The Penguins will be together as a team one final time this morning at Mellon Arena. The team will be gathering their personal effects, breaking down their lockers and heading their separate ways for the off-season.
Some will play on, such as Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin, who will be joining Team Russia in Cologne. Several other Penguins received invitations, but declined them – Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal included — can’t say that I blame them, as most of this team has played an inordinate number of games over the past 24 months.
Today could mark the final moments as members of the Penguins for some big contributors over the past 4 years. Sergei Gonchar, Mark Eaton, Matt Cooke, Ruslan Fedotenko and Bill Guerin, just to name a few. That is always the toughest part of this whole thing. Guys that you have grown to like an awful lot ship out never to be seen again. Though many of these guys have had great moments on the ice, they are even better to deal with off of it and it stinks to see them potentially shipping out.
That aside, I am looking forward to the final moments with the team. It is usually an informative day that provides some insight into what is going to happen free agent-wise, who if anyone has been nursing undisclosed injuries and other great nuggets. Though today will not provide the “feel good” moments of last season’s final day, it is always nice to put a cap on the year that was.
It is a bit odd thinking that this could indeed be the final Penguins “anything” in the building, though I am holding out hope that the Rookie Orientation Camp may be held there this season. We shall see.
In the meantime I will be down there drinking it all in this morning and bringing you all of the action. Check my twitter/Facebook for any immediate important announcements, otherwise I will be updating the blog with post season news and reaction shortly after the session wraps.
Back with more soon!
In the meantime…enjoy, “Our Igloo, Our Home” one more time…
Also, if you haven’t had a chance to read this amazing post from our friend Chris Devivo, who is the Director, Media Technology for Pittsburgh Penguins, please do. It really captured the emotion of the final evening at the rink Wednesday night. Chris has spent many an hour in the old barn and this piece really hit home with me…