DETROIT - JUNE 12: General manager Ray Shero of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 2-1 to win Game Seven and the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Ray Shero's signing of Tomas Vokoun might be one of the most important moves he's ever made. Teams with a solid 1-2 punch between the pipes are gonna have a decided advantange, as all teams will be staring 3- and 4-game weeks in the face, not to mention the likely possibiity of double-digit back-to-back situations, and every game is going to carry importance.
Then you got to look at the simple wear-and-tear of a regular NHL season...then throw that onto the Music Express at Kennywood. Players will have less time to recuperate from injuries, meaning each team will need a copious amount of AHL pluggers on speed dial.
We were curious, so we took a look at the Pens' 1994-95 campaign. That season ended up being 48 games. It started on January 20th. Sound familiar? It ended on May 3rd.
Other tidbits from that '94-'95 schedule:
-There were only 9 back-to-back situations.
-Pens kicked things off in January with 5 games in 10 nights.
-February saw 14 games in 27 nights.
-March saw the same kind of stretch: 14 games in 27 nights.
-April had 13 in 30.
-No use breaking down their opponents. Worth pointing out it was exclusively Eastern Conference, just like this season will be.
As for the Pens' roster:
-12 -- count 'em -- 12 different defensemen dressed for the Penguins during that season. Did injuries start to pile up, or was it a conscious decision by the organization to get some young players some work? Either way, God help us all if that's any kind of measuring stick. (To be fair, Pens also had 12 different d-men dress last season.)
-3 players played all 48 games: Double J, Larry Murphy...and Len F'n Barrie.
-Ken Wregget carried the load, playing in 38 games. Wendell Young saw action in 10.
HELL IN THE CELL