This game is really unique for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They give out thousands of tickets to youth hockey players in the region and they all fill the arena wearing their respective jerseys and show a lot of excitement.
As usual, this game is against the Columbus Blue Jackets. I remember I had media credentials for one of these games a few years ago and it was just FILLED with fights. The kids were going crazy. The big boys were beating each other up.
After the game on the elevator down myself and big time Jesse Marshall (now of The Athletic fame) were together and packed in tight with none other than then general manager Ray Shero and other Penguins luminaries and staffers. Someone made the remark in a joking, good-natured manner "gee, why did we have to have all these fights in front of the kids?"
With a wink and a smile, Shero calmly and coolly said something like "hey, it's a rough game, and I think they had a good show for 'em".
Lots of smiles and laughs. And that's what hockey is all about. And hopefully in a good-natured way that's what this game will be today. They'll play Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber songs and screams will go up. Sidney Crosby, if he plays, when he touches the puck will be met by high-pitched squeals of pre-pubsecent young lads and lasses thrilled to see their hero.
Just the way hockey should be. Never lose sight of that. Last preseason game. Let's go.