So where to start with the New FF? How about Fleury, the elder statesman of this group? On this evening, he bested one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, while raising his season win/loss mark to 5-3. He stopped 20 of 22 shots and lowered his season goals-against average to 2.50 in the process. After years of being jerked around by Craig Patrick, it looks like Fleury has finally found his rhythm in the league.
Next up is rookie Jordan Staal. The Penguins' latest #1 draft pick, Staal is making the team's decision to keep him or send him back to Juniors a very tough one (of which I would LOVE to hear your opinion). Tonight he scored his 4th goal, and his first of the non-shorthanded variety. He has been excellent killing penalties and has played with poise beyond his years. So should the Pens keep him on the big club, or return him postage due to the Peterborough Petes?
Now we shift to Sidney Crosby, who has lived up to all of the incredible hype we've heard since his early teen years. He's notched three goals and nine assists, many of the highlight variety. I don't know how many adjectives I can use to describe his awesomeness at such a young age. I can only thank the Hockey Gods for once again gracing this city for giving us the best player in the league yet again.
Of course, the best player in the league label could eventually apply to the fourth superhero: Evgeni Malkin. Malkin scored his 4th goal in as many NHL games, the first player since the Rangers' Steven King in 1992 to pull that off. His goal tonight is the stuff YouTube legends are made of. We can only hope that some Pens fan out there will post it so we can all watch it again and again.
Tonight, the rest of the hockey world got a glimpse of the future, and the game ended with the Penguins in first place. Get used to the view, Pens fans, because we will be there a long time. The Fantastic Four will only continue to improve, and the complimentary young players such as Welch, Whitney, Letang, Moore, Orpik and Armstrong will continue to grow with them. Unlike our baseball team, the Pittsburgh Penguins actually knock down the foundation and rebuild it in less than 14 years.
UPDATE: Thanks to reader "Banzai" who points out that the YouTube video is live!