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Friday, December 13, 2013

Wait... There's a game tonight? By, @LuigiLemieux

Wait... There's a game tonight?

Article by Kyle Fritz (@LuigiLemieux) for Pens Initiative

It's been a long week.

I have been pretty busy, after all Christmas is coming. I have been trying to keep up with my mounting bills, and on top of it all I have been house hunting alongside an overbearing and quite long -winded real estate agent that looks eerily like Joan Rivers. Oh and it's also like 2 degrees outside, such is life here in Western Pennsylvania I guess.

However just like you, I have been dealing with trying to kill the hours during what has, following the events of the Bruins game (and a win against the Blue Jackets) felt like an offseason all it's own. After a week filled with unfortunate replays, and talking heads preaching the way of "The Code",You could imagine the giddy excitement I experienced upon learning that there was indeed an actual Penguins game tonight.

This game is a big one. Not in the sense of it being a "Must win" game that could decide the Metro, however you have to take a look at our Penguins, depleted by injury, caught up in controversy and seemingly skating wounded atop the Metropolitan Division save for the presence of the best player in the World accompanied by the suddenly resurgent goal scoring machine of Evgeni Malkin.

Then you take the Devils, coming off a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and trying to gasp for postseason air near the bottom of our division. With their often infuriating style of play and some guy named Jaromir Jagr, one thing is for sure, and that is when the Pens play the Devils, everything that we believe to be true usually becomes null and void.

These two teams have history. Although not always branded by NBC as a traditional rivalry, I can assure you it very much is. But you know that. Being a fan of the Penguins you understand that nothing other than the sight of an a Bruin assulting your players infuriates you quite as much as Double-J pumping his fists in front of Fleury. Tonight is big for a few reasons, more than anything I think it will show us just how resilient our boys actually are.

The hits just keep on coming. By hits I mean injuries, and by injuries I mean our games have started looking less like a professional sporting event and more like an old episode of Tom and Jerry. Through it all our mettle has been tested, our resolve placed front and center for the world to see. Our young players getting the chance to show they have what it takes to get us through the rough patches.

This is what I as a fan am going to be looking closely at tonight. Can our young Finnish phenom keep playing as far beyond his years as he has without the supporting cast of Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi, and Brooks Orpik? Can Jayson Megna and Evgeni Malkin keep the unlikely chemistry flowing? Tonight, away against a good team that always plays us hard, in an arena that will show us no love, we will see.

This is not what we as sports fans wish for, but this may be just what we need. These are the stretches where big time players are discovered. This is the time of year where prospects become game-changers, and the heart of a team can be measured. Tonight we see what we have, what we need, and what we must change to keep our position as the Metro's team to beat as we work our way through the trials of the mid-season in true blue-collar fashion.

Yes, these are when the true fans watch the closest. Enjoy it.

Let's Go Pens.

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