Vikes, More Vikes!

Peter Griffith

(Brent Schwert)

Well, Sid the Kid is out of the playoffs, which is a big check mark in the disappointing column. The Pens couldn’t figure out Ottawa in the first round and checked out after an interesting, albeit less-than-impressive five games.
True, Crosby shouldn’t be expected to carry his team (even though he’s probably got the talent to do it), but what was impressive about the Penguins during the regular season is that he didn’t have to carry the team. ESPN.com’s “Rookie-of-the-year-in-waiting” Evegni Malkin, who dominated the regular season, was not spectacular in the playoffs, assisting four times but failing to pick up a goal. That depth was sorely needed, especially in the final two games of the series in which the Senators held Crosby scoreless.
Picking up the slack in the series was 18-year-old phenom Jordan Staal – the Penguins have three – count them, three – legitimate “phenoms” that can’t legally buy a drink in the Steel City: Crosby (19), Malkin (20) and Staal (18) – whose three goals shored up an anemic offense that averaged two goals per game in the series.
Marc-Andre Fleury was pretty much what we expected him to be in net over the course of the series. He showed signs of brilliance but was far too inconsistent to win at this level. But he is 22, so if his scorers want to go out and celebrate their team’s remarkable regular season turnaround, he can provide the vodka or wine or whatever they drink in Quebec (polar bear blood?).
I guess the important thing to take away from the series is that the Penguins just weren’t ready for a real cup run, but let’s be honest – things in Pittsburgh look pretty good. The four (arguably) best Penguins have a combined age of 79 (!), which is four years younger than the combined ages of the four leading scorers on the LU men’s basketball team.
I’m not saying that Ryan Kroeger is Sidney Crosby good, but Staal vs. Chris Page? That’s a tossup.
So my point, people, is this: Kroeger and the Vikings could make some real noise in next year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.
At least I think that’s my point.

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