Sometimes it's easy to forget that Marc Andre Fleury is not your usual run of the mill type of goaltender. When MAF came back from his most recent 'undisclosed' injury he was playing like about 70% of the goalies out there. Playing decent hockey. The mind wants to think 'Ah, everything's ok, Flower's back on his game." Then Saturday comes along and you wonder 'What the hell is going on? 5 goals in two periods?' What to nearly any other player would be game shape is actually rust on the Flower. (Steel cities can have steel Flowers, right?) The Tower of Flower Power started showing the shine under the rust last night in Sluggalo. I know he was scored on three times, (two of which I've got to blame on the FPL, sorry guys but you can't leave scorers unchallenged at the top of the crease even on the power play) but quite a few of the saves were vintage Flower Power. Quick lateral movement and a blindingly fast glove. (The follow-up save on Ellis blazes to mind) Don't let the Thrasher's game fool you into thinking that Flower's on his game, he's still raising his play level to its former mind-wobbling height. Flower will be in net tonight against the Tampa Bay Sparks and we'll get to see if he 'gives Malone a shot to the knees or the nuts' , like he said he would in a pre-season interview he did on 105.9 the X, in September. (third one from the bottom on the page, about 35 seconds in)
Other Pens Stuff: Yet another in a series of 'undisclosed' has struck the FPL (Flower Protection League) Kris Le-tank has succumbed to the dreaded 'undisclosed' after stopping a shot in Monday nights game. The only bright spot in this is we don't have to guess who'll be scratched to allow Ryan Whitney to play in tonight's game against the Sparklers. Yes, that's right folks, Whits is playing tonight for the first time this season. This morning's skate was optional so there's no way to say who he'll partner up with but he'll be out there with tens of thousands of Pensaddicts wanting to see if it was worth the wait. (no pressure Rye, just play your game)
Speaking of this morning's skate, the Human Sequoia, Hal Gill was skating for the first time since injuring his shoulder (too many people saw it, they couldn't 'undisclose' it afterwards). In an interview Hal said that he felt better, but would know more when he actually had someone on the ice to bump into. He then proceeded to ask for volunteers from the media, but there were no takers. That would be kind of like skating against your dad when you were 10, I'm not surprised no one took him up on it.
Aw Mom, Can't I Play Inside?: Something I stumbled across (no comment) that might be found interesting (in a land of complete boredom, maybe?) If he plays on New Years, Ty Conklin, former season saver for the Pens, will be in his third outdoor game in a row. That's right, folks, there have only been three and if he plays next Thursday Ty Conklin will have played in them all. "Either I follow it around, or it follows me. I don't know which is which." Ty said. It evidently didn't occur to him when he went to the Red Rags that they were playing in the Winter Classic this year. He does say (and I agree) that the equipment guys are going to have the roughest time at the game, not knowing what the conditions are going to be like, or if they'll change suddenly.
Old Time Hockey: The movie even hockey fans can understand, Slap Shot, is back out in a new 35 mm print being shown Jan 1-4 at Pittsburgh Filmmaker's Regent Square Theater. Also in the same article is a mention of Dave Hanson's recent book Slapshot Original: The Man, the Foil, the Legend. It not only talks about some behind the scenes stuff, making the movie, but also has stories in it about the actors and players involved. I guess the Statute of Limitations is up on most of the stuff they did back then. ( I wish I could say the same, but my attorney won't let me comment)
As usual on game-days more to come as the random numbers sort themselves out in my head.