Yesterday was a marvelous day at Southpointe. You can go home again.
But you have to go to Philadelphia and Madison Square Garden first.
The French are reproducing: Kris Letang is a new father, and the Fleurys are expecting. “My wife, not me,” Marc-Andre was quick to add.
Sidney Crosby snorted derisively at the thought of 100 points in 48 games, then seemed to be working out the math (and the possibilities). Sid, who famously played goal in a street hockey game during the lockout, also discussed his goaltending strategy for opposition dump-ins on a slippery rink. Legit analysis.
SID = OBSESSED LUNATIC. Which is why I love Sid. Evgeni Malkin (just off the rocket from Russia) has competition for the scoring title/MVP.
Matt Cooke inquired about the result of my WXDX.com poll that asked if fans liked new Cooke better than old Cooke. For the record, last season’s 19-goal Cooke beat the oft-suspended Cooke of campaigns prior. Cooke wryly noted that those casting votes “don’t have to deal with the fallout.”
The No. 1 stars of the opening day of practice: THE FANS. There didn’t seem to be much negative residue from the lockout as a packed grandstand almost entirely clad in Pens jerseys thoroughly enjoyed every moment and tried to figure out who Jayson Megna is. (Remember that name, BTW. If camp has a potential surprise, it’s the rookie forward from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.)
The No. 2 star: Phil Bourque’s six-year-old son, Dylan, who bossed the media area, exclaiming “Out of the way, ladies!” as he pushed between Root Sports’ Dan Potash and Penguins’ TV play-by-play man Paul Steigerwald.
The No. 3 stars: A couple who sported a Craig Adams T-shirt (she) and a Georges Laraque T-shirt (he). Maybe they just like No. 27.
One of the week’s best stories is rookie winger Beau Bennett, the only legit scorer in the Pens’ pipeline and currently the top point-getter for their AHL club in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Bennett is 21, but looks 12. Not much upper body, bird legs and – as Stone Cold Steve Austin might say – a stack of dimes for a neck.
But Bennett has hands, instinct, pedigree and potential. His (hopefully) temporary physical shortcomings aside, he could hang at the NHL level. But Bennett’s work down low might let down potential linemates like Malkin and James Neal, and there’s no point keeping him for third- or fourth-line duty. But the Baby Pens are bereft of like talent up front. There’s no one for Bennett to play with.
Just one of many talking points. But the big one is: HOCKEY’S BACK! I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it until yesterday.
Photo courtesy of Penguins.nhl.com.