Good afternoon everyone. Hopefully while I am writing this no more trades are made and no one else gets hurt so it can at least be somewhat accurate. It's amazing what a little 14 game winning streak will do. What was a battle for the Atlantic division is now a runaway. The top seed in the East and the Presidents' Trophy are now realistic goals. And no one is complaining about the team is destined to fail in the playoffs anymore, which is something we're all glad not to have to read. The "Fire Bylsma" thread keeps sinking further down the board. Even the posts about the team peaking too early have tapered off. They've beaten some rather impressive opponents during this stretch as well, so it can't be said this is a fluke of the schedule.
Today will be Jarome Iginla's debut in a Pittsburgh sweater. I'll just be swooning for most of the game, if that's okay. I'd like to also thank Shero for listening to me and getting him. If he could also find a way to send Kate Upton to my apartment that would be nice. (Though not today- I'm at my parents' house for the weekend. He can wait until Monday to send her.) Hopefully Iginla scores on his debut so no one says he's a bust who is destroying team chemistry. It will be a challenge for Bylsma to juggle his wingers to find the right combination, but he now has options. Having too many good players is a good problem to have. The defense is a different problem at the moment with Letang and Martin out. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to being shorn of their top two defensemen after they've reinvented themselves as a defensively oriented team.
The opponent today is the New York Islanders. They normally treat every game against the Pens as their Stanley Cup, so combine that with the winning streak and the fact that the Pens wiped them out the last time they played and they should be motivated. They also have legitimate playoff aspirations for what seems like the first time in forever. Speaking of the playoffs, here are the standings:http://espn.go.com/nhl/standings/_/group/2
Assuming the Pens hold on to the top seed, I'm not sure who I'd rather see in the first round. The Rangers are on paper a better team but they're a mess this year. Playing the Isles would give me bad, bad flashbacks. For historical purposes it would be nice if the Caps could get there so the Pens could beat them. The Flyers suck, and it warms the spot where my heart used to be.
It would really suck for the winning streak to end against the Isles, so just win today and don't worry about it. ESPN might even talk about hockey if the Pens get to 15, assuming they can find a segment where they aren't talking about Dwight Howard, LeBron or Tebow.