Friday, November 17, 2006

Pens gameday; Break out the measuring sticks, boys

Let's not get carried way with tonight's game between the Pens and Sabres. It's certainly not on the level of OSU-Michigan (by the way, check out The Pojo Dojo for some outstanding commentary on tomorrow's game, especially in light of Bo Schembechler's death today).

It even isn't that important a game in terms of the 82 game regular season schedule, meaning, it's a non-divisional game.

But make no mistake, this game will be an early indication on whether the Pens will be contenders or pretenders in this year's run to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

In my view, one of the biggest indicators that the Pens are growing as a team is if they come into games versus the best teams in NHL and compete aggressively.

If the Pens come out hesitant, play on their heels, and play reactive rather than play proactive, like they did vs. Detroit and Ottawa, mark my words, they will be blown off the ice.

But, if the Pens come out aggressive, and use that great speed, they'll be in this game from the very start.

Assuming of course, we have decent goaltending tonight. It will NOT be MAF tonight, Thibault gets the start tonight, and MAF will be between the pipes vs. the Rangers on Saturday night.

That's an interesting decision, but an understandable one. Therrien wants to go with his #1 goalie vs. the Divisional opponent, I can see that. It's just a difficult situation that you have to go with your backup goalie vs. the NHL' best team.

I will also be curious to see if their is any noticeable difference in Malkin's play, now that the court litigation is for the most part resolved.

Remember, 8PM EST faceoff in Buffalo.


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