Archive for January, 2010

Senators 4, Penguins 1: Pens Do Nothing, Somehow Lose To League’s Hottest Team

January 29, 2010

Only two main observations about last night’s semi-anemic Penguin loss:

1) The gameplay and chances were largely even throughout pretty much all three periods, but in the simplest sense, Brian Elliot just outplayed Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury seemed to have trouble covering pucks all night — on the FNS broadcast, Bob Errey continually pointed out specific clips in which Fleury appeared to be uncomfortable with his injured hand — and seemed lost on a couple pucks that hit the post behind him and an early bizarre Jason Spezza chance that trickled wide through the crease. Elliott, meanwhile, stopped everything after Malkin’s game-opening goal early in the first, including a handful of legitimate scoring chances and a couple nearly-competent power plays. Fleury wasn’t awful, but Elliott was clearly better.



Anyone Want To Own Darius Kasparaitis’ Couch?

January 28, 2010

This couch is sure to be a fan favorite in Pittsburgh, although buyers beware: a lot of refs are gonna whistle it for penalties just because of its notorious couch reputation. If it gets too expensive, you can always ship it to Denver for Ville Nieminen’s couch:

I would point out that Darius “Kasperitus” isn’t actually a player, but “purlple” isn’t actually a color either, so we’ll just call that a wash.

Elvis Has Left’s Hopper: No Shit

January 27, 2010

NEWS IN BR…F: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January 26, 2010

  • Favre “Unsure” About How Much He’ll Waver On Comeback Decision

  • Columnists Struggle To Find Angle On New Orleans Super Bowl Story

  • NFL May Sit Out Pro Bowl

  • Media Dubs Colts “The Team Of Defense-Having”

  • Raiders Ask Vikings For Permission To Get Rejected By Their Coordinators

Penguins 2, Flyers 1: No Such Thing As A Crappy Win (Except When It’s Really Crappy)

January 25, 2010

Yayyyyyy!!!! What a terrible way to win a terrible game!

How many crappy things happened in this game? Let us count the crapways:

Crappy Thing #1: Brent Johnson lets in another goal from 270 degrees behind the net. He plays fine after this, but still, it’d be nice if this stopped happening.

Crappy Thing #2: The Flyers get a goal waived off and a two-minute penalty assessed on a play where there never was an audible whistle. Only two possible explanations for this:

A) Simon Gagne grappling with Malkin didn’t become a penalty until the split-second in between the Flyers’ initial shot on goal and Mike Richards’ rebound, and the refs’ intent to whistle was established riiiiight before the puck went into the net.

B) Simon Gagne grappling with Malkin was a penalty before the Flyers’ initial shot on goal, but the ref just plum didn’t get around to blowin’ that dang whistle.

You can’t call this penalty a “two goal swing” even though the Pens scored on the resulting power play (if you get scored on by the Pens’ power play right now, it’s your own damn fault), but it was definitely a one-goal swing in that it literally took a goal off the board from the Flyers for something that NBC never totally explained. The Philly fans barely even booed (especially in comparison to the goalie interference penalty on Hartnell earlier in the period, which was also a bad call) because no one knew what the hell was going on.

Bunch more crappy crap to cover, so let’s move on:


Capitals 6, Penguins 3: Predictabull

January 22, 2010

I rarely get strong inclinations one way or the other before a Pens game about how it’s gonna turn out, but with the way the Pens’ D has been playing and with Brent Johnson in net against a red-hot Capitals offense, the outcome of this game was painfully foreseeable. I predicted 5-2 Capitals, and was actually surprised by the briefly-competitive 6-3 result.

The Pens’ D has been chuck-the-remote bad for a couple months now and continues to trivialize the Pens’ problems on the power play, in net, and Malkin’s mediocrity (all of which have at least shown signs of possible nearby improvement). If the Pens continue playing defense the way they have been, none of these other shortcomings will matter — the Pens will continue to be a glorified Lightning, incapable of stringing together a dominant win streak and entering the playoffs as eminently vulnerable. Fortunately, I don’t think this will be the case leading up to the playoffs, but for now, it’s a painful, me-swearing-at-the-screen reality.

I’ve been a Kris Letang supporter since long before the Ryan Whitney trade, but lately, Letang’s been my go-to Penguins scapegoat; he’s been directly responsible for about a goal a game over the past month, and not just as a result of him being out of position or failing to cover someone, but in increasingly creative, pathetic ways. Against the Capitals last night, Letang got caught pinching in the Caps’ zone below the goal line while it was 5-on-5 and a tie game, lost the puck, and left Nick Johnson — a winger playing in his first ever NHL game — back on D to cover Tomas Fleischmann, resulting in an instant Fleischmann breakaway and goal. Since any further comment on this action would result in at least a dozen F-words from me, I’ll just end the paragraph now.


Andy Sutton Suspended 2 Games For Cheap Shot On Dupuis; Islander Announcers Almost Agree

January 22, 2010

Andy Sutton has been suspended 2 games by the NHL for boarding Pascal Dupuis in Tuesday night’s Pens/Islanders game.

I was watching the local Islanders coverage when Sutton murdered Dupuis, causing him to bleed all over the ice, and while the biased-ass Islanders announcers all begrudgingly agreed that it was a penalty, the coverage then went ice level with Butch Goring, who offered this rambly assessment (I’m paraphrasing):

“The game happens so fast these days, sometimes guys turn and you just can’t hold up. Although I guess that’s not really what happened here. Players know in the NHL now, when you hit someone from behind, you’re probably gonna get a boarding penalty, you just don’t know if it’s gonna be two minutes or five minutes, and this time, it’s a five.”

Which is basically a roundabout way of saying, Andy Sutton boarded the crap out of Dupuis and it was really cheap and he’s gonna get suspended. Why even mention the “players turn so fast” part if you then admit that wasn’t the case here? And there were only two minutes left in the game and the Islanders were trailing, so even if it was a 2-minute penalty it would’ve cost them the game — how does that in any way factor into Sutton’s thinking?

Basically, I’m just mentioning this to the friends of mine who constantly point out the biases in the Steigerwald/Errey FSN Penguins coverage, which obviously is quite often justified, but other announcing teams are usually just as biased as the Pens’ guys, and often to a less informed and more illogical degree. Anyone with the Center Ice Package who’s watched a Lightning game or heard Chico Resch defend a penalty by the Devils knows what I mean.

Below, video of Sutton’s hit. Even this kid thinks the suspension is justified.

Guerin Gives Dupuis A Celebratory Facewash

January 21, 2010

The Pens’ 6-4 win over the Islanders Tuesday night was simultaneously impressive and pathetic — this hasn’t been the best month-plus for Gonchar, Letang and the Pens’ D as a whole — but the high point of the game came after the Pens’ fourth goal, when Bill Guerin delivered this celebratory facewash to Pascal Dupuis:

In a related story, Dupuis is likely unavailable for the Pens’ game against Washington tonight. Not sure if it’s related to the Guerin facewash or him bleeding all over the ice after getting viciously boarded from behind by Andy Sutton — probably both things.

Please Stick To Misinformedly Ripping On Your Own Teams, New York Columnists

January 19, 2010

It’s been a while since a big-market baseball columnist patronizingly attempted to martyr himself to the plight of us unwashed smalltown folk, so let’s take a minute out of our opposite-of-busy day to comment on the remarks of one Bill Madden of the New York Daily News in his column, “Bug Selig targets small-market teams to spend ” (SIC).

Take it away, Mr. Madden:

In the meantime, the union is far from done pushing this revenue-sharing issue. Next up: the Pirates, who have been the most blatant team of all when it comes to pocketing their revenue sharing, trading off all their highest-paid players and creating a mausoleum of their beautiful taxpayer-funded new park.

Ballpark is nice, Pirates suck — not much here we haven’t heard before. Though for the record, both the Yankees’ and Mets’ stadiums were taxpayer-funded too, and the Mets are receiving roughly 800 skillion dollars from Citi for their ballpark even though Citi was lining employees up against brick walls and Tommy-gunning them to death a year ago, plus the Mets were terrible last year, but golly gee, they spent, so it’s fine.

The Pirates, who have had 17 consecutive losing seasons, have ranked in the bottom four of payroll the last six years.

The Marlins have been below them every year in that span. It’s nit-picky, but that means that the Pirates factually are not the most blatant team about pocketing their revenue sharing money. You’re gonna go back and tweak that previous comment now because of the facts that you yourself brought up, right? You can leave “mausoleum,” it’s a cool word.

Last year, they began the season ranked 28th of 30 teams with a payroll of $48 million but finished at around $25 million after trading off shortstop Jack Wilson, outfielder Nate McLouth, first baseman Adam LaRoche, second baseman Freddy Sanchez and pitchers Ian Snell and John Grabow for a bunch of minimum salary unproven prospects.

Two problems here:


Penguins 3, Oilers 2: Pens Rally From Two-Goal Deficit To Beat Not-Good Hockey Team

January 15, 2010

I DVRed this game and didn’t get a chance to watch it until pretty late at night, and I was falling asleep, so I ended up fast-forwarding through the entire first period, only to see the shot totals before the first intermission: Oilers 4, Penguins 3. It’s the first time in a while I’ve just said “screw it” to watching a period, and wouldn’t you know it, it ends up being the most boring Penguins period of the season. I’m gonna write a book about this magical ability that I just learned I have. I’m calling it “The Secrett”. (2 T’s = no suing)

I ended up watching the rest of the marginally more exciting game, including a dominant performance by a suddenly-uncontainable Jordan Staal, as well as Fleury’s third stellar performance in the past four games. The Pens’ power play actually scored again, but it was on an Oilers defensive breakdown that led to a rush, so the Pens probably forgot they had a man advantage and thus forgot to suddenly turn into drooling vegetables, and Malkin played his most noticeable game of the new year, giving me confidence for the first time in a while that he’s on the verge of busting out of his slump (i.e., ever scoring).

My very first thought when the game began was “Oh crap, a dude named Devan Dubnyk is playing his fifth NHL game — there’s no WAY this guy isn’t scoring against the Penguins tonight. I don’t care if he’s their goalie.” But other than Dubnyk’s second period, I was thoroughly unimpressed with the Oilers.