Column | The Penguins should be considered as a great modern sports dynasty


AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Kris Letang (58) of the Pittsburgh Penguins brings the puck up ice as Alexandre Carrier (45) of the Nashville Predators defends during Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh.

By Brian Sherry, Staff Writer

Sports dynasties come and go throughout the years. The New England Patriots dynasty seemed unbreakable, until quarterback Tom Brady left for the beaches of Florida. Legendary guard Michael Jordan and the ‘90s Bulls looked capable of conquering the world, until Chicago’s general manager Jerry Krause ruined it all. But there is one sports dynasty that no one talks about, despite it dominating its sport for nearly two decades.

That team is the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins have established themselves as hockey’s dominant powerhouse, drawing hate from rivals who wish to copy the team’s success. No other team in the league has won more games than the Penguins since 2010. Couple that with two Stanley Cups since 2010 and it’s easy to see why rival hockey fans are jealous of the Pens’ success.

The Penguins currently boast the longest streak of seasons with playoff appearances in the NHL, with 15 consecutive trips to the postseason. They will likely continue that streak this season, currently sitting in the driver’s seat for a postseason bid.

It’s easy to undermine the sheer dominance of that statistic. For instance, the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls only mustered 14 consecutive trips to the playoffs. Not to mention that the Penguins’ streak is still active and showing no signs of stopping.

The Penguins won the Cup three times in that 15 year span. The Penguins lost in the finals just one time in that span against the Detroit Redwings in 2008, who they defeated in the following season’s final.

Of course, every dynasty has a star player. The Showtime Lakers had Magic Johnson, the 2000s Yankees had Derek Jeter and this Penguins dynasty has center Sidney Crosby. “Sid the Kid” is only 34 years old, but has already established himself as one of the greatest in the sport.

Crosby also has the jewelry to show his greatness. Besides three rings from the Penguins, Crosby also boasts two Olympic gold medals for Canada. This includes one from the 2010 Olympics, when Crosby scored an overtime goal to beat team USA in the Olympic final.

Despite his individual skill set, Crosby wouldn’t be the player he is today without his supporting cast. Luckily for Crosby, the Penguins continually surround him with top tier talent to keep the dynasty running. Center Evgeni Malkin has proven himself as a viable and sustainable sidekick. The 35-year-old Malkin has been a part of the Penguins dynasty since the start, playing an active role in all three of the dynasty’s championships.

Let’s not forget that the Penguins dynasty quite possibly saved hockey in Pittsburgh. Prior to the recent string of success, the Penguins ranked last in the NHL in attendance. The team struggled immensely to regain the success of the Mario Lemieux-led 1990s, ranking consistently in the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

But the Penguins turned it around when they acquired Crosby and Malkin in 2005 and 2004 respectively. Now, the Penguins consistently fill up PPG Paints Arena, ranking in the top 10 in attendance last season.

The Penguins dynasty gives Pittsburgh national attention and a boost to its economy. During the 2017 playoffs, the Penguins brought in about $52 million to the local economy, providing businesses with customers from across the country. The Penguins have also developed hockey in an area where football typically dominates the scene. The team has shared its success with local youth hockey leagues, donating grants to the Pittsburgh high school hockey league.

Of course, like all dynasties before them, the Penguins will eventually run out of success. Whether that be next season or when Crosby retires, the team in black and yellow’s success will eventually run dry. But no matter when the fall comes, the Penguins should be remembered as one of the greatest sports dynasties of the 21st century.