Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's sooooooo cold in the D

Pretty successful day to be a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. Detroit comes to town and the Penguins, for the most part, had their way with them.

If Chris Osgood was in net today the Penguins would have won by nine. Jimmy Howard was in net and he did a great job getting the Red Wings a point in the game. Howard folded a little in the shoot out where he was owned pretty well by Bing and Geno, but then again who wouldn't be.

Here are the game highlights thanks to GhostWalker40:



and from the shootout



Man Bing is dirty. Or I guess he is called Cindy Rosby in Detroit? Is that still the cool thing to call him?

Good win for the Penguins as the Devils fell to the Kings 3-2 today. Currently the Penguins hold two games in hand on New Jersey and they are three points back, so it is not as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago.

The Penguins have six more games to play before the Olympic break and that will continue tomorrow with the Buffalo Sabres.

On to more of the game

-The defense played really well only giving up 21 shots, 11 through two periods.

-MAF was pretty solid all game. Didn't get tested a great deal but did what he had to do to win.

-I think it is impossible for MAF to get a shutout. Absolutely impossible.

-NBC was an absolute joke again. I found out via [SLBD] during the day that in certain markets, namely WBS, that the Penguins/Wings game was not being shown and instean a 700 Club Marathon was being shown. What a joke.

-I think we have all (and by all I mean all hockey fans, Penguins or not) takin a lot of crap from CBS, so if you went into SLBD's link you can get all the contact info for the NBC people but if you are too lazy the contact info will be posted here to incase you want to let me know how you feel.

NBC: comment line 212-664-2333
NBC: 1-818-840-4444

Jeff Zucker 212-664-4444
jeff.zucker@nbcuni.com
President NBC Entertainment
c/o NBC-TV
3000 West Alameda Ave.
Burbank., CA 91523

Dick Ebersol
212-664-2014
dick.ebersol@nbcuni.com

Ken Schanzer
212-664-2014
ken.schanzer@nbcuni.com


Sabres in like five minutes.

Penguins Game Day 56 - vs. Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings

12:30 PM, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA


This is the first matchup of the season between the two Stanley Cup finalist. The Mellon Arena will be rocking. What could ruin this? Having the game on NBC. No pregame. Early start on a weekend. Terrible game production. What a joke.

No preview.

Just Do it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bloggin Update

As you may have noticed I have been pretty much MIA over the past week or so outside of doing some game day posts for the Penguins.

There hasn't been a lot going on around here so I didn't feel the need to just throw some crap up there just to say that I did.

I have, however, have been working on a huge four part season ending wrap up of the Steelers. I will be throwing it up on the blog starting on Tuesday.

The Penguins play on Sunday and Monday and then they are off Tuesday-Friday so I will be posting each of the four parts during the off days.

I didn't forget about you guys, I will be back with some sweet stuff next week. See everyone then

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Penguins Game Day 55 - vs. Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators

7:00 PM, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA



The Penguins will return to the ice for their first game since the win at MSG on Monday. Ottawa has been straight rollin lately. They have won their last seven games and are 7-3-0 in their last ten events. Ottawa is only five points behind the Penguins with both having played 54 games.

This will be the third meeting between these two teams. The Penguins have won two of those contests with the last one being a huge night for Geno in an 8-2 route on December 23.



The Penguins took home the first game of the series 4-1 on October 12.



The Senators bounced back and got a 6-2 win on November 19.



The statistical breakdown of the two teams looks like this:



This is what the Pens lineup looks like:

Forwards

Dupuis-Crosby-Guerin
Johnson-Malkin-Fedotenko
Cooke-Staal-Adams
Rupp-Talbot-Conner

Defense

Orpik-Gonchar
McKee-Skoula
Eaton-Letang

Netminder

Fleury

GoGo is once again a scratch along with TK who will sit down tonight with an unspecified injury. Good news is that Dad will be back in the lineup and Kunitz will be back in "1-2 weeks" according to Disco. Godard, however, will be out of the lineup for the next 4-6 weeks with what is said to be a banged up groin. Not good.

Real big game today hopefully the Penguins can do the same thing they did as they did when the Senators were in town the last time before Christmas.

Do it.

One of our own on ESPN



Anytime you can get Steelers fans on ESPN it is a great time. We did. That is right, Steve from One For The Other Thumb was on an ESPN insider look in above. He went to some Saints/Vikings bar that was slit down the middle. Not a lot of smack talk in there, just imagine if that was a Steelers/Ravens bar for last years AFCC game. Death tolls woulda been in the hundreds.

Enjoy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Penguins Game Day 54 - @ NY Rangers

New York Rangers

7:00 PM, Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

The Penguins will try to build off the win in Philadelphia and play against the New York Rangers in the MSG. God I hate MSG.

Here is the lineup from the Penguins website:

Forwards
Dupuis-Crosby-Conner
Fedotenko-Malkin-Johnson
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Rupp-Adams-Godard

Defense
Gonchar-Orpik
McKee-Skoula
Eaton-Letang

Netminder
Fleury



That is right, MAF is back. This will be a nice game to have him back for. GoGo and Dad will be out of tonight's game. Might not be terrible for them to take some time off. GoGo hasn't been playing all that well so it might not be bad for him to watch a little bit of hockey and although Skoula has been subpar this year maybe something good will come of this. Hopefully neither Guerin or GoGo is seriously hurt.

This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams this season with the Penguins winning all three of those contests.

Here is the Penguins 3-2 win in the Igloo for opening night:



Here is the Penguins 8-3 win on November 28 in Pittsburgh:



Aaaaaaaaaaaaand the Penguins win on November 30 win at MSG:



Here is your comparison:



Do it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

At Home in Philly, Pens Win

The Penguins officially took the season series from the Philadelphia Flyers today at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA. With one game left in the series the Penguins now hold a 4-1 record this season and seal that up. With the Flyers creaping up the standings this was a big statement game that the Penguins were still the Stanley Cup Champions and this was going to be nothing like the 7-4 romp that the Flyers put on the Penguins on January 7.

Before the game even started we are graced by the great NBC pregame show for the game. For the record it was an infomercial on how to cook and chop celery or something stupid like that. The intro comes in to say that they are indeed in Philadelphia for a hockey game then straight to commercial. Come back get and interview with Pronger (I think), skip the anthem and then the puck drops. What a joke. It is a crying shame that the Penguins have to play on NBC the next couple Sunday's in ver good games (Detroit, Washington) and have to watch and listen to the horseshit that they put on the air waves.

Back to the game. The first period was all Flyers. They got a lot of good looks on net and outshot the Penguins 10-5 in the period. The Flyers got on the board first with a power play goal on a pretty nice play by Jeff Carter. The puck went in behind and actually was sitting on the back of the net but Carter was able to hit the net, knocked the puck on the ice then bank it off goaltender Johnson for the goal. Barf.



I am actually surprised the Flyers fans knew how cheer for their team because most of the time they boo the other team or start chants about one of the top scorers in the leauge. Jokes.

Things looked like they were going to take a slow way into the period but a huge turn of events changed the pace of this game. Mike Richards actually decided to show up to the hockey game and gets a goal but as they were celebrating we see that the goal might not count. As Richards was about ready to shoot there was a whistle for a delayed penalty. Away from the play Simon Gange actually put Geno Malkin in a bear hug to got called for roughing and a high stick. Geno also went to the box. What a terrible play by Gange.

So the goal comes off the board and the Penguins go on the power play. The Flyers paid. Sarge. Downtown. Cash.



The first period was full of penalties. The referee's were bad both way. A lot of dives and a lot of calls that should not have been made. They were about as big of a joke as NBC is with their hockey broadcast. It wasn't even like one team was getting jobbed a lot, it was all around for everyone.

The second period was a polar opposite of the first. A lot of open hockey and not a lot of whitsles. The Penguins had almost all of the chances in the period and out shot the Flyers 11-5 in the period.

The third period was a little bit of both teams. Great defensive hockey kept this a 1-1 game and Emery and Beej were keeping their teams in it with timely saves. Beej really stepped his shit up after hearing earlier in the week how MAF might play but Beej balled up.

The game would not be complete without a full on scrum and we got that about half way though the period. After the Penguins come into the zone offsides Harnell comes up and grips up Malkin and everyone sort of gets into it.



What was most shocking abotu this was that there was no power play awarded. If you watched the game you saw joke Arron Asham be the third man in on one of those scrums and start throwing punches while a Penguin was laying on top of another Flyer as they were tied up. I guess you are allowed to do that though.

The game looked as if it was going to be overtime but the savior of the Flyers 09-10 season, Chris Pronger, threw a puck over the glass for a delay of game with a little over three minues to go in the game. The Penguins get their 6th power play of the game and knock it home. Sarge from the point, between the legs of two defensemen, off Matt Cooke's stick and gets Emery five-hole.





Here is what a Flyer's fan had to say about that delay of game penalty and why it should not have been called: "That was an off aggressive dump and shouldn’t be penalized for it" and that it should be the referees discression on whether to call it or not. Ha, what an excuse.

I guess it is the refs fault when you go 1-of-9 on the power play. I would definatly blame the refs. Sure the refs were really bad today but it was both ways. If the Penguins lost it was b/c they didn't play well enough and capitalize on their opportunities, not because of the officiating.

Thoughts:

-Beej played a really nice game. I felt that the goal he gave up was kinda lazy but you know what if you can give your team that kinda support in net for an entire game you are ok. I said it before but it sucks that MAF isn't playing but it is nice to know we have a quality backup that can come in and get big wins.

-The power play looks good. Malkin is skating all over the place and is everywhere between both half walls, behind the net and the point...Bing and Sarge are moving all over the place and Billy G is in the slot moving. Looks real good and it has shown with six power play goals in the last three games.

-Bing didn't register and official shot but he hit two posts. He is really keyed in. He made an amazing play on the first power play goal in the first period to keep the puck alive for the Pens and earned a secondary assist. Nobody talked about it but that was the main reason we got that power play goal.

-Big game tomorrow against the Rangers. Get these two points. The Devils have been reeling a little bit and are four points up with three games in hand so stringing games would be good. Ottawa is also sneaking up there and the Penguins play them later in the week so it will be interesting.

-The defense finalyl stepped up and played some big time hockey. There were still some turnovers but it was refreshing to see an inspired effort.

-Tanger getting in the mix was good to see too. Gogo got slammed and Tanger took offense to it and went one on one with Darroll Powe and took him down. I like the fight.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Penguins Game Day 53 - @ Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers

12:30 PM, Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, PA


The Penguins are 3-1 against the Flyers this season. The Penguins were able to win the first three contests and dropped the last game at the Mellon Arena.

The Penguins are also 3-0 so far this season against the Flyers. The first of the games was a 5-4 win on October 8:



The second win came at Mellon Arena on December 15 with a 6-1 route:



The third was the back-end of the home and home from December 15, on December 17 in Philadelphia which saw the Penguins best the Flyers 3-2 in a shootout:



The Penguins returned to the Igloo on January 7 when they dropped a 7-4 decision cross state rivals.



The lineup:

Forwards
Dupuis-Crosby-Guerin
Talbot-Malkin-Fedotenko
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Rupp-Adams-Godard

Defense

Gonchar-Orpik
McKee-Goligoski
Eaton-Letang

Netminder
Johnson

That's it. Just do it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Penguins Game Day 52 - vs. Washington Capitals

Washington Capitals
7:30 PM, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA

This is being built up to be one of the best games of the NHL season thus far. It should be all of that and more at the Mellon Arena tonight. The Washington Capitals come to town tonight with AO and his BFF's Mike Green and Alex Semin (insert joke here).

This is the first encounter of these two teams this season. Remember what happened last time?



Or this one:



That hurts.

This should prove to be an amazing game with three of the best players in the NHL today.

It was learned earlier that MAF was put on the IR so looks like Beej is going to be pulling the load for the foreseeable future. Nothing wrong with that, not that I don't want MAF in there but to have a quality backup like Beej makes you feel a whole lot better about it.

The travisty of this whole game? It is not on national TV. What the hell is the NHL thinking? You want to market your game to as many people as you can and you can't put the best three players in the league on the TV when they play each other? Give me a break. Want to see what the NHL's big network is playing during this time?

Yes, that is Wacked Out Sports for an hour then Tin Cup. Tin f'ing Cup. Great movie, don't get me wrong, but is that so important to your programing that you can't boost rating and get people to watch your channel? Direct TV is laughing in your face VS because you can't even show the top NHL contest of the year. Tin Cup. What a joke. No wonder people aren't more into the NHL.

Back to more imporatant things, like the game.

Here are the lines thanks to the Penguins Website:

Forwards

Guerin-Crosby-Kennedy
Fedotenko-Malkin-Johnson
Cooke-Staal-Rupp
Jeffrey-Adams-Godard

Defense

Gonchar-Orpik
McKee-Goligoski
Eaton-Letang

Netminder

Johnson

Dupers is out tonight so Dustin Jeffrey is called up for his cup of coffee and TK will move up to the first like to play along with Bing and Dad while Nick Johnson will play his first Penguins game tonight, and his first game in the NHL. That means Talbot is out and he is considered day-to-day.

Here are some comparisons of the teams:



There it is. Strap up, it's gonna be a good one.

Lets Go Pens

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dotel now a Pirate



It was annouced today by the Pittsburgh Pirates and DK over at the PG that they have (finally) signed Octavio Dotel. All Dotel has to do is come to Pittsburgh and pass a battery of tests (physical) and he could be signed as early as tomorrow afternoon.

Dotel will be entering his 12th season in Major League Baseball and bosts a 3.73 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. Dotel will most likely be the Pirates closer and he has 83 career saves and a 46-39 overall record. Other notable stats include 2.71 K/BB ratio and 11.0 strikeouts per nine innigns pitched.

Dotel will push the Pirates over the limit of the 40 man roster so something will be done. It has been discussed that the Pirates will probably try and deal Brandon Jones who they signed off waivers a few days ago.
The Pirates have really sured up their bullpen this offseaon. They have signed a bunch of arms that have decent numbers so this bullpen, on paper, looks a million times better than last year, but fear not after the Pirates jump out 7-3 in the home opener after seven innings and the pen blows it you will hear the boo birds. I doubt that happens but you know that is what MIGHT happen.

Lets Go Bucs

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eatin Crow...Pens Win



Rob Rossi will be eating crow over the next couple of days. There is some part of me that kinda feels bad for Rob if he ever goes onto Twitter and checks on the messages he was tagged in. Good Lord. He might cry.

Lets get to the real subject at hand, Geno and Sid were just out of their minds tonight. Unreal effort. Both of those guys combinded for five goals and four assists. Sid had six points himself and was a factor in every single goal. Add onto the fact that Sid won 70% of his faceoffs and you have a pretty complete game.

Geno started his scoring early in the second period when he absolute burried a 5-on-3 power play goal. Geno scored twice more in the third period, the first of those being the game winner on another power play goal. His third goal was also a power play goal for the hat trick.

The Islanders were playing very well coming into the game, 7-2-1 in their last 10, and they put up four, count em four, power play goals. 4-for-7 to be exact. Where did this come from? What a game.

On a more serious note I am sure we all hope Pascal Dupuis is alright. He was checked hard, from behind, into the boards by Andy Sutton. Sutton received a five minute mayor for boarding and a 10 minute game misconduct to bat. I really didn't see the replay but I heard it was pretty bad. Dupes was on the ice with a puddle of blood next to him and he didn't look good coming off the ice. I really hope he is ok, not just to play hockey, but as a person.

Brent Johnson was really solid early. He stopped Kyle Okposo three different times on breakaways with one of those being a penalty shot. He gave up four goals tonight but you know what? He won. Ask any goali what he would rather have, a game where you lose but make 55 saves and give up one goal or give up four and win the game? I bet you every single goalie would take the win.

A lot to be said about this game but it's time to get your mind right. Washington and Philadelphia coming up.

Lets Go Pens

Penguins Game Day 51 - vs. New York Islanders

New York Islanders

7:30 PM, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA


The Penguins return home after their five game Western Conference swing as they take on the surprisingly hot New York Islanders team.

Brent Johnson is back in net. Free Candy is close to a return (probably).

Lines:

Forwards
Rupp-Crosby-Guerin
Talbot-Malkin-Fedotenko
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Dupuis-Adams-Godard

Defense
Gonchar-Eaton
McKee-Skoula
Goligoski-Letang

Netminder

Johnson

Comparison:



This is the third time these teams will meet, first time at the Mellon. These two teams have split the first two match ups with the Penguins winning the first 4-3 in a shootout on October 3 and blowing a lead November 27 in a 3-2 loss.

October 3:



November 27:



Nothing more.

Do it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Finally, Bixler GONE

It is truely a great day to be a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. I didn't have to go into work today and so I got to sleep in. When I awoke I got onto Twitter and the first Tweet I see is saying that the Pirates have dealt the shortstop to Cleveland for another minor league player. If you don't believe me, here is the link from DK.

Needless to say most of you know how I feel about Bixler. I actually hated him more than any Pirate ever. He was terrible.

Here are Bixlers stats from his time with the Pirates: 166 plate appearances, 152 at bats, 27 hits, 62 strikeouts, seven doubles, one triple, five RBI in two years.

That is right, 62 strikeouts in 166 plate appearances. What a joke.

The Pirates got Jesus Brito who is a 22 year old shortstop. If you don't think that Jesus is a great name then check out when he was born. That's right, Christmas Day of 1987. What are the chances?

Here are Brito's stats from DK:

Brito, 22, is a 6-foot-1, 160-pound right-handed batter who finished fifth among all minor league players with a .353 combined average in 2009 between rookie ball and Class A. In 224 at-bats, he had 19 doubles, 10 triple, three home runs and 43 RBIs in 60 games. He spent the previous three years in his native Dominican Republic.


Great deal. I mean I just want to know what the hell Cleveland was thinking? Why would you want this kid. Did you just want to get rid of Brito and you picked a Pirate minor league player out of a hat? I have no idea in the world why you would want to trade for Brian Bixler. If we got three bats and a bucket of sunflower seeds back I would have been happy.

Reading the Cleveland papers it was funny to note that they give Bixlers stats but they never mentioned his strikeout total. That is a pretty convenient thing to keep people off your back. Good for you Cleveland, have fun with Bixler striking out 75 times in 125 at bats as your utility guy.

It is a great day. If I could express my joy for this move in words I would, but that is not possible.

Lets Go Bucs

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Penguins Game Day 50 - @ Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks


10:00 PM, GM Place, Vancouver, Alberta


Here are your line combinations thanks to the Penguins Web Site:

Forwards
Rupp-Crosby-Guerin
Talbot-Malkin-Fedotenko
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Dupuis-Adams-Godard

Defense
Goligoski-Letang
Eaton-Gonchar
McKee-Lovejoy

Netminder
Curry

Marc Andre Fleury will be out of the lineup today due to a fractured finger. The fracture occured during the second period of the game with Edmonton but he was able to gut it up and finish the game and get the victory. Not only did MAF get the victory, but he stole the show.

Curry will make his first start of the season for the Penguins. Curry is 2-1 in his career afer making three sarts last year. Curry posted a 2.40 GAA last year also.

Another interesting note is that Mike Rupp will be skating on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Billy Guerin. That is a very interesting move, but I like it. Rupp has been a player that has just found ways to put pucks in thet net. Prior this year his career high was six goals in a season and this year he has 11 through 49 games. Pretty good. He will be the grinder on the first line and I am very excited to see how this goes.

This will be the first, and only, time these two teams will meet this year. They played last year when Vancouver took a 3-1 win at the Mellon on November 22, 2008:





Here is the team comparison so far this year:



Lets Go Pens.

Pirate Signings

I have really not covered the Pirates much as Steelers and Penguins in season kind of takes up most of my free time (and blogging time) but the Pirates have been doing some work this off season and have signed some payers to one year deals. This might be kind of late for most of you but I guess it is better late than never.

The Pirates announced today they they have come to terms with reliever Brendan Donnelly. (Via DK at the PG)

Donnelly comes from Marlins via the Braves last year where he posted a 1.78 ERA in 30 appearances. Donnelly is probably most well known for his time with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In his eight big league seasons he is 29-9 with a 3.02 ERA. He also supports a 2.66 K/BB rate which is pretty good as Pirates relievers in the past have had a propensity to walk batters at the worst time.

The Donnelly deal is said to be a one year deal worth less than a million. That is no confirmed but if that is true then it is a good pick up for the Pirates. I am sure there will be performance incentives in the contract so Donnelly can earn his money if he performs. Isn't that how it should be anyways? Solid signing I think.

The Pirates also signed reliever D.J. Carrasco who will be in the long relief roll. Carrasco had a sub for four ERA last year form the White Sox. Carrasco has a career 4.45 ERA between the White Sox and the Royals in his five major league season.

The Pirates also signed Ryan Church last week to a one year deal. Church will occupy the fourth OF position and be a valuable addition to the team as a solid left handed bat off the bench. Church is a career .272 hitter but does not strike out a whole lot. While Church does not have the power he did in previous years but he is a safe buy low guy for the Pirates. He should be able to give us some good production off the bench this year. Church, like most of our contracts, will be incentive laiden based on the number of plate appearances he gets. Not a bad deal.

The Pirates are also talked to reliever Octavio Dotel, although no deal has been reached yet it has been talked about a lot in Pirate country the past week or so. Dotel would most likely take over the closer roll for the Pirates that was left when Matt Capps left this season (more like the Pirates kicked him to the curb). It will be interesting to follow this.

I wouldn't mind seeing Dotel in the back end. I know he doesn't have the stuff he used to have when he was in Houston and pitching really well but it is definatly a HUGE upgrade over what we had last year when me you and three friends could go out and pitch as well on most game days.

So far this year the Pirates have made a lot of signing and while none of them are huge signings they will help the team in the short term for little rish contract wise. Should be interesting to see how things progress as we go into Spring Training. Mini camp has started so make sure you follow DK over at the PG to follow his posts down there.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Slow Day

Little bit slow after a fast couple of days of sports. It's a Friday, you are at work, you need something to read, nothing is going on and you feel like you are just going to die on the keyboard and last night you witnessed your last Penguins game last night. Well that is how I felt at least. Nothing on today. The Penguins go back into action tomorrow night and Pitt has a game too. There is also some other great basketball match ups as well as NFL Divisional weekend. Should make out for a great weekend of sports.

The Penguins played some hockey last night and got a big deal over a very average Edmonton team. The first period of this hockey game made you reconsider the whole sport. Seven combined shots. Seven. Defensive struggle to say the least.

Edmonton scored two power play goals in the second period and it looked as if the team was just going to lose this game. Yea right.

If there is one thing you should know about the Penguins it is that they are the defending Stanley Cup Champions, they just don't roll over for anyone.

The Guins used three third period goals, all assisted by Jordan Staal and a rock solid effort from Marc Andre for the win. Fleury was just the man in the third period yesterday. Before the Penguins started their comeback he made a save on a breakaway and stopped a 2-on-1 in almost back-to-back possessions. Fleury made 33 saves and should have been one of the three stars. He was the number one star for me in the game.

If you want to know why MAF is a big deal for this franchise then you need to re-watch the game last night.

It was also interesting to find out that MAF fractured his finger last night and will be day-to-day. He came to the bench part way through the third period to get the hand looked at but nobody gave it a second thought. He is a big time player and gutted it up because he wanted this game. What a gammer.

Interesting news today is that Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler turned down a chance to have the defensive coordinator position in Miami. I mean as a linebackers coach you would think that would be a huge promotion to get a job like that.

This is interesting on a lot of fronts. What did Pittsburgh tell Keith to keep him around in a much less role (than being a D-Coordinator)? Did they tell him that the defensive coordinator job is his when LeBeau leaves in the near future? If that is a case that says a lot about the Steelers organization. To turn down a job to wait for another for maybe years to come (who knows how long it will be till Dick retires).

It has already been discussed that LeBeau will probably retire on his own terms and will probably tell the team when he is going to leave rather than the other way around. How long does Keith think this will be? Or did the Steelers and LeBeau give him a soft time table? Who knows.

This is going to be a big keep.

We have to go off the professional sports topic here because we need to give some love to the men's basketball team from the University of Pittsburgh.

Remember at the beginning of the season when Pitt was picked to finish ninth in the Big East. How is that working out?



Oh THAT'S right...

Three wins on the road at Syracuse, at Cincinnati and at UConn. That is a big deal.

Listen, Pitt is a very young team and to go on the road to places such as Syracuse and UConn says a lot about how Jamie Dixon runs this program. He is a top five coach in the country and you can't convince me any different. He gets his team ready and they pull no punches. They play great defense and use their set offense to beat you whether you like it or not.

Coach Dixon uses the strengths of his players and does a great job recruiting. What often gets overlooked in Jamie Dixon's program is that he gets kids that want to be in the system and work on being the best. He can't go out and get McDonald's All Americans like UNC can. Would that be great? Sure. But those players are one or two and done. Dixon keeps his kids for four years. Look at Brad (or Bradley as he was called all game against UConn) Wannamaker. Is he a top tier college basketball player? No. Has he gotten better every year as he learned the system? Yes. Those are reasons why Dixon is a big deal.

This is going to be a fun year for Pitt basketball.

Have a safe night everyone.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Penguins Game Day 49 - @ Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers

9:30 PM, Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta


The Penguins came away with a huge victory last night. MAFer played his balls off. He will be in net again tonight (I think)

Here is your lineup from the Penguins Web Site:

Forwards
Dupuis-Crosby-Guerin
Talbot-Malkin-Fedotenko
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Rupp-Adams-Godard

Defense

Goligoski-Letang
Eaton-Gonchar
McKee-Lovejoy

Netminder
Fleury

I am busy. Short preview today.

Lets Go Pens.

MAF City

The Penguins scored a power play goal. I repeat, the Penguins scored a power play goal. It was the second, and game decider that gave the Pens a 3-1 win in Calgary.

Don't believe me? Here is a picure of the celebration:



MAF was on PCP tonight. He was just out of control. He stole this game fair and square.



Oh yea, Sid is real good.



Suck it.

Trade Staal

Bench MAF

Crosby Sucks

Lets Go Pens

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Penguins Game Day 48 - @ Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames

9:30 PM, Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Canada



The Penguins will start their Canadian road trip tonight when they travel to Calgary to take on Mikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames. When I typed Mikka's last night I can't help but this of this:



The defense was soff.

The Penguins power play is soff.

Speaking of power play, check out this contest from the Pensblog to try and win something. Yes it has to do with the Penguins and the power play.

Hopefully this kid will be in the building:



That is awesome.

I love when the Penguins go out west. Not having NHL Center Ice where I love (and not having the opportunity to have it, which I would get if I could) I do not get to see the west coast teams play a lot. It is very enjoyable hockey. I look forward to this tonight.

This will be the fist, and only, time the Penguins and Flames will meet this season. Last season they met at the Igloo and the Penguins skated away with a 2-0 victory:



Here is your probable lineup thanks to the Penguins website:

Forwards

Dupuis-Crosby-Guerin
Fedotenko-Malkin-Caputi
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Rupp-Talbot-Adams

Defense

Goligoski-Letang
Eaton-Gonchar
McKee-Lovejoy

Netminder

Fleury

Here is the statistical comparison between these two teams:



Lets get a power play goal and a win.

Lets Go Pens.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

News and Notes: Penguins

The Penguins power play continues to struggle. Make no mistake about it, the Penguins power play is a troubling issue.

The Penguins went 0-6 in the 4-3 loss to the Wild, including a stretch that saw the Penguins have a 5-on-3 power play for over a minute. What the hell? I know there are a ton of people out there who have "the solution." You can talk about the movement, the presents in front of the net, the lack of shooting, the lack of people yelling "shoot" on the road, but the fact of the matter is the players have to get their shit together and fix it themselves. You are crazy if you think Geno and Sid stay up at night, watch the Subway Nightly Sports Call and discuss how that is going to help them with the power play.

Word is that after they watch the Nightly Sports Call they go over and watch the Princess Bridge with MAF.

When talking about how bad the Penguins power play is you think of words like terrible and horrific, which shockingly enough is the same words that you think of when you get a VS broadcast. Just as NBC for the Winter Classic you turn on the TV at 7:30 (for the 8:00 start) and you expect to see some kind of pregame since this is the NHL's channel and what do you get? A fishing show. What a joke. I almost had to turn off my TV because of the way the announcers were saying Guillaume Latendresse. Just say the name toolbags, you don't have to draw it out to make yourself seem like it comes naturally to you. Jokes. For the record, I have VS on my TV but that does not take away from the suckiness of it.

Remember when people said that Sid would never be as good as OV because he couldn't score goals? Well...



Sid your thoughts?


Suck it.

Interesting scenario last night when Sergei Gonchar took a five minute interference penalty last night after he went after Wild player Cal Clutterbuck and took him out.



Watch it at the 2:30 mark.

It was a bad decision by Gonchar. Bad timing for the penalty and very uncharacteristic for Sarge to do something like that. What was more shocking was what Clutterjoke said after the game:

"He better hope he retires at the end of the year, I'll tell you that. Somebody's going to hurt him before the end of the year. Someone will. It's not going to be me, but someone will."
(H/T Pensburgh)

Is this dude serious? Get a life.

In other Penguins news it looks as if FSN is going to be under investigation from the NHL for not sending video from this reviewed goal:



Kuklas Korner has the story here


This is going to be a big deal if this is true. I don't know what kinda punishment this would bring but as Seth from Empty Netters said:
"This is the same league which is allegedly still investigating whether or not multi-year contracts signed the likes of Chris Pronger or Marian Hossa just might've been agreed to with the intent of an early retirement by the player. So we fully expect this investigation to handled with the full and complete imcomptence that we've come to expect from the NHL."


For real though this is going to be interesting to see pan out. I am not really familiar if this has ever happened before but I am sure it has. The hammer could come down on FSN if it is found out that they purposely did not send in this video to help out their team. The Penguins lost anyways but that does not take away from what this could really mean in the eyes of the brass upstairs.

In other NHL news it came out that Alex Burros thinks that NHL referee Stephane Auger had a beef against him and gave him a penalty to get him back for making him look bad in a previous game. Here is the story on Puck Daddy. The NHL does not need this. For me, I feel this is a one time thing, if it is true. But if this is a more than a one time thing then it needs to be looked at and taken care of. The NBA went through this, although not the same situation, but I guess nobody really knows what happens on the court/ice/field unless a players steps up and says something. This time a player did.

What will be interesting is what will happen to Burros. Most leagues do not take lightly to bashing referees. I am sure Auger is going to deny this but these are pretty specific accusations. I will be very interested too see the fallout.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Penguins Game Day 47 - @ Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild

7:00 PM, Xcel Energy Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota


The Penguins are coming off a solid performance in Toronto on Saturday and will take on the Minnesota Wild tonight at the Xcel Energy Center. The Penguins were 4-1 winners on Saturday and Sarge returned with a bang and had two goals.

The Penguins have also called up Ben Lovejoy for the road trip. It was reported earlier that Jon Curry was called up, but that has since been retracted. Lovejoy will probably fill in for Orpik as he is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. The Lovejoy call up most likely means Orpik will be out a few days. Lovejoy was called up earlier this year when 75% of the team was hurt and played pretty well. No word on if he will suit up or who he will pair with.

The game will be on Versus. God help us all.

The Penguins and Wild will play for the second, and last time, this season. The Wild came away from the Mellon Arena with a 2-1 win on October 31:



Here is the lineup thanks to the Penguins website:

Forwards

Dupuis-Crosby-Guerin
Fedotenko-Malkin-Caputi
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Rupp-Talbot-Adams

Defense

Orpik-Letang
Eaton-Gonchar
McKee-Goligoski

Netminder

Fleury

Here is what the stat comparison looks like for tonight's game:



Lets Go Pens

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Post Wild Card Observations

I know things have been a little slow lately and I haven't been on here as much, but that is what you get when you fly from Pittsburgh to Alaska. Your whole day/day before is shot with good byes and such.

Well as I get accustomed back into the swing of things up here in the great white north I thought I would fill you all in on the wild card weekend and how awful it was. I know some people say that bad football is better than nothing, but for the most part these playoffs have been a slap in the face to football fans around the world.

As I was making my way through the airports in Pittsburgh/Minnesota/Seattle I was able to catch games and still keep up with what was going on.

The football weekend started on Saturday with the Cincinnati/New York game which was just a microcosm of what was to come for the rest of the weekend. What a terrible game. [Recap] [Box Score] [Game Highlights]

The Bengals were all geeked up for this game and the fans were actually into it. They were real into it until the Bengals fumbled on the third play of the game. Jokes.

This game was just a sloppy game and to be honest neither team looked like they really wanted to win this ball game. Braylon Edwards we can see prepared for this game like a regular season game as he dropped an easy touchdown pass early.

The Jets will not win next week.

The night cap of the wild card Saturday was between the Cowboys and Eagles. Both teams I hate with so much of a passion that it is like they play in the AFC North, but they don't. [Recap] [Box Score] [Game Highlights]

I didn't get to watch a lot of this game until it was well out of hand, but from what I got to see from the second half this was just a matter of Dallas continuing to be hot from their stretch run. They dominated the Eagles last week and that continued last night. The Boys scored on five straight drives in the second quarter to open a 27-7 lead at the half.

As I was coming into the airport the guy who was sitting next to me turned on this phone and threw out the f-bomb as he read the score. I asked what the score was and after he told me I laughed as said I hated the Eagles. I asked where he was from and his words were "Philadelphia, I hate the Steelers." It was worth it.

The Cowboys racked up 426 yards of offense and should be a pretty tough team to play. I don't much care for the Vikings but I hope they beat the shit out of the Cowboys. Some people still proclaim them "America's Team" even though that was their first playoff win since 1996.

The first game Sunday was just as bad as the other three between another two teams I hate, the Pats and Ravens. [Recap] [Box Score] [Game Highlights]

This was a really tough game to watch, and not just because I hate both of these teams just as much as Philadelphia and Dallas. Tom Brady came out and looked like he never played in a playoff game before and the defense of the Baltimore Ravens came out and looked they they were back in 2000. I have no idea what was going on here.

Tom threw two picks in the first half and the Ravens jumped out to a 24-0 first quarter lead. You would think it would be over, right? Nope the Ravens kept the Pats in it and it was a two score game for most of the third quarter. The problem? New England didn't really want to win it. Seriously.

You might think in a game like this you can't really say anything bad about the winning team but oh you are so dead wrong. Kyle Boller, I mean Tim Couch, I mean Joe Flacco completed only four passes and threw for 34 yards, in the win. What a joke. The first play of the game for the Ravens was an 83 yard touchdown run by Ray Rice but the Ravens were only able to get 185 yards the rest of the game. You are not going to win a lot of playoff games like that.

I honestly can't believe nobody is talking about how bad the Ravens offense really is. I mean you have to try to be that bad on offense in the passing game. Let me put this in perspective, Kurt Warner threw more touchdown passes than Flacco had completions and Warner had four incomplete passes to Flacco's five completions. What a joke.

Up 24-0 the Pats punted again and the ball got lost in the sun and kick returner Chris Carr ran into Tom Zbikowski and turned the ball over to the Pats. The problem was the Patriots never recovered the football. Sure a Pats player landed on it but it skirted out of bounce without the players actually recovering it. The Patriots huddled up and no challenge flag. I have no idea what the Ravens were doing. How does nobody upstairs call down to the coaches and challenge that. Sure you are up 24 but this is the NFL. A two score game, which it was in the third quarter, is nothing. This team will not win next week.

The final game of the weekend started out terrible, just like the other three, and turned itself around to be an amazing game, a lot of offense and not a lot of defense. [Recap] [Box Score] [Game Highlights]

This game went down in the record books as the highest scoring game in NFL history. The Cardinals started off the game with a 17-0 lead and looked to be on their way for an easy playoff win. Insert Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers led the Packers back from a 21-point deficit and tied the score with a little under two minutes left in regulation. Most thought they gave Ari zone way too much time. They did.

Arizona marched down the field and put themselves in positions for Neil Rackers to knock down a 34-yard field goal. The small problem was that he missed it by 10 yards to the left. What a terrible kick. The next thing you thought was that the winner of the coin flip would win the game. Wrong.

The Packers looked like they didn't play offense at all and Aaron Rodgers got the ball stripped, it few up into the air into the arms of Karlos Dansby for the game winning TD in overtime.

It is being said that Warner is going to retire after this year. If he lost this game the way he played then he might have had second thoughts. Five TD passes and 379 yards. Woulda been a shame if he lost this game.

So if Bryant McFadden was the reason our secondary was bad I don't want to see what it was like with him. That Arizona secondary got torched.

This wasn't much of a factual recap just some of my thoughts. But it is better than nothing. Leave it in the comments for what you thought on the game and what you think about next week.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Penguins Game Day 46 - @ Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs

7:00 PM, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada


The Penguins are coming off a tough loss to the Philadelphia Flyers a few nights ago. By tough loss, I mean they lost 7-4. What a shitty game for any team to lose, let alone the cross town rivals.

Today the Penguins will travel up to Canada to play the Leafs for the third time this season, second time in 13 days. The Penguins power play actually showed up for their first contest and recorded two PP goals in a 5-2 win at the Air Canada Centre on October 10:



The Leafs came back and took the second game of the series on December 27 when they bested the Penguins 4-3:



Here are your starting lineups thanks to the Penguins website:

Forwards
Dupuis-Crosby-Guerin
Caputi-Malkin-Rupp
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Talbot-Adams-Godard

DefenseLetang-Orpik
Eaton-Goligoski
McKee-Skoula

NetminderFleury

Lets take a look and see how MAF responds after getting yanked in 1+ period of play in the Flyers game. Sure he has struggled in the recent past, but he is the man and will bounce back.

Here is a look at the team comparison:



I will not be able to watch the game today because I will be traveling all day in the air but I will do one thing I never do, make a guarantee. The Penguins will win this game. Book it.

Lets Go Pens

Friday, January 8, 2010

News and Notes




-The Penguins dropped their matchup with the Flyers last night 7-4. The Pens got behind early and could never tie the game. MAF got chased in the first two minutes of the second period and it was catch up from there. Tang, Max, Bing all played solid games, just back on that slump.

-Bob Pompeani tweeted that the Penguins had a players only meeting last night. Said there were "plenty of f-bombs to go around". Who knows. Maybe that will help.

-Dave Molinari thinks the Penguins are heading in the wrong direction.

-The Steelers have made some moves. They have fired special teams coach Bob Ligashesky and offensive line coach Larry Zierlein. Moves had to be made and this was one that you knew was coming. The ST were terrible for two of three years that Ligashesky was here.

-Bruce Arians will be back next year for Pittsburgh. I am still torn on this. It is by far not all Arians fault for this season. The offense was good this year but they struggled in the red zone to the nth degree. Zierlein was fired and I am sure the thinking is that might make some change but I am not too upset that Arians is staying. The one thing that needs to change is that Mike Tomlin better have went to Arians and said there will be some different things done next year and BA better be willing to adapt more. No, I do not mean run the ball just for the sake of running, but situational play calling. It is a passing league now so we will need to throw the ball so deal with it.

-For those people who want to get rid of Dick Lebeau please never come back here again, you obviously know nothing about football. Sure the defense was not up to snuff as HCMT would say but one bad year (the Steelers were top 10 in overall D) does not mean we need to clean house just yet. I will not blame the bad D on injuries either. Shit happens, deal with it.

-Interesting news on the Pirates front. The Mc Effect takes a look at the strange development of the Athletics talking about Andy LaRoche. This might not be a bad thing if the Pirates stick to the demands they want. LaRoche is expendable for the right price and from what we have seen from this management already they don't budge much on demands. Nothing will probably happen from this but lets ride this out. I have not given up on the Pirates yet.

-The Bucs are interested in Rick Ankiel as well. Things were not deemed too serious but today we find out that his agent, Scott Boras, said that there was a lot of interest in him and since Bay and Holiday are off the market that Ankiel would be in the next wave. I am not sure how much of this is serious, you know how Boras is if you follow baseball. I am sure he is trying to get teams to outbid themselves and each other to get the max payout for his client. I mean that is his job so I can't really complain, but I bet most of what he said is a reach.

-Pat over at WHYGAVS gives us a nice write up about the Hall of Fame voting.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Penguins Game Day 45 - vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers

7:30 PM, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA



The Penguins look to continue their good play on Thursday night when they play host to the rival Philadelphia Flyers at the Mellon Arena.

Here is the Penguins projected lineup from the Penguins website:

Forwards
Dupuis-Crosby-Guerin
Caputi-Malkin-Fedotenko
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Rupp-Adams-Godard

Defense
Letang-Orpik
Eaton-Goligoski
McKee-Skoula

Netminder
Fluery

Word is that Sarge is going to be in the lineup tonight but I haven't see where that is 100% confirmed. If he is then I would expect Skoula to sit and Gonch to play with Brooks.

The Penguins are also 3-0 so far this season against the Flyers. The first of the games was a 5-4 win on October 8:



The second win came at Mellon Arena on December 15 with a 6-1 route:



The third was the back-end of the home and home from December 15, on December 17 in Philadelphia which saw the Penguins best the Flyers 3-2 in a shootout:



If I had advice for the Pittsburgh crowd tonight I would start a chant of Crosby sucks. If we could get the organ to start this up it would be even better. We all know how Crosby plays when you start that up (obviously Flyers fans don't know).

These are always big games and might just be what the Penguins need in order to get back into the flow of playing consistant good hockey.

Lets Go Pens

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Keep on Keepin on...Pens Win



Sure the Penguins have lost five in a row coming up. But I improved my Mellon streak to two games this season as the Penguins beat the visiting Thrashers 5-2 on a cool, blustery night in Pittsburgh.

With Chris Kuntiz out for 4-6 weeks Luca Caputi got called up with the safety knowing that he will probably be up for more than three or four games, and he responded. Caputi scored the insurance goal to make it a 4-2 game in the third period off a beautiful feed from Geno.



With the crowd yelling Geno he took the puck down the left wing, got hit, got a shot off, as he was on the ground gave a pass to Caputi who put it into a WIDE open net. Funny that Caputi scored tonight as the last time he was called up he scored a goal (vs. Montreal).

What else happened at the game you ask? Oh, I don't know, the Penguins scored a power play goal and Kris Letang scored his first in 19th games to open up the Penguins scoring. Two big things that need to happen more often.

Interesting fact I heard about the Penguins power play. They are 0-20 in their last 20 third period power play attempts. (h/t Bob Grove) Ineresting stat. As Grover stated this is a huge time in most games to tie it up or to take the lead, but the Penguins can't afford now to let those opportunities to slip by.

All in all it was a good win for the Penguins. They needed a "slump buster" and they got it. The power play looked better, Caputi brought some energy, the crowd was in it and they got a win.

Jordo really played a nice game today. He had a three point night (2+1) and it was a pretty quiet three point night. He is pretty big time and looked really strong skating tonight. Hope he continues this trend. Solid.

Short recap. Deal with it. Pens won. My last game at the Mellon ever.

Lets Go Pens

Penguins Game Day 44 - vs. Atlanta Thrashers

Atlanta Thrashers

7:30 PM, Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA


The Penguins have lost five straight. They are strugglin. Chris Kunitz is on the shelf for four to six weeks with some surgery. Luca Caputi is also gonna be in the lineup and called up.

This is the second meeting between these teams for the year, with the Penguins winning 3-2 on November 21



Here is the Penguins lineup thanks to the Pens website:

Forwards
Dupuis-Crosby-Guerin
Caputi-Malkin-Fedotenko
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Rupp-Adams-Talbot

Defense
Letang-Orpik
Eaton-Goligoski
McKee-Skoula

Netminder
Johnson

Nothing more to say. Get it done.

Lets Go Pens