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The Purge in Pittsburgh

This article has been submitted by Sean Meister.

Like any good hockey fan, I spent my Canada Day hitting the refresh button at It’s difficult to find meaning in the signings when the pace is so fast, but I’ve come to two conclusions so far.

1. Tampa Bay is on a mission. Roberts, Malone, Kolzig, Vrbata, etc. There was a feeding frenzy, but apparently only the Lightning were invited.

2. Stemming from the initial Tampa Bay signings of Roberts and Malone came the slow downfall of the Pittsburgh team of 2007-2008. Pittsburgh is in a bit of trouble.

I have a lot of faith in Ryan Malone, and seeing him pack his bags was an ominous sign for me. Pittsburgh needs players like Malone to create a strong core to build a team around. Crosby, Malkin and Fleury can’t carry the team. Then Adam Hall decided to follow his teammates to sunny Tampa Bay, where ice only exists in man made form.

Then Ty Conklin, the person I credit with giving Pittsburgh the confidence to enter the post season with Lord Stanley on their minds, agreed to terms with Detroit. Now Detroit, already a powerhouse in the hockey world, has the underrated goaltending duo from heaven. The losses of Malone, Roberts, Hall and Conklin were all painful, but a few smart free agent moves could repair the damage. I kept saying, as long as Hossa stays, Pittsburgh can recover. But Hossa isn’t staying.

Detroit has some of the best two-way players in the NHL. Datsyuk and Zetterberg have amazing offensive talent, but are equally strong on the backcheck. Hossa is one of those dangerous players who can score 30 or 40 goals in a season, but also prevent just as many. As much as I dislike Detroit, for reasons I still don’t know, I have to admit that with the addition of Hossa, they have the most potent offense in the NHL.

To add insult to injury, Jarkko Ruutu has left the Penguins for the Ottawa Senators. The only true agitator on the Penguins team now is newly acquired Eric Godard.

The problem for the Penguins is that they just lost Hossa, Ruutu, Malone, Roberts and Hall, but they’ve also lost Colby Armstrong and Eric Christensen. The trade for Hossa was a risky trade. Two young, albeit inconsistent, forwards were lost to gain what turned out to be a rental player. The Penguins contended for the Cup, but at what price? Hossa is gone and there are no younger guys to fill the wing for Crosby. What is even worse for Pittsburgh is that Hossa wasn’t gone for sure until day two, which means many of the better free agents were already taken. The Penguins have plenty of salary cap room (despite the massive salaries for Malkin, Crosby, and soon Fleury), but where can they spend the money?

Markus Naslund or Mats Sundin? Or do you go with several good but not great players like Kristian Huselius? I wish I could give Pittsburgh some great advice to get their roster looking deadly again, but I don’t have the answers. Unless Ray Shero has some tricks up his sleeve, I have a bad feel about 2008-2009 for the Penguins.

This article has been submitted by Sean Meister.

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4 Responses to “The Purge in Pittsburgh”

  1. paul Says:

    Hrmmm Sundin to Pittsburgh? I could find myself cheering for that team. One year contract along the lines of what they may have offered Hossa might sound good to Sundin and give him a great chance to win a cup and play with two of the best young players in the game.

  2. Pope Says:

    FYI - Big Burt signed a one-year contract with the Flames for 1.95 million

  3. Anonymous Says:

    i think crobsy malkin staal gonchar whitney fluery is a pretty unreal core of talent to build a team around, the hossa trade was somewhat shitty but at the same time malone was a product of playing with players far above his skill level and inflating his stats with their help, he will be a mediocre nhler of the 2010’s

  4. Blake Murphy Says:

    I don’t think they’ll be as good this year, agreed. Sundin would be a nice fit, to respond to Paul, and I’m shocked I haven’t heared it as a possible destination.

    The loss of Malone is overrated, but the loss of all that depth together could be disastrous. No regression in the standings, but no advancement towards the cup. Yet.

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