Why does it seem like everyone is getting their head hurt lately? By now you've seen Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty. We're not going to cry "omg so illegal" on it or anything, but Chara knows better. So much better.
Observe, via our friend Sooska on FB:
We're still working out the kinks with the Hair League.
Our current problem is that we're getting requests for substitutions that we can't substitute because our spreadsheet isn't set up yet to allow for them without putting in all of the previous points from the player who is being substituted--i.e. people keep requesting to sub Brent Johnson, but that would magically give their team like 200 extra points, until we revise the spreadsheet and its various equations.
Regardless, we're accepting your submissions and will process them soon.
We take the Hair League very seriously and update it daily.
if we did a playoff version of the Hair League, would you be interested in playing?
also, if you won the Hair League, what prize would you want to have? within reason, but feel free to be fantastical as well.
Your answers are important to the State of the Union.
ALSO, Dan Bylsma got a contract extension, like you didn't know that was going to happen. Total badass.
Why does it seem like everyone is getting their head hurt lately? By now you've seen Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty. We're not going to cry "omg so illegal" on it or anything, but Chara knows better. So much better.
He didn't. :(
It's funny that for once we can worry about something other than hanging onto the 1-goal lead in the last 30 seconds, or about that other player that left in the second period and will not return because of a lower body injury.
Like the Sabres thought they could get away with that stupid early goal. They freed hair, which released some holy energy into Consol Energy Center, and there was clearly no going back.
Michalek scored, and warmed our hearts with his Czechness. James Neal scored. Someone in the press had a major crush on Kovalev:
We'd say more, but we were overwhelmed by the nougat that is Tyler Myers' brain:
Still trying to figure out how he's still alive. But that's a story for another day.
Kim wants me to tell you that she says (and I quote exactly), "Hi."
Now that we've got Neal and Michalek and Kovalev and Niskanen out of the way, everyone who is new to the party has scored this season as a Penguin. We're a family now. Bring it.
Short/nonexistent post because big Hair League changes and updates are in the works.
Happy Birthday to Eric Godard. Pretty much nothing else going on today.
Kunitz is expected to play soon, and Orpik and Asham are progressing.
So is Comrie, of all people. Could be the redemption story of the year.
Sidney Crosby's sister also had a concussion. Christ.
Guy Boucher put Adam Hall in for the shootout. Caps had Ovechkin and Semin. Yeah.
Keep an eye on Oilers/Philly tomorrow, too.
ZOË AND KIM WILL BE TOGETHER FOR TOMORROW'S GAME, NOT AT IT BUT TOGETHER NONETHELESS. Rejoice!
Word on the street is that Jason Pominville's missing chromosomes have not yet been found.
Today was a glorious day, thanks to some pretty epic fail by the Flyers. The Rangers achieved a 7-0 win off of 4 goals by Ryan Callahan, and 2 by Mats Zuccarello, and a breakaway goal for Artem Anisimov. And Henrik Lundqvist had the shutout. It was one of the rare occasions when we're happy to see a big Rangers win, because it makes the gap between the Penguins and the Flyers in the Atlantic Division just a little bit smaller. If the Flyers lose a couple more games and catch up to the Pens in # of games played in the next couple of weeks, it becomes a very tight race between the two teams for the division lead. This seems fairly unbelievable, considering the fact that the Pens don't have all kinds of offense to rely on anymore, and everyone said the Flyers got all kinds of scary when they got Versteeg. Maybe scary for Peter Laviolette since we don't assume he likes turnovers in the defensive zone. BUT: this is not the focus of our post.
Rooting for Henrik Lundqvist was certainly a foreign experience. In fact, we're mostly used to insulting him for looking like Ken and for being easy to exploit short side. But, lots of lady hockey fans are all about Henrik. Rangers fans have to be, since he keeps them in shit sometimes when they don't deserve it. His shutout today was certainly deserved, since the Flyers played like ass, and when they thought they had something, he gave them no hope. Good job, Henry. We still don't want to go to bed with you, though. Why is that? We will briefly explore today the question we've always had, which is:
WHY DO WOMEN LOVE HENRIK LUNDQVIST?
He's conventionally attractive.
Henrik could have easily made it in Swedish daytime television if he didn't play hockey. He's slim, tends to wear nice clothes, he's got a defined jawline and knows how to decorate it with some beard. He'd be very at home in an ad for Express Men. Without this first reason, most girls don't get started.
The goaltender position is easily romanticized.
What must he think when he's all alone down there???
WHAT DEEP THOUGHTS MUST TROUBLE HIS BEAUTIFUL HEAD
They probably don't realize that he's batshit (or they do, and totally continue to romanticize it).
We will admit that watching pretty much any goalie (other than resident NHL fatasses Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard) celebrate a win or lament a loss is kind of entertaining and endearing. You can see that he comes unhinged sometimes, like when he beats the shit out of his goal or swears in his postgame:
He has a Swedish blonde fiance, but she's pretty nonthreatening and kind of looks like a high school swim teacher.
He probably has cool things to show you in his house.
Like that Olympic gold metal and probably electric guitars.
At least, those are the logical explanations behind this cultural phenomenon. We tend not to go for guys who do the pocket square, but to each her own.
Whatever, we start this in net, so we're never going to be jealous:
Hey, remember this?
Bouncing back from an absolutely demoralizing loss off of Kovalchuk's stick the next day isn't something you wanted to expect the Pens to do. Expectation leaves to disappointment. You could have just settled down with a bottle of whiskey to play the Matt Bartkowski Drinking Game with Paul Steigerwald and gotten hammered in the first period to prevent further emotional pain.
But then you would have missed it. Nobody checked out of this game. The display of work ethic was unbelievable. Unless your name is Dennis Seidenberg. ooooh burn
Basically, this season has been a roller coaster of blasphemy. Like a religiously-motivated war or Spanish Inquisition, we are kicking ass and taking names. The Bruins defense can't burn enough crosses tonight. The Pens worked harder.
PLAYS YOU PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE CIRCLED
Early on, all the Bruins fans are booing Matt Cooke. Whatever, it apparently motivated him to play an actual hockey game instead of elbowing some dude.
Bruins almost score but Ben Lovejoy ensures that it doesn't happen by getting on his knees and protecting Fleury's crease. Lucic is given free reign to attack Kris Letang. Basically your standard first period early shift of being pissed off. Steiggy and Errey pass the time by talking about Matt Bartkowski for like 10 minutes, while Fleury stands on his head for awhile.
Pens almost score, but it was TK in a crucial moment. Shit.
WORD OF THE NIGHT
THUMPER. Said by Steigerwald approximately a million times tonight. Possible sources of inspiration include Brooks Orpik. Unfortunately the only current #44 on the ice is Dennis Seidenberg:
Who apparently caused this golden Jordan Staal expression, so we won't question it. THUMPERSSSSSSSSSSS
MOST PCP TAKEN
Steiggy and possibly Kovalev. And definitely James Neal. Steiggy is all:
"BUT THIS IS A PITTSBURGH PENGUINS! WHEN'S THE NEXT TIME THE BOSTON BRUINS WON THE STANLEY CUP?"
Subsequently, James Neal destroys Zdeno Chara along the boards and gets the puck from him. Usually Chara gets by on size, but James Neal's balls are too huge to accept that reality.
Then Kovalev floats a puck to Timmy's glove from the parking lot of the Watertown Mall.
MOMENT IN WHICH YOU STARTED MARCHING FOR THE HOLY LAND
The Pens' work level all game was amazing, and James Neal almost scored on the power play. You could feel the Pens getting that first goal. But then Chara just kind of floated into the slot area and scored. It was a grave injustice and you practically called on the Children's Crusade. No, actually, this is some fucking Wendish Crusade shit.
Wait, what's that? Cooke made a desperation play to clear the puck as the Bruins were cycling like vultures? Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy have a 2-on-1?
Timmy cannot cross the sea of Galilee. We're in business, bitches. Oh and it was Chara who looked like he couldn't even process that he was supposed to be breaking up passing lanes on that play.
OFFICIAL MESSAGE OF FORGIVENESS TO DUSTIN JEFFREY
We kind of have to make it official now. Dustin Jeffrey is exempt from our tauntings and criticism of him as a polite human being. Because he knows how to get ahead.
Awesome plays to set that shit up, too.
Basically, the Pens' work ethic this game was unbelievable.
That's 2-1, and you might have had dreams, flights of fancy, that Curry hasn't yet abandoned the Pens this season.
The third was even a good period, but there were little signs that something could go horribly wrong.
Kovalev missing the net.
Letestu hitting a post.
Pens not really being threatening on unlimited Bruins turnovers.
Neal shooting the puck wide.
It's not that the Pens can't hold this lead. It's just that towards the end of games, there is a lot of pressure to prevent something bad from happening in a 1-goal game. And the Bruins actually have some of their top scoring forwards still healthy.
Jordan Staal, for whatever reason, passes the puck to Cooke when the Bruins are in an empty net situation, and Cooke waits 10 years to shoot it into some dude's shin pad.
Seriously, he couldn't have caused the quick up for the Bruins if he had placed that shot intentionally.
Bruins start yet another cycle off of that missed opportunity. For a team that slept through most of the second and had their faces peed on by Dustin Jeffrey, they had moments. Serious moments. At the 19:27 mark, you lose religion.
Let's study this photo. First off, Mark Recchi's alive in it. Second, Nathan Horton has always gone to the Tomas Holmstrom school of beauty. He's just that good-looking.
Nothing to say. Pens were so close to just getting 2 regulation points and going home for a nap.
OVERTIME THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CANCELLED WHILE DUSTIN JEFFREY BANGED ALL THE FINE BITCHES IN BOSTON
A bunch of whatev shifts start OT. Seidenberg tries to pass a puck up the middle to someone. Jeffrey is like "lol" and takes the puck. He doesn't just dump it in, or take it wide, or even really seem to think much about what he is going to do. He takes the puck and just smokes Seidenberg. Seidenberg was totally confused. Utterly. No idea that a hockey game was even going on. And, Jeffrey just went for it. Completely unbelievable work ethic, again, not just on the part of the team, but on the part of the individual.
Moments before TK love-tackled Jeffrey into oblivion.
WE DON'T EVEN KNOW
APPARENTLY THERE WERE SOME FIGHTS
every punch matters
ALTERNATIVE THREE STARS
1. DUSTIN JEFFREY - he wasn't a real one?
2. ~~~DENNIS SEIDENBERG~~~ - uhhh, he was a real one?
3. Zbynek Michalek - for personifying defense.
don't forsake your god.
knocking on even higher standing in the Eastern Conference, somehow.
Last night Zoe and I were en route to various locations that we call "home."
While the Penguins fought valiantly under the watch of their beloved President, we were struck with news of delayed flights due to whatever-the-hell and late trains due to unfortunate souls flinging themselves onto the tracks; the Pens marched forward in their battle and nearly sealed the deal.
So here I am, in New Jersey, hanging out in pajama pants and watching as many episodes of Pimp My Ride as humanly possible before my brain explodes. Zoe is probably safe and sound in the FC, where I will join her on Monday. So for now, let's take a little look into what exactly happened here in the dirty Jerz last night.
At the beginning of the night the Pens pull up in they beat ass wreck of a car.
They tell us some sob story about ACLs and concussions and exploded fingers. How they can't get to they job at Pizza Hut because some thugs on they block broke in the windows and slashed the tires, et cetera.
They spend the first period sending in an audition tape. Pault Martin puts on an "A" for the occasion. Jordy gets a stylin' haircut. Kris Letang tries to freeball his jersey, and it doesn't work out for him. Unfortunately, Kris will not be allowed to meet Xzibit after that little move.
Really, it's not a bad showing. They show that they are getting by on the struggle, but they could really use some help to get by more efficiently.
MTV calls in the producers.
Mad Mike is prepped for camera.
Xzibit finds a new absurd t-shirt.
It's go time.
Xzibit is in our front lawn, staring at our excuse for a ride. He feels for us, he really does.
Then, while everyone is busy freaking out because OMG XZIBIT IS HERE OMG, some of those aforementioned thugs from the block come up and straight steal a tire from right in front of us.
Play time is over.
Mad Mike is instantly called to the scene.
He asks us about our hopes and aspirations so that they can be mocked mercilessly and replaced by television screens where we can't even see them. "Hater Vision" is mentioned. We're just tyring to hold it together over here. TK is leading the troops, but we're starting to get worried that this car can never be driven again.
Then, out of nowhere,
WE HEARD YOU LIKE HOCKEY SO WE PUT PUCKS IN THEIR NET SO YOU CAN SCORE WHILE YOU PLAY.
Mad Mike starts his work.
The Debs are enraptured by the number of televisions in our bumper. The third period passes quickly, as everyone tries to figure out why exactly we needed televisions...under...the car.
"Yo dawg, because now when you're working UNDER the car, you can look up AND WATCH YOUR FAVORITE XZIBIT MUSIC VIDEO."
Alright, Mad Mike.
Overtime was the end and we finally got our car back.
And as always, when you get onto an episode of Pimp My Ride, you might get some points, but you haven't exactly won.
After all, how the hell are you supposed to fucking drive that thing?
....Xzibit? ...Mad Mike? MY STEERING WHEEL DOES NOT ACTUALLY INFLUENCE THE DIRECTION THAT MY CAR IS GOING CAN SOMEONE GET BACK HERE?!
We'll be back for the game tonight with a classic award show.
Never letting Mad Mike near our cars again.
I actually forget pretty often that we're still sitting on home ice advantage.
With 6 weeks left in the season, I probs just jinxed that though.
But srsly, we are actually still in 4th.
I feel like NHL hockey has been bad touching me ever since Sid hit IR, yet in reality, we have held shit together.
TSN talked a bit about how awesome we are, it went something like this:
"How have the Penguins stayed up there without Crosby and Malkin"
Panel's Answer: "Work Ethic"
All of our flash and sparkles are on IR with our superstars, but we're still one of the best teams in the league because we are working our asses off.
This is a blue collar team and I'm really proud of that.
Take comfort in our amazingness.
Also in the return of Martin and Kennedy. Which is huge.
Toronto was playing on home ice, which means serious effort from the press.
There is a slim chance the Leafs will make the REAL season. There might be something more important than that, but if so, Toronto has no idea what it could possibly be.
BEST FORM OF INDUCTION
Matt Niskanen is official in with us. He is so in that I even went and checked to make sure I spelled his name right. Early in the 1st period, rifles it from the blue line to earn his first goal as a Pen.
Good boy. You're still our automatic scapegoat, but keep it up none the less.
NO ONE CARES THAT THIS HAPPENED
I think Kulemin is probably one of those guys that wears his pants so far below his ass that he has to walk with his legs spread just to keep them from falling off. He probably also cruises for dames in his mom's minivan.
THAT's what I think of you, sir.
WE ARE DEEPER THAN DEEPAK CHOPRA
This shit storm they call 2011 does have a silver lining. Young guys who wouldn't get these opportunities are being tested, trial by fire style. It's given guys like Conner the chance to step up and fill some fucking huge shoes. Of course, most shoes would be huge for Conner.
HOW ARE YOU SO SMALL
I'm always impressed with guys who can come into this league listed at 5'8" (so probably 5'7", 5'6"...) and hold their own against giants like Phaneuf.
To be fair, Conner didn't just hold his own. He protected the puck and out skated Phaneuf (who was at the end of a long shift, but shut the fuck up) and did THIS:
I'm going to call him Tiny Tim from now until forever, or until I forget I'm calling him that.
Honourable mention to Niskanen who provided the stretch pass that made this possible.
THE KID ON THE SHORT BUS WHO LICKS THE WINDOWS
I guess 8 goals in 8 games is a big deal, but all I saw was a shear luck deflection. Some call it "being in the right place". I call it "being a solid thing that the puck can hit". A wheel of cheese could have done that same job.
NOT EXACTLY THE SAME AS LAST TIME
As we go to OT, I'm hoping for a similar performance to last game. I was looking for something like this:
God IS up there, Tang. So go drown your sorrows in some Herbal Essence conditioner. Tomorrow is a new day.
Props to Phaneuf who pulled off an impressive end to end rush to make that OT goal happen. Credit where it's due.
ALT STARS / THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR
- went 61% on faceoffs tonight
- is featured on this month's Official Penguins Desktop Wallpaper!
- swallowed 29 minutes of ice time against San Jose last week
- is terrifying
- appears to be a ninja (No srsly, look at that photo. NINJA)
- shut Grabovski down over and over again
- is 4th in the league for wins. All things considered, that's awesome
- continually saves lives
3. Factoid: Max Tal and Rupp have more in common than just the powerful man fur that covers their faces. Both have scored a cup winning goal in game 7 of the SCF. (Rupp was 2003 with the Debs)
New Jersey Devils, Friday
I know, Jersday would be more appropriate, but this way you don't have to miss Jersey Shore to watch the game.
Notice how I'm not judging you for watching Jersey Shore? That's how much I love you guys.
Gillies is a champ.
In his first game back from the 9 game suspension he incurred for the shenanigans of our Isles match up, Gillies lays hands on the Clutterstache.
Clear targeting of the head.
Here is Cal getting elbowed in the head.
I'm sure we'll hear about the suspension in the morning.
I don't know why I can't embed video. It's just all gone. My body is dismembered from my mind.
Goodnight, kiddies. See you in the sandbox.
ETA: Puck Huffers now has the LiveFyre comments system, i.e. total fucking badassery.
To use the new comments system, you can login with your Facebook, Twitter, or a LiveFyre account.
Integration with a Bloguin login is coming soon.
USE THIS POST TO TEST OUT THE COMMENTS. Feel free to talk about the deadline, or whatever. Yell at us.
Don't forget to customize your notifications so you don't get e-mails you don't want.
Pens didn't do anything today. Rob Rossi made all of the conclusions on Twitter that we made automatically for free, and we're not even professional sports journalists (yet).
The great Rostislav Klesla, the Original Blue Jacket, of "Thanks Jim Day" fame, became a Phoenix Coyote today. Scottie Upshall, Scottie Upshall's abs, and Sami Lepisto came to Columbus, making the fact that Columbus got a Finn the most exciting thing to happen all day.
Oh and Jason Arnott became a Cap or something. Which means he's on our shit list. We were going to just post a picture of Jason Arnott, but then we noticed that his face was arrayed startlingly on our favorite photo source, Daylife. OBSERVE:
Maybe it's a sign.
Maybe Jason sees Godzilla.
The Pens have a lot of cap room to spare in case some folks need to come off of LTIR. Which, presumably, they will.
Give yourself a big hug and Thank Curry for TSN.
We made it.
Are we still the monster?
Pens don't play til Wednesday; maybe we'll figure it out.
Today is that miraculous trade deadline.
We'll be busy pissing ourselves in a corner while we attend such terrible obligations as class and work. But we discovered this:
Turn the audio on whenever possible and go to town.
We'll recap the deadline with love and care later on today.
Try not to die everyone. Be safe. We just had to listen to the Rangers win the Stanley Cup on the TSN tracker. uh
Make sure you have some whiskey at home.
Last night's game was a little bit...
Coming from a place where we're all a little bit bruised and weak, putting our emotions on the line like that is pretty uncomfortable, especially when against the Leafs, who are notorious for giving us a run for our money despite all odds.
Last night's game was a roller coaster. Let us breifly discuss what went down.
The beginning of the game was...okay.
As okay as games have begun in the past, at least. And then it starts to go downhill.
No one can seem to take the puck from the Leafs, TK is injured, Kovie gets sent to the box...
Images of Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez, and numerous other disasters start entering the corners of our consciousness - but no. We push it out. Everything will be okay.
Everything will be okay. Everything will be okay.
Lupul Godammit, we thought you were dead, and here you are haunting us.
We're trying not to go into panic mode, but we don't know how long we'll last.
And then, when we are questioning our abilility to truely be positive all the time, Kovalev reminds us to not question our team, especially not in the first period.
Not his first goal celebration with the Pens, but the first time with these players, and it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
The second period finds us a little bit more confident.
We remember that the Pens are never losing again and are ready for a bloodbath.
Max Talbot tries to get a date after the game by being fancy, and just misses getting a goal.
Rupp starts the mayhem early.
Possibly the best photograph ever taken.
Lupul tries some funny business and nearly convinces everyone that we're watching soccer. Luckily the refs know that no one watches soccer, so when everyone starts cheering for a goal they get it together and remember that this is in fact hockey.
Unfortunately, all of the confusion gets to Colby Armstrong and he forgets what team he really plays for.
Not the goal, just Colbs in blue. It does not do wonders for his heinously pale complexion.
Colby come home?
Unfortunately, despite the team his heart is with, the team whose jersey Colby is wearing gets the point. We don't find this to be good practice, and are petitioning the NHL for a change.
Luckily, Letestu is back in action and just as sexual as ever.
He makes up for the lost point, AND makes Jordy's day.
Realizing that all of the formerly absent players would now have to show their stuff, Mister Jeffrey takes a feed from Cooke and shows that he too is a valuable member of team Penguins.
For the first time in the game, we are ahead on the scoreboard.
James Reimer is on suicide watch. He looks like he is in agony.
Of course, the Leafs take away some of the glory in the first half of the third, and before we can blink they've scored twice.
We try to get a read on the game but we don't know what to think.
It might be negative.
But we're not willing to let it get us.
We remember these days. HOPE. FAITH. Come on Curry.
Before long this game has got a better back-and-forth than the cast of Community.
Max Talbot set aside his allowance this week just to take a girl out, and he is not letting it go to waste again.
The stud scores it shorthanded, of course, because he is a superstar.
Wishes granted, dreams coming true.
Phaneuf won't let it happen, takes the lead back.
We really can't expect press to keep up at this point, anyway.
And finally, panties litter the ice when Rupp sails one in to retie the game, 5-5.
Regulation ends as we try to catch our breath and get a steady heartbeat going again.
Overtime is a joke, but it leads into the SO, which we all secretly wanted just so we could watch Kovie do his thing in a Pens jersey.
And did he ever.
SORRY SIR BUT NOT REALLY
We'd say something like "what a game" but in reality, this was nothing like a normal hockey game. This was a beautiful rarity of a game and we really don't know if our hearts could handle too many of these.
But we certainly do appreciate the entertainment, and of course the fight our team is putting into their play when they know they are back into a corner.
Hey, we're still 4th in the east. Right now we should be nothing but positive.
Anyway, we're never losing again.