Here we are.
Tonight the banner goes up.
Tonight the road back to glory begins.
Tonight is the final home opener in Mellon Arena history.
And this was the first:
Almost 42 years ago the Pittsburgh Penguins played their first home opener at the Civic Arena.
Tonight they will play their last.
But this will not be a solemn occasion.
Because tonight isn't just the final home opener at the Igloo.
It's also the day the third Stanley Cup banner is raised to the rafters.
There isn't a more fitting way to begin the final season in this historic building than by raising that banner.
And there is no better way for us to salute everything the Igloo means to us than to fill it with cheers.
Jean Pronovost, Les Binkley, Andy Bathgate, Rick Kehoe, Michel Briere, Bob Johnson, Herb Brooks, Kevin Stevens, Tom Barrasso, Paul Coffey, Joe Mullen, Ron Francis, Bryan Trottier and many, many others have called this building home.
We have called this building home.
And so do they:
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brooks Orpik, Sergei Gonchar and everyone else who steps into that arena with a skating penguin on their chest does as well.
This is their team.
This is our team.
This is our team.
When Mario Lemieux looks up at the rafters and sees his number 66, his Art Ross Trophy victories, his Hart Trophy victories and a third Stanley Cup banner he'll know what he's done for this team.
When he looks across the street and sees a beautiful new arena nearing completion, he'll know what he's done for this city.
Last night he was part of a Team Canada ceremony in Toronto, but tonight he'll feel at home.
It's the final banner raising at Mellon Arena.
It's the beginning of another season.
It's the chance to show the hockey world what this team - and this city - is made of.
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Bill Guerin
Pascal Dupuis - Evgeni Malkin - Ruslan Fedotenko
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Eric Godard
Brooks Orpik - Sergei Gonchar
Mark Eaton - Kris Letang
Jay McKee - Alex Goligoski
If you want a sign to print out and bring tonight's game, a chance to win a t-shirt or both, click here.
If you're still looking for a place to watch the game, check out our post on the best bars to watch Pens games.
If you'd still like to pick up a Pensblog calendar, we now have a promo code for you.
Enter FREECANDY in the coupon section of your cart, and you'll receive 20% off the calendar.
Talbot, Goligoski, Staal and Kennedy presented Taylor Swift with a Penguins jersey at her concert yesterday.
The Trib has a great article on 10 Things To Do Before Mellon Arena Closes Its Doors.
Empty Netters has a weather report for tonight.
Sean Avery won't play tonight for the Rangers. [Newsday]
If you're outside Pittsburgh and have NHL Center Ice or GameCenter, but not the NHL Network, you're out of luck for tonight's game.
That said, GameCenter is offering a free preview right now if you want to watch other stuff.
We suggest the archived games from last year's playoffs.
There may be a link or two in the "ABOUT PENSBLOG" section at the top of the page that will interest people who don't have the means to watch the game tonight.
Today in Europe, the Panthers beat the Blackhawks in a shootout and the Blues defeated the Wings.
The banners have been rearranged.
The Stanley Cup is in the building.
But after that banner goes up, it's all about this year.
The Penguins will need to focus on the task at hand.
And it will be a difficult task once again.
82 regular season games and then the playoffs.
The Stanley Cup is the most difficult trophy in sports to win.
We all know that.
So do they.
"Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying."