Coming out party for Cooke, Neal

Matt Cooke and James Neal told the hockey world and Penguins nation to shut it.

Cookie, playing his first regular season game since his suspension last season that ended his 2010-2011 campaign, scores two goals and drew a penalty. The whole "can Cooke change his game" question was quickly answered last night, but the hockey world needs to see more than just one game.

How many times did you see Cooke smiling on the ice last night? He knows how talented he is when he isn't hunting for the big hit. And he proved it.

As for James Neal, I've been hating on him hard since the trade last season. I predicted on Twitter (@knucklepucker) the first Penguins goal of the season would come from the stick of Kris Letang on the power play. I was half right. But Neal?

He tied his regular season goal mark from last season in the first period! He looked like a completely different player last night. Maybe it was more time learning and adjusting to Bylsma's system. Either way, Neal looked sharp last night. And this is me, for the time being, eating my words.

It's only the first of 82 games, but both Cooke and Neal turned some heads last night... Luongo's especially.

What a mule.


Damian Romano said...

How about Cookie scoring two goals and Malkin getting an elbow penalty? Bizarro world. That's gonna make for some good fodder for the next podcast.

Joe said...

I'm a little disappointed in Malkin. He blew it up in the preseason, but then tried to pull the "one man army" play style again last night. Maybe it's just me, but he needs to realize if Sid isn't on the ice he doesn't have to take the whole game and put it on his shoulders. We have a talented team out there, so I'm hoping he calms down.

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