It did not take long for the spotlight to get brighter on the city of Pittsburgh when it comes to professional hockey. The Penguins already had a lineup that could work far into the playoffs and compete for a Stanley Cup. A thirteen game winning streak became the longest current streak after the Miami Heat fell to the Bulls Wednesday night, and acquiring former Stars captain Brenden Morrow on Sunday and Douglas Murray the next day, things couldn't get any better for the Penguins.
If you're a night owl like myself, you saw the franchise get an unexpected surprise at 1:30 in the morning.
General manager Ray Shero worked his magic during the deadline once again and brought Jarome Iginla to the Steel City after we all assumed he was on his way to Boston when most called it a night. Not only that, he got Jarome for a steal!
If the Penguins weren't already stacked, they are now. The Penguins are now a skating analogy in the sport that could be compared to the Miami Heat or the New York Yankees. Love it or hate it, the hockey world will be paying even closer attention to Pittsburgh.
Phrases like "Cup or Bust," or "Cup or Die" follow Shero's latest acquisition. On paper, this team should coast to the fourth Stanley Cup in team history, but many will say that anything less than a title is a failure to doubters and haters of the Penguins.
The Penguins would have been fine even without Iginla. Most would be content with him going to Boston. But because it happened, everyone will be tougher on Pittsburgh, fans and foes alike. It's not every day that a coach and general manager have to worry about shifting around superstars on the offensive lines.
In the end, it's the old "risk and reward" that a general manager deals with. Shero has dealt with fan criticism for some time, especially after being silent during the Zach Parise sweepstakes and letting players like Jordan Staal and Steve Sullivan go. In those cases, the reward has outweighed the risk.
With Jarome Iginla, it's the same thing.
If Iginla's impact on the Penguins leads to a Stanley Cup championship, some will call for a statue of Shero to be put up outside Consol Energy Center. If it's an early exit for the Penguins, he will be the one to take most of the backlash from the media, fans and doubters.