To continue the observations on the Pittsburgh Penguins that has seemed well received lately, here's some more things for your consideration.
#1: Ryan Wilson from HockeyBuzz pointed out something that caught our eye over the weekend- Minnesota's Jonas Brodin signed a six year, $25 million cap hit ($4.1 million cap hit). What could that mean for Olli Maatta, who could sign a contract extension next summer. It's looking waaaay down the road, but could be a benchmark to consider if the Penguins want to go for a long-term deal with their young defenseman.
#2 Maatta only had 20 assists last season- which again might not be that bad for a teenaged defensemen in the NHL. He had 3 on opening night. With Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff, Paul Martin and Evgeni Malkin all in front of Maatta on the depth chart for power play minutes on the point, how high can the young Finn go? It will be difficult to produce a ton without the PP minutes.
#3: Sidney Crosby was named the NHL's 3rd star of the week, behind Tomas Plekanec and Darcy Kuemper. Tough crowd, huh?
#4 Crosby's off to the best two-game start (3 goals, 3 assists) of his 10 season NHL career, which draws into mind a couple things. His career high is 120 points in a season in 2006-07, which no one has even come close to since that year. (Evgeni Malkin 's 113 in 2008-09 is the closest). Crosby's best start was the first 41 games in the fall of 2010 when he scored 32 goals and 34 assists in 41 games. Double that if he completed the season and kept that pace and it would be 132 points. But sadly, the concussion happened and we'll never know.
#5 I hope we get to find out this year.
#6 If there's ever a bad time for a 4 day break in between games, it would be now, right? The Pens started the season with two games in three days and put up 11 goals in them, looking about unstoppable offensively. Fans put more into momentum carrying over from day-to-day and game-to-game, but you can bet the team will be chomping at the bit on Thursday night against the Stars.
#7 It's hard to have a social life and be a good Penguins fan. Pittsburgh plays on the first 14 Saturday nights in a row to start the season, not having an off Saturday all the day until January 17th. Get those date nights in late January and February, because they're back at it every Saturday night in March and April in the regular season.
#8 Speaking of scheduling, a lot has been made of the Florida Panthers only drawing an announced 7,300 people to a game last night. Tough draw for the NHL to put a weak opponent in there on a fall Monday night when there's football, baseball playoffs, TV and little motivation to go to a Florida Panther game. The league should have looked out and put a good drawing team (Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, Toronto, NYR) for such a game. It seemed like the Pens usually took an October trip to Miami in recent years, it's a shame they didn't this season.
#9 Which also makes me laugh when Penguins fans seriously thought Dan Bylsma would go to Florida to coach. As if they could afford to pay a coach of his stature or that he would want to languish in hockey purgatory.
#10 In the range of wishful to possibly serious, Bylsma's been tied by far out rumors to anywhere from Toronto to Philadelphia to New York Islanders for possible mid-season replacements. It will be a fun storyline to see if a team struggles early, do they fire their coach and try to bring in the best mid-season replacement ever?