having too many feelings is bad for your body: a brief pittsburgh penguins season preview

Yeah, so, we’ve been really silent.

We read THIS at the Pensblog this morning and of course, we agree somewhat.  For awhile, we couldn’t tell if our disillusionment with the Pens was the result of just our imploding lives swirling into the vortex, separating us so painfully from hockey and all of the flowery, dizzying pursuits of youth.  (Right, we’re 23 and 25 now, and we’re apparently ancient.)

No, it could just be that the Pens have hit that point in their cycle which dramatically lowers our expectations and makes us philosophically question our passions.  We’re talking existential crises.  We’re talking spilling drinks at the bar because you’re too drunk and ordering more drinks.  We’re talking sobbing in the underwear section of Target and having mental breakdowns in airports and disappearing into the Woods and sending cryptic text messages.  We’ve been low.  We’ve been high.  It didn’t help that at the beginning of all of this, our foray into the black hole, the Pens got swept by the Bruins.


(no idea who made this, but it’s perfect)

The Penguins enter the season with some problem children.  We love them anyway but that doesn’t mean they’re well-behaved.  Read more for deets.

Kris Letang

Holy shit, Kris Letang’s contract.  Let’s look at it again.  Keep in mind the way he acts like the sole man in charge when Chernobyl went nuclear when things don’t go his way:



Kris is a true natural talent.  He skates beautifully and when he is playing with confidence he has a serious knack for rushing the puck and creating offense.  The NHL grossly overvalues offensive defensemen and this is just proof.  For what Kris Letang could have fetched on the open market, this is a reasonable price.  And that upsets us.  It makes it harder and harder to fill a team with diverse players when the whole of hockeydom just shoves money up the dick of the first smooth-skating, assist-gathering d-man they see.  We love Kris but he’d crosscheck your mom during a dissociative episode if he was having a bad day.

And of course the Pens encourage people to discuss hair shit (hey guys that’s our job) as opposed to valuing the players on the basis of their performance




If Kris Letang has a career year and shows us the fuck up, we’ll be surprised, but happy.  He’s a good player when he’s on his game.  And we must admit he does look really fucking happy here.  Maybe an omen.  More likely: he’s quietly okay for months, has some two-goal game against like the Sens where everyone says he played well defensively, blocks a couple of shots, gets in some fight by accident, and then, lo and behold, blood sacrifices are performed at center ice and everyone is crying

His contract begins next season, which means he has another year to earn it in our eyes.  We don’t know if that encourages complacency or urgency on Letang’s part.

Joey V as always is flawless in every way.

Dan Bylsma 

he’s starting to remind us of an incompetent boss who gives you a project and you come to him before the deadline and explain that hey, the project isn’t going as planned, I need x, y, and z to complete it, I’m not sure the original deadline is feasible, let’s revise it to this other day, also I got all this good feedback from people and they think that we should go in this direction, but here’s my progress so far, I think it’s going very well all things considered!!!

and then he sips his coffee and is like so yeah can you have that done by Friday I was expecting it by Friday, and a mushroom cloud erupts in the distance

Everyone kind of got over-excited about Danny B saying that Crosby and Malkin know him better than he knows them.  We’re not really sure what that means.  It’s a bizarre thing to say.  We’re absolutely THRILLED about the Olympic year that is coming up and are happy to see Bylsma as the US Olympic hockey coach–but we’re kind of afraid of him.  We think he’s great at motivating men but maybe a little less good at analytically discussing their professional flaws.  We have really come to admire no-bullshit coaching over the last few years.  Mike Babcock is still a terrifying human that we would never invite to a BBQ but you’re an idiot if you say that man isn’t honest and brutal with his underlings when they deserve it.

The big question heading into the Pens season (less so the Olympics, because Olympic teams kind of build themselves from the ground up every four years) is whether Dan Bylsma can crack the fucking whip a bit and make these boys work.  We have a brilliantly exciting and talented team of good dudes.  Really doesn’t go very far when you don’t have a realistic attitude.  Is our coaching realistic?  Or is it just a lot of glittery smoke monsters?

Bylsma apparently told The Fan he wasn’t a “players’ coach” — lol





We could go into more detail, and discuss things like the bizarre delicate handling of Simon Despres, whether Beau Bennett can really become an impact player, what the hell happened to the Tanner Glass we fucking hated in Vancouver, whether Zoë will ever get to wear her Deryk Engelland jersey again. . .

but we have a few happy things to discuss as well.  some of which may be controversial.

Rob Scuderi 

We never thought we’d see the day.


The loss of Rob Scuderi was probably the deepest heartbreak for us as modern era Pens fans.  But he is literally impossible to hate as a human and nearly impossible to dislike as a player.  When he defected to LA for what would prove to be more money than the Pens could have offered him at the time, we accepted that.  He earned his paycheck on the goal line every night, and with his face.  We respected that and understood if he wanted to check out and see if some pastures were a bit greener.  We thought the loss was permanent.

Four years at almost $3.4 million.  Bob Scuds is 34 years old.  It’s a bit of a long term for someone at that age, and maybe a high price tag.  But we see this as “good people money.”  For someone as reliable, genuine, and good at the subtle defensive game of hockey as Rob Scuderi is, the cap hit is acceptable to us.  It makes a hell of a lot more sense than Letang’s contract.  We don’t mean that in the “open market hockey” business sense of contracts.  We mean that in the porch-rocker sense.  Where we sit on our porch rockers and look out on the bayou and talk about how that Bobby is “a good kid.”  Shut up.

Pascal Dupuis 

Same contract more or less as Scuds, give or take $400k.  Dupes became pretty much the rock of this team since the day we traded for him.  Imagining the team without him had people clutching their childhood blankets and weeping.

Dupes does everything, pretty much.  Interesting article from back in May discusses how only 8 players since 2011-12 had scored more goals at even strength.  Pretty much.  The pay raise was well deserved.

Also he is Beard King.


ALSO in case you forgot we still have the two best players in the world, so that’s going to be pretty legit and we are indeed spoiled brats or something and the worst fans and aaaaaaaaa did we get that right, Internet?

Basically, it’s going to be an interesting hockey season.  They all are.  The new divisions are going to be batshit for awhile.  We’re going to enjoy it.  But this is a new era, we feel.  The old gods didn’t make it through the summer.

We will continue to try to gear up for the season by getting our trolling reflexes back in tip top shape.


About Zoë

from Fayette County, living in Boston, chronically fussy. Writing about the Penguins, the CWHL/women's hockey, and hockey/sports media criticism.