A brief look...

We are officially 49 days away from the start of the NHL season. The semi-new look Penguins have essentially started over in the front office and management as a whole. With a Penguin's goalie from yesteryear leading the charge at GM and a raw, semi-NHL-experienced Head Coach, girded up with the most talented two-center combo in the world, nothing short of another Cup is expected.

As long as this team maintains their two star centers, this team has a legitimate shot at a deep playoff run. Following the 2008 and 2009 seasons where the Penguins effectively played in (and eventually won) the Stanley Cup, the fans expectations have been high. It was the right move for the franchise to remove the Ray Shero as things were no longer working with his decisions. While he may have been the fall guy to the riff between Bylsma and his players, it was nevertheless necessary. Though it was surprising that he was the first to go prior to Bylsma.

Mike Johnston will stand behind the bench this year for the Penguins. The decision sparked a lot of conversation since the past 8 years of Johnston's coaching career were spent in the WHL. Despite leading the Portland Winterhawks to a 231-114-10-10 record in that time, his NHL experience has been minimal. The odds most certainly will have the Penguins near the top of the list.

James Neal will no longer be skating on Geno's wing with being shipped off to Nashville. Instead,
Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling will by vying for line spots among the top echelon. We all witnessed a completely different looking Crosby these past playoffs. Some were calling it a lack of effort, some even evaluated his body language as a cause for concern. While he's no saint and surely could have milked (what we would later find out was) his injured wrist, I think the majority stands on the hinges of the former.

In the end, a healthy rejuvenated Sidney Crosby and lower expectations for the squad as a whole, I think we're going to like what we see. This team loves to play as underdogs, that's how and when they achieved success. No one is expecting a Cup out of this season, but that just might be what we get


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