Archive for December, 2010

Jets 22, Steelers 17: New York Wins Battle Of Playing The Most OK

December 20, 2010

When you’re playing a comparable team, and you’re both playing comparably, and you give up a special teams touchdown and create zero turnovers, you’re pretty much going to lose. Roethlisberger played ok, not great or terrible, the offensive line played ok, not great or terrible, the Polamalu-less defense played ok, not great or terrible, the special teams played not ok, not great, but terrible, and the end result was an unsurprising close defeat.

Also, yes, the officiating in this game was again awful, with the refs missing a pretty obvious Pass Interference call on a potential Emmanuel Sanders game-winning touchdown, as well another weekly installment of NFL Personal Foul Wacky FlagzTM. I’ve grown so completely numb to the prospects of arguing over the NFL’s new helmet-to-helmet mandate this season and the exhausting “Am I even seeing the same dimension of reality as these commentators?” questions contained within, I have no energy nor new insight to expend on this subject anymore. I also have no idea what anything means anymore — we are through the officiating looking glass, people.

Hopefully on this side of the looking glass, the Steelers just beat Carolina and Cleveland and snag the #2 seed anyway (if they cannot do this, they’ll have certainly earned a not-#2 seed), then get Polamalu and Heath Miller back for the Playoffs, because seriously, those human beings are good at football. Are the Steelers going to beat New England? Nope. Could they conceivably lose a home playoff game to Baltimore, The Jets, San Diego, Indy, or Kansas City? Except Kansas City, yep.

Basically, I think we’re all in Gravy-mode at this point, where we realize the Steelers are banged-up and are a major long shot to win the Super Bowl, despite having their #2 seeded destiny in their hands, but there’s so many other teams with similar question marks that we’re just for the Steelers to go out later than other teams we dislike more. Meaning, it’s an NFL season.

Flyers 3, Penguins 2: The Streak Was Bound To End Eventually But Screw This Game Anyway

December 15, 2010

I had a sinking feeling the Pens were gonna lose tonight, but that’s not worth any Nostradamus points, cause I had the same feeling before the recent Devils and Maple Leafs games and the Pens won both of those in regulation. Really, they were destined to lose eventually, and 12 straight wins is still incredibly impressive, so I’m not that annoyed…

Dammit, Flyers.com homepage, I’m really trying not to get mad at you guys tonight.

Basically, there’s not much to say tonight other than the Pens got slightly outplayed by a team that’s currently even deeper than they are offensively and defensively. I wish that weren’t the case — I wish I could point to a specific breakdown or an unlucky bounce or two or a blown call here or there (there were several, but ended up mostly a wash) and say that the Penguins should’ve won so I can sleep tonight feeling superior, but really, the Flyers just did a little more than the Pens to win the game, gave up almost no significant scoring chances 5-on-5, and came away with the win.

Deryk Engelland has played mostly ok in his starts this season, but he looked slow and out of place tonight, finishing the game with only 9:48 of ice time — either Dan Bylsma saw what I saw and benched him, or Engelland had an undisclosed injury. The Engelland/Lovejoy pair has been mostly passable throughout the season, if at times unspectacular, but if the Penguins are gonna make a move at the trade deadline in a couple months, I can foresee them going after a Jordan Leopold / Phillippe Boucher type veteran defenseman to fill the 6th D spot. Right now it’s not a huge issue, but Engelland and Lovejoy still have a ways to go to prove they won’t be playoff liabilities, and if a late-season blue line injury forces both of them into the Pens’ lineup, particularly with Goligoski’s defensive deficiencies already evident, the Pens will suddenly face a glaring hole.

Malkin looked decent in his return, an assessment which I don’t intend to sound disingenuous as he provided both Penguin goals, but he was forcing constant inessential passes through traffic and turning the puck over too frequently, and his retaliatory penalty in the Third led to the Flyers’ go-ahead goal. He still has a ways to go before I (and the other less-forgiving Pens fans) will completely set aside my current Malkin FrustrationsTM. I realize I just used the phrase “ways to go” twice in the same short recap, but it’s late and I’m tired and the Pens just lost to the Flyers in a boring game and we can all deal with it.

The Flyers assume First Place in the Eastern Conference for the time being, though they’re also one of the few teams in either conference that’s been essentially 100% healthy the entire season (besides Michael Leighton, who is unquestionably a crucial component of Michael Leighton’s family). This isn’t really a knock against their success over the past month and a half, just a reminder that the rest of the conference won’t necessarily be as far behind them talent-wise come Playoff time, particularly if Jordan Staal returns to his previous level of utility and Danny Briere suddenly remembers he’s Danny Briere and misses the next three years.

SB Nation Pittsburgh: Why The Penguins Lead The NHL In Fighting Majors

December 8, 2010

My latest post for SB Nation Pittsburgh: Why The Penguins Lead The NHL In Fighting Majors. Be warned, it almost contains something resembling analysis (I’ll try to cram an old Fruity Pebbles commercial into the next one).

I’ll post something about the Pirates’ winter meetings moves eventually, once I start making some sense of them.

The Only Possible Dave Wannstedt Replacement

December 8, 2010

I don’t particularly follow Pitt Panthers football, but I was a bit taken aback by the resignation of Dave Wannstedt as head coach, not because his teams have underperformed for years, but because of his undisputed status as the Pittsburghest Dude Ever.

With Wannstedt gone, the Panthers are gonna have their hands full trying to hire a new coach who’s anywhere near as Pittsburghy. As far as I see it, the team only has one option for their next coach – they have to hire the woman in this clip: