What a night for Pens fans !!
OK, I have to say honestly, it could have started a little better.
The pregame ceremonies were, for the most part, and sorry to say, dull.
The first ceremony of course, bowing to his wishes, was the re-retirement of Mario's jersey. Always a class act, he requested that the ceremony for him was to be kept low key, with just a short video containing some highlight clips and a tribute narrated by Sid. Well done on that front.
Then came the sometimes long, drawn out, and sometimes boring videos that led up to the player introductions. The best part ?? Why of course, it was the real penguins walking out on the ice.
The biggest problem I had with the pregame ceremonies came when the players that weren't dressed for the game did not at least come out onto the carpet and wave to the crowd. Malkin got a nice ovation from the crowd when he was introduced, but if he would have come out on the ice, it would have been twice as nice.
By the way, word comes this afternoon officially from the Pens that Malkin is at least two more weeks away from coming back.
Hey, they keep playing like they did last night, they can afford to let him heal, right ??
First of all, like I had optimistically predicted, the Pens came out hitting, and hitting hard. They were checking so well that the Flyers message boards were whining that the Pens had singled out Forsberg and Gagne. What a reversal !!
And what an outstanding TKO by Colby on former Pen Nolan Baumgartner. That uppercut that Colby threw was solid, and jerked Baumgartner's head way back.
Michel Ouellet, for as much criticism that he receives on the Pens' boards, continues to have one of the quickest releases around. Esche should have made that save, sure, but Ouellet sneaked it by him for that ultra-important first goal of the game.
Combine that Jarkko Ruutu's tap-in to make it 2-0, and Pens fans felt awfully good after one period. It plainly obvious that Ruutu will QUICKLY become a big fan favorite in the Igloo.
Into the second period, and Sid told everyone where to stick your sophomore slump when he beat Esche on the short side to make it 3-0.
And just to make sure we all knew that things were going the Pens' way, that scoring machine Josef Melichar ended the scoring for a 4-0 win.
But really, the stars of the game were the penalty killers and Marc-Andre Fleury. The PK went 10 for 10, including two kills on 5-on-3's. What an immediate difference, those guys played fantastic. MAF, while I don't think he had to make any "standing on his head" types of saves, stopped all 40 that were thrown at him. It should be a great confidence booster heading into the Red Wings game on Saturday night.
The press conference at the 1st intermission was pretty interesting to say the least. Jim Balsillie appeared pretty excited. Of course, the Canadian media kept badgering him on whether the Pens would move. Can they ignore everyone's statements any more than they already have ?? Those of us who've paid attention to the process from the beginning realize that NO Pens representative is going to say ANYTHING but related to the Isle of Capri issue is resolved, for good or bad. If IOC doesn't get the slots license, there is NO DOUBT in my mind that the Pens will jump onboard with Plan B, tweek the details, and break ground on a new stadium by next summer.
On a funnier note, did everyone else catch Jim B. drop the "Holy shit!" bomb while he was in the booth with Steigy and Errey ?? Hilarious !!!
So now, it's onto to Saturday night vs. the Red Wings. I'm fearful of the letdown after the big win last night. Detroit is even older than they used to be, but they are still a very dangerous team, especially after losing their opener last night to Vancouver.