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What Has Me Excited About the Start of the Season

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New beginnings are always stressful, and exhilarating at the same time. What has me chewing my fingernails, and eagerly pacing the floor in anticipation of tonight's puck drop.

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Bruce Bennett

Change is the Only Constant in Life

Life is about change, I do not need to tell you faithful readers that any more than I need to tell you who wears #87 for the our beloved Pens. We all experience change of some sort in our lives, some to a greater extent than others, but the constant is change. I have found in my own life that when change occurs I am always filled with stress, and anticipation. I am pretty sure most of you feel these same emotions to some extent when faced with change.

The Penguins' off season was chock full of changes and for many of us fans we are left stressing over what will happen, while also eagerly anticipating the on-ice product. So with that in mind this post will be a brief overview of what has me stressed, and what has me all jacked up on Mountain Dew about this coming season.

Stress Points

1. The uncertainty of how the Penguins will respond to coach Mike Johnston. I think I am a small voice in a large chorus of writers who are pointing this out, but how will the Penguins respond to the new voice in the locker room? The Pensblog did a nice job the other day of breaking down some of the more recent new coaching hires, and their initial performance. Will we be treated to a Patrick Roy type performance, or more of a Torts in Vancouver output? I think both of those examples are extreme outliers, but I hope it is closer to Roy than Torts. There has been so much speculation out there in the media about this very point, but the fact of the matter is that nobody knows what will happen until we start to see the games.

2.Will Pascal Dupuis be effective? Coming off of his cataclysmic knee injury, I do not believe the question is "Can Dupuis get back to where he was?" Because I do not believe he can, and I do not think it is fair to expect him to be at that level. Father time and the surgeon's knife are both likely to wreck havoc on his ability to do many of the things we saw him do two years ago. I think the better question is can he be effective in the Penguins' top six? With the lack of depth the Pens currently have in the top six it is vital that Dupuis perform effectively.

3.What is going to happen with Paul Martin? It is well documented at this point that Paul Martin is not interested in having extension talks with the Penguins. That has lead to many commentators speculating that he is a candidate to be dealt prior to the trade deadline. Will injuries to the back six prevent this? Or will Pens GM Jim Rutherford deal Martin in an effort to get some return on a talented defenseman who is sure to be gone at the conclusion of the season.

Excitement!

1. The fact that we are seeing another season of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in their primes. I think at times, collectively speaking, we have become spoiled as a Penguins fan base. We have two of the best players in the world suiting up and playing for us every night. I think we need to stop and think about that for a second. We see two of the best players of their generation suit up in black and gold. Just appreciate that fact.

2. Olli Matta, Kris Letang, Christian Erhroff, Paul Martin. I like the top four defenseman, I know Rob Scuderi inspires the same reactions as being told your mom has Ebola, but these guys are good. I am excited to see how they fit into the new system.

3. The Flower's last save? I have touched on it before,but Marc Andre Fleury is under immense pressure to perform well this season. It is a well documented contract year for the Flower, and Jim Rutherford seems willing to roll the dice and see what comes up at the end of the season. Personally I am a huge Fleury fan, but I am also able to reason with my mind instead of my heart. What my mind tells me is that all signs point to this being the end of the road for Fleury in Pittsburgh. So with that in mind I am going to make sure to wear my Winter Classic redux Fleury jersey as many times as possible this season and enjoy the final ride.

Your Take

In the comments be sure to tell us what has you stressed and excited about the upcoming season.