CRANBERRY — The long off-season is finally over and the preseason ramp to the 2023-24 NHL regular season has begun. Last year featured a dubious first in the Sidney Crosby-Evgeni-Malkin era, as the Pittsburgh Penguins missed the playoffs.
But that’s now the past as a new season begins.
The last time the NHL playoffs didn’t include the Penguins, Crosby was a rookie, and Malkin was busy building his “three years, Super League” resume. While it’s obvious the remaining players are excited by the changes for the upcoming season, it’s equally obvious that last season’s nosedive was a swift kick in the pants they won’t forget.
Things are moving forward, including time. Like Crosby, Malkin’s hair showed a whisp of gray on Saturday as he addressed reporters from beneath his customary Penguins hat. And with his customary humor, Malkin acknowledged the end of their extraordinarily successful and enjoyable careers is much closer than the beginning.