(Matt Drzik/Beaver County Radio)
“This team is built to win right now.”
That “team” is the Pittsburgh Penguins, who open their 2022-23 regular season against the Arizona Coyotes at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday night. The Penguins Penguins Radio network color analyst Phil Bourque joined Matt Drzik on the morning of the game (October 13) to discuss the upcoming season for the Penguins, who signed Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to extended contracts during the past offseason.
“They need to pay ownership and management back for bringing the team back together again,” Bourque said, “Because a lot of people thought ‘There’s no way we can bring Tanger AND Geno back’, and they found a way to do that.” The return of Malkin and Letang with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby marks the 17th consecutive season of the trio playing together–tying the North American sports record.
Penguins management added several new faces to the lineup in the offseason, including Ty Smith, Jan Rutta, and Ryan Poehling…but the one new face that Bourque sees having the biggest impact is defenseman Jeff Petry. “Jeff Petry is a guy that I think will lighten the load for Kris Letang, as far as what’s expected for a defenseman for driving some offense,” Bourque stated. “The one thing we were kinda lacking was jam, some toughness on the backside. That’s why I think they moved Mike Matheson and John Marino, and brought in Jan Rutta and also Jeff Petry.”
As far as the matchup against the Coyotes, Bourque favors the Penguins on paper, but the Stanley Cup Champion knows the dangers of overlooking an opponent: “If you’re peeking a little bit towards your next opponent, which is against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, you’re gonna get punched in the nose in your home opener against Arizona.” Bourque suggests that in order for the Penguins to win tonight, is to “have a great start, get the fans into it, get the lead, and then just pile on.”
Coverage for the Penguins’ game against Arizona on Beaver County Radio begins with pregame at 6:30 PM, and then Phil Bourque will join play-by-play man Josh Getzoff with the call of puck drop at 7:00 PM.
To listen to the full conversation with Phil, hit the play button below!