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The [pre]season begins today

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Happy day to you Penguins fans and loyal Pensburgh readers. For those who labored through the somber summer with us, to those who have read for a few years now and hey, to the newcomers who may very well be reading this as their first Pensburgh post, welcome to the official start of hockey season.

A lot can be said of preseason play, but few can argue with one true fact: from the second those guys hit the ice tonight, the switch is officially flipped from "offseason" to "hockey season."

Tonight, as the Penguins play host to the Red Wings, we'll all have a chance to see a few new faces amidst the crowd of returning veterans. Simon Despres, Joe Morrow and Scott Harrington may only play a game or two during this preseason, but now's a great opportunity to catch an early glimpse of what the front office saw in them in their respective draft years. Watch now, and soon you can say, "Yeah, I was a fan back when he wore (insert obscure number that he probably won't wear again) during the 2011-12 preseason." It's kind of like saying you liked a band when they were underground - before they got all popular and sold out to a record label.

Keep your eyes out for a roster that will likely hit the Penguins' site today a few hours before game time. I wouldn't expect many veterans will be in line to play, but there's always a few that look to hit the ice for at least five minutes or so in an effort to stretch out the legs. If I had to guess, I'd say Kris Letang and Jordan Staal may be two of those guys. Not sure yet if the Pens are looking to rush Evgeni Malkin in there just yet, but knowing what we know about his offseason work ethic, he probably wants the game to start the second he wakes up. If he sleeps at all.

Tonight's game is available on Root Sports in the Western PA area and on the US version of NHL Network. If you'd like we can shake off the dust from the open threads and get one rolling tonight.

Update: (Line combos courtesy of Staalkineal):

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Dupuis-Park-Asham
Gibbons-Vitale-McDonald
Thompson-Craig-Walker