TIOPS Latest Penguins Buzz
— Rumblings, Musings, Opinions–
1. Opening night for the NHL and the Penguins. The Mass Mutual Division is loaded and it’s just a season of such unknown. Few know what to really expect.
Ranking the Stanley Cup Contenders in the Division
Tier 1: Washington Capitals
Tier 2: Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers
Tier 3: Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders
Tier 4: New York Rangers
Tier 5: Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils
Best Team in the division: Washington Capitals
Surveying the league, evaluators love the Washington Capitals roster top to bottom combined with the coaching move. Feedback didn’t have them as a consensus team in winning the division, but Washington is looked at as being the best team on paper in the division and projects as the toughest out come playoff time. There’s questions on how motivated this group will be without the adrenaline of fans in the arena, it’s a group that loves to party and such, but a lot feel Peter Laviolette is a perfect fit to get a great run out of them.
Boston is getting overlooked by the pundits, but not from scouts, executives.
Philadelphia might be the safest bet to win the division.
The Islanders and Penguins are the wait and see group among the next two. Is Pittsburgh anything more than just a fringe playoff contender who’s max potential is nothing more than a team that can win one round at best?
For the Islanders, is this the year the constant structure, all out defensive mentality finally just wear down players in that room mentally, which almost always happens at some point with the type of game they play, or will they reach that next level in year three under Barry Trotz?
Washington, Boston, Philadelphia are the sure bets in this division. The Isles and Penguins are the wildcards that could go either way.
The Rangers are exciting but league executives just see the competition being too tough for them to jump one of those five.
2. The NHL is frightened by what’s happening with the NBA right now. The mounting covid cases, cancellations, the caliber of play being very poor, along with players and team personnel, ect, just being miserable as the NBA isn’t even a month into the season.
Trying to finish this NHL season without a bubble is going to be a mounting challenge for the NHL and they know it.
3. Mike Sullivan’s seat is not warm just yet as the Penguins enter a season of so many unknowns. Sullivan’s status, though, is much more tenuous than it ever has been. Wouldn’t call them stern directives or ultimatums, but messages have been sent far beyond Jim Rutherford just cleaning house with Sullivan’s assistants. Management wants to see the Penguins To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!