The Big Question will be a weekly feature on PHT where we ask a question, provide some background and ask you, the reader, to weigh in with your opinions.
Today’s question: Are the Penguins the Stanley Cup favorites?
Not sure if you heard, but Sidney Crosby is playing a hockey game tonight. The best player in the world will be a nice addition for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as best players in the world typically are for teams.
The Pens haven’t suffered too badly without Crosby. They’re 11-6-3, tied for third in the league. James Neal , Jordan Staal, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury have been outstanding. Evgeni Malkin is a point-a-game player.
Top to bottom, it’s hard to find a real weakness.
Of course, Pittsburgh isn’t the only good team in the NHL. You could make a case for each of Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago as the current Cup favorite.
Personally I think it’s the Pens. The play of Neal and Letang are huge factors for me, just so far as things that differentiate this season’s Pittsburgh team from past seasons – Neal to take the scoring load off Crosby and Malkin, Letang because almost every single Cup winner has an elite defenseman.
Agree? Disagree? The comments section awaits.
Update: Pierre McGuire and Jeremy Roenick apparently agree.
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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: