31 March 2007

Not-so falling Leafs.

Kaberle gets ready to kill another Penguin.

It's not possible to fall out of the playoffs now, is it? Because it certainly felt like the Pens were being eliminated tonight...or maybe it's just been so long that a loss felt twice as horrid.

I can't give a good recap since, out of the goodness of my heart and my deep deep love of friendship, I missed the first period and most of the second. I got the bartender (I told my friend I would meet her for some bar chow...and ended up getting stuck watching the end of a final four game) to switch just as the Leafs made the score 4-1. Next thing I know, after I whined about T-bo being in net, was Fleury coming out to blind us all with his yellow pads. Fleury was incredible tonight, as was Talbot.

The third was a blur. The Pens came out and battled, and after some of the ugliest, sloppiest power play work I have ever seen, fought back through some vicious hockey, tied it up. The tying goal, done by one Mr. Whitney at around 4.4 seconds left, had my section of the bar yelling. OT came, and while my friend was distracting me by telling me how much Sidney looked 13, the Leafs scored on a screened 5 hole shot by Kaberle up top. Argh. I also had a guy at the end of the bar ask me, 'is Sidney Crosby any good'. Needless to say I had to set him straight. The requiste Flyers' fan showed up right before the OT goal to rub it in.

What does this mean (other than that I must have pissed off the Hockey Gods today)? The Pens are still in the playoffs, and really, at this time in the season, that's all that matters. And positioning. And who we play in the first line. And home ice advantage. Ah hell.

Now I'm going to watch Calgary bend over the Canucks. Next game for the Pens is against the Buffaslugs on Tuesday, then a real slugfest against the Senators on Thursday.

Go Pens, baby.

29 March 2007

Damn straight!

That's right. Number 2 never looked so good.

Of course, with placing second in the Eastern Conference comes other issues, such as facing any number of a myriad of other teams (such as Tampa Bay, Carolina, New York (Islanders and Rangers), or even Toronto). Boston, however, is not in the picture, as their loss tonight has officially put them out of the playoff runs.

Some thoughts on the game:

-I almost fell asleep during the second period. Thought I was watching the Devils for a bit.
-Talbot was great, as was Christensen...where the heck did this kid come from?
-Does anyone else think that Laraque is like an ocean liner? Moves slow, but who's going to argue?
-Colby played really well, he was where he needed to be, came in hard, and put the body on every Bruin he could. Of course, he also missed half of the 1st due to a missed high-stick call to the noggin.
-What the hell was Ward on? He was out for Penguin blood.
-Fleury = amazing. That stop on Bergeron should have been 5-10 for robbery.
-Whenever I whine that Geno is slowing down, not producing, nabbing bad penalties (which he still is, and he really needs to stop), he goes and gets a goal. I'm going to start making this a habit.
-Orpik has really been producing the last few games, coming in hard and looking in line for a goal. Melichar didn't make me want to punch him in the head either.

Overall a great game, minus the boring 2nd period. Sorry for the lame recap, my eyes are about to fall out of my head. Next game is against the Leafs (who snagged a point tonight) on Saturday. Go Pens!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it!

Man your battlestations! Gather your Petrs, we're going on a rescue mission! Who's with me!?
(First stop Minnesota - I'm still mad at Boogard!)

Elly, in what I can only assume was a (vastly successful) attempt to remind me why exactly I am so addicted to texting (preying on my Hemsky love like that, for shame!), just forwarded this to me. My usual victims weren't around to appreciate, so blog-spam it is! Save the Ales! Save the Oilers!

(Why does he need to be saved? Well, because sometimes the deluded little fellow thinks it's okay to do things like take on Chris Simon - and Ryan Smyth's not there to help him out anymore. Or maybe it's from the pool of suck that the Oilers have become. We might never know.)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Conn Smythe Trophy Recipient

The Hockey Gods love me. No, really, they do.

They give me things like perfect Oilers games and Ty Conklin sightings. They give me things like articles on Chris Osgood teasing my rookie. They give me things like Ales speaking Czech.

So Tuesday night when I was sitting around in my apartment and their voice in my head said "No, Stephanie, don't go to class tonight. We've got something in store for you that will make it all worthwhile," I thought to myself, "Well all right then, after all, it's just one class...and the Leafs are playing the Hurricanes!"

And then, just as I was getting ready to curse them out for leading me on, partway through the Habs game I was watching (in French, I might add) because no one was broadcasting the Leafs game for me, it appeared. And not only did it appear, but it appeared in a Blaze of Glory, on my computer screen, and the Heavens opened and the Hockey Gods chorused "We told you so!" in perfect harmony.

What? Seriously?

I've been waiting a couple days in hopes someone would youtube a nice, good recap of this, but as it hasn't turned up (NHL video decided to be kind and not show the closeup in their highlights), the best I can do is direct you to the Leafs post-game where if you click on video and then on the entirely too appropriate misspelling - HUURicanes at Leafs - at around 40 seconds in you can witness for yourself Cam Ward, in a glorious fit of flailing after losing the puck, scoring on himself. From three different angles - and let me tell you, it might just be me, and it might just be that every time I see his face I want to snarl things that would have to be censored on TV and then go pat Jussi Markkanen on the head to calm myself down, but I could sit around and watch this clip for about as long as I could watch the looping .gif of Ruutu tripping Phaneuf and laugh just as hard every time.

Maybe he ought to take a lesson from Clark the Canadian Goalie and find something else to be good at. (My dad sent that to me this morning and labeled it with something about my Roloson obsession - see, I have gotten him to pay attention to Edmonton!)

Cam wasn't the only Cane to get made fun of by the announcers though - John Grahame came in to relieve him after letting in five goals and a discussion on his helmet came up - it was noted between the announcers that between this mask and last, Grahame's NASCAR lady friend "went in for a little surgery". Personally I think she looks a little diseased in both.

And there we have it, the Hockey Gods are my friends. So how's about it, friends, what say the Red Wings finish off the season series against the Predators with a big fat win - and while you're at it, a little Oily love since Manny's not playing too? I'll even work my trademark orange and blue eyeliner - I haven't rocked it since the last time the Oilers won, so maybe it means something?

If you really loved me, though, if you really really did, I wouldn't complain about Ethan Moreau being back in the lineup Sunday afternoon in Chicago...

28 March 2007

Jagr who?

I had a whole post about the end of the season, how close the playoff race is in the East (the West is pretty much wrapped up, only the 8th spot is open and Calgary is looking pretty good for it), but it all pales in comparison to some of the best news to come out of western Pennsylvania this year:

The Penguins are going to the playoffs.

It's official now, just go look at the splash page up on the Pens' home page. The boys are actually going. So, in the spirit of a Penguins playoff run and the fact that I haven't finished my other post, let's look at how the Pens have historically done in the playoffs and make some predictions based on nothing more than my hopes and dreams of a shiny Cup and the undying loathing of the Devils and the teams from southern New York.

The Pens first playoff run was in 1970 where they went against Oakland (now if the Seals aren't a blast from the past...) and then lost in the next round to St.Louis. The 70's were pretty good playoff-wise, the Pens were fairly consistent in getting to the post season...and then being beaten out in the first round. The 80's weren't as good, making the playoffs only 4 times, losing to Boston, St.Louis, the Islanders, and then Philly in 89.

The 90's were the era of the Pens. Two successive Cups, 91 and 92, and a post season showing for every year. This was also a dynamic, at least in my mind (yes, this was when I hopped on board the Penguins train), time for the Pens, and what shaped some of the rivalries that still show up today, like the Devils, the Caps, and of course, the Flyers (although they were a given). They made it to the conference finals only once, outside of the Cup years, and lost to Florida in a 7 game spread.

Aside from 2001, the recent years have been a bit of a disappointment in terms of the post season. The Pens have finished last in the division in all of the consecutive years, and last year was second in the entire league. This year is obviously shaping up a bit different, and although they had a questionable and rocky start (there was a few nice runs, one which claimed the division lead for a bit), but after Christmas the boys got their act together and made those runs last more than just five games.

Now, with the combined efforts of the team and coaching staff, the Pens are looking to snag the division title for the first time since 97-98. They have a new arena in the works, a 30 year contract, and one of the best teams out in the NHL right now. It's amazing to think that the average age of this team is under 30 (I think it's about 27?). Our top three scorers are unable to buy alcohol in the States. This team is just beginning to come together, and if the Cup doesn't come to roost in Pittsburgh this year, it will in the next two. While I am trying not to sound like a cheesy sportscaster, it's nice to know that all the people that laughed at me last year when I said playoffs in the next two years, and a Cup in the next three, aren't laughing anymore (especially since most of them are Flyers fans).

So what about the boys chances this year? Well, since there is still a week and change left in the season, as well as four playoff spots still open, it's hard to tell who will end up where (especially since the Eastern conference is so congested). Buffalo has the top spot, and unless they completely choke on their last games, they'll keep it. The Pens' dance partner at the moment seems to be Ottawa, who we just can't seem to shake/get a substantial leg over. If the Pens can manage to get over the Devils (and Ottawa, too), that would put us in line to play Tampa Bay for the first round. Against the Lightning this year the Pens have gone 0-4, whereas the Sens they've come out on top 2-1. All things considered, I'd rather play the Senators...and that's saying something. With a bit of reshuffling, we could also be facing the Habs, who the Pens have broken even with a 2-2 split, or the Rangers, who we have also gone 4-4 with (if these stats are a bit off, my apologies, my computer isn't too fond of me at the moment. Yes, they're all just win-loss since there isn't a shootout in the playoffs). The Canadiens are unreliable, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them drop out...or solidify a playoff spot, it's hard to tell with them. Out below the line, but just barely (all by 2 points), are Carolina (1-3), Toronto (I didn't look up the stats on the Leafs, but we've killed them pretty steadily this year), and the Islanders, who are on my shit list at 4-5. Out of all of these teams, I'd be happiest with the chances against the Rangers and Montreal, but like a rubber ball, these teams can bounce to really good, or really bad. I would be hoping for the really bad, obviously. I don't trust the Pens to pull ahead of Ottawa in the finals, they're too solid (although it's nice to see that they have the same trouble with Boston as the Pens do, which we seemed to have rectified on Sunday. Hopefully), and Tampa Bay, even though their goaltending seems to be a little bit porous lately, has historically had good luck in making the Pens cry.

What does this all mean for the Penguins? Without discussing that about half of those wins have been in OT or a shootout, not a whole lot, truthfully. I'm a student, and certainly not an expert, but it seems like their best chance would be for a nice sweep against the Rangers/Montreal, and let the Devils and the Sens beat the heck out of each other (hopefully with the Devils falling) before we get to them. Tampa's offense is still too quick to want to touch (besides, how can you face a team that has two players who have a song? You can't argue with Journey. Kudos to 'Drea for the tip off). Besides, it seems like a Cup tradition to beat out the Rangers and Boston before going to the finals, and the Pens are on their way to smushing the Bruins before April 7th. We won't have Jagr's mullet to guide us this time...and while I'm not a Jagr-hater, I have to admit a little bit of pleasure in thinking of beating him and his new team with the pups that are on the Penguins.

Either way, the Penguins are on their way to the Playoffs for the first time in 6 years. If that, combined with a new arena, a 30 year contract, and one of the most exciting rosters in the entire league doesn't get your hockey juices flowing, nothing will. It's a great time to be a Penguins fan.

Next game is Thursday against the Bruins in Boston. Go Pens.

26 March 2007

Don Cherry isn't Done Yet!

CBC Television today has a new six-year rights agreement with the National Hockey League - which means we no longer have to worry for the future of Hockey Night in Canada, which is slated to show five fewer Leafs games next season (23 instead of 28), but also to stream the Hockey Night games on CBC.ca. Video on demand.

Now if only I still lived on the East side of the state.


In other news, the Wings played a rather boring (or maybe it wasn't, maybe it was watching it on a three inch internet tv screen was what made it boring) hockey game against the Ducks with only one goal, a nice one by Pavel Datsyuk which not only won the game for us, but also was his 80th point of the season, making him the first Red Wing to earn 80 points in two consecutive seasons since Yzerman did in 95-96 and 96-97. It was an eventful night stat-wise for the Wings, as Chris Chelios was honored for most games played by an American before it started (leading Versus to comment extensively on his age, a statistic now beginning to trail, at least in sheer amount per game, the number of times Pavel Datsyuk's stick is mentioned).

Matheiu Schneider was mic'd up and he carried on a cute little conversation with a Duck that consisted of "Hey, how's it going." "Okay - bad ice you got here" (the ice was choppy because of the warm weather, from what I've heard) "It's going to be Duck ice tonight!". I'm not sure what he meant either.

The end result was a 1-0 victory, helping to prove my theory that the Wings only bother to show up to games when facing a worthwhile opponent (which someone needs to teach them causes them to lose unnecessarily). Of course I think at least part of it had to be due to Jordi's support and helping me cheer on my boys - I mean what? I said nothing, of course she didn't! (I should watch myself, I don't want to end up getting stuck having to cheer for her Habs when I least expect it, right?)

Game Stats of note:

Pavel Datsyuk: 1 goal.
Andreas Lilja: Actually fought Travis Moen. Almost succeeded.
Mentions of Dom's age: An astounding 0!
Mentions of Chelios' age: 3
Mentions of Datsyuk's stick: 3
Ilya Bryzgalov: Is cute sitting backup (shhhh)

Next up the Wings taken on the Predators for the final in the season series on Thursday and I plan to catch the game somehow - just how is a matter that has yet to be decided but I was invited to a friend's who gets the channel, and for the right amount of beer....

Also today (or rather yesterday, now) is/was the ten year anniversary of the infamous Turtle incident and of what I have to agree with Christy is probably my favorite Wings game ever. Speaking of Christy, she gives an amazing recap of the entire event, completely with pictures, videos, and the history of how it all started right here over at Behind the Jersey, which is far more detailed than anything I might come up with it - Wings fan or not, it's a great read.


Finally, I just don't think I can get away with not posting this - so here's a little bit of my favorite Ales Hemsky speaking some Czech for you. All I can understand is the very last bit which is him saying thank you for....something. But what I can promise is that he's not saying "I LOVE YOU", or at least not like the terrifying Oilers PPV insider guy seems to think he is.

24 March 2007

Press? What press?

Guess what? The Penguins have made the front page of NHL.com for about the third time this year...for good reasons. Amazing. This piece is a little ditty about just how far the Pens have come from last year, almost doubling their points from last year.

Therrien takes out the blender and bumps Army and Christensen up with Sid, moving Malone and Recchi back with our Staal to the third line...resulting in Roberts, Malkin, Oulette. I'm sorry...I know that Oulette has been making some good plays lately, and cleaning up the rebounds and sweet passes from Malkin for some goals, but I doubt that he rates over Jordan Staal. If this line produces like Christensen and Roberts did for a few games, I won't complain, but I am just flabbergastered that Therrien would move Staal back instead of Oulette. Am I missing something? The last line is going to be Laraque, Talbot, Ruutu, a combo I can't wait to see come out and play.

An interesting article about fighting in the NHL, and I like the perspectives of the players and GMs in it. I think Ethan Moreau has a good point, '"It's like boxing. How many guys really get hurt? Or martial arts. How many guys really get hurt in that? Not many, but when they do, it really looks horrible,"' So does Burke, GM of the Anaheim Ducks, '"I don't want to expand the role of fighting, I don't want to glorify it, I want the players to be able to do their jobs"'. Fighting is an intricate part of the hockey game, and the hockey atmosphere...taking it out would create a set of new problems. As it stands now, fighting serves to energize a team, add a bit of jump to their game, and to protect some of the smaller players. It works as a self-policing system, and to remove it without seriously revamping the entire game (and getting rid of the all the older players who were used to having fighting in it), would make it doubly as difficult to integrate into a new system of play.

Okay, off my little soapbox. I got home rather late last night and saw a message from Steph that said: Omfg, MARTY FUCKING REASONER just won the game for the Oilers. I had to have her repeat it a few times before I believed it. So does that mean that they aren't trying for a draft pick, or just trying to make it look like they aren't...or maybe they're just sick of losing? I don't blame them, either way, goilers?

Next Pens game is in...well, about a half an hour at 1 pm. They play against the Thrashers in their pretty blue uniforms. On a side note, while I will be watching (most of) the Bruins game on Sunday (I have a baby shower I can't skip, sigh), I will be taking a brief hiatus until Tuesday of this week, when the Pens go against the Capitals and hopefully give them an ass kicking that will leave their grandkids black and blue (or just a win, I'll settle for a win).

See you all with hopefully 4 more points for Pittsburgh! Go Pens!

23 March 2007

Let's play a game

This game has a few names. 'Please God Let the Penguins Go to the Playoffs and not Suck', 'I Hate New York', or perhaps the ever-popular, 'Let's Pretend Tonight Never Happened, Shall We?'

Seriously, last night was a (mostly) awful night for hockey. My friend came over and we watched the Bruins/Habs game (she's a Leafs fan. We were cheering for Boston), and subsequently cried into out late-night coffee. What happened out there, boys? It was going good until the third, and then Thomas got pissed, lost his focus, the team stopped skating...just a bad scene all around. That Bochenski kid continues to impress, though, and I will say that I'm starting to like Halak, his performance on Saturday was superb.

Around the rest of the NHL there was further disappointment. My poor, poor Penguins lost against the ()&$@&@!-ing Islanders, and although I didn't catch the game, I guess that Sidney had another bout of cussing out someone. I love it when he does that, and I don't blame him...I would have been cussing too. A lone goal by Colby was the Pens only mark on the night. For the other games, the ONLY times I have ever cheered for the Panthers and the damn Capitals, they go and lose. I don't want the Canes any closer in the playoffs than they already are, thanks. In fact, the only team that I wanted to win last night that actually did was Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay. Now if that isn't depressing...well, at least the Pens are still just a few points away from the damn Devils. If we take the division lead, the Pens will jump a few substantial places in the standings (due to the division leader status, take a check at Atlanta, being a good six points behind the Pens and still in 3rd place), and as it stands now, would face the Rangers in the playoffs. How fun would that be?

On a funny side note, while my friend and I were checking the scores after the game (and I was wailing and crying about the Penguins losing), she said that Tampa Bay was the only city-name abbreviation she could never remember...because she thought of tuberculosis. After laughing at her (I mean, really, TB=Tampa Bay), I said that I could sympathize....the Lightning make me want to hack up a lung, too. Other bits of our night included the difference of the Pens sucking, and sucking with flair (which led to a discussion of Sundin and Tucker in dresses, don't ask me how), and my inability to keep a straight face when I was trying to explain to her the reason why Jordan was being called a pterodactyl.

Out in the West, the Magic Wands beat the Wings (ouch, sorry Steph), the Wild stomped all over the Blues, The Flames burned up the Preds (sorry, had to make the joke. Uh, go Flames? Nice hair, Rhett), and the Ducks, 4th in the league and embarassed and wishing they were still at the Pond (ducks need continuity to navigate, you know, confusing them isn't a good thing. Are there even ducks in Arizona?), lost to the Coyotes 2-1, who are second to last, only to be beaten out for the worst record by the Flyers. That will never get old to say (especially since next year they'll probably be back to beating up the Pens).

Next game for the Penguins is on Saturday against the Thrashers. The Pens have two midday games this weekend, Saturday at 1pm, and then on Sunday at 12:30pm against the Bruins.

Go Pens!

Y is for Yzerman!

Clearly I am getting desperate. Tonight I dragged a friend away from wherever he happened to be (it should be noted I had to promise beer - this lack of cable is costing me Pilsner now) and forced him back to his dorm room so I could sit on his miserably uncomfortable failure of a futon instead of my glorious bed and watch only the second half of the Wings squeaking out a single point in a ridiculous shootout loss to the Blue Jackets. And I still couldn't manage to actually blog the game itself. (Gorilla Crouch has you covered, though, with the promise of a more full write-up tomorrow as well.)

For the record I wasn't surprised we lost. Bertuzzi looked all right out there in his debut, but the hockey itself was lackluster and hardly worth the beer I will now lose. And not to mention we shouldn't ever be expected to stand up for ourselves against teams whose records we blow out of the water, it's just not what the Wings do! I was restraining myself from even getting all that emotional about it right up until Fedorov (Fedorov!) scored the damn game winner (at which point I do believe I yelled "bitchface!" loud enough that I lost most of the friends I was there with).

PS everyone who text messaged me whether it was in sympathy or to laugh mercilessly in my face owes me 10 cents, that was not a substantial emergency and I still have $40 of overage fees to pay!

But my dear Red Wings weren't about to let me end the evening with this sort of upset. No, they knew, they knew what I'd given up for them (ladies and gentlemen this beer isn't cheap!). So I log on to the website for the sole purpose of checking the time on the St. Louis game Saturday, and I'm greeted with:

A lively debate ensued about which goalie was on the cover (the arguments being Dom never looks that happy vs. Yes but Dom always looks that crazy). Upon further investigation it has been discovered that yes, the Wings really have created The ABCs of the Detroit Red Wings. Someone probably needs to tell me I don't need one (I'm curious, leave me alone!).

If only pucks were as easy to stop as oversized brightly colored letters. (Especially with a goalie stick like that!)

And all is not lost after all! Thanks HG and your double red powered boys for cutting Nashville's points down as well!

22 March 2007

The Littlest Red Wing

Hudler is a dazzling puckhandler who has a phenomenal offensive arsenal. He is a good skater with great foot speed which he uses to avoid opponents in the corners effectively. His good hockey sense, on-ice vision and playmaking ability make him an offensive threat on every shift. He has good scoring instincts and a quick accurate shot that he is willing to use in all situations. He is a great leader and hard worker which he showed at the U-18 WJC where he was capitan. [sic] The downside is that he sometimes tends to shy away from physical contact and is a bit of a liability defensively.

So said the Hockey's Future prospect report on my (5'9" 178 lb.) rookie Jiri Hudler. Did someone tell him this? Was the resulting insecurity and desire to prove himself the cause for his inclinations to go after guys like 6'4" 244 lb. Pavel Kubina (for which efforts he got a nice cross-check to the face; see photo) and also stepping up to defend, of all people, Kris Draper from the Blackhawks' James Wisniewski. Is this to blame for my fear during the Boston game that he was going to inexplicably throw himself at Chara and get railroaded? I don't know, I think when you're 5'9" in the NHL you're fairly justified in not wanting to get murdered - but then again the kid's figured out how to do it and come out no worse for the wear.

But hey, nice to see that was their biggest complaint. (Apparently they don't see his color coordination skills as something to pick on, who would have thought?)


Also, and it still pains me to say this, thanks Vancouver, we owe you. I will show my happiness by linking to my favorite thing Vancouver has ever done, aka Luongo to the tune of Lola.

And finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed Bronco hockey center Mark Letestu to an amateur tryout contract, so he'll be playing with Wilkes-Barre next season. He was a huge force for us this season (not to mention CCHA rookie of the year) and I'm sad to see him go...but at least it's to the Pens and not Phoenix like our power defenseman Chris Frank. Make them take good care of him, Elly!

21 March 2007

Round and round and round and round....

The Sens or the Pens? Pens or Sens? Seems like every day there is a new fourth and fifth (currently tied with Ottawa having a game in hand, 4 and 5th place), and it seems that even the coaches are getting into it. Sidney does have a mouth on him, and apparently Murray said something about it. Therrien gave him the what-for though. I love this time of year, even the coaches are getting into it. A series against Ottawa would be nail-biting, and apparently full of coach smack talk.

Nice picture on nhl.com, even if it is the Devils and the Leafs.

Poor Stevie Staios has decided that knee surgery is better than playing at this point. There's always next year, Staios.

Add the Panthers to the number of teams that have swept the Flyers this season. What's that...6 now?

I found out a little while ago that the Canucks have a player blog. I would ask why the Pens don't have one, but that's because they're too busy going out and kicking ass. It's a neat thing to read, though, and Burrows is a riot. Next season it might be neat to see more teams do this, especially the Pens. Would more players do it? Would they think it was sacreligious to type about their hockey life, exploits, plays...?

Joke of the day:

Why can't Dick Cheney play hockey?

Because he always blows the face off.

Zing. Yeah, I've got nothing else. Slow few days for the Pens, and really, at this point in time (and with the Oil drowning in a giant vat of suck) the Penguins are my sole focus. Well, and the other teams that they have to kick ass against (Ottawa, New Jersey, I'm looking at you).

Next game is against the Islanders, tomorrow at 7pm. Go Pens!

20 March 2007

Wings lose, Leafs win and..... Ty Conklin!

I'm still cable-less so once again I can't offer anything about the Wings game tonight, as I didn't see it (working on that, I swear - a friend told me today that if I snuck into his dorm before they lock the doors 10 pm I could probably scored the lounge tv and free wireless and if my class hadn't gotten out at something like twenty after I would have been desperate enough to try). What I do know is that Christy already has a game recap up at Behind the Jersey and Hockeygirl (who is ONLY my friend again because she cheered on Belak for me tonight, another thing I didn't get to see myself) is probably gloating over at Double D(ion) if you're interested in (I know, I know, but we're trying to be well-rounded, right!?) a Flames perspective. I also happen to know that it was a 2-1 loss and Valtteri Filppula couldn't come up quite as well on his birthday as my other rookie Huds did on his - but he did notch at least an assist.

On to more important things, which is to say, Ty Conklin's Buffalo Sabres goalie mask officially exists!

For other views, look no further than WGR550, bringing us all sort of Sabres excellence. You can now all pretend I never uttered that phrase.

Conks insists that he's "not a mask guy", but in looking back, the guy's had quite a few different ones with his various teams - and they get progessively more and more full of glitter, too, I swear. And since I'm still not on page one of the google search results of his name, I present you with a journey through Ty Conklin's various masks. Mostly to prove that they get progressively weirder and glittery-er and because MWORO's Drea encouraged me. Are there any other goalies with this much shiny other than maybe Roli and his gold plated cage?

For the record, I just didn't have the energy required to dig up pictures from his Green Bay or college days. So when he first started with the Oil/Hamilton he had the customary white mask which he then apparently traded in for one that was navy blue with Oily stickers.

The first year he was still playing for Hamilton more than Edmonton obviously, and so came along this bulldog-covered helmet with little oil drops on it. Thus also begins his habit of having "CONKS" on his masks - I was so worried when the new one didn't have it, but then I saw the back and realized it was there after all, just not in its normal position.

This was his first official Edmonton mask - I rather like it, though the top is a little boring, but the sides are nice. Except what is with goalie masks having terrible fonts on them? Roli's lucky his name works so well with the Oilers logo.

At first he just wore his Edmonton mask with a SKODA sticker plastered over the front of it, for Team USA, but that turned into this..which perplexes me a little. I don't think I have any clue what's going on on it, except that sort of angry penguin looking birdthing wearing a hat. Not sure about this one, Ty - and they only get more questionable from here out.

Finally, the mask Conks wore last season with the Oilers. Perhaps the extremely weird choice of a random skull was symbolic of the eventual result of his season; we'll never know. At any rate I was never quite able to understand what this had to do with, well, Oilers. The inclusion of the riggers on the side helped a little bit....but that greenish-blue skin tone just isn't healthy at all. Zombie riggers? Perplexing...

Finally, Conks gets signed by the Bluejackets in the off season and apparently with a new team comes a new love of shiny, not to mention colorful (this one looked real good with the Sabres uniforms, if you weren't lucky enough to catch it before he switched). It actually did look nice in person - at the very least you couldn't miss him on the ice. I'm pretty sure he literally chiseled out some of the red from the B and used it for the eyes of the Buffaslug on the new one.

And that ends this horribly entertaining (I know, I know) and informative waste of time. It was sort of interesting looking back at all those masks though - I'm tempted to do it with a goalie people actually care about! Suggestions?

(Also, and I can't believe I'm saying this.....go Canucks, tomorrow. Ooooh it burns.)

19 March 2007

18 March 2007

Oh yeah, baby


I was unable to watch this game for various reasons, but I have to say this: You know that the Pens have a solid, well rounded and a good-depth team when Ruutu wins the shootout for you.

Go Pens! Way to give me a great birthday present, boys.

But hey, we got a point! (Or: Oh how my standards have fallen!)

File this under: predictions I wish I hadn't made.

Steph (10:06:02 PM)
: Smid has played about four minutes less than the other top D guys right now and given the Oilers luck lately it worries me.
Elly (10:07:10 PM): Don't tell me that.
Steph (10:08:55 PM): Oh fuck.
Elly (10:09:39 PM): ...don't even say it.
Steph (10:10:06 PM): Puck to the stomach in front of the net had to be helped off the ice.
Elly (10:15:19 PM): I'm sure Laddy is okay.
Elly (10:15:22 PM): I'm SURE.
Steph (10:16:18 PM): 'Midsection' doesn't sound too bad...then again knowing Edmonton he probably broke his spleen or something.

Ladies and gentlemen, as of this morning we are officially up to twelve. Spleen and kidneys are close together, right?


My lack of cable prevented me from really catching the Wings game last night (I did see it, but on an approximately 3x2ish window on my computer screen) and about the only comment I can make is that it was a very poor mental game for the Wings. HNIC's amusing little Sesame Street style way of counting off how many players were on the ice aside, six guys not just on the ice but actually in the zone attacking means someone, somewhere along the line, is just not paying attention.

At any rate we move one point back of Nashville again, but, thanks to the Thrashers (for the record there are five away messages on my buddy list either thanking or damning them, none of which come from Thrashers fans) are still tied with Buffalo...and a point ahead of the once again closing in Ducks.


And last but not least, Happy Birthday to Lord Stanley's cup, and my excellent co-blogger Elly! Clearly with a shared birthday like that it's no wonder hockey's in her blood. If anyone knows how best I could snare Ethan Moreau as a present let me know. (Or hey, if I make outlandish predictions about the Pens, maybe they'll come true too?)

17 March 2007

Just an hour north....

...and I would be in Canada, where they have hockey-ticket contests, mini-sticks through McDonald's, Don Cherry and Ron McLean making awful jokes (Really, Ron, did you have to? Mugged and brewers...ugh), and Wal Mart selling hockey paraphanlia. The states have NASCAR, football, and Yankees/Red Sox stuff. What's wrong with this picture? Canada even has Tim Horton's.

Why am I bringing this up? Because I am currently watching the Habs/Leafs game and the atmosphere and crowd in the Bell Centre is amazing. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mean to imply that all American held games are dull (Go Pens!)...but there are quite a few that are, whereas you don't often find many quiet Canadian arenas. Is it because Canadians are exposed to hockey, no matter which province or city they come from? People from the States sometimes aren't...some have never even held a stick (although most northern states play it in backyards and in gym class) or been on skates. Having a childhood connection certainly helps people feel more involved and interested in a sport, and Canada is the birthplace of hockey...


Away from hockey-centric ramblings, the Canes decided to help out by absolutely crushing the Devils 7-2. Too bad Philly couldn't do the same with Ottawa. Boston fell to the Rangers, as did the Islanders to the Panthers. Without checking the scores, I'm going to say that the Oilers are losing. Anytime you'd like to break this losing streak would be great, Edmonton. Oh, what, you need defense and players that have been in more than 10 games in the NHL?

EDIT: I'm not sure how I missed this, but the Stanley Cup and I share the date of our birth. Yes indeed, the Cup and I have the same birthday. I knew when the first NHL game was (December of 1917), but not the Cup. Huh. Happy Birthday, Lord Stanley's Cup!

Birds galore!

What a week this has been for the Penguins.

-The new arena deal
-Beating the Sabres
-Mario and Co. have decided not to sell the team
-Beating the Devils in a SHUTOUT
-Beating the Habs
-4 points behind the Devils for the division lead (Devils 94, Pens 90. The next up is the Islanders with 78. The Flyers are wilting at the bottom with 51)

Ottawa, watch out.

How great is it to be able to say that? How often have the Pens had any reason to celebrate in the past ten years? I wouldn't even need two hands to count them. Also, on a side note, I will stop saying that Sidney has been quiet. Two goals, one of which was his patented shoot-from-an-impossible-angle-on-his-ass goal (couldn't find a clip of it). Malkin and Oulette had a great run up for one of them, too. What a great time to be a fan of the Penguins.


What about the other birds of the NHL? I'm not talking about the Thrashers (is that a...crane?) or the Capitals, but the Anaheim Ducks, the only other team aside from the Penguins with an avian namesake.

The basics:

-Founded in 1993 by the Disney Company (they like to make marketing ploys with sports teams. Hello Angels) and was the first tenant at Arrowhead Pond, which was finished that same year as a little hutch for the ducklings. It is now the Honda Center.
-The 'Mighty Ducks' were sold in 2005 to the Sameulis for 75 mil. Damn, who has that much money to buy a team with? The GM is Brian Burke of Vancouver fame, and the head coach is Randy Carlyle, who is a former Penguin from around the time I was born. From one bird to another, eh Carlyle? A side note on Carlyle: he was drafted by the Leafs in 76 and stands a short 5'10. Probably most recently remembered for being the coach of the Manitoba Moose for six seasons.
-Changed their name from 'The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim' to 'The Anaheim Ducks' this season. The uniform changed as well, going away from the 80's fashionable teal and purple, to the more subdued colors of black, orange and white. They kept the mascot, Wildwing, due to fan support of the large, hockey playing duck. I wonder what would have happened if they went the way that the Pens went in the beginning and got a live duck? Would it have been a mallard? They could even name it snazzy things, like 'Ducky' and 'Ducky McDuck' (although nothing beats Pete and Re-Pete).
-Their first draft pick was for Paul Kariya. The current captain of the Ducks is Scott Neidermayer, who plays along with his brother Rob.
-The Ducks' AHL affliate is the Portland Pirates.


Starting from a movie about kids playing hockey isn't easy, and I think a lot of fans didn't think too much of the young team from Anaheim (I admit, I was one of them, although I loved the movies. Who didn't? The Flying V was money). However, and as much as it pains me to admit this, the Ducks have proven themselves to be an actual hockey team and not a logo by the Disney Corportation.

The Ducks' first three seasons didn't show too much bang, ending 4th, 6th, and 4th in the Pacific. The 96-97 was their breakout year, until the Wings spanked them in the semifinals. The rest of the late 90's and early 2000 years weren't so good, again getting bent over by Detroit in 98-99, and not showing up in the playoffs until 2003. The 2003 playoffs seemed to be the magic year for the Ducks, crushing the Red Wings and moving all the way up to lose in the finals against the Devils.

Last year was also a good year for the Ducks. Fresh from the lockout, they went all the way to the conference finals, getting run over by Edmonton in the end. This year they're in line for another great run at the Cup, and may go all the way. A first Cup for them in their new incarnation would be big, and if they stay healthy (sorry, I'll stop cursing Pronger...next year), they're looking good for it.


The Ducks have had some big names over the years, like Selanne, Fedorov, Kariya, Pronger, Neidermayer (both of them), Prospal, Kurri, Kilger and Lonely, who was their first captain (another former Penguin). Their current team also hold some notable names of up and coming players, like McDonald, Penner, Perry, and sigh Getzlaf, among others. Overall, they have a great blue line, and their scoring drive is impressive with their 'Kid Line'. Giguere is also pretty good between the pipes, but my favorite Ducks goalie is Bryzgalov. Anyone who has listened to this guy will know why, he is a complete riot, and illustrates why most people consider goalies crazy. They also have Sebastian Caron in the system, best remembered for a mind-boggling save on the Flyers in 2005-2006 when he was still with the Penguins (is it just me, or are there a lot of former Pens on the Anaheim roster?). He was traded from the Blackhawks to the Ducks in December.

Other stuff:

-Selanne used to teach kindergarten in Finland.
-Along with an animated show, the Disney Corp. wanted to further embarrass the players by putting 'Mighty' before each of their names on the back of the jerseys. This was squashed by the players themselves, several threatening to negotiate contracts with the Coyotes in retaliation.
-Wildwing regularly comes down from the rafters at the beginning of the game.

Well, that's all I can think of/find for the Anaheim Ducks. If I'm missing anything or got anything wrong, please let me know. Next up are the Sharks, who I think still have the most hokey entrance of any hockey team in the national league, even over the Oilers and the Oil Rig.

15 March 2007

California girls and really late recap comments

Remember that game a few days ago in which the Penguins almost had a regulation win but instead decided to give Sidney some practice with the shootouts? Here are a few (very late) thoughts:

-What an incredible game. Mario coming out and saying his 15 words was all that the fans needed. Of course, he had to wait five minutes before he could speak because of the crowd. Great moment.

-Fantastic energy throughout the game, the Penguins were playing right up with the Sabres. They fought hard, had great physicality, and the crowd was unbelievable. Not a lot of penalities called, and none in the first. The Pens' power play is ranked 20th at 81.3%. The Sabres are 30-2-0 when they score a power play goal, according to OLNUSUS. Well, they were....now they're 30-3-0.

-Was it just me or did both goalies venture out quite a bit? Miller was right in the middle of the play more often than not, and Fleury almost got trapped behind the net a few times. Way to give me a heart attack, Fleur. Speaking of goalies and the Flower, his robbery on Vanek was incredible, and the shot of him after all smiles was great. He's been working on his glove this year and it really shows. His posture also seemed a little different, more upright and less crouched for the butterfly snap. Could be the effect of the charged atmosphere and extra confidence or new training? His last round of saves during the tail end of the 1st was incredible. I don't know how he got some of those.

-All the boys were spectacular, but the Talbot, Roberts, Armstrong line was particularly pumped. Petro was also a surprisingly spry little dude during the game, sliding in where he needed to be, and Scuderi I was not overall impressed with. He seemed ready for the game, but missed some good passes and didn't seem too aware of some of the plays happening. Malkin was trying (and what an awful penalty in the third...what was he thinking?), and showed some of his smooth glide on the ice. He's been a little less impressive lately...maybe I'm just used to the way he started off the season and this quiet time is making me anxious?

-Some great signs at the game. My favorites? 'Vezina for Mario' and 'If you build it, Stanley will come'. The best one of the night involved the pregame skate with Recchi and Ruutu chatting and laughing at one that said, 'Sidney will you marry my mom?'.

-Nice interview pieces during the intermisons. I keep forgetting how huge Mario is compared to the wee folk of the outside world...he looked great, though. Happy, relaxed...although his cheerful talk about Bettman made me gag a little. The Roberts taped interview was pretty good as well, he's starting to grow on me (funny comments at the end!). Classic interview with Bettman, though, just for the Freudian Slip that happened by one of the announcers (apologies, I forget which), 'I know that you often deflect blame' and 'I'm just glad that you don't have announcers summariliy excecuted'. Bettman makes my skin crawl, but if he helped to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh, I'll forget that he's got the class of a used car salesman for now.

-Remember when the idea of being disappointed over a shootout win was unheard of? I love it when the Pens win.


Injuries are really getting the Oilers, who haven't won since Smytty left and are now suffering from a bout of the flu in addition to a plethora of injuries. The Caps are still sliding (forgot this game was on...oops. Too much 'The Black Donnollys' on nbc.com)...and the Senators are still kicking ass. Bastards. The Devils also won tonight, ensuring that they can continue to laugh at the Penguins from the top of the division.

In more Penguins news, Mario no longer plans to sell. Huh. Apparently he just decided that if you want something done right, you do it yourself. Good for him.


On a different note, since I woke up with an urge to move to California (this might be because of the cold, sleety rain and ever-present clouds right now), I have decided to explore what sort of hockey atmosphere California has to offer. I realized that I don't actually know too much about the history of the Kings, Sharks and Ducks, and while none of them are particularly affecting the Penguins right now, it is always good to learn and expand knowledge about hockey. This being said, I will post an abridged history of each team over the next few days, and try to learn as much as I can about them. Real fans of said teams, please feel free to correct me when I get something wrong. Please.

Penguins play the Habs at 7:30 tomorrow. Go Pens!

Back on Top

Apologies for being so lax with Wings commentary lately - thanks to classes and extracurricular activities (okay shhh so I went to a concert yesterday night) I missed both of arguably the two most important games of the month - those being the home and home against Nashville.

Luckily for me we won them both even without my dedicated witnessing! Even better, I found out in the bar last night after the show that my rookie Jiri Hudler stole the show and nabbed two goals in yesterday's win, which put us once again ahead of Nashville, and at the top of the league again, where fans have gotten so used to seeing us after this past year.

Now the question is, will we stay there? The Wings have risen back from a team that relied heavily - maybe too heavily - on our top line, our power line, our Eurotwins to a team of the depth we praised at the beginning of the season. Since the trade deadline, the Lang-Calder combo and the kids (Filppula playing alongside Datsyuk and Hudler in various places but most notably with Lang and Calder) have done wonders. The return of Sameulsson and Holmstrom have already helped, and we've yet to even get Zetterberg back. So, can we keep this lead, tenuous as it may be? I think we can, if we keep this level up, but we've got real contenders - it's not like last year; we're going to have to be sharp.

In apology for my lack of coverage, some Wings-related things worth pointing out.

  • Matt at On the Wings has excellent game recaps as always - it's where I went when I got home last night.
  • Dave at Gorilla Crouch also has recaps but more importantly (maybe only to me) a post dedicated to my rookie and the press coverage he's been getting lately, thereby sparing me the trouble of doing it myself!
  • Christy of Behind the Jersey has recaps as well and most notably a nice injury status report with regard to the Filppula injury last night and Zetterberg as well. Unfortunately I have to agree with her about necessarily trusting Babcock's word on how serious it is (remember when Samuelsson "hadn't" broken his foot, either?)

Of potentially little interest but worth mentioning nonetheless, I'm heading up to see the Griffins take on the Manitoba Moose this Friday and a friend informed me last night that thanks to the St. Hat Trick party (okay you know what, I'm not even going to question that pun) there will be all sorts of Irish-type entertainment pre-game, lots of ticket and food deals, and players signing autographs from the bench afterward.


Last but....okay actually I might not be able to finish that sentence, it's giving me premonitions and headaches and that sort of hazy vision thing you get when you want to cry a little bit. But okay, the Oilers are playing tonight - the start of a six game homestead. Maybe, just maybe, we'll win one? Just one?

Also worth pointing out: The Oil are calling up players (and subsequently putting them on IR) at such an alarming frequency that they've stopped taking the time to make crazy Oilers in space backgrounds for the new guys Young and Nilsson. That, or they've got my poor eyes in mind and don't want a repeat of the painfully bad photoshop editing that is Nedved's.

My predictions for tonight: Boogard manages to injure both goalies in a matter of minutes, at which point we move Toby Petersen back from defense to goal, and he still manages to score the only Oilers goal all night. What, me, disillusioned?


13 March 2007


While the good news just keeps pouring in, I am a little surprised by the response from the Sprint Center's corporate owners, the Anschutz Entertainment Group. The article says that while they have never been dependant on the Pens moving (and this isn't a surprise), they are now looking at the Preds? I'm not sure if I'm insulted or not. I mean....really, the Preds? I'd make more fun of them if they weren't, you know, kicking everyone's asses.

Huge game tonight. Go Pens!

Never felt so good

I could write about how I received a text from Steph when I was leaving work, and how I stood outside in the cold, trash in hand, gaping at my phone while my friend looked at me in confusion as I fought tears of pure relief. This entire post could say how I started screaming and yelling in the parking lot and stepped in a snow bank without noticing, ran back inside the bar, tackled the bartender, bought a round for the crowd that had heard me worry, and cry, and still believe. Perhaps I might tell about how we raised our shot glasses and drank to the Pittsburgh Penguins, even the Flyers fan, and then I could tell how that sweet liquor had never tasted so good, fresh on my lips after the word Pittsburgh.

Maybe I'll just let the Penguins tell it instead.

12 March 2007

They want me to give up, they really do.

I thought about some sort of game preview type post, but then the Oil website did all the work for me - the Oilers, this game, and my day can be summed up by the following quote regarding tonight's "Oilers to Watch" (this is, indeed, the very first sentence of it):

"Yesterday, the fourth line of Brad Winchester, Zack Stortini and Patrick Thoresen had a number of scoring chances for the Oilers. The trio combined for four shots on net."

In a perfect world, Ales Hemsky would swoop out onto the ice tonight, Ryan Smyth in tow, and tell me, Edmonton, and whoever else is concerned that "shoulder injury" was a brilliant cover up for "reconnaissance and negotiations on Long Island" and that "trade" was a brilliant cover up for "fake all the fans out and then explode into the playoffs, standings be damned". And then he would finish the game with twenty shots on goal single-handed, Rexall would explode into cheers of "Hemsky shot the puck!", Smytty would play helmetless so the mullet could flow like the happy tears of the Edmonton population all game long, and halfway through the second period MacT would announce that Ethan Moreau has been recreated as the Bionic Man, has renounced his usual position and decided to have the makings of the most brilliant defenseman in history implanted directly into his brain, and will now take up post at the blue line for a full 60 minutes of game time.

In the real world, Brad Winchester, Zack Stortini and Patrick Thoresen have four shots on agoal and I can't even summon the motivation to hit the caps lock key before typing goilers. Come on boys, I queued up Chinese internet tv for you. the least you can do is muster a real go at it.

(On the brighter side of things - no really this is about the only thing that went right all day - I made a pretty banner?)

I also think I'll leave it to Elly to elaborate (she just apparently ran into a snowbank, yelled fairly loudly, and made me read her stats over the phone - I think she might put a little more feeling in it that me at the moment), but the happy news of the evening has to be this, right? I admit it does make up for some of the day's grief.

11 March 2007

Someone take me shopping in Finland, I want that hoodie.

(Now with 100% less typos in the subject line!)

I refuse to talk about the Oilers game. SO!

To finish off my last couple days of Spring Break, I went so far as to forsake one last night of HNIC in Detroit and return to Kalamazoo a day early so I could stop by Gibraltar where Dan Cleary and Valtteri Filppula were signing autographs on my way. Behind the Jersey's Christy couldn't be there, so I promised pictures, and pictures I will deliver! It was a lot of fun, though I only got to chat with Filppula for a couple minutes. I met a guy in line who made fun of me when I mentioned Conklin (go figure) and chewed out a Blackhawks fan running a booth who told me I could do better than a shiny glossy of Hemsky.

I also SOMEHOW resisted a purchase of a set of Red Wings glasses (like, you know, the sort you drink out of) with the logo, Dom on one side, and MANNY on the other. If they could have been bought separately for half the price that $10 would have been gone so fast I would have forgot I ever owned it.

And of course my spoils!

Also bah, 6-3 to the Bruins? Fine, I see how it is, hockey doesn't like me today. Wow did Thomas ever look solid, though. Nice to see that despite that Kings victory the other day, we still make a habit of losing to teams we shouldn't.

10 March 2007

Hockey Idol?

SO, Detroit won (I was so worried they were going to drop another game to another below 500 team). On the Wings will probably have a good recap up of it - I was lazy tonight, sorry! I will share that my favorite part of the evening was the announcers informing us, on the topic of Hasek's return, that "Not since the Rockettes has so much attention been paid to a thigh in Detroit."

And now, to take away from the pain that is the Oilers game, I bring you hockey...er...karaoke?

So the other day (and by other day I mean like weeks ago) I was watching I think a Pens/Caps game that happened to involve Ovechkin mic'd up...singing Foo Fighters songs really badly. And I remembered a couple other occurrences of hockey players thinking they could sing and have compiled them here for your entertainment:

Candidate 1: Dany Heatley singing Mr. Brightside:

Candidate 2: Jed Ortmeyer singing Youth of the Nation:

Candidate 3: Alexander Ovechkin singing...oh god I don't even know, it's unintelligible. It's a Foo Fighters song, that's the best I can do:

So there you have it folks, cast your votes - if you can possibly pick a winner from this bunch. I'm not sure, we might have to go back to the drawing board...

09 March 2007


Oh, no wait, just kidding.

The definitive meeting on Thursday night ended in a very solid decision...to meet next Wednesday. I'm not going to complain, too much, because there has evidently been some decent progress made, even though no one is saying what that is, but if it means that the Penguins are that much closer to staying in Pittsburgh....

Keep the faith, guys.

EDIT: Jussi left with the flu midway through the game. Both he and Roli are down with illness, and the rest of the Oilers are in various states of broken. Will someone please get that entire team some ointment and band-aids?

Achy Breaky Hockey Hair

Shush, that song makes me laugh.

Anyway, hey everybody, the Wings have a
game tomorrow! I know it's only been since Tuesday, but jeez, when I'm on spring break and even Versus is failing me so I have to watch nothing but little tiny 300x200 pixel screens of slow-moving, choppy-sounding miserable feed Chinese internet TV to get my hockey fix, and there are none of those pesky "responsibility" things around to distract me, it gets old fast!

So to keep myself entertained, I will proceed to whine about injuries.

First of all, the Oilers. Have we all seen this? Yes? Does everyone realize they played a full period of hockey with four defensemen (which at some point became three, did it not?) the other day? And that they have just called up their
last possible d-man (Brian Young, and what a record he has: No goals, one assist in 8 games this season in the AHL. SWEET!) before having to go digging around in juniors. I think little Laddy (with his second NHL goal ever, everyone say awwww) put it best in this article: " I'm looking around like, what happened. Janny goes down, Stevie goes down. That's a bad situation when you have to play 40 minutes with only four defencemen." (Shh I totally didn't quote that whole thing just because I love his little nicknames for everyone.)

Not to mention Ales was out on a Third Jersey day and let me just tell you how pretty he looks in those, but I'll stop before I encroach on Hot-Oil territory - they're better at it than me anyway.

Everyone on that injury page is either out or doubtful for the next game with the exception of Mathieu Roy who's still questionable, and that certainly doesn't look good. I'm beginning to think it's some sort of Oilers curse, and it doesn't take pains to note the current roster - even Smytty limped off the ice today.

Moving right along, the Red Wings. How many guys out now? When we've got the Young Guns up playing 15 minutes each per game you know it's something ridiculous - and yet everyone's been holding their own and pulling it off. It's nice to see the team picking up some line depth again and still scoring a good number of goals without powerhouses like Zetterberg and Holmstrom up there bailing us out game after game.

So what am I complaining about here? Well folks, it's time for shallow hockey fan time! So
despite seeing where there could be benefits, and admitting that it's not like we lost anything on the deal, I still sort of want to growl in Todd Bertuzzi's general direction when the chance comes up, and this being said, the idea of him (okay I know I'm completely overplaying this and it's not only because of Todd Bertuzzi) being what knocks my little rookie out of the regular lineup (as predicted by more than one person including myself, but more notably Ansar Khan and Matt of On the Wings) once everyone comes back from all these injuries!? Bah!

I think this conversation between Skye of MWORO and I sums it up quite nicely:

Me: Well with Bertuzzi on the second line barring any more injuries (this is a projection from when everyone is healthy again) it's Jiri and Langfeld that'll probably get bumped off as reserves.
Skye: ...*twitchy* (at which point I assume her internet knocked out again as it has been doing)
Me: *chews on the internet for you?*
Skye: No, the twitchy was toward Bertuzzi.
Me: *chews on Bertuzzi for you?*
Me: ....ew rabies.

Not to say that I find anything wrong with this decision - Hudler is the most likely to end up as a reserve and it makes perfect sense. Still doesn't help me love Bertuzzi any more.

Last but not least on the injury topic how about that hit from Simon tonight? Ugh, brutal. Let's the punishment wheel spin - hey maybe we'll actually get some justice huh?

(Oh and one more thing, how about injury to fans? If that whole Pens escapade doesn't get closed up soon I think it's going to give me - and my wallet for that matter, thank you megabus.com for your $14 tickets to Pittsburgh - some sort of heart condition. I can't even imagine what Elly or the Pensblog guys are going through over it right now. Not to mention the pain of my head connecting fairly harshly with my desk after tonights announcement that it had been decided.....to resume discussion Wednesday.)

08 March 2007

Tonight's the night

This is it.

Tonight (rumored to be at 6pm) a meeting between government officials, Bettman, and the Lemieux group, is going down in Philadelphia. They will decide on an outcome to the Penguins' relocation rumors and the arena deal. As a source at TSN said of tonight, '''closure, one way or another.'''

I can't eat, my stomach is in knots, I had nightmares last night...and tonight I'm going to be at work until 12, constantly looking up at the TVs and hoping I don't trip over anyone. Our cable is out, so I won't get the game (not that I could watch it very well, but at least it would be there), and therefore I am hoping that they do not announce anything, either way, until I get home where I can cry in peace.

Did I mention that my bartender tonight is a Flyers' fan?

CBC brings up an interesting point in asking if the Penguins' ownership group intends to sell anyhow, why load the bases in the 9th and then stick in the ball boy to bat? Mario took the team off the market with his 'take destiny into our own hands' speech, but does that mean that he was just fed up with everyone else or that he really didn't want to see the team in someone else's hands? He's led the Penguins through thick and thin, and saved them financially and franchise-wise several times, it seems only natural that he would want to be there at the reigns, directing where his little ice-skating family goes. I'm not sure if he still wants to sell, and who could blame him if he did after fighting with an apathetic government for years, but I'd like to think that if that is the case and he isn't just feeling nostalgic, he'd like to see the Penguins settled in Pittsburgh and happily on their way to a third Cup before handing off the boys to someone else. He's been there for them for a long time, and I don't see him abandoning them anytime soon.

A few quick Pens links:

-Want to read a ton of comments from people saying that the Penguins need to stay in Pittsburgh? Well, the Trib has you covered.

-The Allegheny Institute says that they can build an arena without the Penguins...and then try to bribe another hockey team to come in. Right, drive a franchise with a 40 year old fanbase of die-hard fanatics out and then ask for a new team to come in.

-Coach Therrien's papa passes away at 77. He'll be at New Jersey tonight, but will leave shortly thereafter to go and be with his family in Montreal. Our condolences.

-The players have been trying to look past all the talks, but I'm sure it's difficult to not know where you're going to be living or playing next year. I can't begin to imagine how that must effect someone's game, and the Pens really need to be on the lookout with the Devils tonight (they're 2-4 with them this year). Fleury is expected to start, but really the reason I am linking this article is for the excellent picture of Jordan at the top and the cute segment on his stick. Pterodactyl indeed.


Elsewhere in the NHL, the Oilers are now playing with four defensemen, 6 forwards, a 67' volkswagon, three toddlers in skates, an old basset hound, and a partridge in a pear tree. The partridge has a broken left foot. I'd call it the 'Curse of Smytty' or '94 reasons why you shouldn't trade away your franchise player', but I think that Smyth would be the first one to want the Oilers to do well and wouldn't wish them any harm...he's just that type of guy. The Oilers' management, however....well, I wouldn't be surprised if they started stubbing toes and getting their fingers shut in the doors of their Beamers. Rodger Phillips tells Edmonton fans to chill out, and that things will get better....next year. I really hope this guy doesn't live anywhere near Alberta. He also mentions that Vancouver might be looking at Smyth for next season. Ouch.

Speaking of ex-Oilers, Pronger out with a broken toe. I'm sure all of Edmonton is weeping.

Everyone light a candle for the Penguins tonight, and not just to ward off evil spirits of being frustrated right off the ice by the Devils' defense. Tonight, everyone, even Flyers' fans, need to get behind the Pens and show support. No one wants to see a great franchise move, and hopefully the boys in Philly will show us that they don't want to, either.

Please don't go, Pens.
(but still kick the shit out of the Devils)


07 March 2007

Long Live the Mullet

If you ignore all the painful foreshadowing and the remarks that sort of make you just want to hit something because you know the answers they didn't a couple weeks ago, and just focus on the two full minutes spent talking about the mullet (and little baby draft mullet footage!), and Roli and Smytty flirting, it evens out and even makes you a little warm and fuzzy. Really.

And now back to...Detroit Pistons Basketball, until I can make crazy Chinese internet TV give me the Oilers.

06 March 2007

Things go better when they don't distract us with those hideous third jerseys

A very brief post-game entry that was liveblogged but not actually posted timely enough to be live! I'm missing a lot of content because I was doing about fifteen other things while I was watching this, but here's what I did get:

Does anyone understand how that first Datsyuk goal went in? I certainly don't, but it does nothing to detract from my love of Pavel. Also, I'm beginning to think giving the Wings a two man advantage within the first five minutes of the game is a script for any team visiting the Joe.

Right around twelve minutes left, Jiri snatched the puck and looked really nice maneuvering around a couple Preds - the sort of Hemsky-like grace you really don't expect from the kid. Of course I don't ever expect that to be his signature, but it was nice to see it working and a definite improvement over some of the rough-edged skating he's done thus far.

How on earth did we not just score when Calder had the wide open net just that? That's the second nice chance the guy's gotten tonight and just couldn't quite pull it off. And did they just say Hudler's dad played on the 80-something Olympic team?

Oh Osgood. Nice save, too bad you had no idea how you made it and certainly didn't see the puck at all - therefore making you unable to control the rebound at all.

"Bucket full of chintzy hooking calls," say the announcers after period one - and isn't that the truth.

I didn't see that second goal - oops. I blame Hockeygirl for distracting me - I was busy trying to defend liking Tucker and I forgot I was watching hockey. I don't know where this anger toward Ozzie is coming from lately considering I generally like him well enough, but I seem to be willing to blame him.

What on earth were they just doing showing Ozzie make that goal way back when?

The Lang goal was nice - and before the traces of "do-lang-do-lang" fade away, Schneider grabs the puck and lets go of a beautiful long shot for his 200th on the season, a mere 25 seconds after Lang's.

I switched to the Boston/Colorado game during the second period intermission and I just have to laugh every time I see Chara's skating around with that that stick of his - I swear it has to be at least a half a foot longer than half the guys out there.

I missed a bunch of the third period, but I did see Osgood make a really nice save to keep the game 3-3 - he's lucky, I think if he'd let that in he might have heard me swearing all the way from here.

Every game between these two seems to end in OT, which I suppose goes to show the nature of this battle to get on top of the Central division - but it's damn annoying! I'll spare everyone the bitching about shootouts - but it was really interesting to see who Detroit put out there with Zetterberg, Holmstrom, and Williams not there. Okay, okay, so really I was just happy about the rookies getting a chance. Pavel's goal was nice, Jiri was adorable; wanted to go top shelf the way he likes but couldn't quiet get it up, and he looked so adorably mad at himself afterward. Val had a good chance that almost made it through, and of course Franzen finished it off for us. Ozzie actually looked really nice in the shootout, I take back some of my earlier complaints.

The announcers talked about what I've been saying for about a month now after the game - how the Wings play so well in front of Hasek and then sort of leave Ozzie (and Joey, when he was still here - before Boston ate him, as Elly put it) out to dry. I still don't understand why that is, unless we are really so scared of Hasek hurting himself if he has to make more than fifteen or so saves per game.

They also interviewed Ozzie and he looks rather paranoid and twitchy, for some reason - and I didn't realize the Wings had such a bad record in OT this year.

Always worth mentioning:

Mentions of Dom's age on channels not even showing the Wings game: 2
Mentions of Cheli's age: 1


Also! Valtteri Filppula and Dan Cleary will be signing autographs down at Gibraltar Trade Center on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. - I just rescheduled a court date for a speeding ticket so I could go. Let me know if any of you are going to be there!

(And let me a have a moment of happy over the Leafs shutout and the Pens ridiculous come from behind win.)

I almost forgot...

Re: Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers 2006-2007 season

Ottawa and the Pens tonight up in the frickin' cold white north. I'm making a swanky prediction of Pens 4-3, with an OT goal by Army. Go Pens!

05 March 2007

Well shit

This does not sound good. And this, frankly, sounds like a bunch of bureaucratic crap.

I'm trying not be a downer, and whine and cry, 'Oh, the Pens are leaving, might as well just give up!', but this is not making it any easier to hold the faith. It seemed as though the Pens' management wasn't happy with the proceedings when they wouldn't comment during this, and now to say that they are actively seeking relocation? People have said that this is just a bargaining ploy, tons of teams have done it before...but doesn't it seem a little late in the game to be posturing? The franchise, as everyone can see, is hot and definitely wanted...it wouldn't be a stretch to say that they could easily find a home, albeit without the die-hard fans that now reside in Pittsburgh. Will they continue to negotiate for an arena and try to get past this 'impasse'? That's the question, I suppose.

Does Icee have to cut a bitch to get an arena?