Could the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins be battling it out in May for the final playoff spot in the East Division? Could both teams actually miss the playoffs?
NHL Network Analyst Mike Rupp joined Joe Haggerty and me for the premiere of ‘The BHN Podcast’ to dissect those questions, the impact of losing Zdeno Chara, and plenty more Boston Bruins topics. We also broke down the entire East Division and threw down our season picks for all four divisions and a Stanley Cup winner.
In reference to the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins though, I had asked ‘Rupper’ if he considers the Penguins and their core to be in the same situation as the Bruins and their veteran core of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask? Both windows are closing and now suddenly both teams find themselves in, as ‘Haggs’ put it: ‘The Division Of Death’!
“I do, and actually it’s funny you mentioned that because we just finished a segment on NHL Network where we were just kind of doing some quick-hitters,” Rupp replied. “What came up was:
‘Which player’s team has a better chance of winning another Stanley Cup by the end of their careers? Sidney Crosby and the Penguins or Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins?’
Those are very good comparables. I mean you’re talking world-class players and both of them are going to be hall of famers; well-respected throughout the game of hockey.”
So does Rupper think that the Penguins and Bruins should really still be considered favorites or Stanley Cup contenders?
“It’s tough though,” he went on. “Do I think Pittsburgh is a favorite by any stretch? I don’t know. …they’ve won three. …but if you still have 87 and 71, Crosby and Malkin on the roster, you’ve got a chance. That’s no knock on Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Krejci because those guys have been better than those other two right?
It’s just something that I don’t know if it’s just the nostalgia in what they’ve accomplished or what they’ve done individually as players but I would just think that these two teams are certainly going to battle it out for the last spot.”
Rupp went on to say that he only sees one sure shot you make the Stanley Cup Playoffs out of the East Division. To find out who, click below and watch the season Premiere of The BHN Podcast!