Imagine a hockey team – it can be an imaginary team like the Vipers or something – led by the best player in the world. This player can do it all, he can shoot, pass and play the two way game as well as anyone ever has. Now, put another player (maybe the second or third best in the world) on the same team. This player can score, hit and has a nose for making the right play. Add in some high scoring role players and one of the best offensive defenseman in the game; then top it off with a goaltender who wins a lot of 7-4 games.
Alright now, which of the following teams did I just describe:
A) The 80’s Edmonton Oilers
B) The early 90’s Pittsburgh Penguins
C) The late 90’s Colorado Avalanche
D) The current Pittsburgh Penguins
The answer of course is : All of the above. Oh, wait – no it is not.
The 2013 Pens just got better and deeper. Not only did they add the depth and leadership of Brendan Morrow, but just this morning they went out and added a first ballot hall of famer in Jarome Iginla.
For most teams who added two all-star players you would have to worry about chemistry but in this case the Penguins have simply added Team Canada’s number one line. As the guys on the excellent Backhand Shelf podcast pointed out, now we can enjoy flashbacks to beating the US National team nearly every single night.
Keep in mind this is not simply a case of the rich getting richer, this is a case of the rich robbing the poor blind, beating them mercilessly and then burning down their houses for good measure. The Penguins do not even need to have Iginla on their roster given the success they have already achieved without even adding Morrow into the lineup. Their first and second power play units are now far and away the strongest in the league and Iginla will probably play on the third line. On any other team in the league he never drops below second line. In Boston (where he was supposed to have gone) he would have gotten top billing, and now, he has made the Pens the most dangerous offensive team in the league by far.
How will the power play mesh? My guess is about as quickly as a speeding bullet. Crosby and Iginla already display an almost telepathic awareness of each other on the ice during the Olympics, and it seems almost unfair to give them a lot of time to develop it further when they play together…every single day.
Imagine a world where the Penguins lost Jordan Staal and then proceeded to get better.
Iginla rightfully deserves a shot at a Stanley Cup and he refused to go anywhere except the one team where he is basically guaranteed a great run at it. Best case scenario: Iginla playing against third liners absolute dominates, which allows the Pens to give some rest to Crosby and the others before the playoffs…at which point a rested Pens team goes out and absolutely dominates, well, everybody.
Come to think of it, that may be the only plausible scenario.