We feel like we're always writing about a Penguins loss on here. It's getting old. Call us bad fans, but we're sick of trying to write anything about these losses. Don't get us wrong, we watch every game - the whole thing, and wouldn't think of doing anything else, but writing about it gets pretty depressing. The Pens lost to the Bruins 5-2 last night. When you see the 18 point gap in the Eastern Conference standings, it makes you kind of sick and at least for us, it doesn't make the loss seem any better. The Pens started the game out well and continued to play well through at least the second. It keeps looking like things should be better for the Pens, but the end result seems to always be the same. Looking promising only lasts so long. If you can't finish games, none of that really matters. We really do think things will turn around and it won't be like this forever, they have way too much talent, but between Coach Therrien talking about the players complaining on the bench and his latest comments, we're wondering what's going on. He said that some players are more worried about their own goals, rather than the team's. He declined to mention names of course, but he's accusing some of his players of not playing for the team. Great. Brooks Orpik and Matt Cooke had a couple things to say as well. Not exactly let's push the panic button, but it doesn't sound great. They're basically saying they need to work on "team things." The best step in that direction was what happened immediately after the game, a players-only meeting. Coach Therrien is anxious to see what's going to come out of it. He said it was about time they had a meeting. Does anyone think Crosby had a thing or two to say? Someone was rather grouchy after the game when talking to reporters, although who can blame him? Whatever happened in that meeting, we sure hope it helps.
The Steelers beat the Browns 31-0 yesterday at Heinz Field. Big Ben was hurt and left Steelers fans silent as he lay on the field while they took his face mask off and loaded him onto a backboard. As he was leaving he gave the encouraging thumbs up and the silent Heinz Field erupted. Thankfully it was only a concussion and he should be ready to go for the playoffs. That bye week really looks good now.
Byron Leftwich came into the game and played very well. His touchdown scramble was a highlight and it looked like he hadn't scored one of those in a while didn't it? He looked like a little kid out there.
Hines Ward went over 1000 yards receiving today and also caught his 800th career reception from rookie QB Dennis Dixon. We would have liked to see more of him to see what he could do, although his first couple of plays did not go well.
The Pens looked a lot better last night than they have in a while, but still lost to Montreal 3-2. Carey Price was the main reason. The Pens finally out-shot an opponent, but just couldn't get more than two goals past Price. The Pens had a lot of great chances and Price was almost always there to say no. The Pens weren't constantly playing in their own end and Sidney Crosby got off of the no-goals bandwagon by scoring a lightning-fast wrap around goal. He also had one assist on the other goal scored by Pascal Dupuis. We told you he'd get over his "slump."
On the negative front, the Pens power-play once again let them down as they scored no goals on five chances. The defense could have stepped it up a bit too.
Molinari on the Penguins Will Sid and Geno be the first teammates in league history to each get 100 assists in the same season?
Sorry for the short Steelers post here at the end, but we're in some pain (long story) and need to go to bed so we're taking the short route tonight.
Tomorrow's game against the Browns is technically meaningless in terms of playoffs or standings, but obviously all Steelers fans like beating the Browns. It's become less of a rivalry in terms of the winning is on the Steelers side in the last bit, but that doesn't mean that either team doesn't play their hardest or sees these games as "just another game." Both teams badly want to win, if for nothing other than bragging rights. Coach Mike Tomlin said that his team will be playing to win. So let the winning begin...HERE WE GO STEELERS, HERE WE GO!
Marc-Andre Fleury had his 12th career shutout as the Pens beat the New Jersey Devils 1-0. Fleury's play was really one of only a couple of positive things worth mentioning in this game. Fleury was stellar and the only real reason the Pens won this game. His diving save was highlight reel worthy, along with several other big saves. Although Fleury wasn't the only Pen with a save worth watching again and again. Mark Eaton made a last-second toe save during a pileup around the net. The puck appeared to go about 7/8 of the way over the goal line, but that wasn't enough and Eaton's foot caught it just in time. He said he saw it out of the corner of his eye and decided to try to keep it out, which he did at the last second.
The Pens overall play wasn't too exciting to say the least. Geno had a couple good plays and his and Ruslan Fedotenko's pass play for Fed's goal was pretty good. Their power play managed no goals and Crosby was without a shot on goal for the second game in a row.
Speaking of Crosby, we have a word or two on his play as of late. It seems like everyone and their brother wants to jump on his back the second he doesn't score, or dare we say it, is normal. *GASP* But Sidney Crosby isn't normal! He's some sort of freak sent to the NHL to save it from the black hole of obscurity! If he isn't exciting for a game or two, everyone flip out! Seriously people, he's human and he's going to have times when he isn't Super Sidney. We think he needs to learn to shoot more and take more shots over some of the passes he decides to make but let's face it, the kid has dedicated basically his entire life to hockey and obviously worked hard to be the player he is today, his work ethic isn't likely to disappear now. Let's all calm down and wait till he blows us away again with another play that'll make you go WHAT?!
Ah the memories to be had tonight. Ryan Malone and his Pittsburgh background. WWGRD? Adam Hall. At least those memories are something to remember unlike last night's game. The Pens lost to basically the worst team to lose to and it was a shutout on top of that. Oh and did we mention they pretty much had no shots? Pathetic. The chances they did have were blown or missed. Sykora, Malkin, Crosby anyone? How many times did Sykora miss the goal tonight? As in wide open net. Malkin should have scored on that breakaway but he let Smith say no. Crosby should have scored on Geno's beautiful "pass" (yeah he basically left it for him but we're too dumb to come up with a better description right now). Crosby also recorded zero shots. Zero. Wow.
Is it time to hit the panic button yet? We were going to go with no, and probably still will, but Michel Therrien's post-game conference was a little disturbing. The players are complaining on the bench? About what? How shitty they've played? Each other? Their lack of focus? Depending on exactly what they're complaining about, that could be serious. Hopefully MT knows what to do and can get their asses in gear because you can't keep playing like this and hope to win games. Even against Tampa Bay.
The positives about tonight's game? Fleury keeping them in it and Jeff Taffe's beautiful save when Fleury was out of the net. Now we call that a play. And how does he get rewarded? Sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with Tim Wallace. YES!
One other negative being that fans booed Ryan Malone. We find that a bit inappropriate. He didn't do anything wrong and it wasn't his fault he left. He's even thinking of getting the Pittsburgh skyline tattooed on his right forearm. Save the booing for Marian Hossa. At least he acted like somewhat of a jerk.
Some Steelers news: Marvel Smith has been placed on injured reserve and have signed tackle Jason Capizzi in his place. Mike Tomlin also is holding practice on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Coach Therrien, are you listening?
We'll keep this short as it's almost 4 a.m. and we're tired. Plus we had to watch what we saw of the game on the internet and we hate that. The feed was a pretty good one though, compared to the others we've watched. Pens seemed to play pretty good and came out with the win in OT thanks to the two-headed monster. Geno's shot was nice and Crosby's almost-high-stick was a nice redirect. What a way to get your first goal in a while. Fleury seemed better and Go-go's (Goligoski) goals were also a nice touch. We like to see him score once in a while. That's about all we can say because we never feel like we see the game too well in a tiny box. Plus our laptop is a 13-inch Macbook and that's not the biggest view ever and yes we were too lazy to get on the desktop.
The Pens will play the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo tonight at 7 p.m. on Versus. Once again we do not get to see the game so we'll probably have a shitty two sentence recap and whine about how we didn't get to watch it or we watched it on a tiny screen. Seriously. Here's to hoping the Pens can pull out a win in Buffalo and snap out of this slump they're in.
Penguins Report: Bus Trip to Buffalo. Sounds like fun. The last part says it sounds like Crosby is getting sick. We've thought that for days. Will someone get that kid some Zicam already? It seems like he was just sick. Seriously though, the Zicam, it works. We got over a cold in less than a week from sore throat day one to the sniffles. Just tired lately, but what else is new? *Unpaid promotion now over.*
We might as well start off by saying we didn't get to watch the game. We watched part of the first quarter on an online feed but the No Fun League must have caught on and it was shut down. We didn't find any others that would work so we resorted to the radio and watched that ridiculous rout of the Cardinals by the Patriots. The best part of that was Wes Welker's snow angel, the snow balls flying from the stands, and that middle aged man making a snowman on the ledge. Talk about wooooo!
The best part of the Steelers game? James Harrison breaking the sack record, Santonio Holmes' TD catch, and Hines Ward's TD catch. And basically that's all we can say because we didn't see any of it until the "highlights." Sounds like Big Ben had a bad day to say the least. And that unsportsman-like conduct penalty? WTF? Terrible. The Steelers are now the number 2 seed in the AFC and will get their bye week while the rest of the playoff contenders duke it out. Now if the Ravens would only fall on their faces and lose to Jacksonville next week, we'd be pretty happy. It should be interesting to see what Mike Tomlin decides to do next week in terms of starters. Does the fact that it's the Cleveland Browns factor in at all?
The Steelers will play a big game tomorrow in Tennessee for the number one seed in the AFC. The Titans defense ain't too shabby and should pose a not-so-easy task to Big Ben and the Steelers offense. The Titans though, have (we think) the harder task of scoring on the league's number one defense. The Titans have had a fairly easy schedule and we still can't believe we're talking about Kerry Collins being the QB. We have to say we'll be more than disappointed if the Steelers lose to KC and the Titans, even if for just that reason.
We're still getting over our cold so that's about all we have in us. More than likely something in that didn't make sense anyway, so we'll quit while we're ahead. On to the links:
That picture about says it all. The Pens lost to the Maple Leafs 7-3 last night in a poor performance. The Leafs came out strong and basically dominated the entire game. Okay not even basically, they just straight up beat the Penguins' asses and the Pens never had much to counter that. Marc-Andre Fleury looked so good against Atlanta and tonight, not so much. Not every goal was his fault, but he wasn't his usual self, giving up a couple of soft goals. Dany Sabourin came into the game in the third. Not that anyone particularly cares now, but Dany decided to go with the old school pads when MAF didn't. That was almost the highlight of the night. Sidney Crosby seemed a little flat tonight, which we don't say or think often. The highlight of the night came from Evgeni Malkin on his beautiful goal in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. That was basically the end of the highlight reel. You could argue that Geno's game of tap the puck was interesting, and would have been better if it'd worked out. We feel like we say this all the time but that was, once again, a Sidney Crosby move. See here:
Or the Winter Classic, but we're too tired to look for that one right now.
Game recap. We like the title for this on the main page: Pens foiled by foliage. Nice one.
Max Talbot has signed a new two-year contract extension that averages $1.05 million per season. This would take Talbot through 2010-11. Others who are signed through 2010-11 are Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, Pascal Dupuis, Ryan Whitney, Brooks Orpik, and Marc-Andre Fleury. Not too shabby. Those who have contracts up after this season are Jordan Staal, Petr Sykora, Miroslav Satan, Ruslan Fedotenko, Rob Scuderi, and Hal Gill.
Ryan Whitney was sent to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Pens to play a game tonight against Albany. It is only a conditioning assignment and he will return to Pittsburgh tomorrow. He will likely make his season debut against the Tampa Bay Lightning at home.
Pascal Dupuis did not practice after leaving the last game. His status is uncertain. Mike Zigomanis also did not practice.
The Pens will play the Toronto Maple Leafs today at Mellon Arena. Game time is 7:00 and the Pens will be wearing their powder blue. You should also get to see the new retro pads that Fleury and Dany Sabourin have been breaking in during practice. They're supposed to be a throwback to the pads back in the day, but the color is a little odd we must say.
The Pens beat the Thrashers last night 6-3. Marc-Andre Fleury played his first game after what was believed to be a groin injury and debuted a new mask. The picture we have above is the best one we could find for now. We haven't found any mention of the new mask or the story behind it yet but, we like it. The Thrashers came out to play and had some great chances to start off the game, but Fleury said no repeatedly. If you hadn't known he had an injury and hasn't been playing, you wouldn't have guessed it from his performance last night. He was sharp all game and at least one of those goals he had no chance on. He had quite a few great saves, but the toe save reminiscent of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, was the best all night. (We'll try to find video later, no YouTubes yet.)
We saw tonight that Malkin's stick says Gino, which we'd heard before but wanted badly to ignore, and we're trying to get ourselves to type Gino, but it's hard. Geno just looks right and there's no I in Eugene (if you don't know why that's Malkin's nickname, it's because Evgeni is Russian for Eugene). It just doesn't make sense to us. Yeah, okay, so it's kind of stupid to be stuck on a spelling but it's just too hard. Maybe it's the cold, we are rather dizzy. Nah, we'll still have a hard time.
But moving on, Gino/Geno had a great game tonight, scoring two goals and getting two assists. We thought it should be three and a hat trick. We didn't see the Jordan Staal deflection, even on that nice reply FSN showed from behind Malkin. Either way, great game on both ends of the ice. Malkin looks more like Crosby every game in terms of his stick handling and defense. Malkin's set-up of Boucher was quite the show.
Speaking of Crosby, he was himself as usual in terms of his stick handling and always-going-at-full-speedness (did that make sense? no.). He even decided to get into a little scrum around the net after a Thrasher's goal. Brooks Orpik was on top of someone in front of the net and Crosby tried to step in and help and ended up on the ice. After getting up he threw a few punches toward said person. What a competitor. I'm sure he had a few words to add to that. The other note-worthy Crosby event of the night was his giving up an empty-netter goal to Geno (we can't do it!). Crosby hadn't scored a goal in seven games and could have easily made a play to get that empty-netter for himself, but decided to give it up to his teammate, and competitor in the scoring race, for the sure goal. He's a true teammate.
Overall the Pens weren't playing spectacular hockey, but Marc-Andre Fleury kept them in the game and they played well enough to win. They also took advantage of the Thrashers poor penalty kill, scoring on two power plays. There may be some other note-worthy things from the game, like Tim Wallace's first NHL point, but we're too dizzy to look at this screen anymore.
Pens play Toronto Saturday at 7:08 in Mellon Arena.
Sidenote: The Steelers "D", represented by LaMarr Woodley, is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week with a story inside. The defense also had an ESPN the Magazine photo shoot, possibly for a cover. When we find the article about that on ESPN, we'll post it. More Steelers soon.
We're more than a little late on this one. We didn't do our usual post at the same time because we're sick and basically feel like crap. Hopefully we'll feel better in a couple days. We're ready to just sit back, relax, and watch some hockey tonight. Hopefully good hockey.
Marc-Andre Fleury will return in net tonight and we have to say we're more than ready for that. Goaltending obviously wasn't the only reason the Pens haven't been playing so well as of late, but having Fleury back sure couldn't hurt. The Pens have been off since Saturday, but have had some good practices and some tough practices. They should be hungry for a win tonight.
Today we found out that only three Steelers players made the Pro Bowl. For comparison, in the AFC, the New York Jets sent seven, Titans six, and Ravens five. In the NFC . We agree with this guy on a few of his picks of those who should have gone in Hines Ward and LaMarr Woodley. Big Ben has done some great stuff this year, we all know that, but the numbers aren't really there. Considering how their defense has played, we think it's pretty terrible they only got three to the Pro Bowl, two starters. Each one deserves it, no doubt, but we feel there were more who deserved it too. Along with a lot of picks that really didn't. But then again, we all know it's just a popularity contest. Although you'd think with the amount of Steelers fans all over the world, that they'd place a few more.
So the NFL decided today that the call was right and Santonio Holmes' touchdown was in fact a touchdown. We saw it debated on about a million shows and it goes both ways. It was a touchdown, end of story.
Penguins Notebook: Whitney practices, hopes to return by Christmas Sykora was also named number 2 star of the week. Fleury and Sabourin are breaking in new pads that we happened to notice tonight on Savran on Sportsbeat. We were hoping they weren't the new look. Turns out they're supposed to be a throwback look for when they wear the powder blue jerseys. They're a light brown color and we don't think all that attractive but hey. Fleury's mask also appeared different but we can't say for sure on that one.
Once again, this week, we have to say we have no idea where to start. The game was basically what everyone thought it was going to be, low-scoring and physical. Although we have to say, things weren't as dirty as we thought they would be. Although Mitch Berger has something to say about dirty. More on that later. We think we'll just separate our thoughts out like last week.
-The defense is amazing. No TDs for Baltimore, even though they had good field position many times, especially after Ed Reeds fumble recovery. As good as they've been for how many years now, they're at they're best. We believe this is a championship defense.
-Speaking of championships, is this a team of destiny again? We're not convinced yet but these fourth quarter comebacks are saying something. The Steelers have outscored their opponents 37-0 in the fourth quarter as of late.
-You can say what you want about Big Ben, but when the game is on line, he's producing game-winning drives. Why it has to be like this, we can't answer, but he's making it happen. Big Ben even makes big jokes. After the game he was commenting on the game-winning TD and said he was going to run it in but saw purple jerseys coming and went the other way, "but I hold on to the ball too long." Nice.
-Are we the only ones who saw James Harrison being held all day once again?
-Are we the only ones that got sick of seeing Ray Lewis after every play. You'd think the Ravens consist of only Ray Lewis.
-Santonio Holmes made some mistakes to say the least, but what a catch and toe drag in the endzone on the winning TD.
-Who's ready to hear Ravens fans crying foul because they don't think that was a touchdown?
-Nate Washington dropped a couple balls, but he was clutch later on.
-Saved the best for last. Hines Ward had over 100 yards and was clutch as usual. He fought for those YACs and picked up some first downs.
-Max Starks' tackle of Ed Reed after Holmes' fumble was huge.
-William Gay has played really well as of late and his interception to end the game was a good one.
-William Gay has mad dance skills. (Hopefully someone caught that and will put it on YouTube, it's not there as of now. It was included on NFL Gameday on NFL Network).
-Why do the Ravens have male cheerleaders? Seriously. Why? (Oh wow. We looked that up and it's worse than we thought. Go here to check them out. What a picture. They even make appearances!)
As for the Ravens being dirty, Mitch Berger said that Frank Walker spit in his face after Jeff Reed kicked the point after on the game-winning touchdown. Berger said that Walker dove for Jeff's knee, trying to take it out so he went over to him and he spit in his face. Reed pushed him for spitting in his face and received a 15-yard penalty for doing so. Berger said he spit right in his mouth. Disgusting. Period.
If you want to pick up your Steelers Division Champs gear, you can go here. But we really recommend waiting a few weeks or less and picking up at a discount if you live in or near the 'burgh. If you were there anytime after the Super Bowl, you know how much of that stuff they produce. We always end up down there at some point and buying that stuff for like 5 bucks.
If you want to watch the game again, it will be on NFL Reply on NFL Network Tuesday night at 9:30 p.m. We think it's also on again later that night at some point and throughout the week.
Steelers play the Titans next Sunday at 1 p.m. Been a long time since a 1 p.m. start. The Titans lost Sunday to the Houston Texans.
Today is a big game for the Steelers. Not only are they playing their hated rivals the Ravens, but the AFC North title could be won. Should be a low-scoring, physical battle. If you like defense, this is definitely the game for you. We're a little out of it, so we're going to leave you with a few must-reads and game previews.
Since October, pain has had new definition for family of Aaron Smith. Several weeks ago many of us heard that Aaron Smith was going through a tough time with his family, but details weren't talked about. Smith now talks about his son's diagnosis with cancer and how it's been for his family. Extremely touching and a good read. We wish his family well and that his son beats his leukemia.
The Pens lost to the Flyers today 6-3. We didn't see the entire game, which is rare for us, so we don't have a whole lot to say other than what we did watch, we weren't impressed with. We're glad Fleury is ready to come back because Sabourin seems to need a break, he doesn't look so good. The Pens as a whole didn't look so good either. And those Flyers jerseys were horrible. Just had to say it.
Lots of stuff on the Pens front to today. First off, Marc-Andre Fleury is officially back. He will be in the lineup for today's game against the Flyers but Coach Therrien has yet to say whether he will be playing or backing up Dany Sabourin. That means we have to say goodbye to John Curry for now as he and Chris Minard were re-assigned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Max Talbot missed practice and is considered day to day with an, as usual, undisclosed injury he received during the Islanders game.
We've all heard of strip poker, but strip hockey? Yesterday's practice included some rather unusual games. Michel Therrien has a game he calls "baseball" that the Pens sometimes play that involves teams attempting to score before the other team can race from the goal line to the blue line, to the boards and back to the goal line. You can read the full description here. Also played in practice yesterday was strip hockey. You're probably thinking, it's not what it sounds like, right? You'd be wrong, it's exactly what it sounds like. Ladies, please stop drooling. It goes like this; if you don't score on a breakaway from the blue line, you take something off; you score, you get to put something back on. Kris Letang was the loser in this game who ended up trying to score on one skate as his left foot was bare and he also lost his helmet, gloves, jersey, and upper-body pads. What show that must have been.
(Peter Diana/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
What a picture. Talk about intensity. Does that kinda scare anyone else?
This is rather random and we had to laugh. Yesterday's Dear Margo letter is about a girl whose boyfriend is obsessed with the Penguins and it's affecting their relationship. We say the only foul there is that he only has one ticket to the games. We'd be pissed if our significant other only had one ticket to all the Pens games. Now that's a reason to break-up.
We wanted to tell you that we added a trivia widget to the side of the page. The questions should include both Penguins and Steelers trivia for you to test your knowledge on. Go ahead and try it out!
We've also waited way too long to mention that LOLgwins is back! We find these to be extremely funny. Head over and check them out. The website also directs you where to go so you can make your own LOLgwin and submit it to the site. This is our favorite one as of late:
What a way for the Pens to end their losing streak. They couldn't have asked for a better way to get back into the swing of things than two players getting hat tricks and 9, yes 9, goals to beat the Islanders 9-2. John Curry looked great in net, making some really good saves. Not that we're going to complain that Fleury should be coming back soon, but we'd like to see this kid some more. Petr Sykora got his first NHL hat trick last night and the hats came raining down. Along with a few bags that had been given out. Bob Errey mentioned that it's not common practice, but all of those hats would be in Sykora's locker for him to enjoy. After the game, while talking to the media, you could see some of those hats. Nice. Sykora had 38 two-goal games in his career and it took him 871 games to get his first hat trick. Sykora also added an assist on the night. Not to be outdone, Pascal Dupuis also got his first NHL hat trick. We thought all the hats would be gone, but no way, Dupuis got his share of hats and bags as well. Dupuis also got the familiar shaving cream towel to the face on the ice after the game while talking to Dan Potash. If we find the video, we'll post it.
Philippe Boucher scored his first goal as a Penguin last night, as well as his first of the season. Miro Satan and Evgeni Malkin added the other two goals. Sidney Crosby had three assists on the night. Sid was making those moves as always, and looked a little frustrated when he wasn't scoring. We all know it'll come, he's Sidney Crosby. Tim Wallace was hitting people all over the ice and seems to be making himself known in the short time he's been here. Fans in the arena were yelling "WE WANT TEN!" at the end of the game. Pretty funny.
Hopefully this game is exactly what the Pens needed to get some confidence and start back on a winning streak. Their next game is Saturday against the Flyers at 1:00 p.m.
John Curry will get another shot in net tonight against the team he faced in his NHL debut when he replaced Dany Sabourin midway through the second period on November 26th against the Islanders. Coach Therrien said Curry did well against the Islanders, stopping all 11 shots he faced, and now he'll get another chance at them.
"You know what to expect to a certain extent," said Curry of seeing the Islanders for a second time. "The half of the game that I played before, the (Penguins) played so well that I didn't see much action. I know this team is capable of bringing more but I feel comfortable."
"The team needs a win," Curry said. "Hopefully I can do my best to keep the team in the game and give them a chance to win.
"It's only my second start so I have to be ready and I have to be focused."
The Pens played the Devils in New Jersey last night and lost 4-1. Not a whole lot went the Pens way. We didn't think their play was horrible, but it wasn't exactly great. We thought maybe we would see John Curry in the net last night, but didn't. We're hoping we're going to see him in net tonight and change things up a bit. Granted, there have been a lot of changes with bringing up (and sometimes sending down) Pesonen, Taffe, Lovejoy and others, but we'd be surprised if Curry wasn't in net tonight. Although, Michel Therrien is never predictable. Sabourin definitely made some good saves, but in at least two big instances, his defense was the one that made the saves. That Kris Letang between the legs save in the crease was great defense. Sid and Geno were their usual spectacular selves but that didn't change the outcome of the game. At least a couple good shots were rung off the post, and Staal and his line had thought they scored a goal only to be denied. The Pens need to play better and make sure they start scoring on the power play.
KDKA says that Consol Energy has won the naming rights to the Pens new arena. That will take some getting used to. We're not surprised since we have to watch Consol Energy ads all throughout hockey games and have that whole, let's blow up the other team's logo thing, Power to the Penguins, Consol Energy thing.
The Pens will play the Islanders tonight at 7:38 at Mellon Arena. Hopefully the Pens get their act together tonight and improve. NHL.com preview.
The Steelers will face the Ravens on Sunday and we think everyone knows what that means. A tough, physical battle of the defenses. Everyone knows the Steelers hate the Ravens and the Ravens reciprocate those feelings. This will be two great defenses battling it out with most likely a low scoring game. The winner of the AFC North could be decided if the Steelers win this one. The Steelers will have to make sure they step up on the offensive side of the ball and make sure the Ravens D does not get turnovers. Their offense isn't so hot and they rely on their D for turnovers and points. Big Ben can't be throwing interceptions to Ed Reed or the rest of the defense. This interception was pretty crazy. Have to say we'd put it behind Troy Polamalu's one hander earlier this season. We're ready for a physical battle, but we have to say we could do without the mauling, AKA Rashard Mendenhall. The whole bounty issue and whatever is rather childish and stupid, not to mention not at all legal. So who's ready for a defensive battle in the trenches?
The Pens have a few things going on, including making some changes. Hal Gill's injury will keep him out two to four weeks, which means Ben Lovejoy should have some more playing time. Philippe Boucher joined the Pens for practice yesterday before they flew to New Jersey and expects to be back soon. Ryan Whitney has continued to practice with contact and says that he hopes to return next week or the week after. Marc-Andre Fleury will not play this week even though he has continued to practice. He says that he has medical clearance to play after his supposed groin injury. Mike Zigomanis has not returned to practice.
Janne Pesonen has been assigned back down to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Baby Pens once again, while two others were brought up. The Pens decided to recall forwards Jeff Taffe and Tim Wallace
The Pens lost to the Sabres last night after, once again, having a lead. As we mentioned before, we don't get Versus so we were unable to watch the game on TV. We did find a decent feed, but watching a game in that small box isn't exactly what we call great. We don't feel like we can make too many comments because we didn't see the game that well. Bottom line on this game is that the Pens still haven't learned to play 60 minutes consistently and need to learn that real quick. They also need to get that power play in line. You have a full two minutes of 5-on-3 and you can't somehow score a goal or get more than 3 shots off? Wow. Pathetic.
Marc-Andre Fleury has now returned to practice for the first time yesterday. He was excited to get back with the guys, but there is no set date for his return. It's believed he has a groin injury, but whatever it is, he says if he were to re-injure it he would be out for a really long time. Better to be on the cautious side, but if you're anything like us, you want to see him back VERY soon.
The Pens will play the Sabres at home tonight at 7:38. It will be on Versus so we won't get to watch the game unless we can get a decent feed online. Last time was touch and go and we weren't watching it in Russian.
This is one of those games/posts where we have no idea where to start. So we'll go with this, the Steelers beat the Cowboys at Heinz Field today 20-13. The game started out slow to say the least. There was some excitement in the form of turnovers, but in terms of scoring, nothing was happening. Neither team looked good on offense and the Cowboys defense was being made to look pretty good. The Steelers defense was it's usual self, playing at a high level throughout the game. We think we'll just list our thoughts from here:
-Troy Polamalu had his 7th interception today and his 4th interception in as many games. He also made some great tackles and was all over the field as usual.
-Speaking of interceptions, Ike Taylor held on for a good one this week which led to a Jeff Reed field goal. Who says Ike never holds on to the ball?
-We can't get off interceptions just yet. We saved the best for last. How about Deshea Townsend's interception? He intercepted Tony Romo, throwing his third of the day, and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to put the Steelers ahead for good 20-13. That seemed fitting considering the defenses' amazing play.
-James Harrison had a sack today for his 15th, tying the Steelers record. The big man also proved he's agile once again by attempting to jump over an offensive lineman. Didn't result in a big play, but what a site.
-Why doesn't Gary Russell play more? Third downs at least. It seems like he never goes down at first contact. It always takes more than one defender to bring him down. No offense to Fast Willie but it just wasn't working today (12 carries for 25 yards).
-Why doesn't Mewelde Moore play more?!
-Ben Roethlisberger wasn't too hot today, but did what he needed to do in the end.
-Are the Steelers taking a page from the Penguins playbook in terms of the games going down to the wire? Talk about heart problems.
-Santonio Holmes came up big today with a big punt return and a 47 yard catch that should have led to a TD, but the Steelers couldn't punch it in. This is where everyone thought the game was over, right?
-How did Nate Washington get up after that catch towards the end of the game? The one where the defender held on and completely twisted his knee around. Nate sure gave new meaning to jumping back up.
-Were we the only ones getting sick of hearing Tashard Choice's name? At least he didn't get 100 yards.
The Steelers will play the Cowboys today at 4:15 in Pittsburgh. Yay. We're hoping Tony Romo hates cold weather because it should be plenty cold in the 'burgh tomorrow and probably snowing. The forecast doesn't look good. And we're basically out of thoughts at this point because we just feel s*&%y. So please excuse the lack of commentary. And on to the links:
We apologize now for the short posts but we're not feeling so good tonight and are in a lot of pain so we're going to give you the links and head to bed. We try to keep up, so hopefully an attempt is better than nothing. :)
The Pens lost to the Ottawa Senators today 3-2. Jason Spezza had all three goals for a hat trick, while Staal scored on a tip-in of a Crosby shot and Evgeni Malkin had a shorthanded goal. And what a shorthanded goal it was. Hopefully there's a video out there of that if you missed it because it was a good one. Godard and Neil also entertained with a good fight. Again, we hope there's video of that out there for you too. Brooks Orpik was also offering a lot of free candy, especially on a hit on Jason Spezza. We don't need to mention the video again, right?
Tyler "Turbo" Kennedy will miss at least a month with a sprained knee. He was examined yesterday and is expected to miss four to six weeks. He had 6 goals and 9 assists in 24 game for the Pens playing on the third line with Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke. Get well soon Turbo!
The Pens bounced back tonight against the Hurricanes by winning 5-2. The game was a pretty good one to watch with Crosby on fire as usual and Dany Sabourin playing well again. Crosby had four assists while Petr Sykora scored two goals, coming close to a hat trick a couple of times. Geno had two assists in this game, which brings his point total to 41 and in first place in the league, while Crosby now has 39 points for second place. Should be a pretty exciting year as long as these two stay healthy. We're pretty spoiled as fans to get watch possibly the best two players in the world competing for the most points in the NHL.
Mike Zigomanis was hurt the other night, as well as Tyler Kennedy. Zigomanis skated this morning along with Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Whitney, and John Curry, but Tyler Kennedy was sent home to Pittsburgh to see a doctor. We didn't see anything in regards to either player, and now with the Pens not disclosing any injuries, we may not know. Whatever it is, TK's doesn't appear to be good. Hopefully he gets well soon. Philippe Boucher, just acquired from the Dallas Stars for Darryl Sydor, was put on injured reserve yesterday and is week-to-week.
Because of the injuries, Chris Minard and Janne Pesonen were called up to the big Pens. We're late on this obviously as a lot of you probably watched the game. Janne only played like 5 minutes and some change. He's definitely not getting a lot of ice time to prove himself.
Just a note: Sidney Crosby is now the top vote getter in the Eastern Conference for All-Star voting.
Malkin Feeling at Home on Ice and Off. Geno has now bought a house in Pittsburgh. His English has obviously improved, although he's still uncomfortable at times but some of his teammates thought he would never learn English. Good read.
Lastly, if you haven't seen the new "A Great Day for Hockey" ad or don't get FSN Pittsburgh, here it is for your viewing pleasure. Another good one along the lines of the first. Our favorite part being the end, A great day for Wooooooooooo! Enjoy.
Ryan Clark had a huge hit Sunday on Patriots' player Wes Welker that drew a penalty. Today, the NFL said there should have been no penalty on that play because the hit was legal. It's pretty safe to say that Ryan Clark will not be fined. Although the Patriots have been running their mouth about the hit, saying it was dirty. Ryan Clark doesn't care and won't change his playing style, jokingly adding that it's Ward's fault the NFL now watches the Steelers closely. Good article, read it by clicking the link above.
Ben Roethlisberger left practice yesterday after tweaking his knee throwing a pass. The Steelers were practicing outside and Big Ben slipped on some mud and slightly injured his knee. Ben doesn't think the injury is anything serious.
Quote of the week from Ryan Clark when asked about Tony Romo being a celebrity:
"I stopped reading US Weekly and all that stuff, I felt kind of feminine, you know, so I really haven't been up on it. I do know he's an awesome quarterback. I don't know if he can sing."
Told his girlfriend Jessica Simpson could, Clark answered, "Can she?"
Did this really just happen AGAIN? It did. The Pens lost to the Rangers in a shootout 3-2 after having a 2-0 lead, a 2-1 lead going into the third. We thought the Pens were playing well and figured they were going to win this one. Bob Errey was even telling us that time was running out on the Rangers and we thought things were pretty safe. You should never think things are safe. Or over for that matter. That's definitely one thing we've learned this year.
Sidney Crosby looked pretty good tonight, especially in his set-up of Mark Eaton for the Pens first goal. That was Eaton's first goal as a 'guin and was his first goal in a long time. 91 games to be exact, dating back to 2006. The second goal was a re-direct by Jordan Staal off of a shot by Rob Scuderi. Geno was looking fairly good as well, making some good moves and back-checking well a few times. He gave up a couple of turnovers around the blue line, but overall looked pretty good. Sabourin played a good game. At least until the shootout. All three Rangers players scored on Sabourin, while only Kris Letang was able to score for the Pens. Kris Letang's shot was pretty awesome though, popping the water bottle off the net.
Crosby was having a little feud with Ranger Colton Orr. There was some shoving and plenty of words exchanged between the two. Crosby is such a well mannered, well spoken person off the ice but on the ice he appears to have the mouth of a sailor. Which we have no problem with of course. And might also shed some light onto his comment on Sean Avery, that words are exchanged but it stays on the ice. Good idea. Orr also dropped the gloves with Eric Godard after the ensuing faceoff.
The Pens play the Rangers tonight at 7:08 at Madison Square Garden. If you remember what happened last time these teams played, well you'd probably rather not. The Rangers won in a shootout after they had tied the game in the final minute of regulation after the Pens had had a 2 goal lead. Hopefully they play a full 60 minutes this game.
In other NHL news, Sean Avery has been suspended indefinitely for making comments about his ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert and her now-boyfriend Dion Phaneuf. We have to admit we've never heard of a suspension based on this type of comment but there's a first time for everything. The first article we read left out his so-called vulgar comment. We expected say...well something really vulgar. Then we found out he said sloppy seconds. And had to think about it. And still don't get it. Don't get us wrong, it's not a nice thing to say, but we didn't think it was the equivalent of saying F*&% or say C*&% maybe. Whatever the case, it obviously pissed off the NHL and the Stars' coach and owner who said if the league didn't suspend Avery, the team would have. At the end of the day, we don't like Sean Avery so we could care less and after all the stuff he's pulled, deserves this, but we really didn't think the league suspended people for comments about ex-girlfriends. Either way, he's pissed off the league, his coach, the team's owner, and some of his teammates. Great place to be in.
Speaking of great places to be in, Giants receiver, and former Steelers receiver, Plaxico Burress is joining Sean Avery in that he won't be playing for a while. A long while. Burress' season is now over as he's been placed on the reserve/non-football injury list which officially ends his season. Burress has been charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and third-degree possession for carrying the ammunition clip. Both charges are Class C felonies in which he could be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 3 1/2 years in prison if convicted. All we have to say is how stupid. What a way to jeopardize your career.
Playoff scenario season kicks off for the Steelers. The Steelers could clinch a playoff spot this week if they beat the Dallas Cowboys while the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots both have to lose. The other possibility would mean Miami could tie and then the Steelers need the Patriots and Jets to lose. Don't you love this time of year?
Steelers notebook. Bryant McFadden should be returning to play against the Cowboys this week after missing six games with a broken right forearm. Brett Keisel will miss another game, as well Marvel Smith. James Harrison isn't even on the injury list and is fine.
Last but not least for this morning, a new episode of Yinz Luv 'Da Guins for your viewing pleasure.
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