Sunday, June 22, 2008

Penguins Rumors... and Hope

I have liked the Penguins for years, but this is the first time I’ve felt almost visceral about the need to keep the current team together.

I was upset when Jaromir Jagr was traded away. I hated to see Mark Recchi leave the Pens, and rejoiced when he came back, only to leave again. I thought it unfair that a promising talent like Colby Armstrong was given away just like that.

I understand that this is part of the “business” of hockey. I get that there are decisions that the front office needs to make, in order to pay the players who need to be kept, while keeping an eye on the salary cap.

BUT… this year, for some reason, I cannot stand the thought of losing a single player. To me, they are ALL integral to the workings of the team. The way they gelled this season, and then that amazing run for the Cup. Everyone contributed in some way and it didn’t matter where they played. First line or fourth line- everyone added something to the run.

The season ended in heartbreak, then the leaks started. It started out well: the Pens filed for arbitration to re-sign Marc-Andre Fleury. The Pens were making an offer to Marian Hossa. Then, the not so good. The Pens were considering sending Pittsburgh native Ryan Malone to Columbus. The Pens offered Evgeni Malkin to the Kings in exchange for the 2nd overall draft pick. The Russian league was offering Geno the equivalent of $15M US to go back to Russia. Each news article felt like a stab in the heart.

Now, I’m not so naive that I think the Pens can keep everyone on the team and pay them what they want. I know that players are going to have to go.

BUT—a tiny, childlike part of me hopes that Ray Shero can pull off some magical feat that will allow this year’s amazing team to continue to grow, gel and WIN the Stanley Cup next year.

Is that so wrong?

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