A look inside the Penguins' roster
President Barack Obama held a ceremony to honor the 2009 Stanley Cup champion Penguins in the East Room of the White House Sept. 10.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.
Penguins winger Ruslan Fedotenko.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
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After the Penguins began to accumulate elite young talent a few years back -- around the time guys such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby started showing up on the organizational depth chart -- it was widely accepted in hockey circles that there was at least one more Stanley Cup in the franchise's future.
The big question then was, "When?" That has been answered, of course, and the issue now is, "How many?"
Of course, it's possible that the one they earned in June at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit is the only one this group will get, because so many variables influence how the playoffs unfold every spring. A few untimely injuries, a bad bounce or two or an unfavorable matchup is all it takes to mutate what could be into what might have been.
Still, the nucleus of the Penguins' Cup-winning team remains intact, and they remain on nearly everyone's short list of clubs that could contend for the championship next spring.
Although management has until 3 p.m. tomorrow to pare the roster, which includes 25 mostly healthy players at the moment, to 23 or fewer, it is expected to reduce the group to 20, 21 or 22. Those moves will mostly be fine-tuning, however, because most of the significant roles on this team were set even before training camp opened.
This is the best group of centers in the league, and the Crosby-Malkin tandem has done little to discourage comparisons to 1-2 combinations such as Mario Lemieux-Ron Francis, Wayne Gretzky-Mark Messier and Steve Yzerman-Sergei Fedorov. Both should contend for a second scoring championship -- and an MVP award -- with Washington's Alex Ovechkin the obvious competition on both counts
There's more to this group than just its two most prominent members, though. Staal will continue to develop into a major two-way force, and the fourth-line center -- be it Talbot, Rupp or Adams -- will be capable of being plugged into openings elsewhere on the depth chart.
Talbot will be missed, on and off the ice, while recovering from shoulder surgery, but should be out for no more than the first third of the season.No. - PlayerHeightWeight27 - Craig Adams6-0197Figures to get some
work on the wing too.87 - Sidney Crosby5-11200Might be ready for a
run at 40-plus goals.71 - Evgeni Malkin6-3195Legitimate threat to win
another scoring championship.17 - Mike Rupp6-5238Hard to understand why
New Jersey deemed him expendable.11 - Jordan Staal6-5238Is there a better
No. 3 center in hockey?25 - Max Talbot5-11185Plays his best when
stakes are highest.
First Published September 29, 2009 1:06 am