Penguins can claim Stanley Cup, says Burke

Brian Burke said he had seen enough of the Pittsburgh Penguins to be convinced they could compete for the Stanley Cup, but the team president admitted that an upgrade before the trade deadline of the NHL on March 21 will be tough.

“Do we believe that we are a competitor? Yeah, we think so, and we (Burke and GM Ron Hextall) have had it since we’ve been here, ”Burke told NHL Network Radio on Sunday. “Can we add to our cap situation if we decide to do that? We’re pretty limited with the salary cap restrictions we’re under, so it would probably be difficult to make a big deal out. But we would watch, sure.”

The Penguins (20-9-5) won a season-high NHL game 10 straight before a 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. They currently hold the first wild card in the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup Playoffs. They have their first-round pick in each of the next three NHL Draft, but Burke has said he’s hesitant to continue borrowing against the future to add to the present.

“What strengths are we going to drop to add? The answer isn’t a lot,” Burke said. “It’s time for this team to stop stability, and that will be negative and I don’t want it because I like (former Penguins president and general manager) Jim (Rutherford), but stop the trend where we are. will give a lot for 20% chance of winning. You approach it, you add, and Jim did what he was supposed to do. But we have to stop this trend at some point. “

The Penguins’ ability to stay in the playoff race has been even more impressive considering they’ve been without many key players for long periods of time. Center Evgeni malkin, who underwent knee surgery on June 4, has yet to play this season. Center Sidney crosby missed the first seven games recovering from wrist surgery, then five more games while in NHL COVID-19 protocol. Cheeky Bryan Rust has missed 19 games this season, forward Jake guentzel six and defender Kris letang four.

Burke said coach Mike Sullivan deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Penguins competitive.

“Mike Sullivan made a [heck] of a job, he’s a good coach, “said Burke.” Our goal is to maintain the level of play and the level of intensity that we have maintained since day one with significant injuries and outbreaks of COVID “Said Burke.“ As we’re not just missing players like Brian Burke, we’re missing important players. We had three of our six defenders with COVID at the same time (Brian Dumoulin , Marcus Pettersson, Chad Ruhwedel), and these guys just keep showing up and scoring points.

“Coaches generally fall into one of the following two categories; there are real boss type men who order people to do things and then there are guys who convince people to do things. To be a truly good trainer, you need to have a bit of both. He’s a guy, Sullivan, who’s a thoughtful player, has played over 700 games in the NHL although he’s not a great talent, but made it work and got it. (He) figured out how to be smarter and better than other people, and then he brings that dominant sense to him as well.

“You must be a general, there are a lot of colonels. You look at the hierarchy of the US military, for every general there are 20 colonels, probably more. This guy is a general.”

Burke also said that Crosby, who has scored 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) in his last 15 games, has improved his game at a critical point in the season. Pittsburgh is 11-3-1 during the streak.

“We have a captain here who empowers a lot of things, makes everyone work harder, makes everyone follow the game plan, makes everyone better, makes everyone listen and his name is Sid and that helps, ”Burke said.

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