Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins Need Not Be Desperate

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins Need Not Be Desperate

Article excerpt

Is it just me or do the Penguins seem desperate to add a winger? First, they tried hard for Zach Parise, but lost out on him to the Minnesota Wild. They have made an offer to Shane Doan, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Shelly Anderson reported Monday. Coach Dan Bylsma has said they are interested in Alexander Semin.

Why?

Aren't the Penguins just fine as they are?

Won't they have a good chance to compete for the Stanley Cup again next season, if there is a next season?

That doesn't mean the pursuit of Parise didn't make sense. He's a dynamic player who would have looked wonderful on Sidney Crosby's wing. The Wild didn't give Parise a 13-year, $98 million contract for no reason. There was no way the Penguins could match those numbers.

But going after Doan, who really wants to stay with the Phoenix Coyotes but has concerns about their ownership situation?

And especially going after Semin, whose desire to get away from the Washington Capitals is matched only by the team's eagerness to see him leave?

Give me the status quo, thank you very much.

I'd rather see the Penguins start the season as is, then re- evaluate at the trade deadline. The money they would save by not signing Doan or Semin could be used to make a move -- even a major move -- to replace an injured player or fill a hole before the playoffs. The regular season hardly matters. The playoffs are all that counts. That was clear again last season when the Los Angeles Kings struggled for months before getting hot and winning the Stanley Cup. Certainly, it was clear here when the Penguins went into the playoffs as the overwhelming favorite to win the Cup and went out in six games in the first round against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Doan has scored 318 NHL goals, including 22 last season for the Coyotes. He's big, tough and gritty, but he's also older and slower. It's fair to wonder if he still has the speed to play with Crosby.

There's no doubt Doan would be good in the room. He has been the captain in Phoenix. But leadership isn't a problem with the Penguins. Crosby has been a terrific captain and will be even better if he stays healthy and plays in most of the games. It's hard to be a great leader if you can't perform. Brooks Orpik and Chris Kunitz could wear an "A" for me anytime.

If the Penguins insist on a new forward, it's better they bring in Doan than the underachieving Semin, who, despite superb skills, always seemed to leave the Capitals wanting so much more. Maybe a change would mature him. Maybe he would benefit being around Crosby a lot more than he did playing with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. Maybe fellow Russian Evgeni Malkin could school him a little on what it means to be a professional.

Or maybe not.

Semin, 28, made $6.7 million last season and, presumably, isn't interested in taking a big pay cut despite the fact his goals dropped to 21 last season from 28 the year before and 40 the year before that. …

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