The pass and shot will echo through the eternal hockey halls for ages.
It was in the gold medal game of the 2010 Olympics when a certain winger threaded a perfect pass between two USA defenders to find a swift-skated sniper, who prompted buried the rubber past a slow-to-react Ryan Miller.
Those two unnamed identities? They’re about to be reunited.
That’s right. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby will soon be joined by one of the most ferocious leaders in hockey with the arrival of Jarome Iginla.
It’s sure to cause matchup fits for opposing teams. With the Pens acquisition of James Neal, they saw immediate chemistry between him and Evgeni Malkin. Now, the Penguins have a top winger to go along with Crosby, and perhaps the scoreboard-buster Chris Kunitz, who is currently third in the league with 19 goals.
The Penguins put those two lines out there, with top flight centers paired alongside top flight wingers, and opposing teams will get headaches trying to keep up.
The Pittsburgh squad also acquired forward Brenden Morrow from the Dallas Stars and Douglas Murray.
While Morrow isn’t the threat and presence that Iginla is, he has a scorer’s touch, as he has netted 30 in two different seasons. Murray will help out the Penguin’s defense and probably be on their second defensive pairing. With his large frame (6 foot 3, 245 lbs.), he’s a good addition to a Pittsburgh defense that lacks a solid physical presence.
The Penguins will now assume the role of favorite to win the Cup, seeing that they are already tops in the Eastern Conference. They’ve made improvements, but they are not unbeatable. Marc-Andre Fleury is a good goaltender, but he can be inconsistent. The defense isn’t the best either.
That offense, though. The only word I have for it is formidable.
What does it mean for the Flyers? Although not totally out of it, they obviously need a different mix. This surely isn’t working.
You would have to think they try and move Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell, and while they’re at it, a majority of their defensive corps (or defensive corpse, considering their play of late) but both have no trade clauses, which means both Briere and Hartnell would have to agree to be traded. I would personally be offended if Briere or Hartnell didn’t accept the Flyers trade attempts.
The amount of investment (the Flyers have paid Briere $43.5 million since his signing in the 2007 offseason and Hartnell $25 million since he was traded to them in 2007) and dedication the team has shown these two is beyond comprehension.
They have to be moved, but is it even possible?
Briere still has 2 years after this one with $6.5 million cap hits. Hartnell was just signed for (and this is what will probably get Holmgren fired) 6 more years, with a $4.75 cap hit.
In my mind, Hartnell’s play is rage-inducing. He clearly has top-notch power forward skills, but he does make the most mindless of mistakes. He’s 30 years of age now, and yet it seems like he can’t stay on his skates, takes the most mind-numbing penalties, and generally just skates like a foolish cretin. He’s a physical specimen, but a Neanderthal to be sure, without the paleontological credentials.
To be honest, though, I doubt any team would take a chance on either Briere or Hartnell, unless the Flyers packaged them with younger prospects. Sean Couturier, Matt Read, or Scott Laughton would have to be involved with them, and that would be criminal to give them up if they didn’t get a young piece in return.
I do still think they have a shot at making the playoffs, but to do it, they’ll need help. And that would be too much of a risk because of how poorly they’ve played; they must attempt to reload.
The Penguins have stocked their shelves full of the freshest ingredients and are ready to make a run for the greatest trophy in sports.
They’re praying they still have shelves when the season is over.