OK, the Pittsburgh Penguins are playing in Vancouver against the Canucks, and I'm in Philadelphia, but you get my point. Hockey is back!
While every year since Sidney Crosby was drafted has been big, this season feels like it has the potential to be the most intense and exciting. Word from the media and the team is the Evgeni Malkin revved up his workout routine and wants to carry this team to another Stanley Cup.
Sidney Crosby is going to come back, my guess is late November, but will he be the same player he was before his concussion last year. I wonder if other teams and their fans have forgotten that he was head and shoulders above the rest of the league last year before he got hurt? They'll remember soon enough.
The defense that was one the best in the league last year has had another year to come together. Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin have had a full year of playing together and learning the team's system. They are going to be sick.
Marc-Andre Fleury will be hated upon by my brother, father and half of Pittsburgh. Then Fleury will tear shit up and cause these haters to go hide in holes for months at a time.
Dan Bylsma has the most to prove. He went from the golden child who won a cup in his first half season, to premature playoff exits the past two years. He won the Jack Adams last season, but even I have to admit he seemed too stubborn to adjust at times. Will he be more willing this year? He's going to need to be.
Will the power play not suck all season? Some fans like to cling to the hope that one player can make a difference each year. Last year it was Alexei Kovalev. This year it's Steve Sullivan. It takes more than one guy to make the power play effective. They need to stop being fancy, move around and get the puck to the net, damnit!
It's going to be a fun, thrilling, sometimes frustrating, intense season. I can't wait.
Warren Zevon - Hit Somebody