D's probably a bigger issue for the Pens than Goaltending at this point, but like I was telling my gf Sunday night (she's not a hockey fan), Thibault's not a cup winner in my eyes... I really look more at the young guy in Fleury being the possible winner... Though Thibault played well Sunday, he showed his typical "oh god" moments in the obligatory shoot-out at the end of the game... Gave up 2 5-hole goals and the 3rd one he gave up he was pulled out of his shorts on it. It was sad, and yes it's nothing to judge the guy on, but he's also never had the greatest track record. Like you said Brent, he's dependable, but he's not the guy I'd think could take them to the finals really and that is worrisome. I'm thinking ahead (far ahead) of course though.
The D's where I see more of a problem than goaltending though... We've always been a weak team defensively (even in the cup years), and we still sort of are. I think we have a young D though and that's positive as the season drags on.
I tell ya what though Brent, watching them last night the LeClaire, Recchi, Crosby line could possibly be one of the most offensively devastating lines in the NHL this season I think (speaking with some bias of course). They were fluid, spot-on passing, and Crosby looked like a veteran the way he was connecting passes. He was taking bumps too but he's a speedy little ****, moving in and out of the crease, around the net, through the slot... He was literally all over the ice a lot of the night.
Lemieux and Palfy on the #1 line (how do you differentiate that though?) was just a thing of beauty. Seeing Lemieux connect a pass through 2 caps defenders and right on Palfy's tape was just a thing of beauty. Made the Caps look like a college team and it was just so fluid and smooth.
Lemieux's health scares me but I think he'll be good. I agree that I think he took the off-year seriously and worked on himself for the next year he knew was likely coming. He looked so sharp last night, was taking (and giving) hits all night, was winding up on shots (which he never does if he's even remotely unhealthy), and was skating real hard. He had a ton of icetime too (I don't have specifics but just watching the game I could tell he played a lot of time, and long shifts by my estimations).
I'm so geeked about this season that I'm actually falling into a reactionary depression that I'm just too old to play at any competitive level... Well I'm not "Old" but my body's not what it was and I know I can't keep up with guys my age and younger who have substantially healthier lives. It's all I can do to struggle through the weeks as it is much less if I was trying to play again. I want to so bad though... I'm gonna settle for shooting the puck around with the kids and getting to as many games as I can afford.
Brent, if you would happen to make a trip to Pittsburgh (one never knows) you gotta head out to a game with me man!