Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spector: Penguins an Early Season Surprise

From the wise and half-drunk mind of Lyle "Spector" Richardson ;)

From today's SOAPBOX:

I've already noted their improvement on my blog but it's definitely worth mentioning again here.

Admit it, Penguins fans, none of you really expected the team to be off to this good of a start, now did you? Be honest.

That's ok, you're in good company, few expected it. Sure, I expected the club to improve this season, but to be leading the Atlantic Division heading into November was too much to hope for.

I'm not a Penguins fan, but I've always had a soft spot in my heart for them going back to 1984 when they drafted Mario Lemieux. I guess it's my love of the underdog that draws me to them.

The Pens rose from the dead once before to become the NHL's best team, and they have the horses to one day do it again.

I'm not expecting a Cup this season, but a playoff berth may not be out of the question. Given the depth in promising youth on this club, they are well on the way to a resurgence, providing hope to their long-suffering fans once again.

From Crosby to Malkin to Fleury to Whitney to Staal, this year's Penguins are youthful and exciting to watch. Indeed, they put me in mind of the Edmonton Oilers of the early, early 1980s, before that team rose to become Stanley Cup champs.

This club still lacks quality blueline depth, and their overall defensive game still needs work. That could pull them down in the standings as the season wears on, but they're a fun team to follow this season. They should give their fans not only a reason to come out and support them, but hopefully also provide the incentive for the city to build them a new arena to keep them where they belong.

Well, it's not hard to lead the Atlantic Division when all of the other teams are sucking more than they should. I'm not too surprised at some improvement, but it's nice that the Penguins seem to be a more 'legit' team rather than the next contestant on Guaranteed Win Night.

I still think their lack of D and depth up front will hurt them in the end.

The most telling statistic is that the Penguins are getting outshot on average 34.1-27.2 per game. A team can not give up 34+ shots a game and achieve continued success, especially with a youngster in goal who isn't Dominik Hasek or Roberto Luongo. Only the Islanders give up more shots per game, and it's not a number I'd expect the Penguins to improve too much upon this season.

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