avalanche, Panthers, Lightning, and Hurricanes over a seven-game series? That remains to be seen but they’ll certainly hang with them.

I feel like I repeat this a lot across my columns, but just appreciate what the Penguins have going because, as early as next year, it could be gone quicker than Lou Pinella getting tossed from a baseball game.