What Should the Pittsburgh Penguins Lines Look Like After the Hiatus?
The NHL hopes to resume its season at some point in 2020. It is currently on pause due to the coronavirus epidemic. Teams, like the Pittsburgh Penguins, are just taking the wait and see approach right now.
The captains across the league have spoken out in what they want to do. They have also discussed how they are spending their time right now.
Pittsburgh Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan finally spoke out on Tuesday via Zoom.
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This is the first time that Sullivan has spoken to the media since the hiatus. He has spoken about what he has done during this time period.
“We would be thrilled to have him,” Mike Sullivan said. “Jake is a difference-maker. I am stating the obvious when I say that. It gives us more balance. It gives us the opportunity to spread our talent throughout the lineup. It makes us more difficult to play against.”
Guentzel is one of the top guys on this team when he is healthy. Had there been no hiatus, Jake Guentzel may not have returned at all this season from a shoulder injury that he suffered in December against the Ottawa Senators.
One of the key things, why the NHL will resume potentially, is because there is a frame in late July and early August where NBC was supposed to air the Olympics.
With the Olympics being postponed until 2021, the NHL now has the option to make money in that time slot.
It was supposed to be from July 24-August 8. The question is when will the regular season resume if it does at all. Also, when would the playoffs begin if it does at all. As I have said in the past, the NHL needs to have only 16 teams in the postseason and that’s it.
Whether they decide to have a points system or a points percentage system is up to them when it comes to deciding the 16 teams that qualify for the postseason.
Since all of the teams are going to be healthy when the coronavirus epidemic is over, what will the lines for the Pittsburgh Penguins or what should it look like for them?
The first line should be Jason Zucker, Sidney Crosby, and Jake Guentzel.
I expect Matt Murray to be the starting goalie over Tristan Jarry. I think Sullivan is confident enough at this point in time for Murray to start over Jarry especially if the postseason began right away.
Sullivan was asked about that. “You’ll all know and I’ll let you know, as I always do, on a game day.”
The next time the Pittsburgh Penguins may have a game is either a regular-season game against an unknown opponent if they fix the schedule, on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets (33-22-15 record with 81 points so far this season), Game 1 on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers, or maybe perhaps and we hope not but in October of 2020.
The Pittsburgh Penguins lines would be really dangerous. This would be the first time all season that they would all be healthy together and playing at the same time.
Mike Sullivan, the head coach, will have a lot of decisions to make. He also can trust his captain.
“Sid sets the standards,” Sullivan said. “He sets the standards on and off the ice…..we gain a new appreciation with a circumstance like this. He’s talking to teammates all the time. I talk to Sid a couple of times a week.”
As of right now, the Pittsburgh Penguins sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with a 40-23-6 record with 86 points so far this season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are three points back of the Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7 record with 89 points so far this season) and the Washington Capitals (41-20-8 record with 90 points so far this season).
Pittsburgh also has a five-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes (38-25-5 record with 81 points).
The Penguins have also scored 224 goals so far this season and they have also given up 196.
The offense has been very good this season and the defense has also been much better.
This team has the potential to win the Stanley Cup in 2020 with those lines. The Pittsburgh Penguins lines are going to be really dangerous for opponents and that is if and when the season decides to resume.
What do you think the lines should be for the Pittsburgh Penguins after the hiatus is over? Leave a comment below.
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Follow Glenn Kaplan on twitter @glennkaplan13.