Dunlap: With Sid And Geno On Roster Cup Is Always Expected

Penguins should always be looked at as Cup favorite

Colin Dunlap
October 03, 2018 - 1:44 pm

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Related: Pens Preview: Defense Needs To Improve For Penguins To Capture 3rd Cup In 4 Years

Anything less is a disappointment. 

Is that harsh? Is it asking a bit much? Does it perhaps even border on unreasonable? Yep, yep and yep. 

But that's the reality here in Pittsburgh. Or, to me at least, it should be the reality with the Pittsburgh Penguins in their current state. Here's the hammer, here is where we are with all of this: Unwaveringly and without hesitation the notion should be pushed strongly forward that any season the franchise employs both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and they don't win a Stanley Cup, well, that season should be looked at as a disappointment. 

And I'm not budging. Don't give me this "you know how hard it is to win a Cup!" stuff or explain to me the gauntlet that needs to be run through the playoffs. I get it. I understand it. The Penguins, however, have assembled a roster where I feel a Cup should again be expected as we are just a day away from puck drop against the Washington Capitals to begin their 2018-19 quest. 

Again, is that unjustified and excessive? Probably. But that's the way it should be when two of the finest players of this generation --- and in franchise history --- are on the same team. Throw in Phil Kessel, Matt Murray, Kris Letang and an assortment of others and a Cup should be demanded by Penguins fans this season after taking that one-season hiatus last year. Again, though, the real pieces are Crosby and Malkin, who had 89 and 98 points respectively last season. When you have those guys in the same top 6, you should win a Cup. 

I'll allow one caveat, one asterisk to all of this. The lone way I will compromise is if the Penguins sustain a crucial injury to Malkin, Crosby, Murray or Kessel. But only those guys. In the past they have proven they have been able to overcome injuries to others as well as rough-and-tumble play at the hands of the Blue Jackets and Capitals (and injuries sustained by that dirty play of the Caps) to win a Cup. Such an injury should be all that could potentially stop Mike Sullivan's bunch. 

It seems a bit crazy, but Sid is now 31 and Geno now 32. How we remember like it was just yesterday those two --- one arriving at 18, the other 20 --- coming in and injecting so much hope into a fan base that couldn't find a steadying force. It was a fan base that had drifted up and down and was dying (dying alive, some might say) to see a winner again. Now, the truth is that we don't know how much longer the two will be around. As my colleague at 93.7 The Fan Ron Cook likes to always say, "Father Time is undefeated." And he is. But Sid and Geno aren't old men yet, they are both at the very tippy-top of the NHL. And they will remain that way --- barring something catastrophic --- for at least the next few seasons. 

That's why, as the excitement of a new hockey season envelops us and we all get ready to jump on a ride that will undoubtedly provide us with ups and downs throughout the Autumn, Winter and hopefully deep into Spring, I'll say it. I'll come right out and put this on the Pittsburgh Penguins. There is no way in the world anything less than a Stanley Cup can or will be a success. This team needs to be the one skating with that silver chalice atop their heads when it is all over or it will be a season of disappointment.   

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