Because It’s the Cup

AP Photo: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn

AP Photo: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn

If anyone was doubting the Penguins contender status, consider them elite cup contenders now. The Pittsburgh Penguins shocked the hockey world over the last 24 hours by making two big splashes. First, Dallas Stars’ captain and pending UFA Brendan Morrow waived his no trade clause to join Sid-the-kid. Then, earlier today, Douglas Murray of the San Jose Sharks was traded to Pittsburgh. As if the Penguins needed anymore help, as they’re currently riding a 12 game win streak into tomorrow night against the Canadiens, who will have the opportunity to end that streak & get revenge at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins have a culture over there that consists of winning, not just games, but championships (it doesn’t hurt having 3 first overall draft picks in Fleury, Crosby & Malkin on your team). Ray Shero and of course Mario Lemieux expect nothing less than to challenge for the Stanley Cup year in and year out. Now the trades that happened over the last 24 hours can be debated until the cows come home, but the message the Penguins send out to the rest of the NHL is this: “WE’RE ALL IN”. This tactic of stocking up your team for a playoff run and a shot and Lord Stanley’s Mug doesn’t necessarily give your team a better chance at winning, but it sure is exciting.

The Montreal Canadiens are poised and ready for a long playoff run. The Habs are filled with depth & talent all throughout the lineup. As I have previously posted about the Habs being the deepest team in the NHL, I stand behind that 100%. I am a firm believer in the depth of the Canadiens. There has been some news however that has hindered my view of the Habs depth, as Rene Bourque & Raphael Diaz are still not skating due to concussions. These two key players were huge parts of the Habs’ early season success, but with the uncertainty of their health moving forward, it would seem as though there are 2 empty spots on the roster. Brandon Prust should be returning to the lineup soon which will give a big spark to the team, and the addition of Jeff Halpern also boost the Canadiens penalty killing.

If the 1st place Penguins needed to upgrade their roster with more grit and depth, the Canadiens have no excuse not to add more grit as well. Montreal STILL lacks a heavy weight fighter, a big power forward and an experienced crease-clearing stay at home Defenseman. I don’t believe Bergevin will sacrifice the future to acquire a rental player for the wrong price, but don’t count the Habs out as “buyers” come the trade deadline. Bergevin already robbed Joe Nieuwendyk in the Erik Cole-Michael Ryder trade, and I believe he will rob another manager or two in the next week or so.

Ryane Clowe is a player who could be a good fit as a rental who wouldn’t cost very much due to his poor season in San Jose. A change of scenery could also do the Newfoundland native a huge dividends in his slumping season.

David Clarkson is another Canadian boy who would look great in the bleu blanc et rouge but with Kovalchuk now on the shelf with a shoulder injury, don’t count on the Devils letting him go. Chris Stewart could also fit nicely in Montreal but he is having a career year in St. Louis leading the Blues in goals & points, so consider him off the table.

Photo: Christopher Pasatieri

Photo: Christopher Pasatieri

 

If Marc Bergevin doesn’t make any deals by April 3, can the Habs current roster win the Stanley Cup? That’s the whole point of the season isn’t it? Isn’t the Stanley Cup what the players play for? Isn’t that what it’s all about? I sure thought the point was winning the cup, and not just for one year, but becoming a dynasty. Dynasty is vintage “Les Glorieux”. The Canadiens won 5 straight Stanley Cups from 1956-1960. Marc Bergevin has brought pride and glory back to Montreal, as his team sits perched atop the North East division, but Habs’ fans deserve a Stanely Cup. Playoffs is NOT good enough. Any team & organization that sets their goals at merely a playoff berth does not deserve fans. Championships are what the faithful Montreal fans deserve. It’s been 20 long years, enough is enough.

Carpe Diem

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