Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quick Ratt Shot:

Ok, I'll probably replace this post with a post game one after the Dallas game, unless I've passed out from too many Phillips Screwdrivers. In that case, ya'all are on your own. All four of the closest teams in the standings have played their games and unless the Raggers somehow fall into the Pit of Despair and are lost forever they're the only one to win their game. Which means if the Pens win tomorrow they'll be in 8th place in the Conference with Florida still having 2 games-in-hand.

Every time I mention the game-in-hand thing someone looks blankly at me and says 'wtf?' so I'll explain it to those who don't understand, and for those that do.... what can I say? You just have to put up with it, or skip the next line or two. If the Pens win tomorrow they'll actually be tied in points with 7th place Florida, but the Cats will have the same amount of points having played 2 fewer games so that would place the Pens behind Fla. in the standings. And that's about as simple as I can make that without using crayon drawings and Sesame Street characters.

With 18 or so games left in the season, this doesn't mean much but another milestone. 8th place is not a good one to be in and the Pens can't just coast and even remotely think that they'll stay there. But if things play out in a similar fashion to the last couple of weeks it's remotely, remotely I say, possible for the Pens to end up with a 6th or 5th place finish to the season. (8th place would suck, we DO NOT want to face the Broons in the Play-offs) In case anyone forgot, Big D is where Daryl Sydor went when we traded for Boucher who we haven't seen since forever. The holy Schedule can give and it can take away. All but 3 of the remaining games are against Conference or Division rivals. Which is good when your winning, but can drop you like an anvil if you're not. So stock up on the MOM and vodka and have a Phillips screwdriver (3 parts MOM to 1 part vodka)and watch the games with me. And someone pass me that bowl of Quaaludes while your at it. As my friend Bette used to say, "It's going to be a bumpy night."

Shooting Blackbirds:

It's not very often you can look at a 5-4 game and say what a good job your goalie has done. But this is one of those times. Marc Andre Fleury made some absolutely sick saves, especially in the third period when he faced 20 out of the 45 shots he'd see for the game, to give the Pens the chance to win in overtime.

By the way, these guys are driving me insane and add to that the tremendous amount of money I'm blowing on Pepto and you can see the problem I'm having. 2 goals in the first period, Staal with a bottle rattler and then my new friend Chris Kunitz slips one underneath Huet, and where was he? Parked in front of the net. Add to that 2 pretty good short handed chances and a couple of classic cases of Flower puck robbery, and I just had such a warm glow going into the first intermission Error and Stogie's babbling just faded to a muted background noise. Then the second period..... enough said... blind, biased refs and weird bounces leading to another power play goal by Towes (how is that Taves anyway?) and I was reaching for my Phillips Screwdriver (Milk of Magnesia and vodka) when Toew's high sticked a puck into the net, (that Error and Stogie were quite willing to give him). After it was disallowed Miro showed the Midwest the Power of Satan and then Mad Maximus was lifted and plastered into the glass by Dupuis after he dinked one off of the defenseman's skate 45 seconds later. So I put my disgusting drink down but then picked it right back up when the Pens seemed to have a mid-season flashback allowing the Darkbirds 20 shots in the third period and then allowing 2 more goals. Toews scored the Power Play hat trick and I nearly puked into mine... but managed to hang on to my doublestack cheeseburger long enough for Geno to blast a no-look pass from the Sarge right into the net over Neimi's shoulder. I salute the Sarge, that pass was a thing of beauty.

Things that are still good: Geno is still tops in the League in scoring and assists, Sarge has a 6 game scoring streak, the Pens are only 2 points (68) behind 6th place Florida (70 with 2 games in hand) They're still sitting in 10th but the rest are coming back toward us. All four teams (9th-6th) play tomorrow, so we shall see how that plays out.
Well, time for the Ratt to fire up the Zamboni and travel on to Dallas where the Pens will meet the Stars on Sunday (oh crap! another Sunday afternoon game).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stunned out of my Whits...:

Evidently, Shero was waiting for the first person to request some personal time to immediately trade him to the Anaheim Ducks. So when Ryan Whitney asked for some personal family time he was the lucky target. For those of you that didn't hear (and for those that did, I'm easy) Whits was traded today to the Disney Quackers for a jersey, 2 sticks and a used puck bag. Actually what he was traded for was a 'gritty, speedy winger' Chris Kunitz (pronounced Koon-its), and an interesting prospect, Eric Tangradi. I've never paid much attention to either of them, but they both shoot left handed, which seems to be a requirement for Shero to hire you. Coach Dan has both played with, and coached Kunitz (can we just call him knutz?) and thinks pretty highly of him. He's evidently the kind of player that goes to the net, and camps out which is something that the Pens have needed all year. He was 5th in goals with 16, and led the team in hits with 148, it's kind of a win-win stat sheet. Bylsma says, "You don't score many goals if you don't go to the blue paint. You will see Chris Kunitz in the blue paint." And you will also see him Friday in Chicago. This should create space for the edge players (Croz, Malk, et al) because someone will have to cover him. (or not, actually I prefer not) If they don't cover him, something like this might happen frequently:

I hate to see Whitney go, especially now that he seems to be getting back into stride with the whole new foot thing. But Kunitz, if he pans out, could be a welcome addition to the team. Shero had a bit of the 'deer in the headlights' look to him during his press conference. It could be that he's feeling a bit of the pressure. Hey, Shero... if you're looking for grit, I hear these guys are available:

Croz's Crotch Watch: El Capitan skipped another practice today, and there's no further word about whether or not he'll play Friday against the Chi-town Dark-birds.

Update to the Update: El Capitan will not play tonight against Shy-cago (what is a 'cago' anyway?) it seems that his crotch is still a problem. (uh.... nevermind) Tim Wallace is lurking somewhere around the team, and if he plays be prepared for more 'Grizzly bear eating the baby moose' stories.... (oh Great Spirit, what have we done to offend you that you punish us so?) Speculation is that either Dupuis or Thomas will replace the Croz in that line.... but who knows?

Extra Added Goodness: Didn't mean to leave out the other member of the trade deal. Eric Tangradi (Tan-gray-dee) I was snooping through Youtube for the youngster and found some nice things. But if you type his name and watch the stuff, remember that OHL doesn't have the ban on noise makers that most NHL arenas do.... someone is always blowing some damn plastic noise making thingy and if you hear enough of it it will drive you crazy. But here's some good footage of Chris being a tough guy....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Long Island, Long Game:

Marc Andre Fleury stopped all 600 shots by the Ice T's for a shut-out 1-0 victory for the Pens. Ok it was just 21 shots, but he stopped them all, and got the first Star of the game. Syko scored the one and only game-winning goal off the rebound from a Sarge blast after a strange sort of formation flight into the zone with him and Geno. Then there was the eternal waiting for the last 2:28, sucking air every time the T's got into the zone. Willing the Flower to make yet another save. (I think we helped, really I do) and willing the Penguins to a much needed win. (is there any other kind at this point?) Without Danis in the net, trying to make up for the last Pensgame he played NY doesn't even come out of the locker room for the third period. (nope, 43-0 is good enough, you win) Danis was making some wild saves and also evidently had on his super-good-luck Scooby Doo Garanimals underwear on, because there's no way 4 or 5 of those pucks don't go in the net. I'm still wondering how Malkin's chance at a wide open net didn't go in, and I've seen the replay.... 3 times!

I think Le-tank got whatever message Coach Dan was trying to send him and may even have sent back a reply with a great hit and a pretty good shot on his first shift tonight. And who was that masked man diving to break up a break-away? The Pens were playing hard tonight, and you could tell in the third that no way was a split going to be good enough. It was 2 points or bust and everyone working hard to make it 2 points. Ratt likes, Ratt likes a lot.

Once again, more to come as the random numbers bobble around in my head.....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Flowers, Sore Groins, and Tanks: UPDATED-ISH

The Tower of Flower Power will get a chance to redeem himself Wed against the Ice T's (They're on Long Island, get it?). He'll be starting in net against the strangely resurgent Isles. They've actually been playing pretty good hockey recently, and I'm not sure why.... They're not the ones that got the new coach. The Raggers did. Yup, Tortorella has replaced old what's-his-name as head coach of the ever popular Rangers. I still have no idea why you replace a 6th place coach, but there it is. It's been done....

But enough of that stuff, let's delve into the ever fascinating world of the Flightless Winter Birds. It seems that El Capitan had to leave practice with some sort of crotch boo-boo. (not really sure about that one) But he's 'probable' to play Wed according to Coach Dan. Also in the 'pretty sure they'll be playing' category are Feds and Cookie. Evidently they were 'evaluated' on Monday, found to contain the sort of insanity that leads to sliding around on the ice with 11 other guys with sticks and a flying rubber biscuit, and therefore will be allowed to do just that.

Really, Really Big News That You Probably Already Know: Kris Le-tank will be on the ice and actually playing against the Isles. It seems that whatever Coach (Lieutenant) Dan was looking for, evidently Le-tank stopped asking silly questions long enough to show it to him, so CD said, 'Shut up and go play hockey' or something like that. Now the only question will be: 'Who sits?' Well, your guess is as good as mine, 'cause CD ain't sayin. He did say that he was 'a big fan of Kris' talent and skill and what he can bring to this team'. So you can stop freaking out, (Raine) Kris is definitely playing for the Penguins.

UPDATE-ITIS: Sidney Crosby will not play tonight against the Ice T's, his groin boo-boo is still .... well boo-hooing. He says that he was hoping to get less sore by game time from the soreness inflicted sometime Sunday but that didn't happen. He also didn't want to cut down the admittedly short time to practice with Coach Dan, but that probably didn't help either. Sid, rest your crotch, no more doing the Time Warp watching Rockey Horror (It's the pelvic thruuu-ust that really drives you ins-a-a-a-aaaane.. uh.... sorry about that), just get better and come back soon.

Ryan Whitney has bolted back to his homeland (Massachusetts) for personal family reasons for a few days and is planning to rejoin the team in Chicago, Friday. In a completely unrelated note: Janne Pesonen has been called back up from WBS. Vince, over at Pesonen and the Pens is so excited he's plagiarising Ronald Ray-gun. (I wonder if he does the voice too?) I think Coach Dan will give him more time on the ice that MT did, but I'm not convinced his impact will be any greater. Sorry Vince, he's a monster over in the Finnish League, but usually that translates to 'average or a little above' in the NHL. I'm not only willing, but hoping to be proved wrong, but it's going to take proof, not golden helmets and hype.

Other Goalie News: Martin Brodeur, or as we like to call him, Uncle Daddy, will probably be coming back to the ice sometime this week. UD says he'd like to be back Thursday, for the game against the Avs. Of course Sutter is saying that he won't be saying anything until Wed. At least he thinks he's saying that. But anyway, Uncle Daddy will be back sometime within the next week or 2 days, or maybe the second Tuesday of next week. So warm up the record books, he's only 7 wins shy of St. Patrick Roy's all time win mark.
Uncle Daddy Update: Brodeur will be returning to the Debbles net Thursday against the Av's. Clemmenson got the boot back to the minors. That's got to be a contract/waivers thing, because he was the one that was burning up the net while U-D was 'indisposed'. Oh well Scott, maybe he'll fall down the stairs or something.....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Suckage and Suicide:

I'm not going to try to blow smoke up your ass. Sunday's game sucked. The score sucked, the announcers sucked, (curse you NBC!!), pulling Marc Andre Fleury in the second period sucked, the power play sucked..... let's just say there was much suckage, including the fact that all the wrong teams are winning their games (how the hell did Florida beat Boston anyway?).

But some things didn't suck.... or at least not as much. Garon kept the net clear once he was thrown to the lions, Mad Maximus scored his second goal in 3 games, Gonch scored another power play goal, and the ever dangerous Rob Scuderi was once again doing his imitation of male denial especially on Nylander's breakaway in the third period. The Pens matched the Caps physically, and strangely enough, that may not have been such a hot idea. It forced the Pens to try to beat the Craps at their own game while still trying to adjust to a new system. Not easy, especially when dealing with our own world class goalie who, let's face it, is in something of a slump for the last few games. Flower, we love ya, but when you're in the net, sometimes the guys have a tendency to lean on you a bit too much.

For the third game in a row Kris Le-tank sat sadly on the sidelines and watched (I think) the game like an average citizen. Possibly because of the tendency of coaches not to mess with what's working (you must respect the streak), he's waiting around like the goofy kid that didn't get picked for the game. (and let's face it, Kris is kind of goofy, incredibly talented, but goofy) Coach Dan has publicly said that he's hoping for a bit more from Kris in the way of intensity during games and practices. (Coach, if you're waiting for the Tank to become a serious player, you may have to wait a bit.... like until he's a grandfather or something) Rumors are flying around that his sitting out is a prelude to a possible trade. But this makes no sense. When you're ready to trade someone you keep him on the ice so the other teams can drool over him and offer you more, you don't sit him out. Besides, the way we were going through defensemen earlier in the year there's no such thing as having 'too many'.

Ratt-note: I will be among the crazed Pensaddicts flooding the Waste spaces with my inanities when and if the Pens make the play-offs. I have every confidence in their ability and the possibility of making the post season. But just in case the worst (?) happens and I can't find that bottle of pills right away, I won't be looking for a tall building to throw myself off of (what if I change my mind on the way down?), I'll be thinking about how the Pens played the last third of the season. If in the midst of my despair at having to watch teams that I don't care about in the play-offs and SCF I can look back and say 'Damn, those Pens never gave up, they fought all the way through' I'll put down the shotgun, empty the pill bottle into the sink, untie the rope from the rafters, and actually look forward to next season. All that 'character' rah-rah aside I might change my opinion if Rob Rossi's speculation about the possibility of Pierre McGuire becoming the next head coach of the Penguins becomes a reality. But if that horrible future actually takes place, I'll have more of a 'He goes before I do' mentality about the whole situation. Mr. Shero, these guys are on TV for a reason and that reason is... they can't coach, they can't play, and they enjoy kissing the wrong team's ass during a national broadcast! (ok that was more than one reason, but you get my drift)
Interesting..... but shtupid: TSN's Bob McKensy, is reporting that the New York Rangers have reached a secret accord with John Tortorella, former coach of the Lightning, for him to become head coach now that Renney has been fired. Just as soon as they ask permission to talk to him..... There's something backward about that, but that's the way it goes sometimes. And when someone can explain that to me, I'll get them to work on this one: How do you get fired while coaching a 6th place team? The mind wobbles.
But that brings something else into the pinball table I call a mind: Don't be surprised if you see FHC (Former Head Coach) Michel Therrien behind the bench next season. I wouldn't be at all shocked to see him behind the bench of.... oh..... say the same team that is now being called 'Penguins South'? I mean, they took everyone else, didn't they? Malone, Hall, Recci, Roberts, et al? And the Lightning are 3rd from the bottom in the Conference. I have no inside information,(ok, I'm talking out my ass) but it's something to think about.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Brotherly Love, My A$$:

Today Philadelphia, tomorrow the world! Or Washington, anyway... We'll get to see how Coach Dan's new method of Pexecution (Penguin-execution) develops in his third and fourth game as HC. the Pens have a short road trip to a couple of not-nice places. I used to laugh at the 'rivalry' between Pittsburgh and Philly, but I'm now a confirmed Philly hater. There's just something about that city I just don't like. There's more than a little 'Broad Street Bullies' about the Flyers and they showed it once again right from the drop of the puck. Cheap shot artists and whiny bitches. Oh, and give Mike Richards a 9.95 for that dive on the 5 on 3. But I've just about run out of nasty things to say about Philly without repeating myself. They did do one nice thing though... They beat the Buffaslugs Thursday night allowing the Pens to drag themselves 2 points closer to that last play-off spot. So, thanks Philly, and you should write that down, because I'll probably never say it again.
Philthy did one more good thing... they lost to the Pens 5-4 in a wild psycho game. El Sid scored the game winning goal on a Marty Biron mistake and a Stretch Armstrong (old toy, really stretchy. Let it go) play to poke it in the net as just a part of a 4 point game for El Capitan. And someone relit the fire under Fed's ass and he has a 3 point, 2 goal night and was flying around the ice all afternoon. I was out aimlessly roaming the countryside, looking for the odd pillage opportunity, so I got to hear the incomparable Mike Lange call the game, and missed the annoyance that the FSN dynamic duo (?) can sometimes cause, but from what I heard, the guys had the same attitude that got them the Canadien win Thursday. Every time the Philthy Fryers scored the Penguins answered back. The defensive scheme seems to still need a bit of work, and two goals scored against due to broken sticks,(need stronger sticks guys) but as long as they keep winning while they're working on it, who cares? Oh, and on a side-note, I'd like to feel sorry for the Fryer that got hit in the face with a puck from his own guy I really tried to feel sorry for the dude.... for about three whole seconds, but then I heard it was Hartnel and said 'f#$k him'. He was a part of the 1st period mugging crew that wore the orange jerseys. Seriously guys, Rocky was a fictional character who happened to live in Philadelphia. I know Malkin is too good a player for you guys to actually play against, but that doesn't mean you get to actually punch him.
Ratt-note: I am a man secure in my heterosexuality, but as I was listening on 105.9 the X, I heard their commercial with Marc Andre Fleury, and he's one damned sexy sounding, pointy lipped man. Now I know why those girls over at Puck Huffers think he can impregnate women with a great save..... or a quick glance, or when they think about him while... uh..... I think I'll stop right there.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

There's something about Victory that just feels good. I'll tell ya, when the Canadiens kept tying the game into the 3rd period I was ready to break out the crying towel to go along with the Pepto cocktail I was getting ready to make. But the guys never quit, and they never trailed. They kept up the pressure and threw about 7000 pucks at Price (ok, it was only 28, but it seemed like more). Mad Max and Sarge both scored (insert Snoopy happy dance here) Malkin was an absolute BEAST on the ice. El Sid was flipping pucks every whichaway and Marc Andre was doing his imitation of a schizo goalie... making some tremendous saves, but letting in a couple it looked like he should have taken care of. Weird. But I don't care. I like the way these guys played this game. It's going to take them a little while to get used to all the ins and outs of playing this style, but no more of the 'ok we've got to protect the lead' stuff. Wooooo Hoooo!!! Don't kick a team when they're down? Like hell! When they're down is when their butts in the perfect position for kicking! (ok that got a little out of hand, time to take the medication and calm down) You know, I'm still not sure the Pens are going to make the play-offs, but at least it's starting to look like they're going to fight for the chance. If you're going to go down, go down fighting and take as many of them with you as you can.... heh heh heh..... (ok, still over the edge, dial it back a little) GO PENS!!!!!!! Yeah, that was much calmer..... As usual, more to come when the highlights and stuff are posted.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Flower Save of the Week:

The power of the Flower Stare controls your every move.

How hard do you have to work to get the Save of the Week when your team loses 6-2? Well, the Tower of Flower Power did just that, on an amazing save on Blake in the third period of Saturday's game. Blake was all alone on the left side of the net and took a pass and Flower launches himself across the crease to snag the puck with his trapper. Don't believe me about it being a great save? Check it out yourself:
If you're curious about the other 9 saves of the week, here's a link. I'd swear Lundqvist looks at the puck in his glove after his save (#7) like 'how the hell did you get in there?'. It was not a slow week for good saves in the NHL and Flower made it to the top with a stunner.

Coach Dan had a press conference today he was circumspect about what he said for the most part, but to me he sounded fairly disgusted with the work ethic of the Pens and not pleased at all with what they seemed to expect to go on during a practice. I get the feeling that he's going to do what he can to change that. He did say that he was pleased with the attitude of the individual team members, but I get the impression that doesn't extend to the way MT ran the team. The fact that the picture of Kevin Stevens was peering over his left shoulder didn't hurt when talking about work ethic either. He was talking alot about 'pace' and 'aggressive offense and defense'. I don't know how that's going to translate to the ice, but I like the sound of it. One specific thing I liked to hear was the possibility of Cookie, TK, and Staal getting back on the same line, they caused a lot of trouble for other teams when they got in sinc.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What the....?:

Found on Michel Therrien's fax machine.

Wow! I was watching the news last night waiting for the weather to come on to see if I needed to wear a hoodie under my Pens jersey when out of the blue: "Therrien was fired today." I went.... 'Did I just hear that right? I mean, they just offered him a big fat contract 8 months ago.' So I waited through the 17 minutes of commercials about erectile dysfunction, two other stories about how someone's dog's butt looks like Elvis, or something and then it was confirmed... HCMT is no longer HC. Some guy I'd probably know a lot more about if I kept better track of the Baby Pens, Dan Bylsma..... What kind of friggin name is that? I don't mean any (much) disrespect, but that sounds like some sort of disease. Actually, I hear good things about Dan, he's done well as an assistant and then Coach of WBS, but it's looking to me like Dan's the season's sacrificial lamb. There's not really enough of a season left to tell if anything good or bad is because of the coaching change. Therrien was evidently absolutely floored by the news. The quote I heard from Shero was :'I haven't liked the direction the team has been taking in the last couple of weeks'. Well, wasn't it just 2 weeks ago that he said that MT's job was secure? If I were a hockey coach, I wouldn't unpack my shit even if I'd been with the same team for 10 years.

First Game Blues: Dan Bylsma's first game as HC was a disappointing OT loss to the Isles. I have no idea what happened to Flower in the shoot out. he let 2 out of 3 by him on some pretty lame looking shots. The one he did block was a stunner, even the guy who shot it was impressed. Then Malk and Croz both had golden chances at basically an open net and missed. Gonch scored his first point this season with an assist on Whits goal. With the game being in the afternoon I ended up listening to Lange and Bourque for the first two periods and I'd swear I heard Bourquie say Le-tank two or three times during the game. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who calls him that... hmmmm. Well, one point is better than none, but two is what we need almost every game.

Michel, it's been a wild ride, and I'm not really happy about you leaving. Thanks for the last two seasons, and I hope you find another job soon. To help you along with this I think you might need to read this:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Take Off, eh?:

The New Toronto game announcers

Saturday the Pens take off to the Great White North to face the Toronto Maple Buds (not Leafs, buds. Get it? ok that was pretty lame, but it was still better than PensChick's 'Aunt Jemimas') This year, for some reason the Laffs have had the Pens number. Kind of like the kid in school that everyone pushes around and he just takes it, until you mess with him (or her) and he goes postal. Maybe they're still stinging over us getting Scary Gary and haven't noticed that he's not playing for us anymore.... don't know. Don't care, the guys need 2 points and the Laffers are sitting on them sticking their toungues out at us. Here's their new mascot

Several good things could start happening Saturday night for the Pens. Firstly, there's a decent chance of either Sergei Gonchar or Ruslan Fedotenko or both making back into the line-up. Sarge ain't saying one way or the other, and neither is Therrien. Feds, on the other hand, says he's ready and wants to play Sat., and is just waiting for whenever HCMT gives him the go-word. This brings up an interesting dilemma and a possible solution already in the works. Luca Caputi has been returned to the Baby Pens (I wonder if they got their deposit back?) clearing an offensive spot should Feds be back in the line up. But who sits or is moved to make room for Sarge? That's a tough one. Phillipe Boucher won't be back for an indefinite period after going through surgery on his foot today in Plano Texas (wonder if he got a tackle box with that?) , Go-Go is back with the Little Pens, but that still leaves 7 guys and 6 spots. This is the dilemma they've been waiting to have since the beginning of the season, but how do they handle it now that it's here? Inquiring minds want to know...

Flower Report: I think I may have shown this once already, but I'm waaaaaay too damn lazy to check my back posts to find out, and it's just too cute not to re-run it anyway. It's the tape of 'Take a Flower to School Day' when MAF went to Franklin Elementary in Murraysville Pa.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Smells Like.... VICTORY:

And the main reason it smells like victory, is the incredible play of Marc Andre Fleury. The Tower of Flower Power stopped 36 out of 37 shots and all of the SO attempts, to lead the Penguins to a 2-1 Shoot out win over one of, if not the, best teams this season. The Flower was bending and twisting like Gumby on a mission making some incredible saves, some of which not only did I not see the shot, but I didn't see his glove move to catch it. This guy has the reaction time of a squirrel on speed, and the flexibility of.... well...... Gumby dabbit! And when MAF was a touch out of position (not very often that is) the Flower Protection League was there to shoo the puck away from the danger zone. (except that one time, but we're probably not going to spend much time talking about that) Boucher proved once again that he's no slouch as a goaltender because the Pens were shooting everything at the net. (Finally!) Bill Thomas scored his first goal as a Pen off an unintentional re-direct by Sharks defenseman Rob Blake,(thanks Rob) and then proceded to shoot at the net every time he touched the puck after that, he even shot it twice from the locker room. But the whole thing was set up by the hard work of Miroslav Satan. Satan evidently decided he didn't like the view from Therrien's dog-house because he was working hard, getting a point on the goal and also somehow or another getting the Sammich of the Game... wild. Sidney Crosby has been having some trouble with shoot-outs recently, but he faked Boucher out of his jock to score the game winner. But it wouldn't have even have gotten that far if Flower hadn't made this double save, or even triple if you count the fact that he kept Whitney from going into the net too.

Ok, so Whits did kind of go into the side of the net... but that doesn't count. Oh, and I wish I had a picture of Orpik making 'psycho eyes' at Claude Lemieux after a little conversation the two of them had. I don't know how to tell you this Claude, but it's been a while since you've been in a 'dust up' in the NHL and I'm not sure if Brooksie is the guy for you to mess with to get back into the swing of things. Oh, and I'd stay away from Godard too if I were you. Either one of those two guys could shorten your whole 'come-back' thing. But hey, you're and adult, so you can roll your dice and move your mice.... just don't say we didn't warn ya.

More to come later, I've got to go and score some more Pepto for the girlfriend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sharks, Sarge's and Birthdays:

The Penguins will be facing the San Jose' Sharks tonight at the Mellon Arena. But that ain't the big news. Sergei Gonchar has been cleared to play by the team doctors. Sarge won't be in the line-up tonight and there's no telling how long it will be until he's playing 20+ minutes per game, but good news is good news, yes? As to when he'll actually get into a game and how much he'll do in it, it's kind of hard to say. Sarge says that it'll be up to HC Therrien and Therrien says it will be up to Sarge. (huh? I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albequerque) Feds and Boucher are still listed as 'day-to-day' but Feds is skating and Boosh isn't.

In other Penguin type news Mad Maximus is turning 25 today and hopes the Pens will give him the gift of a win to celebrate. (I'm all for that, and get him a cake too. Just don't let Cookie serve it, or it'll be in Max's face) So HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAXIME TALBOT, (I can't spell in French, so you're out of luck there)

The Tower of Flower Power is projected to be in net tonight, with TK and Dupuis winging for El Capitan and the Birthday boy centering the 4th line between Godard and Thomas.(is it just me, or does it seem like Therrien just rattles everyone's name around in a cup and rolls them out, and BINGO there are your lines?) Joe Thorton, for the Sharks is on a pretty good scoring tear and could be a problem if not contained. He and Gill have a bit of a history, both playing for the Brunes and during the first minute of Thorton's first game back to B-town as a shark he was ejected from the game for elbowing the Sequoia along the boards. Oh, they both say they're over it, but you never know how that sort of thing will play out during a game. So... LET'S GO PENS! And win one for the Maximus!
The Clouds Part: Things with IFHSA (Avery). It seems that his going to the Raggers AHL affiliate had nothing to do with NY picking him up. Dallas doesn't have a minor league team, and so they asked permission for the Wonder Weasel to play for the Wolfpack. So far Sean is playing nice with the media (hey, it's only been one day) and saying all the right things. (namely that he won't be making any more statements to the media) and that all he wants to do is 'help these guys win'. (and if you believe that, I've got a bridge that I can sell ya, cheap!) The Stars have really been missing IFHSA only posting an 18-8-3 record since showing him the door. Wasn't he supposed to be such an integral part of the team? I'm sure they'll show it any day now..... yeah right.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Red-rag Rage:

This is running a bit late because I have once again been struck down by the Deadly Plague. Or at least the flu. (Deadly Plague sounds much more dramatic) This debilitating illness can't possibly compare to the chapped condition of the Red-rags generative members from the continued lip pressure applied by both Edzo and Doc Emmerick. Never in the hallowed halls of slanted broadcasting have I EVER seen such a session of live broadcast fellatio perpetuated during a sporting event. (Even the Chinese judges where going... "Damn!") Only two things prevented me from doing irreparable damage to my TV. One: I'm still saving money for that bowling thing, and can't afford a new TV. Two: No matter how much I try, I can't actually reach through the screen and inflict damage on my intended victim.
Let me see if I've got this straight. The two people giving their 'unbiased' opinions on the game are A: A former Penguin player/coach fired twice by the organization and replaced with the current coach. and B: the main media personality for and recently honored by one of the long-time rivals of one of the teams on the ice. Congratulations NBC!! You've just proven, once again you know next to nothing about the game of hockey. One biased reporter is enough, two is one too many.
If someone is looking to bury the Penguins season they'll find Eddie and Doc already there with the shovels. Wasn't it bad enough to have my favorite team lose the game without having to hear how 'pitiful' the Penguins were from those two? Really Ed, it's not Marc Andre's fault you lost your job and became the laughingstock of the coaching community, you accomplished all that on your own. The question was never why you got fired, the question was always 'Why the hell did they hire you in the first place?'. What's the matter? Won't anyone in Chicago listen to you run your mouth about how well you could run the Blackhawks? Enough of that crap, it's not like he'll ever read this anyway.
Penguin Stuff: John Curry has been named AHL/Reebok player of the week, last week. He'll get a cool looking crystal trophy and a pair of used Reeboks... uh.... I think they scratched the sneaks, but he'll still get the trophy. Curry went 3-0 last week and extended his winning streak to 8, tying his career best. This says nothing but good things about the depth of talent in net for the Pens.
Stupid Player Stuff: When your team's fighting for a play-off spot and you're looking for some kind of edge to get one of their rivals started in a death spiral of winless hockey and locker room recriminations, what should you do?
A: Find a way to sneak some sort of annoying rodent into their locker room.
B: Start some sort of personal scandal with one of their players.
C:Set some sort of Voodoo curse on them.
D: All of the above. (ie: hope they hire Sean Avery)
Well, it seems as if the New York Rangers are opting for answer D. Although nothing is official yet, word is that once Dallas assigns him to the AHL now that he's cleared waivers IFSA might be traded to the NYR affiliate in Hartford. The Stars are still 'you don't have to go home, Sean, but you can't stay here', and the Rangers haven't said anything officially.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Swatted Jackets and Shock Collars:

Nearly all the pucks belonged to Marc Andre Fleury last night in the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets..... And I still think the one goal scored on him was a case of interference.... But let us not get greedy. A win is a win, and for the first time in almost 3 months the guys have managed to make me get out the orange marker twice in a row. (orange for wins, purple for losses or OTL) The Tower of Flower Power looked like Gumby in goalie pads. Stretching and bending to make some incredible saves including a mind-blowing save on a Rick Nash far-side wrap-around attempt and a 'How did he see that' save on, I think it was Chimera. That pass from behind the net to an open player in the slot has been deadly to Flower in the past, but he flashed his glove and gobbled it up. There's a movement in the area to have Fleury's toes bronzed after the saves on Nash and Dorsett
I don't know who slapped these guys out of their coma, but the team needs to hire him on a permanent basis. Orpik was throwing his body around bashing people into the boards and giving 'crazy eyes' to everyone else. Le-tank was firing his cannon from just about anywhere he wanted to, one of the shot leaders in the game with 5, two goals and another shot that was just a Doobie-doobie-do away from a hat trick. (I'm not even going to try to spell that guys name) Scuds gets a goalie assist for clearing out the crease with Fleury sprawled out in the net. Cookie Monster absolutely crushed Kessla at the blue-line leading to a nice scoring chance. 'Fishes' Caputi was shooting like a deranged hit-man, and showing considerable poise on the penalty kill. Everyone was bashing Blue Jackets around and skating with power and energy. And who do we blame for all this? That's right, Evgeni Malkin. Geno was playing like the first period of last night's game was just the 4th period of the Lightning game. The difference this time was the other 18 guys were trying to play the same game he was. But the only way any of this had any chance to succeed or meaning at all was the outstanding play of Marc Andre Fleury between the pipes. Without the amazing saves and the defensive support MAF delivered and received, energy on the offense doesn't mean a thing....
Rattnotes: Penschick made a comment last post about how Error may have jinxed the Flower's shut-out last night, and I totally agree. There isn't a game that goes by where I don't say 'Shut up Bob!' at least 4 times when he's said something to jinx the Pens. I know that some of you may not read the comments on past posts, and I came up with a very good idea that I wanted to share. You know that old dog-training staple, the shock-collar? I think we should outfit Error and Stogie each with one and give the remotes to a random sampling of Penguin fans. That way when Stogie starts rambling about who's related to whom so that you've missed who the penalty was called on, the 'Buzzer Fans' would hit their buttons and zap the crap out of him to get him back to the game. Think about it. Imagine how it would have worked in games past, when Error pipes up "The Water! He's drinkin the ZZZZZZZTTTTT!!!.... Scuderi passes to Crosby down the wall.... I think this idea has possibilities.
Pins and Pens: Rob Scuderi's wife talked to the Potash last night about a charity event taking place Thursday Feb. 12. Evidently for 300 bucks you too can bowl with a Penguin, (searching my piggy-bank for 300 clams) the event benefits the Make-a-Wish Foundation and all the Pens are supposed to participate along with the wives and girlfriends of the players. Now personally, I think bowling ranks right up there with curling and needlepoint for excitement factor, but you don't bowl because you like bowling, you bowl because you lack the social skills to actually meet people in a natural setting. Only loser-geeks bowl. So yeah, if I could mug my bank for 3 bills I'd knock down little old ladies to be able to bowl with the Pens.... just as long as they don't make me wear those stupid shirts......

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Incredible Malk:

EVGENI MALKIN IS A HOCKEY GOD. That's about all I have to say. He saddled himself up, and let the team ride him into Victoryville. I don't want to make comparisons to last season (it's a 'live in the now' thing) but we all remember what happened when Geno got it into his head to drive the team forward after El Capitain went down with the dreaded 'high ankle sprain'. When the Croz came back it was to a team that believed in itself and the guys almost seemed to will themselves into believing in some sort of hockey 'Manifest Destiny'. It would be good to see that sort of hockey again, but there's a long road ahead and it's a rough one. But don't count out The Incredible Malk (don't make him angry, you wouldn't want to see him when he's angry) and those other guys he plays with if they start believing .....
So, the TFS Award for Best Imitation of a Super Hero; Goes to Evgeni Malkin. He may not actually be a Hockey God, but I'm sure they all know his name.....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Awards and Bolts:

The TFS Award for broadcaster of the night goes to Bob Errey for telling Paul Steigerwald to 'Suck on it!' during last night's game. Then they both laughed like a couple of 10 year olds when one of them has said something 'naughty' in front of the adults.The only thing that our FSN dynamic duo have going for them is that neither one of them is Mike Milbury or Doc Emmerick. I keep waiting for Mike Lange to burst into the booth, slice both their throats and take over the broadcast.... Mike, I'll loan you my knife. Seriously, it's sharp and everything.

The TFS award for goal of the night has got to go to Luca 'You'll sleep with the fishes' Caputi. 1st game, 1st shift, 2nd whack at the puck and his first ever NHL goal. Yes, in case you missed hearing it during one of the 16 times someone mentioned it, the last Penguin to acomplish this was Les Manifique' himself, Mario Lemieux. I'm not sure how far Caputi is going in this League, but he'll always have that to brag about. Well that, and his name makes him sound like he's in the Mafia. He'll have that too.

The TFS Looney Tunes Lennie imitation award goes to: The Penguins for saying "Which way did he go, George?" so many times trying to find out what happened to the puck or the Canadien they should have been watching. I feel for the Flower, he made 31 of 35 saves and sometimes seemed to be alone out there....

Ratt note: I hope sometime tonight to see Maximus, TK and Caputi on the same line. I'd like to call it the Scrappy Line. I can only imagine what the three of them could do out on the ice all at the same time..... Are you listening Therrien?

Bash those Bolts: Tonight's game is against the Bolts of the Bay at home. Their goalie, Mike Smith is out with an injury and they have an AHL call-up Karri Ramo and a new guy, Mike McKenna to choose from, but they're not saying who it'll be as of yet, although one 'insider' is betting on McKenna. Tonight is the night of the return of Gary Roberts. Scary Gary has just come off IR (injured reserve) and will be in the line-up tonight. I wonder if anyone is going to be playing those 'Gary Roberts' songs?

I couldn't resist...
I hope Error can resist talking about Gary and his 'Fiji water' if he does I think I'll throw myself through the screen and strangle him. .... Professional broadcaster my a....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Evil Penguins:

Marc Andre Fleury will lead the 'Evil Penguins' from between the 'Evil Goalposts' tonight against the Habs. Joining them for the first time in quite a while will be Luca 'You'll sleep with the fishes' Caputi. Tyler Kennedy is being spanked for one game for doing something well deserved to one of the Laffs in Saturday's game, so Caputi will jump right on the fourth line. Actually, 'caput' is 'finished' in German, so maybe I should call him Luca 'the finisher' Caputi... I'll have to think about that. The Croz was named Second Star of the Week for his........ well, his boyish demenor and I guess he was just too damned cute to say 'no' to.... Ok so it was for the 8 points (3 goals 5 ass.) which led all scorers last week.

Evgeni Malkin has been named 'permanent' alternate captain for the Pens. After trying it out on just about everyone starting with Geno and Orpik, HC Therrien has decided that Geno is 'the man'. Sergei Gonchar has been named the to the other 'A' jersey, but until he marches back into the line-up Brooks will hold onto it for him.

Speaking of 'Sarge', the training staff has taken away his 'red shirt' allowing Sergei to participate in contact type practices. Ok, I realize the whole 'baby steps' concept, but now I'm starting to get impatient because it seems as though 'baby' has been making a lot of those 'steps' recently. As a matter of fact, 'baby steps' seems to be tear-assing across the floor. And now I want 'baby steps' to get his Russian butt back on the ice where I can see him.

News From Canadia: It seems that the Canadiens will be without their top scorer indefinitely. Robert Lange suffered an Achilles tendon tear Sunday. He was, evidently mashed into the boards by Stephan Yelle. Carey Price hasn't been the same goalie that shut down the Pens since coming back from an ankle injury and doesn't quite have the same mobility side-to-side. I hope no one will think me too mercenary when I say that I feel for Robert and Carey, but have absolutely no sympathy for the Canadiens. Their problems as a team just make me giggle. Speaking of problems.. I hope they don't trot out those eye-melting uniforms they were wearing when they played the Brunes.... It looked like Boston was playing some bizarre convict team...

More to come as stuff dribbles out of my brain....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Stillers:


The only thing anyone ever said to me when I got a six-pack was, "Is that all you brought?" So enjoy the 'One for the other thumb'. Now I have to go out and get more Pepto-Bismol, because my girlfriend chugged all ours up during the 4th quarter. Mostly 'a very exciting game' translates into increased stomach-acid reducer sales.... it's a fact, you can look it up.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Battle Penguin Ramble:

I know that there are still 30 or so games in the season. I know that being 1 point and 2 games behind 8th place at this point in the season shouldn't mean that much. But every time the Pens lose another game it just hits me in the gut. You know I wish I could tell my gut that the Play-offs don't start until the middle of April, but my gut never listens. There are 3 1/2 months left to battle for a spot, the battle has just begun. Blind refs, road trips, bad fans, hostile arenas nor bandwagon jump-offs will sway the Pens from their goal. The Run for the Stanley Cup.

When you see three points dribble through the Pens fingers (flippers?) that somebody, anybody thought should have been firmly into the plus column it's hard to swallow. I mean, I personally want the Pens to do well because I like these guys. I'm not a Penguin fan because I was born and bred in Pittsburgh (KC born). It's a blast to watch this team having fun playing the game. I don't get anything other than that out of the Penguins doing well in a season. Well, that and I get to laugh at Philly phans, but I would do that no matter who I followed. Revenge on the Red Rags? For what? I haven't liked that team since their rivalry with the Snowslides of Rocky Mountain High, meant anything. (I still cherish the moment when St. Patrick kicked the crap out of Osgood) But the play-offs this year will take care of Detroit Rock-head City, I don't need to root against them. I cheer for the Penguins I don't care if other teams do badly (then we run into that Philly exception again) I just want the Pens to do well. I can't imagine watching any other team and worrying about whether I've got on my good-luck-hockey-watching shirt on. But I'm not embarrassed to say I do just that for the Pens.

And they have been doing well, not Fantastic, not Awesome, but they've been playing some good hockey. Sometimes their focus seems to slip and they forget to finish this game before they start thinking about the next one, but the last three weeks they've won more games than they've lost (4-3-1). They've gotten production at some unlikely times from some unusual sources (Cooke, Letang,), scorers have started slowly scoring again (Satan,Sykora, Staal) and their top two guys are one and two in the League in scoring and assists, (Malkin-75p 54a, Crosby-68p 48a) and that's during and through a 'slump'.

I know I should sum all this up and make it relevant, but the only thing I can think of is this: I've got no time to cry about the Toronto and New Jersey games, I've got to get my Penguins Old Tyme Hockey shirt and my super soft sweatpants ready to wear for Tuesday's game against Monty-trall, then Tampa Bay and Columbus. It's a long season, and there's still a long way to go, Battle Penguins don't have time to whine about yesterday, they have to prepare for tomorrow's battle. My 'gut' is just going to have to live with it.