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
Not only is it cold outside, the internet is being douchey, I just happened to close my internet window after writing this entire post the first time without saving it, AND this game happened.
Sometimes bad nights happen. Sometimes bad weeks, months, and years happen. We can't get too bent out of shape about them. Everything gets better. We'll win the Stanley Cup, Sidney Crosby will forgive us out sins, and everything will be okay. We can't mope about every little thing or smash our laptop screen because we blame technology for our own incompetence. Things always get better and the Penguins always, eventually, even if it takes twenty or so years, prevail. Remember that one.
So a recap is clearly not going to happen here. It was way too shitty an evening for that. Even the Penguins organization had a hard time understanding this one:
Luckily they didn't wrap it up with a ribbon. Because we have a certain President on our team, we were able to pull out with our dignity partially intact at the end of the third. What would we do without TK?
WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT TK?
Apparently the press wants to find out, because this goal is thus far undocumented through most common media outlets.
Thus we bring you a sunrise over his estate:
For those of you interested in the "writing" (lols) process, I used this picture in the original writeup.
You decide for yourself.
So drink. Drink tonight, or drink tomorrow night if you have a mortgage to pay. We don't care. Just get ready for Sunday, because it is a new day and we will be back on track to win everything and never ever lose again. If you feel too upset by this game, let the awesomeness of this photo ease your pain:
Never losing again.
Go yell at people in the streets about how your life is in shambles and that you deserve endless amounts of pity because the universe is robbing you of the best years of your (And Sid's) life. Don't let other people come back at you with illness or joblessness or missing limbs - you tell them to get their fucking priorities in line.
Take your time with your pain and get ready for the return.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that while we should all get over this game, every single one of you should feel a gaping absence in your soul because the best dog to ever exist is no longer with us.
Chase is easily better than your dog, even when competeing for the title from doggy heaven.
Pour one out for him.
He deserves it more than you.
When I saw that this game was on the schedule, I got very excited. I grew up watching the Avs play and hearing about my mom's inappropriate hockey crushes, so when I saw they were coming to Pittsburgh, I immediately called dibs on this game.
Also, I must give Mom a hat tip for the title of this post, as Piano Man is one of her favorite songs.
I asked my mom to give me a preview of the game to tell me what to look for. She filled me in on the following items:
1) Milan Hejduk was named the new Avalanche captain on Monday. He is nearing the end of his career, and as a result, Mom thinks Paul Stasny would have been a better choice.
2) The Avs like to dump and chase, and every so often, they realize that they are super fast and super young and can wear other teams out.
3) Varlamov is playing pretty well, but the defense keeps hanging him out to dry.
4) "Matt Duchene has occasional moments of brilliance, but it doesn't last."
5) The Avs are unable to win at home but seem to kick ass on the road.
So which Avalanche team will we see?
For that matter, which Pens team will we see? The one from the third period of the Carolina game, or the one who played the first two periods of that game?
All will soon be revealed.
Wait, this game's on VS? Balls.
INSERT OBLIGATORY SIDNEY CROSBY-RELATED HAND-WRINGING HERE
The Avalanche are the youngest team in the NHL at 26 years and change. This Fun Fact just makes me feel ancient.
Zoë: "THEY HAVE VARLAMOV
I HAD NO IDEA"
On the pregame as the VS team looks at other teams playing around the league: "Nobody is better at not scoring than the Islanders."
Pierre McGuire conducts the most awkward possible interview of Paul Stasny.
TK WATCH IS OFFICIALLY OVER MY FRIENDS
How I've missed you
I just watched a feature on why the Avs' power play is successful. I'll tell you why it's successful. They sneak a defenseman up to the net and he gets in the goalie's face. In the past, this defenseman was John-Michael Liles. Now even though he's in Toronto, they're still doing the same move. He probably taught all the young guys on the team how to do that before he left. Like some kind of Hoosier Yoda bestowing knowledge on those less talented and more whiny.
Crash the net, you must
INSERT FURTHER SIDNEY CROSBY-RELATED PEARL-CLUTCHING HERE
VS misses showing the first faceoff of the game. This bodes well.
NEW DRINKING GAME: Drink every time the TV broadcast misses a faceoff.
Asham and McCloud drop the gloves after only a few minutes of play and Asham DESTROYS McCloud's will to live. McCloud's actually bleeding a little bit. I would be too, after getting my ass beat by Arron Asham.
Mom was right; the defense is not even giving Varlamov a chance to be awesome. Zoë and I muse about how we feel ever so slightly sorry for him.
Orpik gets creamed from behind by T.J. Galiardi and the Pens go to the power play.
Ryan O'Byrne realizes he's not old enough to be awesome and trips Matt Cooke to result in a Pittsburgh five-on-three.
However, nothing happens. Just a lot of passing back and forth. AND NO SCORING.
This game is inspiring so many existential questions. Who are we? What are we doing?
How much longer can someone on the Pens stand in Varlamov's crease without scoring?
After killing that ridiculous penalty, one of the tiny Avalanche children manages to stuff the puck behind Fleury. 1-0 Avs
Coach Disco is rocking the full-on Tom Selleck-style mustache. This isn't news, but it is notable.
I'm not entirely sure why he's shirtless but just go with it
Matt Duchene makes a super sick move, grabbing the puck from behind and throwing it in faster than anyone can realize, least of all Fleury. 2-0 Avs
Don't count out Uncle Jordy, though. He manages to make a nice shot from a pass from the corner and throw it above Varlamov. 2-1 Avs
Alas, it is not enough, and the Avs score with what, ten seconds left in the period? 3-1 Avs
FIRST PERIOD AWARDS
Shittiest Camera Angles goes to VS, as a network. What's wrong with the standard hockey angles? Why do you have to zoom in oddly and refuse to show us faceoffs?
Most Deserving of Sympathy is going straight to Paul Martin. I know he's been doing shitty lately. Come on, you guys. Michalek's out. He misses his friend.
He's like a puppy whose owner is out of town, and is depressed and refuses to eat because of it. Or, in his case, refuses to play in a reasonable way.
GET BETTER Z
The second period commences with more of the Avalanche Show starring Matt Duchene and The Underage Army.
Holy balls, Niskanen actually shot the puck at the net and forced Varlamov to make a save.
The Pens go on the power play, but once again, they fail to do anything with it. Despite storming the net rather a lot, Varlamov keeps stopping everything.
Malkin brings the puck strongly to the net and somehow, SOMEHOW it doesn't go in. RAAAAAAGE
Varlamov makes another good save as I hear someone yell "FUCK" on the TV broadcast.
Varlamov flops on the ice, imagining that he has the puck, but he actually doesn't and Dupuis stuffs it in. 3-2 Avs
Despite the general mood of jubliation that has come over the arena, James Neal takes a penalty. We are treated to a lovingly rendered close-up of his attempted Fu Manchu. However, nothing happens on either the Avs power play or the Pens penalty kill.
Zoë and I have a short love-fest over Steve Sullivan. Don't get me wrong, we both love James Neal too, but Steve Sullivan is up there in our hearts.
The second period ends with little fanfare.
SECOND PERIOD AWARDS
Dirtbaggiest Mustache goes to TK. We've seen a lot of dirtbag mustaches this month, and I'm not trying to denigrate the efforts of all the fine dudes supporting mens' health for Movember. But seriously, TK, come on. You look like a sexual predator.
Zoë requested that I give Slowest Choo Choo Train to Matt Duchene. Done and done, my friend.
Oh, please stop showing that Matt Duchene highlight. WE GET IT HE SCORED A NICE GOAL SHUT UP.
Just when I'm convinced things can't get any more....blehhhhh...Orpik destroys Varlamov's will to live. From the point, no less. 3-3 Game Bitches
I am pathologically unable to resist NyanOrpik
Geno bashes Landeskog in the corner and somehow comes up with the puck. As Varlamov is sprawled out like a frat boy on a bender attempting to make a save, Geno jumps over him and easily shoots it into a virtually empty net. 4-3 Pens
Pierre McGuire takes the opportunity to lean over the bench and ask Steve Sullivan's opinion on the goal that was just scored.
STOP HARASSING STEVE SULLIVAN PIERRE MCGUIRE
A Pens power play is just the opportunity for James Neal to score his twelfth goal of the season. We love you, James Neal. What else can we say? We love you. 5-3 Pens
Kris Letang has decided that he is worthy of some of our love, and takes the puck in deep to score the MOST RIDICULOUS GOAL OF ALL TIME. 6-3 Pens
A slow pan down the Pens' bench reveals a panoply of facial hair. Matt Niskanen's mustache is the wispiest of them all.
Some shoving occurs at the very end of the game, but it doesn't even matter.
THIRD PERIOD AWARDS
Prettiest Goal goes to Kris Letang. Even though I was on the phone with my mom at the time, it was still Prettiest Goal.
Up next: Brother Steven and The Bolts.
Apparently Kings fans noticed the *cough* TENT CITY OF TWILIGHT FANS WAITING FOR THE BREAKING DAWN MOVIE PREMIERE outside of their arena (the Nokia Theater being right next to the Staples Center) and weren't exactly pleased. This women's Kings hockey blog complete with an extremely sexy picture of Mike Richards had the story. Tent cities are totally legal for purposes of being totally fucking insane.
A more complete account is available here on some website we've never heard of. It involves Chuck Klosterman so is probably otherwise awful.
This wholesome family says "hockey fans are obnoxious."
Some raging Kings fans told this man that "Twilight fans suck."
Sounds vicious. Is everyone in LA safe? Go Pens.
We support writing in Deryk Engelland and Matt Cooke for 2012.
Also: vote for Ryan Whitney tomorrow, if you have a heart.
Maybe also write in Johan Hedberg.