Preseason Starts with a Bang

I have a confession to make. It was difficult to sit around and listen to the broadcast of the Pens preseason opener against Detroit – a game the Pens won 5-1.

Yes, it signaled the start of the season and the beginning of the Consol Energy Center era. Nonetheless, preseason hockey is a lot like preseason football – mostly worthless. Sure, there are a couple of roster spots up for grabs, and there’s a few lineup questions that need answered. But, for the most part, we all know what the Pens opening-night roster will look like.

Then again, if Brett Sterling and Ryan Craig keep playing like they did last night, we could be in for a surprise or two. Sterling and Craig – two offseason signings that didn’t generate a whole lot of interest – acquitted themselves quite well against Detroit. Sterling, in fact, played on the top line with Crosby and Dupuis and scored a goal. (Keep in mind Chris Kunitz didn’t play.) Craig, a veteran of 184 NHL games, scored twice. Like I said when they were signed, both at least will be reliable minor-league call-ups.

It was odd listening to a Pittsburgh-Detroit hockey game and hearing Mike Lange call the names of guys like Joe Vitale and Jesse Boulerice, while Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk were nowhere to be found. Oct. 7 can’t come fast enough.

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