Since the 2008-09 season the Pittsburgh Penguins have been in the playoffs every year, but unable to reappear in the finals. Yes, this has been disappointing, but no reason to think the Pens are an unsuccessful or careless team.
On the final day of my sixth grade year, it was game seven of the 2009 Stanley Cup final. The last time the Penguins had been in, and won, a cup final. Is this team now better than the team we had then? Personally I do believe the Penguins have a better team, although, I also believe that the league has also gotten a lot better. Goalies have improved and a push for defense has been made. A lot of defensive focus has been on the top players in the league, such as Crosby and Malkin. Putting top defensmen on your top players is going to slow them down. Sometimes the great forwards are able to overpower the defense, most times that is not the story.
The Penguins have gotten better with improvement from players we have had for years like Dupuis and Fleury. While more improvement has come from bringing in new players like Hornqvist, Perron and Martin. The NHL as a whole has become much improved, as well. Players like Tyler Seguin, Brandon Saad, Nathan MacKinnon, and soon to be Connor McDavid have been drafted since the 2009 season. Every year the league gets better and every team gets another great player. It is harder for teams to win a single game let alone a cup year after year. Which is what seems to be the expectations Pittsburghers, and hockey fans in general, put on the Pens.
Last year’s Stanley Cup champs, the Los Angeles Kings, did not even reach the playoffs this year; in fact six out of the sixteen teams in this years playoffs were not in last season. It is a different league every year, we can’t expect a cup every year. We have been successful enough to make it to the playoffs every year. People need to look at that and not making the finals every year. Yes, we have the firepower to do it, but it is not a realistic thing. The Detroit Red Wings have made it to the playoffs for twenty-four consecutive seasons and have only made the finals six times. That is 40% of the time, the same exact percentage that the Penguins currently have with eight seasons and two final appearances. We still have time to improve that stat as well. People may consider us “playoff failures” but in reality, we are one of the top teams in the league, and playoffs, year after year.
I am fine with simply making the playoffs every year. Yes I would like a championship every now and again, but I am not going to get mad when we are one of the best teams in the league and cannot make it to the finals.
I love my team and I love this sport. I always have hope and always believe we have the best team in the league.