Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Who Will Be The Penguins' Alternate Captains?


I've told you before that I call my writing style at PSaMP "stream of consciousness sportsblogging." When I give you the MPotD (or CMPotD), I have no idea what I'm going to write about later that day regarding sports. Ill flip through the blogosphere, check some newspaper websites, Google News, Youtube, emailed tips from readers, whatever it takes to find something that sparks my interest. I can count on one hand (maybe two) the amount of times in the 15 or so months of PSaMP's existence that I've actually prepared a post prior to the day it gets published.

Writing like this can really stress me out at times, but I've been able to give my two cents on topics that I wouldn't have thought of had already prepared something. Case in point, this morning, I got my daily Pensblog read, which linked to Pens Nation (which is now making its way to the Wild Ass Links in my sidebar). On Pens Nation, their sidebar has a ton of information that you usually don't find on blogs: team captains, HOFers, free agents, trophy winners, etc. It was in looking at the team's current captain/alternate captains list that I came to a realization, could we potentially lose 75% of our alternates?

Sergei Gonchar is locked up. There is no way he loses the A next season. The other 3 might not even be in Pens unis next year. Ryan Malone seems to be on his way out. Pensblog asks if the $2.5 mil Sydor is owed next season could be better used elsewhere. Would Sydor be traded or let go? Gary Roberts made $2.5 mil this year, and could potentially retire or seek a one year contract for a similar amount elsewhere. As much as he's loved in Pittsburgh, these are the truths in hockey that fans have to understand.

That makes Gonchar the only sure alternate. Who gets the other 3 spots if Roberts, Sydor and Malone don't return and the team figures on keeping 4 revolving alternates?

Geno Gino. Apparently, its spelled with an I rather than an E. I'll still use Geno as a tag on posts mentioning Malkin to keep consistency, though. If the Pens don't trade the kid (I'm sick of hearing that nonsense, bullshit rumor), he'd have to be next in line to don the A. With Sid out this past season, Gino was the unspoken captain of the team, elevating his play to heights unseen. The weight of the A should ensure his continued upward progression by adding team responsibility.

Hossa. If he is indeed in line for a contract from Ray Shero, I'd imagine Hossa getting an A to go with the money. He could be a captain on several lowly clubs, a notion that might've scared potential suitors prior to this year's playoffs. He showed that he can perform with the spotlight on, and should proudly wear the A.

Sykora, Staal or Fleury. The last alternate is a tough one. I've ruled out any big name free agent (hinging on a potential Hossa contract), seeing how the tight money issue should nullify any chance of acquiring a free agent worthy of wearing the alternate's A. Long term contracts for both Staal and Fleury are still a thought for the future, as would be the addition of an A to their jerseys. Staal is still young, and could be an option down the road if Shero can find money for a contract for Staal. Fleury has played well, but his name might be a stretch. If its Sykora, that would make a Canadian captain and 4 European alternates (provided Gino and Hossa join Gonch).

Also, adding Gino would officially signal the new era of Pens stars. Prior to Malone getting the A this season, Mark Recchi joined Sydor, Gonch and Roberts. It was all about veteran leadership and experience. What with making the playoffs the past two seasons and suffering incredible heartbreak both times, I think the young stars have gained the experience to begin a new era of Pittsburgh dominance on ice. Giving Gino an A to compliment Sid's C would effectively tell the rest of the league that there's no more excuses revolving around youth inexperience, and our young stars are leading the way.

So, any thoughts on who might back up Sid in 08-09? I know I picked three forwards in Gino, Hossa and Sykora, but would a blueliner accompany Gonch?

Or will Shero find a way to keep as many of the current alternates as possible?



Marc said...

I'm thinking:

C - Sid
A - Gonch
A - Gino
A - Syko
A - Hossa

Staal is too young, Sydor was scratched for most of the playoffs, I think Hossa and Whit will have to battle it out, but Whit might win just to have 2 D 2 O

adam said...

Give Staal the A - it's a reason to stay once his free agency rolls around. The Pens don't have trouble giving leadership over to the youth movement, and as long as you keep Gonch in the mix, it's not going to alienate vets.