[Today I had the pleasure of catching up with hockey analyst Barry Melrose from ESPN to ask him a few questions regarding the Penguins this season. ]
PU: Prior to the season, what were you expecting out of the Penguins this year?
BM: I thought the Penguins were the 4th best team in the East before the season started. Reason being, they had lost a few key players, namely Hossa and Malone.
PU: What (or Who) has been the biggest spark for the Penguins in the latter half of this season into the Playoffs?
BM: I believe Gonchar coming back changed the whole make-up of the team; he's their top blueliner. Since then he's added depth and strength to their power play. Obviously the coaching change from Therrien to Byslma has made a difference too.
PU: Do you think the Penguins have a better chance this year for the Cup than last year? If so, why?
BM: I really think they do. The reason is because they have been there before, and I believe Fleury is better than last year. I also like the character of this team better than last years squad.
PU: Describe Crosby's playoff performance thus far.
BM: I can honestly say I really think Sidney Crosby has shown everyone in these playoffs that he is the best player in the world.
PU: In your opinion, who is the "X" factor for the Penguins in this Carolina series?
BM: I think its going to come down to goaltending. Marc Andre Flurey is going to be the wild card for the Penguins. He played a great game in game 1 and needs to continue that in order for the Penguins to get to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second year in a row.
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