Open practice at the brand spanking new Consol Energy Center (Destiny's new home, evidently) is the semi-serious start of the new season. And speaking as a bonified Pens-Addict I can say that it calmed the withdrawals a bit. But like any true addict, now I want more! The arena itself is bright, shiny, new, and pretty awesome. There are going to be problems with the strange 3 entry access (none of which are on the main concourse level), but the views are stunning and I couldn't see a bad place to sit in the whole house. There was a pretty big crowd of people at the two main entrances, but we barely filled the two parts of the lower bowl when we were all allowed to thunder in. Some (strange) fans were evidently trying out their seats in the upper section, and they must have approved, cause they stayed there the whole practice.
The players are broken up into three groups: A, B, and C. The Tower of Flower Power was relegated along with Geno and Le-Tank to group C. Groups A and B each ran drills and then had a scrimmage. The Goalies for A were Johnson and Theisen, and for B were Curry and Modig. A scrimmage is supposed to be like a full speed practice, but some players seemed to forget this occasionally. Brooksie is a defensive machine. If you put someone between him and the boards there is going to be a loud bang. I'd like to tell you who it was, but I couldn't identify him after the hit. Michalek snowplowed Talbot (who scored the only goal of the scrimmage on Johnson) into the corner drawing one of only two penalties during the scrimmage. Sid jumped up and took the shot for the penalty that Orpik drew.
After the scrimmage Group C took the ice. There was a really large cheering section for Marc Andre, as you might imagine. Also there was a mass exodus to the end he was defending. During one of the drills MAF went behind the net to play the puck. Someone (who shall remain nameless for his protection) bumped into the Flower and knocked him to the ice. You'd have thought someone knifed him. It was a small bump, really. Everyone froze for a moment exept for Fleury, who jumped up without his stick and dove in front of the net to stop the puck from getting in. There was much rejoicing.
And Oh yes... there will be more.... GO PENS!!!