NHL.COM YOU'VE OUTDONE YOURSELVES AGAIN
YOU KNOW WHO PROBABLY HAS PLENTY OF DUCK
HE PROBABLY EXHAUSTED THE SUPPLY BEFORE BRUCE EVEN GOT TO CALIFORNIA
IT'S A FUCKING CONSPIRACY
Also, Bryzgalov played like poop and Hiller stood on his head. This was an overtime loss. Br00tal. Fuck.
We play the Canes tonight. All right then.
Bring it on.
NHL.COM YOU'VE OUTDONE YOURSELVES AGAIN
Every time the Pens play the Caps, it turns into a Big Deal.
A lot of people have had a lot of things to say about the decline and fall of Bruce Boudreau, and even though I'm not a huge fan of the guy, I'm not about to rag on him too much here. I hope he finds success in Anaheim.
I'll pour out some wing sauce for you, Bruce.
But while Boudreau is gone, the Capitals remain. And so do all their obnoxious fans.
We here at PH like to call certain players fat, which is most definitely deserved.
Dustin Byfuglien. Super fat.
Brad Richards. Extra fat.
Chris Osgood. Ridiculously fat.
I'd like to thank the Academy. And fried chicken.
But the Capitals seem to suffer from a fatness that's grown beyond normal proportions.
I would characterize it as a fatness of the soul.
A hyper-obesity of character.
An adipose arrogance that causes them to come tantalizingly close to achieving their goals, but to inevitably fall short at the last moment.
There's a reason why I love watching the Caps lose a game. Or a playoff series, for that matter.
Will the Caps team we see tonight suffer from the same problems we've seen in the past?
Will Ovechkin remain a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, buried beneath a thick layer of fat?
Will Nicklas Backstrom continue his campaign of creeping Swedish evil?
The comparative Crosby/Ovechkin graphic shows really all you need to understand about this matchup tonight. Sid has almost as many points as Ovechkin despite only playing five games of the season.
Fans at the Verizon Center are also apparently taunting Sid with signs. Stay classy, Caps fans.
OMG STAN SAVRAN JUST CALLED BOUDREAU "BARBECUE BRUCE"
Coach Disco doesn't think Ovechkin's in a slump. "He's still dangerous." Dangerous to an appetizer sampler, I'm sure.
Watch, now that I've said that he's going to really turn it on and destroy our collective wills to live while everyone in that building wearing red is going to act like they just won the Cup or something.
Errey is wearing some pretty excellent glasses. He looks like a slightly bewildered professor.
Despres is up from Wilkes-Barre and we'll see how he does. Good for him, playing in his first NHL game and all.
Holy crap, you guys, I actually saw the opening faceoff of the game.
They are seriously booing for Sidney Crosby. I give up, Washington. I was thinking that it was good that you had a team who didn't suck so more people would care about hockey, but you Caps fans can go explode.
We seem to be spending a lot of time in the Caps zone. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying.
OMG CRAIG ADAMS SCORES HIS SECOND GOAL OF THE SEASON 1-0 Pens
In the replay, we can see that Arron Asham set this pass up beautifully. And then he takes on Erskine in a fight at center ice and...acquits himself very well, I think. Now all Asham needs to do is score a goal of his own and he'll get a Gordie Howe hat trick.
Ovechkin is apparently going into Red Hulk Smash Destroy mode and smashes Craig Adams into the boards.
The Caps are looking very confused and disjointed.
They can't get plays set up and they can't get into the Penguins zone with any degree of control over the puck.
I understand that they're trying to adjust to a new system and I get that Mike Green isn't playing, either.
Of course, just as I wrote that, the Caps spent a sphincter-clenching minute and a half throwing everything they could at Fleury.
But when Fleury's in Kill Mode, he will destroy everything. He is a Death Flower and he will end you.
(please stay in kill mode fleury)
The power play is looking...better. I mean, I know that doesn't take much, compared to last year, but it's improving.
Back and forth, back and forth. Both teams get some really good chances but no one can put it in the net.
FIRST PERIOD AWARDS
Best Helper goes to my dog Barney, who is assisting with this recap by putting his face on my keyboard because he's mad that I'm not petting him.
I can't resist that face
Slowest U-Turn goes to the entire Capitals team. You guys have four shots on goal? I mean, come on, really?
The recap of this period will be slightly marred by my getting to enjoy some delicious homemade pizza for dinner, but also having to eat it very carefully, because I just got a new crown put on my tooth.
And while I was writing that explanation, Jason Chimera backhands it into the net. 1-1
I'm really not surprised that the Caps are playing in the way that they are. I'm sure it's tough to adjust to a new coach and a new way of doing things, and this is only Hunter's second game as head coach.
Steiggy and Errey take a Moment to share their love of Simon Despres. I get the feeling that he could Crash Their Nets any Friday.
Ovechkin's fatness gets him into trouble as he gets penalized for goalie interference. However, nothing happens aside from the fans grumbling.
Steiggy chimes in with the Fun Fact that TK has never scored against the Caps. I totally believe it.
Does the Verizon Center seriously have folding chairs in their penalty boxes? How low-rent is that?
I think I might have found something lamer than the Pens power play, and that's the Capitals power play.
The second period ends with the Pens having 52 seconds of power play left, but without any more scoring.
SECOND PERIOD AWARDS
There are none. Save for the brave souls who decide they actually want to go to PirateFest.
The third period commences with the remainder of the power play, but nothing happens until Chris Kunitz catches a great pass from TK, of all people, and made it look super easy. 2-1 Pens
Also, Simon Despres got an assist on the goal, which is his first point in the NHL. Good for him!
The Caps respond to this turn of events by getting angry and frustrated. Not their best look, I must say. It results in shoving and rage.
No shots for the Capitals yet in the third period, and there's only 11 minutes left in the game. I mean, I don't want them to have any more shots, but it's kind of ridiculous.
Wow, Semin managed to get the puck right into the crease, and Fleury was even down on the other side, but he didn't shoot at all. There's gotta be something going on with this Caps team that none of us can see or understand. Because if it's a Penguins player in that situation, we're scoring a goal.
Kunitz demonstrates why he is a Superior Human by checking a Caps player, hard, into the boards and simultaneously passing the puck to Sid for a good scoring chance. It doesn't result in anything, but it doesn't suck.
The Caps are playing with "a shortage of confidence," which is painfully obvious to everyone who isn't wearing red.
They look lost and sad. Like someone stole their puppy.
I'm not trying to shortchange the Penguins here, either. They're playing very well. It just...doesn't seem fair, in some ways.
With the final shots 35 to 17, the Penguins win 2-1.
THIRD PERIOD AWARDS
Freshest Face goes to Simon Despres. I hope he continues to kick ass and take names.
Number One Star goes to Paul Martin. That is an award notable enough to be awarded here as well.
Up next: Carolina and the Staal Brothers Drinking Game on Saturday. Be there or be lame.
I. Intros are for suckas.
1. But still seen as necessary in some internet societies.
2. Like a literary overture
a. themes will continue throughout post.
b. this letter bullet is necessary if I want to have an "a" point.
3. Often tells readers whether or not writer will be "phoning it in."
a. such as right now.
b. why can't a lettered bullet just stand alone, you fascists.
II. Intense hatred has, historically, led to fists being flung.
1. Goalie fights are the best.
a. however rare.
b. display true beauty.
2. Some fighting styles are lame.
a. the "bear hug" tactic.
b. romantic dancing style.
3. Tyler Kennedy and Sean Avery are amazing together.
a. we can't say there was a specific winner.
b. TK won our hearts.
c. shit yes, two fights in as many minutes.
III. Blingee deficiency.
1. Bringin' it back.
a. get some sunglasses.
b. and powerful narcotics.
2. Yours are welcome as well.
IV. Sidney Crosby is an inspiration.
1. He and James Neal are probably in love.
2. Perfect feed from Sid lets Neal land it in the back of the net.
a. hellz yeah.
b. lookin' good, Jimmy.
3. I'd let him or James Neal escort me to prom.
a. whaddya say?
b. may we call you Jimmy, sir?
VI. Worst second period.
1. Worse than second period swim class.
a. you smell like chlorine all day.
b. no time to dry hair before chem.
c. Jimmy will never take me to prom now.
2. Fat jokes are therapeutic.
a. Callahan cries into twinkies (1-1)
b. Mitchell rolls around in oreos. (1-2)
c. Richards really is fat. (1-3)
d. Gaborik sweats pure lard. (1-4)
e. let's tease them until they get eating disorders.
3. Sobbing into your wine and vodka mixture is okay sometimes.
a. cake flavored vodka is gross.
b. marshmallow is okay.
VII. IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
b. that's all I know of the song.
c. outlining is balls, when is lunch?
VIII. Nothing ever gets better.
1. James Neal and Geno try to take the pain away. (2-4)
2. The third period stings a lot less in some ways.
a. in others, it gives us just enough hope to feel let down.
b. we won't hold that against Dupes. (3-4)
IX. Never losing again.
2. Winning the Cup.
b. haters gonna hate.
3. Go Pens.
The high (or hangover) from last night was probably still palpable when you sat down to watch this game. You didn't even realize what you were in for. A classic Saturday night in Canada, a media circus.
Not going to be one of those normal games, is it? Not even a normal game against the Habs where everyone does something shitty and someone wins by one extremely fluky goal scored in the 2nd period and then nothing else happens and you get really bored and angry and stop paying attention at some point in the 3rd when you remember you have Oreos. Nope. Not that kind of game.
Malkin scored 21 seconds in on some powerful, world-shattering passionate move.
Everyone was so upset that they couldn't even get a pic with Gene's face in it. But rest assured, everyone was really happy.
Travis Moen then came back and scored some more shit. Off of a heinous giveaway.
Can't find a pic of this anywhere. But it happened, too. It was 1-1. Not necessarily your favorite way to start the rodeo. The bulls are late. Etc. IT ALL JUST HAPPENED SO FAST
HARDEST PILL TO SWALLOW
Paul Martin looks on in angst as more weird stuff happens.
Everyone said it was going to be "one of those nights."
I guess we just didn't know how bad.
Kris Letang is getting messed up by a Kostitsyn and Price is in true Cam Ward Memorial Trophy form. Subban acts totally shocked and injured when he gets slashed, that's a total penalty, but Fleury is in Erik Cole's head, whispering sweet nothings to his pucks. The entire city of Montreal boos an offside call. We can't figure out if this is preferable to half the fanbase already leaving since their team is up 2-1.
Might as well just go home.
CHRIS KUNITZ STARS IN: FUCK THE POLICE
Kunitz scores an almost goal but everyone says he punched it in from Toronto. No idea, ROOT didn't show any angles proving that it wasn't just a deflection. But we'll deal.
At least, until Patches gets another shot off and it's deflected in by Erik Cole. Two repaired vertebrae on that goal. He's building himself up to be a real comic book villain at this point.
The young soldier, previously brought back from the dead, corrupted by the evil around him. . .
Just. . .balls.
MOST EGREGIOUS OFFENSE TO THE GAME OF HOCKEY AND ITS GOODNESS
Apparently, more offside calls. You can see the Habs fans getting realllllly indignant about this, images swirling in their heads of their team getting 10 goals. Fever dreams.
The Pens own a power play for 2 straight minutes practically, but nothing happens yet again. The Habs are just being dicks. We have not a leg to stand on.
PaulMart makes a sweet play to keep a puck in, and Dupuis rips it into the net. Redemption is real. The city of Montreal disagrees.
Sidney Crosby looks on evilly as Price tries to talk himself out of crying and remind himself of the grape blunt wrappers he has in his gym bag, which will be very comforting later on.
3-2. This is a real hockey game again. The Habs fans are officially booing the Pens for playing defense. After the second, all you can hear on replays of the Pens doing something is an awful rumble. Like a disenfranchised army on the other side of the city walls.
MOST PEARL CLUTCHING
Everyone gets really up in arms on both sides when a Kunitz breakway ends up with a puck in the net. But he made contact with Price that knocked the puck in, so that's not a goal. Kunitz has already had something like 4 goals taken away this season. Both 2 goals in the same game. Possibly more that we're not remembering--maybe 5 goals overall. Insane.
There was some incidental stick contact on Subban by James Neal after Subban kicked James Neal in the legs or something. THAT IS A PENALTY IN THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE. Everyone acts like Subban just survived a gunshot wound to the face.
Luckily, nothing comes of it.
Joe Vitale has one of his "I'm taking over the universe brb" shifts after the penalty bullshit evens out again, which seems to wake the Pens up even more.
Sid, Gene, and Staal are out together for a shift. What is reality. Malkin hits Staal with a pass up ice, and he makes very good use of it. This goal is a big deal, and everyone wants to give Sid an assist on it. WHY NOT
WHERE ARE YOUR PEARLS NOW, QUEBEC
HUGEST UNICORN REVOLUTION
Of all people, Max Pacioretty is the one who decides to throw a blindside headshot to Kris Letang while he is trying to play hockey.
Patches came back from having his entire back/neck totally fucked up by Chara and that was the scariest thing of all time. We felt for him.
Now, we know that even the fallen and victimized make mistakes. Particularly in Montreal.
Blood everywhere. We later learn that it was Tanger's nose that was broken.
But spilling unicorn blood is one of the most terrible, evil things you can possibly do. To hurt something so pure and good is to damage the soul. Just ask Hagrid.
But the look on Letang's face seems to prove that he's going to be back.
The rest of the period is spent being super angry. Sid takes on the entire team by himself and almost wins.
But overtime looms.
And Letang is back for OT, covered in his own blood. Looks like he doesn't give a fuck.
Blah blah blah blah. OT goes as usual. You're expecting something nasty. What you don't expect is for all the world's unicorns to stand up and say, "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore."
The whole game, in case you didn't remember, was all the Habs just being major dicks. Subban attacked Neal at some point and there was no call, meanwhile Orpik was called for roughing for standing up for himself. Rubbing your dick on someone in Montreal = not a penalty.
The Unicorn Guild is up to the challenge.
Pens crash the net. And if you play hockey in the NHL you know you play to the whistle. THERE WAS NO WHISTLE, even though Price had the puck covered briefly, there was no whistle. That's on the official, not on the Pens who dug for the puck in the pile. You don't stop playing, ever, until you hear the whistle, because that's what you are coached to do. It might mean someone made a mistake, but that's what you actually do when you care about playing the game well.
The puck was found, it came up to the front, and Letang was right there to put it through Price's legs and the inimitable Valley of Tears.
Look at Neal full of LOLs.
Carey Price is all mad.
Sweet, sweet anger.
LOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL @ THIS
INDIVIDUAL AWARD: BUTTS
what a photo.
ALTERNATIVE THREE STARS
1. Sidney Crosby: look who's back to 20 minutes a night already. 20:55 for those following along at home. Also ripped Nick Foligno in his postgame interview, like a boss. Also, 6 shots.
2. Carey Price's sticks: he broke like 2 of them and 1 of those times was on purpose. Poor little guys.
gif courtesy of RMas_71 on Twitter
3. Marc-Andre Fleury: was there when it was really important, so suck it.
Also, don't you ever wonder why the game stats literature looks weird in Montreal? Then you realize: all of this shit is in French. It looks classy but you have to wonder why they don't do it for all the games. Like the old hockey cards that used to be in French and English. Even like Panthers cards.
Also, Dan Bylsma's mustache earns an assist on the night.
We insist that you accept this photo as proof that Kim and Zoë are together (along with cohorts Nikos and Jon) in the viewing of this game.
Our spirits are in the forms of Bob Errey, and Joe Vitale (who is apparently "going at" Nick Foligno right now).
We also have a cat. His name is Steve.
"A couple of Italians going nose to nose there!!!"
This is real life.
We're making tea. We can probably include alcohol in the tea.
There aren't any pics up from this game yet. So here's a picture of Ken Hitchcock. Who appears to have lost some Weight but no Skin.
We're sorry Jared Cowen that we have to destroy you.
And we admit that we have no idea who Kaspars Daugaviņš actually is.
We miss Gonchar.
and we do in fact steal bandwidth from talk-sports.net
DOES SERGEI GONCHAR HAVE A GIRLFRIEND
DISCUSS WITH YOUR FRIENDS.
The goal is to become belligerent.
We care deeply about the Penguins and everything, but today erryone is in transit.
Zoe is somewhere in airport purgatory.
Mary is en route to the dirty Jerz (Mary, trust me, I know what it's like and I feel your pain.)
I'm makin' my way back to my FC Trash origins.
It's allegedly the biggest party night of the year.
The Pens tried to live it up but got a little messy.
Brooks Orpik killed only ten men.
TK bought a new pony ranch in France - wtf, how will he get there to enjoy the ponies.
Sid got drunk and thought we were playing the Savannah Skunks, and boy did he try to fuck one of those guys up.
IT'S GOOD TO MAKE JOKES AGAIN, YOU GUYS.
We're not going to be pissy because we lost in OT to the Blues. We got a point, it was the Blues, and MAF is already slamming stuffing and giggling uncontrollably into his second glass of wine.
We're just as happy as he is.
Now. Give us some Iron City and the cranberry sauce and get out of our faces, Blues. Tomorrow you'll just be some team that beat the Penguins once. We'll still be the best damn hockey team in the world.
The journey to the center of the earth.
The journey to heaven.
They're kind of one in the same, you know. Pushing into the unknown through a haze of dirt or light or clouds.
The only difference is connotative. Are we finding buried treasure, or are we joining our brothers in heaven?
OKAY I DON'T FUCKING MEAN TO GET ALL LITERARY SYMBOLISM ON YOU GUYS.
SIDNEY CROSBY IS BACK.
And so it was perfect.
Chapter One: Reprieve
There is no way that this game could have been, for anyone in the NHL family, just another day at the office.
Photographers from all the major news outlets descended on the city like hungry sharks. The Media Circus Begins.
The last minute change to Versus for the nationwide broadcast brought Pierre McGuire, stuffed like a sausage into his awkwardly round suits. The world must suffer.
Never before have Sidney Crosby jerseys outside CEC felt so special.
ROOT Sports has its first hiccup as it tries to broadcast Bylsma's entire pregame talk before the puck drops. When you aren't owned by NBC, the referees don't hold the puck until you're ready. So we miss opening faceoff. But we know Sid is starting, based on the OHHHHs and AAAHHHHHs. With the first shift out of the way, ROOT pulls this shit out of their hip pocket:
Unnecessary, but we'll let it slide.
The Reprieve for Bullshit begins, because there surely isn't any bullshit going on down on the ice.
Like five minutes in, by the way, the world changed.
As always some dude on Tumblr has the .gifs before we can even take a breath:
AMONG OTHER THINGS
As excited as we were for this game, there was that Beast in the back of our minds that something bad might happen. While there was still a lot of hockey left. . .the tears pouring down our faces seem to bring a cleansing.
The things that are going to happen? We get the feeling they're going to be Good. We haven't cried this hard since the Stanley Cup. Guys, he's really here.
Chapter Two: Shit Just Got Ridiculous
Kunitz pinching Crosby on the cheek.
What is this team.
Oh wait he also set up Orpik, who sent a laser beam behind Anders Nilsson, Swede of the Night.
Rarely do you see two happier people in the middle of November.
We were pretty much sold on the perfection of this moment.
Isles take some penalty afterwards, but ROOT isn't even announcing it, we're all joy and rainbows.
Orpik even shows complacency rather than intensity in his intermission interview with Potash. Not so dainty as dew on a gardenia in the morning--perhaps like iron filings on the floor of the torture chamber--
The magic is in the eyes.
btw, Versus monopolized all the Sid interviews.
Because it's America that wants to see Sid, not his hometown fans.
Lucrative television deals leaking out of the soil right here.
Chapter Three: We've Crossed the River and Reached the Tundra
Pens and Isles go back and forth exchanging some PPs. Eventually the Pens end up on the power play. Crosby and Letang get the puck to the net and Malkin is there to destroy, and possibly make Anders Nilsson cry. Crosby's awareness on the PP stellar. And Letang knew exactly where to put it for Gene. It is apparently (we've double-checked this) real life.
Here are Sid and Gene, possibly having a mutual hallucination of this goal, wondering if it's the future.
The things you hallucinate in practice.
Lost in Sid's return is the fact that the line with Neal, Malkin, and Sullivan is easily the best second line you could possibly ask for in today's NHL. They waltz into the attacking zone and just poke the puck to each other like it ain't no thang. Then Malkin winds up and finds Sullivan's stick, which bewilders poor Nilsson yet again. He probably should have come out at some point. But Jack Capuano was playing Punishment tonight. We have to wonder if he played the same Punishment when he was head coach of the Pee Dee Pride.
Steve Sullivan: the little winger that could.
Rick DiPietro looks across the frozen tundra and sticks some Copenhagen into his jowls.
Anders Nilsson releases his Swedish hair, in the hopes that eventually it will tell him which way is north.
Pens fan on the left looks on earnestly, hoping to see the aurora borealis.
Unfortunately, his only sensory input is sweat and something like Axe in a middle school locker room.
There is no North. Only darkness.
Fleury, at the other end, is having no trouble navigating. He needs no compass to find every single puck ever.
The dread you might normally try to supress heading into the wilds of the third period with a 4-0 lead is strangely absent. Unbelievable penalty kills. And a sweet winter wind.
Chapter Four: You Are Actually Fucking Kidding Us, Right?
Potash calls Malkin "smooth as a Mercedes" which prompts this wounded, confused expression.
Then Granato busts out his 'stache:
If any more inspiration was required to enter the third period with a strong heart and a hoarse voice, you are literally the Worst Person and shouldn't have even been watching this game.
You were the empty seats on the glass. The beer spilled in your haste to leave after the 4th goal. You are a dick.
We got this.
Or, more specifically, Sid's got this. He owned that shift, and he did what he showed up to do, Lord bless him.
That is pretty much the end of that.
The rest of the game is a penalty explosion for the Pens, but somehow the shutout is preserved.
Well, not like "somehow." More like "through the sheer virtue of Fleury's balls." But we'll take that. We will. God, it is a beautiful night.
So if you're keeping track, that's 5-0 Pens. Welcome to the universe we now live in. Crosby had 8 shots and played about 15 and a half minutes. Otherworldly. Either deeply and filthily beneath or dizzyingly and sickeningly above. We did see a little bit of history. Playing the Islanders wasn't exactly the hugest challenge in the universe either way--but we've seen it go south before. It's always up to each of us, individually, to meet the challenges that are presented to us in life. This doesn't always have anything whatsoever to do with hockey. But for Sidney Crosby, it's always about hockey. He made it look easy, but it was probably as fucking crazy a ride for him as it was for us.
EPILOGUE: Faces of the Night
We set the whole hemisphere on fire.
Oh btw Pascal Dupuis had three points:
He was interviewed by Potash after the game since Pierre had to rub his dick on Crosby again.
You see this expression on everyone's face like they know something beautiful is happening around them.
We have the best team.
The rest of the games of 2011 are not going to be so easy. Nor, really, will our Real Lives and Careers away from hockey and the Internet.
But we believe in the Penguins and we believe in ourselves.
Tonight was a good reminder of how much.
PH Staff was on-hand for this game.
The last time we got to see Sid live and in person.
Rest assured, it's gonna happen again.
Never again no comments