Archive for November, 2009

Pittsburgh Still Slightly More A Steelers Town Than A Boy Scouts Town

November 23, 2009

Found this amusing — the Top 5 Most Emailed Stories on Post-Gazette.com today:

Step One towards growing your relevancy, Boy Scouts: Deciding to do so on a day when the Steelers didn’t play.

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Chiefs 27, Steelers 24 (OT): 27 Points To The Chiefs? 27 Points To The Chiefs.

November 23, 2009

I don’t really want to talk about yesterday’s Chiefs game, I’ve already complained myself hoarse over the phone and through texting (yes, even my fingers are hoarse. That’s how much that game blew.)

Just to give you an overall idea of what I would have complained about had I actually felt like putting in the effort, here’s the first slide in my “Why That Game Blew” Powerpoint presentation:

This concludes our analysis for the day. Here’s a funny video of a possessed singing fish:

Ducks Fans Fight Over Scott Niedermayer’s Stick

November 20, 2009

I wrote the other day that the Anaheim Ducks are in total disarray right now.

I was wrong.

NOW they’re in total disarray:

Senators 6, Penguins 2: Were Fleury And The Power Play Also Injured?

November 20, 2009

The Pens got killed last night, but what were we to expect? The whole team’s injured. Oh wait, Malkin, Gonchar, Talbot, and Eaton all ended up playing? Oh. So they just sucked. Alright, I can accept that.

The Pens got outplayed last night from the millisecond after Jordan Staal poked in a Pascal Dupuis feed to make it 1-0 up until the final buzzer. They somehow only got outshot 31-27, but it felt a lot worse, their powerplay was painfully bad (they finished 1 for 5 but the 1 was in the last couple minutes when they were already down 6-1), Fleury played his worst game of the season, allowing several goals from angles that protractors aren’t capable of measuring, and the team carried a general lack of urgency that doomed them from the moment they fell behind 2-1.

Also, complaining about the Penguins (or any team) not shooting the puck enough is hockey’s Kneejerk Fan 101, but the Penguins reeeeally didn’t want to shoot the puck last night (except Dupuis, and if he’s the only one firing the puck, you are the worst team in the NHL). The telltale sign that the Pens aren’t shooting the puck, usually, is when they have a game where Crosby, Malkin, Staal, and Gonchar all keep trying to thread passes to other players in worse shooting positions than themselves, and this kept happening again and again; it’s bad enough that the people Malkin passes to will be, by definition, crappier finishers than him, but it’s even worse when it’s a risky pass and it’s to a dude who isn’t even in a better position to score than the person passing. Hopefully, the scoreboard at the end of the night will be enough of a cartoony slap across the faces of the Pens’ stars to wake them back up for Saturday night.

Other thoughts:

Daniel Alfredsson looked as good last night as I’ve seen him in the last three seasons. He’s always been right on that fence between “Consistently Good Player” and “Superstar,” but last night he played like the latter.

— The Senators fans loudly booed every single penalty call against the team. Christ, Ottawa, you can relax — you’re not frickin’ Montreal, you’re allowed to derive pleasure from live hockey events.

— If there’s one positive to take out of the Senators game, at least the Penguins never traded anyone for Jonathan Cheechoo. Man, that dude has nothing left — he’s fallen all the way to the status of “Random Roleplayer Who Breaks Scoreless Drought Against Penguins.” Yeesh.

— In fairness to the Pens, they were at the end of a long road trip. Meaning, the trip from Pittsburgh to Ottawa.

Place Your Bets: Who’s Getting Injured In The Pens Game Tonight?

November 19, 2009

Maxime Talbot and Sergei Gonchar are both scheduled to return for the Pens against Ottawa tonight, which can only mean one thing: Someone else is getting injured in tonight’s game. The only question is, who?

I feel like a Crosby or Fleury injury would be too on-the-nose for this season, so I don’t think Pen-karma will go quite that far, and Eaton going down to complete the cycle of injured opening night defensemen would be the easy choice, so I’m not gonna go there either.  I’m predicting it’ll be a more minor player, but with a more major injury than we’ve seen so far, just to keep things interesting / annoying.

My prediction: I’m putting $50 on Craig Adams going out 4-6 months with a lower body injury.

My friend Doug bets on a Talbot re-injury in the middle of the game tonight, which isn’t a bad prediction either — you can practically already hear Bob Errey saying “We haven’t seen Max Talbot since he went down the runway in the middle of the second period, no word on his condition yet, hopefully it’s not anything serious…”

Anyone else want to throw an injury prediction on the record? Feel free to leave ’em in the comments.

UPDATE: Mark Eaton is “questionable” tonight. Why wouldn’t he be?

Crosby Carries Olympic Torch Through Halifax — But Could Ovechkin Have Done It Better?

November 19, 2009

Here’s Sidney Crosby carrying the Olympic Torch 300 yards through downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia before perfectly handing it off to Chris Kunitz, who still somehow missed it.

Capitals fans have taken to message boards everywhere declaring that Ovechkin easily could’ve carried the torch for 400 yards and wouldn’t have been a huge whiner about it.

NEWS IN BR…F: Thursday, November 19

November 19, 2009

  • Blown Call Costs Ireland World Cup Birth In Most Brutal Thing Ever To Happen To Nation Of Ireland



  • Raiders Name Gradkowski QB Of The Future



  • Bills Hoping Shanahan Can Get Them Back To Annual 8-8 Finishes



  • Butterbean Eyeing Kansas Football Job



  • Jim Tracy Named Competent Human

Even Fucking Jay McKee Is Fucking Injured

November 18, 2009

Apologies for the profanity, but I’ve run out of ways to describe Penguins getting injured that don’t involve the word “fucking,” so you’re stuck with that title…

Defenseman Jay McKee has a finger infection that will keep him from playing for two to four weeks, coach Dan Bylsma said after practice today at Mellon Arena. He is the fifth regular on defense to be injured.

On the flip side, it appears there is a good chance defenseman Sergei Gonchar will return tomorrow night when the Penguins play at Ottawa. He has missed the past 12 games because of a broken wrist. If Gonchar can’t play, the team will promote a defenseman from its Wilkes-Barre/Scranton farm club. (P-G)

“Finger infection?” I think that’s just medical mumbo-jumbo for “Upper body injury.”

On the plus side, Gonchar might return against Ottawa, which would force the Pens to come up with some new excuses when their power play keeps sucking. And if he isn’t ready to go by Thursday, the Pens will call up another defenseman from Wilkes-Barre, raising the question: Who in God’s name is playing D for Wilkes-Barre right now? Francois Leroux? Brad Werenka? Craig Patrick’s entire draft classes from 1995-2000? Me?? I think it’s me.

Penguins 5, Ducks 2: Anaheim Probably Needs To Fire Randy Carlyle

November 17, 2009

The Anaheim Ducks are in last place in the entire Western Conference. It’s early in the season, sure, but they’ve played 19 games — roughly a quarter of their season — and currently sit right next to Minnesota, below Nashville, Phoenix, and waaaay below upstart Colorado, all teams which really can’t compare to the Ducks in terms of total talent on paper. Denial is a powerful force, and the Ducks were at the end of an East-coast road trip last night, but I’ve watched Anaheim play five times this season and in every game they’ve been completely disorganized defensively, their penalty killing — a discipline that doesn’t even require talent so much as effort and coaching — has been deplorable, they’ve taken constant lazy penalties (Getzlaf barely even moved his feet last night), and for the most part, have appeared content to rely on their giant dudes’ giantness to just somehow result in enough down-low cycling to generate enough goals and possession to result in wins. It hasn’t.

This puts the Ducks in an extremely unenviable position, and one with which us Pens fans were all too familiar a season ago: They probably have to fire their coach. The extenuating problem in the Ducks’ case, however, is that Randy Carlyle already coached their team to a Stanley Cup victory and has kept them competitive every season in his tenure, including a first-round upset victory over the Sharks in last year’s playoffs. The Pens had a hard enough time firing Michel Therrien after he lead the team to a Finals appearance (and an equally improbable playoff berth the year before), and now the Ducks are supposed to turn on a coach who’s been nothing but effective since the day he arrived? AND the team’s formerly-suspended owner Henry Samueli was just re-instated by the NHL; how would it look if his first major act after his reinstatement was cutting loose the most successful coach in the team’s history?

For these reasons, I don’t expect the Ducks to fire Carlyle any time soon, but honestly, which scenario is more likely:

1) Despite keeping the same players and coaches, the Ducks miraculously start caring, playing great defense, solving their penalty kill, and make a run in the West.

2) The Ducks’ talented bunch continues their malaise, their front office continues to weather questions about Carlyle’s job security and Scott Niedermayer trade rumors, and no action is taken until they’re even more buried in an extremely rough conference.

Maybe it’ll take a 35-1 loss to the Maple Leafs for the Ducks’ GM to ultimately pull the trigger on a coaching change, but right now, it’s just impossible to watch Anaheim play and not believe Randy Carlyle has fallen into the sad but true “do we really have to fire this coach we love?” NHL state. I’m sure he’ll get a job with another team and have success in the future, but unless he’s secretly Lindy Ruff wearing a Mission Impossible rubber mask, he’s hit the inevitable NHL coach wall.

As for the Pens’ 5-2 victory, it was nice to see Jordan Staal get on the board, Deryk Engelland and the WBS defensive corps continue to perform as non-liabilities and occasional defensive sparks, Fleury played pretty well, and despite a few lazy defensive breakdowns brought upon by the Ducks’ lack of effort lulling the Pens into a false sense of security, the Penguins had this game in hand from the first period on.

And, lo and behold, the Pens even scored a power play goal, improving their PP to 1 for [ERROR: NUMBER TOO HIGH TO DEFINE] over the past month.

NEWS IN BR…F: Tuesday, November 17

November 17, 2009

  • Flyers Snap Devils’ 8-Game Win Streak; Lemaire’s Job In Jeopardy



  • College Basketball Begins; ESPN Ticker To Be Useless For Next Five Months



  • Belichick Getting Tired Of Mike Martz’ Texts To Hang Out



  • Knicks Fans Concerned Iverson May Take Shots Away From Whoever’s On Their Team Now



  • Chargers Still Not Totally Sold On Chargers