Found January 18, 2013 on Steel City Sports Report:
The lockout is over and training camps have concluded.  It's time to get back to playing games. The Penguins enter this season as one of the Stanley Cup favorites for the fifth year in a row.  Their first year as contenders, the Penguins lost to the Red Wings, followed by a Stanley Cup win in Detroit in 2009.  The last three seasons have been utter disappointments, two of which were excused due to injuries and a possible Stanley Cup "hangover."Last season, no excuses.  Just embarrassment.Now the Penguins are back with a completely healthy roster to start the season for the first time since 2010.  Everyone knows Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will race for a scoring title.  Everyone expects 20-25 goals from James Neal, solid production out of forwards Tyler Kennedy, Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis, and strong third line play from Brandon Sutter.  Offensively, the Penguins will be completely fine.The problem lies on the backend.  See, the Penguins are Stanley Cup favorites but only on a "what if" basis.  If Kris Letang can stay healthy and become more consistent the Penguins can win.  If Brooks Orpik throws his weight around and provides a physical presence, the Penguins can win.  If Paul Martin can simplify his game and play better in his own end, the Penguins can win.  And if Marc-Andre Fleury can step his game up in the playoffs, the Penguins can win.Just as they did in 2009.To return to the mountaintop, the Penguins will have to get through the playoffs and before that, they have to make the playoffs.  While they should have no problem reaching one of the top eight seeds in the Eastern Conference, their schedule does them no favors; especially at the start.The Penguins will play eight of their first twelve games on the road.  That's a quarter of the lockout-shortened season.  Among those games, the Penguins will play at Philadelphia, at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers (twice), and twice against the Washington Capitals. To counterbalance the rough start, the Penguins will have a twelve game stretch in March, of which ten will be at Consol Energy Center.  The home stretch comes just in time for the trade deadline, moved to April 3rd because of the lockout. By that point, Ray Shero will be on the phone, looking to find a defensive upgrade or scoring winger.  The Penguins have cap room to spare and a plethora of defensive prospects.  Shero has made some shrewd deals, acquiring players like Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis.  He swapped Alex Goligoski for a 40 goal scorer and a solid defenseman in Matt Niskanen.  He will undoubtedly find a way to make this team better on the eve of a playoff run. This team was built for a Stanley Cup run and the Pittsburgh faithful expects nothing less than a fourth ring.  We all thought the team went through a major change when Jordan Staal was dealt during the draft, imagine what will happen if they produce another early exit.  Jobs are on the line this season. By 3pm on Saturday, the Penguins' season will be underway.  Their first step towards reclaiming Stanley Cup glory will come against the same team that ended their dream eight months ago.  The roster is set, the bags are packed, the NHL front office has issued its apologies to the fans, and its time to play.

Philly fans return as lockout ends

The Pittsburgh Penguins needed about seven minutes to make the Wells Fargo Center as quiet as the other 29 NHL arenas the past three months with goals by Tyler Kennedy and James Neal. Despite the lockout that threatened the season, Philadelphia Flyers fans, eventually, made their presence known. This place was sold out for a 3-1 Penguins victory, one of 13 games that kicked off...

The Evolution of Sidney Crosby

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Alexei Kovalev nearing comeback

As the NHL teams scramble to shore up their rosters with big free agent acquisitions, trades, and releases of bad contracts, all to compete in a sprint to the playoffs, Alexei Kovalev doesn’t figure to make or break a team for the Stanley Cup, but is a great story nevertheless.  Kovalev appears near to signing a 1-year deal with the Florida Panthers to compete in his 19th season...

NBC commercial claims Penguins eliminated Flyers in last year's playoffs (Video)

An NBC commercial promoting the NHL season opener between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers got its facts mixed up by claiming that the Penguins defeated the Flyers in last year's playoffs. The ad sells the game with this: Sid "The Kid" (Crosby) and the Penguins face off with rival Philly...and Claude Giroux and the Flyers have their sights set on revenge...

Penguins take opener from Flyers

Tyler Kennedy and James Neal scored goals to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 on Saturday. Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers in the first game for both teams since the end of the 113-day NHL lockout. Chris Kunitz added an empty-netter in the final seconds for the Penguins. About 20,000 fans filled the Wells Fargo Center and they were welcomed back...

Some intel on Suttertron from a Canes fan

We got to talking on Twitter with a Hurricanes fan who has closely followed Brandon Sutter's career.  We asked her to give us as much information as possible on Sutter, and she has answered the bell.  Great read: Brandon Sutter was meant to be a franchise player in the Carolina Hurricanes organization. Canes General Manager Jim Rutherford once called Sutter one of...

Penguins exact revenge on Flyers in season opener

PHILADELPHIA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins opened their 2013 season by winning at a place where their 2012 season ended bitterly. Tyler Kennedy and James Neal scored in a span of 2:40 in the first period and the Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 Saturday afternoon in a rematch of a 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals series. "I think there is always a little bit...

Pens exact revenge on Flyers; win 3-1

Tyler Kennedy, James Neal, and Chris Kunitz each scored and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots as the Penguins beat the Flyers 3-1 Saturday in Philadelphia. Anyone expecting a matchup similar to the circus-like six game playoff series from April left very disappointed.  Both teams had stretches of strong defensive play and both goaltenders, Marc-Andre Fleury and Ilya Bryzgalov...

Penguins-Rangers Preview

The Pittsburgh Penguins kicked off the abbreviated season with a gritty win in front of an unfriendly crowd. Coach Dan Bylsma's team figures to be in for more of the same with a visit to Madison Square Garden in store. Hoping to build on its strong opening performance, Pittsburgh tries for a fifth consecutive victory over the Atlantic Division-rival New York Rangers on Sunday...

Penguins 3, Flyers 1

PHILADELPHIA - Tyler Kennedy and James Neal scored in a span of 2:40 in the first period and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 Saturday afternoon in a rematch of a 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals series. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots to win his 227th game, passing Tom Barrasso for first place on Pittsburgh's all-time list. The teams kicked...

Penguins fly past Philadelphia 3-1

As any of us that were watching the game, and stomping around the living room, throwing our hats at the tv, spittin’ & a’cussin as we were put on hold for another half hour or so, my face lit up like a kid at Christmas at 3:35 pm EST, when The Pittsburgh Penguins’ season officially [...]

RECAP: Like Riding a Bike. PENS WIN.

Before today the best 60 minutes of Paul Martin's Penguin career was his introductory press conference. Today Martin and the rest of the defense set the tone with a complete 60 minute effort. We can tell ourselves that this game will never avenge being beat in the playoffs by the Flyers, but guess what it does a little bit. Especially when you think about the fact...

Penguins-Flyers Preview

The NHL lockout only seemed to drag on such an interminable length that last season was a distant memory. The reality is, April was only nine months ago, not so long that it's too hard to remember who won the first-round playoff series between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins-Flyers is a rivalry so big, it's kicking off NBC's season coverage...
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