For being so loaded offensively, there the Penguins sit just two points above the meddling Sabres. That scrappy little team with its cheap grinding goals and role players outworking all those all stars. What a disgrace to hockey to have a team like that actually sport a decent record against the reigning Eastern Conference Champions. Ryan Miller is obviously terrible, and Lindy Ruff couldn’t out-coach Michel Therrien if he were handed two all-world players and a 1st overall pick in net. What a joke.
Okay, now that I got that out of my system we can talk about tonight’s game. I’m really excited to go tonight because Penguins games always seem to be fun, and there’s always something special about games played around the holidays. It’s hard to describe, but it really does feel more important around Christmas, and inside the Arena is a festive mood for sure.
What I’m excited about tonight is what usually gets me excited: the chance to follow star players around the ice. Sometimes what makes elite players special is not necessarily what they do when they have the puck but what they do without it. Positioning, back checking, communication, foot speed; all of these things make great players but are hard to notice when watching on TV.
Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin all get praises raised to the high heavens from pundits and announcers alike, but sometimes it’s hard to believe if you don’t see it for yourself. Tonight, that’s what I’m going to enjoy watching. In the stands there’s no annoying voice talking at me about how spectacular Crosby and Malkin are. Nor will there be one pointing me towards Vanek or Miller. What I want to do tonight is forget everything people say and just watch the stars put on a show.
It sounds like a simple thing to do, but you just can’t always watch and hear what you want to on TV.