Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Flowers:

For those of you that don't know (and if you don't, where have you been?) today is Marc Andre Fleury's 25th birthday. And what do you get the goaltender on your list who has almost everything a goaltender could want? Kris Le-tank and Alex Go-Go Gadget Goal for his defenders. That's right, tonight against the NY Raggers two of the much beleaguered FPL are back in the line-up. Which, I think tips the scales in the Penguin's favor.

I took a look back at some of the stories I've accumulated over the last year and PPG writer Dejan Kovacevic said just about everything you need to know about Marc-Andre's personality back in 2003, and I thought I'd dig that back up for ya. And for you stat-mongers out there, here's about every stat you could ever want on the Tower of Flower Power.

I'd like to take this opprotunity to thank Andre and France for getting together in a biblical way 25 years and 9 months ago (give or take a few days either way)
BTW... thank you Ginette Bibeau for being Flower's first goalie coach and shooting pucks at him up against your garage.

Thanks to Craig Patrick who drafted him and Mario Lemieux who let him stay at the Les Magnifique Inn for the first couple of years. (he already got you guys something nice last year)

More to come after the game:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Slashed and Thrashed:

2 steps forward, one step back. Get Sarge and Maximus back in the line-up and loose our Super-Secret second goalie, Mc-keester. Guys were out of sinc, Flower run out of the net Eaton was out of Doan's Pills, it was just a slow-motion nightmare train wreck of a game and I'm just going to act like an ostrich until this kind of thing stops happening.
Thrashed on Sat. The Moose and Colby and Kovalchuk and Kozlov. They're on a winning jag and we're..... well, we're not. Something's got to kick that power play in the ass. I've got it! Someone get me Il Poppa's number and we'll have him bless El Sid's stick again. Gotta do something, I'm running out of MOM and the liquor store's all out of Stoli.

Thank you, Your Holiness... There are no Pagans in Penalty Boxes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ouch! That Hurts! Ahhh, That's Better:

It's getting to be especially difficult tuning in to Penguins games recently. Not just because they've lost four in a row, and not just because it seems like somewhen around the last Ice Age since the Pens scored 2 goals in the same game. It's just that it seems like every time the guys take the ice, someone leaves early and we don't see them again for 2-3 weeks. Maximus, Sarge, Geno, Kennedy, Orpik, Le-tank, and now Kunitz. You could add a couple of boozed up Parking attendants, 2 Giant Iggle bag-boys and a third grade class from any local grade school and field a team that has a good shot to make the play-offs. Geno will play tonight and Max and Sarge are skating with the team and should be back in the next couple of weeks, but I don't have a large enough supply of antacids to go through the same kind of slump that the team went through last Dec-Feb. There's been a run on them for some strange reason. Oh, and to add to the fun-ness the Pens are playing the Broons tonight, a team that shut them out not 4 days ago. (Where's that MOM and break out the Stoli) I think we've all noticed the weakness of an offensively minded system. It's tough to 'plug-in' substitutions when this many of your major weapons are sidelined. There's no 'system' in the world that can stand up to having basically a line and a half of your top players sitting in Mario's box during the game. Flower told's Sam Kasan, "I think we have the players in here that can turn this thing around and get some wins. Last year we had a tough stretch and we made it through and went all the way. It's a long season. We've got to make sure we deal with it well. We come to the rink. We practice hard." That, and getting some of these guys back should do it, I think. Now on to Other Things:

Other Things: Last week CTV's Olympic page was reporting that Stevie Y is seriously considering adding a Tower of Flower Power to his Oly line-up. It seems as though Yserman considers Flower's 'stock' to be on the rise especially with Luongo having his ribs BBQ'ed a couple of weeks ago and then Flu on top of that, limiting his playing time and with Mason and Ward both having their problems this season. Steve was busy with that Hall of Fame thing and a meeting with his Oly committee, but that didn't keep him from reminding everyone at least twice that he doesn't really have to say anything until late December.... Thanks Steve, we were hoping you'd forget that one.

Kunitz' replacement tonight will be Mark Letestu, and for those of you who don't remember (or can't pronounce) his name I've combed Faceoff Factor's Player Bio section to give you some insight. Basically he's touted as a Kuni-like player without the same disregard for his own personal safety. Although how a guy could wear Scary Gary's old number and not automatically be considered tough is beyond me. Also here's a YouTube of him scoring a goal playing for the Baby Pens.
So, I've asked the priesthood if they would say a few words about tonight's game and what I got was.....

I'm sure the Scotch had nothing to do with that...... LET'S GO PENS!!!!!! See? I did it and I can't even stand scotch. lol

I'm going to put the 'Let's go Pens!' pic up on every post from now until the next ice age.

0.4 SECONDS LEFT BILLY GUERIN YOU ARE A HERO!!!!!!!!! And Jordan Staal is one sneaky Canadian. Sliding up the boards and swiping the puck that Thomas left like a used hamburger behind the net. Oh wow what a game.... I'm completely out of Milk of Magnesia and Stoli.... wow what a win....

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Nameless Post:

I know they can't win every one, but damn, I hate when they lose. I REALLY hate when they lose like that. If ever y'all wondered how all those other teams' fans felt when the Pens blew them out of the water in the third period.... now you know. It was like watching a Pens game through some alternative-universe space/time vortex. I'm going to bed and hoping this all is a bad dream that the team will wake up from Saturday night when they face the Sharks.... mmmmmm seafood.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

O Canadia!:

The Tower of Flower Power was just that tonight helping the Pens to a 6-1 win against the Habs, saving 23 of 24 shots. Keeping the Pens atop the Eastern Conference and MAF atop the board with a 9-1 record. (I don't care what the NHL says, 9-1 is better than the 9-1-2 that Anderson dude has) I hate to say it, but the only reason Flower didn't add to his shut-out total tonight was his own errant clearing attempt that cleared the glass and caused the 5 on 3 that led to the only Canadien goal. Other than that Flower made some tremendous saves including one that actually hit him in the back in the first period. Marc-Andre did his best imitation of a board, laying down on top of the puck. Crisis averted.

Crosby scored his 3rd hat trick evidently on the anniversary of his first hat-trick I'm really not sure, Bob and Paul started to sound like the adults on Peanuts cartoons after a while, but I did hear them say that El Capitan was picked to jog with the Olympic Torch through his hometown, which is cool. Rupp scored his third and Go-Go scored his fourth, but the real story of the night was Chris Kunitz' first goal/four point night. Now the people that watch but don't understand hockey can stop asking silly questions about when Kuni is going to score a goal, and 'what good is he out on the ice?'. I have an answer for them. "HEY! Shut up and start watching the game and you won't have to ask stupid questions!!" (DANGER! Venting in progress). Another cool thing that happened tonight was that we could watch the Human Sequoia and say, "Damn, is he slow." and not be disloyal to the FPL. Speaking of which, evidently someone asked Bill Guerin, (who scored 3 points tonight) if he thought the Habs became faster this year due to the total revamping of the team. Bill replied, "Oh yeah, they're a much faster team.... except for Gill." You gotta love the guy.

Contrary to earlier belief the world did not come to an end due to Tyler Kennedy's absence from the game tonight. Is it just me, or is the Penguin's season really in jeopardy every time someone misses a game or two? Some boo-boo in the line-up and some yo-yo with a local/state/national/international audience is predicting doom and gloom for the 'Guins. Talbot has shoulder surgery. The hockey hopes of the Pens end. Sarge is out for 4-6 weeks and once again the season is over. Dupuis misses two games and The Pens are in trouble. Kennedy misses a game and the outlook is dire.... C'mon, there's got to be some reason they've got all those extra players hanging around. Could it be that sometimes they're expected to play? Possibly even win a game or two through some freak of chance? There are worse things than being able to occasionally see some of the other guys play a couple of games.... and one of them is Bob Errey's imitation of Hannible Lechter's 'fava bean' speech. I'm gonna need some serious therapy after that one....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sad Penguins and Flower Stuff:

When the Pens play the Debbils one of two things usually happens. It's either a blowout or a shut-out. Well this time, we didn't get either one, although it was a close run until Go-Go Gadget goal marked one up in the 3rd period (finally).
The first flukey goal of the game seemed to set the tone for the rest of the Penguin's night. Flower blocked the original shot, then miss played the rebound above his head and behind him knocking it into the net. Need I say more about the rest of the game? The only high note about the whole night was that Uncle-Daddy didn't tie Terry Sawchuck for most shut-outs against the Pens. Although we did hear an interesting (?) story about TS from Error about how Terry played the game since its invention and the fact that TV's were invented, but not popular for the beginning of his career. Actually my favorite part was Error's dig at Stogie about his age.
So U-D has to go somewhere else for his slice of Hockey Immortality pie and the Pens played a frustrating game against the trap. But that's enough said about that, so now it's on to Other Stuff.

Other Stuff: TSN is currently running a poll on who has the best mask in the NHL . (care to guess who I voted for?) They've also got a gallery that give some good views of all the current masks. The Poll runs until Wed. the 28th and they'll announce the results during the Stars/Laffs game. Of course I'll be watching the Pens/Habs game, so I'll probably remain completely ignorant of the results. Somewhere in the article they also mention that the goalie mask is 50 years old in the NHL, and then they give a rambling account of Andy Bathgate and his battle to get to wear one. It was almost like the guy was channelling Bob Error when he wrote it.

F-SPN: The Tower of Flower Power seems to have made a fan out of ESPN's John Buccigross. First he did a 'couch blog' during the Sens game, saying some nice things about the Flower. He also encouraged Shero to extend TK's contract for three more years, which I think is an excellent idea. Of course he also said that Stogie was 'knowledgeable and clearly in love with the Penguins' and Error was 'one of the best color analysts in the game' and 'has that Darren Pang enthusiasm for the game that I'm just a sucker for'. I like the 'Dingbat Duo' too, but don't gush over them, please.
And when I'm just about ready to throw Bucci to the side of the road I caught one of his 'mailbag' answer thingies and he suddenly started sounding like a genius again. As of the article he was picking Fleury, Luongo, and Ward as the three goalies for Team Canada in this Olympics and mentioned that MAF is sitting at #3 in ESPN's Player Power Rankings (fantasy hoopla), so he's once again risen in my estimation.

Speaking of Fantasy hoopla: Tim Kavanagh in ESPN's Fantasy Hoopla Department has Flower ranked #4 in the top 40 goalies and has some idea that Marc Andre might even manage to 'stay hot' for the rest of the season (and I thought ESPN didn't know anything about hockey). He also mentions that the Pens are 4th best in the League at limiting shots on goal (they're down 4 SOG per game from last year) and he finishes up by saying that MAF's stats might dip, but his wins should keep him in the top echelon of goaltenders (we already knew that). Could it be that the notoriously Hockey shy ESPN is finally learning a bit about hockey?

And yes, I'm pretty much ignoring the Florida Kitties game. As far as I'm concerned other than Johnson's stellar goaltending exhibition, the Pens didn't much show up for that game. Although his best save of the night didn't even count as a save. Despite being bowled over in the crease he dove across the net and flashed the glove to deny a Kitty goal. What is it about playing in front of Johnnie that makes the Pens fall asleep? Dude deserved better and is the only reason the Pens got even one point out of the game. I think El Capitan showed his agreement with a 'Special Teams Hat-Trick', scoring on the PP, short-handed, and in the Shoot-Out. Don't give up on them yet, Brent. One of these days the team will actually play an entire game in front of you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Boys Are Back in Town:

Yes, the boys ARE back in town. and will be for the next four games. Marc Andre Fleury wasn't very busy against the Lightning Bugs, but he did take the time to smack former Penguin Bugsy Malone a couple of times and completely shut down the Bug attack except for that one weird bouncy thing Stamkos swatted in that shouldn't even count anyway. (The NHL has never listened to me about stats before, so they'll probably count it anyway) Speaking of stats (in a really low voice for the superstitious) in most categories MAF is middle of the road but the only stat that Flower seems to be concerned with is the one that puts him top of the NHL. He's a perfect 7-0-0 so far this season. Way to go Flower!

FPL: Jay McKee has more than earned his commission as a card-carrying member of the FPL. He leads the League in blocked shots with about 7862.... or 22 I forget. There were a lot of people (me included) that were worried about Rob Scuderi leaving the team without its Super-Secret Second Goalie on the ice. No one can replace everything that Scuds brought to the line-up, but when it comes to putting your body in the line of fire like a GSS (Goalie Secret Service) agent, I think we've found a keeper in the 'Kee-ster'.

Nice to see you again: I don't know about you, but I tend to think about upcoming games by who the ex-Penguins on the squad are. For instance, Tues. the Pens play Ty Conklin and Daryl Sydor, and of course we'll all get an earfull from Stogie and Error about Alex Pietrangelo being the 2nd cousin twice removed of the room mate of Frank Pietrangelo's dog, or something like that. (I tend to tune Error out when he starts that stuff) It's tough keeping up with who went where and when and all that, but the next interesting one would be when Big Georges Laraque slides in with Montreal on the 28th or when RJ Umburger comes in on the 30th with the Blue Jackets and then again on Halloween when Syko comes back to town with the Wild. BTW I've seen the Wild's new third jerseys, and they actually don't look like Christmas trees. A definite step up. I know RJ never played for the Pens, but he's from here so it amounts to the same thing.

Twins? or some sick genetic experiment?: One other thing I've been constructively (sorta) spending my time on is finding out what Sean (IFHSA) Avery of the NY Raggers does when he's not insulting fellow players and ex-girlfriends. (I know, things have been really slow) What I found was that IFHSA is actually leading a double life as San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. (which explains a lot about Rivers) I'm not kidding. I was watching the Stiller's game a couple of weeks ago and something bothered me every time they showed Phil's face. Like I was seeing someone that I knew, but not as the person they were saying the were. ( I know, I had a whole Stoli induced Twilight Zone thing happening) Then Rivers threw a fit on the sidelines and it hit me... he's a dead ringer for IFHSA! Don't just take my word for it... check it out for yourselves. That's Avery on the left and Rivers on the right. These photos have not been retouched just so I could win my own argument with myself. Do I hear Rod Serling in the background? Is that creepy or what?

Monday, October 12, 2009

We Didn't Elect You:

Here's the Tower of Flower Power making one of 30 saves tonight to help the Pens basically crush the hopes and dreams of the Ottawa Senators.

Flower makes 30 saves, TK gets two goals, Guerin and Staal have the bookend goals to lift the Pens to a 4-1 victory over the Sens. Flower got some help from the FPL, the posts (his bff's) a stick and some pretty poor shooting by the Elected Ones, but when the great saves were needed he Gumbied his way in front of the puck and made the stop. PP's traded back and forth with no result, but the hard workers on the Pens got the points.

Some other things we learned tonight: Old guys CAN score goals (Guerin), TK loves scoring on the Sens (8 games, 7 goals), Staal doesn't know where the visitors penalty box is, Bob Errey secretly has a crush on Jason Spezza, (I was asking the TV if they needed to get a room), if you're a Pen you can take a penalty for ending up on the bottom of a pile (Sarge), and that Marc Andre Fleury can make saves on pucks that no one else can see. Oh, and we also learned that the Pens can win a game when Crosby and Malkin don't score a goal.
In the fine tradition of TFS I saw this on another site, thought it was cool and stole.... uh brought it over to the Shop. (The Sidney Crosby Show) It's the Hockey Night in Canada intro teaser for Saturdays game against the Maple Laffs. And check the 'issue number' on the comic. (it's Issue #66)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Letting Biting Dogs Lie:

Other than that poor, poor showing on Longish Island, (sorry Johnson, sometimes it happens) the Pens have been playing very sexy hockey. They've had an answer for every other opponent so far. (knock on wood) Marc Andre Fleury was asked after squeaking a 5-4 win against the Philthy Phlyers if he felt bad for his stats by allowing 4 goals in one game. I don't have the quote, but he basically smoked the reporter with a glance and informed that stalwart bastion of the media, that wins were what he was after, not stats. That's my kind of goalie. BTW, in the wins column he's managed to remain undefeated up to this point. That's got to be good for the stats, don't ya think?

I've always called Marc Andre a kind of Gumby in Goalie Gear but in the first period of Fridays game he became something of a Jack-in-the-Box in goalie gear, jumping out of the way of a puck flipped up from behind the net. The kid's got mad skills. All right, I know that The Tower of Flower Power is a Goalie Legend, and has powers beyond that of mere mortal men (or women presumably) but how the hell did he see this shot by Beaugemin through about 687 guys legs? Oh yeah, the Kid's got mad skills..... I heard that somewhere before.

After the game Max Talbot, BTW does anyone know how many days with the Stanley Cup this guy schmoozed his way into? I've heard of 4. Anyway Maximus was acting as unofficial translator during MAF's post-game interview. It's absolutely hilarious.

If there's a camera around 'Superstar' is going to find it and do something silly to get it pointed in his direction....

Other Stuff: Whoever painted the target on Kris Le-tank's back must be hunted down and executed immediately! Kris, being one of the smaller defenseman on the Pens roster has always been something of a target, but during the last three games it's gotten a bit ridiculous. I've always thought of Hartnell as something of a dog but biting Le-tank during an end of game scrum just proves it. (do you think he's had his shots?) Letang says he's basically over the whole thing, but I kinda doubt it. You want to bet Brooks Orpik ain't over it either? Watch out Josh, they know your number. The League is sitting on its collective ass citing 'a lack of evidence'. I don't know, the guy comes out of a scrum with a guy and is bleeding with Hart's teethmarks on his finger...... hmmm what do you think officer? Let's get CSI on the case and maybe we can get something done. Either that, or we can get him a copy of this book by Elizabeth Verdick. I'm sure he can get someone to read it to him.
I was going to say something pithy about hoping the Senators didn't have any biters on their roster, and then I remembered Yarkko Ruutu and his two game suspension for biting Andrew Peters. So I guess all we can do is hope Yark's had his shots....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Well, This Sucks:

No offense no power play, too many penalties, the defense looked pretty good, but there was too damn much of it. Johnson might just be a solid Flower Backup... time will tell Flower-Children, time will tell. Damn New Jersey for making the neutral zone trap look so doable..... Oh well, more after the Phylthy game....
Oh yeah, and here's the Tower of Flower Power doling out pizzas to the hordes of students waiting on line for Student Rush tickets on Wed. night. If that goalie thing hadn't worked out so well, he might have made an easy living as a Pizza Dude. Just imagine the tips he'd get.....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Penguins are Go!:

It might (?) be a little early in the year to start touting the numbers, but with Saturdays win against the hard to beat NY Long-Islanders Mark-Andre Fleury and the Penguins seem to be off to a good start. Flower's save percentage (.909) for the first two games puts him right in the middle of the pack, but his winning percentage (100%) puts him right at the top of the list. Ok, I don't much believe in stats, but the winning thing is a stat you can't argue with. In my humble, but all knowing, opinion at least 4 out of the 5 goals that the Flower allowed can be attributed to defensive breakdowns and shouldn't be held against the Tower of Flower Power. I wonder if we can get the League to adjust the stats accordingly. There were times in both games where the newly revamped Flower Protection League looked a little rusty out there, but that goes for the whole team as there were times when the rust was showing on the shininess that should be the Pens attack.I suppose it's a bit much to expect late season flash and cohesion from the team during the first two games of the season. But I don't care, I want it, and I want it now! Is my addiction showing?

Flower was showing no rust at all with this save Fri. against Vinny Prospal though...

Flower was pulling some amazing saves in both games, including a diving poke-check on Tambellini in the Isles game, and I'll be posting more of them as soon as pulls out of their coma and starts posting them on their site. For the most part MAF is still showing everyone the same form that helped the Pens to back to back SCF runs. Basically he's Gumby in goalie gear and he's certainly got the split/flash the gove save thing going. I'd swear there was a save in each game that was a mirror of the one he pulled on O'Retchkin in the Play-Offs last season. Flower was perfection in the Shoot-out shutting out Tavares and Tambillini, and Le-Tank and El Sid buried both of theirs sealing the game.

Other Stuff: Couple of milestones, El Sid scored his 400th point in the second game of his fourth season in the League (don't listen to Error, he can't count) making him the 6th fastest to reach that mark. John Tavares scored his first point and then goal in the NHL which drove everyone in the arena nuts. Who knows how many more he's going to get. And the entire hockey world was subjected to the entire FSN broadcast team for the opener as the NHL Channel was taking a direct feed from FSN and showing everyone the kind of Goofball you have to be to broadcast hockey in Pittsburgh. (sorry guys, we didn't pick them, we just have to watch em) I missed the guys for some reason, but I've already found that I'm already saying 'Shut up Bob' without even knowing that I've done it.

On a Side Note: One interesting trend is that Eric Godard is getting more action during the first periods of the first two games than he got all during the Cup run last season. I believe I counted at least 5 fights during the first periods of the 2 games, and Godard was involved in 2 of them. Although the Isles seem to just want to get into a big hugging match when they fight, so I'm not sure they should count. Also, I'm wondering where Jay McKee got his 'Get out of Game Misconduct Free' card, and can we get a couple dozen of those for the rest of the season. It seems that on the Island the refs have ADD and Alzheimer's because all Jay seemingly had to do was duck out of the game for ten or fifteen minutes and then he was allowed to jump back on the ice. Let me set the scene: Feds was zipping toward the offensive blueline, looking for Geno to pass the puck to when he was levelled cleanly by Witt of the Isles. Geno, who's normally Witt's favorite Penguin target, took exception and bashed the Wittster into the boards. Arm goes up, penalty coming on Malk. Dupuis also doesn't seem like much of a Witt fan because he grabbed the defenseman and as he was dropping the gloves to show some hockey-love, McKee jumps in, pushes Duper out of the way and starts wailing on Witt. Ref, doesn't have enough arms for all the penalties, but a flock of Pens are going to the box. McKee and Feds go to the locker room, Malkin goes to the box, and Guerin goes in for McKee, joining Godard who's still serving his penalty. So, 5 of the 18 guys that are supposed to be out on the ice are now unavailable, and McKee is supposed to be out for the game......bad news, right? One PP goal scored, Geno comes out, then Guerin and Godard get out, Feds comes back at the start of the second and halfway through the next period the Kee-ster sneaks back in and starts playing as if nothing happened. 19 penalty minutes in the first period launches Jay into first in that category, but that's all that happened. Wild.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not the Champs:

As of Thursday the Penguins are no longer the champs of the National Hockey League. Don't get in a tizzy, or start hocking your SC Champs merch. The guys are going to get no love from the other teams and can't expect any. They're just one of 30 teams vying for the Stanley Cup and it's going to be another 82 game battle just to get a chance to get back to the Big Dance. Although if you listen to EA Sports you might think the Cup already belongs to the Pens. (that's ok guys, at least they'll know how to spell most of the names already) Evidently, the Pens will defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games. (wow, that's a load of my mind) Using some 'state of the art' something or another the computer (HAL?) at EAS determined by some sort of Vulcan Logic Program (would I lie?) based on real-life player data... yadda yadda yadda. Who cares? They had me with 'The Penguins Win the Cup', who cares how they came up with that answer. It has to be true, right? Good enough for me.

The Pens start their season about 17,062 miles closer to home than last season. Which makes the raising of the SC Champion Banner for the start of the Igloo's final season all that much easier. Facing Sean (IFHSA) and the rest of the NY Rump-Rangers at home. The last I heard 3 different stations will be carrying at least parts of the game although I think I get only two of them due to some Comcast/Direct TV feud thing happening. Oh well, I'm already tired of the VS announcers anyway and I can't even get that channel. Who cares? Not only do I finally get to watch real Penguins hockey again, I get to bitch at and about Bob Error and Stogie for at least the next 6 months. This is a win-win situation as far as I'm concerned.

On an almost completely un-hockey related note. I'm sitting here blogging wearing a shirt with a Penguins' logo (nothing unusual there) that says 'Hockey*Blood*Life. The Penguins and the Central Blood Bank had their annual blood drive Monday, and just to prove how far a Pensaddict will go to get anything with the fighting Penguin on it(especially for free) I went down to let them tap a pint of the red stuff. Potash, Iceberg and Bourque were all long gone by the time I got there, but they still had enough Vampyres there to get the job done. I donate very quickly (6 minutes, I have 'monster veins') so I really have to watch those people to make sure they only take a pint! I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank the nice phlebotomists and the building staff for being so pleasant even though I almost showed up late. Thanks, and put that Sangre' to good use.

As usual I'll be posting at random intervals in basically a psychotic manner, so saddle up and for the first time this season let me just say...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Habs, and Hab-nots:

Pre-season games = Pre-season Blogging.... Another quick shot.

The Penguins (or most of them) strolled into..... wherever the hell the Hab-nots play (rumored to be somewhere in Canadia) here's the line-up for those of us who had problems keeping track of who was what. (raises hand) Is it just me, or did Curry change his number? I thought he had the #1 at some point. Anyway, the Pens lose 4-3 in what the TSN announcers were calling a 'Canadien's Big (little) 3 must show something Game'. Well, I'm here to tell you, that the Habs did everything they could to make that happen, including shoving their first line against the mostly-rookie 4th line of the Pens not just for one goal, but for two. Despite this, Curry had a pretty good game and some very good saves, considering the sometimes choppy play by his defensemen. I hear a lot of Blah-Blah about how hockey is different in Canadia and how the Fans expect... yadda yadda yadda. Whatev. Padding the stats in pre-season is still pretty lame.

It's hard for the Guys to look too polished but we did see some flashes of a pretty good game with Caputi, Lovejoy and Tangradi having the best showing of the rooks. The important thing is we actually got to SEE the guys playing, and once again got to see Croz try to score a goal from his butt. It just wets the addiction. Two more televised games this week and then a week until the season starts! I can hardly wait!
Flower Stuff: Sam Kasan over at had a nice article about something we already know. It seems that he is of the opinion that the Tower of Flower Power has proven himself a 'clutch' goalie. Where he came up with this, I have no idea. Unless of course, he watched the last 6 seconds of game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. (Hmmm, could be.) Gilles Miloche, the Pens goalie coach finished up with this, "His attitude and his work ethic and everything coming to the rink hasn't changed at all. I'm confident that it should be another good year." I think he's got a point.
As usual, more to come at random intervals....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quick Shot:

For those of you who've been missing seeing the Tower of Flower Power half-naked and sweaty, this here's a pre-game vid for ya. And for everyone who didn't find the highlights of the game (and why didn't ya? it was easy) here you go.. There's also the written version and evidently Tangradi might make choosing Crosby's line-mate a bit more difficult.

Joe Starkey over at the Trib has some flattering things to say about Flower. I can't argue with his reasoning and frankly, don't really want to. Any time someone mentions MAF and MVP in the same sentence I always think it's a good idea.

Also, the Pens reduced the roster to 43. This still includes Fleury (natch), Johnson, Theisen, and (don't get too excited Puck Huffers) Curry as the goaltenders. 2 of these guys are going to WBS or elsewhere before the 30th. Shero likes having a veteran back-up somewhere in the system, but if I had to guess, I would almost bet on Flower/Curry for the regular season combo. Have to get more footage on the other netminders before I put any money down though.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Seasons:

Pre-season has started its wackiness... why it seems like only yesterday that camp started.... ok day before the day before yesterday then. Now begins the mad scramble to find somewhere ANYWHERE that a Pensaddict can catch a glimpse of their hockey-fix. And like every other season it's the same answer.... no dice. I've swept up and down the interwaves hoping for a hockey bone and the best I can do is.... NHL network is broadcasting the games on the 21st, 22nd and the 27th against the Habs, Leafs, and the Red-rags, amongst the 10 PS games they're broadcasting this year. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY is talking about Pens pre-season.... it's weird, but typical. I know that the Pens are playing Columbus Tues, but not even the perennial Blue Jacket fans The Puck Huffers have anything to say about the game. Have I entered the Hockey Twilight Zone? Oh yeah, it is pre-season, isn't it.
Well, the boys are playing the traditional Black and Gold Game on Thursday the 17th. There are no tickets left for this game that benifits the United Way. I got that news from a WBS paper because that's where the game is.

If rookie Brian Strait is impressed with 3,500 fans watching a practice, what's he going to do when (and if) he gets into a real NHL game? Brian, who's been playing for Boston University, had never played in front of that many people before in his life. He was especially impressed by the greeting given The Tower of Flower Power.

The Guys delivered season tickets again this year, but there's only a couple of vids. One of all the Guys (10 of them anyway), one with The Incredible Malk delivering to a family more undeserving than mine, and Croz delivering to the same lady that predicted the winning of the cup 2 years ago, I think. Of course once the Cup came in and the reporters started hovering she was shuttled off to the side until it came time to talk about Sid... Speaking of the Cup, the Champs are starting the season with the right kind of attitude, I think. They've hidden the thing until after training camp/pre-season, and aren't talking about it much at all. Not resting on their laurels, just getting back to business. I like that.

Happy Birthday to Me: September 19th will mark the 1 year anniversary of my first post on TFS. (you can look it up) I can't believe it's been a year already. I don't want to brag or anything, but the year I started blogging marks the first time in 17 years or so that the Penguins won the big shiny Jello-Mold. Coincidence? I think not.... Been working on some changes for the Banner and updating the widgets, but other than that it'll be the same nonsense I've been babbling so far. Thanks for reading (and commenting) even the ones that busted the Blogger... lol

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Busy Summer:

I normally don't say much about my personal life on this Blog, but as a way of explanation let's re-cap my off-season, but let's skip everything up to the last three weeks. Car rolled, Girlfriend OK, GF's Mom in Hospital, Car Search, Car purchase, School begins, Job evaluation. Ok, now that you're up to speed as to why there haven't even been the usual low number of Summer posts we can move on.

For those of you living in the Sudan, or who've just returned from an extended UFO abduction (how is the home planet BTW?) I can inform you that The Tower of Flower Power has taken his Stanley Cup winning ways to attempt to make the Canadian Olympic Team. And if you just take the word of Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun over at's NHL Blog he's a shoe-in. They've both posted him as one of the three goalies the Canadians get to take to the Oly's. Don't get excited though, the actual roster isn't set until the middle of Dec., and there's a lot of Goalie talent to choose from once you get to Muy Norte' (Very North). Brodeur, Luongo, Ward, and Mason are not slouches. And then there's the realization that they don't even have to chose ANY of the five goalies invited to Orientation Camp. (Yserman, why must you be so cruel?) So we've got several months of speculation and here's one of mine...

Brodeur is a perennial favorite to star in any Canadians Olympic hockey fantasy. He's been there, done that, and he's won the shiniest medal before, but if he doesn't make this team he'll never make another. Uncle Daddy's on the cusp of being too old and with last year's injury he's starting to show it. If he goes down during the season he's not making the Olympic trip. Luongo is Uncle-Daddy's heir-apperent and he already plays in Vancouver so there's no commute. Ward had something of a Kryptonite moment in the Conference Finals Series so he'll have to show something, and Mason is going to have to fight his Sophamore slump issues and continue to impress (not easy) Marc-Andre is coming off Back to Back Stanley Cup Final appearances and he's just won the damned thing, so a good showing during the season could get him a trip to the Interlocking Ring Games.

Now that things have started to settle in a bit around here, I'll be coming up with a bit more in the regular posting department. In a manner of atonement, here are some Olympic Flower Pics for ya. Bonus Flower/Uncle-Daddy pic

I have no idea who that guy is....... lol

Monday, August 17, 2009

Silver Anniversary

No one seems to be making a big deal about the fact that this season marks a special 25th Anniversary. In nineteen hundred and eighty four a young French Canadian player began his first season in the NHL with the then struggling Pittsburgh Penguins. It wasn't like no one noticed him show up. His arrival was the one thing that kept the franchise going. It allowed the management to corral and draft some special players to put around this young phenom, and just by donning the uniform he began to fill their nearly empty bank accounts. Then when the team was beginning to slide yet again, he allowed them to defer part of his hefty salary so that other players could be paid. After his retirement he used that deferment to purchase the franchise and drag it out of bankruptcy. Then donning the Flightless Bird yet again when that wasn't enough. Bringing in young superstars to build the team and even threatening to move it to get a bigger new arena to pay for them. (if you're counting, by my estimation that's 6 times he saved the team) Add to the fact that he didn't have to stay here at all. As a player he could have went to any team and been accepted with open arms and bank accounts. After retiring.... pretty much the same thing. He's been the linchpin of the franchise for two and a half decades. Try to tell someone he's not a native and you'll start an argument. His name (of course) is Mario Lemieux, also known as Le Magnifique, Super Mario, or just Boss.

No one seems to be making a big deal over it, but since the 25th Anniversary is the Silver Anniversary the guys went out and got him a Big Shiny Jello Mold, even though he'd already had the same gift twice before. (some presents just never go out of style) Well, I don't have any Big Shiny Jello Molds (I only have a small one holding my Stanley Cup Champion puck) so I'll just have to say Thank You, Mr. Lemieux. I can't tell you what your efforts have meant to me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You Mean That's It?:

The Stanley Cup Journal at has exactly one more picture of Flower with the Cup than's SCJ article. Folks, I think we just got hosed. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice article with some humorous little anecdotes about Marc-Andre's day with the cup. (the boat story is about the best) but........ c'mon! 2 months I've been waiting to hear about Fleury's day with the cup and steal... uh...... I mean catch some pictures of him and the Big Shiny Jello-Mold, and this is all I get? Nothing against El Capitan, but I had to wade through 6 articles, 3 videos, 73 pictures of Sid's day with the Cup and wait 5 extra days to get to 3 pics and four paragraphs. Pardon me if I'm a bit miffed.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Canadians, Cups, Curries and Comas:

Few things can draw me out of my mid-Summer hibernation, but mention MAF, the Cup or Curry and any one would waken me, let alone all three. staff writer Mike G. Morreale was sitting there at his keyboard one day wondering to himself, 'I wonder who I think the 10 best Canadian players are in the League right now?'. Well, himself must have had a pretty good answer (or was really worried about the rent check) because he came up with enough of a list to write a whole article. El Capitan came in #1 on the list (natch) due to his looks, his charm, and pretty much because he's the youngest captain to lead his team to a Dance with Lord Stanley's Shiny Jello-mold. After a couple of old stand-by's like Uncle Daddy (Brodeur) and Jerome Arthur-Leigh Adakunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla (that's his name, I swear!) your favorite Flower and mine stomped into the #4 spot with his stunning game 6&7 performances. There are some other names you might recognize on that list, but what I thought was more interesting than those also-rans was an 'unofficial' statistic earlier in the article. It's quite possible that he made the whole thing up, but he states that 52.8% of the League is made up of guys from the Great White North. That's a lot of guys dodging Canadian taxes by working in the States, ya know?

Cup Stuff: Stephanie over at the Steel City Sports Fan has a list of who gets the big Shiny Thing on what date. I have no idea where she gets her info, but I'm waaaaaay too lazy to dig this info up on my own and I have the added bonus of having no problem stealing the fruits of other people's labors. Everyone pretty much knows that El Sid is taking de la Coupe Stanley home for his birthday this Friday (8-7, 87, get it?) but what is not so well known is that apparently Marc Andre Fleury is going to have it in Sorrel-Tracy the day before. Hopefully this makes it to the Stanley Cup Journal and then I can steal the pics and story from them and post it here.

Curry anyone?: John Curry, Baby Pens star, hopeful Flower back-up, and Puck Huffer bedroom fantasy guy has been signed to a 2 year contract. The official word is pretty sparse but PF (in the name of Curry, his Glove, and the Holy Posts) is saying that it's a 2 year, 2 way 1 million dollar contract.

Ok, other than a story about how a schizophrenic bipolar homeless dude passed helpful hints to Super Mario over his fence to help the Pens win the Cup, that's about all I've got for now. Guess I'll slip back into my Hockey-jones Coma again.... Someone be sure to wake me by Oct 2, ok? All this sun is bad for a Rat's complexion.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Excuses, Excuses:

Ok, the real 'World Penguin Day' will be.... oh man, I don't know. (April 25th) But for Penguin Fans, WPD will be Oct. 2, 2009 when the regular season opens and the Stanley Cup Banner is unfurled in the rafters at the Igloo. I'd like to come up with some great excuse as to why there haven't been many posts lately. Like, I've been helping with medical research, I was lost during an expedition to the Himalayas, I was temporarily blinded by a vision of the Stanley Cup, and couldn't find my computer.... you know, the usual.

The truth is... there just isn't that much going on. Once we got through Scuds and Gill on their way out, Syko leaving but not pissed at Coach Dan, the 'Malkin Minneapolis Park Scam' was uncovered,the Pens strange compulsion to hire sons and grandsons of former players(Johnson, Samuelson, Bathgate et al), Guerin coming back for another year, Mad Max's surgery, and the other things that mostly happened the one week that I was out of town, there's just not much that's happened during the second half of the month.

The weeks have been cut down to the odd story on about any of the Pens players. (nice write-up on Adams, btw) and the 2 days when there are new posts on the Stanley Cup Journal, (is it just me, or does that little girl look awfully uncomfortable in Brooksie's arms?) There are only so many times you can ho-hum through replays of SC Playoffs on the NHL Channel before it's starts feeling like looking at old Hockey-porn. You kind of remember that it excited you, but it's hard to figure out why. G'nesh alone knows how we all got through the 2 extra months of non-hockey during the no playoff years. So all I can promise is that when I find something that draws me out of my hockey-coma, I'll pass it on.

Actual Goalie Stuff: Earlier this week the Penguins signed former Crapital (let's not hold that against him) Brent Johnson to a one year deal. It's kind of muddled whether he was pulled in to be Flower's back-up or a 'just-in-case' back-up if Fleury goes down and the back-up needs... well, backing-up. I find it difficult to believe that the Pens won't try to bring up Curry this year, and use Johnson somewhat the same way that Ty Conklin was used last year. The fact that Conk swiped the starting gig right out of Sabourin's hands might let you forget that he was actually Sabu's back up, but that's why he was hired. The Pens have more than a bit of talent in the goalie pool again this year, Curry, Johnson, Johnson, Theisen, Darling, Ehlechner, Kileen, Pechurski, and even though you'll likely only see the first 4-5 on that list at camp it's going to be tough to say until pre-season is actually sorted out who's going to be doing what.

BTW: My E-mail is now on the disclaimer at the bottom of the page and in my profile. Feel free to drop me a line if you've found something interesting, seen anything I've missed, found a photo that you'd like posted, or if you just randomly e-mail bloggers. This, as in all else will be checked more frequently during the season, but, at the very least, I'll respond to anything polite. Is it October yet? Man, I hate waiting.