Thursday, April 30, 2009

next level predictions (guesses?)

Well I barely slid thru the last bracket, most of my prediction I got right. Choosing 6 out of 8 match up's correctly.

So... now on to see how I fair this round!

First off, we'll go with the game that starts it off tonight...

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks - Though the Canuks have been solid the last part of the season, and the Sedin twins have it going on, their sweep of the St. Louis Blues could be a bit misleading. They were a bit banged up, Mats Sundin included, and as such had a week to rest, but I'm still going with the Blackhawks, I have them going thru to the finals. Don't believe me? I have my Rinkology to prove it!

Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes - I'm probably going against the grain on this one, and I know most folks are thinking that the Bruins are going to make fast work out of the 'Canes. But Carolina isn't the Habs, and Eric Staal is where it's at, not to mention Cam Ward. I'm taking the Hurricanes in 6.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Anaheim Ducks - The previous series these two teams were in, are the only two I got wrong of the 8 games. And now I'm scratching my head. I really dislike the Ducks, but hate the Red Wings even more, hey.. can you blame me? So, who do I think will win? Common sense says that Detroit is the machine and the better team, yet the Ducks aren't slouches either, they took out the Sharks easily. So... since I'm bitter (still) about the loss in last years finals... I'm taking the Ducks... quack!

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals - All the media is talking about is that this is the premier match up of the playoffs, Sid vs. Ovie. Bleh, forget all that crud. If you thought that the battle between Philly and the Pens was intense, you're about to see it get kicked up another notch. There is certainly no love lost between the Pens and the Caps. I'm taking the Pens in 6... and if you didn't see that coming, you're lost.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The semi finals are a go on Thursday!

SERIES I #1 Boston vs. #6 Carolina
Friday, May 1, 2009 Carolina at Boston
Sunday, May 3, 2009 Carolina at Boston
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 Boston at Carolina
Friday, May 8, 2009 Boston at Carolina
*Sunday, May 10, 2009 Carolina at Boston
*Tuesday, May 12, 2009 Boston at Carolina
*Thursday, May 14, 2009 Carolina at Boston

SERIES J #2 Washington vs. #4 Pittsburgh
Saturday, May 2, 2009 Pittsburgh at Washington
Monday, May 4, 2009 Pittsburgh at Washington
Wednesday, May 6, 2009 Washington at Pittsburgh
Friday, May 8, 2009 Washington at Pittsburgh
*Saturday, May 9, 2009 Pittsburgh at Washington
*Monday, May 11, 2009 Washington at Pittsburgh
*Wednesday, May 13, 2009 Pittsburgh at Washington

SERIES K #2 Detroit vs. #8 Anaheim
Friday, May 1, 2009 Anaheim at Detroit
Sunday, May 3, 2009 Anaheim at Detroit
Tuesday, May 5, 2009 Detroit at Anaheim
Thursday, May 7, 2009 Detroit at Anaheim
*Sunday, May 10, 2009 Anaheim at Detroit
*Tuesday, May 12, 2009 Detroit at Anaheim
*Thursday, May 14, 2009 Anaheim at Detroit

SERIES L #3 Vancouver vs. #4 Chicago
Thursday, April 30, 2009 Chicago at Vancouver
Saturday, May 2, 2009 Chicago at Vancouver
Tuesday, May 5, 2009 Vancouver at Chicago
Thursday, May 7, 2009 Vancouver at Chicago
*Saturday, May 9, 2009 Chicago at Vancouver
*Monday, May 11, 2009 Vancouver at Chicago
*Thursday, May 14, 2009 Chicago at Vancouver

Tomorrow a series by series pregame!

Malkin, Datsyuk, Ovechkin are Hart finalists

For the first time in NHL history, all three finalists for the Hart are Russians.

And since this is a Penguin's themed blog, we'll say for the sake of argument, that there is pretty much only one person I'm interested in, Evgeni Malkin.

This season he already has wrapped up the Art Ross Trophy as the leagues leading scorer.

One thing many people overlook when it comes to the Hart trophy is the purpose of it. A good majority think it is given out to the leagues most valuable player, and in essence it is, but it is not for the leagues best player. This award goes to the player who was most valuable to his TEAM.

It will be interesting to see who the Professional Hockey Writers' Association will choose for this award this year.

Malkin led the NHL with 113 points and 78 assists and played in all 82 games. He had 14 power-play goals, eighth in the NHL, two short-handed goals and four game-winners. He took 290 shots, tenth-highest, and was plus-17.

Malkin led the NHL with 94 takeaways and his 39 blocked shots were six more than Datsyuk and seven more than Ovechkin.

One thing about good ol' Geno, he's a work horse, and is pretty comfortable playing wing to Sidney or centering is own line.

So now we'll have the playoff's to keep us occupied, (hopefully until the finals!) before we find out how the leagues best Russian has faired, and I do mean Evgeni Malkin ;)

The Pens and the Caps

So it's come to this. Last minute goals on both the Capitals and Hurricanes part has advanced the playoff series so that come Saturday, the Penguins will be heading into the nations capital to take on the Washington Capitals... oh yeah, and that 'other' Russian.

And I'm not talking about Sergi Federov. :)

The series schedule:

Saturday, May 2, at Washington, 1 p.m., NBC
Monday, May 4, at Washington, 7 p.m., Versus
Wednesday, May 6, PITTSBURGH, 7 p.m., Versus
Friday, May 8, PITTSBURGH, 7 p.m., FSN Pittsburgh
*Saturday, May 9, at Washington, 7 p.m., FSN Pittsburgh
*Monday, May 11, PITTSBURGH, TBD, FSN Pittsburgh
*Wednesday, May 13, at Washington, 7 p.m., FSN Pittsburgh

* if necessary

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

He's the real deal now!

From Pittsburgh Penguins dot com......

Penguins Remove "Interim" Tag
Bylsma Agrees To Multi-Year Contract as Head Coach
Pittsburgh Penguins
Apr 28, 2009, 10:05 AM EDT

The Pittsburgh Penguins have removed the “interim” tag from Dan Bylsma’s title and formally named him head coach on Tuesday.

Bylsma had served as interim head coach since Feb. 15.

“Dan has done such an impressive job with our team, both on and off the ice, that we didn’t see the need to wait any longer to announce our decision,” said Ray Shero, the Penguins’ executive vice president and general manager. “He is the man we want to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins as our head coach.”

Bylsma, 38, has overseen a dramatic transformation in the Penguins’ fortunes, leading his team to an 18-3-4 record in the final 25 games of the regular season and earning the No. 4 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins ousted the Philadelphia Flyers, four games to two, in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs – posting a dramatic come-from-behind victory in Game 6 Saturday -- and are now awaiting their opponent in round two.

Bylsma and Shero agreed on a multi-year contract Monday night. The team was informed before practice Tuesday morning.

“Dan has impressed us all with his knowledge of the game, his relentless work ethic, his communication skills, and his ability to relate to the players and staff,” Shero said. “When Badger Bob Johnson was the coach of the Penguins, he said every day was a great day for hockey. Dan approaches the game with that same type of enthusiasm. He accepted the challenge of being our interim head coach in February and made this a very easy decision for our ownership and management.”

Bylsma began the season as head coach of the Penguins’ American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He led the Baby Penguins to a 35-16-1-2 record before being promoted in mid-February.

Bylsma spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and earlier served as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders and the AHL Cincinnati Mighty Ducks.

The native of Grand Haven, Mich. played nine NHL seasons as a right winger with Los Angeles and Anaheim from 1995-2004. He appeared in 429 career NHL games and played in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final with Anaheim. He retired as a player following the 2003-04 season and immediately went into coaching.

Dan and his wife, Mary Beth, have one son, Bryan.

“I want to thank Ray Shero and our ownership for giving me this tremendous opportunity to be the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Bylsma said. “I’m humbled. I’m excited. And I look forward to continuing to lead our hockey team.

“We’ve got a great group of players and a great staff. We’ve got phenomenal fans and a state-of-the-art arena going up across the street. The future is bright for hockey in Pittsburgh, and my family and I are happy to be a part of it.”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pens win series, Flyers finshed!



SBCGlobal.... I hate you. Hopefully more of a series recap when my connnection decides to speed up *le sigh*

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Game 6, in Philly

A last minute, scaled down pregame blog post.

Photobucket not wanting to load, internet connection sucking, bad omens?

HELL NO! At least I'm not taking that way.

The Penguins go into the belly of the beast, the Wachovia Center, ranked by 59 NHL players as one of the top 2 most intimidating places to play. Should the Pens be phased by this? Again I say, HELL NO!

Why, because they've proven they can kick Flyer ass in their own barn. I say let's have a replay of last Tuesday nights game, and end this series today!


Friday, April 24, 2009

Feel free if the notion strikes you


Between the Penguins losing last night, and my crap ass DSL connection, this is about what I feel like doing.

Last nights loss was probably one of the most horrid games I've seen the Pens play in the last 3 months. There was no effort there at all, and it blows me away as to why. Did they think they had this series won and didn't have to try?

Now it's come to bite them where they sit. Tomorrow they'll need to go into that hell's pit known as the Wachovia Center in Philly and play to the chant's of "Crosby sucks!". Hey, what do I know, maybe that'll give them incentive to actually play.

I was severely disappointed in my team last night, something that rarely happens. Let's turn this thing around guys, we're still up in the series 3-2, we CAN win this!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

PENS ALERT: Pens fall to PHI 3-0, lead series 3-2. STARS: 3)M.KNUBLE 2)C.GIROUX 1)M.BIRON.

It's a white out for Game 5



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another brick in the wall

Seems no matter where you are reading Penguins/Flyers recaps today across the world wide web, everyone is likening Marc Andre Fleury's perfomance in net last night as that of a brick wall. And deservingly so! The dude was red hot last night.

It was because of MAF's perfect performance in the first two periods that the score stayed the way it was, even after the Penguins made it 2-0. He definitely rebounded from his poor showing in Game 3.

Some of the stops and saves he was making were unreal. Who would have thought anything could match that toe save from game 2, but he made this funky little flop and twist to keep one of Daniel Briere's pucks out.

MAF isn't the only goalie being talked about today. Puck Daddy did an article comparing post Stanley Cup final and in the playoffs again goalies, Chris Osgood and MAF. Not that I like that two bit liar Osgood mentioned in the same breath as MAF, but the article was a solid piece. Check it out HERE.

Also getting a mention is Columbus Blue Jacket's goalie, Steve Mason, being nominated for the Calder trophy. His fellow nominee's though deserving, Bobby Ryan of the Ducks, and Kris Versteeg of the Blackhawks, really stand no chance. I'm all for the CBJ's as long as my Penguins are not involved, and have been seriously disappointed in their post season performance. Mason has not been playing the way he had, not that it's all his fault, Detroit is tough, but I could have sworn they would have done better than they have in their first playoff appearance.

Though first and foremost this is a Pittsburgh Penguin's fan blog, being a major fan of hockey, other tidbits interest me. While watching the Bruins/Habs game Monday night I was shocked, though not completely, when the Canadian crowd caused a massive amount of noise and boo'd during the singing of the American national anthem. Talk about low class. I didn't see anything mention around anywhere in my reading yesterday, but stumbled upon this today on

Bob Gainey has appealed to Montreal Canadiens fans to stop booing the U.S. national anthem.
The Canadiens coach and general manager said fans who booed during "The Star Spangled Banner" ahead of Game 3 of their playoff series against the Boston Bruins should find other ways to voice their support.

"I feel like there's a confusion there with our fans," Gainey said Tuesday. "They feel like booing the anthem is supporting our team, in that the anthem represents the Boston team.

"And I think if they could separate those two things, then we could respect the anthem of the United States of America and they could still participate loudly in whatever way they want to disrupt the Bruins."

Many fans booed the U.S. anthem at the Bell Centre on Monday night, even though others tried to drown them out with chants of Go Habs Go.

The same booing has been heard during the playoffs annually in recent years. In the past, the Canadiens responded with a taped appeal on the scoreboard of Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau asking fans to respect both national anthems, and there would be less booing at subsequent games.

Instead of playing the tape again, the team is counting on Gainey's appeal to stop it, a team official said.

Good luck with that. And let me be the first to say, if the Habs lose tonight you can expect the town of Montreal to riot in the streets. Comment est ce pour l'amour le rouge, blanc, et du bleu?

The Canuks were the first team to finish their opening series by easily taking out the St. Louis Blues in 4 games. So long Blues, glad you made it at least.

The Penguins have called for a white out tomorrow night at the Mellon Arena for Game 5. I wish I were there to experience that again. I'll say it again, seeing that on TV is nothing compared to being their live in an arena totally clad in white. It's awesome!

Until then...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PENS ALERT: Pens top Flyers, 3-1; lead series 3-1. GOALS: S.CROSBY(2), T.KENNEDY(2), M.TALBOT(1-EN). STARS: 3)M.RICHARDS 2)T.KENNEDY 1)M.FLEURY.

Game 4 against Philthy Filly


And so it shall... as if it wasn't already.

Tons of calls have been coming in to both XM's War Room, and NHL Live's daily shows regarding the horrid officiating going on in the playoffs, specificly in the Pens/Flyer games. Wow. So I'm just not the only one noticing this? Some of it is just that ticky tacky stuff, but whatever... nothing is going to change this.

HOWEVER!!! I've not really mentioned anything about this, yet it has not escaped my notice by no means. I'm talking about the Game 3 controversy between the Penguins and NBC in regard to the corporate giant NBC not allowing the Mellon to hold their viewing party outside on the big screen with the Pens being in Philly on Sunday. First off, it's all utter BS. How NBC can step in and tell a big league team how to run their show is just crap. Secondly, (and here is where the proof is in the pudding as they say) numbers coming in from Sunday's showing of the game minus the Pens big screen party were a 1.7 rating, which was the same rating it got for game 5 of last years Eastern conference finals between the Pens and Flyers... when surprise surprise... the big screen was just out side the arena.

I was a bit peeved Sunday when I tuned in to the game and that flippin' golf game was still on. Just proof enough for me (like I needed any) NBC is not comitted to the NHL. If they were why put something up against it which had the potential to run long? C'mon, how many times has a golf game ever ended before the up coming episode of 60 minutes or some other such show?

So.. my long standing admiration of the guys who run thePensBlog continues. Ever the advocate for all that is right for the Penguins and its legions of fans, they've been promoting boycotting NBC advertisers and the like. If you're into Facebook, click HERE to join them in their quest.

This is very important!!! If the Pens would make it to the finals again, those will be on NBC, and it means that you wouldn't be able to go to the Mellon to watch!! SO JOIN!!


Not to beat a dead horse.. or keep repeating ourselves.. but the Pens power play needs to be a little more effective... that means, scoring. Just sayin'.....

Tonight it's game 4 in Philly. And it is seemingly pretty much agreed that the Penguins cannot play into the Flyers little games like they did on Sunday. The after whistle pushing, shoving, and face washing can't be done. Just get out there, play, and score some goals.

Yeah, and shut those Flyer fans the hell up. I hope Pens fans learn a thing or two and when those bastards come back to Pittsburgh, we show them some of our own kind of hospitality.

That said....




The Science of Penguin Power


Monday, April 20, 2009

Losing sucks, but life moves on

If you were the deluded type of person, you thought after the first two Penguins wins against the Flyers that going into Philly, they were just gonna lay down and take it, you were seriously misguided.

Sure, I hinted at a sweep yesterday, I'm a crazed Pens fan who has dreams of dominance over the hated Flyers, but before the series started, I pretty much saw this going 6 games. And like I was told this morning on XM's the War Room... guess what, it's going 5. LOL!

Yes, I had my little bit of excitement this morning. I always try to listen to the War Room at 11am Mon-Fri, it's probably my fav hockey radio program, followed closely by NHL Live. I've tried calling before but never go thru, so imagine my surprise when the phone picked up after the first ring! Then I didn't have to wait long to be live on the air. As expected I did talk about my Penguins, the horrible power play, and being royally PO'd that I thought golf was going to interupt my game. All fun... now my next goal is to call into NHL Live, lol.

But while we're talking about XM's The War Room, Mick Kern wrote an interesting little article/blog, and since I can't seem to link it here, I'll post it. Pardon for the length, but it is a good read!! PROMISE! Here it is........

Which game is the most important in a seven-game series?

Sorry, I don’t have all the stats in front of me, though no doubt they’re out there lurking on the internet somewhere.

But let’s forgo the statistical evidence for now, and rely on your gut feeling in response to the question. Which game is the most important in a seven-game NHL playoff series?

Obviously, the fourth win by a team is crucial, for that is the drop-dead point of the entire affair.

Putting the obvious aside, at what point does a team get to that threshold, the earliest juncture in a series where they statistically hold the upper hand?

How crucial is it to win Game One? What percentage of NHL teams that take Game One of a seven-game series go on to win three more games?

My gut tells me that, while getting off to a good start is nice, Game Two is where it really begins to matter.

For instance, let’s say your team wins Game One AND Game Two. Many times in NHL history, a team has rebounded from a two-game deficit, but I’d venture that the majority of teams that get in that two-game hole to begin a series fail to climb all the way out of it. It only makes statistical sense.

If your team is down two games, heading into game three, then you have to win four of the next five games. Not impossible, but difficult, particularly since you’ve just lost two games in-a-row, so you’re not that hot to begin with.

Some will advance the theory that Game Three is the real litmus test, and they may be right. This theory holds more water when teams are tied at 1 game apiece, but then again, once could say Game Five is the key game, if both teams are tied at 2 games apiece.

Hey, what about Game Six??? Okay, suddenly every game in a series is crucial, but you know what, they are. Midway through the second period of Game One, it may look like a long series looms ahead, but the clock advances very quickly in the post-season, in some sort of warped Space Time Hockey Continuum.

Until convinced otherwise, I still postulate that Game Two is usually the turning point of a seven-game series. Let’s use a current example.

The eighth seeded Anaheim Ducks took Game One over the powerhouse San Jose Sharks. A road win in Game One automatically hands the home-ice advantage to the road team, erasing six months of hard work by the higher seed.

Suddenly, all the pressure is on the Sharks, who can’t afford to go to Southern California down by two games. If they win Game Two, the Sharks have avoided a sweep at home, have gained some momentum, and have set themselves up to reclaim so-called home ice advantage by only having to win one of the next two games in Anaheim.

If they lose Game Two, then they face the unenviable task of having to beat the resurgent Ducks four out of the next five games, and that scenario doesn’t look too promising for San Jose.

Of course, the Ducks prevailed 3-2 in Game Two, and now head home up two games. If the Sharks bounce back and take both games on the road, the worst Anaheim can be is tied heading back to San Jose, where they know they can win in the playoffs, because they’ve already won two games there.

True, if the Sharks take the next two games, they may regain momentum, and take control of the series, but that’s a pretty precarious branch to be walking out on, though now that’s all they’ve got to work with.

Game Three is also crucial, as the Blues found out, when they fell to the Canucks, who now have a stranglehold three-game lead in their series. And we all know, only two NHL teams have ever come all the way back from a three-game hole, and prevailed….though I think we’re long overdue for it to happen again.

Okay, so maybe I’ve convinced myself that both Game Two and Game Three are the contests that, upon closer inspection, reveal much of how the series-in-question will unfold. Someone please show me the math on this, because we can probably all list off teams that have come back from 2-0 and 3-1 game deficits, but it only stands to reason that most teams in that position never make it all the way back.

Math aside, there are other factors that have to be considered. The Washington Capitals also have lost the first two games of their series with the New York Rangers, and they were home-ice defeats, but one gets the sense that if they can win at MSG in Game Three, they’ll force themselves right back into this series. Same might be said for the Calgary Flames, and their battle with the Blackhawks, especially since the Flames are returning to the friendly confines of the Saddledome, or whatever they’re officially calling it these days.

Then again, does anyone really think the Montreal Canadiens will be right back in their series with the Boston Bruins if they manage to win Game Three on home ice?

Seven games in a playoff series seems to be the perfect number of games to separate the wheat from the chaff.

- Mick Kern


Sunday, April 19, 2009

PENS ALERT: Pens fall to Flyers 6-3; lead series 2-1. GOALS: E.MALKIN(3,4), R.SCUDERI(1). STARS: 3)E.MALKIN 2)S.GAGNE 1)C.GIROUX. Next Game TUE.

Game 3 in Philthidelphia


The Penguins go into Philly 2 games up on their biggest rivals, so it's pretty much a given that the Flyer goons will be out in full force since they certainly do not want to go down by 3 games. That said, there is a statistic out there some where (honest I just read it I just don't remember exactly where, sue me I read too much hockey stuff to remember where I read it ALL) that says when the home team goes up 2-0, they end up taking the series 90% of the time.

S0, Pens in 4? Shall we get the brooms at the ready?

Ok, I'm typically not one to get ahead of myself, and as much as that all sounds well and good, let's not jump the gun yet. This is playoff hockey and nothing is set in stone. I mean, did the Caps expect to be 2 down to the Rangers? I don't think anyone thought that would happen.

To keep everything in perspective, we'll just take this on a game by game basis. However, I am keeping that picture of the Wacovia center with the word stunned written across it ready if the Pens win today and again Tuesday.

Hey, don't hate me because I'm a Flyer hater... but it all just feels so right...




Friday, April 17, 2009

PENS ALERT: Pens Top PHI in OT 3-2, take 2-0 series lead. GOALS: B.GUERIN(1,2), E.MALKIN(2). STARS: 3) BIRON 2) MALKIN 1)GUERIN.

Game 2, tonight!

Flyers and Pens go at it again tonight in Game 2 of the quarterfinal game in the Eastern Conference at 7pm.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hartnell takes one for the team, Pens Win!

In what can only be described as a slow meltdown in Scott Hartnell's pea brain, taking penalty after penalty, ultimately getting a 10 minute game misconduct in the final minute of the game, his lack of control only was an asset to the Penguins 4-1 victory of the Flyers.

From today's Post Gazette:

"We can't do that," center Mike Richards said. "Even though they only got one power-play goal, it takes momentum away. Just stupid penalties that shouldn't be taken."

Winger Scott Hartnell was the biggest culprit, with three minor penalties and a 10-minute misconduct in the final minute of the third period.

He started with a roughing penalty against Penguins winger Matt Cooke -- "Cooke slashed our goalie right in the face, and you can't let that happen," Hartnell said.

Hartnell then bowled over Fleury for a goaltender interference penalty -- "I was just driving the net and ran out of room," Hartnell said.

Then came a tripping call -- "That one was more stupid. It was at the end of a shift and I had a brain camp," Hartnell said.

Stevens wasn't happy.

"I love Scotty Hartnell's emotion, but he's got to find that line and I don't think he did that," the coach said. "I'll address it. Scotty's a big part of our team. I'll talk to Scotty, and I'll talk to our team."

Uh.. Yeah, you do that.

All in all, the game was pretty physical on both sides, and the Penguins put in a really solid effort. I'd still like to see their power play be more efficient. But we've been saying that pretty much all season, haven't we? I will give them credit, it is looking better, but if they want to progress thru the playoffs they'll need to take better advatage of these power play situations.

One really impressive thing was how the Pens controlled faceoffs. Crosby was at something like 75%, and I believe Jordon Stall won 11 and lost 3, thus being 79%. That's pretty great.

I was pretty jacked up after the game, and I'm guessing my husband was pretty tolerant of my noise and other actions, he didn't really say to much. He survived last year's playoffs, so he knows what he's in for if the Pens keep going, lol.

Game 2 tomorrow... w00t!!!

PENS ALERT: Pens beat Flyers 4-1; lead series 1-0. GOALS: S.CROSBY(1), T.KENNEDY(1), E.MALKIN(1), M.EATON(1). STARS: 3)CROSBY 2)FLEURY 1)STAAL.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Game on!

I shot that video last year at Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Pens and the Flyers. Just using it here as a little pick me up for tonights game 1 against the same Flyers.

And to really get you going, here is a great preview video someone did with hightlights from this seasons games against Philly and from the playoffs last year.


So, this is it folks. It all starts here. The march towards winning 16 games, and ultimately, the Cup. 2 months ago the Pens were written off for dead, but we're back, baby.. and with a vengence. Hungry for another chance at Lord Stanley's ultimate prize.

To steal a phrase from the awesome guys over at the Pensblog... Let's light the fires and kick the tires! And kick some Flyer ass.




Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First pick

Just like that game of kick ball in your 5th grade gym class, the New York Islanders have snagged the top pick for the 2009 NHL Draft. And it's pretty much a given they'll take that good kid everyone wants on their team. Ok, enough dreadful gym class memories.

Seriously, it's pretty much a given the Isles will take London Knight, John Tavares.

Here is a quick rundown of the top 14 teams and their order in the draft:

1. New York Islanders
2. Tampa Bay Lightning
3. Colorado Avalanche
4. Atlanta Thrashers
5. Los Angeles Kings
6. Phoenix Coyotes
7. Toronto Maple Leafs
8. Dallas Stars
9. Ottawa Senators
10. Edmonton Oilers
11. Nashville Predators
12. Minnesota Wild
13. Buffalo Sabres
14. Florida Panthers

Your choice is?

EA sports conducted their yearly end of season simulation thru each round of the set playoffs to see who they would deem the Stanley Cup champions. HERE, at Puck Daddy, you'll see the end result was the Boston Bruins.. whateveh.

This isn't a video game... this is the real thing.

So, reading this I got to thinking, I'll post my first round predictions, and as each round is finished I'll move to the next.

First off.. Eastern Conference..

Boston vs. Montreal. I'd have to pick Boston easily here, the Habs just aren't cutting the mustard as they say. They're weak and just barely made it into the top 8. Shame given it's the clubs 100th anniversary, but not long after the all star break this ship started to sink.

Washington vs. Rangers For the same reason I picked Boston, I'm choosing the Caps in this contest. With Ovie being what and who he is, there blue shirts have no chance given their boring and incompetant offense.

New Jersey vs. Carolina This one is probably the toughest to call. The Hurricanes are hot right now as is Cam Ward, who's returned to his Con Smythe deserving performance. Not that Marty is a slouch, but the Devils just haven't been very predictable as of late, so I'm gonna pick Carolina.

Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia Of course it goes without saying this match up has my interest more so than the others. It will be a solid match up, and a battle, that much is a given between two teams who utterly hate each other. They may not do it in 4 gams (unlikely) but I'm still going with the Penguins... come, you knew I HAD to.

Western Confernce...

San Jose vs. Anaheim Ok, I'll start this by saying, "NO CALIFORNIA TEAMS TAKE THE CUP!" .. well, at least in a perfect world, that's what I'd want. Sure, San Jose took the presidents trophy, had the best record going all season, won uber number of games at home, fill in the blank.. yada, yada, yada, yada. So it's like, which is the lesser of two evils. Hmm, guess I'll go with the Sharks.

Detroit vs. Columbus Now this is a Western Conference series I can get into. 1, I hate the Red Wings with a passion, and hey, I already disliked them before last year, ask around! 2, Just for the fact that the Blue Jackets have finally made it to the playoffs in their clubs history, in and of itself should be a reason to get behind them. I confess to be a person who goes for the underdog, or at any rate, just for the sake of having someone different. And wouldn't it be sweet to see the CBJ's take out the Dead Wings in the first round? C'mon, you know it would.

Vancouver vs. St. Louis This series I'm slightly indifferent to. I'm glad St. Louis made it in, yet I like Luongo, and how the Canucks have turned themselves around since the shame of the past two years. So, I'm taking them, sorry Blues.

Chicago vs. Calgary I'll state right off I'm wanting the Blackhawks. If I have to pick one team out of the west I want to win there, it'd be them. I think they have a pretty good chance to progress deep into the playoffs. Right now Calgary has a beat up D that left them playing with only a 15 man roster the last two games of the regular season. And there is that little thing that they tend to choke... picking Chicago.

Ok! That's it for this first round, we'll see how good I've done in short order, the games start tomorrow night... gawd I love this time of year!!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Off and running to the playoffs!

After a rather handy win Saturday night against the Montreal Canadians, the Pens are ready to get going and start their playoff series with the Philthy Flyers.

And much thanks to the blue shirts, who beat the afore mentioned Flyers yesterday, the Penguins now get home ice advantage! Woot!!!

This is the schedule for the series...

Wednesday, April 15 - PITTSBURGH. 7 p.m.,
FSNFriday, April 17 - PITTSBURGH, 7 p.m.,
FSNSunday, April 19 - at Philadelphia, 3 p.m.,
NBCTuesday, April 21 - at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.,
FSN*Thursday, April 23 - PITTSBURGH, 7 p.m.,
FSN*Saturday, April 25 - at Philadelphia, 3 p.m.,
NBC*Monday, April 27 - PITTSBURGH, TBD, FSN
* If necessary

I'll get more into this tomorrow and Wed. to be sure...


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Last game of the regular season

Coming off a rather easy win on Thursday night against the Islanders, the Penguins head into the hockey mecca of Montreal to play their last regular season game, against the drama queen Habs. C'mon... they offer more drama than an afternoon soap opera. They're just paid better and wear ice skates.

Anyhoo... The 'shirts off our backs' night after the game was enjoyable as always. Hey, more entertaining than the All-Star game! And I was even shocked, the dude who got Max Talbot's jersey was a former teacher/football coach at my high school. If that wasn't Mr. Stone, you can slap me silly, Sidney. My apologies for using that, Mike Lange.

Seth, over at Empty Netters stumbled upon this little nugget while watching the Stars/Ducks game last night (hey I'm not going to question his choice of games, that's between him and.. well.. someone else) "He's the worst coach they've ever played for" Funny, really funny (to me anyway) and certainly not surprising to me.

Tonights tentative lineup against the Habs, with Fleury in net:


Scuderi-Gill (Boucher)

This is going to be a tough game to gauge in respect to how they Canadians have been playing as of late. They seem to be on a teeter totter going up and down between wins and sucking. Plus with the Devils and Flyers winning today, the Penguins now sit in 5th place.

Granted the Pens now cannot do any worse than 6th. The Flyers at the moment only have two more points than they do, and if Pittsburgh wins tonight they'd be tied. There are several variables at hand, but it will all come down to the end... doesn't it always... to see where the Pens sit in the line up.

But gosh.. who do you want to play in the first round? The Devil's or the Flyer's?? Not that the Penguins are afraid of Philly, but right now isn't New Jersey probably the easier team to beat? Hmm, yeah, maybe. Or, do you really want 4th place and home ice advantage and go against the Flyers. Sure both series have their advantages as well as disadvantages. But no sense speculating right now, instead, enjoy this last game and wait for the results of tomorrows contests to see how it'll all end... haha.. then start again.

Hopefully, Malkin will also tie up the scoring title tonight as well. He's been rather sluggish the last few games, not sure what's up with that, but don't let anyone fool you... he IS the better Russian. :)

Game time in less than two hours.... Time to finish this season so we can start the playoffs, baby!!!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pens make playoffs, take on Isles tonight

In a less than admirable fashion, the Penguins were able to solidify their playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a win against Tampa Bay Tuesday night. Shame that the game went on as it did. They should have easily beaten the Bolts, and with a score of 4-0 at one point it seemed they would. To have to battle to keep that lead, and have the game 6-4 was not impressive at all.

The Penguins just quit during the 3rd period. Not cool. They cannot do this again.

Anyhow, tonight the New York Islanders come into Pittsburgh, close to getting that choice of the top two picks in this years draft if they would lose.

The Penguins lead 4-0-1 and are 2-0-0 against the Islanders at Mellon Arena this season with a 9-2 victory when the two teams met up on December 11th, where Petr Sykora and Pascal Dupuis both got their first career hat tricks in the 9-2 win. And then the last time a 1-0 win for the Penguins on Feb. 25th (my bday!).

The tentative lineup for tonight is as follows:




I agree with having Garon in net, Fleury could use a little break, especially now that the Pens have snagged their playoff spot. Taking out Hal Gill to replace him with Boucher is just... well, stupid. Gill has been playing some really great hockey lately, and to replace him with someone whois been on IR for foot surgery is just lame. Whateveh... It's just that Boucher wasn't really on my fav list to start with.

The Isles are coming off a humiliating 9-0 loss against power house Carolina the other night, and I can not reiterate it enough... The Penguins cannot take teams like this lightly despite their failing record.

Tonight it's "shirts off our back" night, and I remember fondly being there for that 2 years ago. Probably one of the most fun nights of hockey you can go to as a devoted fan. Not just the game, the game was fun too, but I mean just to enjoy the atmosphere of the players getting their team awards, and then giving back to the fans after the game. Great stuff!!

This is also the last regular season home game... so let's win it!

LET'S GO PENS!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One more time in Florida


Alright, admitedly the loss to the Florida Panters on Sunday hurt like a bugger. With the Pens just needing one win to solidify their playoff berth, falling short and losing to the slumping Panthers wasn't really expected. But as has been proved time and again all season, teams like that you just cannot take for granted.

So keeping that train of thought, there is the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight to win against. A team currently on a 6 game losing skid, who despite being 'out of it' playoff wise, could still cause trouble for the Pens. I'm having a flashback to the game before Christmas, coincidentally the only game I've missed all season, when the Bolts took out the Pens rather easily. Screw that. That was a different Penguins team, under a different coach, and things are just... well, different now.

Tonight's lines are not expected to really change, tentatively they are projected as this with Fluery being in net..



I'd personally like to see Goddard back in the lineup over Adams... but, whateveh.

With Vincent Lecavalier out of the lineup for the rest of the season, the bulk of Tampa's scoring hopes rest on Martin St. Louis. And maybe rookie Steven Stamkos, but that remains to be seen.

So!! Yes! It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh, and it almost seems like hockey weather with all this snow! Let's do it! And let's hear it for internet connections that actually work today! :P



Sunday, April 5, 2009

on the road again

Ok so last night the Pens showed up in Carolina and gave it a good go. Sure they lost in OT, 3-2, but overall they had nothing to be ashamed of.

Granted they missed several opportunities, such as Malkin's penalty shot, and Guerin's goal that got taken away because of a tripping penalty that happened just prior to it, thus making it null and void. Guerin also took a penalty with less than 2 minutes left in the third that was clearly not helpful to the Penguins effort either.

Ah well... what are you gonna do? Play another game tonight? Sounds good to me!

The Penguins had nothing to be ashamed for in Saturday nights contest. They were going up against goalie Cam Ward who is playing like he deserved that Conn Smythe Trophy back when the Canes won the Stanley Cup in 2006. (odd he's not played this good since then)

Tonight the Pens go into Florida to take on the former plastic rat tossing Panthers. Today's projected lines look pretty similiar to last nights:



Not sure if Fleury will be in goal today, don't be surprised if Garon appears. Thomas Vokoun has sat the four previous games but will start against the Penguins

Florida has allowed the most shots on goal this season with 34.7 per game.

5pm start for this game (weirdness!) so be ready folks. As of today the Panthers are in 9th place trying to get back up into the playoff race, so they'll play hard, guaranteed.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Looking at the Pens new home

Since it's such a nice sunny day here in north east Ohio today, I suspected it may be the same in Pittsburgh, and decided to check out the live cam on the Consol Energy Center. Wow! It's really starting to take shape! Fall 2010 is too far away!

a weekend full of good hockey


I don't care who you are or what team you care about, but if you're like me and love hockey, this time of year you just can't get enough. With the start of the last week of the regular season at hand, there are quiet a few games going on that have ramifications for more than the teams playing.

Currently in the east, aside from Boston, Washington, and New Jersey, the other 5 playoff spots are inner changeable between Philly, Pittsburgh, Carolina, New York, and Montreal. However, close in 9th and 10th place is Florida and Buffalo.

A couple tv and radio analyists have written off the Sabres, saying they are out. I'm kind of on the fence about it. If there is a team that can fight their way back, it'll be Buffalo. As it sits right now, I'd rather have them in than the Rangers, just for my own reasons. We'll see.


Indeed it is, a great day for hockey. The Penguins start up a three game road trip tonight in Carolina against the Hurricanes, who've been labeled by NHL live, and Doc Emmerick himself as being "scary" and a team to fear right now. But to be fair, they said the same thing about the Pens. Nice.

It's actually nice to have a Saturday night game again, the Penguins haven't had one since February 14th.

Fleury is expected to start in net tonight, and possibly Garon will get the nod tomorrow against the Panthers.

The line combinations at the Penguins morning skate were:


The defensive pairings were:


Eric Goddard and Phillip Boucher will be the Penguin's healthy scratches.

The Pens were pretty successful getting goals on the much hyped Marty Brodeur on Wed. night, but Carolina goalie Cam Ward is currently on a hot streak of his own. What Pittsburgh needs to do is follow suit with what they did the other night, just crash the net and keep those sticks banging on those pucks, and score any way possible.

Carolina started the year with a 12-11-2 record, and after a coaching change (sort of) they, like the Penguins seem to have been reborn. With that said, tonight's game is going to have a playoff feel to it, given home ice advantage and that fourth place spot in the east is still up for grabs.

Yeah, Philly, it's not all yours yet. (gawd I do hate those bastards)

Hey, this is far from over... let's do it.



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Devil's in Pittsburgh

So who'd have thought that the infamous New Jersey Devils and their much talked about goaltender, Martin Brodeur, would be on a 5 game losing skid? Especially since ol' Marty hit his league record of wins. Seems they've not done to much of anything since.

Granted I'd have liked to have seen them win against the Rangers the other night, but.. whateveh.

The log jam in the Eastern Conference for positions 4-8 is kinda tight, especially since the Rangers and Montreal won. Bleh.

Here is to hoping something like this happens tonight against Brodeur...