Could have been better, could have been worse.
But we won.
We're back, bitches. Let's set the tone.
The Penguins came into a building that was loud and, as always, orange.
It makes sense to give awards, since the only thing grosser than wading through that orange sludge is having to master it.
I was totally shocked because I'd had no idea they'd made Giroux captain and it entertains me, not because he isn't an unreal nasty hockey player, but because his attitude about life seems to exude pure evil. He really is a perfect villain.
And a terrible captain. Mostly for having a terrible Twitter account and thinking he is the shit.
THE GOAL THAT SMELLED LIKE REDEMPTION
The Pens get an early PP because Braydon Coburn, one of our favorite summer picnic guests, got it into his head that he was gonna touch Crosby. Refs were calling interference in this game like it was a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Paul Martin blasted one towards Bryz that apparently went off of Tyler Kennedy. Two people who had been the main targets of abuse for a Penguins team that just couldn't "get to their game" hooked up to make the first magic of the season.
That first fucking on-ice hug.
Of course Dupuis was on the ice. He always is for goals that feel like this. 2nd PP unit makes shit happen.
WINTER'S FIRST TRIP TO THE BABY MAKIN' FACTORY
Under three minutes later, Malkin innocently won a faceoff back to James Neal. His release was so quick that half the building probably didn't notice he had scored until it was too late. Bryz was stunned.
No one photographed the goal as they were all too busy rushing to the pharmacy for Plan B. Oh James, oh James. How we have missed you. And your ginger face and your nasty wrist shot.
We like to imagine these ladies were firmly in their seats:
Dude in the upper right had probably already spilled Miller all over himself by this point in the game and was wolfing down some kind of chili dog during the goal. Disappointing turnout, Philadelphia. This is who you choose to show to the nice photographers?
MOMENT IT COULD HAVE ALL UNRAVELLED
Giroux came out and scored like 8 seconds into the second period. We like to examine photos like these:
Claude looks more morose/mysterious than anyone else in the room. Kimmo is just trying to get through the game so he can have peanut butter and Ritz crackers afterwards. And Brayden Schenn is interested, the way clumsy puppies are interested in Frisbees. Giroux is just a sinister ringleader in a band of tragic, potentially dangerous fools.
But the Pens didn't unravel. They sustained some serious pressure and Fleury had to make some spectacular saves.
But they didn't crack.
And there were no stupid fights, no pushing and shoving like guys who are trying to prove shit to each other at the bar.
This isn't to say that between-whistles shenanigans are always amiss at Pens-Flyers games. But this one, it would have looked immature, like we were still dwelling on a really lame fight we got into in the cafeteria in 9th grade (i.e. the entire series last year).
MOST PERFECT SERIES OF ACTIONS
All of those performed by The Honorable Mr. Brandon Sutter, King of Kings.
No really, if any Pens fan thinks we lost on the Staal trade, they can't watch hockey.
The man is brilliant.
We want to sculpt his likeness in black marble and keep it on our lawn.
Second-place, to be sculpted in pink marble, Tanner Glass, who was beautiful on every PK (and there were too many):
credit to some girl's Tumblr
The rest of the second period, and into the third, inspired nothing but fear.
But MAF was a brick wall.
except for the times that he terrified us. which we missed.
God that reminds us to give the GREASIEST AND MOST SLUGGISH GINGER special award to Hartnell jesus christ
MOST MOMENTS YOU LACKED THE ABILITY TO BREATHE
The Pens and the Flyers started taking penalties towards the end of the game and it was enough to kill you dead in a 1 goal situation.
If it was that bad at the first game of the season we don't know if we can survive going forward.
Giroux was the sandwich filling between a horrible interference call on Engo and Gene high-sticking someone.
You knew you were ready for the season when you started SCREAMING at Pierre when, after a VERY obvious trip by Giroux, he was in the middle of jumping on Letang and his hair for some kind of ambiguously illegal hand motion.
Kunitz finally buried the empty net. Everyone exhaled and tried not to pee themselves.
Chris Kunitz is our favorite cannonball.
Kim got a nosebleed from her reaction to this goal.
INDIVIDUAL AWARDS WELP
Sid didn't do a ton, except get three shots on goal, play 19 minutes, and be on the ice for Giroux's bullshit and win some faceoffs (65% of them). Didn't light up the world but we didn't need him to tonight.
Let's just hope that the hockey media doesn't see this all as wasted expectations and start bugging us about him all the time for different reasons.
MOST FLEXIBLE SCHENN
whichever one this is we think it's luke
ALTERNATIVE THREE STARS
1. Brandon Sutter. DUH. oh god hold us
2. Jakub Voracek. Please go home to Columbus where you belong is your mother back in Kladno worried when was the last time you called her
3. Paul Martin, 2 assists, NONE TOO SHABBY
get ready to die
EDITED TO ADD:
HEY REMEMBER HOW ERIC TANGRADI IS SUPPOSED TO BE MALKIN'S WINGER BECAUSE US NEITHER WHOSE IDEA WAS THAT SHIT
someone please send him back to Wilkes-Barre we can't do this all season