Aug 21, 2014, 7:33 PM EST
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.
- Garbutt suspended two games for ‘reckless’ knee-on-knee hit 1
- Report: Justin Schultz to be healthy scratch versus Preds 27
- PHT shares #WhyImThankful 8
- Roy: ‘They got away with things that we could not’ 18
- Video: Panthers’ Luongo leaves game due to injury (Updated) 0
- Video: Jets’ Lowry hits Sabres’ Kaleta from behind 6
- Video: Lightning pay tribute to St. Louis 6
- He’s baaaaack: Brodeur joins Blues on tryout basis 20
- Chelios calls ex-teammate Shanahan an inexperienced ‘politician’ 18
- Sharks players go to bat for McLellan: ‘Why would you get rid of him?’ 1
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ (101)
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (88)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (79)
- Bruins’ Lucic expected to play against Habs after getting one-punched (Updated) (47)
- Video: Prout drops Lucic with one punch (45)