Ok, this was supposed to post late last night and, computer whiz that I am, I hit 'save' instead of 'post' and then never checked that it posted (the one time you don't check... sheesh) so here it is in all its late glory.
The Penguin invasion of the Stanley Cup Play-Offs will begin this weekend with the final placement of the 8 teams in the Eastern Division. The Pens are tied with Philthy and Carol-in-a for 4-6. The Canes have more wins, the Phlyers have fewer games, and the Pens have... the current scoring leader of the NHL, and some other hockey guys you might have heard of (Flower, Croz, Tank..., maybe you've heard of some of those guys).
Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't in the net tonight, but he left his well trained goalposts to make 5 saves for his replacement, Matheiu Garon. Garon and the Pens looked a bit shaky during the first period but came on late in the first to tie on their way to defeating the Aisles 6-1 to clinch at least a 6th place berth in the play-offs. Philippe Boucher announced his return to the line-up with the tieing goal in the first and that opened the floodgates as the Pens never looked back. Pittsburgh was awesome in the PK, even though there were too many damn penalties. 2 long 3-5 kills (one without the help of the Ever Dangerous Rob Scuderi, the super-secret extra goalie) that were defended to perfection and gave Garon a chance to prove that The Flower isn't the only Gumby-goalie on the team. Other than the 7-2 penalty differential the guys played a pretty good game against a team of men trying to prove to their management that they deserve to be employed next season. Geno picked up 2 points on assists on Boucher's and Crosby's goals and finally acted like he was excited to be in the lead for the Hart trophy. "Yeah, I feel good." Malkin said, "One game left, it's OK, I think it's too much points (for Ovechkin to catch him)." and then he went on to promise that if O'retchkin scores 4 points he'll score two more Saturday. Kris Le-tank will receive a special TFS award point for crashing the net and nearly redirecting Dupuis' goal in.
Fan Appreciation, Appreciation: My favorite part of the season (other than the play-offs when the Pens are in) is the Fan apreciation night. I was blown away when I first moved here and started watching the Pens as a 'home-town' team when after the last game of the season the team gave their jerseys away and started throwing T-shirts up into the stands and generally making goofy fools out of themselves thanking the fans for all their support throughout the season. Watching Maximus sitting in the Penguins Polaris given away to some undiserving fan (ie: not me). Or The Tower of Flower Power pitching shirts at one of his team-mates on the ice (probably Max), Malkin making sure a kid got the game stick he handed over the glass, although it was somewhat disturbing to see the grin on Cookie's face when he was imprudently armed with a Tshirt cannon. Just about all of them were signing something thrown over the glass and whipping it back (hopefully to the person that threw it), and then each one of them giving a fan their jersey (Raine is ready to track down the blond 'bitch' that won MAF's jersey so she should be warned) and revealing the 'Fighting 5th' shirt worn under their gear (the Pens collected over 100 grand for the Fallen Heroes Fund at the game). Makes you feel like the guys think they're lucky to have a bunch of semi-crazy Pensaddicts screaming from the stands and we all know we're lucky to have them to root for, shout at or drool over as the case may be.... Thanks Guys.
Satan Sighting: Miroslav Satan has cleared re-entry waivers (uh....... nope, to complicated to explain) and will be back on the Pens roster in time for the Montreal game and throughout the play-offs (however far they go). We are pleased to see the Lord of the Infernal Realm back on the 'Big Squad' and hope that no one had to sign his soul away to get this to happen.
Winter Classic News: Reports are that next year's Winter Classic will take place in Fenway Park, possibly the Broons against either the Crapitals or the Phlyers. What does this mean to the fans? Well we should all look for a trade involving Ty Conklin to one of those three teams so he can keep his streak of playing in every NHL outdoor game alive.