The ’07 Penguins: How Loud Should We Scream In Panic?

That headline is a joke. In fact, as the blogosphere is apt to do, We think this off-and-on, 2-3 start has been taken a bit too seriously. Already we have reports that Shero is shopping for back-up goalies (which wasn’t an awful idea in the off-season either), the predictable yet mystifying Fire Terrien current is starting to pick up and even the level-headed lads at Pensblog are curious about the Recchin’ Ball’s playing time.

Let’s all take a deep breath and look at the facts…

We had the same record last season. Of course that was before Malkin recovered from being LeClair’d in pre-season and Jordan Staal was still contemplating a possible return to juniors. Also, the Pens were supposed to be “interesting” as last season began, this year we’re picked by USA Today to win the cup.

But still, the team is largely the same and we already have Mad Max Talbot scoring goals and a big upgrade between Oullett and Sykora. This is good news.

The breakout teams in the Atlantic are the Flyers (5-1) and the Islanders (4-3), other than that there is a logjam of mediocrity in these early stages of the season. Eddy Spaghetti has been convinced that Philly and Strong Island are frauds and the real deals in the division will be the Rangers and the Pens. Both teams tied for last are far more dangerous when they get on a roll.

The habits of this season are way better than last. Even when they were on a roll, the Penguins had a habit of… let’s say… treating the first two periods like warm-ups and relying on their Bobby Fisher-esqe offensive prodigies to get back into games. Although this fostered a kind a mindset that they could climb out of any hole (not to mention an NHL record 94 shoot-outs), it also bread the worst kind of mindset for a young talented team: believing their own hype. This year, they’ve responded much better in the earlier stages of the game, a must for a team making “the leap.”

So relax gang, things are going to be a-okay. Unless we loose to Carolina and Washington this weekend in that case we’re scrambling for the exits in the burning theater no matter how many special needs kids we have to run over.

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