The end of an era?Penguins at the intersection after the playoff exit

Pittsburgh (AP) — For most of the 20 years, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Retan have served as the basis for the Pittsburgh Penguins to build the three Stanley Cup champions.

For most of the year, all three knew that the 2021-22 season could be the last ride together.

And for most of the month, Crosby did his best to block it. He can’t do it anymore. No one else can. The Penguins lead the 3-1 Series at the wrong end of the handshake line in the noisy Madison Square Garden, not after losing to the New York Rangers in the playoffs, but after the Rangers make a staggering comeback one after another. When is over.

The last is 4-3 overtime win in Round 7 This is what Pittsburgh did four times in a row during the year, with Crosby, Malkin and Retan helping to define it.

Crosby, who missed part of Game 5 and all of Game 6 after being hit by Jacob Torva in New York, said, “They are all different.” All of them were supposed to be grouped together. This would be appropriate for me to classify them all. “

Crosby is well aware that this may have been the last time Malkin and Retan wore penguin sweaters. Both are free agents this summer, as are forward Brian Rust. Due to its dynamic play, Penguins held consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. It can be too expensive to maintain all three.

“I think I knew I was going into the playoffs,” Crosby said. You want us to be able to run well. “

In a sense, they did. Pittsburgh led in six of the seven games in the series. This has a two-goal advantage in both Game 5 and Game 6, including a one-goal edge that takes less than six minutes to regulate at the finale.

“That’s a shame,” Penguins forwarded Jake Genzel, who scored eight goals during the series. “We were right there. We are in a good place to go up to 3-1.”

New York’s consistent ability to attack penguins’ mistakes has helped.At the end of them, Danton Heinen’s turnover and subsequent penalties gave the Rangers overtime power play and set up the following sequence: Eventually ended up with the winner of Artemi Panalin..

In a sense, this series symbolized a terribly uneven season. A gritty start with a brilliant fill of role players like Evan Rodriguez and Crosby and Malkin (especially) recovering from injury. For the next two months, they were arguably the best team in the league. This was followed by a foothold in the finish, including three almost lethargic defeats to the Rangers.

That’s one of the reasons New York entered the series as an exorbitant favorite. Crosby emphasized that his team couldn’t switch on and start, exactly when the penguins took three out of four to start the series.

Suddenly, the lead, momentum, and promising postseason disappeared in New York’s worth of hockey. The off-season for potential earthquake sales is approaching.

“Many people didn’t expect us to reach this point, not to mention participating in the playoffs,” Crosby said. I thought I was still playing. “

Busy summer

The possibility of Malkin and Retan coming back comes down to money. Malkin will be 36 years old in July. Letan turned 35 a month ago. Both are still powerful players.

Malkin finished with 20 goals, even though he missed almost half of the season while recovering from knee surgery. Retan finished fifth in the league on average ice time, consistently playing a more disciplined style and launching his career’s best 58 assists.

Fenway Sports Group, which acquired the team from Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux of the Hall of Famer last fall, has promised to continue spending on salary caps. Still, to keep both franchise icons, at least one needs to be discounted a bit, and Montreal is expected to bid seriously for Retan to end his career in his hometown.

Only 30 years old, Rust has exceeded 20 goals for three consecutive seasons and has made a productive series with the Rangers with two goals and six assists. What he directs in the open market may depend on whether the team considers his achievements to be a by-product of playing with Crosby.

Net worth

Jarry bounced off a fierce playoff series with the Islanders last spring and created a second All-Star team. He was removed from the lineup due to a broken leg in mid-April. Casey DeSmith left Pittsburgh for a core injury with the Rangers after leaving the first match. I became Journeyman’s Louis Domming..

Domming did well even if he didn’t play well in more than five games, but the team’s decision not to increase the depth of the trade deadline could have sacrificed the chance to move on to the penguins. There is sex.


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