Showing posts with label pittsburgh penguins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pittsburgh penguins. Show all posts

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Let the (Blame) Games Begin!

Now, I'll admit that, before hockey's post-season started, I figured the Penguins were not going to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. I just figured that the odds were too great against their repeating and, frankly, the few games I saw this season (thank you, Versus) featured nothing but lackluster Penguin performances. I could not help but not be optimistic about their chances.

Then, last week, I actually did start getting just a little cheerful over the Pens' prospects. I mean, all their arch-nemeses were gone: New Jersey, Washington, even Detroit. I was thinking, "If they can just get past these pains-in-the-asses Habs, they could at least get into the Final. I mean, come on, Boston or Philly. You gotta be shittin' me. And, if we can get into the Final, who knows? Maybe we'll have a mini-dynasty on our hands."

Of course, I didn't realize at the time that, stating my little soliloquy in the middle of a torrential downpour with nothing but an oil lamp to illuminate my face and ending it all with an eeeeevil stage laugh, only doomed the Penguins' prospects.

That, and one hard-ass goalie from Slovakia where the good ole red, white, and blue ... of the Canadiens' uniform.

Yeah, that was a little self-centered, I'll admit. After all, no matter how much of an egoist I may be, I know I had absolutely nothing to do with that humiliating defeat my hockey team went through last night. First credit has to definitely go to Jaroslav Halak, who clearly has made a deal with Satan (no, not Miroslav ... Old Scratch himself). His goaltending was simply otherworldly. Second credit is all the Canadiens'. They went into this bad boy as the eighth seed and have whipped Washington and Pittsburgh asses. You gotta think these garçon are fer realz.

But let's look at the Pens, shall we? After all, they were the defending Stanley Cup champions. How the hell did they let this debacle happen?

Well, I'm no expert. But I do have this free blog with pretty much unlimited space. So, let me pontificate.

7. Ray Shero

I know tons of people make such a big deal about GM Ray Shero and how he always produces trade deadline "magic" out his sphincter every year. Yeah, I'll give him mega-props for getting Hossa, Dupuis, and Gill back in '08, but, I gotta tell ya, if he traded anything more than a pack of Kools for Ponikarovsky, he most definitely got ripped off.

But that's not really why I'm peeved with the man. It's the team's singular lack of defense this entire season. Now, I don't know what the cap situation was for the Pens last off-season, but it seems to me that they should've moved heaven and earth (or at least Cleveland) to sign either Rob Scuderi and/or (so monumentally obvious now) Hal Gill.

Now, I understand, when teams win with even a little bit of offense, they get a little slap (shot) happy. Shero and Bylsma looked at Crosby and Malkin and that Lord Stanley trophy and said, "We got us some SCORERS!!!" But when one looks back, you can see, it wasn't the "scorers" who won that series (more on that later). In the four games the Pens won, they held Detroit to only six goals.

Defense won the Cup, and Shero and Bylsma let that defense depart. Then, during the season, when one of the main contributors to the Pens' inconsistency was their lackluster defense, Shero decided to get yet another offensive-minded defenseman in Jordan Leopold (whose play, what little I saw of it, I actually enjoyed) because he can "push the puck up the ice." I like those kinds of defensemen, too, but the Pens already had Gonchar and Letang and Goligoski. What they really needed was a guy who can pin fools against the boards and stand them up at the blue line. Orpik is cool, though he sometimes gets a little carried away (as witnessed last night), and Mark Eaton is fine. But the Pens so desperately needed more.

6. Dan Bylsma

Every NFL fan knows that as soon as pre-season starts, they will have to spend the next six months hearing about what a great "genius" Peyton Manning is. They'll hear about his instincts, his brilliant "football mind," how he calls his own plays, and how he may very well be "the greatest quarterback of all-time."

I'm thinking, the Rocket Experience of going from coaching the bush leagues to winning the Stanley Cup in five-six months must've made Dan Bylsma feel like Peyton Manning. The problem is, Peyton ain't the greatest quarterback of all-time--but quarterbacking's greatest choker. His football mind ain't so brilliant. In fact, in the face of a well-disguised blitz package, Manning can look quite dim.

Bylsma's using Malkin as some sort of floating virus, skating from line to line, seemed equally dim-witted. One of the Penguins' main strengths is their three outstanding centers. A team has to go against Crosby and then Malkin and then Staal. Having to constantly be on top of their games contesting those three wears teams out. Having Crosby and Malkin skating together so often, in an odd way, let Montreal off the hook. They only had to gear up for the one line and then could relatively coast for the next two-three. And some of those lines you slapped together were just one big joke. I mean, Max Talbot-Tyler Kennedy-Soupy Sales?! What the hell were you thinking?

5. Marc Andre Fleury

Damn, Flower. You obviously didn't read my last post about stopping the brain farts. I don't blame you. I really don't know what the hell I'm talking about. But damn! I mean seriously ... damn! What the hell was that first goal last night? Where was your head?

Even though you got pulled last night after giving up your fourth goal, I'm actually not too mad at ya, Fleury. After all, your defense had hung you out to dry so often during the series, they need to change your nickname to "Laundry."

Odd-man rushes for short-handed goals, constant crowding of the net, perfect passes along the crease, I mean, where the hell were these guys?

Which reminds me ...

4. Kris Letang

I guess playing in the home province really had him shook. It's like Disney paid the man for his own version of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde on Ice. And when I thought it couldn't get any worse than Game 4's own-goal, Letang piped up, "But wait! There's more!" He's scoring goals! He's giving up goals! He's scoring goals for the opposition! And he can still slice this tomato!!! Mon dieu.

3. Sergei Gonchar

My boy, Dabalu, once said of should've-been Hall-of-Famer, Rod Strickland, "When I watched him in college, I thought, 'How cool. This brutha just don't give a fuck. Then, when he hit the pros, I realized, 'Oh my God, this brutha just don't give a fuck!"

I didn't know this was actually physically possible, but it seems as though Rod Strickland and Sergei Gonchar were separated at birth. I mean, every time he skated, it was like it was a walk in the park. "Oh well, looks like we have another power play. Maybe I'll shoot it. No, I think I should pass it. Hmm ... yeah, I guess I'll pass it."

Or ...

"Would you look at that, Scott Gomez skating right past me with the puck again. Isn't that rude? You'd think he'd at least say excuse me first. And hey, isn't that Mike Cammalleri scorching Kris again. Boy, I sure do hope they don't score again. Oohh. Oh, well. What can you do?"

2. Evgeni Malkin

Yes, Mr. Houdini, we are quite used to your disappearing act. We saw it first during that '08 Stanley Cup Final against Detroit. That's when I first made the joke about the Russian mafia having tied up your family.

You worked out your inconsistencies marvelously from Game 3 onward in last year's Cup Final. We thought you had finally arrived, but then you went back to your old, inconsistent ways this entire season.

For the Habs series, you added a new wrinkle to your magic act. You would come on strong, steal the puck, charge down the ice toward Halak, and then poof! disappear right in the middle of your own play, just to throw some of the limpest noodles at the goalie in the History of Impotence. I don't know what the hockey equivalent to Viagra is, but damn you needed it this series.

Yep. You guessed it ...

The #1 Person to blame

for the Penguins' loss is ...

Sidney Crosby

Yes. I know there is plenty of blame to go around. I know that Hal Gill was King Kong and Jaroslav Halak was Godzilla this series. And I know that Sid the Kid is a fan favorite and a media darling and a superstar and all that.

It's just that, for three years in a row, I have watched Crosby totally disappear when his team needed him the most. When defenses are mediocre or high-flying, Crosby can light it up with the best of them. But against vise-like Ds like we'd seen from Detroit in '08 and '09 and from the Canadiens this last series, El Sid simply shuts down.

I used to think it was about size. I would think about all the things that Lemieux was able to do on the ice and had to remind myself that (aside from the fact that they have different games), at the time, he was one of the biggest guys out there. Sid the Kid most definitely isn't that. But Mike Cammalleri has been proving this playoff season that you can be a midget out there on the ice. It doesn't matter. If you've got the heart, you can accomplish anything.

And so far, I gotta say, Crosby hasn't shown that he's got that heart. Last year, it was the D, Malkin, and Staal and his line who stood up and won that Cup while Crosby whined on the bench, all "injured," and shit.

This past series, a bunch of the role players stepped their games up (that first goal was totally Dupuis' Herculean effort), but the stars did not. They were nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, I thought Crosby and Malkin had become Bonds and Bonilla.

I know those two are still just kids; but so is Jordan Staal, and he always seems to bring that clichéd A-game every time. And, unlike Crosby, Staal is not touted as "arguably the best player in hockey," "the face of hockey," and a superstar. And, if Crosby is really and truly a superstar, he needs to start acting like it.

Superstars rise to the occasion, the challenge. Lemieux comes back from cancer and leads his team to the playoffs. Michael Jordan has a flu, his father has just died, and he wins another NBA championship. Kobe Bryant beats rape charges and some devastating Shaq rhymes ("Tell me how my ass tastes") to win an NBA championship. Joe Montana, John Elway win comeback after comeback after comeback.

These are the things great athletes do. They don't hide behind the efforts of their lesser talented teammates. They lead them on. And they've got that fire. When those men were determined, you could see it in their eyes. And their opponents trembled. When Sid's behind the eight ball and his team needs him, it always looks like he's about to cry. And the league laughs.

As I said, Sid's young. Perhaps he and the rest of the younger Pens got too much too quickly with that Cup victory last year. It's much like Big Ben. When the Steelers lost the AFC Championship to the Patriots his rookie season, he turned to Jerome Bettis, who had a Hall of Fame career and no Super Bowl appearances, and told him not to retire because they'd go on and win the Super Bowl next season. And the bastard did it, his second season in the NFL. He's been a head case ever since.

I pray to God Crosby won't feel the need to pin drunk, underaged co-eds in the bathroom and do hell-knows-what. But I also pray that he starts earning all the accolades that are heaped upon him. He's got a lot of time left. But I just don't to have him end up being another Peyton Manning.


Friday, May 7, 2010

So, Pens, What Did We Learn Last Night?

(I've got to make this bad boy a quick one. Time's a-wastin'!)

All right, Penguins, you came out with a mighty strong statement last night: "We will dominate you!" It was the strongest performance I've seen you give all season. I was mightily impressed. Unfortunately, for Guinlandia, the Canadiens came out with an even stronger one: "We will win, anyway."

Yinz skated circles around the Habs last night, pinned them mercilessly to the boards, shot the lights out on those [expletive deleted] French Canadians for two periods straight. Then, as though Bruce Arians became your offensive coordinator, for a brief moment, you decided that a one-goal lead was enough and rested on your laurels. But before those little sprigs could be properly placed on your heads, the Canadiens had tied the game. Then the Letang own-goal, and you found yourselves on the losing end of a mighty fine performance.

So, what did we learn last night?

1) Flower, you have got to stop the brain farts!

Marc-Andre Fleury has got to be one of the most frustrating goalies to watch. He has such brilliant nights, some truly spectacular performances, but even within some of those performances, he lets by some of the dumbest goals you have ever seen hit the back of the net. What else can explain the first two goals last night? Just momentary lapses of Fleury's judgment which always seem to result in a siren going off in the building.

However, Flower, Jaroslav Halak thinks he's Dominik Hasek and Patrick Roy's love child. He simply knows where every puck is going to be during every second of the damned game. Last year, when the Caps' Semyon Varlamov was channeling every goalie great, I kept saying to myself, "Shoot the shit out of the guy, he can't stop fifty." However, Halak can stop 50. He can stop 150. Right now, he can travel back in time and stop the bomb from dropping on Hiroshima. He'd simply take that big ole stick of his, smack Fat Man out of the sky, and watch it explode harmlessly into the Atlantic! Yes, he is that good. You've got to be his equal before Little Boy explodes all over the Penguins' post-season.

2) While a game, this strictly business!

Last year, up until the last five minutes of Game 7, the Detroit Red Wings just knew they were going to beat you guys and take the Cup. Just a week and a half ago, I watched the Washington Capitals emit the same swagger against this Canadien team. I have the sinking suspicion that you guys feel the same way. But watch out! It is that same arrogance that always gives the underdog the chance of pulling off the upset. Just ask Peyton Manning. He falls under the gaze of his own media-generated majesty every year, and every year, but one, he feels the light air of the missing Lombardi trophy in his grasp.

These Habs are some crafty bastards. You can skate circles around them, pin them mercilessly to the boards, and shoot the lights out on them, and yet, they will still figure out a way to make the most out of the meager offense they possess and skate away with the win. Ya need to wake up. They're about to do the same thing to you. And, if this thing goes to Game 7, they most likely will.

3) Sit Staal.

I love the way Jordan Staal plays. If it weren't for him and his line, I doubt the Pens would've beaten D-Town last year. But the boy is injured.

Now, I know in sports (even women's) that there's the macho equivalent to "If you can lean, you can clean" mentality all of us who've worked for a shitty wage know. If there isn't a geyser of blood or bones popping out of the skin, many feel that the athlete has to get out there and help his/her team.

However, in Staal's case, he just wasn't skating like his usual self. He's really not helping his team right now. He's probably even hurting it. Worse yet, you're probably ultimately making his injury worse. I don't know what kind of "personal issues" Ruff has right now, but he should be out there instead of Staal. Let the boy rest a few more games, and, if you survive this series, see how he's doing then. Maybe he can tame the demons in Miro Satan's pants right now (no, seriously, is this the same guy who skated like molasses for the Pens all last year? I know his last name is Satan--but I'm really starting to suspect that the man is possessed).

4) Yo, Geno!!!

Hey, Evgeni, I'm glad to see that the Russian Mafia has finally released your family so you can once again play hockey like the Evgeni Malkin we all know and love. You've been skating real well this past game and a half. But you have got to finish!

You had two great one-on-one opportunities last night against Halak, but, instead of slamming the puck home, you seemed to gift-wrap the damned thing and gently hand it over to Halak like some kind of Goalies' Day present.

I don't know why you're being so cordial. Isn't this the same guy who bounced your Russian team out of the Olympics? If that ain't enough to piss you off, find something else. I don't know. Take a quick flight to Detroit, punch Zetterberg in the grill, and start smacking pucks through the back of the net like Shae Webber.

5)Don't think I forgot about you, Sidthia!

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of El Sid's. I think, barring horrific injury or a run-in with a drunken college co-ed down in Georgia, he's pretty much a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. And he's only, what, 13? I like how he decided to become a shooter this season and tied for the league lead in goals (I haven't seen anything like that since Jordan suddenly decided to rain threes down on Portland's head that one NBA Final after the commentators said he didn't have an outside shot). I also like, when he's being shut down, how he ups the other aspects of his game. That head-first dive he took in Game 3 to stop a breakaway pass was inspired. But let's face it: Sid the Kid is a little soft.

I mean, he already has a reputation as a bit of a crybaby throughout the league (or as one Canadian "cousin-in-law" put it to me once, "He's a homo."). I think, after the way he punked out of Game 7 last year (funny how he was all gimpy and couldn't find the strength to play the rest of the game but seemed miraculously healed when he lifted the Lord Stanley--yeah, I said it!). And, I swear to God, there have been so many shots of a red-faced, about-to-cry Crosby during this series, I wanna go buy some gloves, throw them on the ice, and take a swing at the guy myself!

But, come on, man. As Bruce Willis would say, "Time to cowboy-up, motherfucker!" Hal Gill owns that ass so bad, I'm half-expecting you to skate out there with nothing but black, leather chaps and a red rubber ball taped inside your mouth. And this time, aforementioned Bruce ain't gonna "Yippee kai yay!" down onto the ice with a katana to save you.

The thing I like most about the Pens is how they play as a team. What was that stat last night? Eleven goals by 11 different players in the series? Most teams can't compete when their stars aren't shining. Look at the Caps. But there comes a time when the supposed leaders of any team need to step up.

Sid, you've got that "C" on your chest. Most in the media confuse it for an "S". Whichever letter you decide is there, you need to commit to it and start acting accordingly.

As in any field sport, he who controls the middle of the field, controls the game. And right now, yall are letting Hal Gill run the show. (Should've re-signed him, shouldn't ya have?) Bylsma needs to stop letting you hike up your skirt and run away from the big man. You either need to start running circles around him or, better yet, take it to him!

Sid needs to become the gnat who drives the elephant to suicide. Crash into him, hack him, I don't care. Though pure suicide, drop the gloves and sock him right in the chin. With Halak guarding the net like it's his daughter's virginity, I can't imagine the Pens ultimately winning the series without getting and staying in front of that net. They can't just keep slapping shots from the perimeter and hoping for the best like they did last night. It didn't work for the Caps. It probably won't work for them. And since Crosby plays the longest amount with Gill hectoring with every tick of the clock, it is up to El Sid to beat this man. This ain't last year. We can't expect Talbot to come up with a few surprise goals to win the day.

When it comes down to it, this series is Sid's to win or lose. That's what it means to be the team's captain, that's what it means to be a superstar. Let's just hope he realizes this and decides to shine ... or at least give Gill a nice shiner. That'd be cool, too.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hey, Pens Fans! Ready for a Repeat?!

Well, the NHL trade deadline has come and gone. And this just in:

"The Penguins strengthened their defensive corps on Monday when they acquired Jordan Leopold from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a second-round draft pick. His acquisition gives the Penguins a puck-moving, two-way blueliner capable of playing in all situations. Leopold also gives the Penguins the luxury of having nine NHL-caliber defensemen in their system heading into the postseason, including seven veterans at the NHL level. Such depth will keep everybody competing hard for ice time and will allow head coach Dan Bylsma to rest some of his veterans down the stretch as he sees fit. If the Penguins somehow run into a rash of injuries defensively, Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland proved earlier this season they can perform on the NHL stage. Neither would hinder the Penguins if they were pressed into duty down the stretch or during the postseason.

"Offensively, the addition of Alexei Ponikarovsky adds scoring depth to a group of forwards who already rank among the best in the league. Ponikarovsky brings size (6-foot-4), physicality and a deft touch around the cage. The speculation is that he will play the left side on a line with Evgeni Malkin. Ponikarovsky will also help on the second power-play unit as a potential net-front presence. Only Sidney Crosby (42) and Malkin (21) have more goals this season than Ponikarovsky's 19."'s John McGourty believes the Leopold acquisition adds some bulk to a defensive corps that's, well, a little light in the ass. He's only behind Orpik, who might have psychological issues, and Letang in hits. Personally, I've been concerned about the D all season. The blue line just hasn't impressed me much--beyond Gonchar and Orpik--in the few games I've seen.

Am I the only one who misses Darius Kasparaitis?

And it looks like the addition of Ponikarovsky will, let's hope, mean more lights-out scoring.

Yahoo's Puck Daddy gives the Pens an A for this year's deadline activities:

Another bit of Ray Shero deadline magic. After seeing what went down the following day, landing explosive forward Alex Ponikarovsky for prospect Luca Caputi(notes) and salary dump Martin Skoula was aces. Ditto the trade for Jordan Leopold, who will bring the Hal Gill(notes)/Rob Scuderi veteran aesthetic to the blue line. Shero has a knack for understanding what his roster and his locker room need. He exhibited it again this week.

Let's hope he's right. Last year was kinda fun.

PS. While I'd love to see the Pens repeat, I'd reeeeallllyyyyyy love to see them knock the Caps out of the playoffs again. I just love all my co-workers' dejection after last year's Game 7. I "rocked the red" at work the next day. Bwaahhhaaahhhhaaaaa!!!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Picture for Poohbutt

Soon to turn two, Pooh (who pointed at "My Daddy" last night, and declared, "Mess") now has a favorite stuffed animal: a two-foot, big-ole penguin named "El Sid." After his disastrous Stanley Cup finals, I tried to persuade her to change it to "Geno," but she would have none of that. Nope, now she and El Sid nap together and have breakfast together. Of course, I love it--the Pittsburgh sports indoctrination going smoothly as planned.

Being a creature of DC, Pooh also has a favorite politician:


(And, yes, the exclamation points must be included.

So, I thought little Pooh would enjoy this photo while surfing the net today at daycare.

Here ya go, kid.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: James Harrison was a no-show at this White House event as well.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Favorite Stanley Cup Photo


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gotta Love It!!!


Friday, June 12, 2009

The Marc-Andre Fleury Video of the Day

You were absolutely exquisite Tuesday night, Flower. Keep it up and you may be sipping from the cup tonight.

Here's to you!

PS. We love you, too, Scuds. Way to save the series!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


The colossal Pen meltdown we saw Saturday night reminds me a lot of the 1998 NBA Finals. The Utah Jazz came in as equals to the dynastic Michael Jordan and Bulls. Some even thought that the Stockton-Malone-led team might pull it off and end the Jordanaires' reign. Even though they played them tough, at some point (and I can't remember the exact moment), you could actually see the Jazz's defeat playing out in their heads.

"Hey, we can beat these guys! ... Wait a second, we can't beat these guys. They're the friggin' Bulls! The friggin' Michael Jordan and the Bulls!"

And the Utah Jazz simply crumbled in six games.

I think that's what happened to the Pens on Saturday. They'd played D-Town tough the first two games and lost, played a fairly sloppy third game and won, and then really dominated for the fourth game. They had tied the series against the legendary Detroit Red Wings.

They came out tough on Saturday. The skating and passing were crisp, and the Malkin and Staal lines were going strong. Then Detroit killed that first penalty. Then Detroit scored. You could see the passing suddenly getting a little shaky. There were turnovers. The defense was suddenly looking very diffident on the ice.

After the Red Wings scored that second goal on that disastrous line change, you could see it was over. The stupid penalties started flying, the power play goals.

I think our lovely Pens suddenly thought, "Hey, we can beat these guys! Wait a second, we can't beat these guys. They're the friggin' Red Wings! The friggin' Pavel Datsyuk and the Red Wings!"

I hope that ass-kicking jarred their heads a little and knocked those stupid thoughts out of their skulls. After all, while Detroit is still the better team, they're not so much better that the Pens can't pull this one out. However, if they are still thinking like that, even if they win tonight, I can't see how a team can beat a team they know in their heart of hearts they're supposed to lose to.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Not Since the Nazis ..."

Vladimir Malkin's aging frame is racked with rage as he stares at his son. He breathes in, breathes out, inhales, exhales, all in a vain attempt to calm the fires burning within. He knows it is useless, knows he is going to "blow his top"--as the Americans say. He sits down beside the boy at their kitchen table, anyway. Natalia's borscht is smelling especially delicious today. Perhaps, that will soothe his mood.

He stares down at the boy who is staring down at his bowl of stew. Neither wants to look at the other. They both know what is to come. Vladimir decides to speak, despite himself.

"Do you know what happened on 22 June 1941, boy?"

"Yes, father," the boy sighs, refusing to look his father in the eye.

To put it simply, Yevgeniy Vladimirovich Malkin (22), is an international hockey star. Drafted second overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2004 NHL entry draft, Malkin joined the team two years later. In that short time, he has already helped lead his team to the Stanley Cup Finals two years in a row, has won the Calder Memorial Trophy for the rookie of the year, was runner-up for the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2008, and has won the Art Ross Trophy this year for the league's top scorer. He has also won six medals for his native Russia in international competition. Earlier this week, with his Penguins down two games to none in the Stanley Cup Finals, he personally led the Penguins to even the series with five points of his own.

However, last night, the Pens were shut out by the Detroit Red Wings, 5-0. The Malkins all feel that poor Evgeni was largely responsible for the debacle. This afternoon, Yevgeniy Vladimirovich Malkin is no longer an international hockey star. Today, he is a chastened, little boy.

"And what happened on 22 June 1941, Evgeni?" his father asks again.

"Operation Barbarossa, father," the son huffs. "The day the Germans invaded the Soviet Uni--"

"Russia!" Vladimir shouts.

Natalia gasps at her husband's rage and sits down between her boys with her own bowl of borscht.

"Russia," the boy concedes.

"The Heer, the Luftwaffe, the entire Wehrmacht laid waste to our great country," Vladimir continues, turning red. "They slaughtered millions! Men and women, boys and girls, little babies! We all suffered terribly under the Nazis' reign of terror!"

"But father, you were born in 1958," Evgeni meekly protests.

"All Russians--dead, alive, yet to be born--suffered and died that day."

"It was the greatest tragedy the Slavic race has ever known," Natalia adds. "And we Slavs know our tragedy."

"But that would mean--" Evgeni stammers "--what's the logic in that?"

"What was the logic in elbowing that boy in the face, getting that penalty, depriving your team of your talent, leaving them a man short, and your team giving up a power play goal?!" Vladimir roars.

"Yes, father," Evgeni whimpers.

"What was the logic in your hooking and cross-checking penalties?"

"Yes, father."

"Twelve penalties?! Twelve penalties your team had! Three power play goals you gave up!"

"Yes, father."

"And that friend of yours, Kuntz!"

"Kunitz, father. Chris Kunitz."

"You call that a fight?! One, measly punch in the belly, and he barely pulls the boy's shirt off?! Disgusting! That boy is clearly not from Russia!"

"No, Regina, father."

"He is a vagina!"


"Sorry, Natalia." Vladimir pats his wife's hand reassuringly and smiles. He quickly turns back to his son, eyes ablaze. "Now, your team is down 3-2 to the reigning Stanley Cup champions. Men even more experienced than your Aunt Minet!"


"Please, Natalia. I am making a point here." He turns back to his son. "Now, Detroit only has to win one more game, and you have to win two. All because of sloppy puck handling, horrible defense, and all those stupid, stupid penalties! Tell me where the logic is in all of that!"

"There is none, OK, father!" Evgeni cries. "There is none!"

Vladimir sighs. "Not since the Nazis have I seen such wanton self-destruction."

"Oh, father!!!"

Natalia produces a handkerchief and dabs at her son's wet eyes. He takes it, blows his nose, and gives it back to her. She continues to wipe tears as her husband speaks.

"During the war," Vladimir continues, hotly. "We, Russians, burned down everything. We razed entire villages, towns, cities! We burned down every single farm, every single tree, every single crop we could put a torch to in the Nazis' path. Your grandmother's village, Pizdet'?"

"Gone," Natalia adds, tearfully.

"Phht! Burned to the ground!" Vladimir continues. "We wanted to starve the Nazis out of our country. You see, son, all that self-destruction, all the suffering we inflicted on ourselves, we had a plan."

"Yes, father."

"And it worked. We may have starved ourselves. But we starved the Nazis, too, and ran them out of the Fatherland. Do you understand what I'm saying to you, boy?"

Evgeni looks up at his father, his eyes rimmed red. He sniffles one last time and nods.

"Now, tell me, Geno," his father commands, "what is your plan?"


Friday, June 5, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins Song of the Day No. 2

I, too, can be counted amongst Sportsdom's Superstitious Spectators. On Tuesday, to counteract the hoodoo the Red Wings' goalie, Chris Osgood, had on the puck, rendering it impossible to go in for the Penguins (either that, or the bastard had a magnet implanted in his ass), I decided to use some of Detroit's own magic against it. So, I blasted Madlib and D-Town's own J-Dilla's album, Champion Sound, just before the game. It worked so well, I did it again last night. Now, the Penguins have tied the series and looked absolutely dominating last night. Therefore, I urge all you Penguins fans to share the voodoo, pick up/download Champion Sound, and blast that shit before each game!


PS. I know a bunch of you are probably wondering when the hell Tome became a sports blog. I would like to apologize to my readers for all the mindless sports banter that's been occurring on this site, but I can't! Go Pens!!!

PPS. Am I the only one who's noticed that, since the refs have decided to call penalties more tightly, that the Wings have been just a little off their game?

PPPS. Against any other team, I think last night's devastating Penguins performance would sound the death knell. However, these are the Red Wings. I'm thinking they're coming back harder than ever. If the Pens don't win tomorrow night, I can't possibly see them winning the series.

PPPPS. I'm glad to see that I was right about Malkin's taking over the team. The man is on fire! Let's just hope he burns down Joe Louis Arena tomorrow night.

PPPPPS. Thanks Dabalou, Triple P, and Basque for coming out last night to the Pour House. Our little Afro-Asian boat in the alabaster sea of Penguins fans sure did rock!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lead On, Geno!

All right, while I cannot in good conscience, condone spearing the opposing goalie ... oh, who am I kidding? I know exactly why Max Talbot took a stab at Chris "Flopper" Osgood. Chris is a brilliant goalie. But when he's not brilliantly stifling my beloved Pens, he's busy being the luckiest bastard to ever put on the goalie pads. I mean, every time we beat him, the puck hits the post and takes a weird bounce out of the net. And what was that crap with the puck skating all the way across the friggin' goal line?! Jesus!

I know good teams make their own luck, but damn, people!

So, yeah, I understand why Talbot took his shot! This crap is frustrating to watch as a fan. I couldn't imagine what it must be like as a player.

But what really impressed me with the ruckus at the end of Game Two was how Evgeni ("Geno"--why we Americans must Anglicize everything is just beyond me) Malkin went after Henrik Zetterberg.

Look, under any other circumstances, I would absolutely love Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings. I mean, they play the best, most balanced hockey I think I've ever seen. But these are my Pens we're talking about here. And for two years in a row! I'm sick of these bastards! They gotta go down!!!

So, thank you, Geno, for taking it upon yourself to show these jackholes that the Pens aren't going to just take it all lying down. Thanks for fighting for your team!

And not a bad fight, either. I mean, I feel bad for the ref who had to stand between you guys and take the brunt of Zetterberg's wrath in his gut. But way to chase that ass down and give it the whoopin' it deserves! He's really taking it to El Sid, and someone needs to take it to him. And since we no longer have Laraque ...

I'm glad it was you.

But now it's up to you, Geno. You've thrown down the gauntlet.

The Pens are playing Awesome Hockey right now. But the Red Wings are playing Awesome Hockey + 1 (and they're getting every lucky bounce ever created on ice). So, you've got to take that Killer Instinct I was talking about a couple posts down and lead this team to the Cup!

I know you can do it, braht man!

Get to it!

Boy, how I'd love to see this again

Interesting Side Note:
All right, I generally think that Blaming the Ref is the last refuge of a scoundrel(ly) sore loser (yeah, I'm talkin' to you, Mike Holmgren). I mean, a team is supposed to win--whether the refs suck or not. I actually like how the refs are not calling the first two games. Just let 'em play. OK, the non-call against Hossa as he broke Dupuis' stick and scored the assist was a bunch of bullshit, but other than that, I'm pretty content.

However, I'm not surprised that there are grumblings about the refs not calling stuff during this Stanley Cup final. What I am surprised with is the source. Here's an interesting gripe against the Men in Zebra by none other than The Detroit Free Press?!

I guess this Age of Obama has got everybody twisted.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Killing Time Is Here

In watching United 93 last week, I realized how unnatural it must be for us humans to kill another human being and how important training and indoctrination are in getting us to murder. Outside of instant "fight or flight" moments, it seems that we humans are simply reluctant to kill one another. The movie portrayed the terrorists as terrified themselves. While this was most definitely artistic license, I found it a lot more believable than the usual madman terrorist we usually see on screen. Maybe I'm just a bleeding heart liberal, but I sincerely do believe that they were scared just as much as everyone else in that situation.

But the thing that really struck me was the last moments in the cockpit. I'm assuming that the filmmakers had access to the flight recorder and based the last scene on the tape. What really struck me is that, even though the passengers knew they and, perhaps, a whole lot of others would die if they failed, they actually did not think of killing the pilot.

In order to get into the cockpit, they had to overpower three other terrorists with box cutters. They then had to overpower the pilot before he took the plane down. Now, if there had been a veteran, soldier, or even a cop (in other words, someone trained to use lethal force), I'm betting one of those would've probably taken one of the box cutters and rammed it into the pilot's throat. It would've been messy, but they wouldn't have had to struggle with the pilot to control the plane. He would've been too busy dying and clutching his own throat. They could've easily taken control.

I don't know if it would've been possible for them to save themselves. I don't know if someone can right a jumbo jet once it's in a nose dive like United 93 was. I just found it interesting that they hadn't thought of using a box cutter on the pilot. And I wondered how many average citizens would've thought of it and, if they had, if they'd been able to use it. We often talk about that "killer instinct;" but it makes me wonder if there really is such a thing, or if killing is something we have to be trained and indoctrinated to do.

In watching Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals last night, I found myself wondering if my beloved Penguins actually have that killer instinct. Last year, their road to the Stanley Cup was way too easy. They were far more talented than everybody else in the Eastern Conference and simply, well, skated to the Cup. I think that (and D-Town's superior skills) was how the Red Wins were able to smack the living crap out of them in the first two games of last year's series. The Pens stepped up their games and split the rest of the series 2-2, but, you know, it only takes four games to win it all.

Last night it was obvious that the Penguins were way more prepared this go-round. They were tough and pretty much matched the Red Wings' stifling D. However, they still came up short. The Wings' first goal was a fluke, bouncing off the back of Flower's leg to go into the net. The second goal did the same thing, but there was a Red Wing there for the rebound if it hadn't bounced off the goalie's leg. Jordan Staal just lost sight of the puck and screened Flower for the third goal. All three of Detroit's goals were kinda flukey, which gives me hope, but if these teams keep playing the way they did last night, pretty much all the goals scored are going to be a little flukey.

As I said, the Pens played amazing defense last night. And I think they're going to keep it up. Defensively, I think they know what they have to do. It's the offense that I'm worried about.

With El Sid and Malkin, the Pens are used to outscoring folks. But, let's face it, these Detroit Red Wings might just be playing the best team hockey most of us have seen in our lifetimes. Last night, Zetterberg was on Crosby like Michael Steele on crack. They're going to have to figure out a way to free up Sid, and he's going to have to come up with ways to free himself.

I like the way they were dumping the puck into the zone last night, but the pursuit was kinda weak. They need to rip a page out of D-Town's book. Every time anybody (teammate or opponent) touches the puck, there are at least four Wings surround and beat that little black thing like it was Rodney King.

Chris Osgood's too good a goalie to be fooled too often with the Pens' finesse. They need to pound that man relentlessly. Skip all the beautiful stick-handling and skating and do like the Red Wings and beat the living shit out of the goalie.

Last night, it felt like the Pens were simply trying to prove they can keep up with the Red Wings. It makes sense. Detroit is the best, but I don't think they are so much better than the Pens that my boys can't beat them. They just need to show that killing instinct like they did against the Capitals in Game 7--only killing-er!

You know I got faith!

PS. Do you like how I tied hockey in with 9/11? Not even Giuliani could pull that off. :)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bring Out the Broom!

That's right! Even with El Sid and Evgeni being shut out tonight, my Penguins dusted the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 to pull off the sweep!

Now it's on to the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row!

But it ain't all love, peace, and chicken grease tonight, people!

There is a turncoat in our midst.

That's right. I'm talking to you, Bill Cowher!

Don't look so confused, fool!

Now, I know you went to my high school. I know you sent my Steelers to a helluva lot of playoff games. And you did win one Super Bowl for the Black 'N' Gold. So, I guess I should be grateful.

But, dude, you lost three--count 'em, three--AFC Championship games at home and came pretty damned close to losing the fourth one. The only way you could get to the Super Bowl was by being a wild card. And it took you, what, 13 seasons to finally get that one Super Bowl ring. It only took Tomlin two seasons. OK, sure, it was mostly your team that won this January, but the brother's obviously a far quicker study than you were!!!

I'm still pissed off at you for playing Big Ben your last season. The man had a head injury, asshole! Those things take at least a year to heal, and you had him out there two months after his melon cracked against a car windshield! You could've gotten that boy killed! I'm still lobbying to have you shipped to Canton and put on trial for sports crimes and misdemeanors. So, you better watch your ass, pal.

I'm not even going to mention how much you absolutely, positively suck! on that CBS pre-game show. Wait, did I just ...?

Well, all of you suck on that show. You've even dragged the immortal JB down into your Vortex of Vapidity!

But what really chaffs my ass is your turn of coat tonight. You ... are ... a ... Pittsburgher, jagoff! What the hell were you doing cranking the 'Canes' siren tonight?!

I don't care that you went to college in North Carolina. I don't care if you live down there. I don't care if you are addicted to their vinegar-based barbecue sauce. You do NOT go against your hometown team!

I hope Rick Kehoe kicks your ass!!!

(Now, if only the Blackhawks decide to go all Last Boy Scout and starts capping, maiming, or hobbling some Red Wings so we can have a shot at this.)


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Enough to Make a Cossack Go ... "Damn"

Yes, my Penguins delivered the ass-whuppin' of the millennium last night against the Caps (6-2, people! 6-2! The Pens scored five before the Caps even realized they weren't skating for the judges). Yeah, I know a lot of hockey fans out there probably found the drubbing quite a bore, but this Pittsburgher found it quite refreshing, after that last Super Bowl, to be able to watch a final elimination game without having to take my heart medication. Not to say that the experience was not without its pain. My boy and I actually injured our hands high-fiving each other so damned much.

But seriously, folks, this drubbing will now silence all the Capitals' fans' conspiracy theories about how the refs were trying to give the Pens the series because Sidney Crosby's the "New Face of the NHL." Maybe the refs were trying to give away last night's game, but they had to stand in line behind Ovechkin, Mike Green, and Simeon Varlamov.

(Once again, inferior team, you lost because you ... were ... inferior. The Illuminati doesn't give two shits about who wins the Penguins/Capitals series. They're too busy screwing around with my checking account.)

The rapine also answers the idiotic question asked by Caps' no-show, Alexander Semin: "What's so special about Crosby?"

Well ... everything!

The boy's barely 21-years-old and (while it's definitely not all him) looks like he may be leading his team to a second, consecutive Stanley Cup final. Now, Semin, ask yourself, Mr. Twenty-Five-Year-Old-Russian-Phenom-First-Round-Draft-Choice-with-Absolutely-No-Goals-in-This-Last-Series, what's so special about you?

Last night's blood bath also gave me and Triple P (Pinoy Penguins Pal) the opportunity to tell all those racist, homophobic, and downright inhospitable Caps fans outside the Verizon Center last night to, and I paraphrase, "Suck a dick, motherfucker."

And, finally, the murderous mayhem of Malkinian mastery gave this hockey fan hope for the rest of the season. That was the best I think I've ever seen the Pens play. They were like Detroit was against us the first two games of last year's Stanley Cup. If they play like they did last night and somehow escape having to face Detroit (Go, Anaheim! or Go, Chicago!), you've got to like our chances.

(Remember, I called the Super Bowl pretty early.)

Steeler All-Pro defensive tackle, Casey Hampton, is proof-positive that yours truly is not the only Hottentot hockey fan.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins Song of the Day

Look, everybody loves a penguin. They're cute. They're cuddly. And they make surprisingly good movies. And while they definitely know how to handle themselves on the ice, we need a completely different mammal out there against the Capitals tonight. Tonight, we don't need a Penguin, we need a



Saturday, April 18, 2009

Consolation Prize

Sure, I'm broke as hell. And the doctor's hit me with hundreds of dollars of bills--to tell me I'm fine. Yeah, Uncle Sam's bitch nephews, Maryland and DC, have smacked me around with a couple of tax bills. And yep, two different computer experts have told me that my laptop is kaput and that I have to buy a new one.

But hell, at least my 'Guins have taken two straight from the Philadelphia Flyers and lead their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series 2 games to none.

So no, Noam, we prols do not revel in our sports in some bizarre, crypto-fascist fantasy of simulated warfare. We do it because of shit weeks like this one.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Word of Warning

Now, I know this past month, I went a little Steeler crazy. What was that? something like seven Steeler posts in less than a month? But what can I say? I'm a native Pittsburgher. I can't apologize for my actions, but, as you know, this isn't a sports blog. So, there won't be but so many sports posts here on Tome. However ...

If El Sid and Flower decide that they actually want to drink from Lord Stanley's Cup, Evgeni Malkin has paid off his debts to the Russian mafia and no longer has to throw games (seriously, why didn't anybody mention it? I mean, shit, he had more assists for Detroit than Henrik Zetterberg!!!), and my 'Guins make another Cup run, I will be going hockey crazy come May!

Here's to hoping!