The Return of Hockey Season
What’s up yinz. Once again, the past two weekends were a wash for our Pittsburgh Steelers, with an embarrassing loss followed by a triumphant victory. The home game against Jacksonville was just plain awful (especially for those as myself who drove to Pittsburgh for it). Ben threw 5 interceptions and our prized running game amassed a whopping 47 yards. No wonder we lost 30-9.
After a performance like that, Mike Tomlin must have lit a fire under those guys because they came out hot against the Chiefs last Sunday. We turned around and gave Kansas City their first loss of the season in a 19-13 match, an impressive turnaround from Jacksonville. Let’s just hope we can stay consistent for once.
Now, we all know that fall is for football, but when your city is home to the reigning two-time Stanley Cup champions some room can be made for hockey. The only team I love as much (if not more at times) than the Pittsburgh Steelers are the Penguins and now that hockey season is in full swing as well, I think it’s appropriate to shift focus for the week.
For those who live under a rock and don’t know, the Pens are the hottest team in the NHL. Winning three Stanley cups in the last decade and being the only team in the post cap era to win back to back. But can they keep it going and be the first team in modern history to win three in a row? (Yes, it has been done but that was when there were few teams in the NHL and no salary cap).
Let’s face it, the odds are against us, but that’s not to say it can’t be done. The reason for the Pens success from 2016-2017 was simply the lack of change. The only major changes between the two seasons were trading away injury plagued Beau Bennett and acquiring defenseman Justin Shultz, which both benefitted us greatly. Other than that, the difference makers came up from Wilkes-Barre (Jake Gentzel, Conner Sheary, etc.). This consistency within the franchise is what led to the second cup, if you don’t change the best team in hockey, then they are still the best team in hockey.
This season, however, things were shaken up a bit and I’m not sure for better or worse yet. The most prominent was the loss of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to the Vegas expansion team. Having two top quality goaltenders was a massive advantage for the Pens and Fleury will be missed. Other losses include Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen. However, the acquisitions of players such as forwards Greg McKegg and Ryan Reaves and goalie Antti Niemi could provide adequate replacements and keep the pens on top.
So far the Pens are off to an okay start, with a record of 4-3 in the first few weeks of the season. This mediocre start is nothing to worry about because the Penguins are notorious for turning it on mid-season and keeping it on throughout playoffs. I think we have a good shot at a three-peat.
Almost forgot, Steelers play the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday at 4:25 pm. My prediction for the week…
Steelers: 20 Bengals: 13
HERE WE GO STEELERS (and Pens)!!!!