Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ruin the Bruin

When we were in Pittsburgh back in May and played the Bruins, we happened to see this sign outside a bar: Ruin the Bruin.


For most of that game, Boston dominated the Pens, and I still don't quite know how we pulled off a comeback win, but we did. And a few months later, the Eastern Conference finals are set. Boston and Pens. A team that we've somehow sweeped this season yet scares me more than any other team. Somehow I knew it would come down to this and I'm excited, nervous (and nauseous) in anticipation. I happen to like/respect the Bruins. Hell, we call our dog Lucic (as well as a ton of other nicknames), and I might root for Boston on another occasion. But for the next week or two, I'll stick with this bar sign motto: Ruin the Bruin.  LET'S GO PENS! 

Actual conversation tonight: my mother-in-law bought a Boston Cream pie. I was reluctant to eat it. Yes, superstitious indeed. However, I was told we could "devour, smash and cream it like we will the Bruins." I can do that (cause c'mon, I would have found an excuse to eat it, it's friggin delicious).


I spent the weekend with my nephew, also a Pens fan (and his sock monkey). His enthusiasm during Friday night's win almost matched mine. Could you deny this kid another series?


I didn't think so.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Conference Finals, here we come.

The Pens ended the series against Ottawa last night with a 6-2 win at home. More appropriately stated, James Neal ended the series against Ottawa. Neal scored his first career playoff hat trick last night and put away 5 of the combined 13 goals during the last two games. Calling his performance "impressive" doesn't quite do it justice.

MacLean's response on the series: "I hope they don't charge us for the clinic."

Pens domination of the Senators secured their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. Everyone's guess is that we'll face the Bruins, and tonight may solidify that. 

Pens: leave Vokoun in net. There's no reason to pull the guy who has given you no doubt to believe he can do, and deserves, this job. 

Always play like you're behind. Don't get lazy, sloppy, or complacent. There's never enough of a lead, especially against the Bruins, to feel comfortable. It'll always come down to the wire. And if you ARE behind, remember the comeback win against the Bruins in March. You have a laundry list of players who can do it.

And finally, please WIN. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I love when we a lot.

When the Sens scored their SECOND short-handed goal of the series early in last night's game 4, I was worried. Would Ottawa keep the Pens on their heels? Would we be be back and forth like ping pong, matching goal for goal and giving me a heart attack?

Well, perseverance paid off. The Pens scored SIX unanswered goals and ended game 3 with a final score of 7-3. 


Geno predicted that James Neal would have a good night, and did he ever. A pair of goals.


As did Iggy. Speaking of #12, I'll take a moment to poke fun at my father-in-law. A Pittsburgh native, he is the reason we support the black and gold. He's also an avid card collector, so one day he lets me know that he's found Iginla's rookie card (for my nephew, also a Pens fan). Well, all I needed to hear was him talking about "Jeremy" and we never let that go.  Jerome! I shouted. When Iggy scored last night, we called him and shouted, JEREMY!! and hung up. Not as funny when I tell it here, sorry readers, but I promise it was cute/endearing. 

So a win tomorrow can end the series. There's a pretty good chance that Boston will close theirs tonight. We're currently watching the Bruins/Ranges and wondering why it's so quiet at MSG- the crowd and the players. While I normally wouldn't dare say this, I'll say it now. C'mon Rangers! Put up a fight. This is an elimination game! I think all Pens fans would like to see the Rangers make this a close series. If we're going to play the Bruins (yes, perhaps it's too early to make these assumptions and I hope I don't eat these words), we want them sorta worn out, ok?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

1 down, 3 to go.

I wonder if Toronto was watching the Pens game last night and saying "So that's how you keep a 4-1 lead!"

It was a great first win and I was happy we came out and played efficent, aggressive hockey. We were able to kill the powerplays, control the puck, and even score a short-handed goal.

My husband and I spent way too much time last night disussing (analyzing?) Paul MacLean's mustache. Specifically, we were trying to figure out what kind it was.
 Walrus? Chevron? You decide.

Is it Friday yet?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Never a dull moment.

I thought it would be much calmer watching a non-Pens hockey game last night, but game 7 of the Bruins/Leafs series was pure insanity. My husband and I watched as Toronto scored, scored, and scored some more. I pictured the frustration, shock and anxiety on my Boston friends' faces, and even when the Bruins decreased their defecit to two, I didn't think there was enough time. Clearly neither did many Bruins fans that started to exit TD Garden. Toronto fans were elated.

But never rule out the Bruins.

The momentum shifted. Perhaps the Leafs eased up because of their decent lead and little time left in the period. The Bruins didn't throw in the towel, while Marchand encouraged the fans to throw theirs, allowing for a bit of a breather for the team, as well as an annoucement asking fans to STOP throwing the towels (with threats of arrest!).  The game went into overtime and despite great effort from the Leafs, Boston now moves on.

And then there's the elimination of Alex Ovechkin. I actually think he's an extremely talented (yet cocky) player, so of course I don't like him and want his playoff run over. This picture sums it up best.

Congrats to Sid for the Bill Masterton Memorial finalist nod. With three nominations total, I'm pretty certain he'll walk away with something. I know he'd (and I'd) rather that something be the Cup.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Moving On.

I dropped many an "F bomb" during this series. There were grunts, shrieks, and silent prayers. Certainly a much tougher series that anyone had predicted or hoped for, but in the end, the Penguins defeated the Isles in overtime, scored by an unlikely defenseman, and move on to round two of the playoffs.

The Isles series is history. All attention moves to Ottawa. It's a opportunity for a fresh start. It's time to use home ice advantage, well, to our advantage. It's time to shut down a team full of momentum and revenge. I hope to see Vokoun in goal and TK and Vitale in the lineup.

And...was there any doubt that Ray Shero would wind up a finalist for GM of the year? I'm reminder of this tweet during the crazy trades.

Looks like the Pens will look to prove that all of Shero's trades were worth it tomorrow night. Time to step it up.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Well that's more like it!

Still think my captain is overrated? Think he's undeserving of the Hart and Lindsay finalist nominations? Fine. But you can't ignore nor discredit Crobsy's goal from last night's shut out against the Islanders:

Speaking of great goals, welcome back TK! Kennedy knew he had something to prove last night. And he proved it. So did Vokoun. Twitter feeds erupted yesterday with #voukonamatata (started by Pittsburgh radio station 96.1)

Islanders fans will need a new chant tomorrow night, because there's no rattling Tomas Vokoun!

I can't not mention the elimination of the Canadiens. Bu-bye Subban! I will not miss hearing your name over and over (and over). The only thing I've ever liked about the Senators is their handiwork in eliminating you!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Same old story?

The dreary weater matches my mood this morning, and I assume Marc-Andre Fleury's as well. While the entire team seemed disjointed (as they have in the past three games), you can barely blame an offense that scores four goals in a game. While I certainly believe the Pens' offense needs tighening, this loss, as most will agree, falls on MAF. We saw it happen last year against the Flyers, and every Pens fan's biggest fear is that we're reliving it.

The Pens hired a veteran backup for a reason. It's time to bring in Vokoun. Or perhaps TK will suit up (considering he hasn't played offense thus far in the series). Hell, I'll settle for this kid.

There was chatter and superstition regarding the latest Sports Ilustrated cover:

One word bombarded twitter feeds and Facebook comments: CURSE. Would Sid's mug on the cover result in the Pens playoff demise? No wories, a SI cover story jinx is the least of their concerns.

Speaking of Sid, he's had it rough on LI. Injury after injury seems to happen at Nassau Coliseum. I do understand that pretty much every non-Pens fan dislikes Crobsy. It's like how I feel about Ovechkin. But the guy broke his jaw and Isles fans erupt with cheer when he's hit in the throat with a puck? Classless.

On a happier note, congrats to Kris Letang for the Norris Trophy finalist.

I'm crossing my fingers for Kris. This may, afterall, be the only trophy a Penguin receives this year.

All kidding aside, I want to have faith in my beloved Penguins. I think we need to start playing like the underdog 8th seed who'll leave everything out on that ice. We don't necessarily need a repeat of game 1, but we need a momentum shift. No stupid penalties, no unnecessary retaliation out of frustration. Let's get a win at home tomorrow and look like the team that deserved it. I will not abandom my Pens but I ask that they give a little in return.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hello, Anxiety.

I knew that this series wouldn't be easy. Little did I know that my weekend would be filled with such heightened emotions. Frustration, anger, joy, panic, anxiety, and a general feeling of wanting to throw up (when I wasn't holding my breath). I tend to cross my fingers when I'm nervous during a game, hoping that somehow God Himself will answer my prayer "God, if you just let Chris Kunitz score..." My fingers were practically deformed by the end of the weekend.
Let's backtrack to Friday's game two. I was pumped (do people still say that?) that Crosby was back (see previous post), and we'd completely dominated game 1 on Wednesday. But despite Crosby's impressive two goal return, somewhere into the game, we forgot how to play. I often wonder if there are sometimes "too many cooks in the kitchen" with our supposed star power. Maybe Crosby's return means other players are afraid to shine. Afterall, Malkin's ridiculous season was sans Sid. He stepped up, while this season has been less than impressive. We looked flat, and the Isles looked good. After Niskanen's fight, everything seemed to go downhill.

We lost our precision and our confidence. Fleury seemed shaken and Nabokov was not allowing a repeat of game 1. The Isles had momentum and renewed energy. Despite the close final score, the Islanders were the better team. I went to bed in a serious funk and dreamed of Sidney Crosby. This was the second dream in the past week where a Penguins player was finishing their college degree (I happen to work at a college). My interpretation: the Pens got SCHOOLED.
I woke up cranky. I may have uttered "I can't believe it" a handful of times. I was nervous for Sunday, especially since the game was on Long Island. I was born on Long Island and have been there to visit family more times than I'd prefer. I don't like Long Island. I'm not even sure if people who live on LI like LI. Watching the pre-game (specifically the rowdy Islanders fans) had my stomach in knots. They were out for redemption blood. As the game began, the roar of the crowd in support of their Isles was incredible, and with every hit to a a Penguin, the cheers were deafening.
The Isles took an early lead, but the Pens were able to catch up quickly with two consecutive powerplay goals. The Pens started to look like the top-seeded Pens, and ultimately took the lead 4-2. Things looked good. However, like the game before, the momentum shifted once again and the Pens lost their focus and the game was tied 4-4. I worried that Fleury's confidence had once again disappeared. Islanders fans chanted "Fleu-ry, Fleu-ry," hoping this was indeed the case. Thankfully we survived regulation, and on a powerplay Kuni scored the game winning goal in OT. Of course commentators Milbury and Roenick were quick to disagree with the penalty. They argued that Crosby exaggerated the fall, and maybe so. But that's hockey and it goes both ways. Matt Cooke shouldn't have gotten a penalty when Isles defenseman Matt Carkner tried to hit him with his stick. From the bench.
I already have my sights on game four tomorrow. This Islanders team is not playing like an 8th seed, nor are we playing like a 1st. It's time to step it up.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sid's back!

I just called my husband and the conversation went something like this:

Me: Guess why I'm excited?
Him: Why?
Me: Guess! What would make me happier than anything right now?
Him: I don't know, Kris Letang said "Hey Erica."
Me (laughing yet disappointed that didn't actually happen): No! But close. CROSBY PLAYS TONIGHT!


Crosby's big return after missing close to a year in 2011 was against the Islanders, and from what I can remember, he had one heck of a game.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

1 down.

Supe Duper. Duplex. Whatever clever name you choose- Pascal Dupuis continues to be on fire.  With two goals against the Islanders last night, Duper proves that he doesn't need to be on a Crosby line to shine. In my opinion, he's one of the most underrated players in the game.

Letang also had an incredible game, not only scoring what others are reporting as a "rocket," but making John Tavares' life Hell. Big congrats to Beau Bennett and Tanner Glass on their goals. And FLEURY. Despite a lack of offense on the part of the Isles, Flower (and the rest of the D) didn't miss a step. Mark Eaton, former Islander, had a stellar night. Hell, I'm going to to blanketly say that everyone kicked Islander ass.

The Pens had a lot to prove going into this series, and while there's only one game behind us, I hope this set the tone for an awesome playoff run.