Why Penguins can be first to repeat since '98

Richard Deitsch spoke to a panel of NHL writers to discuss hockey storylines for the upcoming season.

When it comes to challenges, the quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champions has become the NHL’s version of walking on the moon.

It has occurred before, and it will happen again, but today it is a daunting mission. No team has completed that operation since the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998. The Chicago Blackhawks won three Cups from 2010 to 2015, and the Los Angeles Kings won two Cups over three seasons from 2012 to 2014. But that’s as close as anybody has come in recent years. Blame it on an introduction of the salary cap and the accompanying parity.

But this season’s Pittsburgh Penguins have a better shot of repeating than any team in the salary cap era, including the Kings or Blackhawks.

It’s not that they are a mightier team than the Kings or Blackhawks were during their championship run. It’s that these Penguins have a history of stepping up when…

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