Big Lead Sports Bar

12/10/2010

Which Pittsburgh Team Excites You the Most?



As usual, it's a fantastic time to be a Pittsburgh sports fan. The Steelers are in first place, the Penguins are in first place, Pitt is #3 in the country in hoops, and the Pirates aren't distracting us from any of it with their hot stove moves. But which team has you the most amped going forward? Some cases are made after the jump.


Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 9-3, 1st in AFC North
Reasons for optimism: Should finish no worse than 12-4 with a remaining schedule that includes the Bengals, Jets, Panthers, and Browns; roster full of players who've won one or two championships in Pittsburgh; hot at the right time, winning three straight and four of five; 3-1 in games decided by a field goal or less.
Reasons for pessimism: Injuries, injuries, injuries; the "should I worry about a fine" factor on defense; a weak secondary; an offensive line in shambles; kicking/punting game completely overhauled without a familiarity of Heinz Field; the fact that New England, who they could face in the postseason, completely embarrassed them earlier this season. 
Bottom line: A reasonable scenario would be winning a home playoff game and rolling the dice in the AFC Championship, where anything could happen. But I just don't know if they have the stamina to hoist the Lombardi Trophy when it's all said and done. I hope I'm wrong.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Record: 20-8-2, 42 points, 1st in Atlantic Division
Reasons for optimism: 11 straight wins; 5th in the NHL in goals per game; 3rd in the NHL in goals against; Sidney Crosby holding a 10-point lead on the NHL's second-leading scorer; Kris Letang 4th in NHL in +/-; goaltending position solidified with two capable netminders; two Finals appearances since 2008 and one Cup, with ample playoff appearances among the core; as loaded of a roster as you will find in the league; doing this without Jordan Staal.
Reasons for pessimism: Evgeni Malkin scoring just 8 goals in 26 games; the possibility that Fleury could revert back to his early-season form; the health of Staal once he returns. 
Bottom line: This team is built to win a Stanley Cup and they're already playing like it. If they can sustain that level of play and stay healthy, there's no reason why King Crosby and friends can't hoist a second Cup. 

Pitt Panthers
Record: 10-0, 0-0 Big East, #3 in AP and Coaches Polls
Reasons for optimism: Jamie Dixon's presence; extremely deep team; no hiccups on their early-season schedule, with some nice wins; 4th in the nation in rebounds per game and assists per game; a veteran team with three seniors and two juniors getting major minutes.
Reasons for pessimism: As usual at this point in the season, very few real tests on the schedule; another challenging year ahead in the Big East, which has four teams in the top 10, five in the top 12, and six in the top 25; the dark cloud that hangs over their head during March Madness. 
Bottom line: It should be a typical Pitt season: they'll perform well in the Big East, win 20-something games, enter the tournament somewhere between a 1-3 seed, and end up among the final 8 or 16 teams playing basketball. It's too hard to predict anything beyond that in college hoops.
Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc): twitter.com/mondesishouse
Email: mondesishouse@gmail.com

8 comments:

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I couldn't vote for all, so I had to go with the Penguins. I based this on the factor that they are playing great hockey right now, are getting better, and still are without their best 2 way forward coupled with Malkin recovering from a nagging injury.

The Steelers injuries terrify me more than anything.

The Panthers have played well, have a great coach and some true talent but like Don said, it's possible to predict anything at this point.

Jon said...

I went with the Pens because I think they have the best chance of bringing home a championship. As Burress said, the Steelers' injuries are terrifying. And, Pitt Basketball, much like their football team, always seems to disappoint in the end.

truello said...

I've gotta go with the Pens. I feel like they have nowhere to go but up when Staal returns and hopefully Malkin can pull a 180 like Fleury.

The Steelers and Panthers have me very happy right now but I feel like I'm just getting set up for disappointment.

AJ said...

I am appalled that there is no mention of the Pittsburgh Power in this survey.

Steve said...

Pens. Best team in the NHL, playing the best hockey now with clearly the best player. Heck, even their AHL team is in first place. The Steelers, although managing to win, still have a lot of gray areas to be concerned about.

If your idea of excitement is taking a cheese grater to your nuts, then the Pirates win hands down.

Bababooey said...

All these teams are exciting right now. I hope the Pens keep going strong and the Steelers overcome some injuries to to have key players in the playoffs. Jamie Dixon is just a GREAT coach. Pitt is going to do big things this year around the college bball world.

BURGH08 said...

It depends on the time of year. Watch them all but more interested in the Pens in mid March making the stretch run that hopefully will last into late May/early June.

Also get more interested in Pitt once football seaosn ends, and the Big East games become more important, and trying to go back to MSG for the BE tourney.

Right now though it has to be the Steelers. The epic game against Baltimore, if they can respond against the Bengals all beat up, and the Jets coming next week. Huge.

Nate said...

I think it has to be the Pens right now. They're playing phenomenal hockey and look like serious contenders for the Cup. The only thing I'm pessimistic about is that despite a recent bout of competence, I still think Fleury is a garbage goalie. But he's got a good defense in front of him, so they can get away with hiding him.

The Steelers' injuries have got me more concerned than optimistic. I still think they're an elite team in the NFL, but I'm not sure if they can win a Super Bowl. Beating the Bengals and Jets will go a long way toward making me more optimistic.

Don't care about Pitt at all.