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No Crosby, no Malkin, no problems; Penguins roll on without stars

Oct 12, 2011, 12:15 AM EDT

Joe Vitale, Stephen Weiss Getty Images

You’d think that the Pittsburgh Penguins would suffer a bit without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the lineup. Crosby’s still dealing with his concussion while Malkin has lower-body soreness that’s keeping him out of action. While Pittsburgh still has Jordan Staal and Kris Letang to spur their offense on, it’s a cast of unknown and infamous characters helping them roll along.

Chances are you don’t know Joe Vitale but we’re pretty sure you know who Matt Cooke is. Instead of creating a new talking point for controversy, Cooke is scoring goals and keeping it clean to help the offense roll along. For a guy that’s better known for his defensive play, getting three goals in four games from Cooke is stunning.

Vitale won a job in training camp and he’s taking full advantage of the added playing time. Vitale has teamed up with Cooke to provide the Penguins with a depth line that’s catching opponents off guard in a big way. Just ask Florida, which  saw Vitale school them with a sweet pass to Cooke to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead in its 4-2 win. The win helped the Pens improve to 3-0-1 to start the season, their best start in 17 years.

Getting the bonus offense from Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, and Richard Park helps this no-name Pittsburgh team show that what they did last season without Crosby and Malkin isn’t a fluke. Instead, it’s just a lesson that Dan Bylsma didn’t win the Jack Adams Award for no good reason. If the Pens are rolling along like this now, just think of how they’ll be with Crosby and Malkin back in the lineup.


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  1. bigbear42 - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    You forgot to mention that James Neal is looking like the player they were hoping he would be when they traded for him last year and Mark Letestu is healthy to help out at center

  2. me6661973 - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    It was the panthers lol wait till Washington New York Buffalo or my Flyers get hold of them. They going wish they trade the wussy injured pronged milkin and scrambled Brian crybaby away.

  3. tharealest0431 - Oct 12, 2011 at 6:24 AM

    lmao!!!! your flyers are a joke haha. trading richards and carter was such a horrible move….whos the savior of the franchise? jagr? haha Pens will be the most complete team when crosby and malkin return….uh oh look out haters….. :)

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 12, 2011 at 7:34 AM

      You really think Crosby will come back to his old form? Wishful thinking. And Jagr isn’t the savior of the Flyers. He is an addition. The same way yous thought of him. Trading Carter and Richards was necessary if this team wanted to move forward. Most people outside the 215 don’t know that and only look at the numbers that both players put up. No one mentions that Carter hasn’t and won’t carry a team during the regular season and playoffs. And Richards seem disinterested during last season and was a major disruption in the locker (the ‘C’ should be the exact opposite). It’s too early in the season the get all excited about any team. Both PHI and PIT look good. Right now. But remember, will still have to get thru Fall, Winter and Spring to see who is the real deal. You better hope that both you stars are healthy. So far, not so good.

  4. sf49erguy - Oct 12, 2011 at 6:48 AM

    unknown and infamous? maybe to 99% of the media… then again 99% of the media knows only 1% of the NHL..

  5. jpelle82 - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    the penguins will continue to benefit from the arguably best defensive unit and pk in the league. they have system in place that will keep them in games against teams that look better on paper. having malkin or crosby is a luxury for any team and when they get them back it will just put them back in the talks for cup contenders.

  6. carol6645 - Nov 20, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    Exactly! Without Crosby most of all, they won’t win the Cup again any time soon. He is the STAR!! Face it!

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