Rangers GM Sather calls Penguins “the best team in the league”

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While we’re unsure of the motive behind Glen Sather’s comments about the Pittsburgh Penguins, we definitely know they’ve raised some eyebrows.

“They’re obviously, I think, the best team in the league,” the New York GM told ESPN, one day before the Rangers were set to host the Penguins at MSG. “With [Crosby] back, it’s certainly going to make it a lot more difficult.”

There are two ways of looking at Sather’s remarks. One, they’re clever gamesmanship — pumping Pittsburgh’s tires (and heads) while indirectly challenging his club who, you’ll recall, still sits atop the Eastern Conference.

Two: Simple honesty.

The Penguins have won nine straight and are expected to return the services of both their captain (Crosby) and best defenseman (Kris Letang) on Thursday. They’re just six points back of the Blueshirts for first in the conference with a game in hand, meaning Thursday’s tilt at MSG holds additional importance. It’s a classic four-pointer the hockey world will be transfixed on.

“I think we’ll be excited to play,” said Sather. “They’re a great team, they’ve got their full lineup. We’re missing some people. It’s going to be a good contest. We’ll give them a fight.”

Well played, Slats. Well played.