Pretty bad day for sports all around. All Star break so not much going on the baseball front, but the NHL schedule was just released. The Penguins will open up the final season at the Mellon Arena against the New York Rangers on October 2nd. Here is where you can find the schedule.
Taking a quick glace at the schedule you will notice that the Penguins play a good bit of back to back games (14 to be exact) and that they play a lot of road trips. Six road trips account for 25 of their games. A closer looks sees that the Penguins will play the Red Wings in a home and home series again this year. That should be a good one. It also shows that Anaheim, Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Phoenix will all visit the Igloo and it will give us a chance to thank Marion Hossa.
The Penguins also signed Ben Lovejoy and Tim Wallace to the roster today. Solid move. Lovejoy will definatly be needed this year and Wallace has NHL experience that will probably be vital to another Cup run. Way to go Ray.
Well, the All Star game was last night and it was actually a very good game. I was able to find the game on an internet site and watch a pretty good streaming video of the entire game. If you are interested here is the game recap and here is the box score.
Neither of our Buccos got into the game. With the winner of this game getting home field advantage we can assume that nobody wants a Pirate in the game to "mess it up" for the teams that might actually make the final showdown. The National League was pretty solid all game. After falling behind 2-0 they came back strong and put a three spot up in the bottom of the second. That was directly result of the bottom of their lineup. I do not know if you recall but I did proclaim that the bottom of the NL lineup would be the reason they won (they didn't win but I did say they would be a factor).
The one gripe I have about the game this year was in the eighth inning when Ryan Howard was brought on to pinch hit for Padres pitcher Heath Bell. There were runner on first and third (eventually second and third with a stolen base by Orlando Hudson) and two out with the NL down by one. Now if there is only a runner on first I can see Howard coming into the game. Homerun hitter, two outs, need a big gap shot. But with a runner on third and eventually a runner on second also why the hell was he at the plate. He saw zero strikes and yet managed to strike out. I know this might sound homerish, and hell it might even be, but Freddy Sanchez has a ton better chance of putting the ball in play than Ryan Howard. Howard has struck out 103 times in his 331 at bats this season. That works out to 31% of his at bats where he does not even put the ball in play. Freddy has struck out more than half of that and is hitting 50 point higher than Howard. A single scores two, and possibly wins the game. K-Rod comes on and shuts the door. Terrible decision.
Great articles on the ESPN blogs also about Big Ben as he relates to Eli Manning. ESPN AFC North blogger James Walker and ESPN NFC East blogger Matt Mosley. Here is Walker's initial take, and here is Mosley's rebut to Walker. This one is a KO in the second round for Walker. Nice job. Make sure you read that. Really good information about Ben.