The Penguins beat the Flyers and Rangers handily this weekend, serving notice that last spring was not a sign of things to come and that, if anything, maybe Vegas underestimated the Stanley Cup favorites. And Sid Crosby hasn't even gotten warmed up. It's early, teams don't have their legs, they're disorganized, it probably won't mean anything when we play at MSG in April, but think about it: the Pens just went into the lion's den and no one drew a nervous breath except for about 45 seconds late in the third period with Richards/Nash/Gaborik on the ice trying to cut their deficit to one goal. And really, nobody was that nervous.
|Better than Xanax.|
10. Tanner Glass is happy to accommodate you, Aaron Asham.
9. No one puts Joe Vitale in the press box. Vitale made a terrific play with a strong move to the net on Tyler Kenndedy's goal, had a glorious dish to Glass for a scoring chance, and was generally all over the puck. Vitale won't sit for Dustin Jeffrey after this performance. Eric Tangradi is another story. What a waste of a big body. Stick Jeffrey on that line for one game just to see what happens. It's all I ask.
8. Vokoun looks like Moby.
6. James Neal is going for 50 in 48. You think that's a crazy notion? This guy worked out all summer with Gary Roberts and he plays on a wing with Geno Malkin. He has 3 goals in 2 games against the Rangers and Flyers. I'll stand by while you come up with your counter-argument.
5. Malkin is basically saying, I'll see your MVP season and raise you a Selke Trophy. No one is taking the renewed commitment to team defense more seriously than the best player in the league. And he will hold that title until Crosby hits his stride, which should be any minute now.
4. Kris Letang skated 7 miles on every shift. There is always talk about how lucky Penguins fans are to experience the Lemieux/Jagr/Francis era followed by Sid/Geno/Staal. But no one mentions that we saw Paul Coffey in his prime, and now we have Kris Letang. I've never seen anyone skate like Coffey, but I've also never seen anyone skate quite like Letang. I've certainly never seen anyone skate as far and wide.
2. This team is learning to play with a lead. Yes, it helps when the lead is 5-1. But it never felt like the Pens lost there way out there, like last season when really, no lead was safe. All credit to Vokoun for his excellent work in this regard - if he lets Rick Nash cash in on one of his two stellar chances late in the second, maybe it's a different game. But this was a team effort. Simon Despres struggled early, but made a nice sliding play late in the second. Matt Niskanen continues to impress. We love you Paul Martin. Good feelings right now.
1. Did I mention Sid is still getting warm?
Bonus: Chasing Hank Lundqvist.
Don't worry, Hank. Better to look good than to feel good.
Flyers and Rangers are now in a 4 point hole. Leafs at Consol on Wednesday. LGP. GTOG.