7:00 p.m., Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The first game of the year against what might be the Penguins biggest rivals is going to kick off a nice night of Pittsburgh sprots. The puck drops for this one at 7 p.m. while the Steelers take on the Browns at 8:20 p.m. Oh it is going to be fun to have the TV on one and have the other game streaming on my computer. Livin the life people.
If you haven't heard yet Sidney Crosby is going to be down tonight and Saturday against the Islanders because he isn't feeling 100%. The Penguins, and Crosby, are categorizing this as something that shouldn't hamper him more than these couple games and it is all just a precautionary measure. Perfectly fine with this. It's December 8th.
The Penguins are still going to be very shorthanded tonight on the blue line along with missing Crosby against a really good Flyers team that came back from down 3-0 last night to defeat Buffalo in overtime.
As many people know there are a lot of story lines in this game which include the Penguins facing off against Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr for the first time since they became Flyers. They will also be playing in Philadelphia which always make you feel dirty, even if you are sitting at a home far away from the place. You can't dismiss the fact that Flyers are a good hockey team. They can put the puck in the back of the net with the best of them and are led by their stud Claude Giroux. He is one of the best in the game and this beaten down defensive core is going to have a tough time keeping him in check.
I must also say that while a lot of people hold things against Jagr and Talbot I will not be one of those people. Those guys were very important to the Penguins in their times here and just because they are playing for different team's doesn't make them terrible people. I think where people get caught up here is that they care a lot about the Penguins and the Flyers are the biggest rivals to them. Fact is that rivalries are a lot more important to the fans than they are to the players. The players are playing as their job, if they get better money and better opportunity somewhere else then they are going to take it. Would you turn down more money at a rival company of yours? I didn't think so.
Saying that I still hope Brooks Orpik smokes both of them at some point. Not because of who they are, but because they play for the Philadelphia Flyers.
The last time they met:
March 29, 2011 - Philadelphia 5, Pittsburgh 2
The Penguins probables:
Steve Sullivan - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Chris Kunitz - Joe Vitale - Pascal Dupuis
Steve MacIntyre - Craig Adams - Arron Asham
Brooks Orpik - Matt Niskanen
Simon Despres - Paul Martin
Alexandre Picard - Robert Bortuzzo
Marc Andre Fleury
The Flyers probables:
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
James van Riemsdyk - Daniel Briere - Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read - Maxime Talbot - Jakub Voracek
Harry Zolnierczyk - Sean Couturier - Zac Rinaldo
Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle - Marc-Andre Bourdon
Andrej Meszaros - Kevin Marshall