31 December 2006

Maybe this is why we don't have Hockey Night in America

Elly and I were really excited to both be getting the HNIC broadcast of two excellently Canadian games, especially since we both so rarely get Edmonton games. So much so that we decided it was worth of a joint point. If only we knew what was actually going to happen...


After the disgusting Leafs loss yesterday and hearing that Poni, Wellwood, Antropov, Tucker, Peca, and Colaicovo were out, it was determined by the creators of this blog that this was more like the Ottawa Senators vs. the Toronto Marlies with Special Guest Mats Sundin. The game did nothing to inspire us to consider it any more, and so no one really felt like talking about it. Which brings us to the game we thought would HAVE to be better....


This game was so disgusting that, in the third period when CBC's audio feed cut out, the conversation went as follows:

Steph: ....wtf audio?
Elly: See, even CBC doesn't want to talk about it anymore.

In a testament to just how bad it was, by the way, partway through the Oilers game I actually expressed something about missing Ty Conklin (though not through any fault of Jussi's). Therefore, all this game is getting from us is a halfassed list of the things we noticed. You'll read it and you'll like it--at least more than we did the game.

#1. Jussi Markkanen

Ever since the playoffs it's clear how we feel about Jussi, but here are some examples. (It should also be noted that Craig Simpson called him "Juicy" and was deemed our new hero.)

During the anthem (where in they show Jussi's for .5 seconds, looking upward):
Steph: JUSSI
Steph: ...all he did was STAND and look up and we're freaking out.

During the game (wherein we actually make astute observation):

Steph: Aww, Jussi. He moves so differently than Roli
Elly: Less angrily?
Steph: Possibly. I don't even know what it is though, but you can really tell them apart. Roli is all small and angry and dramatic and Jussi is smoother.
Steph: Like Roli attacks the puck and Jussi just sot of.....pushes it.
Elly: Jussi is really calm and smooth. He just stands there and watches...Roli moves around constantly
Steph: Jussi even looks smooth just shoving his stick out to knock pucks away
Steph: Roli always looks like he's trying to kill them

Jussi then proceeds to adventure a bit and make a couple amazing saves. We squee a bit more, discuss his merits a bit more, and then cry when they don't show him at all after the game. All in all, this game was pitiful, but the Juice did his best--and not perfectly, but not poorly, either. Too bad the Oilers didn't help him out any.

Like, say, when he banged his stick on the ice like a good little goalie to signal "HEY GUYS THEIR PENALTY IS OVER" like, you know, that move generally does. And Raffi Torres' response is to ignore him, try to pass the puck right up in there, lets the Canucks get a breakaway right out of the box, and score yet again. Thanks, guys.

#2 Marc-Andre Bergeron

Played like shit tonight. Cost us that first goal. Bad defenseman. No pancakes for you.

#3 The Announcers

Were hilarious. Our favorite quotes of the evening:
  • On Smytty's custom stick to go with his custom "I broke myself" glove: "He's using a lighter stick; normally it's a...I dunno, it's a log or something."
  • The polite way to say Roli is a spaz: "Markkanen's a calm goaltender and maybe that's what they need..."
  • On...someone: "Oh boy are they throwing some haymakers."
  • On Burrows after his little skirmish with Jacques: "If you took the 'ows' off his jersey he'd be 'burr', and that's what the guy is right now."
  • On a shot Luongo nabbed (like most of them): "The puck flutters into the glove of Roberto Luongo."
  • On the Hemsky line: "Hemsky & Co."
Honorable mentions go to Naslund for that comment about "guys squeezing their sticks", Stoli for swearing more than I have ever seen him do in one game, , Kevin Lowe for saying something like "We wanted to emulate the Flyers, who are a contender for the cup every year...but now we don't, obviously," (I didn't hear this, and Elly assures me the actual quote was much better, but her paraphrasing was still too excellent not to include) and the soundbooth guys for including "Love Shack" in the broadcast.


-Last place (foro the next few seconds at least) Phoenix somehow majorly wrecks San Jose all over the place tonight. 8-0? What got put in their breakfast?

-Boston's adorable backup goalie Hannu Toivonen finally gets to play as the (lately) weirdly successful Bruins take on Nashville. Unfortuately this game ends up 5-0. Not a good night for Finnish goalies at all.

-The New York Rangers have had enough of losing, and refuse to do so against the Washington Capitals. New best friends Jagr and Shanahan collectively dismantle Caps D man Brashear. Good to see Shanny's the same as ever and doesn't need us back in Detroit.

-Manny Legace and the St. Louis Blues shut out the Colorado Avalanche. Apparently they breakfast with the Phoenix Coyotes. It's my goalie's first shutout as a Blue (that sounds really awkward when singular), and brings him up to 4 wins in 5 games. Something's going right for Legace these days, finally, and look how happy he is.

-Penguins didn't play tonight, but when asked "When are you going to get your own place?" Sidney Crosby answered "'Well....I don't know. If you've ever seen that movie, 'Failure to Launch', that's me right now." It was cute enough to get mentioned.

Tomorrow night there's a Battle of Alberta, and let's just say someone, or rather a team of someones, has a lot of making tonight up to us to do.

29 December 2006

Only One Team Can Keep Up the Losing Streak

Elly was gone tonight, so I'm blogging the game--for a recap from the Pens side of things, make sure you click on over to The Pensblog where Adam's got it covered. (As a sidenote, I said this was probably going to be shorter than usual thanks to my feed of the game sucking. Apparently I'm a kickass liar.)


The Toronto Maple Leafs have been struggling on the road lately (actually...where haven't the Leafs been struggling lately?), but they still had a seven-game winning streak against the Pens at Mellon (Maybe someone Torontonians should bank on that with all these relocation arguments--we can hope, right? Not after tonight) that's now been tossed away (like most of their meager winning streaks quickly are). This is far from a perfect recap--the only way I'm got this game is a combination of some p2p network broadcast and Leafs radio for the intermittant feed failures on that--but the way the Leafs have been playing lately maybe that's a good thing.

Toronto, still wracked with injury (Peca out 3-4 months, Tucker, Poni, Wellwood and I believe Antropov all out as well), in a show of what is to come for the rest of the game, takes only 2:38 to gift-wrap a powerplay for Pittsburgh, and then Stajan joins Newbury in the box to share secrets on how to take stupid penalties just over a minute or so later. The Leafs have given up very few goals when down two men (I believe the stat is one in sixteen but I'm not positive). Unfortuately they take so many stupid penalties and let so many goals in on regular powerplays that in the end it doesn't really help that much.

The announcers make a point of Pittsburgh's questionable faceoff winning skills--and admittedly the percentages aren't particularly high (Christensen 59%, Crosby 50%, Malkin 44% are their top three). For a while, Toronto uses thisto their advantage. Taking so many penalties hurts at least a little less when you can win faceoffs and keep the puck out of your zone, and Pittsburgh barely won any in the first period. Unfortunately, though, that can't fix all of Toronto's problems, and Christenesen gets a goal off of Crosby just before the end of the first.

The Leafs major downfall in the first period seems to be that they couldn't get anyone in a scoring position. There were several nice opportunities but never anyone there in front of the goal to take the pass and knock it in--and they need to fix that. They don't have much choice, with all the injuries, when it comes to having to play a scrappy game, but it's yet another problem to be fixed.

(This may also be a problem.)

Period two, the Toronto announcers have taken that knocking off of McCabe's hat by Evgeni Malkin to astronomically ridiculous levels including comparing Malkin's "illegal stick" to the one in that Molson Beer Commercial that I can't seem to find on youtube yet. They get a little bitter when we're losing, I think. I'd love to hear Don Cherry's opinion on that matter.

The Ruutu/Ondrus fight wasn't as entertaining as the one that happened in the audience--and they didn't even show that one. I heard there were four ushers on one guy, who was definitely evicted from the stadium.

Right around that first (and only) Leafs goal, my feed was cut into by a couple random guys apparently trying to broadcast on the same station that this game was running through and not realizing that they already were--so rather than the announcers, I heard "It says you are attempting to log in to an extension that is associated with another....something....should I go ahead and YES NICE FINALLY!" the likes of which which persisted throughout most of the rest of the period, resulting in the actual game audio sounding like it was running through a tin can. Needless to say I missed a large chunk. "THERE YOU GO, THERE YOU GO, BUST TO THE FRONT OHHHHHH!"

Toronto didn't take a whole lot of penalties in period two, so they immediately make up for it at the start of the third--and it only takes 53 seconds for Gonchar to capitalize on it. 2-1. And then a few minutes later Kubina "throws his stick" and we're back to penalty killing yet again--great way to come back from a goal deficit. Just as I was about to write something about how I expected to see the Pens attacking more, the Leafs effectively fall apart, and Malkin scores. And spins around and does some sort of little victory dance that's remarkably cute. Toronto loses every game because of their inability to avoid stupid penalties.

Just in case we had any dreams of coming back from this, Eric Staal scores to bring it up to 4-1. Aubin's had enough and tosses his stick over the net, which spirals almost prettily and I find myself captivated. He skates around and picks it up a second later, but damned if it isn't ever a sign that the man's given up, and that was the last straw. I distressingly find myself cheering that at least it wasn't on the pp. The Leafs apparently realize the pain I'm in and take another penalty a minute later. They come off this one just in time to let Devereaux miss the prettiest scoring opportunity of the game. Not to be deterred by this near-success, not a minute later the kid's in the box for hooking.

And there you have it, folks, a 4-1 victory for Pittsburgh, and Elly not even here to see it.

Random notes that may or may not pertain to the game!

-A big deal was made about keeping Crosby off the scoresheets, considering the lackluster Pens record when he doesn't nab a point--0-28-1. This begs a question about whether or not Toronto understands that assists count too--he had three of them.

-I would have thought TSN would know better than to pronounce it "Ev-jeeni". Someone get the announcers a list of all the players in IPA format.

-Eckman gets nailed, jumps off the ice at the far end, and the Pens throw another man on the near from their bench--of course an illegal substitution/too many men on the ice, but what a weird situation.

-I like Mellon Arena--I mean the place has a history. But every time Louie, Louie as played by an organ happens, I just cringe a little bit.

-I can't help but mention Carolina playing Anaheim tonight--I think it's the first time I've ever possibly wanted the Ducks to win anything, and they let me down. What a tough decision though.

-While we're on the topic of Carolina, I have the utmost respect for the guy who painted all these likenesses of Rod Brind'Amour. It had to be hard enough to paint them (and let's be honest, he flatters the guy) but then to be hugged by him on top of that? Stomah of iron, I tell you, iron.

-This Hockey News magazine cover amused me for about five times as long as it should have. It also provoked me to go looking for Ovech pictures even though that's generally far from my mind, but damn, there's something inexplicably cute about him here. (So I figured out how to get the nice huge pictures from sportsline tonight, so sue me.)

-Last but not least, Manny wins tonight, moving the Blues to 9 games straight without letting in a single first period goal.

Not so Slick

Yeah, I know, I should have done this last night but I was a little too disgusted. I couldn't disappoint the couple people who linked over here in expectation that I would, though (all....two of them, yep).

Final score Kings beat Oilers 7-4, for anyone who doesn't know. So what went wrong? Two things (well, okay, two major things, anyway):

#1. We just could not put the puck in the net. Around the first period we hit that 4-2 mark that was my prediction (and not in reverse for once!) and it all went downhill from there. Ales had some beautiful set-ups (that rewarded him with two points) and half the team had opportunities--nice to see a San Fernando goal finally--but even the return of Ryan Smyth (who nabbed a goal already, just to prove to us how much we missed him) could only help us so much. The good guys had about a thousand chances--I lost track of how many times during the third period I was on the edge of my seat (laptop balanced precariously on my lap as the internet was my only means to that game) ready to jump up and yell as Smytty banged another one into the net and got us back into the game, only to see shot after shot blocked and followed up with Kings goals because.......

#2. Once again, Oilers shoddy defense spoils the game for us. We looked so unorganized and scrambling in our own zone that it was no wonder even our savior Dwayne Roloson couldn't fix this mess for us--not that he played a very spectacular game tonight, defensive issues or not, though you have to give him some credit for that volleyball-esque block. And boy was he pissed about it. But this is nothing new, for him or us. The Oilers need to fix something--and the solution is not Ladislav Smid playing 20 minutes per game (he only saw just shy of 15 yesterday, but clearly this didn't fix much either). Even MacT acknowledged the issue after the game, and it's clearly something they've been struggling with all season--so now the question is, what are they going to do about it?

The answer had better come to them fast if they expect to break out of this four way tie keeping them just barely in the playoffs right now.

You gotta love that 7 minute PP though. Just look at Jason Smith's smug little zen-like face there. "Fight back? Nahhh...." And rewarded they were.

And hey guys, Ryan Smyth's back!


Leafs/Pens game tonight--my friend and Elly's sworn enemy Chapel will be there, the lucky bastard (he said something about pictures, but I'm skeptical), and I will be here, missing SkaFest 07 to watch what had better be a damn good game. Will Mats Sunding continue his point streak? Will Andrew Raycroft start playing the sort of hockey that makes me like him for more than just his fidgeting and good looks? Will Darcy Tucker will remember the point of hockey is to get points? Who knows. Look for a joint-recap of some sort between Adam of Pensblog and I. Go Leafs Go!

28 December 2006

Oilers Game Night - LA Kings


That's all. I'm a happy fan tonight. Let's go with Oilers 4-2, Sykora, Torres, Lupes, and Smytty pulls one off as well.

(It's a Wings night as well, but I don't have much to say about that game so far, other than that I really wish that Jiri Hudler breakway would have happened for obvious resasons. And that the announcers in Ohio singing "I can see Cleary now the rain is gone" made my night. Now if only they'd listen to me and play Conks.)

24 December 2006

Merry Hockey Season!

This will be my last post for about a week, as I am going to visit my mother in the far reaches of the hills where internet does not go. At least, not go well. I will now leave you with a short Christmas list. Feel free to add to it, and leave some cookies for Santa! No, they are not pink cookies.

Dear Santa,
For Christmas this year, I would like:

-The Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh
-A fully funded arena, or at least a deal that doesn't involve bending over and taking it
-No lines when I have to go buy a vaccum for my mother at Wal-Mart
-A Stanley Cup for the Pens
-A new red bicycle
-For the bar to put Otter Creek on tap
-The Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh
-A hat trick for Sidney on January 20th
-Lemieux jersey
-Running pants
-A black mustang. Convertible

Happy Holidays! and Go Pens...on Tuesday!

Merry Christmas, Manny

Stack three for the St. Louis Blues as of last night--three in a row in regulation for the first time since October of the 2003-2004 season, and this win came against Eastern Conference giants the Buffalo Sabres--following two losses, yes, but in OT and a shootout. Is the change-of-coaching miracle working for a third team this season? Manny Legace says yes, but not because new coach Andy Murray's abilities per se--but his belief in the team.

"The boys have bought into it and are playing their roles, taking pride in what they do," Legace said. "That's the big difference and it's very nice to watch."
And it's really interesting to hear from Legace because he's coming off of a team whose coach has always had a lot of faith in them--Mike Babcock--and, for that matter, the coaches even before him--while not without flaws or anything, has always believed in the Red Wings because the Wings have always given him a reason to believe.

That had to be part of what was so hard for Manny with the Blues in the first place--knowing he was on a team that fully expected to fall into their usual last place, playing behind a bunch of guys who were never told to expect any more than what they were getting. And now he's got to be ecstatic--I mean the Blues are still not winning any trophies, but just to be on a team who's playing like they have some glimmer of hope and any kind of faith in their own ability has got to be a huge step in closing the gap between where he was last season and now.

Not to say it's only Manny getting that either--players like Doug Weight, coming off of a Stanley Cup victory season have to be feeling it too. No one expects this change to transform the Blues into a suddenly victorious hockey team--but it just goes to show what a little faith can do. Maybe things, after that playoff loss, getting dumped from the Wings and picked up by the Blues, the losing start to the season, the injuries, are finally starting to look up for Manny Legace. I believed in you all along Manny--now go out there and rack up a few more wins. It'll be interesting to see their performance for the rest of the season to see if this really pans out.


With no more hockey until the 26th (A travesty!) this will probably be the last thing I have to mention for a few days--so Happy Holidays to any readers out there, and I'll catch back up with you the 26th when we prove yesterday night was a fluke for...the Leafs...the Wings...the Oilers...I think I need to pick some new teams. Blues, maybe?

21 December 2006

He Can Bread My Carp Anyday.

(To anyone who saw my little graphic faux-paux with the score there earlier, shhhh. Sometimes I know what I'm doing and sometimes I hit the right keys on the keyboard. This was not one of either of those times.)

I don't have much of an Oilers post-game report--I missed period one, and only got to listen to the second and third on radio. From what I could tell, the refs needed a good round of Western Michigan University Bronco Hockey Razzing (I'm blind, I'm deaf, I wanna be a ref, anyone?), but I didn't actually see anything, so I might have to chalk it up to the fact that I was listening to the Edmonton broadcast. I've been seeing other blogs agree with this though, so I'm going to figure it's a safe bet to say the officiating was awful.

While this was a good game, I'm still a little shaky on my trust in the Oilers right now--as much as I'd love to say I have full faith in them they've been so bipolar this season that it's tough to. This game tonight was one that we really shouldn't have had to win so dramatically. Jussi played nicely though, from what I heard, and the players we expect to do well did well, so there really isn't much to complain about. Still, it was an ugly game that shouldn't have been.

All I really have to say is that the Oilers Czechs own my heart right now. Petr Sýkora with three goals in as many nights after what everyone was calling a slump, and Hemský assisting on all of those not to mention with a goal of his own. That assist tonight was beautiful though--every Coyote on the ice was completely focused on Hemmer. Those two are easily my favorite pair in the league.

"If Aleš Hemský and I stay healthy I should have no problem breaking 30 goals this season."
That's right Petr. You go out there and kick some ass, Czech-style.


Excuse me while I indulge myself for one minute and announce that Manny won tonight! I mean okay, the St. Louis Blues won tonight, against a team that's been admittedly struggling (we're talking about the L.A. Kings here after all), but the point is that the poor guy is playing for terrible team to begin with after the fiasco that happened last year, he winds up with a concussion that knocks him out just as he's finally going to get to be officially the starter for at least until Sanford returns, finally comes back for two heartbreaking shootout and OT losses to the Nashville Predators, is finally playing what will be a for sure win over the Penguins when he gets pulled after the first period because of the flu. But now, finally (make a count of how many heartwrenching times that word happened in the last sentence, I bet it's near the total number of times that Conks video has been posted), he's got a win under his belt for all of that. And I still love him. I wasn't going to include that picture because it messed up my damn layout and I couldn't fix it without typing this sentence and making it exceptionally long, but Manny deserves it.


And now, I've kept quiet on the whole Pens thing up until now, mostly because I can't think of anything that hasn't been said, but in case the plethora of posts over the past few days hasn't made it quite clear just how hardcore a fan Elly is, I offer this conversation that just happened as evidence:
Steph: Omg (and not the Laraque line) so mean!
Steph: There is a little kid talking to the guys on the Edmonton radio show
Elly: Awww
Steph: and in the last minute he has said that Jussi didn't play well and that Pittsburgh "isn't a very good team" so they should be sold.
Elly: ............................
Elly: And sadly, mentally retarded.
Elly: This is what happens when you let your kids play outside without the proper equipment. Frostbite.

Things just go from bad to worse.

Mario has spoken.

I feel physically ill, slightly dizzy, and am almost in tears.

15 minutes have passed, and I have tried to write an unbiased reaction to the possibilities of Mario's statement. I can't do it. This is too big, and the Pens are too close to my heart.

It is almost unimaginable to think of the Penguins somewhere else. It was hard enough to think of them without the Igloo, but this is something else entirely. I'm in shock. I don't know what to think.

Mario has every right to be fed up with the resistance to a new arena he has found in Pittsburgh, and the scant support his proposals have gathered. I don't blame him for looking for a place elsewhere...and Mario Lemieux is the only person that can say that he is looking to move the team and have it sound even marginally acceptable.

What is going to happen next? Will support pour in, will a Christmas miracle happen, will Pittsburgh politicians' hearts' grow three sizes on Christmas? I suppose, as before, only time will tell.

Go Pens!


With so much happening with the Penguins right now, it's amazing the amount of speculation that is being bantered about. Will they stay? Will they go? Where will their money come from? Who will buy them? Pens fans everywhere are staying awake at night now wondering these things...and we'll have to wonder for a while longer, since this is just the beginning.

Some links:

-I think that this sums up things rather well. Get ready to suffer more, Penguins fans.

-A story that details the Pens moving options, and consequently makes me feel slightly ill.

-Possible interest from several business men. I can't stomach the idea of Balsille being back in the running after the disappearing act he pulled. Please say it ain't so, Mario?

-Interesting article about Winnipeg being in the running for the Pens.

-An article about the difficulties facing the Penguins and their fans. I would also like to punch Scott Burnside in the face for the opening two lines, 'Penguins fans, in your heart of hearts, you knew it was going to play out this way, didn't you? It would have been too neat, too tidy otherwise.' Yeah, no I didn't, and I would have loved it to turn out that way and have The Pens not have just about the worst luck in the league for once. Imagine that, a Penguins team that is good, has potential, and managment/ownership/league/city security. Naw, who wants that to come easily?

-Basically a recap of what we already know and all the options. Nicely laid out though, with the gem from Mario on Monday, 'Still, Lemieux warned on Monday, "We own the franchise, and we decide the fate of the franchise." Let's hope that means, 'We're keeping the Pens in Pittsburgh come hell or high water'.

-And just for something different, the official statement by Ken Sawyer.

Now for some OTHER Penguins news: things actually about the players.

-Looks like Eaton could be back a little after New Years. A late Christmas present?

-Good little piece about the goalie situation. They had some good points, Fleury is still fairly young, and already he's shaping up incredibly well, especially considering last season.

-Even with all the drama and the terrible Blues game, Sidney is still up 3 points on Jagr. It also helps that the Rangers have been getting their asses kicked lately.

-On a little bit of an off subject, the Pens have started a partnership with Tickets for Kids Foundation that gives away tickets to kids who don't have the money to go and see a Pens game. Now if that doesn't talk about how the Pens affect the community, I don't know what does. Big nhl games are a huge thing for kids, and having that exposure early might set up for a little hockey player to become a major league one some day.

Penguins and Thrashers tonight, 7:00pm in Atlanta. Big game, hopefully a good win here will raise everyone's spirits. Go Pens!

20 December 2006

Wings Game Night - Columbus Rematch

I'm trying something new and blogging as the game goes by. So I'll throw some updates onto this every peri--someone on the Wings' bench just looked remarkably like Evgeni Malkin right there--od and we'll see how it goes.

Period One

So this evening was the "Central Division Cockfight" (Babcock vs Hitchcock, as billed by Razor) part two.

Leading in to this game I wanted to win, if for no other reason than that every time the Blue Jackets did anything remotely well Monday I got an absolutely gloating phone call (it's all right though, we shattered her dreams with that Lang goal while the phone was still ringing after that Federov garbage). Ignore all that junk about the Wings and how we should certainly be better than the Jackets even if we're having a rather unremarkable season lately--I just really wanted to return the favor.

Little Jiri looking around during the anthem was absolutely adorable, not that that's anything new from me. Lest I sound like a puck bunny or something, I really think the kid has something outside of just being adorable--he's a ridiculous little blast of energy and he's rough around the edge, sure, but he's takes advantage of his size, darting around, and when he gets an opening he's as good a scorer as anyone. With Kopecky out he's getting more icetime, and some nice opportunities, and he's working with them. Ellis looks pretty good also, which is good as he'll be in until Samuelsson's groin is better.

That penalty on Lidstrom for the "illegal stick" seemed a little silly.

Beautiful Cleary goal seven minutes in--that's just the way the Wings wanted to start this game off after that last one

This game has seen a lot of Dom flailing around on the ground stopping pucks again--he gets a lot of flak for playing on his back so much but damned if there's anyone else in the league that can pull it off--and he certainly can, so why not?

So good to see us still booing absolutely every time Federov touches the puck--makes you wonder, if we can keep it up this long, how long exactly with the Pronger hatred in Edmonton last? That being said though, if we had the chance to see Sergei in red and white again, I'd be in support. Until then though (so basically until forever) I'll join the ranks in the booing.

That second Cleary off of Lidstrom goal was beautiful--that whole huddle of people around the net, Chimera leaves Lidstrom to cover Lang (which you know, after that last game makes a little bit of sense), they knock it out of that mass of people, little Jiri's looking around for it but it slips past him, right to Lidstrom who nails it. And then everyone cuddles and there's Lang and Hudler in a little Czech pile.

7:23 left in the first and Hasek's out to prove he's better than that last game against Columbus--or maybe just that old habits die hard. Nash isn't even past the blue line and Hasek's 30 feet out of his net near the Jesus what the fuck are you doing all the way out here Hasek radius taking him out at the knees and flailing all over the ice. Hasek is insane. We know this, the Red Wings know this, and yet we're okay with it because Hasek pulls it off. The guy leads the league (in goalies, I mean) in penalty minutes for god's sake.

Caged Norrena made me giggle a little bit.

Period Two (which is substantially shorter; I blame baking.)

Second period went off slightly unremarkably as I tended to my Christmas cookies, up until around 7 minutes in (again) when Maltby's goal officially rendered every Wings forward as having at least one goal for the season.

I could almost hear the collective panicky gasp and subsequent breath-holding when Rick Nash bowled over Hasek. Great goalie as he is, it'd be nice if we didn't have to get ready to start kissing our playoff dreams goodbye every time the Dominator stubs his toe.

Lidstrom's been excellent this game--we expect that from our new captain, sure, but this shot of his was beautiful. Norrena never saw it coming. And with that, he ties Scott Niedermayer for most goals by a defenseman for the season. Where's Chris Pronger on that list, hm?

4-0 now. Come on Columbus. PUT IN CONKS. PLEASE? DO IT FOR ME?

Period Three

That Williams breakaway goal was a beauty--but the most important thing about that play is that Hitchcock finally pulled Norrena and CONKS. TY CONKLIN IN GOAL. I didn't think I'd see that all season long--even after it happened the other day I didn't expect to see it in a game I could actually watch--and yet there he was, hanging out, stopping pucks, playing in the NHL once again. (For posterity's sake, and just to push up the count, I feel that I should link this again.) Oh Ty Conklin. I almost have a little soft spot for the guy now, except it's the sort of pity where you know perfectly well that you're laughing about it the whole time.

It makes the game some much more entertaining though. Every time he wanders behind the net it's like you're just mesmerized, captivated by the Game One mishap and the potentially high likelihood of it happening again. Conks steps foot back there and immediately everyone who saw that game pictures Rod Brind'Amour's hideous face grinning as he turns that corner and slams that puck in. A game like this needs something like that--it's not like anything else Columbus is doing is worth watching.

All in all, game being over now, Detroit just dominated (....no pun intended though it was in large thanks to him) tonight--this is the game we should have played Monday. Our pp especially was looking really nice tonight, which is good to see as of late.

Anyway, I apologize that none of this post was very substantial or in-depth, but I have some very delicious blueberry gingerbread to show for my distracted efforts.

Penguins left afloat on an iceberg

Majestic Star gets the slots license.

Now that the new arena deal has been ripped away by the Gaming Control Board and given to Majestic Star's Don Barden has a birthday present, Penguins fans are now crying into their morning oatmeal and wondering what will happen to their team.

Well, I know I am.

The supposed 'Plan B' now on the table is a guideline for a new arena to be built with a contribution by the new casino, the rest being picked up by the Penguins, the state of Pennsylvania, my dog Murphy, the cast of Fraggle Rock, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Murphy is so sad that the Isle of Capri didn't get the license that he had to immediately take a nap.

Majestic Star has said that they will contribute 7.5 Mil over 30 years to a new place for the Pens, and that is certainly better than nothing, but it's not as good as a fully funded arena. The Penguins aren't the Rangers (thank heavens), they don't have that kind of money laying around, especially with two big contracts coming up next year (Fleury and Crosby). With no clear ownership on the table, other than the steadfast Mario and Co., it's a tough time for the Pens.

Also, I just realized that my prediction for the Blues game last night was almost completely backwards of my hope...with one point worse.

I may be ill

Quick recap of the game against the Blues last night: It sucked. The Pens seemed slow, nothing was going their way, all of their passes were interrupted, and they had the worst luck on breakaways. Malkin had a goal, Sidney with an assist, and Malkin also tried out some of his patented 'I'll take on all 5 men and still get to the goal and get a shot off' moves, but following the curse of the Blues last night, nothing else connected. Pens lost.

A few things:

-Malone was mic'd, and he was rather cute saying 'we're winning the battle, we're winning the battle....we're not winning the battle'. He also asked Sidney if he felt old, to which Sidney gave him a 'what are you talking about?' look.

-I think I saw Therrien swearing in French.

-Again, the power play pooped out.

Around the nhl there were a lot of interesting games, including a crazy 7-6 game in Edmonton. It was amazing and possibly cheered me up after such a devastating win for the Blues. Seriously, where did they get all that jump? They were playing a nice game...too bad it wasn't against someone else.

Now for the real news of the day:

It's 10:00 am. The real game is on now. If I've said it once, I'll say it again and again: Go Pens - In Pittsburgh.

18 December 2006

The Fast and Furious Sabres

How exactly is it that, considering how well the Sabres have been playing this year, we haven't seen a "We're Gonna Win That Cup - 06" yet? Actually have there been any versions since 1999? This has to be the cheesiest, most ridiculous hockey song yet and I kind of can't believe that hasn't been banked on yet. It was nice to see the Sabres used to have a sense of humor. I mean, this is the same time that at one point also gave us Look Out, Here Comes the French Connection.

Maybe they're considering it bad luck--after all, they've had this song since 1975 and still haven't managed to actually win a cup. That, or they can't figure out a way to work Max's name in and/or pronounce it properly. But still, I tend to think that even Hey Hey Hockeytown has nothing on the dedication the people of Buffalo have, or at least had, to keeping this thing alive.

In the spirit of Christmas, Fa la la la la LaFontaine. It probably beats both of the aforementioned tracks in being amazing. Are they trying to compete with the Columbus Blue Jackets, perhaps?

17 December 2006

Not so good

I'm not going to do a recap since many other people have already. If you want, check out nhl.com's recap, or the ever excellent Pensblog, which is far more entertaining than nhl.com.

Thoughts about the game:

-Naturally, I am disappointed with the score, but the first period was great. The second I wanted to scream, which I did numerous times, to no real effect since I was surrounded by tons of French Canadians also screaming. The third found me trying to drown myself in a Molsen cup.

-Fleury is even faster in person and made some just downright sick glove saves. His goalie pads still make my eyes water though.

-We took a lot of penalties, and although the Habs did too, the officiating didn't seem to be evenly matched. I watched one particular hit on Oulette that seemed to be a little nasty, but that could be because from my vantage point he took the hit and then just disappeared for a while down behind the boards.

-Our power play needs some serious work.

-Crosby wasn't up to his normal 'holy crap did you just SEE what he did?' standards last night, but I bet they were all a little tired from playing the night before and then the trip up. I know I was tired just from driving 2 hours.

-Crazy Nasreddine goal.

-I was surprised about the 10 min call on Ruutu and Rivet in the 3rd over that fight. I didn't realize they had called such a big penalty until I saw Ruutu get out of the penalty box and leave the game. The Montreal announcers were a little slow sometimes.

-Thorburn and Talbot had a nice game. Colby got into it a little more, although I would like to see a bit more on the forecheck from everyone. It also could just be because I wanted some blood at the end of the 3rd.

Now for the dirt:

-We had great seats behind Huet for two periods off to the side on the players' benches. We were about mid way up, right below the line where the camera stops if you're looking at a tv shot on the goal. I've never sat this close before, so for the first period I was distracted by just leaning as far out as I could to catch the players' faces and expressions as they moved the puck. During the anthem I amused myself by watching Fleury fidget at the other end; Sidney was doing the same thing in the line up.

-I've seen enough Pens games so that even without being able to see the numbers, I can usually tell who is who by the way they skate. Malkin and Crosby are unmistakable, as is Malone, just because he's such a friggin' tall guy. Armstrong was pretty easy to tell as well, as was Recchi, who was a heck of a lot shorter than I thought.

-Watching Sid come over and tap Fleury's pads every intermission was very cute. Also was impressed with how consciencious Sidney was, such as checking in with other players, bringing in broken sticks, and coming over to chat with Fleury a few times. Who knows, he could just be coming over and saying, 'hey, did you see that hot girl they put up on the screen?' but I doubt it.
-I've seen Sidney skate live before, but being this close brought home just how frigging fast he can be. Too bad he didn't get a good breakaway, I would have loved to have seen that.

-Taking advantage of the fact that I was close enough to throw my overpriced beer and quite possibly hit the netting, I yelled the entire game through. My friend, who actually winced once, said that I was that one loud away fan that you can hear through all the booing. I tried to see if this was true, and kept yelling when Malkin came in to shoot on Huet. He actually looked up once, so I'm inclined to believe her. I did the same for Sidney, but one lone Pens fan was not going to get over the racket that everyone else made, although I tried every time. Next game I'm bringing a megaphone.

-There were more Pens fans in attendance than I had thought, although not as many as when I went last spring. I found that most of the Penguins jerseys there were Crosby ones, and worn by French Canadians. I saw quite a few Rimouski Oceanic jerseys, two (only two!) Lemieux ones, and just one lone Talbot jersey. I sat next to a Pens fan, a French Canadian girl who didn't speak much English who was wearing a Fleury jersey. We were just about the only two people in our section to jump up and cheer and clap when they got a goal.

-A bunch of guys behind us kept talking smack in French (my friend translated some for me), but they did switch to English to say, 'He's no Gretzky'. I turned around and said, 'No, he's Lemieux', even if Sidney does have some very 99-ish ways about him.

-My friend, who was wearing a santa hat with the Canadiens logo on it, and I, enjoyed confusing the hell out of people all night by screaming for the opposite teams.

-Tim Horton's is the food of the gods.

For other news in the nhl, I'm just going to point to Steph's post since she's got everything wrapped up. I do have one thing to say, though: Ha ha ha, the Ducks lost.

Okay, I'm done.

Next game is against the Blues on Tuesday. Hopefully this will be a nice little pick me up from Saturday. I'm going to try another prediction and say a clean 3-1 win for the Pens, with a Sidney goal in the 3rd to get everyone cheering.

Go Pens!

16 December 2006

Curiouser and Curiouser

Hockey just doesn't make any sense at all to me today.

First, Detroit clinches a victory in New Jersey this afternoon (that game weirded me out, by the way, as only a Saturday afternoon hockey game can do--waking up with the knowledge that in only a half hour, hockey would be happening, while not unwelcome, is unsettling). This in itself would not be particularly weird; Brodeur of the goalie kung-fu does lose a game every once in a while, and Hasek (while I'm still not entirely convinced understands the fact that it's easier to make saves when not on one's back) has been playing as strong as ever, still in line with his best NHL season ever. He's also got to be somewhere near in line with his record of most penalties in a season--this game alone netted (no pun intended) him one for playing the puck over the line, at which he broke his stick on the ice, which just landed him an unsportsmanline conduct. But the overlying fact remains that Detroit hasn't won a game in New Jersey in thirteen years. From the first game of the day, you knew it was going to be weird.

Elly was at the Pens game tonight, and thus I had no one here to spam via instant message about all the other craziness, but it happened all the same. I was happy to see Toronto up 2-1 midway through the first, but when when I checked back at the end of the period and saw 5-1 I was thoroughly confused--and it just kept going! 9-2 by the end with a hat trick for Kyle Wellwood, two Sundin assists...hell nearly the entire team got a point for something tonight. I really wish I'd actually been able to watch that game, as for something to go that right, the Leafs must have remembered how to actually play some hockey for at least a little while, especially against an offensive team like the Rangers. Maybe they realized just how good it felt not to suck. Nine goals in one win is a nice change from nine goals in seven losses.

Equally surprising was the Islanders 6-0 victory over the Thrashers, not that I saw any of that either. A number of the games tonight were oddly high scoring though (Bruins over Panthers 6-3, Habs over Pens 6-3--which I'm sure Elly will have plenty of those on when she gets home--...I'm going to start thinking we're playing NHL2K7 here.)


In other news, the man we thought would probably never play another NHL game (and to be fair, even this game was only with the Columbus Blue Jackets and thus probably doesn't actually count), Ty Conklin of Cup Finals Game One Loss Fame (seriously, do we have a count of how many times this blog has linked to that clip?) got to play at least one more game on NHL ice tonight. Or at least a period or so of one. He even stopped all but one shot. Congrats, Ty--Edmonton may not have forgiven you, but at least you haven't inspired the hatred of anywhere new, yet. Unless Syracuse follows their AHL team enough to take offense to a 10-2-1 record.


Prompted by a mention in a post over at Battle Of Alberta, I'd just like to say that this has been a year for amazing line names. We all know how I feel about the Money Line, but Atlanta's Meat and Potatoes line (Bobby Holik, Brad Larsen and J.P. Vigier) about which I swear Vigier is quoted somewhere as saying they're "nothing new or pretty but they always taste good" but I can't find it, came up yesterday or so, and today Phoenix's OMG line (Oleg Sapyrkin, Mike Zigomanis, and Georges Laraque) is my new favorite, if only because of the article surrounding it--the image of Laraque giggling is just too much for me. I don't know if anyone's calling it this officially, but the Czechs-Mex line of Hemmer, Torres, and Sykora also makes me smile. And not just because it puts Sykora and Hemsky together.


And, injury report!
  • Ales Hemsky has returned to Edmonton's lineup, starting against Colorado yesterday night despite rumors that he'd be out until past Christmas, and he played a strong 15:30, too. Now if only we could get Smyth back too--but let's hope the return of those two doesn't mean the players who've stepped up lately (Horc, Torres, Stoli, Pisani, Smith) back off again.
  • My goalie Manny Legace's back, as well, and started tonight for St. Louis--who put up a good fight, tying Nashville 2-2 before losing in a shootout. I'd have worn my jersey if I had it here with me.
  • Valtteri Filppula took a hard hit the other day and broke his collarbone. The end result is 1/3 of the Money Line being out for ten weeks after successful surgery which is especially unfortunate considering how strong he's been playing so far.
  • Darcy Tucker disappeared after hurting his hand tonight and didn't come back for the rest of the game--let's hope it's nothing.

15 December 2006

WTF pt 2

The press conference did nothing to help my fears, and with the deadline for the slots license coming ever closer, things are not looking too good for the Pens right now. This sort of thing happens, I know, but this is not exactly the best situation for the Penguins.

Great game tonight. I thought the Pens had a snap lead with 6-1 in the 3rd...and then the Islanders decided to wake me up and had me cursing them with their 3 goals in about 2 minutes. Ridiculous. Then there was Ryan Malone's hat trick, and I am finding myself more and more in love with this man, and not just for his tattoos. 7-4 and the Pens have it.

Some notes
-It seems like Malkin is having some trouble right now. He definitely pepped up in the game against the Caps, but has since gone back to being rather quiet. I also think that the Islanders have something against him, because they certainly seemed to give him an extra warm welcome whenever they had the chance.

-Sidney, as always, was amazing. I don't think I need to say anything else.

-Recchi's 800th assist (EDIT: My bad, I put 500 at first). I thought the way Sidney got the puck for him was rather nice, I love to see all the leadership touches that Sid exhibits, like sticking up for his teammates or talking to ref about a call (Army did NOT dive).

-The next time I talk about a game I think I'm going to do it the next morning, my eyes are killing me .

Next game is against the Canadiens at 7pm at the Bell Centre, which I will BE THERE cheering on the boys. GO PENS, BABY!

Wait what?

The announcers during FSN's broadcast tonight have just said that Mr. Blackberry is backing out of the deal. May I be one of the first to say, 'what the fuck?' And also to cry a little, since now the Pens future looks even bleaker.

Also, if comcast's internet feed does not stop being a pain in the ass, I am going to reach through the screen and throttle it.

News at 11.

14 December 2006

Well crap

Good bye, John LeClair. It was nice to have you finally on my team, but it would have been better if you stuck around longer (and scored a few more goals).

Devils lost to the Bruins, putting the Pens one step closer to reclaiming their lead in the Atlantic. Now if only the Rangers would stop winning (4-2 against Dallas tonight) things would be much better.

More tomorrow when I am not incoherent from being run over by people Christmas shopping.

EDIT: Excuse me, I spoke too soon. The Rangers bent over the Stars at 5-2.

Andrew Raycroft has an Adorable Squee.

It's too bad we almost never get to see it.

I just thought it needed to be said, being they finally won a game the other day, that it is now safe once again to mention the words "Toronto Maple Leafs" in the vicinity of our blog.

Then again, I had a dream last night in which the game of hockey suddenly involved a fourth period, in which they blew that 5-4 and lost the game 5-8, which I think probably means something about just where my confidence in that team has fallen.

Then again, Mats Sundin on myspace drove it way way back up again in about three seconds flat--mostly because of the players comments. You have to love his nervous little laugh--and Rayzor wins my affection yet again.


In other news, the Buffalo/New Jersey game last night (so long as you discount my shootout comment) marks the second time in a row that my predictions have been backwards. So with that in mind, I'm calling for a 4-3 Minnesota win over Edmonton and a 2-0 Chicago victory over Detroit tomorrow night. I'll conquer this yet, just you watch.


Also 'ly just made an awesome recap post about the Pens/Flyers game we both caught this evening--I don't think I have anything to add to it, but considering I just bumped her off the top of the page with this useless bit of relief, I want to encourage everyone to scroll down a bit and check that out.

13 December 2006

Sidgeni strikes!

First of all, I need to rescind some of my slander against Versus (aka OLNUSUS) since they provided me a link to this site. Because of this, I was able to watch the gorgeous ass kicking that the Penguins bestowed apon the Flyers. Beautiful.


First period was fairly evenly matched, or at least it didn't look like the total slaughter it was about to become. Ended with 3-2, with some nice goals by Crosby, Thorburn and Gonch. The Flyers were not so happy about the score, though, and ended up trying to pick a fight with Malone. Sidney skated over and spoke to the Flyer, which I thought was mature of him instead of just throwing down like he would have last year, and another Flyer came past and ran into him. This got the Pens a nice one man advantage coming into the second.

Intermission was filled with fawning over Sidney, who apparently eats spaghetti before every game. Cute. Second period was a thing of beauty, with three goals from the guys: Recchi, a repeat from Gonchar, and finally a score from Malone. We went into the 3rd looking might comfortable with a 6-2 lead.

3rd period gave me a bit of uneasiness, and considering how the Pens have blown some awesome leads before, I was rather unhappy when the Flyers scored. After some diffused fights, horrible quotes from the announcers, poor Fleury getting laid out like an expensive rug, Jordan Staal reminded us why he's currently living in Pittsburgh. 8-4, and we didn't even need the rally helmets.

Step off, bitch

One thing that detracted from the game was no Mike Lange. This is the first time I have been able to sit down and listen fully to a Pittsburgh game since last year,and I have to say, although the TSN announcers had some downright gems, it just wasn't the same without some random comment on the goals by Lange. This game had plenty of chances for such commentary. Some of the better ones that I happen to remember:

-'They don't even have to communicate, it's just eyes' Referring to Malone and Crosby.
-'All the sultry moves of Sidney Crosby' They way they said it was just wrong, so very wrong.
-'Sidgeni' The new joined nickname apparently given to Sid and Malkin. This was also the first thing I heard on turning on the game.

Also, was it just me or did they not stop to talk about anyone else other than Sidney or maybe Malkin? Malone had a super night, Thorburn is shaping up nicely lately, and Moore had some good runs as well. Colby, who was wearing a mic (of which they showed one clip of him and he didn't even say anything), was right in the middle of the play, Orpik was too, and got into the thick of things more than once. Ruutu kept up his nightly hobby of annoying the crap out of the opposing team. Fleury made some amazing saves. Gonchar had two goals. Where is the coverage of this? Sure, Sidney was amazing as per usual, and beat out Jagr for the top spot in points, but it would have been nice to hear at least a bit about the rest of the team.

A few thoughts:

-I loved the announcers calling Army 'practically a stand up show on the bench' and 'a human ping pong ball'. That poor guy. I guess you do sort of invite a reputation as a character when you dress up in a cheerleading outfit.

-The section with Domi was amusing. At least he wasn't doing table arrangments.

-I still cannot believe how badly Fleury got flattened in the 3rd. He lost his helmet and everything! He also had to go and fix his skate at the beginning of the 2nd, putting T-bo in his place for about 6 minutes.

-The Flyers haven't been so thoroughly bent over by the Pens since 1992-93. They are also quite possibly the most injury-laden team in the nhl right now, followed closely by the Oilers.

-We could stand to shoot the puck a bit more during the power plays.

-When Jordan scored, I saw Therrien smile. Really.

-In other news around the NHL, the Ducks have reminded me once again why I don't like them. The puns the announcers were saying just made it ten times worse. 'Duck Hunt' will be forever ruined now, thanks to them.

Next game is the Islanders on Friday, and then Montreal on Saturday. 3 days till I see them at the Bell Centre! Go Pens!

12 December 2006

Complete and utter spam

Since I cannot do a recap of the game last night (I am starting to hate working on Mondays...) and it was an awesome game, I will just reference Steph's post and mention what an awesome friend she is for supplying me with coverage while I worked. When they won, I shouted and yelled in the kitchen....and apparently people could hear me at the bar. Nothing wrong with a little celebration! Even if the bartender knew the score from two rooms and a hallway away.

A few comments:

-I am so upset I missed the rally helmets. I saw the pictures and the recap and seriously, hockey players have no business being so damn cute. They should do it more often...it seems to work! It is also gratutious cute Penguins, which I am not above enjoying.

-Ty Conklin got called up by the Magic Wands Blue Jackets. I really want them to play him tonight.

-I hate to admit it, but I am looking forward to watching the Devils play against the Sabres. I've never liked the Devils before, but little 15 is wicked fun to watch, and a great skater. Now let's pretend I just didn't say something nice about New Jersey. Go Buffalo!

I'd say you've got the wrong Staal, but the Pens one isn't legal yet.

Now, while I am all for fans, especially women fans, getting into hockey, that picture makes me cringe. Are women really serious with these signs and such? I can't imagine they are...right?

I've heard disturbing stories that there are pre-teen giggling girls lining the stands at the Igloo with such signs. Say it ain't so! Honestly, I can understand to a certain extent. I've made comments about the physically attractive qualities of this young pup team (I mean, really, you'd have to be blind) but what is really attractive is the their play. Last night's game is proof of how damn good these guys can be, but I think the girls that are waving around those signs are not actually watching the game (must be hard to see around some of them). I could be wrong, they could be die hard fans from the day they left their momma's womb, but I doubt it. You don't do your hair and put on make up and pretty clothing to go to a hockey game. You paint your face, wear a jersey, stand and shout and get into the play.

Part of my irate response to these types of girls is that they give female hockey fans a bad name. Last night at work I was speaking with a friend of mine (who happens to be a die-hard Flyers fan, but no one's perfect) and I told him that I was going to be up in Montreal this Saturday to see the Pens game. He asked me where I was going to sit, and I said it was up in the stands a bit (Bell Centre tickets are insane!), and he told me to work my way down with my friend and try to get on tv. I wouldn't mind that, really, but I said I doubt they would put us on. His advice to me was to wear a tight Pens shirt, with my friend in a Habs shirt, and do to 'tasteful' face paint, such as cute Penguin on my cheek. Now, I don't mind the face thing, but I took a bit of offense at the 'tight shirt = publicity' comment, especially after I said no thanks, and his response was that no one wants to see girls in big bulky jerseys, even if they're cute. Since when is a form-flattering pink jersey and hair spray a prerequisite to being a lady hockey fan? That's the image of an upset girlfriend being dragged to a game by her boyfriend.

My biggest bone to pick with this stereotype of the clueless screaming girl waving a sign asking Sidney for a kiss is that it helps to encourage the idea that women hockey fans, especially ones under 35, don't actually know anything about hockey and just go with whatever team is doing well/their boyfriend likes/is popular. When I start to talk to someone about the game they disagree with me on points that I know are right, and then look at me in complete shock when I talk about something that happened 10 years ago. I can't count the number of times I've gotten a look that equates to a tolerant smile and a pat on the head from a man. This is not to say all male fans are like that, I've found many that are great to speak with and wonderful hockey fans...but the stereotype is there.

Bottom line: Other than offending my senses, there is nothing wrong with women going to the games in their tasteful hockey wear and waving signs asking for players' hands' in marriage, but is it a bit too much to ask for them to have an interest in the game as well? Perhaps I'm just grumpy from lack of sleep and finals this week, but I can't help but fear that when I finally get enough money together to go to a Penguins game IN Pittsburgh this spring, that my view will be clouded by silly girls and their perfectly styled hair.

I will now get off my soap box. Any comments, female fans?

The Rally Helmets are Spreading.

I was a big believer that Atlanta should get to keep that one for themselves, and that anyone else would just be copying--but Pittsburgh somehow proved tonight that they deserve it as much as anyone.

I'm not an avid Pittsburgh fan--I like them well enough, I'm impressed by them this season, but if you want good Pens commentating, you turn to Elly. That said, I like whatever hockey I can get my hands on, so when I heard they were playing the Caps tonight (and how could you not, with all the coverage Sid v. Ovech got--honestly I might have forgotten there were other players on the teams) I figured I'd tune in--and plus Elly had to work, so I promised frequent score updates.

I had to cringe over ever text message I sent for the first period and some. It's not like the Pens were even playing badly--they just weren't getting it done. And then all of a sudden these players I'd hardly even heard of before, not following the team that well, decided it was time to prove that hey, this is the Pittsburgh Penguins, not the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin show. Talbot and Christensen goals later, along with some spectacular Fleury saves, and we're back in the game. And from that point on, (running the Crosby/Malkin line clearly a brilliant idea at this point), there was some amazing hockey being played. This was one of the best games I've seen all season. My text messages got brighter in a damn hurry.

Right up until that shootout you had no idea who was going to pull ahead. I like both of these teams, but after closing a gap like that my heart was with Pittsburgh. I really don't know much about this team--and I have seen them play before, but never at this level--but all of a sudden I'm starting to understand just exactly why their future is looking so much brighter lately. These kids have talent.

(P.S. Ovechkin translating for Malkin during the intermission was really cute and clever on OLNSUSUS' part, considering how lackluster I usually think their efforts at broadcasting hockey are.)


There are a ridiculous amount of games going on tomorrow, but I'm realizing it's almost 3 am and I have finals tomorrow so brevity it is. Mostly.

  • New Jersey/Buffalo broadcast tomorrow on the same network--I'll probably miss most of it but I'm rooting for NJ--not only is Marty Brodeur the savior of my fantasy team goaltending and pretty much amazing, but I love seeing their style of play--it's so unique compared to a lot of teams in the league, and it's always nice to see that rewarded. Buffalo plays some hard, fast hockey, and NJ focuses a lot on the counterattack, so this matchup should be interesting. I'm going to say NJ over Buffalo in a shootout 3-2, goals by Gionta and Parise for NJ, Briere and Afinogenov for Buffalo with Elly's favorite Langenbrunner being the deciding factor in the shootout. But I'm just pretending to have insight again (hey, my last prediction happened in reverse, don't trust me).
  • The Team Who Shall Not Be Named is playing Tampa and earlier in the season I would have chalked that up as a sure win. For now I'll say I have a glimmer of hope.
  • Wings vs Ottawa. Review Ottawa's last game and you'll know where I stand on this one.
  • Edmonton vs Nashville is probably the most interesting of the mix, to me anyway. Roloson's been strong lately (His grandmother passed away before the last game--and lose they did, but he stood strong. Roli's a tough guy.), but after that loss in Chicago it's definitely possible for them to get stoned again, too. They're still down Smyth and Hemmer but they're making up for it as well as could be expected.
  • San Jose at LA should really be a no-brainer.
  • New York (Rangers) and Philly should be too.
  • As should, unfortunately, Anaheim vs. Florida.
  • Dallas at Columbus should be too--but hey, Edmonton just shut down the Stars, and Columbus is on their first winning streak in what has to be years.
  • Vancouver at Phoenix--one team's been picking it up lately, the other's been slouching (but still beating Carolina). Your guess is as good as mine.
  • Calgary at Minnesota again--this is an interesting matchup. I like where Minnesota's going this season, or at least I'm intrigued by it enough to follow a little since they've been such a wildcard. And hey, Roli used to play for them.
  • St. Louis and their goaltending woes against the Blackhawks. I'd really like to say this is a team they have a strong chance against. Come back to us soon, Manny.
  • Montreal against Boston. No idea.
Okay, now I'm just procrastinating.

10 December 2006

Sunday morning list

Since I was in shock at the Pens big win last night, I forgot some things I wanted to mention, and found a few points I'd like to touch on this morning.

Pens notes:

-Looks like I was wrong about LeClair and retiring.

-Few interesting points here, such as Sidney having a bum ankle, and I was not aware that Scuderi was that sick. 10 pounds is a lot to lose in such a short time. Get better soon!


-Stayed up and watched the Canucks and the Flames on CBC. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was an interesting, offensive (I like the Flames, but really, I watch them for their D and Kipper) game. Kiprusoff let in more than I wanted him to, or more than he wanted, I'm sure, but they ended up pulling a clean win of 5-3.

If you haven't skimmed through the espn photo wire, you're missing some of the funniest hockey pictures out there. I think they intentionally put up photographs of the dumbest shots they can manage to get. Here are some of the better ones from yesterday.

1. Looks like the Flyers have taken to praying for a win. Either that or Beech is doing something seriously amazing (look at Nedved's face).

2. If Tim Thomas had a microphone...too Jamie Unpronouncable put the puck behind him.

3. If anyone could stop a puck with his glare, it would be Kiprusoff. Or maybe Brodeur.

4. Ritchie looks like he's got something for that official....who looks terrified.

5. Hockey does not equal football.

6. I don't have any words for this one.

Next Pens games is tomorrow night against the Caps on OLNUSUS. I will, of course, miss it entirely since I work every single friggin' night that Versus shows a Pens game. Let's hope that last night's win helps give them a boost for Monday. Go Pens!

Go(lf) Leafs Go(lf)

Okay seriously now. We never believed the Leafs were going to be some completely dominating force this year. We were never that deluded. In fact, we were as stunned as the rest of the hockey world when they somehow landed themselves third in the league, (and behind Anaheim and Buffalo who continue to hold on to their respective one and two positions), even as we didn't believe it would last.

And last it hasn't. Sundin returned from IR, and the team collapsed around him. Raycroft hasn't won a game in six (excluding the one that Aubin played which was another loss) despite looking exceptionally well right before that. He hasn't been playing particularly well, but then again, he hasn't exactly had any help from the rest of the guys around him either. The team seems to have forgotten how to skate entirely. They're playing messy, sloppy hockey, and it shows. They played about two minutes of good, strong hockey when the game started tonight, and another two after McCabe's goal. Four minutes out of sixty.

Let's talk about penalties. Fourteen minors in that sixty minutes, just from the Leafs. That means for very close to 50% of the hockey game, we weren't at full strength. The refs were calling a lot of ridiculous minors tonight, sure (that Hasek penalty for example. He gets tripped, can't balance on one foot, and falls over--and somehow this equals unsportsmanlike conduct. Little Jiri looked as perplexed as I was as they marched him off to the bench to serve it), but the Leafs were the ones letting them happen. And they certainly seem to not understand that this is a problem or that any of it is their own fault.

  • Pavel Kubina takes a hooking call. Of course it isn't his fault--clearly Tomas Kopecky's to blame. Thus, for some reason rather than try to prevent further damage, Kubina attempts to rail on the Czech. This of course does no good. Maybe not a ridiculous penalty like some of these others, but going along to prove a point, at least.
  • Period three, Kilger decides why check (...why yes I did initially write 'czech') one player when you can check two!? He thus takes out two Wings--beautifully, I might add--but as only one of them had anything to do with the puck, he's called for interference. Maybe he was homesick for the penalty box?
  • Near the very end of the game, Maltby gets cross-checked, shoved into the goal, and essentially held there, or at least continually shoved back there, while Aubin looks on, entirely distressed that his net is occupied by a bunch of things that should not be there at all. But at least not a puck--not this time, anyway.
Every five seconds, yet another penalty. All five Detroit goals were on the PP.

This, folks, was some embarassing hockey. I'm not sure what advice to offer at this point--this was not a losing team at the beginning of the season, and something happened to make them fall back to what they were last year. And at this rate, they're just going to keep sliding down until they're resting neatly at the bottom of the Northeast division. Only one point is seperating them from Boston down there--and we've seen how well they've been doing against that team lately. They're tied with Ottawa now--Ottawa. An we've all had lots to say about how they've been playing this year too.

The Wings, on the other hand, are tearing it up again. Datsyuk could have played stronger (what happened to that idea about shooting at the net more? He's like the Ales Hemsky of the Detroit Red Wings, but he's missing a Petr Sykora), but overall, they saw what they'd been given and took advantage of it. It was nice to see the money line split up a little more (Kopecky especially played with a few different guys) but I still like the young line best together. I'd like to see Hudler and Lang on a line together at some point.

At any rate, I went out to this game dressed up and down in blue and white, sat in my fifth row seats right off of the faceoff circle in what was (miraculously) an entire row of Toronto fans, cheered my little heart out for Raycroft through period one, defended Tucker's honor against the guys next to me through period two...started cheering for Jiri Hudler around period three, bitched the Leafs out when they ran the poor little Czech over a few minutes from the end, and came home with a brand new Manny Legace jersey. And McDonald's wouldn't even give me vinegar for my fries. This blog will now go back to pretending the Toronto Maple Leafs do not exist until we are given reason not to.

See you at the Joe vs. the Kings on December 31st, I believe.


And of course, Manny Legace update! The Blues have revealed that my poor goaltender got kicked in the head during the Edmonton game on November 16th--so this being his second head injury of the year, it's no surprise that they put him on IR so quickly. He could be back as early as December 13th, but considering the coach's statement that they're going to "take it easy" with him, I doubt that. This certainly isn't his year, especially after the one it followed. Feel better Manny, there are still fans who love you, even in Detroit. I will now go wear my jersey and pretend it helps anything.


Last but not least, and very quickly, Edmonton game day against Chicago tomorrow. All things considering I think I can keep faith in the Oil. We are talking about the Blackhawks, after all. It's an away game, but considering their play on the road against Dallas yesterday, I think Roli might even pull off the 22 and some odd minutes of no scoring he needs to break his shutout record. Chicago is 6-5-1 at home, and Edmonton is 5-6-1 away--but without Smyth and Hemsky they've really picked it up a notch lately (thankfully, since we were all about ready to throw their season in the toilet as of last week). I'm going with a 4-1 Edmonton victory, Sykora gets two, Stoll, and Winny with one each. But my predictions tend to be utter guesses.

09 December 2006

Atlanta v Pittsburgh recap

This will be a small recap. Why a small one? Because nhl radio decided to crap out on me after the first and then pick up with most of the 3rd gone. I got back just in time to hear RYAN WHITNEY get a goal. Good for him! There was also a sick goal by Kapanen that somehow bounced off the back of the net, came out, bounced off Fluery, the crossbar, and possibly one of the rafters, before going in AGAIN. After an exciting rest of the 3rd, there was a good OT with the winner done by Colby Armstrong with an assist by Malkin. There was some shouting and scaring of the pets and possibly landlords. Call the game, the Pens WON.

Other notes:
- Had the Pens game on the radio, but was watching HNIC. The Wings were brutal, and Toronto took way too many penalties. Steph was also at the game, 5 rows back from the face off circle, and I am horribly jealous. (even though I will be at my own HNIC game next saturday)

- Boston got their asses kicked. So much for a streak. Also, HNIC showed a very cute clip of Chara getting into a little shove and push with a Devils' player...and he ended up just grabbing the player by the chin strap and holding him like a little pony. Chara is one big dude.

- Caught the Ottawa/Rangers game. Ottawa was shut down pretty well, although Neil in particular was very into it and tried his best. They covered it well on the matinee HNIC.

On a side note, CBC showed Kiprusoff walking into the game, all spiffy in his suit and cleaned up nicely. Nice. They then took a shot of the Canucks, all in similar dress, coming in. They were similarly jaw-dropping. Since when are hockey players so good looking? Where are all the toothless, hairy lugs?

Holy shit, the Pens WON. Very exciting.

Hockey players behaving badly

This might be old news to some (hey, finals take up a lot of time, okay?), but does anyone else think that fining Ovechkin 1,000 dollars for a cheap shot, and then fining Ottawa's Schaefer 2,500 for waving a towel on the bench, is slightly disproportionate? I did not see the Ottawa matchup, but apparently after a heavily penalized game, Schaefer waved a white towel to signify their surrender to the refs. Humor is dead, but cheap shots are alive and well.

Super Duck Power: Pantene Hair Go!

Seems like players are looking for a bit of coal in their stockings. First Ovechkin, who really did a number on Briere, and then there was St. Louis' captian Dallas Drake (a porn star name if I ever heard one), who got an elbow on the Wings' Brett Lebda. I like a rough hockey game as much as anyone else, but who says you can't make a clean hit and still lay someone out? Jason Smith does it all the time.

It isn't just on the ice that nhl-ers are looking for trouble, San Jose's Mark Bell is looking at possible jail time for a DUI that he incurred over labor day. 0.15? Ouch.

Other hockey notes:

1. What the hell happened to Boston? They've won 4 of their last 5, and have beaten Toronto...what, 4 times now? Seems like they're climbing up the sides of the pit they fell into at the start of the season. (They have 30 pts to the Pens 27. Bastards.)

2. Bummer about the Flames losing. I do like the Wild, they seem to be an interesting up and coming team, but scoring on a shootout against Kipper hurts. Even if it was Brian Rolston.

3. Cute article here about the doubles that make up good scoring lines. It was nice to see Colby get a little recognition.

4. Still don't like Anaheim, even if it was against the Caps.

EDIT: Interesting article on the inside scoop as to why Malkin has been quiet. He was amazing while Sid was out, I agree it'd be nice to see him step back up to that level.

Pens v Thrashers tonight. Penguins are rattling around near the bottom of the Eastern while the Thrashers are near the top, only beaten out by the Buffaslugs. I don't even want to make a prediction, but what the hell: 4-3 OT goal by Sidney. Go Pens!