Atlantic Division Holiday Wishes: Pittsburgh Penguins
Holiday Hockey Wishes
In this 5 part series, Brian Bock informs you about the letters to Santa he ‘intercepted’ from each of the teams in the Atlantic Division. Stay tuned to The Checking Line for more stories about what the Islanders players, front office, and fans may be wishing for this holiday season as well.
For the articles regarding the letters to Santa from divisional rivals of the Islanders, in addition to the wishes of that team, we present them with a gift (with love) from the New York Islanders.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins got their Holiday gift (and birthday, and Bar Mitzvah, and graduation, and just about every other occasion you get a gift for) early this season when the best hockey player in the NHL returned to their lineup. The long awaited
suspiciously timed return of Sidney Crosby came against none other than the New York Islanders. “The Kid” wasted no time and potted home a beautiful backhand goal on a rush against rookie netminder Anders Nilsson (who was no doubt shaking in his little space boots). Crosby finished the game with 4 points, which eclipsed a total some Islanders had yet to match despite playing the first 15 games of the season, and immediately entered the scoring title debate.
Undisputed favorites in the Eastern Conference, with perhaps only the Bruins close to their level thanks to a ridiculous hot streak, the Penguins are a scary team to try and match up against. They have 3 centers who all arguably fall in the top 20-25 in the entire NHL, with the undisputed number 1 in Crosby and another undisputedly in the top 5 in Evgeni Malkin. They have the impressive young, 2-way centerman Jordan Staal. They have a Cup-winning goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury, something few other teams can boast. And they have a solid defensive group led offensively by Kris Letang, and defensively by Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, and Zbynek Michalek.
What could a team with an embarrassment of riches such as this possibly want for the Holidays? Luckily, I received a copy of their letter to Santa – let’s take a look:
First and foremost for all of us here with the Penguins organization, and something that should be on the list of all hockey fans – the continued good health of Sidney Crosby. The holidays are a time to put aside personal issues and do the right thing for the right reasons. Fans around the NHL should too. The health of the NHL is of far greater importance than any individual team’s place in the standings. Crosby is vital to the health of this sport, and love him or hate him, fans everywhere need to embrace that. Crosby’s performance in his return from his concussion (which just so happened to be against the Islanders) with a goal 6 minutes into the game and 4 total points was nothing short of heroic. And the guy who scored the Golden Goal for Canada in the 2010 Olympic Gold Medal game knows a thing or two about being a hero. Hockey needs Crosby. And as a hockey fan, so do you. Deal with it.
What else to the Penguins and their fans want for the Holidays? Some might ask, what do you get for the person who seemingly has everything? Many of us have that friend or relative who no matter how hard we think, we can never decide on a slam dunk gift for. This holiday season, Santa, I know a slam dunk gift you can get the Penguins and their fans.