Monday, April 29, 2013

Bring on the Isles!

It wasn't until last night that the final matchups of the Eastern Conference were solidified. With a Sens win against Boston, the stage was set. The Penguins will start the series against the Islanders on Wednesday.

Do I dare say that I'm optimistic? Afterall, it was not that long ago that sock monkeys (instead of hats)covered the ice at Consol and we officially heard the "woo" in person.

But the Isles are not a team to take lightly. The Pens have had a way of dominating teams that I've feared and slacking against the teams I assumed were sure wins.

There's no love loss against these two teams. Afterall, who could forgot this all out brawl? In total, 65 penalties were assessed. After all of the ejections, the two teams were each left with just a handful of eligible players. I've never seen a game like it.

This series is, of course, huge. It's a time for redemption. Aferall, we haven't made it past the first found in the past two seasons (last season's elimination by the Flyers was dreadful). We also have an  all-star roster where all eyes will be on whether the trades to create this dream team were worth it. Here's to hoping that we prove they were!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Staaling until the playoffs.

Since I have nothing witty to say about last night's loss against the Devils, I'd like to address a neat moment in hockey history: The Staals. First, that's one talented, hockey-bred family. I miss having Jordan as a Penguin but was happy to see him join his brother on the Canes (despite loathing the term "Caniac"). But what's better than two Staal brothers playing for the same team? THREE. All on the same line. With sequencial numbers. (Although having "J. Staal" is now confusing.)
That's four brothers in the NHL. It's only an added bonus that they're adorable (4 Kennedy brothers just wouldn't have the same appeal, sorry TK).

The Pens will face off against the Staal brothers tomorrow for the final game of the regular season. We've had two losses in a row against non-playoff teams. Let's not make it three.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy Birthday 58!

Despite the loss last night against the Sabres, it's a good day. Today we celebrate  Kris Letang's 26th birthday. Happy birthday Tanger! Who cares that you're 8 years younger than me, you're someone's baby daddy, and that I'm happily married? You still make me swoon. Here's to you winning the Norris Trophy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Enough with the Matt Cooke Hating.

Yes, it's plausible that only Penguins fans truly believe Matt Cooke has transformed his style of playing (although I think his decrease in penalty minutes make that a fact rather than an opinion, but still...). I get the fact that other teams don't like him. I get that the Ottawa Senators are looking for retribution tonight for taking out Erik Karlsson earlier in the season. I'm even amused by the creativity of "hatefest" and the accompanied "Wanted" poster.

But a forensic study to prove that Matt Cooke intentionally injured Karlsson is a bit much (as is comparing him to a murderer). Perhaps I like to see the good in (most) people, but really?? Next someone is going to say that a Zdeno Chara fed Kris Letang some poisoned chowda (poor guy can't catch a break!).  Everyone's welcome to their opinion of who's a "dirty" player, but I wish to believe that NHL players (Cooke included) respect the game enough that they don't go out with the intention to maim someone.

So what will happen in tonight's game against the Sens? Will they seek retribution? Will the gloves come off as soon as Cooke takes the ice? I'm sensing some five minute majors before we even get to the first tv time out.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


It feels pretty damn good to clinch the top spot in the east...even when you have to listen to the game partially on the radio and then watch it on DVR (damn you work responsibilities!) I will admit that watching it after the fact takes away all anxiety, although I still screamed when the Pens scored or Vokoun made an excellent save.

(Despite one asinine comment by a Bruins announcer),  I was once again impressed by the NHL, specifically the support toward the Boston community. Kunitz looks halfway cute here.

I know I shouldn't admit this, but I like Boston. It's funny that I've found them consistently intimidating despite our sweep. I wish them well in the playoffs, but if and when we wind up in a playoffs series against each other, all bets are off.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Hab-nots.

Any reservations I'd had about the Brenden Morrow trade are gone. Not only did Morrow have three points from last night's game against the Habs, but he clearly dislikes PK Subban as much as I do. You're welcome, Boston (and thanks  SB Nation for this video).

Last night, all the newcomers finally looked like one cohesive unit. Sutter (although he hardy feels new) and Morrow each ended the night with two goals, while Murray scored his first goal in 147 games, ending the longest active drought in NHL. Congrats to Jerome Iginla for his 1,100th point. And congrats for looking like this:
I'm amazed by the strength of this team despite the loss of some of our big time players. I'm hoping that the ultimate return of Crosby, Malkin, Neal and Martin only improves our chances of a strong playoff run.  

After the Pens game, I flipped to Bruins/Sabres with about 5 minutes to go. I watched as the Sabres fought back, scoring with 26 seconds to go, and ultimately beating the Bruins in a shoot out. I love shootouts. Even though it's certainly less stressful to win in regulation, it's one of my favorite elements of hockey (it helps that my team is undefeated in shootouts this year).
But even better than (or despite) the shootout , the most inspiring moment was the stick salute from both teams. Last night, everyone was a Bruins fan. Tomorrow, game on.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Feeling some 617 love tonight.

FIRST. Before I attempt any witty hockey banter, I'm wishing for a Bruins win tonight. I think most of us are. I think they need it tonight. Friday night? Not so much. I'm truly loving the support I'm seeing from all the teams tonight. Boston Strong.
Now...I'm hoping for a win for US tonight. Four days between games is not acceptable. Nights without hockey have me in bed embarrassingly early. Also, I'm hoping that I don't have to hear Subban's name more than, let's say, ten times. Ten? I'm good. But the 11th time, I may lose it. I assume that's what other fans think about Sid- even my husband and I joke about it sometimes. We laugh that Sid could get praise from the announcers for cheering from the bench. But it's my captain, so I don't mind.

Alright, time to finally watch some hockey.

Hi, I'm a hockey addict.

I'd consider myself as having an addictive personality. However, my addiction is not drugs, gambling, or food. It's hockey. Born on Long Island, raised in Jersey, and now living outside of Philadelphia, you'd assume that I supported one of the aforementioned teams. However, I didn't develop my love of this men-without-teeth sport until I met my husband- a die hard Pittsburgh fan.

I'd never had a strong affiliation for a particular city's sports team. Hell, growing up I loved football, but rooted for the Broncos and the Cowboys. And I didn't watch a lick of hockey. Finding baseball extremely boring, I should have known that given a chance, hockey was just the fast-paced, cross-checking, rowdy sport I was missing in my life.

So in 2008 when the Penguins raced toward (and ultimately lost) the Stanley Cup, I decided that hockey would become my sport of choice, and I would closely follow my Pens. Five years later, my growing love has become an obsession. I check NHL daily, monitoring the standings and statistics. During this year's lock out, I felt like a lost puppy and crossed my fingers each day that hockey would return. And after months of waiting, it finally did.

My husband and I made it to three games this year, two of which were in Pittsburgh, the other in Philadelphia.

Oh, Philadelphia. The tickets were a joint birthday present from my husband and brother/sister-in-law. I cried. You will soon learn my love for Kris Letang, the defensive superhero with sexy hair.

I had to wait over a month for that game, but it was well worth it. It's rough being a Pens fan in Philadelphia. Thankfully there's always a decent turnout of Penguins fans in Philly (safety in numbers), but even still...I was glad my nine year old nephew was by my side. I'm making a big (perhaps mistaken) assumption that even Flyers fans wouldn't hurt a lady with a cute kid with her, even if he's wearing #87.

The good news? We won. I would have taken a butt kicking for that comeback win any day. The better news? We won the rest of our games in March, and I was at two of them! It was a piece of Pens history that I was thrilled to be a part of.

I continue to love this team, and not just because they currently sit at the top of the standings. I love their passion, heart pride and drive. I love their nicknames for each other. I love "mustache boy" and their other rituals. I'm a die-hard Pens fan and everybody knows it.