Questions Heading Into Training Camp

The short-handed Penguins left last season wanting more. Injuries and an early first round exit to the Lightning only fueled the team to prepare this summer to get back at it and make another run at the Stanley Cup. The first stage as a team starts this Friday when the team reports for training camp.

There are plenty of unanswered questions and story lines heading into the season, and we can knock the easiest one off the list to kick things off.

Will Sidney Crosby play this season?

When a Ferrari like Crosby is tells you not to bet on him not playing this coming season, you keep your money in your pocket. Like Sid and the panel from General Hospital in the news conference said he is getting better and symptoms are not as reoccurring as before. I just hope all of the flashbulbs from delivering season tickets didn't cause Crosby to have seizures and relapse.

How does Bylsma fix the Pens' power play?

Bylsma has been quoted using different lineups throughout a game on the power play. I can see how different looks could confuse opposing teams, but if one system didn't click with the guys last season will more really benefit the guys on the ice? I need more production from Kris Letang quarterbacking. I didn't see enough from him as he took over the role from Gonchar. Goals were few and far between to begin with, but Letang needs to take control of the situation entering the zone and finding the lanes to pass and shoot. I can see Steve Sullivan as an improvement and another shot. Anything will be better than last season... we hope.

Is James Neal the real deal?

Remember how all of us were pumped for James Neal becoming a member of the Penguins? Remember how he did practically nothing last season? He got a lot of heat from the media and fans last year for not performing as well as many had anticipated. How in the world does he just score two goals with his talent? You can say well if he had Crosby to center him all year he would have had more opportunities. Look back at all of the games Crosby was out and all the opportunities Neal did have and never capitalized. He needs to get off to a fast start in camp and this season, or Richard Park is going to take his roster spot.

Who gets left off the opening night roster?

Bylsma told the media over the weekend only a couple roster spots were up for grabs. The top three lines seem to be set, but the uncertainty sits in the fourth line. You got guys like Dustin Jeffrey, Mark Letestu, Eric Tangradi, Richard Park and others fighting to stay out of the American Hockey League. All of these guys produced seemingly well last season despite injuries and setbacks. I see Jeffrey making it out of training camp and I also see Park just because the Pens will need some veteran leadership.

Will the Penguins contend out of the East?

Half of the two headed monster that is Crosby/Malkin is way better than neither of them to start the season. Malkin looked like Drago working out this off season. I like the pieces coming together for a strong run at a playoff spot, but I can't see the Pens in the running for the Atlantic Division without the two headed monster. We're a four seed team depending how long until Crosby returns.


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