It won’t last forever

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby deviated from the script on Thursday. The company’s line was ignoring or pretending to ignore the potential end to the greatest core team in the salary cap era and one of the greatest team cores in NHL history. Instead, Crosby acknowledged the unknown and sadly admitted that the end of Crosby-Malkin-Letang might be near.

Crosby will get a taste of what could be his last run for himself and his teammates once they’ve tied up with youth, then championship silver, and upon maturity.

Franchise fan Chris Letang and Evgeny Malkin are waiting for free agents after the season.

“As much as you don’t want to think about it, it’s something you understand might be a possibility…I think you try to enjoy it as much as possible and try to fully absorb it because you know it won’t last forever,Crosby said.

Crosby noted in passing that the crew has experienced uncertainty before, but not quite like this. In 2019, there were rumors about Malkin’s trade. There have been quiet commercial whispers in Letang in the recent past as well.

But management and ownership of the Pittsburgh Penguins have kept the core together, even under difficult circumstances.

Pittsburgh penguins change

Now, everything is new. GM Ron Hextal will see the team into the next chapter. Mario Lemio sold the team to the Fenway Group. On Wednesday evening, President/CEO David Morehouse resigned.

“Whether this year, after a little bit longer, you’re only going to play for a long time. So I think just trying to enjoy it and be grateful for the opportunity to do it again,” Crosby concluded.

For everything there is a chapter.

This season, PHN has experimented with similar inquiries with Letang, Malkin and Bryan Rust. Evgeni Malkin, who was the second overall pick in 2004 and made his NHL debut in 2006-07, veered when he said, “I’m like a rich guy.”

Letang emphatically said they hadn’t thought about it. “No,” he shrugged before entering into the stock answer about the qualifying opportunity.

Rust, also a suspended free agent, received a similar response.

This makes Crosby’s soft acceptance all the more honest and sincere. will remain. Crosby for life, and still produces at elite levels. Sportsnet’s super reporter Elliot Friedman put Captain Penguins in his three-player mix to be the third Hart Trophy final.

In 68 games, Crosby has 84 points, including 31 goals.

Chris Letang was among the top scorers in the National Hockey League with 67 points (9-58-67).

Malkin underwent serious knee surgery last June and did not return until February. He did not regain his best form but scored 19 goals in just 40 matches.

Crosby and Letang were part of the Penguins’ 2005 NHL Draft class. Crosby was, of course, the first overall pick, but Letang was a fine pick in the third round. The defender spent another year in the junior ranks before playing seven games at the end of the 2006-07 season.

It was the first time the Big Four had been together, Marc-Andre Fleury reckoned. Or the five with Brooks Orpik, Pittsburgh Penguins 2000 pick for first round.

Many of the penguins and part of the team’s core have come and gone, but three remain, 15 years later. The brightest lights followed the series’ darkest moments after bankruptcy, Mario Lemio battling for a circuit that was just a few steps from the entrance away from the presence of the penguins in Kansas City, to the agonizing next generation and her $23 million payroll.

From the struggle for existence, the struggle for championships began.

By the end of Letang’s second full season, he had only 52 points (18-34-54) in 144 games. Old fans may remember Letang’s disastrous playoff struggles in 2007-08.

Or remember Malkin throwing haymakers at Henrik Zetterberg in a late Game 2 battle in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final.

You may remember evil targets. Letang dance around the attack area or score the winning goal of the 2016 Stanley Cup. Malkin splits defenders or runs behind them. Malkin’s career does indeed have better highlights than that fight, but it was one of the key moments in which the penguins, said to be too small and too undisciplined, fought for their place.

Michael Terrain, a former Penguin trainer, told PHN with laughter the story of sending the boys home. After exercise, they will remain on the ice. Crosby, Malkin, Letang and Fleury have been hanging out for hours. All they knew was hockey.

From January 28, 2019: PHN Extra Video: Therrien Explains Why Penguins Core is Special

“It’s a win. Win and win. They were almost teenagers, and I had to kick them off the rink,” Terrin smiled at the time. “They spent their days at the rink. That’s all they know, spending time together. After 13, 14 years, the only thing you can tell, these guys still have the passion…”

Things weren’t always going well. Playoff meltdowns from 2011 to 2015 included 3-1 hits in chainstays, selfish play, inexplicable punitive penalties, and other no-wagging ones.

But they persevered. Two more Stanley Cup trophies in 2016 and 2017 — still the only team in the salary cap era to win back-to-back Cups after full seasons in the NHL (without respecting Tampa Bay, who won the Bubble title and the 56-game 2021 season).

Head coach Mike Sullivan has had something to do with transforming the franchise and rebuilding the legacy as well.

“We are in a business where change is inevitable. It is part of what we are all involved in. In terms of these guys and what they have accomplished and the legacy that they have built here in Pittsburgh, it is impressive,” Sullivan said. When I look at this core group of players, I think they are the best core I’ve ever been around.”

Maybe it will be over. Maybe not. Crosby at least allowed the possibility of new ownership and management.

It was a journey unparalleled in NHL history and unparalleled in the 21st century.

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