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It’s all on Crosby, Malkin to make it work in Pittsburgh

Aug 21, 2014, 7:33 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Niskanen AP

In what might be the least surprising thing you’ll read on this website: If the Penguins are going to push for the Stanley Cup this season, it’s up to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to make it happen.

Yes, we know they’re the two best players on the team by far. Heck, they’re two of the best players in the league. They’ve both won MVP awards and they were vital to winning the Cup in 2009.

Consider this however: It’s been five years since that victory against Detroit. Since then, a myriad of injuries have befallen both superstars. For Crosby it was his head and his broken teeth and Malkin had his knee give way on him. Failing to win in the seasons affected by that is excusable, but last season felt like everything was there for the taking.

Crosby and Malkin were the team’s top two scorers with Crosby winding up with a runaway victory for the Hart Trophy. While Malkin had more injury trouble for parts of the year, 72 points is nothing to sneeze at especially when he played in 60 games. When he’s healthy, he’s a dominating offensive force the same as Crosby.

Yet somehow, success eluded them.

The Pens struggled in six games to knock off the Columbus Blue Jackets and blew a 3-1 series lead to the New York Rangers before losing in seven games. Crosby looked average for most of the postseason and while Malkin looked dangerous all playoffs long, he was often a man on an island trying to do it all himself.

The Penguins are at their best when both players are able to take over games or share the burden. Think back to that 2009 Cup Final – Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg was able to keep Crosby under wraps, but they had no answer for Malkin. That brand of play was missing in the playoffs last season.

For the Penguins to be at their most dominating, yes they’ll need help from teammates and new coach Mike Johnston certainly has a lot of pressure on him, but they’ll need Crosby and Malkin to show they’re the best every night to do it.

  1. milkmemalkin - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Its all on the two best players in the world. Penguins will be fine. Cup Champs 2015.

    • xvaa1 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:37 PM

      How wouldMalkin mille you? You Dont have the sack!

      • hotlanta57 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:19 PM

        Chirp of the decade by xvaa1

  2. pitpenguinsrulez - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    The last time we won the Cup, Malkin and Crosby each scored 100+ points and played in most of the games. While it falls mostly on those you still have Fleury.

    • stakex - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:55 PM

      Ahhhh Fleury as an asset in the playoffs….. that’s a good one.

      • pitpenguinsrulez - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:44 PM

        Oh look it’s Mr. “Wannabe” NHL Analyst.

    • hockey412 - Aug 22, 2014 at 9:12 AM

      True, true..

      I may be in the minority, but while I think that there’s a lot of pressure on Crosby and Malkin, there are so many pieces that need to be in the right place that is isn’t ALL on them. You are right, there’s Fleury, he has to come around, and there is the D, and there is depth. The last time the Pens won a cup, Crosby was injured and it was TALBOT that was the star of the game. But Malkin won the Conn Smythe that year, so both players were vital to their success.

      I was watching a re-run of this year’s game 7 vs. NYR. Got pissy all over again. The D was just bad.

  3. roryflyers - Aug 21, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Don’t care.

    • theageofquarrel - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      Obviously you do because you took the time to comment

  4. blomfeld - Aug 22, 2014 at 2:00 AM

    YES YERDON, WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU & YOUR PENGUIN FRIENDS MEAN’ WELL

    Blomfeld … PHT spokesman for the planet’s ‘greatest’ professional ice hockey team

    `WORK IT`PITTSBURGH !!! :)

    • JoeAvg - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      LOOK! blomfeld made television!

      • theageofquarrel - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. jaybaileys - Aug 22, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Wow expert reporting there, all on 87 and 71, ya think. How long did you rack your brain for that one?

  6. djshnooks - Aug 22, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Hasn’t it always been that way?

  7. paulerhythm - Aug 25, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    I keep hearing how the Pens are gonna turn it around and go deep into the playoffs…what makes the Pen fans think next year will be different? Every Pens opponents know what to do, shut down down Crosby and Malkin by possessing the puck, break through the saran wrap Pens defense and score on a shaky goalie…

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