...human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... MASS HYSTERIA! - Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters
As the calendar begins to flip towards November, and the Witches, Ghouls, and Goblins make their Halloween rounds, something strange is happening 'round these parts. The city of Pittsburgh is aflutter over their "favorite" team having a successful October and discussion is ongoing about playoff aspirations and young superstars. No, I am not talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh's new favorite team is none other than your Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins currently have more wins than the Steelers, which no one would have believed coming into the season. The team did not have many games on the slate during the opening month of the season, but many of them were against formidable opponents, at least it seemed so when the schedule was released. The Penguins have answered the bell and posted wins against the Devils, Rangers and 2 against the Flyers. The most recent being an 8-2 laugher in Philadelphia, something that has been unheard of in years past.
The Penguins have gone from being a team picked to finish last in their division by most experts, to becoming the darlings of the league. The team boasts several of the NHL's brightest up and comers in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Marc Andre Fleury to name a few and many power rankings have the Penguins in the top 10. Teams around the league are beginning to respect and in some cases fear this hard working team.
The team is proving to it's fans that it is serious about trying to accomplish something this season, the most telling evidence, keeping Jordan Staal. This young man is bringing something to the team that they cannot get by just plugging another player into the line-up. No matter what is thrown at him, he rises to the occasion. The team has made a decision based purely on hockey and has proven that they are serious about continuing their success.
This success cannot have come at a better time for the Penguins. The region is up in arms about the defending Super Bowl Champion struggling horribly, but the city's hockey team has provided numerous story lines to appease the masses. Evgeni Malkin's scoring streak and breathtaking moves, Sidney Crosby being 3 points off the league lead in the scoring race (in 2 less games), a convincing win in Philadelphia, Marc Andre Fleury's development into a number one goaltender, Jordan Staal, and the fact that the team had it's most successful October in years.
This is a very exciting time for a team who has been in transition for many seasons. The Penguins seem to be on the road back and it doesn't look to be any trick or treat.
Eric Cairns has been recalled from his rehab assignment in Wilkes Barre-Scranton.
Kris LeTang has been sent back to his Canadian Junior Team.
The City has acquired the final properties in and around the proposed new arena site, and hope to break ground as soon as July.
This can also be read at www.hockeybuzz.com