I can't recall which game Bob Errey made the comment, "It's games like these that bring teams together," but there hasn't been truer words to explain the starting of the season for the Pens. The injury bug has reared its ugly head once again in the Pens locker room, but this time it's brings a silver lining. Now you may be asking yourself, "How in the world is there silver lining when you best players are sitting on the bench?" I say, worth. We are getting a reminder of the worth and abilities of guys we may have taken for granted. Craig Adams, Matt Cooke, Brent Johnson, Pascal Dupuis and how about the rookie, Joe Vitale, the guy has been beaten, battered and bruised and still makes plays or James Neal who is on a complete other level, all without the services of Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby.
It's easy to say that guys are better when playing along side of Sid and Geno, although it's very true, in our current situation, those guys are proving they have the talent with or without them. We see why Jordan Staal is such a huge asset to the team even when he isn't scoring, we see why Sir Mario Lemieux didn't kick Matt Cooke off the team, we see why Chris Kunitz got his extension and why Alex Goligoski is playing in Dallas, not to mention the ability of the depth we have through Wilkes-Barre and Wheeling. All the things that make Ray Shero the mastermind he truly is. It's the heart and soul of this team that makes them that much better. The never quit attitude.
So tonight as the Pens battle the Devils, win or lose, take note of the effort and skill we sometimes overlook because in the face of adversity stands a diving Joe Vitale to keep a puck in play, a bleeding Deryk Engelland who just fought to get his team going, an ecstatic James Neal who just tied up the game or a dancing Brent Johnson as Led Zeppelin plays after robbing a streaking player of a sure goal.
"It's the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles."