Kovacevic: This, at long last, is real Despres

Hockey can be an elegant, graceful game at its most elite level. The world's greatest athletes glide at warp speed, their skill, their strength and thought processes operating somehow even faster, with little more separating the sides than a split-second swing of the stick.

It can be beautiful.

Or it can be whatever one would call that horrific contortion Peter DeBoer's face made behind the Devils' bench after watching Craig Adams carve up the ice to score effortlessly on a breakaway.

Bitter DeBoer face?

Yeah, sorry.

"It's humbling," the coach said. Meaning the whole thing, not just Adams' one-eighth of the output. "All the goals we gave up, it's unfortunate."

So with all due acknowledgement for Sidney Crosby's two goals and the wonderful, warm ovation for Olli Maatta with his fitting introduction among the starters, let's be honest: The footage of the Penguins' 8-3 annihilation of New Jersey on Tuesday at Consol Energy Center isn't about to be sent to the Hockey Hall's archives in Toronto. Unless, of course, the curators create a special wing for broken plays, badly beaten goaltenders and ... did I mention Adams scoring on a breakaway?

Oh, for real.

But here's what else is for real, and it might never have been better evident: Simon Despres.

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