Enough with the hypothetical questions.
Enough with the system talk.
Enough about the new faces, things jelling and feeling comfortable.
Thank God, a hockey game.
“I think we’re ready,” Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta said, echoing what every other hockey fan — and writer — in Pittsburgh is thinking.
Tonight’s season-opener is a glitzy matchup, for sure. The skill of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin against the size of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler.
It will be fascinating to see how Penguins coach Mike Johnston, who has the last change, uses Crosby. Does he play him against Getzlaf and Perry’s line? Or does he have him out against Kesler?
All three Anaheim forwards are big and physical, Kesler being probably the nastiest of the bunch.
“I don’t want to overmatch, where you have your guys changing all the time,” Johnston said. “But certainly there are particular matchups in the game that we’re going to pay particular attention to tonight and throughout the first several games.”
Getzlaf is plenty familiar with Crosby considering they played on Canada’s Olympic team together, and he’s looking forward to the challenge of potentially facing who he called the best player in the world.
“It’s fun to go up against him,” Getzlaf said. “Especially this early in the season and kick things off.”
The Penguins have a tough task, too. Getzlaf (6-foot-4), Perry (6-3) and Kesler (6-2) are all huge … and quite talented. Getzlaf totaled 87 points last season to finish second to Crosby in the scoring race.
“They’re big bodies, and they definitely have some skill,” defenseman Paul Martin said. “They can create shots and get it on the net. The less time they have with the puck on their sticks the better for us.”
Better for everyone will be to start the real stuff already.
See, Perry agrees with me.
“Everybody is eager to get going,” Parry said. “Stop playing against each other and start playing the games for real. This is what it’s all about.”
News out of the skate: Not much Penguins-wise, other than the fact that, yes, Malkin and Maatta will play. … Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler has been cleared and will play. A leg injury suffered in practice kept Fowler out of the Ducks’ final exhibition game. He practiced two days in a row before receiving medical clearance. … Though the Ducks didn’t announce it, expect Whitehall native John Gibson to start in net. … Pittsburgh’s Zach Sill was off the ice well before fellow forward Andrew Ebbett this morning, an indication he’ll get the start.
TV/Radio: Root Sports/105.9 FM
About the Ducks: Anaheim is coming off its second consecutive Pacific Division title and top record in the Western Conference last season at 54-20-8 for 116 points. … In season openers, Anaheim is 5-15-0 over 20 seasons. Sixteen of those have been on the road, and the Ducks have won just three of those. … Anaheim’s big offseason acquisition was Kesler, whom they got in a trade from the Vancouver Canucks.
The series: The Penguins went 2-0 against the Ducks last season, winning 3-1 on Nov. 18, 2013 in Pittsburgh and 3-2 (SO) in Anaheim on March 7. Brandon Sutter had the GWG in the first game and the shootout-deciding goal in the second. … Malkin led all scorers with four points in those games. … Pittsburgh’s all-time record vs. Anaheim is 14-9-3 overall, 9-3-2 in Pittsburgh. … Penguins are 24-13-9 all-time in home openers and 21-19-6 all-time in season openers.
Next up: Saturday at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m.