Perhaps one of the only things that keeps a hockey fan alive during the offseason is looking forward to the start of next season.
This afternoon, the thought of next season became slightly more of a reality.
The Pens' six-game preseason schedule is highlighted with two home-and-home series against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets, a road game in Montreal, and will conclude with a Sunday afternoon Stanley Cup rematch against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
The schedule looks like this:
Friday, Sept. 18 vs. Toronto, 7:30 PM
Monday, Sept. 21 @ Montreal, 7:30 PM
Tuesday, Sept. 22 @ Toronto, 7:00 PM
Thursday, Sept. 24 @ Columbus, 7:00 PM
Friday, Sept. 25 vs. Columbus, 7:30 PM
Sunday, Sept. 27 @ Detroit, 5:00 PM
While preseason hockey is hardly much of a measuring stick as to how teams will stack up once the games actually count, it is still hockey, which is better than nothing.
Similar to last season, the Penguins' offseason will be short and sweet.
Before you know it, training camp will be underway, and by the end of September we'll all have a pretty good idea of what the 2009-10 Penguins' lineup will look like.
The matchups against the Leafs and Canadiens should be interesting, considering that both teams have begun relatively large roster overhauls this offseason.
If nothing else, we'll at least get our first look at Hal Gill in a Habs' uniform.
The game against the Wings will be hyped as an early season Stanley Cup rematch, one that will give us a glimpse of which team will have a chance to resume its dominance over the other.
In reality, it doesn't mean a thing.
The Wings and/or Penguins could house three full lines of guys that won't ever make it out of the American League once the regular season gets underway.
Let's Go Pens.