In ascending order of importance:
3. Nobody had Alex Goligoski picked in Hair League, so the transition should be pretty seamless. We will now be tracking instances of James Neal and Matt Niskanen hair as well.
2. James Neal and Matt Niskanen have arrived in Pittsburgh.
1. the Sharks/Pens game apparently means that Craig Adams will be having buttsex with Dan Boyle, while Patty Marleau looks on with interest:
Question for ya'll is, do you think he has the right angle? Jesus
Go to the Pens site before someone else notices.
We have no choice but to keep on rolling.
EDITED TO ADD:
MOST IMPORTANT THING
WHERE CAN WE GET IN LINE FOR SOME OF THIS
In ascending order of importance:
Rejean probably spent the morning tending to his theoretical trigger finger. That poised, calm hand of his picked up some phones today and got to work. We're familiar with shopping, but what we mean is we go to Target or Gabe's and make an impulse buy, or find the best apartment in town for the cheapest price, or know when we have found a decent price for upper bowl seats at bull riding.
Ray Shero? Somehow acquires James Neal and Matt Niskanen for Alex Fucking Goligoski.
Oh Alex oh Alex oh Alex. Even better defense and more points production wouldn't have saved you, probably. The Pens are in dire, dire need of more offense, and wingers who know how to make points happen are way more important than a d-man who is a beautiful skater, but has yet to achieve the confidence to run an attack from the blueline and pick his shot with care. See: Kris Letang, who will basically be Jesus once he remembers how to hit the net.
BUT ON TO WHAT WE GET:
James Neal is a LW with 21 goals this season. Bring it.
Matt Niskanen won't bring Goligoski's scoring touch or anything, but he's pretty solid back there. On a Dallas team that is in the playoff mix but has allowed way too many goals to be truly viable, he's only a -1.
We're basically giving him credit that he knows where he is supposed to be. Ktang and PaulMart on the PP is not a bad option. We haven't lost any significant amount of offense, and we've gained a more physical player.
We'll see what happens.
We wish Goose all the best and we miss him already.
The crying will commence once we remember what reality is.
Welcome to James and Matt. We'll be getting intimate with you shortly.
Do not trust skimming slash fiction to predict game performance.
If you want to get it right you have to actually read them.
If we had done that, we could have known. All of those stories? Happy endings (both meanings applicable.)
Thus, the Blackhawks actually came to the game happy and in love with one another, all problems resolved.
Goddamn our aversion to thoroughly reading shitty fanfics.
We should have seen this coming.
Before we get started, we'd like to mention this:
A new all-Pittsburgh sports talk station has been created.
Before you think this is too shameless, let us inform you that one of the hosts is Rick Tocchet, and if we all behave REALLY WELL, we may be able to speak with him.
So clean your rooms and take out the trash, because if this opportunity presents itself, we need to be worthy of it. We'll put a link up for it in the sidebar.
Now, without any further shameless promotion, let's have the awards.
MOMENT YOU REFUSED TO LET YOUR FAITH FALTER THIS EARLY IN THE GAME
MAF is on fire in the first half of the period.
It's looking just like you knew it would - our team thriving despite the gaping stab wounds.
HALLO, DO YOU HAVE SOME-ZING TO SAY? BECAUSE. I DO NOT THINK THAT YOU HAVE ANY-ZING TO SAY. NO?
Shortly after the magic is all happening, Jordan Hendry comes up with the perfect plan to distract our favorite flower.
He immediately sets to trying to shatter some glass, so that the shards will cover the ice in a festive rainbow display, distracting MAF, who - at moments - has the mental capacity and attention span of a raccoon.
He succeeds in messing up some glass, but not the way he would have liked.
Unfortunately, the very thought of what could have happened is filling MAF's head like a slowly inflating giant balloon.
Things get dangerous.
Pucks are flying and MAF is somewhere else.
Somewhere like this.
We can't blame him.
Toews, desperate to show us that he's good with more than just balls, passes the puck over to Sharp, who has this to say about the events that followed:
Little known fact: When men bang on the glass at the United Center, they are actually signaling to the players that their "services" wil be available to the players after the game.
B T DUBS BETTER GET SOME BLANKETS TO KEEP THOSE EXTRA SEATS WARM.
The experience puts MAF back into balloon-less reality.
He's all over the last part of the first, when the 'Hawks control the puck action for wayyyy too long.
We get on the PP towards the end and try to make up for what has been happening, but intermission snakebits it for us.
Half a powerplay is almost as useless as half a medallian - you can't even use it to escape the Temple Guards.
But we're in it to win it anyway.
Let's do this thing.
SECOND PERIOD HERO
After snapping out of the previous balloon animal haze, MAF is all prepared for what is to come.
MON PETIT CHOU HALLO I SEE YOU HAVE RETURNED TO ME LOLOLOL
A brutal number of shots are launched at our favorite puck-seducer, and he stands tall.
If we were still in Fayettenam, we'd have driven right down to the card shop boys to rub the second period in their Fleury-hating faces.
BIGGEST RELIEF / MOST AWESOME
With the score the way it is and the timer the way it is, we're not feeling too happy about it when Craigsy gets sent to the box for hooking.
Can it be?!
WILL IT BE A SUPERSTAR BREAKAWAY SHORTY?!?!?!
Seeing as Max Talbot scoring on a breakaway during a penalty is basically our favorite "FINISH HIM" moment, we're pretty excited to see him take off towards the other end of the ice, even if it is technically a 1 on 1. Following along, however, is recently-freed Matt Cooke, making it a 2-on-01. Talbot does something amazing, which is to say he displays some sort of patience, and passes the puck over at just the right moment for Cooke to be able to sail it into the net.
We're almost in tears.
It's the type of situation we invent in our minds when we get depressed, and here it is, happening in reality.
What lucky people we are.
This is all that happens in the second period, as far as we are concerned.
Tie or no tie, we leave this period feeling pretty fucking awesome.
Bryan Bickell, who the press wasn't even paying attention to, shatters the dreams of children everywhere by somehow putting a puck into our net in the first blinks of the third period.
This is what you did, Bryan Bickell.
I hope you are goddamn happy.
MOST TERRIFYING AND ADORABLE END TO REGULATION
MAF holds on like a hero for the rest of the period, stopping some things that we aren't quite sure science can justify his stopping.
With him holding it up at one end of the ice, we just pray that our ragtag team of pure heart and rookie bloodlust can put something into the net at the other end.
The wait as long as humanly possible, just to keep us on the edge of our seats, and finally Brett Sterling picks up TK's rebound and tries his damndest to escort it into the twine.
Our President is 12 years old, apparently.
We love it.
AWARD FOR SENDING THE MOST PEOPLE TO BED CRYING
The Flower is seriously all over overtime.
We can't get over this game being so close when he has been on fire all night.
He locks it down for five minutes, and then all we have to do is hope and pray for the best on the shootou-
OH SHIT WHO THE FUCK ARE WE GOING TO PUT IN FOR THE SHOOTOUT WHEN HALF OF OUR PLAYERS ARE DEAD?
We all start sobbing immediately.
Dupes and Tanger try their luck.
Luckily none of the Blackhawks have any luck eith-
SERIOUSLY THIS BLOWS YOU GUYS.
The President trys to match him, but his helmet is in the way.
We are distraught.
This is just. not. fair.
PENS 2, WORST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD 3
OUR NEW PERSON OF INTEREST
Bryan Bickell, that sonofabitch.
ALT THREE STARS
So this kind of blows.
But hey, this is hockey. Sometimes things get messy and you are playing with the bloody stumps of what your team used to be.
This is what being a Penguins fan is all about.
When we're winning the Cup in a few months we'll look back on this time and smile.
Because we are the Penguins, goddamnit, and we are Never Losing Again.
The bulk of this preview is under a cut, because like the Chicago Blackhawks team, it is full of manlove.
Nothing too brutal, just some nsfw samples from literary genius around the slashing communities and what we think they imply as far as gameplay tomorrow goes.
It's all very important.
Put on your fucking sunglasses.
Our second submission comes from Paul who called the Blingee process "cathartic."
personal favorite of the batch, by Aaron
Whole bunch of lovelies from PH Blingee Master, TP:
Despondent Ben Lovejoy is Despondent.
TK and the Ponies
possible band name?
From Hair League Connoisseur, Strudel aka Jessica:
Marc-Andre, the Drink of Love.
From the inimitable MouthGuard:
holy shit pink lightbulb.
We love it when you guys answer the call.
FURTHER BUSINESS DOWN HERE:
I was also hoping to see those people.
I heard the news about Duchene just before the game. As a hockey fan, I like to see great players and (once) great teams doing well. So it blows to see Duch (pronounced douche, even though I like him) out indefinetly. It's a huge loss for the Avs too. But hey, their misfortune eases our misfortune slightly. So drink it in.
Well now, Colorado. I know you've lost 8 games in a row. And yes, your someday Captain is out for the season. But, no. You can't have this win. Today is a special day and we are not losing.
So, grab your ankles.
What's so special about tonight? You shouldn't need me to give you a clue hear, you should already know that it is Danny's 2 year anniversary as our coach, hero, and all around beautiful human being. So, here's to many more years of stanley cups and dapper fedoras.
MOMENT YOU REALIZED THE AVS WERE NOT GRABBING THEIR ANKLES AS INSTRUCTED
The first few minutes are pretty solid, but then the Avs finish tying their laces. It sets in pretty quickly these are two teams DESPERATE for that big W and this is going to be a hard fought game.
MAF saves lives when he catches a puck with the nail of his big toe and gets just enough of it to send it into the post instead of the net. That's how close we were to this whole game starting, and then playing, out differently. One toenail. Granted it was the big toenail, but that's still damn close.
Not the save I'm talking about, but A save.
MOST POSITIVE EVENT YOU'VE EXPERIENCED IN A WHILE
We ice the puck and we're tired and all you can think is "Ah, fuck." Well, while you're cursing in your head, Danny B is curing cancer. He calls a time out to give the boys some rest. A time out in the 1st? Yes, in the 1st, cuz that's how he do. And he comes out flippin' genius when we score less than a minute later.
Apparently Vitale is in this photo, celebrating his first NHL goal. I can't tell, not like I would recognize him anyway, having only realized the other day that he is a person who exists.
ALSO OF NOTE IN THE FIRST
Nick Johnson gets his ass handed to him by Wilson. It looks something like this.
He took some serious blows. He kept playing, but for safety's sake, let's all sacrifice a goat to ensure we don't lose another man to injury.
The Avs go up 2-1 in the second. I don't really want to talk about it, let alone share pictures. Brooksy got caught playing with his junk on that first one. The second one was pretty damn solid though. No blaim on MAF. Really, this whole game I've been thinking about how much we're missing up front right now, the pressure on our defense because of it, and how we're hanging on despite it all. Why? Because of our OUTSTANDING goaltending. Also a shit ton of depth. But srsly, MAF is a franchise goaltender that has earned the right to not be questioned. And any team would kill grandmas to have BJ as their back up. He was amazing when MAF was slow at the beginning of the year and has been amazing ever since. He's the whole package.
Bless-ed are we.
CLEARLY TAKING HIS OWN ADVICE
Staal has been talking a lot about not blaiming injuries or anything and just focussing on guys filling roles and stepping up their game. Clearly someone has stepped up his game. Staal restores your belief in the value of human life.
BEST DINOSAUR REFERENCE
Your joy over evening up this fucker is short lived when we end up on the wrong side of 38 seconds of 5 on 3. Steigy gets all poignant and shit when he says this the moment where you win or lose this game. Boys, this is when you become men. And they do. We kill ALL that shit.
Errey notices how we are able to challenge despite only having 3 skaters on the ice. He figures this is only possible with a terradactyl like Staal.
God knows why he chose to compare Staal to a terradactyl as opposed to a titan, a mammoth, or Batman. It must be about the wing span I guess.
Scoreless in the 3rd means we head to over time. Right at the end of OT, we get a power play.
PK puts away a rebound.
Group hugs for everyone!
ALTERNATIVE 3 STARS
Good God we needed this win.
Stopping by Chicago for tea and scones, Sunday at 3:30pm.
Blingee some Valentines/other greetings for the Pens and e-mail them to
. We will use them in the wake of the Avs game on Wednesday to either comfort or celebrate with the Pens. If we get enough we will send them to the Pens front office to show that we care and maybe the players will actually see them. Maybe. We need the world to continue to appreciate the art that is Blingee and allow it to grow, organically, from our love and appreciation of hockey.
please use the subject line "always and forever."
DO NOT SEND THROUGH BLINGEE OR ATTACH THE FILE; if you can, please obtain the URL and paste it into an e-mail.
this is for real, guys.
look at that smile.
We find that the actual scores and events of these games are hardly newsworthy when we're lucky to come out of every 20-minute period without a season-ending injury. We find it more newsworthy the way the NHL is handling everything day-to-day. We find it more newsworthy that Brett Sterling is stepping it up at this level. We find it more newsworthy the way Kris Letang skill skates his balls off to exit the zone and the start the breakout on one of his last shifts of the game, with no real chance of a comeback.
It is absolutely about survival and nothing else at this point. We're already in our playoffs. The Pens know that, it seems. If everyone were writing this off as a lost season, you wouldn't see the attitude or behavior that you see among the Penguins, in their locker room, at their practices. They still want to be here. So should you.
So wipe off the dirt.
We on to the next one.
Nick Johnson in this picture has already been mistaken for Brent Johnson by the fine folks at Getty. No one even knows who are team is anymore, except us, and the guys wearing the jerseys. And that's not a bad thing. Everyone can hate us. Fuck them. We're still here. Tank ain't empty yet.
10 games for Eric Godard, 9 games for Trevor Gillies, 4 games for Matt Martin.
We're picking up what Mario's putting down. We get that he is a private dude. We wouldn't want to subject ourselves to the way the current hockey media is, either.
Pens don't play til Wednesday. Get some rest.
I just caught up with the Pens/Rangers game after spending four hours under red lightbulbs in a darkroom, and here's what I return to. Pens had a 2-goal lead in this game and have since given up six unanswered goals to the Rangers including three power play goals. Um.
Mario Lemieux released this statement today:
“Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be. But what happened Friday night on Long Island wasn’t hockey. It was a travesty. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.
“The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.
“We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players. We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action.
“If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it.”
What a man.
Third period going on right now.
What about life even. Go Pens.
This game was not that exciting.
It was well played, good hockey, but really, not that exciting.
I'm sorry, was I supposed to lie to you? We were playing the Kings for Curry's sake.
I mean, yeah, it's exciting that everyone gets to talk about Scuderi playing the Pens, blahblahblah, but overall, nothing much happened.
Which is kind of nice when your heat goes out in the freezing cold and then for once the fire evacuation isn't a drill, your apartment building is actually on fire.
A nice, simple hockey game in which the Pens take home two points.
So, while I try to figure out why the hell this backup space heater isn't working, let's roll out a quick awards show.
BEST LIFESAVING SKILLZ
Nothing really happens at all until we're damn near midway through the first period.
Gogo finds himself in the box for inappropriate touches of the ref's wife, and the Kings have a chance to pull ahead.
MAF gets stuck out of the net chasing kittens into the stands, which leaves Justin Williams a welcoming net in which to place the puck. While this moment was heart wrenching, I can never take Justin Williams seriously, because he shares a name with this childhood friend of mine:
Anyway, Michalek, who according to the press doesn't exist, pulls off a little move that we call a "panty dropper" here in the professional hockey journalism world, and saves all of our asses from the despair of being down 1-0 to the Kings. Someone has been taking classes at the Y in his spare time.
Gogo immediately gets out of the box and damn near hits the twine at the opposite end of the ice.
What could have been a disaster comes up seeming more like motivation.
Good job, boys.
CUTEST BABY PHOTOS
Brett Sterling is here for less than ten minutes before he gets on the board for the Pens.
He takes the momentum the save and gogo rush have built up and cashes in on it by tossing the puck over Quick's shoulder.
The press brings us a touching photo of reunitied teammates .
We kind of want to carry it around in our wallet with us to show friends.
Unfortunately, that FUCKING MISERABLE FAILED ABORTION OF A CHILD LOOKS SO DISCONTENT.
OH MY GOD I AM SO SORRY THAT YOU AREN'T PEERING DIRECTLY ONTO THE GLOWING FACE OF SIDNEY CROSBY.
We have a duty to raise our children to love all Pens equally, and someone has failed.
Brooks looks proud. And Handsome.
Also, I am two inches taller than Brett.
THE MURDER VISION AWARD
Some other things happen, and then some others.
Michalek gets us all pregnant again.
DJSkillz does some neat things.
And then, Jarret Stoll somehow gets the puck behind MAF. It makes no sense, especially seeing as according to the press Jarret Stoll is this glass of milk:
However, after looking into it, we found this really concerning photo from a Sharks game.
If his photos always come out like that, we can understand press avoiding Bloody Murder of the photography world.
WORST FACIAL HAIR
In the second period, my apartment building is smoldering from what was probably a pizza left in an oven somewhere by some way cool dudes who drank wicked beers last night at Stacy's party.
Somewhere in Pittsburgh, however, Westgarth and Engelland decide it is time to exchange some words, maybe compare their taxes, ask about the wife and kids, etc.
While we don't like posting pictures of our guys taking hits in fights, this one is an exception:
While Engelland may be about to take that fist to some location on his body area, at least he does not have some sort of mangled sideburns/mustache deal going on. We think that Westgarth is gearing up to pull a Starburns here.
There is never any reason for your facial hair to be like that. Starburns are not an excuse.
THE MOST FML MOMENT
Dustin Jeffrey has a lower-body injury and will not return.
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING US.
When is this going to end srsly we are no longer feeling fun and fanciful about overcoming adversity with a broken team.
This is balls.
MOST ADORABLE BFF MOMENT
Simmonds decides to start yelling at Kris Letang's hair for being so beautiful and luxurious.
Ryan Craig says no, not on his call-up time.
This is a really weird photo.
I think they may actually be dancing.
Who are the BFFs here? The world may never know.
The game goes into OT tied at 1-1, but not without providing this treasure.
MOMENT WE HAVE MISSED THE MOST THIS SEASON
It's so nice having Jordan back.
Not only is it just good to have a healthy Staal when everyone else is dead and gone, it's great to see him back with the guys just because he's so expressive and hilarious on the ice.
He goes all out for OT and, just by the skin of our teeth, gets it into the net before the SO.
Pens 2 Kings 1
BEST GOAL REACTION
Did you think we were lying when we said Staal is expressive?
Nothing warms our heart like his scoring. And when the press is on board to catch it, everything is wonderful.
ALT THREE STARS
1) Michalek, for being the alternate goalie.
2) Brooksy, because he's handsome.
3) Dupuis, for absorbing all of the loving from Staal like a well conditioned sponge.
So there you have it, a hard fought game that we came away with despite the fact that our team is limping along the side of the road in the snow.
It's called heart.
Here's to another win tonight.
Cause as we all know full well, we're never losing again.