Hockey is Back! (We Think)

From benstonium.com. Some seriously funny local yinzers...

From benstonium.com. Some seriously funny local yinzers…

We’re not going to dwell on the lockout today. Be sure that this is the stupidest lockout in the history of professional sports. But way more importantly it seems that it is officially over and we couldn’t be more stoked. There will be a time to dissect the petty, childish antics of both sides, there will be time to examine how everyone lost in this lockout, and there will be time to examine how this lockout has permanently altered our fanhood across all sports. But today is not that day. Today we celebrate the return of the highest form of competition for the greatest sport in the world: the NHL.

But we can’t get ahead of ourselves. There might be better breakdowns out there but this is the one that I read first and I trust Katie Strang with my life (at least until the Pens play the Rangers). Unless you’ve never experienced a single day of real work in your life you’ll know from that article that there is still quite a bit of work to finish before the real hockey can get under way.

First and foremost, the league needs to figure out if it is going to play 50 games or 48. From what I’ve seen, 50 games would mean 5 games apiece against the division (Rangers, Flyers, Devils, and Islanders, don’t worry I forgot too) and then 3 games apiece against the rest of the Eastern Conference. The 48 game schedule would be literally insane: 7 games apiece against the division and 2 games against the other 10 conference teams. As a Pens fan I’m hoping for the 50 game schedule. Yes I love the heated rivalry games against the Rangers and the Flyers but I’d rather deal with them in the playoffs and get more gimme games against the other, considerably weaker, divisions during the regular season. Last year the Penguins were a combined 13-11 (13-10-1 if you want to be specific) against the Atlantic Division, which isn’t overly impressive if we’re honest. And realistically speaking that has to deal with the top to bottom competitiveness of the Atlantic—don’t forget that of the 8 playoff teams from the East, four of them came from the Atlantic while the Northeast and Southeast only contributed 2 apiece. And nothing is really going to be different this year, the Devils may be down with the loss of their captain Zach Parise (yeah that happened too) but they’re still a stout defensive team with plenty of explosive offensive talent. The Flyers lost two of their top-6 wingers, Jagr and van Riemsdyk, but they got even better on defense in the process, and the best regular season team in the East, the Rangers just added more offensive talent (in Rick Nash) without trading away any of their defense. Hell, this might officially be the year when the Islanders start to show the potential of their frequent lottery picks from the last few years, as such I would like to minimize the games against those teams and maximize games against Buffalo, Toronto, and the entirety of the Southeast.

We’ll be back early in the week to take a look at the Pens’ roster and to see what potential moves could be on the horizon (hint: the reacquisition of Sergei Gonchar is near the top of that list for this guy). Until then, Tonight we Dance for Tomorrow they unleash the Dogs!

Oh and here is some MJ because this is the happiest song I could think of:

P.S. This is our 100th post. Thank you to everyone who has ever given us a look. Hopefully we have literally hundreds more to go before all is said and done!!!

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