Now that was all-right. Lots of hardcore fans in the stands tonight (which always bodes well for GT sales) and I can say I saw "The Kid" back when he was just 18. It's also a good thing that I got to see him, because he won't be back here until he's 21.
A couple quick takes on Crosby. If you got your copy of GT tonight, you know I fawned all over his skills in the team matchup stuff on page one, but I've never seen more of him than I did tonight. I was impressed. Scoreless, yes, but the flashes were there. More importantly, I saw young Sidney Crosby stand up for himself. I'm not even talking about when Barret Jackman backed him into a corner, I'm talking about stuff that couldn't have been on TV. Way behind the play, as he was getting ready to jump on the Pens' bench, Crosby boarded (legally) McClement and then pinned him a bit before shoving him. Good for him. He's going to see a lot of static, so he better be able to stand up for himself. I respect that.
I do have one pet peeve about "The Kid" (and that will be the last time I make the effort to put in the quotes and caps), which I might as well go into here, since I don't want to save it for three more years. When he scored his first NHL goal, a jam-in near the net, he skated around to the corner, and as he was backing into the boards awaiting his teammates, he intentionally popped his helmet/visor, presumably so that all the photos and video taken of him would show more of his face. I assume he knows that those shots will be more auotograph-worthy or something, because it was a deliberate move.
So, I'm left thinking that this 18 year old kid has been sitting around worrying about the marketability of his first goal.
"Gotta see the face, Sid, that'll make more money."
Granted, most kids envision how they'll celebrate their first NHL goals, I'm sure, but most probably have their plans go out the window when the excitement and emotion of the moment overtake them.
Probably a small problem, but still it bugs me.
The building was nearly full tonight because of the Pens and the kid, but when I say 'nearly full', it isn't like when we used to say 'nearly full' last season. Lots and lots of seats open, but at least more than usual.
I liked the Blues effort tonight as they recognized that with all the injuries that Crosby was a one-man show. They shut him down and that was that. What happened to Ryan Malone, by the way? That kid was invisible tonight, and he was a 20+ goals scorer last season. Was he playing with Mario back then? I really don't know, but he was a ghost.
Boguniecki was back for one last time after the trade just a couple days ago. He did his Tyson Nash impression and ran around hitting everyone, but was largely ineffective. Which is why, of course, he was traded for an ineffective defenseman like Steve Freakin Poapst in the first place. I did enjoy seeing Bogie taking a run at Poapst late in the second though. He hit him hard into the corner, but no one really got hurt. It was a nice try, and consistant with what we expect of Bogie. He was never the same player as he was when he came up two seasons ago and scored goals because no one knew to pay attention to him. He'll never be a 20-goal guy again, but he's a likeable player for fans and teammates, and one that the folks from Pittsburgh will grow to like.
For whatever reason...scratch that. I know the reason. Because my first-ever contest was about Lee "Dutchie" Stempniak and the amount of references I've heard to him since that contest, I realized that Stempniak has become my second-favorite player who wears the Note. Drake of course holds the top spot, but I now find myself looking for #12 on the ice at every opportunity. If you check my editors article from tonight, you'll see that I really think the Blues are missing an opportunity here. Dartmouth Dutchie and Harvard Ryan? It's a natural. In related news, Dutchie will be tending bar at J. Buck's tomorrow in Clayton from 5:30-6:30.
I'm sure that not many GT readers hang at J. Buck's a lot and that not many people who frequent J. Bucks will recognize a guy like Stempniak behind the bar unless he's wearing a sign that says, "I'm Lee Stempniak. I Play For The Blues. Really. What? No. The Blues Are A Professional Hockey Team Here In St. Louis." Yes. A giant, giant sign.
But, if you do, please drop a Dutchie on him at some point. He's the official Game Time Rookie, after all. I'd love to go, but I'm sure I'll forget.