Three preseason games into the new season and new arena, so here are some thoughts, dudes…
= There was something somewhat awesome yet awkward about Mike Comrie getting the first goal ever scored at the Consol. Awesome because it could be a harbinger of things to come for this season from another stroke of King Shero genius. Awkward because, well…it’s Mike Comrie. That would’ve been like Troy Edwards scoring the first touchdown ever at Heinz Field.
= Nice to see the avalanche of Hilary Duff jokes that the Comrie goal touched off on Twitter. I say, though, if Comrie scores 30 goals this season, Pens fans can flood Twitter with all the Hilary Duff jokes they want.
= Kind of a neat touch to open the Detroit game. Pens started Sid, Geno, Dupuis, Orpik and Letang – all guys who were big parts of the last three seasons at Mellon Arena.
= There is something fun and downright heart-warming about watching Osgood getting torched for five goals. It’s like seeing the stuck-up punk from high school standing on the side of the road and being grilled by a cop about the accident he just caused while they load his Volvo with the freshly-crumpled hood onto the tow truck.
= Col. Jessup, do you detect any suppressed aggression on the part of the writer of this blog post based on that last statement?
= I went to throw a crumpled-up piece of paper into my trash can at work today and Zbynek Michalek blocked the damned thing. Dude is everywhere.
= Not a Montreal fan, especially after last year’s playoff happenings, and I am definitely looking forward to having a few nice cold Schadenfreude Ales this year on Carey Price’s behalf. But there’s something a little pathetic about going to NHL.com and seeing “Price silences Bell Centre critics in win over Florida”. That, of course, was in response to the boos directed at Price during the first preseason game when he let in a goal.
= Mark Streit from the Islanders is expected to miss about six months of the season thanks to a shoulder injury suffered during a split-squad scrimmage over the weekend. Streit was checked from behind into the boards by teammate Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, er…I mean Matt Moulson, who apparently forgot it was just an intersquad scrimmage and not the seventh game of a Stanley Cup final. Or a home game against Georgia Tech.
= By the way, what the hell is going on in Islanders camp in that video? Moulson single-handedly guaranteeing the Islanders another lottery pick is bad enough, but then you’ve got your franchise goaltender who is more fragile than Glass Joe playing WWE with Jon Sim.
= From what I saw in the third preseason game, Simon Despres doesn’t so much shoot the puck as he does slingshot the thing at the net. What a shot that kid has developed. He needs to be careful so he doesn’t kill some goalie when he goes back to juniors.
= Normally, I’d rather slam my head in a car door multiple times than watch the Rangers and Devils with any regularity. But we all know Versus loves them some Rangers and Devils, and this little catfight that’s brewing between Sean Avery and Ilya Kovalchuk could make for some entertaining shit.
= So the Caps – a team that’s never really been big on the whole concept of focus when it comes to winning big games – now get the added distraction of HBO camera crews following them around for most of the first half of the season? Yes, please.
= Despres? Back to juniors? Don’t be surprised if it happens. Maybe not right away, but chances are he’ll be spending most of the year with Saint John. The Pens can give him a nine-game tryout once the season starts before sending him back. While he’s actually made a pretty strong case to stick with the big club, the problem here is that because of his age, he can only play this year in either the NHL or the QMJHL (he can’t go to Wilkes-Barre until his junior season is over). If he stays here for the whole season, he’s going to be getting third-pairing minutes or sitting in the press box. He’s slated to be one of the top defensemen in the Q this year, and has a legitimate chance to play for Canada’s World Junior squad this year. A chance to play 25 minutes a night and dominate at the junior level will serve his development more than would getting 15 minutes a night here. The luxury of the Michalek and Martin signings coupled with the presence of guys like Lovejoy, Engelland and Bortuzzo give the Pens the luxury of patience with Despres. No real need to rush him.
= No one asked me, but I think Goligoski’s going to be just fine this year. Remember how Jan Hrdina used to always defer to Jagr? That was Goligoski with Gonchar last year. The way he struggled last year, it’s easy to forget how good Goligoski was over the first couple of months of the 2009-10 season.
= The next few games are going to be absolutely huge for Brett Sterling, Tyler Kennedy, Mark Letestu, Eric Tangradi, and Dustin Jeffrey up front, and then Ben Lovejoy, Derek Engelland and Robert Bortuzzo on the blueline.
= How nice is it to have five forwards like that competing for what are essentially two or maybe three roster spots (assuming Staal takes a while to get back)? Talk about accumulating some nice depth throughout the organization. It might not matter who makes the team out of camp, as we can probably expect to see most of those guys up here at one point or another.