Pittsburgh Penguins vs St. Louis Blues
The Paint Can. Pittsburgh, PA
8:00 PM EST, NBCSN
The Pittsburgh Penguins start this season the same way they started last season, raising a Stanley Cup banner while a team notorious for not making it out of the second-round watches. Over the summer we celebrated the #schultzchugforever, laughed at McDavid > Crosby talk, pretended to care about the Vegas Golden Knights Twitter, lost Jesse Marshall, watched DK meltdown, and anxiously counted down the picks before Marc-Andre Fleury was no longer a Penguin. The summer is over, we don’t have to pretend like we care about any other sport anymore, the time has come. The beginning of yet another season of 82 games, 246 periods, 4920 seconds plus some free overtime along the way is before us. For some of the summer I told myself that expecting too much of the Penguins this year isn’t fair to the team that has raised back-to-back Stanley Cups for the first time in the salary cap era. Then I remembered 30-year-old Sidney Crosby last year, a man driven by the talk of him no longer being the greatest in the league. I thought about his drive to be better. He is determined to be the best. There isn’t a doubt that Sidney Crosby is focused on winning the cup again, because that’s a challenge for him and let’s be honest, there aren’t many other things you can challenge the Captain with at this point. His “Honors and Achievements” section on wikipedia is longer than the Capitals history of poor playoff execution. With a determined Crosby and NHL top 200 player Evgeni Malkin trying to do what everyone deems as impossible, it’s time to come along for the ride.
Tonight the journey starts. The Pittsburgh Penguins have a two-time sized bullseye on their back. Every team in the league has the date marked when they play the Pens. In the 2015-16 season Mike Sullivan made a comment that if 31 other teams in the NHL use the same words to describe your team then you’ve successfully created an identity. For the Penguins, regardless of speed, skill, toughness(?), and talent, that identity has become “champions.” For the Blues identity, they should’ve used Lifelock. Tonight’s game features two teams celebrating their 51st years in the league, one has 5 Stanley Cups and the other has an Arch. Not sure how the Blues will recover from the loss of David Perron during the offseason.
The Penguins lost 50% of their centers when Nick Bonino got paid in Nashville and Matt Cullen went back to Minnesota. They also decided to say good-bye to Chris Kunitz who left for Tampa. Instead of making the yuge trade in the offseason for a 3rd line center the team seems content with starting the season with Greg McKegg as the 3rd line guy. If Mike Lange says “Greg McKegg Pegged the Egg” I might die. We know the Rutherford likes to get a look at his team before adding a role player, so I’m not going to get too excited about this lineup right now. The good news for the Pens is their defense is stout.
Twitter hasn’t seen a D like that since Anthony Weiner slid into some DMs. The team also washed its hands of Derrick Poosalot yesterday by sending him to possibly the worst team in the league. Derrick responded by saying he was shocked and didn’t have a clue, and something about a seed, or maybe that was DK, who cares they are both pointless.
Tonight is the beginning of a new season. A new page of NHL history begins. The Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to do something that nobody has done since the 1980-84 Islanders and it all starts tonight. Buckle up Pittsburgh, it’s that time of year again, and the reigning Stanley Cup Champions will not back down.