Why, Hockey Gods? Why?! Why did you schedule the Pens-Rangers game at 7, and the Stars-Sharks at 7:30? What possible purpose does that serve? Sigh. Well, we’ll be here anyway, flipping back and forth from game to game as we go Around The Dial tonight.
— Being the negative nellies that we am, we are just in the midst of announcing how we fully expect the Pens to lose tonight when Hossa scores just over a minute in. Before the crowd even has a chance to work up a good anti-Sid boo-ing, too. Heh. Doc sounds a bit delighted when he dryly says, “Well that bollixes up the Rangers plans, doesn’t it?”
— Taking a page out of the Empty Netters playbook we find ourselves saying, “What? The Staals are brothers?!” Pookie was just praising Blersus the other night for letting the “brothers on opposing teams” storyline lie, but now Doc and Edzo seem to be relishing it as Marc steamrolls Gronk.
— We get up during commercial shortly after the Rangers score their first goal to clean up from dinner, and come back to find the Pens up 2-1 and going on a double-minor power play. We decide to spend the rest of this game standing in a huddle in front of the kitchen sink.
— The first period was mostly dominated by the Rangers, but ends up 3-1 Penguins. Doc delights us when he says, as the clock is winding down, “The buzzer is going to sound very loudly.” The self-congratulatory and self-vaunted MSG Rangers crowd is providing the dictionary definition of Pensblog’s “stunned”.
— We switch to the Sharks/Stars game during intermission, and we’re horrified. The Comcast Sharks feed is atrociously awful. This is the playoffs, Comcast, not Junior Pairs ’83. On our cable the picture is so murky and blobby that we literally can’t read any of the players’ numbers, and while the picture is slightly improved on our satellite, the sound on DirecTV makes it sound like Randy and Drew are calling the game over tin-can-on-a-string phone from a booth on the bottom of the sea.
— We flip back to the Pens game and hear a chorus of boos. Is Crosby on the ice? No, it’s just the Ranger faithful booing the fact that the Blueshirts iced the puck on the power play.
— The Penguins seem to have forgotten that they were going to have to play another 40 minutes after the first period. As everyone stands around the Pens zone, mesmerized by Jagr’s vagina facial hair, 68 ties the game at three and this game plummets from delightful to flat-out stupid.
— Okay, the game becomes considerably less stupid again when Malkin makes it 4-3 Pens on the power play. The building immediately falls deathly silent again after the goal, and Pookie remarks, “It’s like they’re maniacally quiet tonight.”
— We flip during intermission again to the Stars/Sharks game, and the sound has not been improved. Seriously, are they using voice distorters for this?
— Okay, the Sharks feed is giving us headaches. The ambient noise from the arena is doing this muted throbbing thing that makes us feel like our ear pressure and sinuses are all messed up. This is physically unwatchable. How can a professional sports broadcasting channel have such unbelievably bad sound design?
— Midway through the third period, all traces of stupidity have left the Pens/Rangers game. It’s 5-3 now, and after watching the Rangers piss away another power play and then look listless and pathetic while the Pens return to even strength, Edzo says with no small disgust, “Well if you’re going to just dump the puck, someone has to go and get it.” It’s great to see that the Rangers are lifting the entire recent-era Devils playbook, instead of just the “sound defense” part of it.
— WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did we think at any point during this Pens game that it was stupid? Because it turns out is was awesome. Unmitigatedly awesome from start to finish. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
— Meanwhile, under the sea, the Stars have tied things up in Dallas, where it’s 1-1. We flip over just in time to see Hagman drawing a penalty shot; it turns out not to be the most exciting play in hockey if you’re a Stars fan. We’re sure Sharks fans enjoyed it greatly, though.
— The Stars force Nabokov to make a desperation save with just over a minute left in the third period after Lehtinen makes a dazzling steal on two presumptively rushing-onto-offense Sharks at the San Jose blue line. Schnookie: “That was the most beautiful steal I have ever seen.” Drew Remenda: “That’s just ugly hockey.” Hm. We seem to be on different pages here tonight.
— The Stars/Sharks game goes to OT, and we spend the intermission watching the Rangers postgame on TiVo. Heh heh heh. Let’s see what Stan thought of the Pens game tonight.
— Stan is pinning the entire loss on Hollweg. Of course. He’s decided the Rangers’ inability to score on that protracted stretch of 5-on-3 had nothing to do with it.
— And meanwhile, over in Dallas, the Comcast feed has righted its audio just in time for us to revel in Norstrom’s OT goal and a Stars 3-0 series lead. What a fantastic night of hockey!
— We go back to the TiVoed Rangers postgame, and get to hear Gomez saying, “We owe it to our fans to win one.” Hm. We hope Rangers fans aren’t actually going to believe Scott Gomez thinks he owes his fans anything other than chasing the biggest paycheck he can find, even if that means signing with his fans’ least favorite team. He’s big into honoring his fans’ feelings that way.