Beyond the comedy of seeing the former fiery Flyers goalie running the Penguins, Ron Hextall becoming the Penguins’ next GM wasn’t that surprising. Brian Burke becoming the Penguins’ president of hockey operations, though? Few of us saw that coming.
But here’s something we maybe should have seen coming. Burke — the man who introduced many hockey fans to the word “truculence,” like Gorilla Monsoon popularizing “solar plexus” — is talking about bringing grit (“ugly hockey”) to the Penguins.
During an appearance on The Fan Morning Show (93.7 in Pittsburgh), Burke provided a glimpse of how he might want the Penguins to change, and an … interesting take on what made the Lightning so successful.
Let’s dissect Burke’s comments about the Penguins, Lightning, and so on:
However you feel about Burke’s take on the game, his vocabulary remains a delight. “Long pants hockey” almost made me choke on my coffee.
It’s truly remarkable how many “hockey people” witnessed the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run and ignored the impact of small, quick, skilled players like Brayden Point.
Sure, the Lightning are versatile. They have some larger players, particularly Victor Hedman. But in adding functional grinders like Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, the Lightning opened the door for misinterpretations.
Coleman and Goodrow merely made a deep team deeper, but the Lightning won their Stanley Cup because of brilliant, skilled top players, and a front office that made a slew of wise decisions.
The Penguins can absolutely take lessons from the Lightning, not to mention the Blues and Capitals before them. If you want a more functional view of how Goodrow and Coleman made a great Lightning team even better, consider this great piece from Kent Wilson.