– We talked a big game last night about caring about the match-up tonight — Penguins vs. Rangers and Stars vs. Sharks. Now’s the test of whether we can talk the talk.
– Sid Crosby is usually so accommodating to fans, so can he please keep those of us who get these games in HD in mind when “growing” his “facial hair”?
– Keith Jones announces in the pre-game that this series includes “eight superstars I’d pay money to see play”. Huh? We do a quick count and come up with six, if we stretch the term “superstar” to include Marc-Andre Fleury and Scott Gomez. Surely Jonesy can’t be including Shanahan and Drury on that list, can he?
– Blersus shows us the large crowd taking in the video feed on the rolling lawns around Mellon Arena and segues into talking about how ESPN the Magazine ranked Pittsburgh #1 in Fan Relations. Blersus explains that part of this is because of the “arena experience” at the Igloo and how while it has its perks, it’s a great place for watching hockey. Well, as long as we’re not getting pelted with beer-soaked mouse pads, we agree!
– The Rangers are criticized for not having a great penalty kill against the Devils in Round 1. Seriously people, the laptop we’re typing this on could have killed the NJ “power play”.
– Riddle us this, Batman. Why are the Bruins roundly blamed for playing soul-killing hockey and the Rangers are just playing “a mature defensive game”?
– Why does Hockey want us to hate it? Why?! Seriously, we have other things we can be doing, Hockey. There’s Katamari to be played, Season 5 of “The Wire” to be caught up on, vegetable plants to watch growing. Any old time you want to start having Good triumph over Evil, that’d be great with us. This Rangers 1, Penguins 0 thing just isn’t cutting it.
– We’re writing this game off, anyway, though, as the Pens have had nine days off. Nine! Sid’s probably forgotten how to pass in that time off!
– We’re speechless. Jonesy’s “ShoutyShoutShout” Segment — er, pardon us, “Odd Man Rush” segment — is about Johan Franzen, who’s nickname is “The Mule”. Jonsey shouts, “I looked it up in the dictionary and a mule is… half-horse and half-donkey!!!.” We looked up Jonsey in the OED (nerd-alert: Stately IPB Manor is home to a complete, unabridged, gazillion-volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary) and learned he’s half-dullard and half-nincompoop. You learn something new every day.
– Rangers 2, Penguins 0. Looks like we picked the wrong day to stop soldering our eyeballs in disgust over bad hockey.
– We can hear it, ever so softly, ringing in our ears. The siren song of the Katamari. Naa-na-na-na-na-na-na-na….
– Rangers 3, Penguins 0. We have no words for how over this we are. T-Minus 1 hour, 45 minutes ’til the Stars start.
– We’ve noticed an phenomenon with our Wii. When playing “Super Mario Galaxy”, all Pookie has to do to win a level is to get to breaking point and say out loud, “I hate this game and I’m turning off as soon as I die next.” It’s like the Wii hears her and feels threatened, that it might never be powered on again, left to molder and grow dusty before finally being tossed in the trash. It then serves up some softball levels to lure Pookie into playing some more. This game is like our Wii. Just as we are going to switch inputs to the PS2, the Penguins pop in two quick goals, one by the Other Superpest and one off a beautiful feed from Sid. Sweet! Still… that Katamari music is still running through our heads, and if this starts to look bleak again, we will not hesitate to turn the game off. Are you listening, TV?
– The “Bud Light At-A-Glance” is a bit too ironical for us — it obscures 1/3 of the screen keeping us from seeing the action for the amount of time it’s up on the screen.
– Speaking of screens, there’s some weird smudge on our TV that we can’t see to wipe off… Oh! That’s just Sid’s “facial hair”.
– OK, Hockey, this is more like it! Two more quick goals and it’s Pens 4, Rangers 3. However, we could still turn on Katamari whenever we feel like it, so don’t get complacent, Hockey!
– Also, we’re gobsmacked that we forgot one of the greatest things about hockey in our 118 Reasons We Love Hockey Series — people dressed as the Stanley Cup. We catch a glimpse of a man in the crowd wearing a tin-foil Cup head-dress. While it follows the pretty standard “full head Cup costume” template, the wearer has gone the extra step to sport a Lone Ranger mask under the eye-hole. This attention to detail delights us. However, it’s not as good as the fan we saw at Game 7 of the SCF in 2003 who rocked the very rare, and awesomely sublime “full body Cup costume”. He was wearing a giant garbage can with arm-holes cut in it and could barely move, but he was still the toast of every section he teetered past.
– WOOOOO!!! That’s RAWK! That’s one a beauty of a shot, and a beauty of a goal celebration. No concussions, no showboating, no skating past one’s teammates. That’s what we like to see!
– Wow. That game turned out awwwwesome! Good thing we didn’t turn it off. That said, we’ll have the Xbox controllers in hand at the start of the next game just in case.
– We are treated to one of those oddly satisfying TCM-ish filler spots that feature some odd history lesson about hockey. In this case, the subject is Red Berenson, famous to Devils fan as the man who put the finishing touch on the chip on John Madden’s shoulder by suggesting, horror of horrors, that Maddog maybe consider writing up a resume upon finishing his last year of eligibility since he wasn’t going to get drafted. The clip ends and we cut to Keith Jones saying he knew the fun fact about Berenson’s biggest night in the NHL because the only homework he did in college was to look up what happened on the day he was born; of course he skipped the news sections and went straight to the sports page, where the hockey column was all about what Berenson had accomplished that day. Now if only VS wouldn’t command Jonsey to ape Cherry, he’d be adorable! He’d almost be like Kelly Hrudey South!
– We’re having a little trouble getting into the late game here, perhaps still on a bit of a high from the Pens win, but we have to say, whoever thought to assign Andy Brickley to the Stahs/Shahks series has genius bits.
– Whoops. We take back everything nice we said about Jonesy. In the second intermission of the Stahs/Shahks tilt, he tells us that Marty Turco’s stickhandling was “the focal point you had to focus your eyes on” during the first round. Sigh.
– We feel compelled to write an open letter to the Stars about the third period:
We have learned, after a long, painful season with the Devils, that trying to play an entire period in your own zone is really not a great game plan. Oops. Now you’ve learned it too.
– Okay, after looking totally disinterested in trying to win the hockey game, the Stars figured their shit out and took care of things quickly in OT, making this into a decidedly wonderful night of hockey. Since this playoffs has been characterized by wild mood swings from “fantastically enjoyable” to “utterly craptastic”, this bodes poorly for tomorrow. Considering these are the two series we really care about, we’ll take it, though.