So, the Penguins are back tonight, and my preparedness is minimal.
I watched my first NHL game in what felt like millennia last night. Bruins vs. Sabres on NBC. For a game that went to OT, I failed to feel the Deep Feelings that I know hockey can bring me. It was a great time, don't get me wrong. But it didn't feel real. Probably because the Sabres were involved though, tbh. So it took some mental gymnastics to come to terms with the fact that the Pens are playing tonight. . .and then I realized, wait. We're playing the Habs.
Okay. Feelings are slowly returning.
Key dates and ideas to have in mind as we move forward with the National Hockey League, that deliciously inferior product that we don't know how to stop eating, like average-ass potato chips or 99 cent coffee:
- The trade deadline is March 5 at 3pm Eastern. Less than a week.
- With Kris Letang's return uncertain, and an Olympic injury to Paul Martin, it's looking like we again have to rely on the younger defense. But we honestly don't mind. Maatta-Niskanen, Orpik-Engelland, Scuderi-Bortuzzo are the pairs from this morning's skate. We wish Letang a speedy recovery and all-around success in life, and we are HASHTAG BLESSED to have defense like this. Anyone can say what they will about the Penguins, but the drafting and acquisition of defensemen post-2005 lockout for the Penguins has been unbelievably good, and we're reaping the benefits right now. We're winning games this season because guys like Maatta, Bortuzzo, and Despres are playing beyond their years. Maatta is a fucking Olympian. Sorry we are just over here swooning and crying.
- Lord knows when we get to see Pascal Dupuis again. But he looks to be in good spirits.
- Tomas Vokoun returning is a good sign, but Zatkoff has turned into a reliable second option, so we're not fussed about goaltending.
- If MAF wins a playoff series this year, all bets are off, we'll be ready to go all the way. The stretch is coming.
- Stadium series on Saturday. oof.
- Since the Penguins are basically running away with the division since the rest of the division is trash, we're mostly concerned to see how they perform against other playoff teams. The Chicago game might actually be huge since the teams have similar records. Circle also the Ducks game on the 7th, the Lightning game on the 22nd, and the Blues game on the 23rd. The entire latter half of March for the Pens is a pretty competitive stretch. April calms down a bit.
- 24 games left total. That feels like a hell of a lot. But still a manageable number. Let's do this.
See you shortly. Go Pens.