And I had so much material written about the minutiae of this game!
Alas, I wasn't going to use it unless we had a chance. And as soon as we pulled Fleury it was pretty much decided that they were going to get the EN and not only kill god, but possibly disprove the existence of god.
Questionable penalty shot call early in the 1st, and Kovalchuk scores the penalty shot, which basically decided the whole game. Penguins lose two depth forwards to injury, forcing Malkin to barrel through unlimited minutes. Yep. Disheartening, plus it's the Devils, and it was at 3pm.
also can we just have Petr Sykora back or something.
We would also probably bomb Canada if a terrorist sect promised they would heal Crosby with magic at this point.
We have a lot of reasons to bomb Canada anyway.
fuck the po-lice.
We haven't seen a second of the WJC, it sounds depressing rite nao. fuck you
Go Pens in 2012.
2011 was a cursed and terrible year from the get-go. Let's get it over with.
And I had so much material written about the minutiae of this game!
We're pretty sure we made Max Talbot cry last night so that's the sum achievement of the Penguins against the Flyers this season, aside from a badass play by Malkin and Tyler Kennedy we guess.
We (PH Staff) were at the game last night and seeing that moment from Max and the Pittsburgh fans prompted many difficult emotions.
Ultimately, we feel okay for tugging heartstrings. We hope the Flyers blow it really hard and messy in the playoffs so that he can be full of regret and heartbreak. We hope that he continues to pad his stats with empty netters and the like and that he constantly wakes up panged by the memory of the best day of his life on June 12, 2009. And the subsequent seasons spent in Pittsburgh being mostly awful at everything. TEARS. We miss you, honey, but we don't miss the Bad Old Days.
It kind of feels like the hockey gods are taking a dump on our spirits and that's probably karmic because we've been so goddamned spoiled rotten.
The arena got LOUD after Tyler Kennedy's goal. And was loudest when the jumbotron wasn't goading people, so that's something special right there. Consol Energy Center was kind of a real hockey arena last night. Somewhere deep in the minds of the wolves, civilized fandom stirred. And they believed.
Not that they had any reason to. The game was full of mistakes and lazy play. . .Niskanen and Despres both looked a little brutal after being godsends in recent games. We're glad Deryk Engelland is coming back. We require his spirit in this difficult universe.
Not being able to score on the power play seemed to lose this game, though, for sure.
Also, Sergei Bobrovsky, WONDER CHILD who was just born yesterday and doesn't know how to button his shirts, is unbeaten in this building. We hate shit like that.
We did demote Jason Williams and Alexandre Picard. So this is all kinds of good news. . .people could be returning to us.
The lost and the weary.
That's us right now.
Jagr all over your ass.
I hope you all had a lovely $WINTERHOLIDAY, whichever one you may happen to celebrate. I had a good Christmas, except for the part on Christmas Eve where my mother-in-law and I split a box of Franzia and I woke up to a very hungover Christmas morning.
However, I am much recovered. Just in time for the Staal Brothers Drinking Game!
Little Jeffy Skinner is out for this game. Instead, he will be appearing on the NHL Concussion All-Stars Team, along with Shea Weber, Sidney Crosby, Perfect Kris Letang, and EVERYONE ELSE EVER.
Pascal Dupuis will be mic'd up tonight. I look forward to hearing him taunt people about their less adorable children.
OMG COACH DISCO IS STILL WEARING THE BEST CHRISTMAS SWEATER OF ALL TIME
The game commences with the Pens pretty much running roughshod over the Canes, but failing to score.
Also, if you haven't gotten yourself a drink yet, you're going to need one of these.
The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems
Steiggy encourages us to text in questions for Coach Disco. I can think of a few that I'd like to ask.
Where do you get your hats?
How many burgers can TK fit into his mouth at once?
How do you get inside your opponents' heads?
My Disco-related hilarity is cut short as the Canes dump the puck in, force a bad turnover, and score first. Hurricanes lead 1-0
The Canes continue to play all spastic and we get some good chances, but nothing happens. The period ends with the Pens having 16 shots on goal and on a power play, but zero goals.
FIRST PERIOD AWARDS
Best F-Bomb goes to Coach Disco, since we all inadvertently heard it during the ROOT Sports broadcast.
The Carolina goalie is just playing completely lights-out. We get some good chances on the power play, but Peters is basically stopping everything.
"If you've never heard of the other goalie, safe bet he'll be awesome against the Pens" - @freejackjohnson
The Canes have no shots on goal in the first eight minutes of the period and the Pens are storming the net as much as they can.
Kunitz carries the puck in, Peters comes out of the net to make a save, then the puck drifts through the crease and bounces off James Neal to go in the back of the net. 1-1 tie
Steiggy, please stop trying to make "Duperstar" happen. No one likes it and you sound like an idiot.
Despres goes dashing after the puck and gets a stick in the face. Please please don't be hurt, Despres.
Despres leaves the game, but nothing else happens, and the second period ends uneventfully.
SECOND PERIOD AWARDS
Best Husband goes to my TKhusband, who brought me an entire case of Lindemans Framboise for Christmas, and brought it in the door just as James Neal was in the way of the puck to cause it to bounce into the goal.
Best husband ever
Yay, Despres is back on the bench! I hope he's all right.
The Pens get a power play and Steve Sullivan actually puts the puck into the net. I'm as surprised as you are. Pens lead 2-1
A bad Carolina turnover results in a two-on-one, which then results in a fabulous goal for Pascal Dupuis. And another Malkin assist. Pens lead 3-1
I suspect that the Christmas Sweater will be making an appearance on Thursday.
Jordan Staal demonstrates why he is the superior Staal and storms in two-on-one with Dupuis. Instead of passing the puck, like we're used to seeing, JStaal proves his mastery by slamming the puck right into the net. Pens lead 4-1
After a bunch of back-and-forth, Tuomo Ruutu grabs the puck on a Penguins turnover and waits for Fleury to commit to a save so that he can put it top-shelf. Pens lead 4-2
Do the Pens seriously have 50 shots on goal? That's kind of ridiculous.
Pretty Princess James Neal gets called for slashing with 2:49 left in the game. Yay! An opportunity for ROOT Sports to experiment with even shittier camera angles!
The Canes fail to score, or do basically anything else, as the game comes to an end.
THIRD PERIOD AWARDS
I'm going to give the Most Anticipated award to myself and the rest of PH Staff, as we'll be in attendance on Thursday.
Will we get loaded on whiskey milkshakes and embarrass ourselves?
Will we be seeing the Christmas Sweater once again?
I can hardly wait!
We got you this. We didn't know what else to get you.
Happy Holidays, bitches. wooo
. . .was my sustenance during this game.
This game began with a Stain.
We were always of the belief that Winnipeg, as a Canadian city, was at least as deserving as the Southern American sprawl of Atlanta in terms of requiring a hockey team. (I mean remember the time the ASG was in Atlanta, what was with that shit.)
Anyway, apparently the city of Winnipeg has gotten its dick so hard over this business that they've forgotten you actually have to play 60 minutes before you have something to blow your load over.
So, we'll roll out the red carpet and try to wash the Stain out of it:
MOST ANNOYING FANS OUTSIDE OF FRENCH CANADA
Girls: your signs aren't funny.
Winnipeg: chanting "FLEURRRRYYYYYYYY" before puck drop doesn't even actually make sense.
Booing Malkin because he's better than anyone on your team will ever be is as good as jamming his manhood in your mouth and saying "I'M JEALOUS"
You guys are idiots. We know you're a Canadian city with a rich hockey history and all that, but you've had your team for 2 minutes and the old Jets sucked too and we don't see any Cup banners and even if we did that's no excuse to act like the Lord Himself blessed you with his bloody, hockey spittle.
Pure poetry, I know. But really. SHUT UP.
MOMENT YOU GAVE BIRTH TO UNLIMITED OLIVE GARDEN BREADSTICKS
When, in the first period, after breathless hard work and Fleury Ballin', Joe Vitale put in a rebound. Ondrej Pavelec's first mistake, as he broke a shutout streak in this moment. Tough.
Pavelec then records an album of traditional Czech music and submits it to Eurovision. This photo is the cover.
This photo is not:
Italy makes a comeback in Eurovision.
Also this period, Asham fought some dude. Okay. We accept.
It was because some guy messed with Gene. We understand fights like this. Sort of anyway. Didn't appear that Asham caused a brain injury either so that's A+.
PERIOD THAT WINNIPEG THOUGHT THAT IT MIGHT BE WORTH BREATHING AGAIN
The one where their team actually scored, lol.
Winnipeg fans immediately start screaming into the void again.
Pens are otherwise pretty solid.
Meanwhile, in the press box, Steiggy and Errey are discussing things like the meaning of Christmas or whatever. You just have a good feeling.
LEAST LIKELY TO POSSESS THE BLACK RING
James Neal sniped some shit like a boss really early in the third.
We can't find a picture of the goal, so this artist's representation will have to suffice:
Admittedly, this baby is doing it wrong, trying to play all the colors at once, but we allow this when James Neal is playing. It adds to the competition and length of play if you have to acquire, say, ALL the necklaces.
This season, James Neal is definitely setting his sights on all Pretty Pretty Princess game pieces.
Also, it says something about the NHL that we had to double check and make sure Phil Kessel wasn't out with a concussion, based solely on the fact that he is in the Richard Trophy race. Say your prayers everyone. And watch out for that black ring.
NAILS IN THE COFFIN
Staal, like a grizzled WWI soldier in the trenches, hauls himself up from the mud and scores one:
Pascal Dupuis then rushed into the zone more or less all alone and sniped the glitter out of Ondrej.
This is about as good as it gets. And the city was quiet. And there were no more masturbation tissues to be had in the arena.
PENS WIN 4-1
~ lol ~ FLEUUUURRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
Soups and salads for all.
INDIVIDUAL AWARD: MOST LIKELY TO HAVE EATEN A SMALL COUNTRY AT INTERMISSION OUT OF SHEER CRUELTY
ALTERNATIVE THREE STARS
1. Marc-Andre - did everything else and no one ever cares about how amazing he is for some reason
2. Joe Vitale - for mentally transporting us to another world
3. Simon Despres - Tequila boy making himself nearly indispensable; imagine relying on anyone else at this point
p.s. Malkin got kneed in the head, if he's concussed we should probably cancel hockey in favor of philosophical conversation, beating off, and crying:
go pens ~~~~~
The Penguins were kind of in a weird place where they didn't look 100% like a real hockey team all the time and there were all these depressing stats about how the Pens lost every single game ever to every team that has ever been worthy of the playoffs.
Well, tonight the Pens hung with the team that had the top spot in the NHL. They managed to control the play for the most part, alongside some puck sweet-talking by Marc-André.
Of course the Blackhawks were going to come out flying in the third, but all we had to do was hold them off, I guess. Or some shit.
Engo is probably going to be suspended for some awkward, probably unintentional high hit that he landed (and then had to fight a guy over it).
But, the gods have given us this photo, which means something pure and good game from the incident:
We also did, however, receive the Most Awkward Photo OF ALL TIME:
Which is also kind of adorable and possibly a lost vignette from Sebald's The Rings of Saturn.
Our favorite moment of the game was, however, Ben Lovejoy's assist to Tyler Kennedy, which will go down in no NHL history book but be remembered by anyone worth being friends with.
Basically everyone can suck it except us tonight, because we did A Good Thing compared to the last Good Thing we did, which was blow out a broken man at the end of his rope. Not that Ray Emery is the pinnacle of emotional stability, but it's not like he played badly.
Even despite the fact that James Neal apparently had his way with at least one official's teenage daughter in the back of a convertible in Miami or some shit. He even scored a goal, because we're that pimp.
WOOOO WHATEVER about as excited as we're going to get about a game in December that we didn't even get to go to. WELP. Fleury was amazing, did we mention?
Protip: booze anytime you have to deal with Patrick Kane on your TV.
We remember you, you asshole.
We remember thinking that if you just suffered and blew it for a few more years, you'd be ready to win the Cup. Then you got it up too early and somehow got faced with the task of facing MICHAEL LEIGHTON in a Stanley Cup Final. It was all over.
Now, we have no mercy. You've just been such rudeasses. We still don't believe that you earned your glory or your reputation. Like a 16-year-old who rolls into the school parking lot the day after he receives his license in a brand-new BMW 6-series, we are not going to be your friend or go to your parties.
Oh fuck they are on top of the West (and the League) they're even better than the Great Minnesota Wild we better watch the fuck out.
We've just read that Staal and Adams are skating this morning at an apparently optional skate.
Good sign? maybe?
Tonight's recap will not be written in rhyming couplets, because I think I may have broke my rhyme muscle with that last one.
Also, I'm slightly mad, because my dear TKhusband will be at this game with one of our friends, and I am clearly not joining them at the CEC tonight.
He's like an overexcited puppy. I can't stay mad at him.
Also also, everyone has lost their goddamn minds and forgotten that when it's cold enough to snow, it's definitely cold enough to freeze bridges, and so when I was out running errands earlier today, I came about a foot away from being in a multi-car accident. If I had gotten my car smashed up and ended up with a concussion, that would be a pretty succinct analogue to the Penguins season so far.
Carl Sneep? That doesn't seem like it should be the name of a real person. Let alone a real person playing defense for our team.
Arron Asham looks sharp in his three-piece suit. Also, is he seriously wearing a headband for TV??? And inviting Dan Potash to his house for a sleepover???
Brooks Orpik is asked for his cogent analysis of how to stop Thomas Vanek. He calls for discipline and fewer shenanigans.
GOOD CHRIST ERREY OBVIOUSLY TK IS SHOOTING THE PUCK HE HAS NO OTHER MOVES
The Pens are playing like they're possessed. Possessed by the spirits of decent hockey players, that is.
Jason Williams fires a shot from the blue line that managed to get past Ryan Miller and catch everyone by surprise, including Steiggy, who was in the middle of a sentence when he had to make the goal call. Pens 1-0
Weber goes off for tripping so that the Penguins power play can pretend like they know what we're doing. Although Despres decides to prove my skepticism wrong and throws the puck at Miller, hard, from the near circle. That's the second power play unit scoring to put the Pens up 2-0.
I think the Pens players all woke up this morning and said to their adorable children:
FUCK THIS NOISE.
NEVER LOSING AGAIN.
Geno sure ate some of those Wheaties this morning, backing up a ridiculous Penguins rush and following Kunitz's lead to drive to the net and score.
Pens lead 3-0
OMG THEY TOTALLY JUST CHASED RYAN MILLER OUT OF THE NET
Hi, Jhonas Enroth. I look forward to fucking up typing your name all evening.
The list of Penguins players that are out is just plain depressing.
Speaking of depressing, Thomas Vanek manages to score one for the Sabres. Pens up 3-1
"He can pick a hole as good as anyone can in the NHL" - Errey on Vanek
I don't know what kind of wall-humping moron works at ROOT and controls the camera angles, but we almost miss a fantastic play at the blue line by James Neal to throw the puck up to Geno, who DESTROYS Enroth. Pens up 4-1
Geno's playing HARD. I think he is currently having emotion. No word on the size of the taste, though.
The period ends with no further scoring.
FIRST PERIOD AWARDS
Most Pathetic goes to Ryan Miller. If you let in three goals on seven shots, you don't deserve to play in the game. I feel a tiny bit bad for him, is the thing. Hence the pathos...and much less taunting than we would normally engage in.
Speaking of pathetic, Most Hilarious Outcome goes to Philadelphia, who managed to lose 6-0 to Boston today. I seriously cannot wait to see what Insane!Bryz has to say about this on 24/7.
Every time I raise my eyebrow, I let in a goal. Why you heff to be mad?
Dan Potash asks the Pens what they want for Christmas.
Simon Despres wants socks and underwear
James Neal wants Dan Potash to get a new haircut
Craig Adams wants to be on the first powerplay unit
LET'S MAKE SOME CHRISTMAS DREAMS COME TRUE
Ryan Miller is back. Back for more, Ryan Miller?
I look up from the keyboard to see James Neal get set up super nicely by Malkin and make Ryan Miller look incredibly foolish. Pens up 5-1
I really think the Pens are just sick of losing, sick of not having guys in the lineup, and sick of making excuses.
Seriously, the Sabres can't get anything done and the Pens are running roughshod all over them. Not really scoring any more goals, per se, but still. Roughshod.
Ryan Miller allows another soft goal, this time from Deryk Engelland. Not that he's a bad player or anything, he's actually super great, but MAN. Pens up 6-1
Dupuis gets an assist on Engelland's goal and now has 300 POINTS! Good job, Duper!
The period ends with no further ridiculousness.
SECOND PERIOD AWARDS
From now until the end of time, James Neal is the Prettiest Princess. We will always, always, ALWAYS love him.
I think he's already surpassed Rob Rossi's predictions for his performance this year, which kicks ass. Well done, gingerbeard.
Jhonas Enroth is back in net. I'm not sure how much it's going to help, at this point, but hey. Worth a shot, right?
Buffalo will not go gently into that good night, though, and a backwards-skating referee screens Fleury to let the Sabres score. Pens lead 6-2
Errey is jinxing us as the Sabres get a good 2-on-1, catching the Pens out of position, and score another goal. Pens lead 6-3
I bet the TKhusband is cursing Fleury as we speak.
Geno has decided that this aggression will not stand and cruises in from the right side to stuff it in past Enroth through the five-hole. Pens lead 7-3
Our excitement is tempered by the absence of Craig Adams, who has left the game with "a lower-body injury." Let's hope it's just a twisted ankle or something really minor and that he's all right, because I am not losing Craig Fucking Adams to injury as well as everyone else.
"A bullet by Kunitz" goes right in, banging off the post with a mighty THUNK. Pens lead 8-3
We receive confirmation that Adams's injury isn't severe, but since the score is kind of ridiculous, he won't be coming back. Fair enough.
The game ends with nothing else notable happening.
THIRD PERIOD AWARDS
Geno gets my top award for Best Russian. This award comes with a copious amount of Russian smiley faces.
))))))))))))) all for you, Geno
Brokenest Souls go to the entire Sabres team. I feel like we've just given them an epic curb-stomping.
Notable Milestones go to:
Geno's seventh career hat trick
MAF's 200th win
Dupuis' 300th point
Despres' and Sneep's first NHL goal and point, respectively
Geno being unable to complete a postgame interview because people are yelling too loudly
In short: if yesterday's game was the Titanic, I am James Fucking Cameron.
Earlier today when you heard that Malkin and Staal were BOTH game-time decisions, you probably had two schools of thought on the matter.
One was: fuckkkkkkkk.
The other was: WHAT IF WE MARCH INTO THAT ARENA AND BEAT THEM IF JOE VITALE IS OUR TOP LINE CENTER!!!!!!!
Luckily, Malkin and Staal played, but there wasn't much else to it. Malkin scored a gorgeous goal after one of the most boring and bizarre first periods of all time, where neither team could manage the puck and everyone looked like they were expecting iced doughnuts to start raining from the ceiling. And by "everyone" we mean Jimmy Howard.
Oh but yeah that Malkin goal, it was pretty good:
Man on the glass reaching out towards faith and love.
However, this was a final-seconds-type goal, and it's kind of hard to ride the momentum of that between periods in the middle of December when your injury/depth situation is balls and a half.
The second period featured Malkin and Neal in particular trying to destroy everyone's lives. This play alone was captured at every angle by photographers of the World:
We still don't know how it doesn't go in.
check out Neal's face. The gingerbeard is trying to achieve the Beyond.
But Datsyuk got free in the slot, as he is wont to do when the Penguins commit turnovers in their own zone:
It was all downhill from there, even if Malkin did have 9 shots (at least) and almost score fifty million times.
Everyone tried really hard.
But there were just ridiculous situations.
ROOT Sports missing a power play goal after commercial from Johan Franzen, so we don't even know how bad it really was.
And getting our asses handed to it by Chris Conner on an odd-man rush.
At least no one scored anything off of Holmstrom's butt:
We have this picture of Ty Conklin on the bench with this clipboard, which suggests that the entire Wings organization may be a puppet regime led by Ty himself.
This is an untested theory which will be proven soon.
ROOT also dabbled in the Creepy Torture Porn industry by showing us a slow-mo hair shot of Professor Kronwall.
Also, our goalies still love each other and have their shit together, so that counts for something.
As soon as the team decides to wake up and come to play again (and our defense gets sort of healthy and less rookie-ish), the riches will be strewn across the lands for all to see.
For now though I guess we have to deal with the crazy.
We will though, and we'll come out on top.
Like we said last time we lost to the Wings, Never Losing Again.
Today's the day that we receive news about Crosby, who didn't go on the team's last road trip and had no intention of playing from the outset. He met the media this afternoon and said words we're all pretty familiar with. No timetable for return. He wants to be at 100%. He doesn't feel bad, but he has symptoms.
Sidney Crosby's head injury made waves this past January. The idea that the game's best player could be taken out indefinitely in the middle of a career year was unthinkable and disappointing. What matched the magnitude of that disappointment, nearly, was the shock and appreciation that Dan Bylsma and the remaining team, after seemingly endless injuries, still played well and made the playoffs. We know that winning isn't necessarily due to talent or to determination, it's a combination of both. Crosby obviously brings both, but the rest of the team is capable as well. And so we succeed, to a degree.
The fact that Crosby has suffered a setback is, at this point, disheartening. But this type of thing is going to happen, medically.
Sadly, we also see it as a sign that the NHL is in crisis mode with regards to attitude about its product. Crosby isn't the first talented player to go down this way--we should be glad that he seems like he's going to try to come back at all. (Because I'm in Boston I have to drop an obvious name--Marc Savard.)
But there is also a ridiculous number of players out with concussions right now. . .from farmhands like Robert Bortuzzo to high-profile guys with great skill sets, like Claude Giroux (whom we've always kind of liked).
Seth Rorabaugh wrote today that Shanahan's discipline has been inconsistent if much less nebulous than it was under Campbell.
The root of this problem seems to be a.) the "system" being unable to keep up with medical understanding of injuries and b.) a gross misconception of the on-ice product as understood by the NHL's executives. They may seem unrelated, but this is why the realignment was allowed to pass. We're thinking in terms of numbers--travel costs, television ratings, "fan confidence", ticket sales, etc.--and not in terms of reality and human life.
There's a reason why New York Times reporters were doing all the digging on the death of Derek Boogaard, for example.
We are only speaking in euphemisms when it comes to the toll that the game takes on players.
We can yell about terms like "hockey play" and "legal check" until we're blue in the face. We can field comments from "fans" of opposing teams saying crap like "oh he's a pussy, he needs to walk it off" or "he's just being emo" for years. The fact is that without your brain functioning properly, you don't do anything right. If your brain is damaged enough, you actually die. It's not like a broken bone, it's not like a strained muscle, it's not some nebulous injury that we can file away as an accident.
Concussions aren't the only injuries though. We've seen more videos this season so far of idiots doing cheap shit to other players than we have seen in years. We know that YouTube ability is at an all-time high and that these videos can be made within minutes, and we also know that this is anecdotal evidence at best. Still, the atmosphere has been ominous since this summer. We try to elevate away from controversy and injuries and we end up right back where we were before.
When is somebody going to say that this shit is getting old, and we're sick of seeing both our much-beloved sport and the value of human life diluted to such an astronomical degree?
Many players are going to sit this season because of things that were done to them illegally.
We're going to wait for some video from Shanahan, agree or disagree with it, and then forget about it a week later, apparently. Unless it's your favorite team's player, in which case you'll sit on it like it's a bed of knives.
This isn't okay, this is circus bullshit. People need to start paying more attention.
We miss integrity, we miss hockey.
We miss Sid, too.