Who Will Dawn the Second “A”?

He's the REAL superstar - a chick-a chick-a chick

Sidney Crosby will sport the “C” next season for his captain role and Sergei Gonchar will be wearing the first “A” for his first alternate role – those are obvious.

However, with Ryan Malone’s departure, who will be the second alternate for the 2008/2009 Pittsburgh Penguins? Here are some possible candidates…

Petr Sykora – Sykora would be a fine choice as he’s been with the club for a year, has A LOT of experience and veteran leadership throughout his long career. Sykora has made four Stanley Cup appearances and even scored the game-winner in that famous Game 5 in the SCF (that’s Stanley Cup Finals for the uneducated). He was Malkin’s wing-man for most of last season and will continue to be his wing-man for next season (well with Therrien as coach, you KNOW he’ll be bumped down to third line once he starts struggling).

I would bet on Sykora having a good chance to get the second “A”.

Evgeni Malkin – I wouldn’t have put it unless Penguins fans didn’t mention him though I don’t know why they include Malkin. Now I’m like every Penguins fan and absolutely love ‘Geno. I mean c’moooon, who couldn’t?! But NO WAY does Malkin deserve the second alternate unless he dramatically improves his English. I included Malkin because I’ll get some people that say “uhhhh what about Malkin?!” Please…don’t. I love Malkin but right now he shouldn’t receive the second “A”.

Brooks Orpik – Don’t be surprised if Brooksie becomes the second alternate. Orpik re-signed with the Pens for six more years at $3.5 million a year when in the open market he could’ve got $4 million or even $4.5 million. His desire to stay, along with his long tenure as a Penguin makes him a strong candidate to receive the second “A”. Add to his incredible play during the playoffs by dishing off some “Free Candy” (courtesy of ThePensBlog) got him respect from both players and fans.

Max Talbot – I love Max Talbot. You love Max Talbot. And most importantly, the Pittsburgh Penguins love Max Talbot. Talbot has been nothing but a true teammate and a hard worker for the past three years with the Pens. Before every playoff game, Talbot would pump Fleury up to get his adrenaline going. That’s the kind of thing that I like about players and makes me feel confident that they’re a solid leader. Maybe he’s never shown his leadership skills before but he’s one of the best teammates in the league in my opinion.

Another guy I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see wear the second “A”.

Ryan Whitney – Ray Shero obviously likes him when he put Whits in the ‘core’ along with Crosby, Malkin, Fleury and Staal. Whitney also is a young guy so they might want to use him as the second alternate so that when Gonchar retires or leaves, he’ll be there to take his place as the first alternate. I wouldn’t mind seeing Whitney wear an “A” on his jersey but I just don’t think he’d be the best choice. If it happens though I won’t be upset about it and support it all the way.

Overall, I feel that Max Talbot should receive the second “A”. He’s been with the Pens for three years now and creates the great chemistry the young Penguins always seem to have. He works his tail off every season and every game and is a very underrated role player. Does he have the veteran experience? No. But he does have excellent charisma and a solid work ethic that I love in a player and leader.



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