PITTSBURGH (AP) — When the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009, a dynasty appeared to be in the offing. It didn’t quite work out that way. Injuries and inconsistent postseason play sent the franchise into a full-fledged identity crisis.
The long, seemingly interminable wait for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to bookend the championship the helped capture seven years ago came to a blissful, euphoric end on Sunday night in San Jose. Their six-game triumph over the Sharks in the final capped a meteoric six-month sprint under Mike Sullivan, whose arrival in mid-December provided the wake-up call the talented but erratic roster desperately needed.
“It’s not an easy win in this league,” Malkin said. “Every team in the league deserves to win. We play against San Jose and they haven’t won in 25 years. It’s not easy.”
Maybe, but for the Penguins the path might be smoother than most. The group that poured over the boards and onto the ice when the horn sounded at the end of a 100-game plus marathon that spanned from September to June appears to be well-appointed for the future thanks to a series of moves…