As we stated earlier today, Sidney Crosby will make his road debut tonight as his Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Winnipeg Jets tonight in front of what will be massive audience at Manitoba's mecca, the MTS Centre.
But even with Crosby stealing the spotlight, there were a few questions we needed answered.
With that, here's Hooks Orpik of Pensburgh in our first ever instalment of the Gameday Questionnaire:
1. We're only a few games into the season, how do Pens fans feel about the addition of Tanner Glass to the line-up?
So far, so good. The Pens lost Arron Asham in free agency to the New York Rangers, so Glass was brought in to be his 4th line replacement in terms of energy, throwing some hits and maybe chipping in a point or two every now and then (not that I need to tell you guys how he plays). Glass has been as advertised, his season highlight so far coming right off the opening faceoff on Sunday night when he dropped the gloves -- ironically enough -- with Asham in a long and entertaining fight. Overall Pittsburgh fans are excited to get the chance to watch Glass play and hope that he can find the success he did in Winnipeg with the Pens.
2. Between Evgeny Malkin and Sidney Crosby, who finishes the season with more points?
In a normal year with a full training camp, I’d probably take Crosby. But this season Malkin is flying. He tore up the KHL during the lockout (65 points in 37 games) and has hit the ground running in the NHL too (5 points in 3 games). Malkin also has the advantage of having James Neal as an even strength linemate, while Crosby’s linemates are veterans Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis -- neither of whom played during the lockout and both have looked a little rusty thus far. I wouldn’t be shocked if Sid ended up outscoring Malkin because he's Sidney freaking Crosby and nothing he does should surprise anyone, but at this point Geno just looks like he’s in a higher gear than everyone else out on the ice. He's in prime game-shape and has a pure sniper on his line every shift.
There’s no doubt both stung, especially seeing Talbot play well against the Pens last spring in the playoffs. However, Jordan Staal is a much more effective player, so I’ll choose his departure as the one that hurts more. To make matters worse Staal rejected a ten-year, $60 million contract from the Penguins just prior to his trade. That was the identical contract that he signed with Carolina, which really drove home the point that it wasn’t about money, it was about role and opportunity. It’s painful but Staal just out-grew Pittsburgh and was ready for a change to get some easier minutes and get out from the massive shadow cast by Crosby and Malkin.
The pain has been softened a little because Brandon Sutter is a solid player and the Pens got a Top-10 draft pick plus a good defensive prospect in Brian Dumoulin for a guy who only wanted to go to one specific team. It still sucks to lose a top two-way player like Staal, who's got a unique skillset to go along with size and smarts. It’s not very often teams get a guy like that, and to have to trade him away when he was still just 23 years old really felt like a missed opportunity and that the Pens were leaving a lot on the table, even if they did win one Stanley Cup with him.
4.BONUS: Random Penguin?
Ed. Note: We thank Hooks for giving us his time in this edition of Gameday Questionnaire. Look for this to be a new staple as part of our extensive gameday coverage.