Before he even played a game, Pens coaches and players were excited about what Mark Streit could bring to the team after playing against him for so many years.
And after a fantastic debut where Streit scored the game-winner and added an assist in Pittsburgh's 5-2 defeat of Tampa Bay on Friday at PPG Paints Arena, that excitement level has ratcheted up.
"I thought he was real good," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "You can see his hockey sense. He's a real smart player. He's very positionally sound. You can tell he's played a lot of years in the league. I think he's going to give us a whole other look on the power play that gives us other options. So I think he's going to bring a lot to our team."
Before the game, Crosby pointed out how Streit makes a solid first pass. And not only did he get the puck up to his forwards; he also got himself up quick as well to join the play. That resulted in his goal, when he drifted down to the side of the net and Crosby found him with a pass.
"I try to get open for them," Streit said of his forwards. "It doesn't work all the time but I think it creates offense. It helps out the forwards. You need to do it in a smart way. The coaches told me (Thursday) to be active and jump in if you see the moment, so I tried to do that. Luckily it worked out."
His assist came on a power play late in the game, where Sullivan put Streit out with Justin Schultz for a more defensive posture while the Pens were defending a one-goal lead. Flexibility is the biggest thing that Streit adds to Pittsburgh's power-play configurations.
"He's a left-handed shot, we can go with a two-defensemen look, especially with (Kris Letang) out," Sullivan explained. "He's had a lot of experience at quarterbacking power plays, playing up top. You can see the poise he has with the puck and his experience level is great. I think he's got a very deceptive shot, he's got a real hard shot, a good one-timer, so he's going to add that dimension to our group."
At even strength, the coaching staff opted to pair Streit with fellow veteran and recent acquisition Ron Hainsey in order to experiment with pairs that give them the most balance. The two of them go way back, as they both spent time in the Montreal Canadiens organization early in their careers.
"We stayed at the same hotel," Streit said. "He gave me a ride to the game yesterday and we talked a lot about what happened in the meantime and definitely exciting to see him.
"It was great playing with him yesterday. He's a veteran D, he's been in the league for a long time and he talks a lot on the ice. He just makes everything way easier and he's always in a good position. He made the transition way easier for me."
It's certainly been a crazy few days for Streit since ending up with the Pens on Wednesday at the trade deadline, getting into town Thursday, making his debut Friday and having his first practice Saturday. But things are starting to settle down and he's starting to settle in.
"Everything was overwhelming, but really glad we won against a really good team yesterday and feel very comfortable even now," Streit said. "All the guys are great and I'm really excited to be here."