Penguins are confident after no shakeups at NHL trade deadline
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The trade deadline had passed, yet Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik found only familiar faces at Tuesday's practice.
There was no new forward, no defensive shuffle and no replacement goalie. The deadline came and went without general manager Ray Shero adding a single player to the roster.
Yet, the team felt bolstered.
"We like what we have here and Ray must, too," Orpik said. "If anything, it gives the guys in here a little boost of confidence knowing they believe in this group."
For those worried about being traded, Tuesday came as a relief.
Defenseman Matt Niskanen, like some of his teammates, said he was "a little nervous the past couple days." He hadn't heard his name in specific trade rumors but thought he might have been a movable piece.
"You can kind of figure out who your staples are in the lineup — who the core guys are — and then there are some other guys," he said. "I fall into that category."
The team's recent history also could have made him worry. In each of his five previous years with the Penguins, Shero had made a move near the trade deadline. Last year, he acquired James Neal and Niskanen from Dallas.
But that kind of blockbuster trade wasn't needed this time, said forward Matt Cooke, nor was this locker room short on quality role players.
"We feel like we have a successful group in this room that can go on and win," Cooke said. "We're confident in each other. We're confident in the group."
That doesn't mean they're ready for the playoffs Wednesday. The Penguins could extend their winning streak to four games in Dallas Wednesday night, but they're still searching for better consistency.
"These last 20 games are crucial," Orpik said. "You've got to gain some momentum going into the playoffs because ... if you're stumbling, it usually carries over and you come out flat in the playoffs."
With the trade deadline passed, that's one less distraction for a team chasing home ice in the playoffs. The Penguins began Tuesday fourth in the Eastern Conference, but the Flyers, Devils and Senators all were within a win or two of catching them.
With his lineup unchanged, coach Dan Bylsma dusted off a Gene Hackman line from the movie "Hoosiers." "My team is on the floor," he said. But there's room for one addition: Sidney Crosby, if he recovers.
Crosby will travel with his teammates on this road trip, but his status remains unchanged. The Penguins are prepared to challenge for a Stanley Cup without him if need be, Orpik said, but they hope Crosby will be back. With a healthy Crosby, they could be considered one of the favorites.
"(Crosby) would blow away any other acquisition that any team made at the deadline," Bylsma said. "We like our team. We like our players. Our team is on the floor."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
- Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
- Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
- Dollars and sense: High cost of child care keeps many out of work force
- Former Cal U football player cleared of assault charges sues university, police, prosecutor
- ‘Real’ people, solutions at heart of GOP ad blitz in Pa.
- Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
- Last option for former Jeannette Glass site: Pa. Supreme Court
- Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
- Ambridge’s PittMoss takes off with help from TV show, Mt. Lebanon native Cuban