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The coliseum was not noticeably crowded on Tuesday night.  The amount of fans felt familiar, but the passion and urgency for a Tuesday night game against a West Coast team was far from normal.  Nobody knows how this season will turn out, but one thing that seems for sure is that this will be more successful a team then what we've had in recent years, and the fans are absolutely EATING it up.  And good for us, god knows we deserve it.  Let's just all make sure to not get too far ahead ourselves…the last few seasons have started pretty positive as well.  But who am I kidding…this shit is different.  We are…good!



The Opponent:  Ah, the old one sided rivalry where an inferior team/fan base loses in the playoffs to another team and immediately deems them 'rivals'.  All this while the team that one moves on to other things and could care less.  Toss in a night of crazy fighting with almost all different players 5 years ago (Konopka anyone?) and you have a…wait for it…fake rivalry!  So here we are to face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time this season.  We all know their deal - 2 best forwards in the game, some excellent roll players behind them, and a highly offensive defense.  It's Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Dupuis, Legang…and on and on.  This has been the most skilled team the last 8 years that could never accept their goalie wasn't good enough.  Now the team has a new GM and coaching staff, so let's see if that does the job.  And oh yeah, they did win the cup some years back…

Thoughts on the Isle:

- Bailey had jump all night and deserved that goal.  He won't continue…but if he did, look out…

- Conacher was a really good pickup - love the energy, speed, and physicality.  Kind of catching me by surprise…

- Grabovski injury hurts.  Some would say subbing out Grabovski for MacDonald is a downgrade, but Colin knows his job is on the line.  If he has any plans of continuing and NHL career, he needs to be the best 4th liner on the ice tonight

- Thinking Chad Johnson would be the better play tonight.  Halak has played well, but not well enough to say the job is his.  But he'll get another run at it tonight

- Love the way De Haan plays and really happy he's back.  The D keeps getting better.

- Leddy is an RFA after this season which means he'll be back next year and that's fantastic.

- I miss Michael Grabner.  Shorthanded breakaways are fun

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