The day is finally here, the beginning of a new season has final arrived. For the next 9 months we can go about our lives ignoring anything and everything that isn’t Pittsburgh Penguins related. First, a quick recap of last season:
Last season began with all the hope a fan base could have, Phil Kessel was going to score 50 goals, yeah the defense was weak (Scuderi) but Johnston had developed a system to protect them, Daniel Sprong jerseys were being printed as he projected to join the top 6. The next 3 months were as harmonious as an orchestra conducted by Helen Keller. The Penguins were out of the playoffs, Sidney Crosby was no longer elite, the Pittsburgh media was covering Pirates stories in December. It was around this time that Jim Rutherford realized he was still alive, and the tides began to turn. Mike Sullivan grabbed the Penguins by the vag and implemented his system immediately. Rutherford moved the immobile Rob Scuderi for Trevor Daley, and the lifeless David Perron for Carl Hagelin. The rest is history.
Before the final buzzer sounded in the 2nd round of the 2016 NHL playoffs, the stories were already written. Sidney Crosby couldn’t lead his team to another cup. Alex Ovechkin finally bested Crosby on a national stage. The Penguins core is a bunch of overpaid lazy idiots.
The Capitals went on to win that series in 7 games in route to their second ever Stanley cup final appearance. After sweeping the Sharks, they graciously donated the Stanley Cup to the Penguins as a participation trophy for a hard fought series. Tonight, the Penguins show their appreciation to the Washington Capitals, by inviting the Capitals to join them on the ice while they raise their Stanley Cup Champions Banner on national television.
Last Time They Met:
Last season end tonight. There will be new adversities to deal with. There will be a new story line that nobody can predict. There will be plays at the most unexpected times by the most unexpected players that the fans will always remember. There will be moments the television gets cursed at. There will be moments of triumph, depression, anger and glee (sometimes all in one game). That’s why we are all here, because this sport is a goddamn battle. A battle that the fans feel like they are a part of. No, none of us are, or ever will be in the NHL playing for the Penguins. But when your ass was on the edge of the seat and Patric Hornqvist scored that empty net goal in game 6 of the SCF, don’t even try to tell me that you didn’t celebrate like you were a part of something. That is the brotherhood that comes with sports. That is why we are all here. And tonight, the team that we support, our team, begins a new journey. It won’t be easy. The thing about the NHL is there are no gimmies. There is no barely showing up for work, pretending to be busy, commenting on some Penguins blog and Facebook for a few hours, and then going home without repercussions. There is no “this is the exact same roster that won the Stanley Cup so they will win again.”
Sorry Chip, this is a different era. Tonight, the 2016 Stanley Cup Champions do not matter. Tonight, the 4 cups on the 50th Anniversary logo at center ice do not matter. Tonight, the slate is clean for 30 NHL teams, and one has a target on its back. As Gutsgonebad said, we’ve partied at the river all summer as Mr. Bourque requested, and now it is time to get back to work. Buckle up Rover, the 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins hockey season is here.