Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bears, Backups and Old Tyme Hockey:

Second intermission there's a knock on the Bruin's locker room door....

I turn my back for 1:00 at the beginning of the third period and what happens? I'm still not sure!
The score went from 2-3 to 4-3 in the blink of an eye. (what a time to need a soda) I come back to the game and they're all hanging out around the benches, I'm thinking 'Must not have started the third yet'... Oh no laughing-boy, look at the score! They were sweeping hats up off the ice for Chris Kunitz' second goal in less than half a minute. Nitz says he didn't touch the first one 0:43 in, and later it was credited to Gonchar in the Box Score and the Highlights. But he definitely touched the second goal to put the Pens up 4-3 1:01 into the third period. Man, all those people are going to want their hats back..... Syko finally scored again from his second-favorite spot on the ice. (same distance, the other side of the slot is his favorite) Staal flipped in a very smart empty net goal , (waited to cross the red-line before shooting) to round things off, and bury the Bears 6-4. I know the B's have struggled a bit here and there, but this was 5 goals against the current best goalie in the League and that's no bush-league team he's playing behind either. Since the beginning of Feb. the Pens are 13-4-3, that's a good run at any time during the season, and fantastic at this time of the year. And no, I don't care if the Recking Ball scored on us today, I don't want him many time did we fire that guy? 2? 3?

Backup the Back-up: Like most people I thought they were throwing Garon to the lions waiting for the Boston game to put him in the net. Mat's numbers against the B's were pretty good, but there's a difference playing the best team in the Conference this time of year. Allowing the first goal on the first shot didn't help my confidence either. (and probably didn't do wonders for his). It didn't much matter that the first two goals he allowed were not bad goals. They'd have gotten past almost any goalie. (except maybe.... TTFP?) I was already shifting the standings in my mind anticipating a Penguin loss. (hoping I was wrong... good thing I was) But Garon was too much a veteran to let things faze him. He stayed out there and did his job. Which, quite frankly, isn't to be a spectacular goalie. He's just supposed to be good enough to win games. And he did. I started believing just about here:

Second Period, 2-2 and Boston pressing after a power play. Could have gotten ugly real fast. The FPL and the forwards rallied around Garon and he hung on long enough for the Pens to come back again at the beginning of the third. Allowing 2 more goals, but making some very good saves on the way to the victory. You want your back up to be good enough to win, and today Mathieu Garon, was just that. Good enough to win.

Old Tyme Penguins Stuff: Eddie Johnston has been around hockey almost since it was invented. Ok well, 1962 anyway. He played goal for the Bruins during the era of the 'Suicide Goalie' ie: without a mask. He evidently started wearing one after team-mate Bobby Orr whacked him, with a puck, into a 7 week sleep then wouldn't kiss him to wake him up. And he's been a part of the Pens organization since 1980 before he picked Les Magnifique' in '84 after moving from Coach to GM. They had a pretty nice ceremony before the game where Mario handed EJ a crystal penguin to commemorate 25 years with the real Penguins. And here's the vid.

Other stuff: For those of you that haven't heard.... and Lord knows it's on every three seconds in Hockeyland. Uncle Daddy himself, has tied St. Patrick Roy's record of wins by a goaltender. In true Movie of the Week fashion he did it in his home town which also happened to be the same city where Roy piled up most of his wins. He also brought in the win in front of his 'idol' and gave St. Pat some really valuable PR time to say some insincere Uncle Daddy compliments, and generally make nice with the media to get them to forget the whole 'I told my son to go beat the crap out of the other goalie' thing. (Lawsuit and criminal charges still pending).

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