It’s here. It’s finally fucking here.
Tonight, the wait finally ends as the NHL opens up its regular season.
Tomorrow, though, is a hockey night in Pittsburgh as the Penguins open up the 2018-19 season at home against the current Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals.
Man, does that sound weird. Let it sink in for a minute. The Washington goddamn Capitals are the Stanley Cup Champions.
Good for Ovi. Good for Backstrom. Hell, good for Holtby. But, boy, does that sour taste still linger like a shot of Cuervo gold.
So fuck the Capitals, fuck the Flyers, Blue Jackets, and the rest of the league as a whole…and fuck the horse they all rode in on. We’re here to chat Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Hockey Club.
Does it feel like forever since the last long, extended offseason?
A World Cup of Hockey and two straight Cup wins precluded any chance of a decent break between seasons the last few years and when it eventually coming crashing down on Monday, May 7th, 2018, the 3-peat dreams were over.
Looking back, we probably all needed it. Not just the Penguins players and staff, but us fans and bloggers as well. The last 3 seasons have been exhausting. And across the board among those aforementioned humans, the fire seems to be back and burning as hot as ever.
This season…it just feels different.
Frankly, you don’t need us (or anyone else) to tell you that. Look at the way Crosby or Malkin or Phil! or Letang or Murray have carried themselves this past offseason and this preseason. The work they’ve put in, the quotes, the workout videos…everything.
“I think that’ll definitely light a fire for us. That’s on your mind when you play that team again. It’s just the way it is. That’s the way it is when you lose. You’ve always kind of got that feeling of something to prove and when you win, you’ve got that feeling of, hey, we’ve got to stay here.” – Sidney Crosby
“We need [the Cup] back. It’s like, who wins? Washington wins. The most hated team in Pittsburgh. Of course we want it back.” – Evgeni Malkin
They’re going to be coming. They’re going to be frightening. Opponents beware.
In looking ahead at this season, we don’t need to tell you that sites like Corsica have the Pens owning the #2 first line, #1 second line, #7 third line, and #6 4th line in the league. Or that they have the #4 first D pairing (Dumoulin-Letang) and #1 “3rd” pairing (Oleksiak-Jultz). We don’t need to tell you that most teams in this league are going to have nightmares trying to match up against that kind of depth over the course of an 82+ game season.
We don’t need to tell you that this team isn’t going to have the league-worst save percentage and league-worst shooting percentage from October to January again or that Matt Murray is going to return to his ~.920 SV% self. We don’t need to tell you that healthy versions of Kris Letang and Derick Brassard are going to be difference makers all year or that Mike Sullivan and Jim Rutherford are going to learn from any and all mistakes they may have made over the course of the last year.
You know all of this by now. You know what these guys are capable of and what they are looking to achieve. And you know it’s going to take a natural disaster to stop them.
Hide your kids, call Arnold Slick, and buckle the fuck up.