Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Flower Protection League:

With the rest of the league holding their breath in anticipation of the beginning of the season, and the Pens-addicts holding their breath in anticipation of the next defenceman to go down, let's state the obvious, Sergei Gonchar (Sarge) member of the newly dubbed Flower Protection League is out until somewhere around St. Patrick's Day recovering from shoulder surgery.

It seems odd to be able to say Mark Eaton and 'one of the healthy defenceman', knock on wood, (banging forehead against desk) in the same sentence, but here we are in that bizarre place. But before we all retreat into a defensive coma let's look at the rest of the FPL (Flower Protection League, remember?). Everyone, with the exception of Goligoski is a seasoned member of the same triple duo that flung opposing players bodies around the ice and their own in front of pucks to help win games and preserve shut-outs for the Flower so well last year. And putting a bit more pressure on Le-tank to crank up that cannon and not defer to Sarge could be a good thing. The depth in WBS is a bit thin with NHL experience, but you've got to like what we've seen out of Baby Pens like Richmond and Lovejoy in the pre-season. Stick one of those youngsters with Gill, Scuderi, or Sydor to give them a bit of direction, and good things could happen. Oh mistakes will be made, but all in all it's not time to break out the Woobie and start sucking our thumbs yet. Oh, and put away those Youtube vids of Game 5, yes it was an awesome performance, but this is a new season.
In an opinion I didn't read until after I wrote this (would I lie to you?) Seth, over at Empty Netters has a similar take on the situation.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Travel Blog from Sweden:

If you look over at Pittsburghpenguins.com they've got a teaser travel blog going. Kind of light on information, but they've put some of the usual post-practice interviews up so the truly addicted can pretend their beloved Penguins aren't thousands of miles away. The Fleury interview is the second one down on day 1. It may be just me, but considering the nearly complete lack of pre-season coverage by PP.com or FSN this is yet another desperate attempt to avoid rioting in the streets, like the jumbotron coverage of the Lightning game. The fans I've been in contact with and the other blogs I monitor remind me of heroin addicts waiting for the next shipment to come in. I just hope that when the season (and the coverage) finally starts we don't have any OD's. Try explaining that one to your HMO... "Uh... you see,... it was a.... Penguin overdose!" Yeah, they'll pony up for that one.
edit: The link now directs you to the premier overview page, you can access each blog and all the interviews there.
LATE EDIT: It seems as though someone, somewhere listened to someone's whining about their Pensjones and the first Ottowa game will be shown on the jumbotron in the same way the Detroit (must go wash fingers for typing that) Finals games were shown. Along with some free skating and tours of the arena it's all part of the Pittsburgh Birthday celebration. PS. No pucks or sticks allowed on the ice during the skates so no pick up games!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fleury not stuck in the past:

Game 5 save 1 out of 55

... forgive Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury

if he enjoyed last spring's run to the Stanley Cup final, anyway.
Not the result.

"To be able to fight through it together was tough, it was long," Fleury said. "It was so much fun, though, such good hockey, so intense.
"It's the most fun in hockey that I've ever had."

Forgive him? Forgive Marc Andre and the rest for the 5 or 6 most entertaining months of hockey in recent memory? I think I can do that. There's a small selfish part of me that wishes the Pens were just a bit less popular than their recent success has made them, so that I could afford to go to more games. But then I realize that even if they went on a losing skid most of the games are already sold out and I wouldn't get to go to them anyway. But forgiveness? Et tuo Obsolvo you are forgiven.
About the incredible run at the end of the season and play-offs:
"I realized it a couple of times, especially in Pittsburgh because our crowd was so loud and cheering with all the white towels and stuff," Fleury said. "When we'd score goals, and you'd see everybody up, it was crazy.
"I think it's good to enjoy it. Everybody wants to win, there's always pressure. But when you win, and you beat that pressure, that's the best feeling."
And for the rest of us? Watching a bunch of genuinely likable guys having fun and showing off their amazing talent will have to be enough.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Everybody hang on... new guy at the wheel:

Complainers and whiners, please step in front of the bus so your complaints can be processed in a timely manner. Ok, let's start out slowly and see where we go from there.

top: Ready to go. middle: First stroll on the ice. bottom: Fleury denying the power of Satan

Last Friday I was among the many who gathered at the scrimmage/practice in drooling anticipation of finaly being able to get my Pensfix. And let me tell you, there were things to be impressed with, but let's stick with the title character of this blog and deal out some pre-season Flower sightings. Fleury (on the black team) seemed very loose and focused but was somehow unable to stop Hall Gill's super secret practice shot during warm-ups. That got MAF a few jeers and Gill a round of high-5's as he skated past the apposing bench. All that was forgotten by the shoot-out when he stopped Croby's attempt and then rode his goalie stick like a hobby horse and taunted Sid. I have more pics to post and I will as soon as I figure out how to get this thing out of first gear. Thanks for your patience and more to come.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Looking For Contributors

When I started this blog back in the spring, it was always with the intention of having other people on board here to help out. I know that I have too much on my plate to generate the kind of content this place deserves/requires all on my own. This is where you all come in. If you are interested in writing for The Shop now is your chance.

I do not really have any particular requirements as far as what I am looking for from a contributor here. Naturally it should be MAF-centric content, but beyond that use your imagination. I would like to have someone to break down MAF's performance after games he plays in, but I am very open to any content contribution. If you want to write something funny, or analytical, or just a general post related to Marc-Andre Fleury I am open to any of that. As long as you keep the language PG-13 and don't plaster pictures of scantily clad women all over the place you'll have pretty much free reign to write what you want to.

So, if you are interested in helping out here in any capacity send me an e-mail and we can talk.