The Fresh Start

Can the Penguins return to the top of the hockey world and win a third championship in less than ten years?


Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh crowd during the Penguins parade was massive. The image above shows just a small amount of people who showed out to celebrate the champions. They hope that they can throw a parade like this again after this season.

Manas Kathir, Staff Writer

When is the last time the city of Pittsburgh has won a sports championship?

The Steelers haven’t won the Super Bowl since 2008 when Santonio Holmes completed one of the most impressive touchdown catches to barely win against the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh does not have a basketball team, and the Pirates haven’t been able to get close to a World Series in about four decades now.

Having said all of that, what about the Pittsburgh Penguins? Not only did they win the most recent championship for Pittsburgh, but they won twice in a row. Emerging victorious in 2016 and 2017, they have continued to stay relevant over time and the people of Pittsburgh are very much looking forward to another amazing hockey season.

The expectations for this year are nothing but the chip, according to the Penguins fan base at NASH.

“They always have been able to win games and I expect them to keep on winning,” junior Andrew Gabriel said. “They will make the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup. They are just that good.”

Last year, the Penguins had a successful regular season and cashed their way into the playoffs. They finished with a 37-16-3 record in 2021 and ran into the New York Islanders in the first round. The series went six games and the Penguins were shockingly defeated.

Even though the team exited the playoffs early, the faith in the franchise is still alive.

“We are great. No one expected us to win in 2016 and 2017, but we won and that’s exactly what is going to happen this year,” junior Andrew Hart commented. “They are going to make the playoffs and potentially win the whole thing. We just need to make sure everyone stays healthy.”

Although they were disappointed, the Penguins fans remain hopeful that this can be a bounce-back year and potentially another run at what everyone is craving for: the Stanley Cup. The parade after the 2016 and 2017 championship runs were fully packed and filled with energy. The Penguins fans are hyped and tired of reminiscing on those happy days. They want to feel that energy this entire season.

“The Penguins are GOATED. They always are in the mix with the best. I think they will win over 40 games and are going to be even better when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin come back,” junior Raj Ginde said. “They are going to come back and we will win the Stanley Cup once they are fully healthy.”

However, there’s a setback. Sidney Crosby will be sidelined for at least six weeks. Let’s recognize that he was captain during the Penguins championship runs in 2009, 2016, and 2017. He has scored 486 goals, assisted 839 times, and won two gold medals in the Olympics. His impact clearly impacts the team in a positive way and the best version of the Penguins will most probably not be seen until he returns.

Not only is Crosby going to be out for some time, but Evgeni Malkin will also be sitting on the sidelines with him. Malkin has three Stanley Cups, two Art Ross Trophies, a Hart Trophy, a Calder Trophy, a Ted Lindsay Award and a Conn Smythe Trophy. Late last season, he was dealing with a knee injury and had to go through surgery. He is still recovering from it and will return later in the season.

Despite the odds stacked against them already, the fans remain hopeful.

“I believe that, despite the injuries, we are going to be okay. We can definitely win over 35 games like last season and emerge victorious in the playoffs. The team will work together while Malkin and Crosby are out and when they come back, we are going to be a serious contender,” senior Shomik Telang said.

With their two star players two out, the Penguins season is going to come down to one thing: teamwork. Can the squad work together and set aside their individual goals? Can the defenseman and forwards stay motivated and come together?

Well, everyone hopes so.

“Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are out for some time, but we are going to be perfectly fine,” junior Abbey Swirsding said. “If our defenseman and forwards work together and our goalie stays consistent, we can win games without them. When they come back, it’s going to be even easier to win games. We definitely have a shot at the Stanley Cup.”