When we look back at the Penguins’ five Stanley Cup championship teams, the 2009 and 2016 editions are closely related.
You know the script if you’ve been a fan long enough: Penguins flounder for a few months, but a change of coaches and a couple of trades transform the team into an unstoppable attack-oriented force from late winter all the way through early summer.
Dan Bylsma, meet Mike Sullivan. Chris Kunitz, say hello to Carl Hagelin. Ray Shero, get acquainted with Jim Rutherford. (For that matter, Ryan Whitney and David Perron should form a support group if they haven’t already.)
There are differences between the twin Cup runs, of course. Chief among those, the 2017 Penguins succeeded where several editions of the team failed at the start of this decade, to say nothing of the myriad defending champs who failed to repeat. Try as they might, there was no real follow-up to the promise of 2009, at least in terms of postseason play.