Good morning one and all! The fall has arrived and with it my children's many extracurricular activities. So here I am at the Alliance Francaise keeping up on hockey news while my little people are busy conjugating avoir and être 17 different ways. I have the better end of the deal, I think.
The Pens play the Columbus Blue Jackets today in their traditional Free Game for Kids. They have distributed 18,000 free tickets through youth hockey programs. The Pens are a tremendous organization that has influenced growth of hockey in western PA manifold, and in the recent ESPN The Mag annual fan survey that had them at the top of all NHL franchises their community involvement, fan outreach and involvement in youth programs was ranked off the charts. I know it starts from the ownership, but also people like David Morehouse need to be commended for excellent work.
The lineup for tonight's game has been announced. The Pens have been practicing since 8:30 am this morning and there were many line combinations tried out. The game's at 4 pm. Sid has already had a couple of close calls this preseason, and thankfully is not in the lineup tonight. Today's Pens notebook also explores Kobasew's chances of actually making the lineup.
More good stuff from my favorite new site called Puck Prediction. This talks about sample sizes and what we can expect in the course of the 82-game season compared to this year's shortened one that allowed for many aberrations. The prime example of that were, of course, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who made the playoffs on some early season high shooting % and excellent goaltending despite getting heavily outshot. This offseason they went ahead and parted ways with players like Mikhail Grabovski and instead retained Tyler Bozak, so let the season of fear and loathing in Toronto begin. The hypothesis we're testing is as follows: over the course of a regular season the Leafs don't have enough skill to overcome the negative shot differential and will not make the playoffs.
Be careful what you say in online discussion forums, people, because anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. At least in Canada it will. Brian Burke, former Toronto Maple Leafs GM and now president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames, has won the defamation judgment against five online commenters in the BC Supreme Court. The judgment pertains to civil damages yet to be determined but will include Burke's legal expenses. I've always liked Brian Burke despite his many imperfections and I know American laws are far from perfect, but holy mackerel, Canada. I rather hope their courts are so underutilized due to abundance of civility that they had plenty of time to devote to judging this pettiness.
Have a great weekend and happy 49th birthday to our very own Bob Errey!