Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Finally, a win with Pens-Barre

Who would have thought going into an important game last night against the Devils with a good chunk of the team out with injury or illness of some sort, and relying on the talents of quite a number of the Baby Pens team, we'd have won, and in such good fashion!?

Of course hearing Stiegy say that Micheal Rupp hasn't scored in almost a year, you had to know it was coming, and then it did, mere minutes later... he did. Why does that sort of jinx never work in reverse? Like saying, "Jordon Staal hasn't scored in a couple weeks..etc.. etc..."

Not to rip on Staalsy too much, as he did put one in during the game, combined with a truly wicked poke in by Eric Christensen, and Ryan Malones two goals to give us the game 4-2. The fifty or so people in attendence in New Jersey didn't see it coming.

Frankly, neither did I. But I was happily and quite pleasently surprised. I expected a fight for the win, and the fact that it came rather easily was what I liked. My husband is such a doubter, lol. He chastised me early on in the game asking if I thought we had a chance. Let's face it, you always have a chance, and if you want to doubt yourself and your team, you can guarandamntee that you'll never win.

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This picture is just too cool for words, two kids, two Crosby jerseys, staring at Sid. That's hockey.

Speaking of hockey. That's what we're here for isn't it? :P Very interesting article HERE about the humble nature of most NHL players, and why their "just a regular guy" perception probably keeps them off ESPN's Sports Center.

I gave up on ESPN and it's lackluster hockey coverage a long time ago. Barry Melrose may know hockey, but him and his ridiculous past middle age mullet bore me, with his pompous remarks and know it all comments. His biggest claim to fame was coaching Wayne Gretzky and goodness knows he likes to remind you of that as much as he can.

So tonight, it's the revenge of Mark Rechhi's revenge. At least that's what I'm calling it. :P I think this time the Pens need to wipe the ice with the Thrashers. So whadda ya say?

Sid says... Let's go Pens... make it happen... do it for 87
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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Serenity now...

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Ok, I admit I waited a few days before commenting on Thursdays game against the Flyers. I needed to gather my thoughts, what did I want to say anyway? We lost, in all it's heartbreaking intensity.. we lost. 4-3 at that.

I got so worked up over the game, I didn't sleep well that night. That's just how these games between the Pens and the Flyers go. We hate them, they hate us. Consider also, that last year, for the first time ever, we swept the east coast goons 8-0.. yeah, we won every freakin' game, it was sweet. There just has to be something said about the passion you hold for your team if their losing keeps you up after the fact...

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The fact that Philly has any number of hired goons to choose from, makes that sort of resentful hate I feel for them run even deeper. I had the distinct pleasure back in 1998 (I believe) of seeing Darius Kasparaitis lay out Eric Lindros (probably one of my most fav players to hate) right in front of the Highmark Blue Cross sign in the Mellon Arena. I was by myself at that game, and the crowds reaction around me, people I didn't know high fiving me... priceless. The hit was clean, no penalty, just good solid hockey... nothing dirty or underhanded about it.

Anyhow, going back to Thursdays game, Georges Laraque hitting Steve Downie from behind into the boards in the closing seconds of the second period drew the ire of the Wachovia Center. There is no way in hell BGL did anything maliciously, and if Downie had been standing up on his skates rather than going down into a crouch (still not sure why that was, unless it was a set up... don't look at me like that, remember who we're discussing here?... the dude that's done his fair share of damage this season to several players in the league), nothing would have happened. The result, Downie laying on the ice, and I half hate to admit that he seemed to really be putting on a bit of a show, but thankfully someone else backed my opinion up over on the Pensblog comment section.

The best part? He gets up, skates off the ice, BGL gets assessed a 5 minute major, and a game misconduct. Downie on the other hand, comes back in the third period fresh as a daisy, and procedes to get into a fight. Interesting...

Things just sorta went to pot after that, but gotta give the Pens credit, as least they didn't take a beat down like they did last time they were in Philly.

Some thoughts...

FSN Pittsburgh's sensitivity level hit a low point, inviting Keith Primeau into the broadcast booth with Stiegy and Bob. WTF? If there is any Pens fan out there that appreciated that smooth move, please let me know. Interview him somewhere during intermission at the circus or something, don't let him in to comment on a game. Geezzzzzz... as subtle as a hammer to your thumb.

Salt in the wound? Coming back from a commercial they show the dreaded goal Primeau scored in the 2000 playoffs against the Pens. Ouch...

Derian Hatcher... still a nimrod. Shame Sid had to miss this, after their initial meeting Crosby's first year, those two battle each other. Almost like watching the more talented younger brother get followed around by the not so talented lug of an older brother.

Filewich... the new Letang? I'm excited about this guy. Nothing but promise from what I see, and Letang is still making me eat my words by impressing the socks off me.

War room in Toronto... solid work on calling that goal a goal in the 3rd period. Amazing how some players didn't even know that the net can come up from the ice with the puck across the line and still be a goal... it's when it comes off it's morings that it's disallowed. (alright, so I didn't know that either... my bad)

Shame on Ryan Malone for taking that penalty with about a minute left in the game :(

What happens if these two teams were to end up as opponents in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs? Hide your children... we might just find out.

Anyhow... it's All Star weekend. We're gonna miss seeing Super Sid do his thing, but there are plenty of other "stars" to shine. I like the skills competition the best, it's cool to see the guys having fun.

Stay tuned till Feb 10th when we meet the Flyers again... no way is this over...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Crosby ankle update

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*sigh* 6 to 8 weeks... Get well soon Sid...

From the Pittsburgh Penguins official website:

The Pittsburgh Penguins superstar center was re-evaluated by Pittsburgh Penguins team doctor Chip Burke on Tuesday morning and further testing confirmed a right high ankle sprain – the most-serious injury of Crosby’s hockey career, in terms of recovery time.


“It’s not something I have really had to deal with before. It’s new. I don’t know if it’s really set in yet,” a solemn Crosby said. “It’s been tough watching the last couple games, but I think it’s going to be pretty tough as we go along here.


“I was hoping 3-4 weeks would be the most. It doesn’t look like it’ll be like that. We’ll see how fast I heal,” he continued. “This is probably something that’s tougher mentally than anything I have probably had to deal with. I don’t think you want to get caught looking at a date and then you get to that date and you’re not ready to go. That can definitely hurt the way you feel about things. For me, I am just going to take it a day at a time, that’s the best way to do it and make sure I am doing everything possible to get back and hope that my body heals as fast as possible.”
Crosby suffered the injury in the first period of the Jan. 18 against Tampa Bay halfway through the first period. He charged through the Lightning zone and was pulled down by Tampa Bay defenseman Paul Ranger near the right circle. Crosby, who drew a penalty on the play, slid and crashed awkwardly against the end boards. His right leg absorbed most of the impact, which resulted in the injury.


“I did the same thing I always do. I went in and took a backhand. The rebound kind of popped out near me. I was sliding on my butt and my feet are forward and usually I hit with my feet and my legs come up,” he said. “My left foot hit and went up, but my right foot stuck in the boards. Usually my heels will bring me up and my legs will be above my head kind of. My right foot stuck. There’s nothing you can do. It’s just bad luck.”

“I was looking forward to it, especially getting a chance to play with [Vincent] Lecavalier and [Daniel] Alfredsson, too,” Crosby said. “I think I am able to look past that a little more, finding out it’s going to be as long as it is. My focus has shifted to what I need to do.”
The main thing Crosby can do now is rest.


“I am probably going to go in a boot for the next two weeks. Probably after that, just typical rehab stuff,” he said. “The big thing with this is time. You can’t really do too much at this point to really strengthen it, especially with it being injured. As time goes on, I think I will be able to start strengthening it a bit more. Right now, it’s just pretty much sit and wait.


“I guess upper body and core and things like that I can work on. Off the ice, I will probably just try to handle the puck at some point and just make sure I feel the puck a bit. If you go a month and a half or two months without feeling the puck, sometimes it takes a while. I am doing everything I can to make sure I cover all grounds and make sure that when I come back it’s hopefully as short as possible to adjust.”

a tale of two Russians...

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Games like last night you have to appreciate in the whole scheme of things. Still smarting over not having Crosby in the lineup, it was encouraging to still have Malkin ready, willing, and able to take over the lead. Saturday night's game in Montreal was proof positive of that.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I give Caveman (Ovechkin) his credit, he's good, accurate, and has a bad hair cut. So the meeting with him and Geneo had the magnitude of a Rockey movie back in the 80's. Russian versus Russian... on Versus... *ahem*...

It's already a given I have little regard for the actual game broadcasters on Versus. Some of the guys 'back in the studio' are alright. Keith Jones I think is cool, he's smart and knows his hockey.. his hair cut is also normal. Bill Patrick, the studio host is ok.. we'll just leave it at that. Eddie Olczyk... I'm not going there... bastard. Mike "Doc" Emerick , well, for the most part he can be ok, gets a bit too excited at the slightest play, I'd just rather listen to Mike Lange... "buy Sam a drink, and get his dog one too!" The all time worst though is Brian Engblom. I honestly believe this guy knows hockey, it's just that whacked out hairdo of his, I can't stand to look at him. That's like mega mullet he's got going on there... *sigh*.. I digress...

Bad announcing being besides the point, the game was fast paced and almost like a wild ping pong match, going back and forth. It seems no sooner than one team scored, then the other did, to even things back up.

Towards the end of the first period, Ovechkin tried to lay a screaming hit down on Malkin... I literally held my breath after I saw that, thinking... please.. no.. and it was reassuring to see Alex took the worst of that hit when he landed on his rear end in the boards.



On the totally classless front, Caveman hitting the glass with his stick after his turn at the shoot out was.. irritating. Made you wanna smack that toothless grin of his right off his face.

You have to admit, after the scoreless overtime, after the resulting loss in the shoot out, this game will definitely go down as one of the biggest of the year. Heck if we'd have won the darn thing rather than losing 6-5, it'd be in a future Pens box set.

Speaking of which... I LOVE my box set. Definitely will keep the passion alive for Penguins hockey tru the summer or the next losing streak.

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Let's just hope we didn't start one of those last night... next up... those goons... the Flyers...

Monday, January 21, 2008

After the Habs, tonight the Crapitals

I appreciate Alexander Ovechkin's talent, and not to intentionally take anything away from him, but the whole Sid/Alex thing the media likes to put a spin on always gives me a certain bit of delight. Just don't tell anyone that, kplzthnx.

I'm guessing I like it, since as things (stats) between them are compared, Sidney always tends to come out on top. Not to mention the record between the Captials and the Pens since both started for their respective teams. Ok, I'll concede that Ovechkin did win the Calder that first year, but honestly, what did he get last year? Hmm.. there was that Lay's potato chip commercial...



Anyhow, Malkin was insane Saturday night in the win against Montreal. He may have only scored an empty net goal, but he was a major presence all over the ice the entire game. It was good to see that in Sidney's absence that Geneo and the rest of the team took to the ice as one with a common goal... to win. I think they held the Habs off defensively rather well, Sabu not letting in a single goal. Let's hope they can keep up the good work.

I've got faith... do you?

In times such as this, you've got to be the good fan, and stand by your team. I'm in.

As much as it doesn't surprise me, it goes without saying there are some pretty classless NHL fans out there. Reading some of the replies to the article about Sidney's ankle injury, I sat here at my computer stunned that people were taking delight in it. Sick bastards... each and every one.

Not to beat a dead horse... but it all comes back to one simple thing. Jealousy. If he was on your team, you'd think differently, that is if you were capable of being honest with yourself, but I think that people like this lay in bed at night and ponder their own nothingness and what they don't have.

With that said... pass the silver polish... Mr. Crosby will be needing it now, thanks...

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Surviving black Friday

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I think we've all been a witness to one of Sidney Crosby's amazing down on his knee, riding his rear end.. whatever.. just some unconventional rush to the net, sometimes the result being a goal, sometimes not, and often times we see him end up running into the boards.

Such as last years home game against the same Tampa Bay Lightning...

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Majority of the time, Super Sid comes out unscathed. But, this time, his luck ran out. The hush that fell over the Mellon Arena in the minutes after he ran legs first into the boards after chasing down a puck Friday night was deafening. You just knew everyone was hoping he'd be back, that it really wasn't that bad.

In case you've been off in a fog somewhere...


So, yeah... inquiring minds want to know.. where does that leave us, as a team, now?

I tend to lean towards the more optimistic side of things, at least when it comes to all things hockey related. However, today Sidney has an MRI done to see the full extent of what the injury is, initially diagnosed as yet another high ankle sprain.

For now, I'm thinking we're getting solid performances out of Malkin, Conklin, Letang, and several other players are dependable like Sykora, who now will hopefully only blossom further playing along side Geneo. And during Saturday nights win against the Habs, it seems Sabu hasn't totally molded in his time away from the net.

Will Shero trade for someone if Crosby is to be out longer than 4-6 weeks? Someone to help keep the momentum going? Only time will tell folks. For now, we just need to keep thinking positive, rather than that the sky is falling and the end is near.

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All that aside... usually every day, one of the first things I do is look at lots of hockey related sites across Al Gores internets. Everything from the humor and game recaps of the Pensblog, the official rundown on PittsburghPenguins.com, and TSN.com for other teams happenings and general goings on in the hockey world. It's safe to say I look at close to 6 or 7 sites regularly, with the odd one thrown in here or there.

Somewhere along the line Saturday, I saw a clip on TSN.com from the Canadian version of Sport Center, where they discussed the boots on skates currently in use in the NHL. Supposedly todays skate boots are stiffer and harder than what's been used in the past. Now, if a player takes a puck to the skate, he's less likely to get hurt. The down side of this stiff boot now is (as the Pens have seen in 3 players now) that the ankle is held rigid and straight, so when the leg bends in a fall or something, it's wrenched just above the boot... result.. high ankle sprain. Chris Chelios of Detroit is said to still use the soft boots. Just something to think about...

Until then... Let's Go Pens!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

This, that, and the other

Ok, with no game recaps to go thru, and waiting for tomorrows match up with the Lightning, rather than sit on our hands doing nothing or not posting at all, I think I'll just offer up some random hockey 'stuffs'.

Yesterday the Pens made their annual trip to Childrens Hospital in Pittsburgh. It's great that these guys can give the gift of their time to these poor kids that are so sick. A short little video from the Pittsburgh Post Gazzette: Click Here.

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The latest around the league, courtesy of TSN.com...

Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff was furious when Brendan Shanahan shoved forward Clarke MacArthur with 9.5 seconds left and MacArthur went sliding hard into the Rangers' goal. No penalty was called, but Ruff said that Shanahan should be suspended. "It was careless, reckless," Ruff said. "You can't have that happen. He could have a broken neck, a broken shoulder, a broken back. If he isn't seriously hurt, he's lucky." - NY Times

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said the timetable for Joffrey Lupul's return has been moved up. He estimated the winger might return in three or four weeks. Lupul suffered a spinal-cord contusion and a concussion in a collision with teammate Derian Hatcher on Jan. 5. It was originally thought that the winger might miss up to six weeks. - Philadelphia Inquirer

Brendan Witt (sprained ankle) could be back for the Islanders' home game against the Flyers Saturday night. "He's aiming for it," Nolan said. - Newsday

Interesting rumors circulate the closer the NHL gets to the February 26th deadline. Names being whispered among the 'tradeable'... Sundin, Hossa (not likely though), Jokinen, Lecavalier (!) and StLouis, and Turco. A couple of these guys have some hefty salaries other teams might not be willing or able to take on. Should prove interesting the closer the deadline gets.

Observation... just how is it possible for the sagging Crapitals to have a season sweep over the Ottawa Senators? ''Somehow, we've got their number,'' Boudreau (Caps coach) said. ''I don't know why it happens.'' Sure... whatever.

And on the.. say it isn't so... front.. Peter Forsberg trying to make a second comeback? To the *gag* Flyers no less? Maybe?

Forsberg told Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter he has been training off the ice for the past month and is still hoping for a return to the NHL, but is unsure what team he would play for.

"I will definitely choose a team that is guaranteed to reach the playoffs, that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup," Forsberg said.


He said his doctor thinks his troubled ankle will hold up.


Of course, why would he want to come back to a team that sucked... Personally, I could care less if players like him and Scott Niedermayer came back for whatever their reasons are. Granted Forsberg had/has an injury to be more legitimate in keeping him out of action, Niedermayer just took a rest... shame everyone couldn't do that.

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So it's a well known fact that Sid and Gonch made their way onto the Eastern all star team. Now, Kris Letang, and Tyler Kennedy have been added to the young stars team.

Just some really weird stuff going on with this years tournament. From NHL.com :

The YoungStars will play two six-minute periods of running time. One faceoff will start each period. If the puck leaves the ice, another will get thrown on. If a team scores, the three players have to retreat to their defensive side of center ice before attacking again. For a team to be declared the victor, it will have to win each period. HUH!?!?!????

Also a major head scratcher... from GlobeandMail.com (kudos to the Pensblog for spotting this)

The NHL announced its line-up for the YoungStars Game today and there was one glaring omission from years past – no goalies. The reason was mostly because of the Montreal Canadiens’ decision to send Carey Price to their AHL affiliate in Hamilton last week, at which point, there were no reasonable choices to play goal for the Eastern Conference team.

As a result, the league decided not to name goalies at all for the three-on-three exhibition that takes place as part of the league’s All-Star festivities in Atlanta. Instead, the regular All-Star goalie will also play in the YoungStars contest. This year, the format has been tweaked slightly anyway. Instead of a stand-alone game, a shortened version of the YoungStars match has been rolled into the NHL Skills competition. To that end, the league named just eight players per side – four forwards and four defencemen

Anyhow... until tomorrow...

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Roughing up the Rangers

Coming off a brief road trip thru both teams in Florida, and that game in Atlanta we'd all really like to forget, it was back home to the Mellon Arena for the flightless birds to take on the NYR's. One had to sense this game was important, and it was, and it didn't fail to disappoint the watcher.

The down side to all this was that it was on VS. but we digress and get over it once the action starts.

Was it coincidence that the promotion that night at the arena was a winter cap giveaway? Did the promoters know something we or no one else at the game knew? Was it a forshadowing of what was to come??? Frankly, we don't much care... Geno rocks... all star game and Marc Savard be damned.

Sidney Crosby set Malkin up for a couple really awesome goals early on in the game, and before the end of the first period, Gonchar added another to make it 3-0 going into intermission.

Other than the goals, one thing Malkin also did was a chase a loose puck down the ice, Lundqvist decides to cover it, with the result being Geno spraying him in ice shavings. Another NYR, Rosival, takes offense to this, and yanks Malkins jersey.

Several moments later, Malkin gives him a solid, legal body check, sending him to the ice. The reaction from the arena crowd was priceless, not to mention the shot of the standing ovation he got for his efforts. Again I reiterate... why isn't this guy on the all star team?

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Nothing too out of the ordinary went down in the second period unless you take into account the numerous saves by Ty Conklin. His performance in net is just stellar, and one has to keep asking what will be done when MAF's ready?

Was the Mellon Arena crowd particularly loud Monday night, or were the Jagr haters out in full force? I could hear the booing rather clearly each time he touched the puck. Doc Emmericks comment about Pens fans forgetting the two Stanley Cup championships he helped get made me laugh. No, dude, we didn't forget, but we remember all to well his comments about the city of Pittsburgh "slowly killing him" and him wanting out of there for a place with "beaches and girls". Hmm.. makes you wonder where those beaches are in New York City.

Early on in the third period something happens that made every Pens fan in attendance and watching at home on tv hold their collective breath. Maklin goes down after racing for a puck and trying to tap it in, then out of no where you see Crosby leap over him and fall to the ice. Nervous seconds follow as you watch the two biggest parts of the francise laying on the ice. Each slowly gets up, then you breath easier once you realize they weren't hurt. Again, Doc Emmerick needed to be kicked in the slats for jinxing us on that one, back in the second period he mentioned Malkin getting his shoulder seperated by John LeClair back in last years preseason. Doc... stfu... and pass that little ditty on to Endzo too.

Jagr finally beats Conklin and scores in the third, making it 3-1. But with just over a minute to go, Lunqvist leaves the net empty and Geno grabs the puck and sends it home to get his second NHL hat trick... well done.

I just knew he could fly...

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Now no games till Friday when we take on Tampa Bay again, this time at home. You just have to know things are going to be intense. Ahhh yes, and guess who is tied with Vincent Lecavalier for the points race... yep, that'd be number 87, the guy who wears the C. Do it again, Sid...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Practice makes perfect

At least that's how the saying goes, and I'm not making the assumptions that anyone in the NHL is perfect... some though, come darn close. :P

I had the pleasure January 13th of driving the 2 plus hours to the Iceoplex in Southpoint with my husband to catch the Penguins practice. Thought I'd post some of my pictures, as rough as they are. Not sure why I can't take a decent picture in those hockey rinks to save my life... not sure what it is, some of it is the lighting I know, but.. bleh.. who cares, I had fun!

Guess who was out warming up and doing some stretching on his own before the rest of the team came out? Those bright yellow pads are unmistakeable :) Was great to see Fleury out, though he still seems to be favoring that ankle injury. Let's hope he gets game ready soon! The small crowd on hand gave him lots of cheers and applause when he came out onto the ice.

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Sidney Crosby and Jordon Staal having a little chat with MAF

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Jordon Staal - don't you just love how those stripes on their jerseys glow from the flash?

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Petr Sykora pointing... that way..

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Evgeni Malkin doing some stretches to warm up

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A couple shots of Captain Sid the Kid..

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Team stretching...


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Sid and company on their knees... can anyone say.. Yum? (sorry, having a girlie moment there!)


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Staal, Tyler Kennedy, Petr Sykora, and Max Talbot (not sure who was in the white!) waiting their turn during a drill

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Ty Conklin watching Colby Armstrong and Georges Laraque

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Ty Conklin just kicking back catching his breath after practice

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I had so much more fun with this pratice than I did the other one I went to. The other was preseason and there were still a lot of 'sorting out' player wise that was being done, so the drills were totally different. And the Iceoplex is much smaller and more intimate than the Mellon Arena, so you're closer and depending where you sit you can really see the players up close.

Would I go again? In a heartbeat...

Was it worth the 2+ hours drive to get there? Definitely...

Do I love my team? do you even have to ask? :)

The revenge of Mark Recchi

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Going into a long drawn out recap of this past Saturdays game against the Atlanta Thrashers would just be to painful, but suffice to say there is always that twist of irony somewhere, even in the land of hockey. It goes without saying then that the hockey gods were not smiling on the Penguins that night... or rather Mark Rechhi had just offered up a bigger gift to the gods, in order to get his revenge on his former team.

Before the opening anthem, some cute girls from a local girls hockey league skate out and one stands beside each player from both teams. The PA announcer calls Ryan Whitney.. Ray... but what was cute was the girl standing beside him falls on her butt and he helps her up.

Also priceless was the girl, about 10 or so that got to stand next to Sid. You could just see by her looking up at him staring she was star struck... indeed... wouldn't we all be :P

The game came and went, but losing in SO to the old Recchin' Bald was hard. It was like karma, Kramer... or something wicked and hurtful like that. Just think, if it didn't go down well with us fans, imagine how the players felt... or you hope they felt.

And good news for Jordon Staal... Recchi isn't kicking him out of his guest house.

Hockey's reigning king?

Alright, so I'm stuck up here in north east Ohio, the land of everything Ohio State, Browns football, Indians baseball, and *gag* yes... Cavaliers basketball. Now, I like baseball and the Tribe has always been 'my team', and though the Browns are not my football team of choice, it really doesn't bother me to hear about them.

The same however, can not be said of the Cleveland Cavaliers. I don't care much for basketball, especially NBA basketball (I won't get into exactly why that is). But, living where I do, I am force fed everything that has to do with Lebron James. Or, as they call him here... King James.

Since Lebron and Sidney came into their respective leagues about the same time, there have been lots of comparison between the two. Agreeably, they're both young, talented, and have a bright future within their chosen sport.

In my honest opinion, that's where it all ends. And what brings this all to light, is recently around the time of the Winter Classic, Lebron mentions Sid and even in an odd way.. compliments him.

From a game recap around that time:

In Canada, hockey is king. And the LeBron James of the NHL is Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby – whose career, in several ways, has paralleled LeBron’s.

“I know he’s great at what he does,” said James. “They call him ‘Sid the Kid,’ he’s been great for the Pittsburgh Penguins and what he’s able to do, as young as he is, is pretty good. I know they compare him to me and I’m excited to be compared to a guy who plays the game the way he does.”

Wow.. They compare him to me... *shakes head*... I'm not discounting that Lebron isn't a great basketball player, because he is. However, that comment sure makes him sound a bit full of himself and that they are comparing Sid.. to him..

No.. no way, no how. I won't even go in depth as to why Sidney is nothing like James, and thankfully he acts with a whole lot more class than Lebron could ever hope to have. So my final comment...

I am ever so thankful that Sidney Crosby is on my team, my hockey team, and that he was voted the most influential person in hockey right now.

Rock on Sid...

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Friday, January 11, 2008

A little bit of everything.. all hockey of course

So where to start? Lots of good ... and interesting ... things going down in Penguin town and in the NHL in general.

First and foremost we learn.. and honestly, it goes without saying.. that our own Sidney Crosby made the starting lineup of this years All Star game. Sid got 507,274 votes, a landslide compared to everyone else. Who didn't see this coming? If you didn't, you probably know nothing about hockey.

On my 'wish' list.. and I know I'll never see it in this lifetime.. but a girl can dream can't she? Sidneys game worn Winter Classic jersey is currently going for over $15,000 over at NHL auctions... Makes you wonder who is bidding on this.. who is voting for him so much... all that stuff when he gets booed and has so many seemingly haters who dog him... again I say... jealous.
Click here to see the current bidding.

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Also on a Crosby related note. Seems Sid has made his way onto another magazine cover, this one is Men's Fitness. Is yours truly gonna get a copy?... you can bet on it. In the immortal words of Bob Errey... what a stud.

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Now let's talk some game related stuffs...

Tuesday night we had the second half of the back to back games with the Florida Panthers. Typically the Pens haven't got the best record when being on the road in Florida, but it seems that little black mark on us is changing.

Not only did the team go into the Panters home ice on a small winning streak, and off of Saturdays shut out against the same team, but they proceded to own them again, 3-1. So Conklin's shut out record was kept at 2, but hey, if we win, screw anyone's records.

It's just really great to see everyone working together for a common goal. Unlike Florida's goalie who pitched a fit when he got pulled in the 3rd period to have his backup replace him. What a baby. The next day we read where after Saturdays loss at the Mellon arena, this same goaltender ripped his team a new one. Yo... dude... how utterly classless. People like that deserve to lose. Can't blame the fans for not showing up to see that.

Last night we move over to Tampa to take on the Lightning with Martin StLouis and Vincent Lecavalier... or as Steigy kept calling him.. Vinny.. ok. And as a side note, as good as Tyler Kennedy has been performing, it was a releif last night not to here Steigy call him "Tiny Tiger".. wtf is up with that? But we felt bad that him and Christensen were out of the lineup with the flu.

Good old Max Talbot was back, and he showed that he was more than ready to play. He looked and played aggressive, it'll be no time before he scores again, write it down. Even more good to see was Jordon Staal. As much as I've ripped on him a bit (and hey, I've not been the only one!) as of late, you can see in the last few games he's been trying pretty hard to do what needs done. The guy had 29 goals last year.. this year he had something like.. 3? Anyway, last night he added 2 more to his tally and actually looked more like last years phenom. Keep it up Gronk!

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The game moved at a decent enough pace, though Tampa scored first in the second period, it didn't take too long for the Pens to answer that with 2 goals of their own. Conklin made some amazing saves in the game. One where he dove after a Lecavalier shot that was just sick, catching it in his glove. Turned out to be the number one highlight on NHL networks On The Fly recap show. Another shot, was over his head and batted away by D man Kris Letang, another totally sick move.

A Petr Sykora shot in the third period breaks his stick, you see the boomerang heading for the net, but thankfully Staal and Malone weren't paying attention to that, as the puck hits off Staals skate in the crease and Malone taps it in the net. Now 3-1 Pens. Tampa's goalie is yanked and shortly there after Malkin hits the empty net. Pens win 4-1.

Conklin is now 8-0, and the Penguins themselves are on an 8 game winning streak... no pun intended here... but ride the lightning boys... keep it up. Our losing skid back in the fall is but a distant memory, let's keep it that way. Now if only we could get the Devils and the Sens to lose a few more. Ahh.. and those filthy Flyers. For now we're just looking forward to Saturday and being in Atlanta to play against Mark Recchi, should prove.. hehe.. fun.

In other hockey news..

Of the outrageous... Alex Ovechkin, or as yours truly calls him, Caveman, finally resigned with the Crapitals (misspelled on purpose, tyvm) for 13 years at $124 million dollars. Wow.. unreal. Sidney Crosby seems such a bargin in comparrisson at only $7.5 million a year. For the longest time it was debated who the better player was between the two, and maybe I am biased (ok I am) but Sids accomplishments I think have spoken for themselves. Not taking anything away from the Caveman, he's got a rocket shot, and can score the goals, but you really have to wonder why he'd lock himself up in Washington of all places for the next 13 years. Yet, as they say, contracts are made to be broken, time will tell.

Something else making the rounds of the rumor mill is whether Mats Sundin with stay with the TML's. I have nothing against Sundin per say, and I feel bad that a quality player such as himself, at his age, has yet to have won a Stanley cup. So we'll see if he's still wearing the Toronto blue come Feb. 26th.

What's up with the losing skid the Buffalo Sabres are on? Are they not thawed out yet from the Winter Classic?? Dang..

And counter that with... why can't New Jersey be on a similiar skid...

From one goon to another, it's no shock that the Flyers VP Bobby Clarke approved of the sucker punch that Steve Downie gave Jason Blake of the TML's last week. Damn, class just abounds in that organization.

Lastly.. this is hard for us to swallow, because when he played for the Pens, we liked Andrew Ferrence. Even his taking a beat down by Sid aside, we still liked the guy, he seemed to have some class. Now he just seems green with jealousy. From an interview here:

Q: Which player one-on-one gives you the most trouble?
A: Sidney Crosby is tough. Obviously, he gives a lot of people trouble.

Q: Crosby cut you during the fight. How good a fighter is he?
A: No, his visor cut me. He came up and his visor cut the top of my head. Go back to that Jarome question. Jarome in my books is a better hockey player than Crosby because he does those things. He will fight, he will lay his body on the line and take the hit and not complain if someone hits him and stuff like that. The superstars of the league should have to do that because they're hockey players, they're not ice-skating princesses. Hockey is an emotional game, you have to stand up for yourself. You have to stand up for your actions. If you punch somebody in the face, then you should fight, that's the way hockey is suppose to be.

Q: So are you saying Crosby is a little soft?
A: Well, he's not Jarome

Yeah.. well you're no Jaromir Jagr either ass hat...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Panthers skinned

What an utter delight, another shut out for the Pens and goalie Ty Conklin, add to that another win, the teams 6th straight. Games, specificly, a winning one on a January weekend afternoon are just so.. splendid :)

The goals in the first period by Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin came fast, and made the watcher think that they were still rollin' from the whipping they'd given Toronto 2 nights prior. Then the third and final goal by Sidney Crosby in the final period only added icing to the winners cake.

Looking back at penalty minutes, there were very few. Only 5 of Florida's players went to the sin bin 3 of those in the first period, and the other 2 in the last 20 minutes. For the Pens, Adam Hall sat for two minutes in the first period for holding. So that means the whole entire second period went by without anyone getting called for a penalty. Interesting. Even more interesting still was the Panthers goalie Vokoun getting called for delay of game for coming waaaaaay out of the net to cover a puck. Some would say this wasn't a penalty... but yes indeed kiddos... it is. Thanks to the ever clever people over at the Pensblog, we're reminded that last season MAF himself was called for the exact same thing. I love it when people refresh my memory for me. :)

Anyhow, a win is a win, is a win... especially when you've hit the half way mark of the season and are trying to claw your way to the top, at least higher up past that cut off line for the playoffs. I'm afraid no one will knock off Ottawa from that top spot, they are just too damn powerful. It would be nice though to be up there right behind them.

Right now we're sitting right behind the Devils in second place in our division, and fourth overall in the Eastern conference. Not to bad considering the scary start we took.

My mind is totally jumbled as to what will go down in a month when MAF's back... until then, we'll just keep hoping Conklin keeps up the good work. Gotta feel a bit sorry for Sabourin though... poor guy was MAF's backup... now he's back up the the third string guy. But, Conklin has been playing solid from day one, can't really say the same thing for Sabu.. or MAF for that matter. Should prove interesting to see how that all plays out.

And onto something that was a surprise when I pulled it out of my mailbox, but also a darn good read... Every 2 weeks I anticipate my copy of The Hockey News in my mailbox, and only just back at the beginning of November, our very own Sid the kid was on the cover, launching the magazine's new 'style' (thankfully, same great content!).

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Then this week, I pull out my mail from the box, which also contained some snow (don't ask, my lid doesn't stay shut) to see Mr. Crosby on the cover again, and named the number one influential person in hockey this year. Ha.. even over Gary Bettmen... bet that didn't go down well with his highness.

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Very solid read. And I recomend it to anyone that can get their dirty little hands on it. Some of the other choices I found interesting as well. These are people who are supposedly making an impact on the league in some way or another. Wayne Gretzky at #6???

Yeah Wayne is the great one and all... but what is he doing to influence hockey... currently. Oh, I'm sorry, does coaching the Coyotes count? Guess I'm missing something here...

And Vincent Lecavalier ranking lower than the self obsessed, pompous ass Don Cherry? Gimme a break! Most of the time I come close to agreeing with lots of stuff in the Hockey News, but even the fact they think Don Cherry is influential just chaps my ass. But... whadda ya gonna do?

Now the Pens have a few days off, no game till Tuesday when we're in Florida to play the Panthers again, and then from there we hit the other Florida team, the Lightning. Should prove interesting to see Malkin/Crosby up against StLouis/Lecavalier match up finally this year. Just hope the boys have their sunblock. :) On Saturday the much anticipated game against Mark Recchi and the Thrashers in Atlanta. Personally, this game I've been waiting for. :P

With that said, put your stick on the ice and aim for the five hole... :)

Friday, January 4, 2008

off with your hat!

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It goes without saying that we shouldn't get to full of ourselves as Penguins fans, given that we're riddled with a list of injuries, that looking at it almost makes you want to cry, but the win on New Years day, and then last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, you have to be a tiny bit arrogant. Let's just not let it get out of hand, alright?

I went into last nights game a bit unsure of how things would go. It either was gonna go as it did, most likely the winter classic win giving them a bit of a boost to their ego's... or things were gonna go down in flames, much like they did the last time the TML's were at the Mellon Arena, and fed us our hat.

Malkin's hat trick and an insane pass from between his legs aside, the other highlight of the game was Jarko Rutuu taking the much dreaded Darcy Tucker to town, a fight that easily could go down as one of the best of the year, Gary Roberts would be proud... almost made his fight with Eaton look like a couple school girls bitch slapping.

But Malkin was definitely the star of the show tonight. You could sense that after he got that second goal, they were trying to feed him the puck to get his first ever NHL hat trick. And it was really great to see him attempt a post game interview with the ever swishy Dan Potashe. I think he was so hyped up that he had a tough time with his English and just gave up with a laugh, but nice effort just the same!

Goals from the top line with Malkin, then the second and third line as well with Christensen, Sykora, and Kennedy helped make the game more well rounded from a scoring perspective... and at the end in the final four minutes they were on a power play, the Pens players on the ice were trying to set it up for someone else, which is cool to see. Spread the glory around boys.

So, sure the win felt great, and it's always a good time to see the likes of Mats Sundin and Darcy Tucker sucking the tail pipe.

Oddly, just as the games getting ready to start, I'm noticing... what the hey? The Pens are in their white's, not their usual home black jerseys (my fav). Not so sure what's up with that, only I read over on the Pensblog where Toronto was forcing Pittsburgh to wear their blacks up in Toronto last time they were there. Maybe the TML's have a thing for wearing their own white's at home, who knows but... something is up with that...

Speaking of jersey's..... can anyone say.... ugly? Yes, Sir... this ugly pos can be yours for just $120! Gimme a break.. this is an all star jersey... they can do better than that! Only way I'd take one of those buggers was if Sidney Crosby took it off and handed it to me.
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Now... this.... is a kick ass jersey... The Pens have petitioned the NHL to have a third jersey next year.. could this beauty be it? And from watching last nights game, we realize Stiegy also finds this particular sweater 'beautiful'... he only said it like 5 times. :p
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That's all from here folks... let's keep this winning train a rollin'!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Winter Classic in pictures and video!

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This is a great little youtube clip/recap of yesterdays game, all except that bit at the end.. lol

If you had to miss the new years meeting of the Pens and Sabres yesterday, shame on you :P You definitely missed a game that will go down as being one of the all time greats in hockey history, guarandamnteed. And speaking for myself here, finally something good to watch on New Years day beside those overhyped college bowl games.

And can I say something? Mario.. we love you, you've saved our team many times, in many ways.. but that is one fugly hat dude...
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It was snowing, blowing, and cold... and the stadium was full of hockey loving fans! What an atmosphere that had to have been to be in!
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The teams taking to the rink amid blasts of fire... at this point, I was getting so excited and anticipating the start of the game!
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Ryan Malone stretching and MAF and Talbot looking on despite being on IR..
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And they even had a fly over of blackhawk helicopters!
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Our fearless leader waiting thru the anthem and then taking the ice... little did we know that after 3 periods and OT, he'd win it all for us in the shoot out!
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We didn't hear or see much of Geno yesterday, but hey... he was there! NBC seemed to have made it the Sidney Crosby show, but hey that's ok... we love him and the team! :)
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All in all the game had it's lapses, due to needing to repair the ice in certain spots, but this didn't even dampen my entusiasim. It was great to see it snowing, seeing the crowd so into the game, and frankly it's so hard to believe the NHL is a so called 'tough draw' in some cities when this game drew in over 71,000 fans.

Sid celebrating the new year and that 5 hole shot on Ryan Miller in the shoot out, to win the game 2-1
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If you'd like to watch the shoot out in it's entirity... this is about 8 mins long, but WELL worth the watch! This guy on youtube... Jefflered... has some other excellent clips of the game, if you got some time, skip over there and check them out!




There was a rather interesting debate the day before the game on the NHL network, whether do you have more of these specialty outside games, like say once a year, or do you space them out every couple of years to keep them 'unique'. I'm a bit torn on this. I loved this game, and even if the Penguins had not won, I'd still have loved it, but winning was a definite plus :P

But I can say if it would do the NHL more good, get more exposure, I'd say sure, do it every year... on the flip side, it'd be a shame for these outside games to lose their specialness.

I can safely say I am looking forward to the next one, when and if it happens. Who knows, there had been a rumor of a 'battle of Pennsylvania' to take place in Beaver stadium at State college.. now wouldn't that be something? The dreaded Flyers buried in snow.... I can see it now...

Peace be with you all... and in the new year, the Flyers will feel our wrath!