During Pens training camp this year, they opened up a few of their scrimmages to the public so that people could come in and see Consol Energy Center. During the scrimmages, we get a lot of answers to the question, "what would happen if AHL players played entire games/periods/shifts against the best of the best players in the NHL?" The AHL'ers held their own, but remember, this was an intra-squad scrimmage. Yesterday, however, we got to see what happens in real life.
And for the Pens, they did relatively fantastic. The talent disparity on the ice yesterday, especially at forward, was alarming, to say the least. With all due respect to Brett Sterling, who may be GTOG's favorite player, this was a game the Pens had no business being in. But in it we were, stealing a point from Chicago, at the beginning of what is probably the most brutal week of the schedule all season.
A couple quick points from Poise...
- Say what you want about Matt Cooke’s character towards opposing teams, his presence and production on the ice for the Pens is deeply valuable. He made several great passes and scored a short handed goal that altered the Pens momentum for the second half of the game. If you look beyond the questionable (i.e. dirty) hits and controversy surrounding his media persona, Matt Cooke is a very skilled offensive player with great timing and playmaking abilities. Matt Cooke says "F the Free World." [bad language video]
- It’s fascinating to watch the WB/S players maturation process in real time during these games without Sid and Geno. Cheddar Brett Sterling’s production has been remarkable thus far, and the rest of the cast has shown they can compete against some of the best players in the NHL on what is now becoming a regular basis. Time will tell if the WB/S players can sustain this type of pressure in the long term, but for now they are all proving why they are at least among the elite in the AHL. [more bad language]