“The pressure’s on.”
Ray Shero couldn’t have put it any better as he addressed the media Thursday morning after acquiring Jarome Iginla in a trade with the Calgary Flames.
Because if there’s a New York Yankees in the NHL right now, it’s Pittsburgh.
How the Penguins respond to their general manager’s wheeling and dealing — which also brought them veterans Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray — will be interesting to watch down the stretch and into the playoffs.
“On the road, we aren’t going to be a very well-liked hockey team,” said Shero.
While the Penguins have no shortage of experience winning, there remains the memory of last year’s first-round playoff exit — not the finest moment in the club’s history.
The list of things the Penguins failed to do against Philadelphia was long; however, maintaining their composure was right up near the top.
What will happen this year when they face the inevitable adversity? Will the expectations come crashing down upon them again?
To no surprise, it didn’t take long for the first “five reasons the Penguins aren’t a mortal lock for the Stanley Cup” list to come out.
Also not surprising: goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was the top reason.
The last reason? “The Crushing Weight of Expectations.”
Of course, if you ask Shero, there’s pressure for every team, not just the favorites — “If you’re in 15th place, the pressure’s on.”
But millions of hockey fans won’t be watching the league’s bottom dwellers in the spring.
The Penguins, on the other hand — already with the world’s best player in Sidney Crosby, and now joined by a future Hall of Famer seeking his first Cup — will be front and center.