37 saves, 12th career shutout, 1 tripping penalty, First Star of the Night for all his sick saves, what else can you say? Marc Andre Fleury was definitely the Tower of Flower Power tonight in against the Jersey Debbils. "I'm feeling better, timing wise." Flower said. "It's the foot movement. I'm in the right place at the right time now." (this is true) "It's pretty cool. I want to do my part to help out. I tried to make the saves to keep the game close." (this is also true) The only highlights online at the moment are at NHL.com. Also I've got to give an Honorary Goalie Award to FPL member Mark Eaton, for kicking out the scramble puck 1/16th of an inch before it became a Debbils goal. Jamie Langenbrunner couldn't buy a goal tonight with a Brinks truck in his back pocket. Fed's goal in the second period was all the Pens got, but it was all they needed. (and with only 18 shots on goal they're lucky they got that) The face-off wins seemed a bit better this game although I don't have stats at my fingertips. (I don't really like stats anyway) No highlights are currently available, but I'll probably stir some up for y'all sooner or later.
The Pens take on the Canadiens (they're from Canadia) Sat. night and that's going to be another tough game. Is it just me, or does anyone else think the Pens should have asked Santa for a better Christmas schedule? One Thrashed game in the middle doesn't make make the other 4 games (NJ, Montreal, and Boston twice) any easier. One good thing about playing the Canadiens (did I tell you they're from Canadia?) is that Alexei Kovalev has been gone from the Penguins long enough that Stogie and Error will only mention him being an ex-Penguin 486 times.
Other Stuff: In case you missed them on the ice, Dustin Jeffery and Paul Biz-nasty were called up from WBS for tonight's game. Jeffrey was up for most of the pre-season and I saw him on the ice during a scrimmage; He's fast, generally good with the puck, and he can win face-offs. Tonight he was two out of three so his ice time was cut a bit when he had trouble winning face-offs. Biz-nasty was pretty memorable with the Pens in the beginning of the season, but didn't get much of a chance to nasty anyone up tonight, playing on the fourth line with Jeffrey and Goddard.
No Work-Out Woes: Petr Sykora substituted the lack of scheduled work-out with running around after his son for two days during the Holiday break. He figured that and mental preparation were all he would need to make up for the ice time he missed over Christmas. "It doesn't really bother me." Syko said," I can prepare for every game without skating. If you can prepare yourself mentally and going into the game without thinking,'Oh God, I didn't skate for two days, what's going to happen?', You just have to mentally prepare yourself." Flower has a different take on the situation: "I don't like having two days off, without skating, and then playing right away" Flower said, "I have to break a sweat somehow, probably a run." Whatever MAF did on his break must have worked, because he got a shut-out. I think Syko's work out was more strenuous though, I've tried chasing kids. They're quick and low to the ground, so they corner well and they're hard to catch.
Red Cross Award: Hal Gill gave a couple of his Pens-buddies a call and toured the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital earlier this month. It evidently wasn't difficult to persuade El Capitan, Sarge, Maximum, Flower and the rest to cruise the hospital and give gifts and cheer to the kids trapped there over the Holiday. (I think Max agreed just so he could play with the toys) The Flightless Troupe ponied up more than 6 grand worth of toys and their time at the drop of a hat. Gill wasn't surprised they would do that, and frankly neither am I. Even the most cynical among us (I think I'm in the top 10%, or was that top 10? I can't remember) have to admit that the players give a lot to the community, and, being just a bunch of big kids themselves, they go out of their way to do things for kids. Still, it's got to make you feel all warm and un-Scrooge-like, especially when you consider this wasn't a team event. Just the Sequoia phoning up some hockey-buddies to cheer up some kids. Marc Andre is setting up some long-term charities in Sorel-Tracy, Montreal and Pittsburgh after his long-term deal with the Pens was signed. "My job as a player is to help the Penguins win hockey games," Fleury said, "but I think our job as people is to help each other through these times. Hockey players have a lot to give, not just money. We should. Look at what's happening to people everywhere, and it's Christmas--this is when we should give back." Good job guys.