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Crosby and Penguin feel Stanley Cup window still open into season

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Cranberry, Pennsylvania — Sidney Crosby I’m not interested in the ending of the Pittsburgh Penguins fairy tale.

Instead, the captain wants to go back to basics after fellow centers Evgeny Malkin defense man Chris Lettan I signed a new contract this offseason.

“It’s not necessarily about Cinderella,” Crosby said at Friday’s training camp. “It’s about winning hockey games. .”

To Crosby and forward Brian Last The Penguins feel they have a chip on their shoulders after failing to make it past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the past four seasons.

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These losses did not cause any additional pressure, however. Crosby said his desire to win remains the same as in other seasons.

“You have to have that mentality every year. It’s a new team,” Crosby said. “Sure, it’s great to have some guys who were here last year who went through it. But it’s a new group and we have to prove ourselves again. The experience is I think it’s great, but it’s what you do with it.”

After leading the series 3-1 last season, their latest setback was a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round.

“I think we have to take that approach every year regardless of how it ends,” Crosby said. “We have to learn from it. I feel like we didn’t finish the Rangers and probably left a sour taste. Everyone has a chance to start fresh, learn from it and get better.”

Video: Top 5 Sidney Crosby Play from 2021-22 season

Rust, who has played on Crosby’s right wing for the past few years, is one of those players who could make a fresh start. He signed a six-year, $30.75 million contract on May 21, averaging $5.125 million a year.

“I think everyone wanted another chance,” Last said. “I think we’ve had a close couple of years. Obviously we didn’t get what we wanted. But we had a really strong team going into the playoffs. To win the playoffs would be great.” I think the boundary line was right there.

“But this team is a good team. This team can do a lot of good things.…I think everyone is coming in with chips on their shoulders. I know that, I know that I can do better.”

However, it’s not often that penguins are willing to focus on the past.

Even though Malkin is 36 and Crosby and Letang are each 35, Hextall said he is confident Koa will be the catalyst for the next deep run. If he’s right, on February 9, 2021, he’ll be the first time the Penguins have won his series in the playoffs since Hextal was hired as his GM, and their first series win since 2018.

“There’s an urgency. Every new year,” Hextall says. “I’ve lost the last two years in the playoffs since I got here.” I certainly felt like I could have won both series. They are still very good players.

“I felt like this group could still get away and do a lot of damage. We are happy with the group and really excited about where we are as a team. Hungry a lot. … I like where we are. So it’s hard to win in this league. It’s hard to win a round in the playoffs. It’s our mission.