Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pens beat Blackhawks 5-4

The Pens went into Chicago and despite a hat trick from Toews, came out with an overtime win over the Blackhawks 5-4. New winger Chris Kunitz scored his first goal in his first period as a Penguin. Staal played a huge game and got a goal. Marc-Andre Fleury faced a flurry of shots and made a lot of huge saves. Geno was quiet until it was time for a big goal when he netted the overtime winner.

This was a fun game to watch and of course the Pens couldn't make it easy on us by giving up two leads. You have to give them credit for not ever being down though. They played well through two periods but the third was all Blackhawks. Fleury had to face a ton of shots and we thought he did well considering. We didn't really even notice Geno a whole lot the entire game until the overtime. He took several shots and that one timer for the game winning goal was a nice shot. Exactly what Geno is supposed to do. Make big plays in big games.

We'll put together the recap later and hopefully get all the info on the Steelers later as well. It's 3 a.m. and we're off for some sleep. Here are some links in the meantime.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ryan Whitney traded to Ducks

Ryan Whitney was traded to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Chris Kunitz and prospect Eric Tangradi. We're sure there are plenty of Pens fans who were happy to see Whitney go since he's been the target of a lot of people's complaints as of late. Personally, we're not exactly unhappy over this because we weren't huge fans, but we weren't exactly on the bash Whitney bandwagon either. If Chris Kunitz turns out to be a compliment to Sidney Crosby, we'll be more than happy with this trade. With Kris Letang being young and a good defenseman and having Alex Goligoski available, it seems like a good deal.

Chris Kunitz sounds like he could be good for Crosby. We can't say we've watched him personally, but we've heard he's got speed and he's willing to go to the net and be the gritty player the Pens could use, as well as willing to stick up for teammates and drop the gloves. He has 148 hits. He's averaged around 20 goals a season and has decent numbers. Crosby has the ability to make players around him better with his play-making skills. Some have argued he's had wingers in the past and hasn't done that. One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone can keep up with Crosby and maybe Kunitz will be able to do that.

Eric Tangradi is a prospect that seems to have a really good upside. Shero said their scouts really liked him his draft year and he's doing well in the OHL where he is the captain of his team, the Belleville Bulls. Tangradi is a 20 year old forward who stands at 6 feet - 4 inches tall, and weighs in at 221 pounds. He was drafted in the second round in 2007. Shero says he will be ready to turn pro next year.

Some reading material:

Penguins fans will miss Whitney soon (PG, none other than Ron Cook)

Ducks Acquire Whitney from Pittsburgh (Ducks perspective including a conference call with Whitney)

The Pens have recalled Tim Wallace from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and re-assigned Janne Pesonen back to WBS as well as placed Chris Minard on waivers. If Minard clears waivers he too will go back to WBS.

Sidney Crosby missed practice again on Thursday and says he is still day-to-day and will see how he feels on Friday.

The Penguins will play the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at 8:30 p.m. in Chicago. This is the first game of a five game road trip. The Pens need to get points on this trip and that won't be easy. They need to play better than they did against the Islanders or this could be one really long road trip. We hope Crosby is ready to go so we can see him and new winger Kunitz and what they can do.

It's time to buckle up. Let's Go Pens!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pens beat Islanders, get two points

(AP/Keith Srakocic)

The Pens beat the Islanders last night 1-0. What a game! Or not. Pretty boring hockey for the most part and quite frustrating. The Pens need to win against a team that is below them in the standings, especially the Islanders since they're the worst there is. The Pens should probably have been able to put the Islanders away easier than they did, but at the end of the year, that won't matter. They got two points and in order to stay in the race for the playoffs, that was a must-do, especially with the Panthers, Sabres, and Hurricanes all losing on Tuesday.

We don't even have a whole lot of notes on this game. Partially from being somewhat distracted and mostly because the game wasn't all that exciting, at least for the first two periods. There weren't even many penalties. The Pens didn't play badly, but they didn't play great either. There were some good things to take out of this game. The Pens weren't playing in their own zone all game, which is obviously good since you can't score goals playing in your own end all night. Fleury may not have been challenged a lot, but when he was, he made the saves he needed to.

As for making saves, the Pens didn't do Fleury any favors by not scoring any goals to back up all the pucks he had stopped. It seemed like the Pens had a million chances to put the puck in the net and it wasn't going in. A couple of those were pretty bad considering they wide open shots but then again they couldn't even score an empty netter at the end of the game. And there's also something the Pens seem to forget. The fact that you have to shoot the puck to score a goal. They seem to think that in passing it around it will somehow end up in the net. More than likely it won't, so shooting the puck may be of some help. It seems like no matter how many times they do actually shoot the puck, it doesn't go in but someone else gets the rebound and puts it home, they still don't get it. Please shoot the puck on net, good things may happen! The power play also still sucks. You'd think they were the team with one man down.

Petr Sykora had the game winning goal with only 2:28 left in the game. Guess how it was scored? Yes! Gonchar shot the puck on net and Sykora was there to put it home past a misplaced Yann Danis for the goal and the game winner. It was about time. Geno's play before that to keep the puck in the Islander's zone was the reason that goal even happened. In front of his parents once again, Geno made a little move to keep the puck in, which eventually led to the goal. It seems like Geno is doing everything these days. The Pens sure are lucky to have him. Especially the times that Crosby is out of the lineup. 

And how can you not like Geno? His and Sykora's celebration after the goal was priceless. They looked like two kids in a candy store. We were going to post the video but so far can't find any on YouTube and the highlights over at the Pens site just cut off the celebration. No fun.

An article over at ESPN about the big three, Ovie, Sid, and Geno with an emphasis on Geno. Pretty good article. Have a read here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crosby, Whitney out, Pesonen in

Crosby will sit out tonight's game against the Islanders because of his sore groin. He says he doesn't feel good enough to go and a groin injury is something you have to be careful with. He says he is day-to-day.

Ryan Whitney is also out of the lineup tonight, but not for the reasons a lot of you may be hoping. He has some family matters that he needed to go home for and may meet the team in Chicago for their game against the Blackhawks. Kris Letang will take his spot in the lineup tonight.

Janne Pesonen has been recalled from Wiles-Barre/Scranton. Maybe this time he will get more time on the ice to show what he could do in the NHL.

Go Pens!

Pens - Islanders

The Pens will play the Islanders at home tonight at 7:30. Yesterday, Sidney Crosby left practice early with a sore groin. Coach Bylsma said Crosby has aches and pains and concern in the groin area and that it wasn't as good as Monday so he felt that Crosby should rest and get ready for tonight. He's probable according to Bylsma who said that they would see in the morning.

Matt Cooke and Ruslan Fedotenko returned to practice yesterday after they missed Monday's for a conditioning evaluation. Bylsma said that both looked good at practice yesterday and are expected to play tonight.

Another guy who expected to play tonight is Kris Letang. Bylsma said he was happy with the way Letang practiced. He would not say who Letang will replace in the lineup and said that they are waiting to make that decision until today.

Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal tonight. The Pens play five games in the next nine days and Bylsma said that he has not yet figured out how the goaltending will go during that time. He did say that Fleury is their number one guy and he is going to carry the load for the team.

The Pens obviously need to win this game against an Islanders team that is below them in the standings. Carolina, Buffalo, and Florida all lost last night, which is obviously a help for the Pens. The only thing the Pens can do is win as many games as possible and hope it works out in their favor and that starts with beating teams that are below you.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pens lose

We just have no idea where to start with this post on today's game. Obviously when you're a huge fan, you get pretty pissed after a game and it tends to ruin a bit of your day, especially when the score is 5-2. But then you have to add in the insult of Ovie and the Caps and NBC's horrible coverage and that just about does you in. And then add in the fact that the weather totally sucks and it won't stop snowing...shitty day.

We felt the Pens came out pretty strong and played a good first period and still having the game within reach only being down by one goal, 2-1. But after having played a tough, physical game less than 24 hours before, we were worried they wouldn't be able to keep up a fast pace for another 60 minutes.

Yesterday we were thinking, please don't start Garon in net tomorrow. We remembered his only start with the Pens and it wasn't a good one. We failed to really think about the fact that these games were being played not only back-to-back, but less than 24 hours apart. What cruel scheduling. How could a goalie really be up to that task? Obviously you can never say for sure what caused Fleury's less than stellar day, but being tired is probably a pretty good bet. Although having said that, we still feel every goal wasn't his fault and the defense wasn't stellar either. Fleury also made some big saves. And we obviously could be wrong about Garon as well because after he came into the game, he did not allow another goal and looked good. We think the choice to change goalies when they did was the right choice, unfortunately for Fleury, and maybe Garon should have started to begin with.

As for the rest of the team, some things looked pretty good and others did not. They couldn't manage more than two goals and did have a fairly good amount of chances to get more than that even though it did seem like they were in their own end a lot of the time.

Speaking of being in their own end a lot, they sure were in their own end a lot on the power play. The power play today looked terrible. If Mike Yeo is in fact still running the power play then maybe it's time for a change there. Every time there was a power play opportunity for the Pens you wanted to shut your eyes and hope that the score was still the same when you opened them because you felt like the Caps had more of a chance of scoring short handed than the Pens did with the man advantage.

We're not going to make excuses for the Pens on this one, but fatigue had to be a factor in this game. Between yesterday's physical game and today's fast paced one, they had to be tired. We think you'd be nuts not to acknowledge the fatigue that would have had to be present, but you also can't use it as an excuse. It was a loss, but the Pens came out of their last four games with five points out of eight and that isn't the end of the world. If the Pens can keep this thing going and make it into the playoffs, you never know what may happen. Although for that to happen they obviously have to work even harder because they definitely have not fixed all of their problems. Also, please bring back Kris Letang! And one person in particular that we feel needs to step up is Jordan Staal. It seems like his play is lazy and completely sub-par all the way around. If he can step up his game, it would help the Pens a lot. He has so much potential and every time he misses the net you want to scream. Once it all comes together for him, he should be a really good hockey player.

We have to get this out of our system. What was with every person on NBC completely falling all over Ovechkin no matter what he did? OMG he's got a ton of shots! How about who cares? He hogs the puck and his shot count is ridiculous. He may be leading the league in goals, but we don't care for a selfish player. OMG he's the best player ever! You've got to be kidding us right now. How could you even ask if he's the best player to ever play? That should not even be an option for anyone at that age. He may be good, but let's not be saying he's the best player to ever play at this stage in the game. And also, let's not say he's the best player in the league by far. That made us sick. If you want to argue that he's the best in the league, we'll respect you for that, but please don't insult players like Malkin and Crosby by saying he is by far the best. We've said it before and we'll say it again, we feel Malkin is definitely the best player in the league right now, but we're not ignorant enough to say "by far." And we've definitely said this before, but our problem with Ovechkin isn't that he doesn't play for the Pens and isn't Crosby or Malkin, it's because he leaves some things to be desired when it comes to class. We feel lucky to have two great players that play for the Pens and are good people. If the Pens had Ovie, yeah it'd be great because he's a good player, but we don't love selfish and sometimes classless players.

We'll end our rant there, although we were happy to see an Evgeni Malkin segment during the second intermission. While he didn't speak much, his English was phenomenal. We were hoping it was on YouTube but it doesn't appear to be, at least not yet. It was nice to see Geno given a little credit.

That was basically our completely erratic rundown of today's game. We know how all over the place that was but we get pretty frustrated after games like that. Basically adlkja;ldkjfaldkjfa;lsdjf! But in a not so good way.

Ovie and the Capitals


Today the Pens will play Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals in Washington, their second game in as many days. We sure hope they have some energy left after yesterday's game for the Caps because they'll need it. NBC is advertising this game as they always do, Ovie vs. Sid. Is Geno invisible? We realize he's underrated and doesn't get a lot of attention even though he leads the league in scoring and now has a permanent "A" on his chest, the sign of a leader. We consider him to be the best player in the league right now, which is totally worth ignoring obviously. We realize he doesn't do a lot of media because of his English, which we think is bull now because his English is pretty darn good, but how can you ignore him in a game against Ovie and the Capitals? Ovie and Geno have only had a feud for a little while now but that obviously takes a back seat to Ovie and Sid even though it's really not all that exciting. Yeah, they're both good players but it's nothing like head-hunting with Ovie!

It should be interesting to see tomorrow how Ovechkin and Geno are. Competitive? Of course! Ovie attacking Geno every five seconds while on the ice? Maybe not anymore since they seemed to have ended their feud. Either way, the game should be pretty exciting with what we consider to be the top three players in the world on the same ice. Hopefully the Pens have some gas left in the tank and can match their aggressive style from yesterday. And allow less goals, please.

Pens win again but don't make it easy

(Tom Mihalek/Associated Press)

You really didn't think the Pens would make this easy, did you? The Pens beat the Flyers yesterday 5-4 (sound familiar?) on a lucky break by Pascal Dupuis and Sidney Crosby. If they haven't given you several almost-heart attacks by now, you must be a true believer or just really strong of mind. The Pens definitely don't want to let you settle down during a game.

Right away the Pens are on the power play after Hartnell cross checks Sergei Gonchar. We know we're not the only ones who can't stand that guy. It's just so fitting he plays in Philly. But the Flyers weren't done yet, Timonen got called for roughing and it was a 5-on-3. The 5-on-3 didn't last for too long though as Staal got called for tripping after a beautiful dive by a Flyer that we forgot his name. And they say Crosby dives. Sheesh. Those penalties were killed by both teams, no goals.

With 9:29 left in the first period the Flyers score first on a goal by Lupul. As much as the Pens like to make you worry, it was early enough and they were playing well enough for us to not panic after the first goal. Yes!

Not long after that Cote and Godard went at it and we were ready for a good fight. Unfortunately, it wasn't too exciting. It was bear hugs all around until both landed a couple of punches and fell to the ice. Not too exciting.

With three something left in the first, Fleury made a huge save on Richards to keep the Flyers within one. He also was money in the last seconds of the first period.

After a pretty good first, the second period is where it got good for the Pens. Just seconds into the second, Crosby scores a nice long range goal that's all wrist. Beautiful. Assists by Fedotenko and Malkin. Will someone please tell the Kid to shoot more often? That was a nice goal and one you don't see from him often unfortunately. Game tied 1-1.

With 14:16 left in the second the Pens go on the power play after Carter is called for a cross check. Could the Pens score this time? YES! With 12:46 left Gonchar takes one of his great slap shots and Sykora and Malkin get a stick on the puck to redirect it into the net. Pens up 2-1.

With 7:51 left in the second the Pens score again. This time it's Fedotenko's turn with assists to Dupuis and Crosby. Pens up 3-1.

With five something left, Malkin takes two penalties, hooking and unsportsmanlike conduct, to give the Flyers four minutes of power play time. No problem for the Pens though, they kill it and that's huge. They were extremely aggressive on that penalty kill and it was nice to see. Fleury once again makes good saves to end the period.

The third is where the trouble started for the Pens. With 17:46 left, Upshall is called for tripping Sidney Crosby. Good, right? Yes, unless Ryan Whitney makes a terrible pass and it gets picked off by Mike Richards. You all know the story with Richards right? We thought so. He takes it down and scores five-hole on Fleury. Pens up 3-2.

With 13:23 left, Coburn scores a goal and we're tied at 3. Although the Pens responded pretty well by scoring a goal with 10:10 left. Fedotenko scores again on a nice pass from Crosby, with the other assist going to Dupuis. Pens up 4-3.

About seven seconds after that goal, Dupuis gets called for hooking and it's a little ridiculous. Can we say diving again? Stupid, but the Pens kill it. No goal.

At the 5:40 mark Fleury makes a huge save, but five seconds later the game is tied at 4-4 after Gonchar's stick is broken and Knuble scores a goal.

With 4:49 left, Gonchar is called for roughing while Upshall is called for slashing and it's time for some 4-on-4 hockey. Nothing comes out of it, but a few seconds after the penalties are over, Biron makes a huge mistake. Dupuis was coming with the puck and Biron came way out of his net and ends up with the puck in his glove. Not wanting to take a penalty for delay of game, he tries to get rid of it and just drops it to the ice. Dupuis was there to get to the dropped puck and pass it to Sidney Crosby who poked it pool style into the empty net to put the Pens ahead for good 5-4.

With the Pens trying to hold off the Flyers for the last couple of minutes, Biron is obviously pulled for the extra attacker. The Pens got the puck and it was passed to Talbot to put into the empty net and he missed it. TALBOT! C'MON! I'm sure he was teased about that one. The only thing we could picture there were the Flyers scoring in the last second of the game after Talbot missed that empty net. Thankfully they didn't and the Pens win 5-4 in another huge game.

- Will someone please tell Sidney Crosby that the Pens are playing the Flyers every night? He had four points last night to put him back into second place ahead of Ovie in the scoring race. He shot the puck more, he was playing very aggressively, and making plays all over the ice. Can someone please make sure there are Crosby sucks chants at tomorrow's game?

- On the same wavelength, when will Flyers fans ever learn that chanting Crosby sucks just makes Sid play better? His stats against the Flyers are crazy good. Go ahead and boo him, go ahead and yell that he sucks, he could care less and he'll torch you in the process. Thanks Flyers fans!

- How long will Kris Letang be out? We haven't exactly been on the hate Whitney train, and we've definitely noticed his miscues, but he's also scored a couple goals and done some good things. That said, his turnover today for Richards' goal was just terrible.

- Sidney Crosby should celebrate more often. We know he's passionate and he doesn't generally show it much, but he jumped into the glass today. It's okay to show emotion Sid, really.

- Brace yourself for this one folks. Sidney Crosby got a new hat! OMG! :- o! Words cannot describe how shocking this is. As most of you probably know, Sid is extremely superstitious and he generally wears the same dirty hat all season long. We thought maybe it was for the new coach and new approach to the season, but it appears he was wearing the old one Thursday against the Canadiens. He then has the new hat on Friday on their off day. Hmmm, someone should figure this mystery out.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Flyers

The Pens will play the Flyers on the road today at 1 p.m. on FSN Pittsburgh. Obviously we don't have to keep telling you that every game is a huge game but this is a huge game. It's not only big because the Pens need as many points as possible so they can climb up in the standings, but Philly is a HUGE rival so emotions should be high. If the Pens don't come out ready for this game, they have more problems than we thought. The Flyers are 17-7-3 at home this season and are fourth in the Eastern Conference. They are also coming into this game on a three-game winning streak. The Pens should have their hands full playing a physical game against the Flyers, but if they play the way they did in the third period against the Canadiens (minus the poor defense) they have a good chance of winning this game. Although it won't get any easier going into Washington the next day after a draining game against Philly.

Penguins Notebook: Bylsma wants more from Letang  Coach Bylsma wasn't happy with Letang's play against the Islanders and wants more from him in practice. He said he has spoke to Letang about this and that there is no ill will between them. Bylsma says he is a very talented player but he needs to continue to work and get better every day. We're just glad he's not going anywhere.

LeBron James disgusted at the NFL

We told you yesterday that Santonio Holmes was fined by the NFL for his LeBron James impersonation celebration after his game-winning touchdown catch. Well, LeBron isn't amused. He was told that Holmes was fined and said, "that's disgusting." He went on to say that he feels that celebrations like that make the game more fun for fans. We have to agree on that. We don't see what's wrong with a celebration. We can't even think of a single celebration we really thought was out of hand or should be disallowed. Chad Johnson's Santa routine with handing out gifts was a little long, but we loved that one so we can't complain. Watching what guys like him would come up with was always entertaining and we do miss it. It was good for the fans and just another reason to call the NFL the no fun league.

In case you missed it (yeah right) or want to enjoy them both again:

If you read the rest of that article on Holmes getting fined, it says that Roger Goodell doesn't think celebrations that occur significantly after the play and away from the field should be penalized and the competition committee should look at whether to allow celebrations that are not immediate. Now we are all for celebrations because we find them entertaining and why shouldn't players be allowed to celebrate a big play? But does anyone else find that a little weird? Like now they're going to put a time on it? Are they going to have a clock that counts down the seconds until you can start celebrating? Odd. Maybe they're realizing that celebrations should be allowed after all.

Jeff Reed pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly conduct and criminal mischief after his paper towel incident at a Sheetz convenience store. He will be fined $543.50 which includes $210 in restitution to the store.

How could he not get public drunkenness? Who goes to a Sheetz and flips out about there being no paper towels unless you're under the influence? Unless you have severe anger issues or something, which in that case you need help. We know Reed likes to party and you can't really expect us to believe he wasn't drunk when beating a paper towel dispenser at a gas station. Looks like he got lucky on this one.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Don't Stop Believin'

Don't stop believin'! You know you want to so we provided you with the tune-age. Give in, enjoy it, sing along!

All cheesiness aside, the Pens won a HUGE game. And there was no way you could forget this was a huge game if you were watching FSN Pittsburgh because Steiggy said it about a million times. When the Pens came out, we didn't see much difference between the Therrien Pens and the Bylsma Pens. Except for the fact that Bill Thomas and Kris Letang were scratches. Kris Letang?! We've felt like he's been one of the better players on the ice. Rumors are flying of course that a trade is in the works and that's why he wasn't playing. We surely hope not. Whitney we can deal with, Kris Letang...not so much.

Getting back to the game, it was fairly tight through two periods with the score tied at two and then the third period started. Everyone must have had a few Red Bulls or something because the game changed completely. 29 seconds into the third period, Geno put the Pens up 3-2 after taking a pass from Sidney Crosby and diving towards the goal to put it in. Take that Ovechkin. 

Not long after that Max Talbot scored his first goal in nine games to put the Pens up 4-2. Talbot grabbed a rebound in front of the net and put it past an unsuspecting Price. Nice job finding the loose puck.

The celebration wouldn't last too long as the Habs scored 14 seconds after the Talbot goal to cut the lead to 4-3. C'mon Pens, it's no time to squander the lead now. Unfortunately they weren't done yet. The Habs would tie it up 4-4 and now it's back to heart attack hockey.

Never fear though, Sergei Gonchar is back and to the rescue. Gonchar's shot looked great and you had to ask, what shoulder injury? Thank goodness for the Pens that Gonchar looks great and has certainly helped the power play. He also actually shoots the puck unlike some Pens these days. That goal put the Pens up 5-4 for good to take two much needed points.

The third period was highly entertaining. We could have done without the suspense in the form of the Habs coming back to tie the game at four, but either way, the Pens never trailed and answered the call. We liked what we saw of the third period Pens. Desperate hockey and actual effort you didn't have to question. If the Pens can keep up a pace like that for more than 20 minutes a game, they have a real shot at the playoffs. Especially if the several falling teams as of late help them out.

A few thoughts...

- Kris Letang...why?!

- The Pens really need to not give up leads and Fleury needs to be his awesome self the rest of the season. The defense also needs to help him out.

-Alex Ovechkin may have had this goal but Geno can do it too, as seen in the highlights above. No YouTube of Geno's just yet. And before everyone starts flipping out, we're not comparing those two goals entirely, we know Ovie is a good player and the steal was quite fabulous, but we think Geno can do it too. There is definitely competition for who is the best player in the world. Take that Ovie.

- The Pens need to come out strong against the Flyers Saturday in Philly. Especially with the atmosphere, Philly is never easy, but the Pens can get it done. Although playing again on Sunday against Ovie and the Caps won't prove to be easy either after a physical game the day before. Saturday's game is at 1:00 p.m. on FSN, Sunday's is 12:30 p.m. on NBC. Yes folks, that means there will be multiple orgasms over the fact that Ovie, Geno, and Sid are on the ice together. Can't wait.

We have no idea what this is but we found it on YouTube and found it so odd we had to post it. We don't know why that guy is wearing a mouse hat or exactly why he's so obsessed with "Sid the Kid" but he does have an accent so how could we resist? He also calls the Maple Leafs the Maple Laughs, so why not?

Couple of Steelers notes: Santonio Holmes has been fined $10K for his Super Bowl touchdown celebration for using the ball as a prop. Do you think he thinks it was worth $10K? We liked it and thought it was creative.

The Steelers have also placed the franchise tag on Max Starks for the second year in a row. The franchise tag the Steelers placed on Starks was non-exclusive, which means he can negotiate with other teams but the Steelers have the option to match the offer sheet or they would get two number one draft picks from that team in return. The exclusive franchise tag would have costed the Steelers more money. They say their goal is to negotiate a long term deal with Starks. Their other big priority is to sign James Harrison to a new deal.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pens, Canadiens

The Pens will play the Montreal Canadiens tonight at Mellon Arena at 7:00 p.m. The Pens need to get two points from a struggling Canadiens team ahead of them in the standings. Yesterday's Penguins practice sounded like it accomplished a lot and the players seemed to be upbeat, even through a couple of hours on the after meetings. Could a change in attitude be here for the Pens? A new attitude could be all they need to get back on track. Should be fun to watch the "new" Pens.

Although one thing that needs to end now are the trade rumors that the Pens are going to trade Evgeni Malkin. What team would trade the NHL's points leader? Not to mention there aren't really any other players even in his league right now. And what multiple players from one team would you want for him? Or draft picks. Eh. Shero should be fired immediately if he even lets the thought of trading Geno enter his brain. You can throw up with us when you read these bogus rumors. Or you can save yourself the time and not even bother.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pens lose but get a point

Dan Bylsma's first game as head coach of the Pens didn't come with a completely different result than has been happening lately, but they at least gained a point. One point is better than nothing, right? We didn't think the Pens looked all that different for this game than their usual selves lately, but they didn't exactly get rolled over either. A few things seemed better and things COULD be looking up. But do we really need to say whether the ship has turned around after one game where the coach didn't even get a practice in or a morning skate? We realize everyone is frustrated with the Pens and then a major coaching change happens and everyone is all $@!#%& about everything, but after one game, people want answers. It's a little soon folks, sorry. We know the world seems to be all about instant gratification these days and no one wants to wait for anything, but this is a hockey team with real people and one game does not tell the story of a season. We have to be patient.

It may be true that the regular season will end and the Pens will not be appearing in the post-season, but the team has a bright future. How could a team with that much talent really continue to fail? Something obviously went wrong and it will be fixed. Besides, it wasn't all that long ago that the Pens were in the basement of the league, the reason they have players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury. The Pens are spoiled with such talent and fans should be grateful. We just have to be patient. Sense a theme here?

Let's just all wait and see what interim head coach Dan Bylsma has to offer over the last 24 games of the season. We might see something we like.

By the way, the Pens lost to the Islanders 3-2 in a shootout. But you knew that.

A Malkin interview because they always cheer us up:

One last thing before we go. It's convenient that all the stories of Therrien not getting along with a lot of players are surfacing again. We're not saying they're not true, and they did consistently pop up from time to time, but now that he's been fired it's time to stir the pot again. Is this to get readers or because there is some truth to these stories? We may never know and it may not matter. Although in all reality, if they are true, that could mean a better future for this team if they can get the right mentality to go with all that talent. Patience...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

You've probably read by now that the Penguins have fired head coach Michel Therrien and made Dan Bylsma interim head coach. Assistant coach Andre Savard was reassigned within the organization while Mike Yeo and Gilles Meloche will remain on the staff. Tom Fitzgerald, who is the Penguins' director of player development, will be joining the staff as an assistant coach. Shero and the organization believed they needed a change in a direction and that this change would accomplish that.

We have to say we think this wasn't a bad idea. We didn't used to be on the fire Therrien bandwagon because we didn't think it was his fault the team was playing poorly. But as the season wore on and the Pens came out flat game after game, we couldn't accept that they were just bad, not with all that talent. Yes, they'd lost key players after last season and brought in a few that maybe weren't the best, but they have too much talent to be losing game after game. It was also apparent that the team was flat and not playing with a whole lot of effort. Why? We just said yesterday that we felt it had to be mental in some way because of all of the above. What or who was causing this? We're not going to say it was Michel Therrien because we don't know, but if it was, his firing was long overdue. Either way, we still feel this was the best for everyone. If a coaching change doesn't shake things up, we don't know what will. If a team can't respond to a new point a view that expects them to play tough and with a lot of energy, well we don't know. Granted not everyone can just walk into something and be in control from the start, but this gives the team a new chance of sorts and they should take advantage of it. Without knowing how the team feels about Therrien's firing, it would be hard to tell how accepting they may be of someone else coming in. Either way, things weren't going well and we have to wait to see whether that will change.

We have to admit that we're pretty excited about this because it feels like a new start. It may not have much time to develop this late in the season and Dan Bylsma may not be the long term solution, but it will at least make things interesting for a while. We also like this guy's lease on life. If we could walk into that locker room and run things, we'd want to say something similar to what this guy is saying right now. 

“I’m a passionate person and energetic person,” Bylsma said. “I believe you need commitment, passion and a high energy level. That’s how I approach life. We have a great challenge that we should enjoy. We should bring all that energy to the rink (Monday).”

“Teams should be forced to deal with our speed and skill and we need to be an aggressive group,” Bylsma said. “With the strengths we have, we should be able to go into buildings and make teams deal with the quality of players we have at every position. We’re going to try to get the guys on their toes and going, bringing passion and work ethic to game. If we focus on playing back to our strength and get away from the situation it’s been for a while here, you’ll see a team that can compete and be a contending team.”

Please read this entire article. Almost everything Bylsma said was money. Now we just have to wait and see whether this guy can walk the walk while he talks the talk because he sure sounds good to us. And no, we don't think this guy is Superman and going to make everything better and the season will end like a fairy tale with the Cup, but we like his attitude.

One other thing we'd like to address here because we think it's ridiculous is the fact that already people are talking about how this is Sidney Crosby's fault. We haven't even begun to read all the articles, opinions, comments and whatever because our heads would probably explode in the process. Not only because there are a lot of idiots out there, but because we're sure by now there is more stuff out there than there are hours in the day. But we've already seen enough this is Sidney Crosby's fault/the team's fault than we'd like to. 

First of all, everyone is entitled to their opinion and we're not saying that everyone who argues this point is an idiot. The idiots are the people who just yesterday were complaining about Therrien and who are today complaining he's gone. You all know the type, the kind that like to cause drama because somehow that's exciting to them. Making stupid comments on the internet that are the opposite of someone else's just to start something is just dumb. Please find something else to do with all your time, you'll be better off, trust us.

As for us, blaming Sidney Crosby and insinuating the kid is spoiled, is a bit ridiculous. We're so sure that he goes behind everyone's backs and complains every day. Mario can't get him out of his ear because all he does is complain about how it's not all about him and it should be and how Michel Therrien sucks. Okay, and pigs fly. We're not saying the kid is perfect, no one is, but to think someone who acts and does what he does is some secret backstabber is ridiculous. He is the captain of this team and he has responsibility as a leader, and again is not perfect, but to put all the blame on him isn't right. Maybe he does need to step up as a leader, but every guy in that locker room is part of a team. Team being the key word there, meaning they have to work together to win because one or two people aren't going to carry them night after night.

Maybe it's time to stop pointing fingers and move on because let's face it, this is the reality of this team right now whether anyone likes it or not. If the team makes the playoffs and looks better than they ever have, Shero will look pretty damn good and everyone will be happy. If the team continues on it's underachieving, people will still have something to complain about and those who wanted Therrien gone will probably want him back. But let's also face the fact that no matter what happens, people will be there to complain just like they always have.

The Pens play today at 2 p.m. Game preview, but we think this is a tad outdated considering we think it was done before Therrien's firing. Should be interesting to see the line combinations.

Let's Go Pens!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pens embarrass themselves against Toronto. Again.

Where do you even start on this one? This was just embarrassing. And then some. Losing six points this year to Toronto is terrible. And then to lose like the Pens have lost, even worse. How do the Pens play pretty well against a good Sharks team and then self-implode against the Leafs? Do they really think they're that good that they don't have to put forth any effort against a team that is supposed to be below them? There is way too much wrong here for a team that thinks it should be in the playoffs. After last night's loss to the Leafs, we don't think they even deserve to be in the playoffs. Pathetic.

It's obvious they have the talent to play with anyone in the league, and they've shown that, so what's the problem? They come out flat in games and put forth half-assed efforts and expect to win. Not happening. And even after coming out well, like last night, they fall apart at some point during the game, like the second and third periods last night. Is there no true leader in the locker room? Is the desire not there? Is it the coaches? Maybe you don't agree with us, and that's okay, but we can't see how it could be anything other than a mental issue. Lack of desire, intensity, willingness...we could go on and on. Whatever is causing this, we have no idea. It's obvious that some players want it, while others seem to care less. When a team doesn't work as a team, there's a big problem and you generally don't win that way. They aren't mathematically out of the playoffs, but dropping games like this will drop you out fast. They don't have much time to figure out what's wrong and fix it and we have a feeling it's all but over. Although we hope we're wrong.

After the game, Sergei Gonchar looked like he was spent and had no words to explain what had just happened. He was only one game back, but looked like he'd been in that room all season feeling the effects of another poor performance and a loss. Granted he's had to watch his team underperform all season, and that can't be easy, but after being a part of it, he looked fed up.

Someone else looked upset after the game as well and you shouldn't be surprised who. Cameras caught Evgeni Malkin sitting against the wall looking totally lost, like he couldn't believe what just happened. Closing his eyes and putting his head in his hands, he was obviously very upset. At least someone is pissed enough to care. Geno has been one of only a few consistent players on the ice on a nightly basis and it's obvious he's sick of it. Sidney Crosby also shows determination, but it was obvious that the flu was bringing him down. We have no idea how he even plays that well while sick because we'd rather be laying around and complaining if we were him. We give him credit.

Someone else that deserves credit after last night is Marc-Andre Fleury. How many big saves did he have to make last night to keep the Pens in this game? After the first period, it was all downhill and Fleury faced a flurry of shots in the second. If not for him, the Pens would have blown this game a lot sooner. It seems odd to say he had such a good night with six goals on the board, but he truly did. You could say maybe two goals were his fault, and the Pens should definitely be able to beat the Leafs if Fleury gives up two goals. It's a shame the majority of the team didn't want to win this game like Fleury obviously did. He's truly becoming one of the best goalies in the league. Now he just needs a team in front of him that can play. And if you didn't watch the game, look for Fleury's amazing save on Blake on YouTube or somewhere. We know you don't want to see "highlights" on this game, but that save is more than worth your time. Awesome. Quite possibly the best thing that happened all night.

The Pens next game is Monday against the Islanders, another team they should be able to beat. The game will be on at 2 p.m., an unusual time for President's Day.

Can they bring in Mike Tomlin? Maybe his coaching style would whip them into shape. Tomlin would also have a lot of subjects for "The News." Maybe his news would set their minds straight. At this point, they need something.

One more question, why couldn't the Pens score more on Toskala?!?! Terrible.

P.S. Does this surprise anyone? Jeff Reed was cited for throwing a fit over towels. No, not Terrible Towels, towels in a public restroom at a Sheetz gas station in the early morning hours. He broke the towel dispenser and used some foul language because there were none left. Obviously he needed some paper towels really bad and that fit was so worth it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Guess who's back

Tonight is a big night for a familiar face we haven't seen in the lineup in some time. Sergei Gonchar will make his season debut tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not playing any games since the preseason won't be easy, but if anyone can come in and contribute, it's Sergei Gonchar. A lot of people expect Gonchar to be the team's savior and come in and take the Pens to the playoffs. We don't think it's too fair to put all of that on one man's shoulders, especially one that hasn't played any games since the preseason months ago. He'll definitely be a welcome face in the locker room and a great leader, which will definitely benefit the team. We also think even if he isn't 100%, which who could expect him to be right away, he should contribute on the power play, a place the Penguins are definitely struggling and need to improve if they want to win games. And winning games is what the Pens need to do, and often, at this point in the season.

There will be another familiar face on the ice tonight that we haven't seen in a while in Ruslan Fedotenko. Before he broke his hand and missed 15 games, he was on quite the hot streak. Maybe he can pick up where he left off.

The line combinations this morning were:

Tyler Kennedy-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke-Evgeni Malkin-Petr Sykora
Bill Thomas-Jordan Staal-Miroslav Satan
Eric Godard-Maxime Talbot-Ruslan Fedotenko

Brooks Orpik-Ryan Whitney
Mark Eaton-Kris Letang
Rob Scuderi-Sergei Gonchar

Marc-Andre Fleury will also make his sixth straight start in goal tonight.

Philippe Boucher had foot surgery on Friday after he suffered an injury in late December. He's played on and off, but not too well. This seems to answer the question as to why. He will be out indefinitely.

Luca Caputi was sent back to the Baby Pens before the team left for Toronto. Caputi should be in contention for a roster spot next year.

See you later for a recap.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pens, Crosby sink Sharks


Cheesy title aside, the Pens are in it. A win last night against the Sharks, arguably one of the best teams in hockey, made the Pens look pretty damn good. The Pens had a fire we haven't seen much this season and that made for an entertaining hockey game. They looked pretty good and got a much needed two points against a very good hockey team. How many times this season have we seen the Pens not get points out of some very bad hockey teams? The Pens have showed they can play with the best of them if they put their minds to it. It's time to fight because things are close and there's room for little error from here on out.

We didn't take good notes on this game so we will spare you from any type of formal recap. Things we do remember though, the Pens were out-shot by the Sharks, but by one. How often this year have the Pens out-shot or were that close in shots to their opponent? Not too often.

Marc-Andre Fleury was great in the net once again, making some key saves. Thank goodness for that since the defense still hasn't been stellar. Obviously his best save was on Boyle at the end of the shootout, his flexibility makes a big save once again.

Sidney Crosby couldn't have picked a better time to score a huge goal. Even while sick. We thought he sounded a bit...sickly during his post-game interview with Danny Potash and then read he sat out the morning skate with a sore throat and the sniffles. Will someone seriously get that kid something for this?! How often is he stuffy and sickly? Too often. Especially for an athlete.

Geno's parents made it to the 'Burgh for an extended stay and were in attendance last night to watch they're star son play hockey. How much does Geno look like his mom? A lot. We wish we had a picture for those of you not fortunate enough to have FSN Pittsburgh to watch the games.

Overall the Pens have played pretty good hockey lately and that's exactly what they'll need to do if they want to make the playoffs. Right now things are looking pretty good for them to compete for a spot. And we definitely want to be watching hockey after the regular season. Plus, what else is there to watch? Baseball? Ha ha ha. (No offense to baseball fans. We're loyal to Pittsburgh and not huge baseball fans anyway and the Pirates have definitely worn thin on us.)

The Pens also got more good news yesterday when they heard that Sergei Gonchar has been cleared to play. He chose not to play against the Sharks but could return against the Maple Leafs Saturday night. This is great news for the Pens, especially their power play that can't seem to generate much of anything these days. He should add a huge boost to the team.

Yesterday was also Max Talbot's 25th birthday. Happy (belated) Birthday to Max! Hopefully the guys took him out for dinner or something.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pens, Wings

Today is the game a lot of Pens fans have been waiting for. The chance to boo Marian Hossa. Okay, okay, the chance to beat the Red Wings. Again. And probably also boo Hossa. We have to say we wish we were going to be there. Unfortunately, we don't even get to watch the game so we won't have a recap. We're DVRing it, but we won't have a computer until Monday night, so we're on a mini hiatus. Enjoy the game, we hope it's a good one.

Goligoski re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton We figured this was coming, but we hate to see him go. Coach MT said he deserves to be in the NHL but it's a numbers thing. Could have fooled us. At least he gets to play.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Yinz Luv Da Stillers

Here is the final Yinz Luv Da Stillers of the season. Bowl that is Super edition. Enjoy.

Also, great end of the season articles over at the Post-Gazette.

Letang is on fire, Pens win

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

As we all know, the Pens' playoffs started a while ago and they need to win if they want to get into the playoffs. The teams in front of them also have been winning so there is no room for mistakes at this point. What better team to beat that one who is worse than you. Oh yeah, with the Pens that hasn't been a given. But last night, the Pens stepped up and came out flying after their come-from-behind win over Tampa Bay Wednesday night.

The Pens were on fire right from the start, getting some good scoring chances early on, taking a 3-0 lead in shots. Now this is what we want to see. Fleury was also hot early, making some good saves, including denying Pittsburgh native R.J. Umberger. The Pens were fighting hard in the offensive zone and were finally not hanging out all day in their own zone. Lookin' good!

Later on, the Blue Jackets came on and took over a little bit, surpassing the Pens in shots. With 5:55 left in the first period, Bill Thomas took a slashing penalty and it was time for the Pens to kill it, and they did. Around the 5:18 mark of that power play for the Blue Jackets, Fleury made a huge save, something he did quite a few times last night. We have on idea how he's that flexible, or how he makes those toe saves, but we're sure glad he does. The Pens took another penalty before the period was over, but successfully killed that one as well. Zero to zero going into the second.

With 15:30 left in the second period, Umberger got called for hooking and the Pens were on their first power play of the game. And then the unthinkable happened. They scored on a power play! With 14:27 left in the period, Letang scored the Pens first goal with a lucky shot off the back of Blue Jackets' goalie Dubielewicz and into the net.

Not long after that, with 11:35 left in the second period Petr Sykora put the Pens up 2-0. Letang wasn't done yet, with 4:52 left in the second, Letang took a backhand pass from Sidney Crosby, lined up his shot, and let it go. Goal! His first goal may have been lucky, but this one was anything but. Great shot and it's nice to see him scoring. This was his second two-goal game after his two goals against the Rangers. Pens lead 3-0. And before this period was over, Fleury would make another great toe save to keep the Blue Jackets off the board.

The Pens started off the third by taking a penalty for a puck going over the glass, but they killed it with no problems. They weren't so lucky on the next one. Geno was sent to the box for a high stick, and with only a few seconds left on the power play, Tyutin scored. Pens up 3-1. The Blue Jackets pull their goalie at the end of the game, giving the Pens a chance for an empty netter. Gill got the puck in the Pens zone, passed it to Dupuis, who gave it to Crosby for a long range empty netter to give him a three point night. Pens win 4-1.

- Marc Andre Fleury was excellent in net. He made several huge saves, including a couple of split, toe saves. He definitely robbed the Blue Jackets on several occasions.

- Jordan Staal was looking better on the ice last night. He didn't get any points, but he looked better than he has been.

- Kris Letang has really brought up his game. He looks good on offense and defense.

- We love Luca Caputi. He looks to have real promise.

- Where is Alex Goligoski?

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

We couldn't resist on this picture. Even though things don't look so good right now for the Pens, they definitely aren't out of the playoffs. And we can always dream, right? How cool would it be to have a Super Bowl Champion and a Stanley Cup Champion in the same year? Very. And we always are willing to take a minute or two to laugh at the Pirates and that sign couldn't be more right. It's unfortunate, because the owners don't really have any interest in trying to make the team any better. Get good players and trade them away. No fun. It's a shame though because baseball games are fun in the summer and PNC Park is so beautiful.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pens, Blue Jackets

It's now or never, the Pens need to win back to back games and get some points if they expect to make the playoffs. There's only been one team to have the top two scorers in the league and not make the playoffs. If that comeback win against the Lightning Wednesday night wasn't enough to jump start them, we have no idea what is. If they come out with intensity and purpose, they have the talent and the capability of being better than a lot of teams out there right now. The playoffs have basically started and it's time to take a page from Ben Roethlisberger's playbook. 

Let's Go Pens!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Malk-a-rama, Pens WIN!

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

Wow, what a game. Or more like what a third period. After the second period, we were ready to get on here and start bitching about how many people on the ice were just plain sucking it up last night. And how the Pens were once again losing to a team that should be below them. We even entertained the idea of not watching past the second period but we just couldn't do it. No matter how the game is, we'll still watch, and we're glad we did last night.


Jeff Reed dropped the ceremonial puck at last night's game and got a nice applause. You could tell Jeff was all into it, which was nice. Another member of the six-time Super Bowl Champion Steelers was also there as Mario Lemieux's guest. You guessed it, Big Ben. He looked like he was enjoying himself. 


The Pens sure didn't come out on fire by any means and it was looking like the Pens we've seen a lot lately. Slow, lazy, and unmotivated. It seemed like another one of those games and after three Tampa Bay goals in two periods and no Pens goals, the slump was looking to continue.

One positive from those first two periods was the four minute power play that Tampa Bay had early in the game that the Pens managed to kill. There were a few good chances for the Pens, especially a five on three in the second period that didn't register too many shots and no goal. For the most part we thought most everyone looked pretty crappy, especially Satan and Whitney. Sidney Crosby doesn't appear to be at full speed either. We're not going to say it's lack of trying or it's a mental issue because Sid has never shown that in the past, so we're guessing the knee isn't 100%.

Then came the third period when Malkin decided that all this bullshit was over and it was time to show up and play. We've thought he's been the most intense and best player on the ice for some time, but tonight he turned it up another notch, which is almost scary. There is no doubt in our mind that Geno is the best player in the world right now. Period.

Malkin started off the scoring soon into the third period with 17:35 left. Geno stole the puck and got the goal to Dupuis who hit the post and the puck just sat in the crease. Geno didn't give up, saw the puck and put it into the net, 3-1 Tampa Bay. With 5:54 left in the third, Mark Eaton decided to get in on the fun and score a goal himself with the assist going to Petr Sykora. The Pens got a good break on that one as a TB player was attempting to send the puck around the boards when it hit the official's skate and gave the Pens a good bounce, 3-2 TB.

With 5:07 left to play in the game, Gary Roberts took a roughing penalty after hitting Matt Cooke in the head. Thank you GR! With 3:29 left, Sykora sends one home to tie the game at three with assists from Geno and Sid. The rest of the period ended to send the game into overtime, but not before Fleury would make a key save to keep it tied.

In overtime, Max Talbot didn't give up on a puck that was underneath Tampa goalie Mike McKenna and poked it into the net. GOAL! Or not. The whistle had blow, so no goal. Back to work. There were some decent chances for each team, but if you thought anyone other than Geno was going to end this game, you'd be nuts. With only a few more seconds left on the clock, Malkin the beast put the puck through McKenna's five hole and game over! Geno's celebration was a good one, and well deserved after all the work he put into that game.

It was nice to see Geno rally the troops like that. How can you not step up when he does? It would be embarrassing not to. Someone needed to light a fire under their ass and it was obviously Geno. He more than deserves that 'A' on his chest. Geno said the team talked after the second period and said, "Let's go, guys, we have to shoot the puck." Smart man he is. Look at what happened when they got pucks to the net, they scored. That's how you win hockey games. Geno also said, "I'm mad because we're losing." It's about time someone gets mad over losing. Let's hope that this time, this is the turnaround that the Pens need to string some wins together and move up in the standings to get a playoff spot. We want to be watching hockey into the summer.

The Pens next game is against the Columbus Blue Jackets at home at 7:30 on Friday. Time for back to back wins! Let's Go Pens!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Breaking News! Satan benched! Or not.

EDITED: Cancel that breaking news, obviously MT decided to play Satan after all. What a joke. And of course, no Gogo once again. Guess MT felt guilty and wanted to let Satan play his 1000th career game. Eh.

It's finally happened, Satan is benched for tonight's game against the Lightning! Yes! Thank God for Luca Caputi. The kid was a beast last night and let's hope he continues to play that way. The Pens need more than one or two players who give their all every night. Seth has all the info over at Empty Netters.

We now just heard on Savran on Sports Beat that Satan would be a last minute decision as to wether he would play. Let's hope he's not, he needs to sit for once.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Malkin gets an A, Pens drop another one

We decided to start with good news this morning. Michel Therrien has decided to stop rotating the alternate captains on a monthly basis and has now picked two permanent alternate captains in Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar. Brooks Orpik will wear the "A" until Gonchar returns from shoulder surgery. Good for Malkin, he deserves it. It should also help him be more of a vocal leader.

The Pens lost once again last night to Montreal. Things were looking good right away when Luca Caputi, on his first NHL shift, scored a goal. A dirty, right in front of the net goal. Something the Pens could use once in a while since most of them have a thing against going to the net. What a way for Caputi to make a statement. That should make him awfully hard to send back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Pens play again tonight at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30. We can only hope for a win. Game preview here.

Be sure to check out the Post-Gazette for coverage of the Super Bowl parade today in Pittsburgh, including video of Troy Polamalu doing a little crowd surfing. Definitely jealous we were in the 'Burgh for that.

Sorry for the short post, we'll be back later.

Pens vs. Habs, Caputi recalled

The Pens will play the Habs in Montreal tonight at 7:30. We could say every game that it's a must win so, just remember that and we won't say it again. Hopefully the Pens can pull out a win.

The Pens will be without Tyler Kennedy since he was suspended for one game after his involvement in the fight during the game in Toronto. But that means good news for Pens prospect Luca Caputi. Caputi has been called up to the Pens from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to play in tonight's game. We're really looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table.

Gonchar also has taken some big steps towards his return. He has been cleared for contact and is taking more shots. He doesn't want to put a target date for his return just yet, although it's expected to be around three weeks.

Enjoy the game. Let's Go Pens!

I'm Going to Disney World!

(Associated Press)

How random that we type the title and start uploading the picture that the Steelers version of the Disney commercial with the famous, "I'm going to Disney World!" quote comes on. We turned on the Disney Channel about 30 minutes ago and there it was. Yes, we know it's the Disney Channel but it's your best chance of seeing the ad on TV and we were obviously right, it only took 30 minutes. But lucky for you, the commercial is already on YouTube so you can watch it right here:

There will be no official recap from us, we were too pumped to take notes. And notes are the only way we can semi-coherently come up with a recap because we have a bad memory. But obviously we can't forget James Harrison's 100-yard interception return for a touchdown or Santonio Holmes' amazing toe-dragging reception for the game-winning touchdown. The following are our thoughts on the game and all that surrounded it.

- How big was James Harrison's interception?! It doesn't get a whole lot bigger than that. It was no surprise that the biggest play on defense was by James Harrison, but who would have thought it would be an interception on the goal line that was taken back 100 yards for a touchdown. Who knew the big man could run like that? That play couldn't have been any better as the Cardinals were prepared to tie or go up just before the half and James Harrison just runs in there and picks it off. Wow. Saving a touchdown was enough for excitement, and then to see the big man run 100 yards and score a touchdown?! Insane. How someone didn't bring him down we'll never know, but just wow.

- The other big play of the game obviously being Santonio Holmes' fingertip, toe-dragging catch with 35-seconds left in the game to put the Steelers ahead 27-23. That entire drive was amazing, with Big Ben going to Holmes on several occasions, including a 40-yard gain. We're sitting there thinking that this really wasn't happening, being down 27-23 with just over two minutes to play and the Steelers not being very successful in the red zone as of late. But if anyone could do it, it'd be Big Ben and obviously "Tone." That catch will be replayed for years to come, and with good reason. Three defenders closing in on him and the game on the line after he failed to catch a pass in the opposite corner of the endzone and here it comes again. CAUGHT! Absolutely insane. How receivers drag those feet we'll never understand, let alone a beautiful catch on top of it. Big time player in a big time game. We can't wait to see him develop even more. That catch was also made with 35 seconds left on the clock, the same time as Plaxico Burress' catch in last year's Super Bowl to put the Giants over the Patriots. Ironic huh?

- After that catch, Holmes had himself a little celebration. We can't remember exactly when we saw it during the NBC broadcast because we remember being surprised by it since it wasn't shown right away. All that was shown at first was Holmes sitting down cradling the ball and his teammates coming over to celebrate. Later, we saw his homage to Lebron James. We heard that people were confused as to what he was doing, suggestion hot sauce, ketchup, and something about a rabbit. Huh?! No, it was the chalk routine of Lebron James. A lot of you have probably seen the commercial on TV, but if you haven't, we'll post it here. As for the fact that people were complaining that Holmes didn't get a 15-yard penalty, we figure by the time he did it, they were reviewing the play and/or not paying attention. It happens. As for the celebration, we liked it. Although we do hope Holmes is a little more careful in the future, we also saw him celebrating a first down when he should have been quickly getting to the line of scrimmage. It's about the team, not you.

First, Lebron:

Then Holmes:


- We definitely can't forget Big Ben. Ben had a great night and was a completely different player than in Super Bowl XL. He did have one interception in his stats, but that was in no way his fault. Even if he would have sucked the entire rest of the game, that game-winning drive was amazing. You can talk about Tom Brady and Peyton Manning all you want, but we'll take Ben Roethlisberger. He in no way gets the credit he deserves. People try to say he only manages games, but quarterbacks that just manage games don't have as many game winning drives as Big Ben, let alone in the Super Bowl. Maybe people will finally put him up there in the elite class that he deserves. With two minutes left in the game and you're down, we'll take Big Ben any day. And to those who claim he's hurt a lot or is a drama king, we'd like to see you take as many hits as he has and feel great. Yeah, don't think so.

- Speaking of Big Ben, he was on David Letterman last night and he was pretty funny. It was a nice time and you should check it out here:

- We're sure some of you have thought of this too, especially after Mike Tomlin mentioned it, but Larry Fitzgerald streaming down the middle of the field and scoring a touchdown with just over two minutes left was the best thing that could have happened at that point. Yes, we said it, it was the best thing that could have happened. Had the Cardinals not scored that fast, but continued to drive down the field and eventually score (and the way they looked, they were going to score), Big Ben and the Steelers wouldn't have had enough time for a two minute drill. In the end, maybe we should thank Larry for running so fast and Ike Taylor for missing that tackle, because in the end, it all turned out okay. Mike Tomlin said, if they had to score, he was glad they scored fast. Definitely.

- Overall the game was a great one. We should have known that it wouldn't threaten to give everyone heart attacks. There was definitely no better way to end the game than with Tone's touchdown and LaMarr Woodley's fumble. This is a game people will be remembering for a very long time and being one of the best Super Bowls. We feel we can't say that since we haven't seen nearly enough Super Bowls to say so, although out of the ones we have watched, this was the best. Woo!

We're definitely jealous of those of you in the 'Burgh. Between Sunday night's celebration in the streets and the victory parade tomorrow, we really wish we'd been/be there. We were there during the Steelers' last Super Bowl and went to Dick's Sporting Goods after the game to get t-shirts and hats and it was one of the coolest experiences ever with hundreds of other people chanting "here we go Steelers, here we go." People were all really nice and not rude or pushing or shoving like you might expect in such a crowded area. Granted there was some destruction in the celebrations Sunday night, but plenty of people had a lot of fun. We're going to have to wait for our Super Bowl Champs shirts.

More links to be added later today.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Champs!!!



Pens lose to Maple Leafs

Not much of a recap from us tonight, it's probably not as interesting to read a recap after a loss for you anyway. It's definitely not fun to continue writing about a team that has problems and can't seem to quite get out of a slump. Don't get us wrong, we'll be here till the end and will continue to watch every game from start to finish, but it's getting hard to come up with anything different to say. The Pens still need to win win win and they're not not not. They're definitely not mathematically eliminated by any means, but they need to pick up some points, and now. They should have beat a Toronto team who isn't so good itself and they couldn't. Their upcoming games are not easy by any means so it will only get harder.

The defense last night was pretty horrible. There were constantly Leafs open in front of the net and that's a pretty obvious problem. Garon's first start was unimpressive to say the least. Yes, the defense was bad, but Garon wasn't so hot himself. We feel pretty confident saying that if Fleury was in net tonight, they would have won. Fleury has played well and could have stopped at least one of those goals tonight.

We give the Pens credit for their effort to come back and even tie the game at one point, but it's too little too late. There are three periods in hockey, and while comebacks are more than possible, you need to play a full three periods to win and continue to win.

Glad to see Gill on the ice and Gogo, even though he played on offense. And how much do the Pens need Matt Cooke right now? He was in on a lot of the goals the Pens scored. Creating turnovers, making passes, whatever, he was in on it. He's playing great right now, one positive on a mostly losing team right now.

Tyler Kennedy's fight is going to be reviewed by the NHL because he might have violated a rule in coming off the bench and getting into a fight. Anyone want to take a guess on how long he'll be suspended?