We have previewed the 2011-2012 Penguins season all week. This is it.
Here we are.
Riding together through another emotional hockey season. We're going to see backup goalies come out of nowhere to steal wins from the Pens. We're going to hear Ryan Mill in our sleep. We're going to park our cars and walk up Fifth Avenue. We're going to see the Pens lose 4 in a row somewhere as fans call for Ted Nolan to replace Dan Bylsma. We're going to see Marc-Andre Fleury get yanked. We're going to see Matt Cooke get suspended. We might see the power play score. We're going to see girls in tight pants cleaning ice surfaces as you wonder if it's necessary for that one blonde girl to stick her butt out like that and then realize it doesn't matter. We're going to see Evgeni Malkin hit another gear. We're going to get into fights on message boards, C-Blog, and Twitter.
And one day, with Boys of Winter thumping in the background, we will all stand in unison, as our eyes strain to see through the fog billowing at the end of the Penguins' bench. And he'll be there.
The Penguins didn't have a big off-season. They weren't making headlines with big moves. But in almost every season preview, they are picked to win the Cup. Even the EA Sports simulation predicted the Pens would win it. (Third period comebacks must have been turned off. wooo)
There is a reason for this, though. Look at the roster. The Penguins still have a young team, but they have six players with at least 600 games played, and almost the rest have at least 300 games. Insane.
We admit -- we miss the days of taking one game at a time, watching young players develop. Expectations used to be "hey, just get to the playoffs."
Now they are Cup or bust.
When hockey players win the Cup, notice they never say, "I'd like to thank God," or whatever stupid shit NFL players say when they win a championship. You know why? Because not even God can help you through an NHL season. So make your peace with whoever you have to, sit down, and prepare for the 44th season of Penguins hockey.
We'll let our boys from The Catastrophe play us out. They covered the iconic "It's A Great Day For Hockey" song. And they nailed it.
9:30 Pregame radio show tonight. Link on the right.