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...