PITTSBURGH — The Penguins win was not pretty, nor was it anything to base lasting judgments despite what Twitter tastemakers proclaim. The Penguins won. They beat the Washington Capitals. They scored seven goals but allowed six. Kris Letang chased the puck in the first period like a dog chasing cars, and so did a few other players, such as Evgeni Malkin. But the greatness of the Penguins is those players taketh, but usually giveth more.
And such was the case Thursday night in the Penguins season debut. The figurative rubber bullets of training camp gave way to live fire, a sold-out crowd with energy, and a challenging opponent.
There were a few external adjustments for the Penguins which had nothing to do with the Capitals.
Remember the rubber springboards in the old Joe Louis Arena? Detroit knew how to play them, and their defensemen loved to miss a slapshot by a foot only to watch the rebound bounce off the boards to the front of the net where the mule Johan Franzen was waiting like an oversized child for his Christmas present.
Without much fanfare or press releases, many teams around the league adopted new boards this season. They sometimes make the puck look like a super ball which costs a quarter near the gumball machine. The boards fooled more than a few players and the goaltenders, Thursday night. PHN will publish a more in-depth story on the game-changing boards Friday or Saturday after speaking with more players.