Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pens lose, no need to panic


(Getty)

The Pens lost the first game of the Stanley Cup Final to the Wings 3-1. But seriously, there's no need to hit the panic button. The Wings got some, almost unbelievable, bounces for all three of their goals, especially the first two. Were we the only ones who thought this felt like the Washington series? You know, the goalie makes all the key saves and they just can't get one past him, but the bounces are plentiful on the other side. Unfortunately the Pens weren't on the receiving end of the bounces last night, but that doesn't mean it has to stay that way. The Pens did not play their best game, and they were not out-played last night. This is a far cry from last year's final. Again, let's not start a riot.

We've already seen the crap on the internet. OMG! Blame Marc-Andre Fleury! He makes a huge save on Ovechkin and you're slobbering all over him like a dog with a bone, and then some weird bounces happen and you're throwing him under the bus. You know who you are.

For once, we're livid and we're not letting it go. The Pens lost and now we've got a bunch of people freaking out. Most are blaming MAF, some are blaming others, but no matter what, the Wings got the bounces and the Pens didn't. No, the Pens didn't play their best game but they were still right there with the Wings. Yes, they lost and it sucks, but get over it and get ready for game 2. No matter how much you whine (cheese anyone?), it's not going to change that the Pens are down a game in this series. It's ONE GAME! Calm the heck down and have some faith for once. After all, how many times have you seen the Pens mount comebacks either in games or in series'? Or how many series have they came out a tad flat and end up on top of their game? Road teams are generally happy to get a split and the Pens have a chance to do just that tonight. Win tonight and we're going back to Pittsburgh with a tie series and all the momentum in our building. Sounds good to us.

(This rant is why we don't read message boards or other such things on the internets. It's infuriating.)




- The Pens kept up with the Wings, and even took it to them at times. They need to get more shots on Osgood. It will go in. We even saw on the internets where Osgood was a good, dependable goalie. LOLZ. He benefits a lot from the defense in front of him. Do we think he's horrible? No. But he isn't exactly fabulous. We have Malkin and Crosby. It's time to show him what world-class talent looks like.

- Malkin played well last night, and yes Mom and Dad were there. But that breakaway chance? Ouch. Geno, we love you, but can't you bury those once in a while? Please?

- Sidney Crosby will play better in this series. He was not bad last night, but he wasn't exactly the Sidney Crosby we've gotten used to in these playoffs. It's time to show Zetterberg who the better player is. That hit around center ice last night should've sent a message. Now it's time to perform. He will put this team on his back if he has to. After all, he doesn't want to be in this photograph again. Although that backhander he got off in the second period around a defender. Wow. How do you get that much on that shot in that situation? Ridiculous.

- Speaking of performance, Jordan Staal, please bury one of those shots! He looks nervous and sloppy, or like he doesn't know what to do with a puck. His defensive work is great and he sure knows how to grind it out. But offensively he needs to step it up.

- Orpik with free candy to old buddy Hossa. Enough said.

- Fleury needs to stay loose, confident, and keep doing what he's doing. Those bounces were not good and he wasn't entirely faultless, but he will step up and adapt.

- We have to admit we don't like all the hitting so far. We love a good hit, don't get us wrong, but it's way more physical than we ever anticipated. Yes, this is the final and you win four or you go home, but geez. We're not sure how much we liked the penalty calling, or lack thereof either.

Are you ready for game 2?

Go Pens!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stanley Cup Final - Game 1


(AP)

That picture is quite possibly the scariest picture of Sidney Crosby we've ever seen. If he plays like that look on his face, the Red Wings are in trouble. He's been playing like a man possessed the entire playoffs and there's no reason to believe he won't be more so this series. He is going to do everything he possibly can to get the Pens where they want to go. We all know where that is.

You should all know by now we're not much for previews. One, we'd probably suck at it. Two, maybe this is a bad way to look at it, but at the end of this series someone is going to win and someone is going to go home unhappy. We know, what a lazy way to get out of a preview, but seriously, us coming up with some sub-par preview would pale in comparison to all the wonderful articles you could read that will get you even more pumped up for the game tonight (see below).

Speaking of pumped, we don't think we've ever been this pumped. Not before last year's final, not before the Steelers' two recent Super Bowls, uh...not before a Pirates season? We tried. But in all honesty, something feels right this year. We don't know what it is, it just is what it is. Did you get that? We're not even sure we did. But even right now at 3 a.m. we're tired as heck but absolutely pumped for the game tonight. And a bit anxious. But what is a big game/series without a little anxiety? No fun, that's what. If the Pens win the cup, we'll probably bawl like babies. Who's with us?


Pens home page  The Pens have some awesome articles you should really check out.

Pens at Post-Gazette  The other place you need to go for pre and post-game coverage

Ya hungry?

Go Pens!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bring on the Wings


We found out tonight who the Pens will be playing in the Stanley Cup Final. The Detroit Red Wings. Again. Nothing like a rematch to get things going. There are too many story lines to count and we sure are glad we're going to get this thing going on Saturday because we're not sure how much of that we can listen to. That and waiting over a week for this to start would be grueling. 

This story can end in one of two ways, the Pens being victorious or the Pens losing to the same team plus Hossa for the second year in a row. The joy of beating the Red Wings would be unbelievable, but the heartbreak from a loss would be indescribable. Getting revenge on the Wings would be good enough, but telling Marian Hossa he made a huge mistake in the off-season makes it sweeter. And for us, we can't stand Chris Osgood. Then after watching one of his post-game interviews in the playoffs, we can't stand his arrogant ass even more. Time to bring him down to earth via Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

The schedule is out and it's interesting to say the least.

2009 STANLEY CUP FINAL
Saturday, May 30 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
Sunday, May 31 at Detroit, TBD-Night NBC, CBC, RDS
Tuesday, June 2 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Thursday, June 4 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm VERSUS, CBC, RDS
* Saturday, June 6 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
* Tuesday, June 9 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS
* Friday, June 12 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC, CBC, RDS

What is with playing the first two games back-to-back? Seems awfully stupid if you ask us. And then two day breaks between games five and six and then six and seven if necessary? What were they on when they made up this schedule? Whatever. And of course, no weekend games in Pittsburgh. Thanks a lot NHL.

- The Wings decided not to touch the Campbell Bowl this year, just as they didn't touch it last year.

- Cristobal Huet was really good last night. He made a lot of key saves. This one with only a few seconds left in regulation was ridiculous. How in the world did he manage that one? People argue it didn't mean anything but we could care less, it was awesome. We're leaning towards best in the playoffs.



- The Wings have a lot of injuries and their defensemen played a lot of hockey last night. They've got to be tired. Even better that we're starting this series on Saturday.


Yinz Luv 'Da Guins Game 4:



Go Pens!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pens win Game 4, sweep Carolina to head to SCF


(Getty)

Woohoo! The Pens are going back to the Stanley Cup Final again this year after beating the Canes for the fourth time by a score of 4-1. How awesome does this feel? We don't know how we're going to wait until the finals start. If the Wings don't beat the Hawks tonight to take the series, we're looking at waiting until June 5th more than likely. That's way too long.




- Once again the Canes had all the momentum at the beginning of the game and even got a goal from their star player who hadn't scored all series not even two minutes in and they still manage to lose. Obviously we're not complaining but they had to just be out of gas. We fully expected this series to be a lot harder than it was.

- Fleury may have given up that goal early, but he was solid the rest of the game. That stick save in the first period was awesome. People like to complain about Fleury a lot, but he's shown he's clutch. And he wins games. How can you complain about that?

Fleury save about 1:20 in.



- Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin are looking really good right now. Last night we had a pass from Crosby to Guerin on a 2-on-1 for a nice goal. The game before, basically the same thing but reversed. We have to admit we weren't all that impressed when we heard Guerin was coming here but he sure has been valuable in a lot of ways. Does anyone think he plays like he's 38? We don't. Sidney Crosby can do that to you.

- How can you argue with keeping Boucher in the lineup instead of Dupuis? He's played well and that pass to Feds last night for the Pens' first goal was nice.

- We have to give a lot of credit to Cam Ward. He was by far their best player in the entire series and, a lot of the time, the only one who showed up. He made a lot of great saves and tried to keep his team in games and he was just not backed up. He just couldn't do it all himself and when you're left out to dry like he was over and over, goals are going to get scored. He took a lot of the blame but we don't think he deserves to. Hardly any of the blame should be placed on him.

- Crosby is close to the playoff record for points and he dishes off the empty netter to Craig Adams instead of going for it himself. What a player. Now Adams has three goals in the playoffs, two of them empty netters. Although that empty netter directly off the faceoff was awesome. That's skill.

- Sidney Crosby touched the Prince of Wales trophy?! He's shocking us all this year. First the hat and now this? Is he sick? We definitely think the whole not touching the trophy thing was a little over the top. Besides, Mario Lemieux touched it both times before winning the Stanley Cup. How can you argue with that? The trophy even got a nice ride home.


Picture is from the Penguins Facebook page and thanks to Seth from EN for finding it.


The Prince of Wales trophy presentation:



Max Talbot's phenomenal interview with Dan Potash after the game:



Interviews with Sidney Crosby, Bill Guerin, and Marc-Andre Fleury:






Who's next? Bring it.

Go Pens!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PENS WIN! It's time to dance!


(AP)

What a sweep. Eastern Conference Champs once again! It's time to dance!



YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH! That song always gets us.

NHL is on top of things. Lots of Eastern Conference Champs gear. Count us in for one of those shirts. Eventually.

More later.

Game 4


The Pens have the chance to sweep the Canes and end this series tonight. How nice would that be? Quite the turn from the Washington series. If the Pens continue to play their game and the Canes continue to have LOMS (loss of mind syndrome), this should be over tonight. It still amazes us how the Canes have allowed Crosby and Malkin to do as they wish while they stand around mesmerized at their talent. But by all means, don't stop now. It's time to end this thing.



Game 3 Yinz Luv 'Da Guins:



Go Pens!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pens win Game 3, up 3-0


(AP)

Did anyone think it would be quite like this and that the Pens would be up 3-0 on Carolina? We definitely did not. The Hurricanes came out pretty strong and got the first goal fairly early in the game. Things weren't looking so good early for the Pens. If we only knew what was to come. Geno would score twice, Crosby once, and there would even be a crazy empty netter directly from a faceoff. Cam Ward was by far the best player on the ice for the Canes and was the only reason this game wasn't much, much worse. Carolina seemed to be caught standing around an awful lot. We know Sid and Geno are pretty spectacular but there's no excuse for standing around. As far as we're concerned they can continue to do it and the Pens will take win four and be on their way. The amount of mistakes the Canes made was quite ridiculous, but like we said, they can do it all they want as far as we're concerned.




We apologize but we'll have to finish this post sometime later as we don't have time now.

Go Pens!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Game 3


The Pens head down to Carolina tonight for game 3. The crowd should be good, Bill Cowher might be there after all (ack), and it will get the Canes going. We all know the Canes aren't going to lay down and take a beating, they've been resilient in the playoffs. It should be tough but if the Pens can play their game, we don't see why it should be any different than game 2. Although, if there's any chance we can get the crowd to do a few Crosby sucks chants or throw some popcorn on Geno, we'd be in good shape.


Yinz Luv 'Da Guins - Game 2:



Jim's Bill Cowher is great.



Get ready.

Go Pens!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pens take Game 2, up 2-0


(AP)

Whew! What a game. It was hard to settle down in this one, but what else is new? Crosby starting the scoring less than two minutes in felt good. But that didn't last long. It was back and forth goals until about half-way through the third period and then Geno decided that enough was enough and the Pens were going to win this game to take a 2-0 lead on this series. Who would have thought a 7-4 Pens win?



- What a night for Geno. He was playing unbelievably awesome (Geno's word) hockey last night and scored a hat trick. The first goal he scored after jumping on the ice was a little nuts in our opinion. He made it look so easy. Jumps on the ice, goes hard to the net, shovels a puck past Ward and celebrates. Easy as pie. Right. And then if you thought he was done, you were so wrong. The crowd started a GENO! chant just before his second goal. Talk about perfect timing. Then right before his third goal we were like, okay Geno, time for a hattie! Oh yeaaaaah! What a shot! A no-look backhander? That's a Sidney Crosby move! We have to say it again, what a shot! The Versus announcer's call was pretty amusing, OH MY WORD! Lol. That was actually a play called "the Geno." Dan Bylsma said it isn't called the Geno for nothing. Talbot also said Geno told him what he was going to do and he did it. Lucky? No.

- How cool are Geno's parents? They get cooler every game. Geno's Dad was practically in tears after Geno's third goal and gave Mom a big kiss on the side of her head. What down to earth people. It's so nice to see something like this. Could  they fit in any better in Pittsburgh? We hope they never have to go back to Russia. Geno plays out of his mind when they're around. We couldn't find the Versus interview after the game with him but he was asked about his parents being here for this and he cited his Mom's good food. What a guy. He also said that his backhander goal was lucky. Yeah, okay Geno. His parents need to take the trip down to Carolina for sure.

- "My parents are superstars now." - Geno  Quote of the night for sure.

- Sidney Crosby: what a player. His drive is unmatched. Except maybe sometimes by Geno. He was out there doing everything and taking a beating doing it. He opened the scoring for the sixth, yes sixth, time in the playoffs. That's insane. We may be biased, but we're also not stupid. We'd take Crosby (or Malkin) over Ovechkin any day.

- Chris Kunitz finally had a goal! A nice one at that. His goal with 7.4 seconds left in the second period broke the tie and put the Pens up 4-3. We thought he had played well in the playoffs although putting in a goal or two is always good too. Now he finally gets off of people's bad list. At least for now.

- We don't know what it is with Max Talbot, but he scores big goals in big games. Geno got him the puck on a breakaway and Max decides to take a page out of Geno's book and blast a slap shot by Cam Ward. Nice.

- The Pens went 3-for-3 in killing penalties, including some 4-on-3 time. We liked how aggressive they were and they even got a couple chances to score shorthanded, including a Jordan Staal breakaway chance. Speaking of which...

- Are we the only ones that think Jordan Staal needs some confidence or something? His defensive play is great but his offense? Not so much. We're not saying he needs to bury that chance 100% of the time but geez. He's had quite a few chances to score in these first two games and the shots either haven't been good ones, he fans on it, or he decides to pass when he really should just shoot. Our answer is confidence and maybe he needs some but who knows.

- What happened to Miroslav Satan? He's looked really good in the playoffs. That one-on-one chance against Ward that he buries after some sick moves and now he's fighting?! Seriously, what's going on? He definitely deserves his spot in the lineup. We thought he always shied away from hits or fights. Not anymore obviously.

- Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't as sharp as he could have been, but he made the stops he needed to make. That big toe save early in the game was awesome. His love of his posts also obviously comes in handy at critical times. After a good shot hit the crossbar, Fleury could be seen giving it a nice pat down for it's fine work in saving that goal. You treat it well, it will treat you well back.

- Tyler Kennedy may not be scoring goals every night, but he continues to amaze us night in and night out. His energy is nuts. We have no idea where he gets it but it's pretty awesome. If he's racing to the puck, there's a good chance he's going to get possession of it. His work along the boards is great and he's not afraid to hit someone. He also had a heck of a shot on that empty netter. ;)

- Lastly, what is with the crowd? This is the Eastern Conference Finals, you need to be louder. There were plenty of times where we were like, WTF?! You're supposed to be jacked the entire game and you had plenty of goals to be jacked about. They were good at times but overall it was pretty unimpressive. Kind of embarrassing.

Geno's hat trick:



Geno's post-game comments:




Go Pens!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Canes, Game 2


So, has it seemed like an eternity and then some since game 1? We think so. This whole schedule thing sucks for the fans. Way too long between games. But tonight is finally game 2 and it's time for the Pens to step-up their game and get a 2-0 lead to head into Carolina.


If this doesn't pump you up for the game, we don't know what will:



If you haven't seen any of the other Benstonium videos, do yourself a favor and go to benstonium.com and watch some more. They have a lot of hilarious parody videos that you'll definitely love.



Enjoy the game. Go Pens!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pens take Game 1


(AP)

What a way to start a series. A win and a big game from Marc-Andre Fleury. We don't think the Pens played their best game but they held on to beat the Canes 3-2. By no means are we saying they played badly, we just feel they have more in them, especially from the defense.

(AP)

The Staals would start the game on the ice together. In case you didn't know, they're brothers. Remember that. The game started out fast, no easing into this series. Both teams had chances and both goalies were good, especially MAF. He was sharp early and the game could have easily gone the Canes way by one or two goals without those awesome saves. How he does it we'll never know because we'll never have that flexibility or athleticism.

The Canes would take two penalties back-to-back to give the Pens four minutes with the man-advantage but the Pens wouldn't score. Then it was the Canes turn on the power play. Fleury would make some amazing saves to keep the score 0-0. Miroslav Satan would come out of the box and get the puck on a breakaway leaving him one-on-one against Cam Ward. We kind of held our breath and to be honest, didn't expect a goal there. But wow, what a move by Satan to score on Ward. Pens up 1-0.

(AP)

Geno decided that one goal wasn't enough for the Pens. A little over a minute later Geno would put a backhander behind Ward to make the game 2-0 just like that. Mom and Dad were proud. Please tell us they'll be in Carolina too.

(AP)

Marc-Andre Fleury was still on in the second period when he made another big save. But you knew the Canes were going to score eventually and they did with a little under seven minutes left in the second period. Pens up 2-1. But a little over two minutes later and you're getting nervous because it appeared the Canes scored again to tie the game. Not so fast. You can't come to the net and completely run over a defenseman and force him into the goalie and then score. Goaltender interference was called as it should have been. No goal. The Pens would have a power play but no goal.

This is where things get more fuzzy. We take notes or we'd be able to write nothing now because we'd forget pretty much everything. But then we start to suck at taking notes and have to think, WTF happened? Yeah, we know, fail. We should just live blog every game, we might be better at that.

As for some things we remember, Geno had a breakaway with over twelve minutes left in the third and was denied by Cam Ward. Unfortunately this wasn't much of a surprise because Geno, for whatever reason, just isn't good at one-on-one situations. Maybe he should just do the whole slapshot from in close like in last year's playoffs against Philly and work on that over the summer. We still love you Geno.

The Pens would get a power play and keep their streak of scoring a power play goal in six, now seven, straight games alive. Philippe Boucher would score to put the Pens up 3-1. The Pens would give the Canes a power play with a little over two minutes left in the game. Not a good move. This is the Canes team that likes to score big goals late, no need to give them more opportunity. Unfortunately they would get another goal to cut the lead to 3-2 with a little over a minute left. Fortunately, the Pens held the Canes off and won 3-2.

Series 1-0 Pens. Looks good to us.



- The game was pretty entertaining with some fast hockey but we don't think we saw the best out of the Pens. We won't speak on the Canes because we haven't watched them enough, but it's not like they played badly. The Pens defense could be a bit better and we expect the power play to look better as the series goes on. We also felt there were a few lazy, sloppy issues but nothing alarming by any means.

- Baseball is going to drive us absolutely nuts. We had to wait for what felt like forever for the Pirates game to end and then the post-game show to end. It's now midnight and the Pens post-game show just got over. We know people still like the Pirates and we always watch how they're doing, but when there's playoff hockey going on, we don't want to see Pirates baseball. Yeah, they beat the worst team in the NL, congrats. And even better yet, there's baseball Thursday and Saturday for the next games. Yee-haw! Just turn over to FSN after the game for the Pens post-game. Yeah right.

- Were we the only ones who saw a few "dirty" things going on? It wasn't a lot and we suppose it happens all the time but we guess we're in the mindset that we're not playing the Flyers or even the Caps. We should probably feel lucky for that.

- A little bit on the same line, Eric Staal decided to shove Fleury's stick away more than once before they scored their goal. Most people, including Fleury, thought that should have been a penalty. Yeah, we know, they can't catch them all but if it leads to a goal it's a little upsetting.

- We'll have to find the video of Marc-Andre Fleury in the post-game press conference. What an accent first of all, and second he was a little confused on whether to use the word bum when describing that late save on Eric Staal. No guarantees on tonight though, we have to go soon.

- Big Ben was in the house praising Sidney Crosby. Was it just us or did Ben look...a little chubby in the face? Someone been eating too much cheesecake? James Farrior was also in the house but of course Versus wouldn't show you that. Seth said in his live blog that Ben got a nice applause but Farrior received the better of the two. Hmmm? The Steelers, minus James Harrison, will head to the White House on Thursday. If you haven't read his quotes on this, we'll try to find them later. Kind of weird and doesn't make a whole lot of sense.


How are we supposed to wait until Thursday for the next game?! What a cruel schedule.

Go Pens!

Greetings from Pittsburgh


We were in Pittsburgh last week and took a few pictures along the way that we thought we'd share and they are now all resized for your viewing pleasure. The disclaimer here is that we are definitely not professional photographers by any means and we did just get a new camera that we'd only used for a few days so please be kind. There are also a few shots we took from a semi-moving vehicle and it's hard to line up a good shot when there's traffic around.

If you're anything like us and don't have the pleasure of living in Pittsburgh, you like any pictures that take you there. Whether you had to leave, have never been there but feel connected somehow, or you're like us and always feel more at home there than your real home, these pictures are for you. Enjoy.






Some young Carolina Panthers fan and his friend were calling Art Colonel Sanders. Eh.






The banners on Consol Energy Center

Consol Energy Center from Mellon Arena


Spray painted on the pavement all around Mellon Arena


We had an appointment in the city last Monday and our way back out of town we were going to stop at the store at Mellon Arena, PenStation. We turned up the road to get there and saw a bunch of people and a fancy BMW leaving the player's parking lot. It was Max Talbot. We didn't know the schedule for the morning skate, which wouldn't have mattered because we had to be at the appointment, but just as we got there Max was leaving. We finally got to get out and just missed Sidney Crosby. Ahhh! We guess Marc-Andre Fleury had been right before that as well. Ahhh! If the lady at the office just would've have hurried it up and the doctor wasn't late we would have had an even better experience. We did manage to get a few pictures of players leaving. We didn't have the best location but it was still a fun experience anyway.

The back of Jordan Staal


Jordan's ride

Pascal Dupuis and some nice Tom Clark Auto employees picking up his ride



Mike Zigomanis

Flip flops were a popular footwear item, most of the guys had them on

Petr Sykora
We actually said hi to him and he was very polite and smiled while he responded


Kris Letang
We also spoke to Kris and told him good luck. He was also nice and waved and smiled. Even though the Pens didn't win that night, he did score a goal. You'll see in the picture below that he got out to sign autographs for everyone and take pictures. All other guys stopped and signed autographs as well except Jordan Staal.




Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero waving at the fans who were cheering. They walked right down the street and over to the hotel pictured at the bottom. Lunch maybe?



And a woodchuck for good measure.


Hockey stuff later. Can't wait for the game.

Go Pens!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pens to face Canes in Eastern Conference Final


(Getty)

What an end to the Bruins and Hurricanes game. The Canes pulled it out in overtime and they'll be headed to Pittsburgh to start the series on Monday. We weren't really on one side or the other in this game at all, we saw pros and cons to both. But now it's bring on the Canes. And of course we can't forget that the Staals are brothers. Be prepared to be reminded 11.2 million times per game.

The schedule:

2009 EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Monday, May 18 at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, TSN, RDS
Thursday, May 21 at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, TSN, RDS
Saturday, May 23 at Carolina, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Tuesday, May 26 at Carolina, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
* Friday, May 29 at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
* Sunday, May 31 at Carolina, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
* Tuesday, June 2 at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS

What is up with this schedule? Why so many two day breaks? More Yanni concerts? That has the potential to make us go nuts.

On a brighter note, the Pens don't have any games on NBC while the Hawks vs. Wings series has two. Yeah! That means no Pierre McGuire and the big screen will be up and running outside Mellon Arena. Double yeah!

Get ready.

Go Pens!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yinz Luv 'Da Guins Game 7


Here it is:



We were asked to do a live game blog for game 7 and declined for a few reasons but the option is still out there for the next round. We'd like to know if anyone is interested in us doing that. We would use this to do it. It looks pretty cool and includes features like commenting and polls and you don't even have to sign up for anything. Let us know if you'd be interested in us doing something like this in the next round.

Pens advance to Eastern Conference Final


(AP)

Wooooooo! We don't know if we can say that enough. What a way for the Pens to end this series. After having a chance to finish this series on home ice in game 6, even though they played well enough to win, we were nervous. This was game 7 and who would have thought it would have been any different than the other six games that were decided by one goal or overtime with the exception of game 4? This series was up and down through six games, like anyone really thought a 6-2 Pens win was that probable. Caps fans are stunned and a lot of Pens fans are too, but in a good way. Bring on Boston or Carolina!




- What a game. Geno may have been the best player, in our opinion, during the regular season but Sidney Crosby is on a whole other level than anyone else right now. He has really brought a lot to the table in the playoffs, especially this series. People want to say that Sidney Crosby isn't a goal scorer but he sure showed he can be. What a competitor. He makes big things happen in big-time games. There is no doubt that if we had to start a team we would pick Crosby for this fact alone. His drive and play-making ability are unreal.

- One of the biggest things, if not the biggest, was Fleury's save on Ovechkin about three minutes into the game. Ovie is not our favorite player to say the least but he has one heck of a shot you have to respect. All we could think was oh no when he got that breakaway but what a save. Absolutely ridiculous. This is exactly what Fleury needed to do and he did it. So for those of you who dislike him and his "crappy" play, what do you have to say now? This game could have gone a whole different direction had Ovie scored. That just took the life right out of a lot of people in that building. Fleury was smiling that familiar smile after that one. He deserved it. We say it again, what a save.



- Speaking of Ovie, we just have to say we don't get all the hype. We don't get the chance to see a whole lot of other hockey teams on a regular basis but after watching Ovie for seven games we just don't get it. Like we said before, he has one heck of a shot that you have to respect and he's a big threat from anywhere on the ice. That's great and everything but how about a well-rounded player? Ovechkin does not play defense on either end of the ice. He stands around near the faceoff circle and waits for someone to get him the puck so he can take a shot. Yeah, one heck of a shot, we know, but maybe try playing a little defense? Or battle for pucks along the boards. Something! Did you see him try to go after Crosby on his breakaway from Ovie's turnover? No. Do something! We just find that ridiculous to be quite honest.

- Oh wait, Ovie does do something else, he takes runs at people. WTF? We can't say the Gonchar hit was accidental and his leaving his feet to hit people isn't either. It's called charging and why isn't it called? Cuz he's Alexander Ovechkin, which makes the league look bad in our opinion and in others'. Last night while he tried to take out Malkin, Geno was too smart for him and avoided his hit. Funny, right? But since he missed Geno, he hit his own teammate Nicklas Backstrom. Funnier. Way to go Ovie!



- Ovie said he told Sidney Crosby that he wished him good luck and to go win the Cup. Does anyone really think he meant that? Yeah so we don't like Ovie but like any competitor who is constantly matched up against someone else while the debate rages as to who the best player in the world is and you want the other person to win the Cup before you? Especially when you have an ego bigger than the state of Texas. Yeah, we doubt it. Maybe he was being nice and meant it. Or maybe not. And by the way, who's the better player? We think Crosby answered that during this series.

- Alexander Semin made those famous comments about Crosby and how he doesn't see anything special there. Who showed up during this series? It sure wasn't Semin. And if there's nothing special about someone who did all that Crosby did during this series, we don't know what to say.

- The Pens played really disciplined hockey last night and allowed the Capitals not even one power play. We can't say we saw anything that the Pens did to deserve a penalty but we still can't believe that one wasn't called at some point. Crazy. But we like it. The Pens meanwhile had four power play chances and scored on two of them.

- Gonchar coming back had to have been huge for the team. After thinking he might be out for the rest of the season, he plays in game 7. Big uplift for the team there.

- Miroslav Satan has played really well since being put into the lineup. This is a guy who was sent to WBS because of poor play. With Sykora being out of the lineup because of poor play, Satan really stepped up. He looked better than we've ever seen him. He may not have all the stats to prove that but he really chipped in. And what about Craig Adams scoring a goal? Eight seconds after Crosby's opening goal at that. Definitely secondary scoring there.

- We felt a little bad for Varlamov who was pulled after the fourth Pens goal. He did way more than anyone probably expected of him in the Caps run up to this point. He sure kept his cool throughout the majority of this series and last series and the Pens finally got to him. He by far should not be blamed for this series loss. He definitely looks like a player who will be in the league for a long time.

- It was nice to see Dan Rooney in the house up in Mario's suite. He looked like he was enjoying himself. It's nice that the Pittsburgh sports franchises support each other. Mike Tomlin is seen fairly often at games in his white Sidney Crosby jersey with his children and many players go to games. A lot of the Pens players supported the Steelers in their quest for the Lombardi. Even the Pirates get in on the mix with a few players watching the Pens, while the Pens and Steelers enjoy a Pirates game or two at PNC Park. The place is beautiful, you really can't blame them.

Geno's post-game interview:



What English from Geno. 



That's all for now. We'll get those pictures we promised up soon. We found out the pictures need to be downsized so we'll have to go through them and do it. Take a breather, watch the other two games, and get ready for round three.

Go Pens!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wooooooo!


(AP)

Wooooooo! What a series and what a game. Totally unexpected considering how close this series was but the Penguins come out on top. What a save by Marc-Andre Fleury. Goodbye Ovie.

More later.

Game 7


Can you handle a game 7? We're going to try.

Sorry we haven't been around. We were out of town. We'll be back later today. We'll have some pictures for those of you who, for whatever reason, are like us and don't spend your days in Pittsburgh. Or those of you who had to leave and miss it. Or those of you who have never even been to Pittsburgh but feel tied to it because of a sports team. We tried our best to showcase some of the best of the 'Burgh and of course that includes the Pens. (We just missed Sidney Crosby! Details later)


Yinz Luv 'Da Guins:



Go Pens!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pens win in OT, lead series 3-2


(AP)

Wooooooo! What a game. Secondary scoring once again and Geno comes through for the win. Take that Ovie.

A few things:

- Matt Cooke scoring was great. Jordan Staal scoring was great.

- How insane is Feds right now? We don't know what he did but he needs to keep doing it because he's getting goals and a ton of shots.

- Malkin's parents in the house a coincidence? We think not. Geno says they're good luck. We believe him.

- Rob Scuderi continued to play good defense against Ovie.

- Can you believe the Pens were down 2-0?!

- Time to end this Monday in Pittsburgh so we can see Ovie cry.



Sorry for the lack of a good post but we have to end it here. We have to get up in the morning early for a busy couple of days. Unfortunately we won't have computer access until Monday night so nothing from us until then. Enjoy the game on Monday night, it's time to take care of business at home. Go Pens!

Latest episode of Yinz Luv 'Da Guins:



Look for another episode soon. We won't be here to post it on time. You can view them at the Yinz Luv 'Da Guins myspace.

We just saw on NHL Network that TSN is reporting that Gonchar is out for several weeks with a knee injury. Bad news for the Pens. It was nice to see Gogo back though.

Go Pens!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pens win Game 4, Tie series at 2




Wooooooo! We hope we get to start two more posts like that because we have a series. The Pens once again played strong and beat the Caps 5-3 to tie the series at 2-2. Things didn't look good less than a minute into the series when Fleury let in a pretty soft goal and just like that the Caps were up 1-0. The Pens wouldn't stay down for long though and on a power play, Gonchar shot a slapper from the blue line to tie it up at 1. From there on out the Pens played pretty damn well, including holding Alexander Ovechkin to only two shots. When has that ever happened? The Pens would end up getting five goals from five different players including Bill Guerin and Max Talbot.

Short recap from us and probably like that for the next game or two. Gotta get some sleep for a busy couple of days.



- Have the Pens figured out Varlamov? His coach thought four of his five goals were questionably soft. This is the first game in the post-season he's allowed more than three goals. With a game tonight less than 24 hours after last night's, we're hoping they have or that fatigue will be an issue. Time to steal a game on Washington ice.

- Alexander Ovechkin's knee to knee hit on Sergei Gonchar was obviously a topic of discussion. Ovie isn't exactly an angel on the ice and has been known to take runs at people. Was this one of those times? He's friends with Gonchar so you could argue it was an accident based on that but to us that's not enough to say Ovie wouldn't do it. It sure looked like he stuck his leg out to us and at the very least it should have been a knee on knee penalty. Instead he gets a tripping penalty. What a joke. The league will review it and decide if any action should be taken. He better at least get fined for that. We highly doubt they'll suspend him only for the fact that he's AO, which is sad.

- Gonchar's loss will be felt but the Pens can still win without him. Someone has to step up. The Pens have the momentum going into Washington and they need to keep it that way. Hopefully the injury isn't as bad as it seems.

- The Pens getting goals from five different players is extremely promising. They were having trouble getting scoring from anyone not named Crosby. The whole team needs to contribute in order for them to be successful. We now need Kunitz to get a goal.

- What is it with Max Talbot and big goals? He sure knows when to score them. He's not who you think of to get you a big goal but he sure can come through for you. He had a couple of chances before he scored the Pens' fifth goal to put the game away and he said Geno shook his head at him. We think Geno forgave him after that goal.

- The Pens holding Ovie to only two shots is pretty amazing. That doesn't happen very often.

The Pens need to ride the momentum into Washington for Game 5 and keep getting to net and throw as many shots at Varlamov as possible. Taking the game in Washington could be the end of this series and the chance for the Pens to clinch at home.


Go Pens!
 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Game 4


(AP)

We're hoping the end of the game looks like the above picture and the Pens can tie this series at two. Their play up to game three was promising but promising play doesn't win games. Game three the play was more than promising, it was dominating. If the Pens can match their play from Wednesday night, their chances of tying this series up at home looks more than promising. Varlamov is the only real reason for the Pens lack of domination on the scoreboard, but if they can keep getting as many shots on him as they have been, he'll have to give up something. Maybe the Pens can even get into his head a little bit after being so calm in the first three games.

The Pens need to stick to their game and keep it simple but play aggressive and wear the Caps down. Playing in the offensive zone can draw penalties and keep the puck away from Ovie. It also forces Ovie to consider playing a little defense. We all know that probably won't happen though. Here's to hoping for another whiny press conference from Ovie after the game.





We're trying not to laugh at this but it's kind of hard. Someone (a 17-year-old from Chambersburg) at the Penguins message boards threatened to kill Alexander Ovechkin saying "I'm killing Ovechkin. I'll go to jail. I don't care anymore." Now by no means are we saying that a death threat is in any way, shape or form funny but we're pretty sure that's not the first time someone has said that. These days you just never know but we highly doubt anyone is annoyed by him that much. The Caps turned this comment over to authorities to look into. We're pretty sure Ovie will be just fine.

For The Pensblog's take on this story, please go here. Trust us, it's hilarious. Like always.

Is it a precedent that those in the Caps organization have to be rude? Caps owner Ted Leonis has a blog and was complaining about Pittsburgh and Mellon Arena. He also doesn't like the white out. He wants to know why not a blue out, a yellow out, or a black out. How many times have we discussed this? Black does not work for two reasons. One being that goalies can't see the puck and two it makes it look like no one is in the arena. A blue out is just a bad idea. A gold out might look awesome though. He also doesn't like towels. Hello, ever heard of the Terrible Towel? What looks cooler than a stadium full of people waving Terrible Towels? Exactly. So why not twirl towels in Mellon Arena? The whole scene looks awesome. Someone also mentioned before that Pittsburghers know how to twirl their towels. We think he's just jealous.

As for rude Caps, Ovie thinks you suck. We'll see who sucks after this series.

Go Pens!



Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yinz Luv 'Da Guins


The latest episode of Yinz Luv 'Da Guins. Jim does a nice impression of Ovie.




Go Pens!

Pens make series 2-1


(Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

Wooooooo! What a game. The Pens by far outplayed the Caps but once again, Varlamov kept them in it. How many chances were the Pens going to miss out on? So frustrating! It was nice to see them dominating play, but at the end of the day all that matters is the score. Thank goodness Kris Letang scored the goal in OT. We don't know how much more we could take. Our hearts were pounding out of our chests. The Pens just did not deserve to lose that game. Especially when the Caps' first goal was what it was. Eh, we don't even want to talk about it.

But we kinda will anyway. To start the game, less than two minutes in, the puck took a weird bounce off the boards behind Marc-Andre Fleury and came out right to Ovie. 1-0 just like that. What a mood killer. Right away it seemed like it might not be the Pens night once again.

Later in the first the Pens started putting the heat on Varlamov and steadily taking over the game. Crosby had a nice chance at the end of the period but then some idiot got scared and decided to dislodge the net on purpose by pushing it. Uh, hello?! The Pens would get a power play and this is where we started writing CHANCES! AHHH! in our notes and that would continue throughout the night.

The power play transferred into the second period and the Pens had some good chances but they just couldn't get one behind Varlamov. But with 10:31 left in the second period, the Pens would finally get a goal. Talbot created a nice chance and passed the puck to Feds on a 2-on-1. Feds tried to pass the puck to Talbot but a defenseman blocked that with his stick. The puck bounced off his stick and right to Feds who put it behind Varlamov. Talbot and Letang with the assists. The Pens would get a couple more power plays but would fail to score.

The Pens had another power play that carried over into the third but they would fail to capitalize once again. Although they were still putting the pressure on Varlamov. We would once again be writing CHANCES! AHHH! The Pens got a power play with 5:50 left in the third and guess would step up? GENO! He was doing things all night but none better than his power play goal. Crosby and Gonchar got the assists but Bill Guerin deserved one for screening Varlamov on that shot. Pens up 2-1 and all they have to do is play smart and keep the Caps off the board. Not so fast. Versus announcers made us believe the Pens were getting yet another power play, which was awesome because with 2:28 left, that would just about run down the clock. Here's the not so fast part, Backstrom would bounce a puck off of Fleury's pad and into the goal. Tie game. Ah crap.

Overtime is where you start to hold your breath. Sudden death. Next goal wins. The Pens would get a power play early on in the first overtime period because of a delay of game. Once again, they had CHANCES! but nothing was going in. By now we're freaking out. We can't handle all this. Way too nerve wracking. With 8:37 left in the first overtime period, Kris Letang would hit a slapper that would bounce off a Caps defensemen and behind Varlamov. Game. Wooooooo!



- The Pens out-shot the Caps 42-23. Hard to believe the game was as close as it was with stats like that. Maybe the Pens are starting to get to Varlamov. With that many shots, game after game, they should.

- Kris Letang didn't look good all night. Every time he got the puck he was fumbling with it, fanning on shots, and not handling passes. And then he comes up with the game winner. Amazing. We forgive whatever he did the rest of the game.

- The Pens truly outplayed the Caps. They were dominate all over the ice. This game should have been a blowout, but their goalie kept them in it. Hopefully the Pens can keep getting a lot of shots on him and maybe he'll break.

- Geno had an amazing game. We don't think he's been horrible like some other people, but he obviously was tired of hearing that he sucked because he sure stepped up. Mom and Dad Malkin sure were happy for their son. And Malkin owning Ovie during the game: priceless.

- Speaking of Ovie, this video is a must watch. We're sure there's better video but for now this is what we have. Ovie complaining during his press conference and acting like a big, whiny baby. Pathetic. Have you ever seen Sidney Crosby act like that? No. Get over it Ovie, you were outplayed. Which also brings to light that he was pretty quiet last night. Rob Scuderi did a good job defending him.

- Brooks Orpik sending Ovie flying?! AWESOME! Ovie goes for the hit and Orpik shows him who's boss. Not much better than that.

- Max Talbot brought some life to Geno's line. We liked it.

- What a nerve-wracking game. But we'll take those the rest of the series if it means the Pens win.

Last night's game was really promising. The Pens dominated even if the score doesn't make it seem like it. If the Pens can keep getting a lot of shots on Varlamov, a couple are bound to go in. If the Pens only put a couple of those chances behind him, this game would have been over. The momentum has shifted and the Pens need to keep it on their side.



Go Pens!



And Remember:

We have some Versus hockey stuff to give away! We'll randomly select a few winners to receive a Versus hockey merchandise pack. If you're interested in entering please send us an e-mail at faceoffsandfirstdowns @ gmail.com with GIVEAWAY as the subject. Please include your full name and address where it can be sent. We'll pick the winners Wednesday at NOON so please send your e-mail before then. Thanks!

EDIT: We will take entries until THURSDAY at NOON. Also, if you don't want to send your full address to enter, send us an e-mail and if you are chosen we will contact you to get your address.

Also our 350th post!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Woooooooooooo!




(Both AP)

Pens win a thriller in overtime 3-2. Kris Letang had the game winning goal. Series is now 2-1. We're all over this thing.

Go Pens!

More later.