The Beginning of the End

Game 1 of the deja-vu Stanley Cup Finals begins tonight. This time I think my boys just might end up on the winning side. They look different than they did going into the Final last year. But Detroit is Detroit. We can't forget that.

We all know what's at stake here. The Red Wings either add another Cup to their dynasty and surprise no one, or two of the top three players in the NHL finally get their first.

But one huge elephant in the room is this guy:

We all know that everyone except for Red Wings fans are hoping this d-bag gambled wrong. How great would it be to see him lose after saying he was leaving the Pens for the Wings because he felt he had a 'better chance of winning' the Stanley Cup with them?



Quote Me

I'm a big Crosby supporter, but even I have to admit this is hilarious:

I mean, for God's sake, right after Crosby picked up the Prince of Wales trophy, the officials actually gave the trophy a two minute holding penalty.

Props to Ritch over at American Hockey Fan for that one.


Big thanks to the hockey gods for letting Detroit advance and enabling the Stanley Cup Finals to start earlier than June 5.

Game 1: Saturday, May 30 Pittsburgh at Detroit 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 2: Sunday, May 31 Pittsburgh at Detroit TBD evening NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 3: Tuesday, June 2 Detroit at Pittsburgh 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Game 4: Thursday, June 4 Detroit at Pittsburgh 8 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Game 5*: Saturday, June 6 Pittsburgh at Detroit 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 6*: Tuesday, June 9 Detroit at Pittsburgh 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Game 7*: Friday, June 12 Pittsburgh at Detroit 8 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS


Quote Me

Is it just me or is Bobby Holik's retirement statement really touching?

"I'm done. I'm retiring. I miss being with my family every day. I knew when the season ended, but I wanted to leave and get home first, and not make a big deal of it. A player is what I was. Now I'm a husband and a father."

I felt that one. Enjoy retirement bud.



Run Janne, Run.

This is a funny headline: "Shero Says Pesonen Still Part of Future Despite No Recall."

Shero goes on to say, "Maybe with a different situation next year, he'll get a better opportunity [to play in the NHL]."

OH. Like maybe if you give him an actual chance instead of putting him on 3rd & 4th lines?? As much as I'd love to still believe that, I don't. Each time Pesonen was called up, he was shafted -- put with players who he shouldn't play with and then given no ice time.

I am telling you: this guy is for real. He was the best player on the Baby Pens this year. The guy sets up plays like it's no big deal. He has that natural hockey sense.

Run Janne. Run far away. Sign with a team that will appreciate you.


Laziness-1 Effort-0

Well, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton officially named Todd Reirden its head coach. Reirden had been filling in since Dan Bylsma took over in Pittsburgh.

All I have to say is WBS has the laziest hiring practices I've ever seen. Seriously. No offense to Reirden, but this team was not the same as when Blysma was in charge. That's not to say they did poorly -- they were just different. After Bylsma left, Reirden had a 14-9-3 record. Not too shabby. But they also lost first place in the division in the last week of the year to one of the worst teams in the league. It was one of their lower stretches of the year. Coincidence? Maybe. I was really hoping WBS would bring in a different head coach -- hell, even Michel Therrien (he's much more made for a development head coach job where there's constantly new players coming in and out). But I'm not surprised they didn't. They have always been too lazy to actually spend time to look for people to take open positions. Even the broadcasting position was given to an interim weather guy who makes you want to shut the radio off after about twenty minutes (sorry Stuccio). Seriously. You're a professional franchise. It's okay to actually take some time to find the best person for the job.

I don't believe Reirden is that person. I think he needs more experience. Then again, I said that about Bylsma when he was called up to Pittsburgh, and he turned out just fine. The difference is, Pittsburgh picked up when he went up there. WBS did not when Reirden took over.

Prove me wrong. Please.


Almost, Not Quite

WBS just lost their first game seven they've ever played in. Prior to tonight, they were 4-0 in all-time game 7's. Now they're 4-1 after the Hershey Bears shut them out for the second night in a row.

If you ask me, this series came down to breaks. I only got to see Games 4-7. In Games 4 & 5, WBS had all the breaks. They were getting in the way of Bears' shots and just happened to find the puck on their sticks. The last two games were the exact opposite; Hershey caught those breaks. Sometimes it's just not your night.

The bottom line is Hershey was the better team. They were one of the best teams in the league during the regular season. They're aggressive, super fast and just a well-rounded team. Does that mean they're unbeatable? Of course not. But it means the Baby Pens had to work twice as hard to win; they played their hearts out in Games 3-5, and they just looked beat Monday and tonight. Playing four games in five nights isn't going to help either (I don't want to hear anymore complaining about having to go back-to-back nights from Pitt & Wash. We don't even have Yanni to empathize with us). But that's what it comes down to.

You really can't complain if you're a WBS fan. The Baby Pens have made the play-offs eight out of ten years. They have been to the finals three out of ten years. We are very, very lucky. Things could be much worse. I love this team. I'll reflect on the year in the next few days.

Good luck to the Bears. I always prefer the teams I lose to to win the championship. If I have to lose, I want to lose to the best.

The last thing I have to say is ... Pittsburgh fans, be nervous for tomorrow. (See why below). ;-)


Just wanted to point out something that's been amusing me: the Penguins & Capitals organizations are battling each other in two series right now (NHL & AHL) and the series have gone exactly the same way. The same organization has won the same games. WBS & Pittsburgh both battled back from 2-0 deficits to go up 3-2 and lose Game 6.

So are we safe to say that whoever wins Game 7 between WBS & Hershey tonight will indicate who will go home tomorrow in the Caps/Pens game?

Naturally that's just silly superstitious nonsense. But I believe it.

So if you're want a sneak peek at who's headed to the Eastern Conference finals, catch the AHL game tonight. You can listen in at www.theahl.com or go to this link right before game time to watch it live. Game time is 7pm.


Giroux is a P*ssy

I'm back in PA for two weeks which means I can catch some Baby Pens playoff hockey. I live for the postseason in Wilkes-Barre. The crowds seem to get a little smaller each year, but they never get quieter. The rink was probably only 75% full last night, but it was rockin'. Part of the reason for that is because they gave out those Thundersticks. I passionately hate them, but they do significantly increase the noise level.

The Pens were ON last night in Game 4. With the exception of a few moments, they looked better than Hershey the entire time. They were getting the bounces and leading the rushes. Janne Pesonen had an unreal first game back with one goal and three assists -- and still failed to get the number one star of the game. How this guy is not playing in the NHL, I will never understand. I still believe he can be a sick playmaker in the show. We'll see I guess.

These guys can beat Hershey. They beat them 7 out of 10 times in the regular season. And I know I always say the regular season doesn't matter after mid-April (it doesn't), but they should at least realize they can do it. The Bears are good. Really good. They're fast, aggressive and don't stop coming at you. So hit them. Take away their speed. Tire them out. Don't wait because they won't allow you to.

On a side note, just think -- Simeon Varlamov could have been the Hershey goalie in this series. Yikes.

Game 5 is tonight at 7.

Other Notes:

+ After Alex Ovechkin's hit on Sergei Gonchar last night, Pittsburgh called up Alex Goligoski. This doesn't bother me one bit. I don't know if he just needs more development or if he plays better in the NHL or what, but Goose just does not full-on impress me yet. He has these little tendencies -- turnovers being a big one (namely two in this series that cost his team goals) -- that drive me nuts. I still want to see what he'd be like as a forward. He's an unreal skater with a great shot.

+ Joey Mormina and his greasy mustache might also be out of the line-up tonight after being hit by one of Hershey's biggest d-bags in the 3rd.




Blogging will resume! :-)


Quote of the Day

In the last couple of weeks here I had my lip split open, my chin split open, I got stitches in my eyelid and I got hit so hard in Game 6 that it actually knocked one of my false teeth out. And I loved every minute of it.
- Brendan Shanahan

This made me think of the Celtics-Bulls game the other day when Miller got hit in the mouth and took about 20 minutes to get back on the court.

Hockey is the toughest sport.


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