Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pop the Dom

Get some glasses, it's time to pop open that bottle of Dom PĂ©rignon and toast to an amazing season and, once again, congratulate a special team of players who worked so hard for the cup.
The Penguins received their Stanley Cup Champions rings tonight. Mario (who knows a thing or two about greatness) helped design the ring along with GM Ray Shero and our fav HC, Danny Balls. Now that Staalsy is of age, he won't need to use the cup as his "in" to clubs like Diesel. No, now he has a hott ring that contains 4.50 carats of diamonds. Even if he still wanted to take the cup in, he won't get to since it will be back in those white-gloved hands very soon. At least that beautiful hunk of silver will probably be in the Igloo on opening night, Friday, when they raise the banner before the puck drops against the NY Rangers. Ooohhhhh side note, that's a two-Staal brothers game! Use the Dom for the Staal Brothers Drinking Game! Pensblog Charlie would say, "Do it." Let it be done...

Getting back to the ring, it's awesome. The Pens' logo is dead center on top of the Stanley Cup with diamonds surrounding it which are supposed to represent the ice and arena. Each player will have their name and number on the left side of the ring too. On the right side it will have the year 2009 along with all three Stanley Cups the Penguins have won.
I want Mario to design my wedding ring. You know, for when I marry Tangers or Maxie.

For more detailed information on the Stanley Cup Champions ring, you can click here.

Woooooo! Let's go Pens!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Double or nothin'

We've got two games tomorrow. Steelers at Bengals and Penguins at Detroit. Granted, one is a regular season game and the other is only a preseason game, but you have to admit, this preseason game will be different from the others...

Steelers will be playing their first game within the division (AFC North.) Sadly, the Bengals go into this week with the same record as we do: 1-1. We really need to change that and make our record 2-1. It's a win-win that way; we move up in the division ranking (maybe) and the Bengals will fall. No word yet on whether the Browns are even going to show up to play this season...

Maybe the Browns will be this year's Lions? It's a lot to hope for, but I can dream, can't I? Speaking of the Lions, they're trying to win back fans by enticing fans of other teams to buy tickets. Do they really think throwing their own fans under the bus is going to help sell tickets at all? Maybe. I'm sure there must be some displaced Steelers fans out in Detroit somewhere who are willing to go to the game for super cheap. Seriously, check out their special page here before you get to the main homepage. There is a huge picture of the Steelers' and Lions' helmets. Clearly the Lions' marketing team was smart enough to pick the Super Bowl champions (out of all the other teams in the League) to stick on the flash page up against the Lions.

Steelers need to bring it this week, especially after the pathetic display that occurred last week in Chicago. Remember, the Bengals aren't as much as a waste of a team as the Browns are- we might actually have to try to beat them. Jeff Reed needs to get his act together and work with Danny Sepulveda on holding. On his second kick of the game, the one that essentially lost us the game, it seemed like Danny was holding the ball weird and not like usual. Maybe that's only me. I don't know. I'm telling you what I saw. I still love them both though. Our running game needs to dramatically improve and by that I mean get back to where we were last year, which wasn't that great either, but at least we didn't have to rely soley on one guy to gain any yards running last year. Mewelde Moore is doing all the work himself. Rashard Mendenhall and FWP haven't done anything so far and poor Frank the Tank. One day he will be useful...

Good news is that Lawrence Timmons should be back in a starting position against the Bengals this week after injuring his ankle, I believe, a few weeks back. Troy will still be sidelined with his MCL sprain. His backup, Tyrone Carter, should be ok to play Sunday. He will wear a thigh pad on his left leg. Limas might play Sunday as well even though he has been missing practices with a foot injury.

And now, time to switch gears and talk a little about the Penguins. Tomorrow's game against Detroit will be special because it's the first time the two teams will faceoff since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and we all know how that one ended. I bet some people will talk it up, saying it's a rematch (mainly the Wings fans I suppose) because we all know that preseason is preseason. Pens are pulling a Flyers what with all of the fights thus far, and especially in Thursday's game against Columbus. No wonder the Blue Jackets won, look at all the penalties we racked up:

Work it, Biz Nasty!

Anyways, the game tomorrow should be good no matter what just because the Red Wings and Penguins have been to the SCF two years in a row. That's hard to do. Respect. You can listen to Sunday's game on 105.9 with Mike Lange (thank god, after listening to Steve Mears all week, I missed him greatly) and Phil Bourque.

And finally, I want to wish a very happy birthday to Free Candy who turns 29 today.

How intense does Orpik look while drinking?

(full cred goes to Seth @ EN for the glorious pic and caption)

We love you Brooksie!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fear him

Fear the Russian. For everyone who was getting on me to get a post out, here you go. I know this really does not count as a real post, but whatever. This is what you're getting, deal with it.

Game tomorrow against Columbus again. Should be good, considering how the last one ended.
I don't want to talk about the last 2 preseason games...

What I want the Blue Jackets to know (and more importantly teams whose star players are dirty Swedes or trolls) is that you shouldn't mess with the Russian. Of course I am talking about the biggest BAMF of them all, Geno Malkin. (Gonch, I love you too, just fyi.)

Look at this and tell me Malkin isn't a BAMF


Also, I wanted to include this amazing tweet from that night that encompasses everything we were thinking that needed to be said regarding this incident.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Penguins vs. Maple Leafs

The puck drops in just under 25 minutes at Mellon Arena for the Pens' second preseason game at home tonight versus the Maple Leafs. Until then, I wanted to show you guys highlights from Tuesday's game versus Columbus. That was such a great game - the highlights are just the goals, but they've got Mike Lange's goal calls in audio so it makes it worth showing. Also, check out my favorite prospect, Eric Tangradi, as he handles the puck and gets it to Crosby twice.
How much fried chicken can you eat?

The Penguins' lineup tonight will be:

Caputi – Malkin – Kennedy
Cooke – Smith – Guerin
Pushkarev – Adams – Johnson
Bissonnette – Rupp – Wallace

Goligoski – Guenin
Lee – Letang
Orpik – Lovejoy


I'm disappointed we won't get to see Brad Thiessen in goal tonight. I know they want to make Brent the number two goalie, but Brad did a really good job on Tuesday so I kinda like the kid. Also, Brent was a Capital last year so it's hard to just forget that and not to mention he's kinda old. I feel safer with Fleury's acrobatic goaltending skills at his ripe age of 24 over Brent, I'm just sayin'...

Sidney Crosby will not be playing tonight, however, Malkin sat out against the Blue Jackets and will be playing tonight.

Don't forget to check out Seth's live blog over at Empty Netters.

I am going to attempt to watch the game here, but you can always listen at 105.9 too.

Let's Go Pens!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Woooooo is not over

No, in fact, the "Summer of Wooooo!" (© TPB) has transitioned quite effortlessly into the preseason. Yesterday the Pens hosted their first preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets after only 3 days of training camp, not that that little stat really matters because the Pens are awesome and after their short summer, they are all still in great shape and have been skating anyways. The game was moved up from the original September 18th date on the schedule because of the G-20 Summit being held in the 'Burgh currently.

And oh, what a game it was...

It was exactly what we all had hoped for and better, I think. What a great way to start out the 2009-2010 season. Malkin wasn't even playing in this game (it probably wouldn't have started out the way it did in that senario, of course) and Crosby was trying out a new stick. Some of my favorite prospects, like Eric Tangradi, got a chance to shine with two assists for the night. Crosby had two goals, Chris Connor had a goal with Jay McKee showing how useful he will be to the team this year with an assist, and Chris Kunitz had two goals, one in OT for the win. It was so exciting and it was only a preseason game! The Blue Jackets lead 1-0 in the first period. After the second it was a despairing 3-0 Columbus. However, in the third, everything changed. It was probably one of the most exciting periods I have seen/heard. It was so great getting to listen to Mike Lange and the good ole two-niner after a summer off. Both of Crosby's goals came first off of Tangradi passes followed by Chris Connor's goal to tie the game at 3-3. Then Columbus scores to make it 4-3 with not much time remaining in the period. I think it was under 2 minutes to go at that point. 17 seconds later Chris Kunitz scores to tie the game again at 4-4! Woooooooo! Yeah! The game headed into overtime and 44 seconds in, Chris Kunitz struck again with the game-winner. Pens win 5-4. The hockey withdrawl should be over because preseason is here!

The updated preseason schedule looks like this

Friday Sept. 18 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

Monday Sept. 21 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday Sept. 22 at Toronto, 7:00 p.m.

Thursday Sept. 24 at Columbus, 7:00 p.m.

Sunday Sept. 27 at Detroit, 5:00 p.m.

Not too many changes at all, just the one game against Columbus which we won.

Three of the preseason games will be aired on the NHL Network. These are: Sept. 21, 22, and 27. Noticably, the game against Detriot will be the first time the two teams are matched up since the Stanley Cup Final. Should be a good game. (Thanks to Seth at Empty Netters for the info.)

You can also watch Friday's game on the Leafs' Online Network - Leafs TV! (Thanks to Stephanie at Steel City Sports Fan (Penguins Edition) for the info.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One and done

Or should I say, "Won and done." Thursday's game started off slow, but gained momentum as it went on, which is normal, I suppose, for the season starter. Neither team looked sharp on the field with the exception of star players like Troy "the flyin' Hawaiian" Polamalu and Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes. Ben was all over the field, scrambling around in and out of the pocket, not that we're not used to that, but he looked a bit off. There were times where I think he should have thrown the ball away to stay at the line of scrimmage and not lose a bunch of yards by getting sacked 10 yards back. Just sayin'... I still think Ben is an awesome QB and I'm happy to have him on our side. That said, he needs to sharpen his skills and come out better against the Bears next week.

Our O-line needs work. They've never been that great in recent years, but there was at least one time where they just completely fell apart and the Titan's defense was all over Ben, sacking him almost as soon as he got the snap. That can't happen again. Come on, O-line, you need to block! At least Heath Miller is doing his part. He ended the night with 8 catches for 64 yards. We all know he is the best TE/blocker; I wish he'd get the ball more. Santonio did great, finishing the night with 9 catches for 131 yards and 1 TD which are the exact same stats as his performance in Super Bowl XLIII. Funny, right? Hines Ward looked pretty good until the end of the game there when he totally blew it and dropped the ball. He would have been in the end zone for sure and we would have had another touchdown, but he was running with the ball tucked under only one arm... sometimes you've got to use two hands bro, even if you are a veteran player. You know better! He got lucky though, as we were able to send the game into overtime and Jeff Reed won the game with his field goal, made possible by Mike Wallace coming up with a big catch for major yardage to get into field goal range. To finish off the offense, I thought Mewelde Moore did well. Would like to see him get the ball more often rather than Willie. Willie has not been very fast as of late. Our running game is pitiful. We couldn't convert on third downs, not even a bunch of 3rd and 1's which is just sad. Give the ball to Mewelde and watch him get past the line to pick up a first down.

Our defense looked sharp at the beginning of the game. Troy was flying all over the place just being awesome like he always is. Always giving 110%. He had a sweet one-handed interception too, before he got injured.
Hopefully he will only be gone for the 3-6 weeks they are saying right now for his MCL sprain. We definitely need him. The defense was not so hot for the second half of the game without him.

After hearing about Jake Cutler's game this week with the Bears, I think we should be able to beat them. The Packers just beat them. Here we go, Steelers, here we go.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Breaking the habit

So, originally, I had planned to write about both the Steelers and the Penguins when I picked the name for this blog. Then the "Summer of Wooooo!" happened and I found myself having lots to talk about in hockey. It got to the point where I only had hockey-related posts and I thought that maybe I should just stick to one niche. Well, now I am going to break the habit and talk about the Steelers. Of course it has everything to do with the fact that there is not much going on in the hockey world and football season officially starts tomorrow with the Steelers v. Titans game. There were some points I wanted to mention about the Steelers before the big game so I just figured this was a good opportunity to do just that.

The Titans are a good team. They even had a better record than us last season (12-2 vs our 11-3.) But they don't have a shiny Lombardi trophy to proudly display. They did not get to make the trip to Tampa in February, and they certainly did not get to host a Champions parade. The city of Pittsburgh just had two in one year.

However, they are a good team. They have a makings of a good team and with the addition of our once-expected number 3 wide receiver, Nate Washington, they could have what they need to go all the way. But they aren't as tough as the Steelers. We boast the number one defense in the entire league. James Harrison is a force to be reckoned with and with LaMarr Woodley as his apprentice... look out Kerry Collins, that's all I can say. Hopefully Troy will be starting for us tomorrow night and that his pesky hamstring doesn't give him any problems. I love James Farrior; always have, always will. I'm excited to see him back and looking just as fast and strong as he has in years past. The same can be said for Hines. Hines has a solid good couple of years left in him and he's not ready to give up the fight which is just fine in my book. He always manages to make big time plays when we need them the most. Whether he's catching a pass for major yards in deep coverage or making an important block while someone else carries the ball, Hines Ward understands what is asked of him and he does it willingly. That is the making of a great football team- players who are willing to put the team before themselves. That's why the Steelers organization is the greatest and it shows, especially on the field, and speaks for itself in our six Lombardi trophies.

I have to mention Stefan Logan. This guy is like whoaaaa crazy fast. I like it. I really hope he gets used more than just a kickoff returner. Having watched him during the preseason games, he is very capable of becoming not only a kickoff/punt returner, but a receiver or even running back as well. I really like him in the RB role, but I know we already have FWP and Mendenhall (who has yet to really do anything- he's got a lot to prove.) I am a fan of Mewelde Moore also and happy to have him still around. Perhaps Stefan can take over Gary Russell's role? It's a real longshot, but who knows? I don't think Logan is built in the same way and will, therefore, not be used in the same way that Russell was- for short yardage gain and 3rd down conversions.

Anything else? Love Jeffy- hope we re-sign him to an extension soon. He is a very reliable kicker and I like him. So glad to have Danny Sepulveda back this season! Mitch Berger was a disaster and Danny is so great. Let me remind you of something called Danny's fake punt. It. Was. Awesome. Week 16 against the Rams, in 2007. You can watch the video here. I would embed it, but there is no embedding link. Ah, memories... back when Najeh Davenport was good for something.

Really excited for the start of the regular season tomorrow. I think we have a pretty good roster even though we lost a few players to free agency and trades.

Get your Terrible Towels ready. Here we go!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Excuse me, where is Sweden?

There was a press release the other day, no surprise, about the Penguins being invited to the White House to be congratulated by President Obama on the 10th of September. This has become routine with all major sporting events. Oh hey, didn't Pittsburgh send some other boys to be congratulated earlier this year? ;) Stairway to seven, boys...

Let's hope when our Pens show up, Obama remembers to praise them instead of Alexander Ovechkin.


Seriously, did anyone find that joke amusing at all? I didn't.

Anyways, they will be holding a "Hockey Is For Everyone" clinic in which I can only assume some of our most capable champions will be helping out. In attendance will be Sid, Geno, MAF, Free Candy, Billy G, and Staalsy. That is a great attendance sheet, if you want my opinion. Love to them all. Those kids are very lucky to have the chance to be taught by the best in the business.

In other news, I'm sure everyone has heard already, Philippe Boucher has decided to hang up his skates and retire. This is somewhat disappointing as he is only 36 years old. I think there were still some good years in him, but he wanted to retire a champion and you can't argue with that decision. Boucher was just traded to the Pens earlier in the season- in November of 2008. I thank him for his veteran contributions to this team. This leaves us with an open defenseman spot. I figured Philippe would be our 7th man on defense, but now I wonder if Danny Bylsma will replace him with another defenseman or an offensive guy in the lineup. I say we should plug in another denfenseman. I think it worked out pretty well for us this year, wouldn't you agree? It's important to have depth there and we already have a lot of young talent as far as forwards go so why not stick to the idea that defense wins championships? Do I really need to remind you of Scuderi and Fleury's game-winning saves? Didn't think so.

And if you're wondering what that title is all about, I figured, since it's slow, I'd include one of my favorite videos from the beginning of last season. Here's some footage of the boys in Sweden set to the Beach Boys' "I Get Around." I love that song. Beach Boys + Pens = unbeatable combination.