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Archive for the ‘Pittsburgh Penguins’ Category

You know, when this season started, if you’d told us that our favorite series with any opponent in the league would be the one with the Pens, we would never have believed you. But as it’s shaken out, if we could have had 82 Devils/Pens games like the ones they’ve played so far this year, we’d take it.

That said, we wrote this open letter to the Devils during the second intermission:

Dear Devils,

When the officials are gift-wrapping a game for you, there is only so much they can do. You have to actually score on those power plays and penalty shots, because as much as the officials might want you to win, they’re not about to pick the puck up and toss it into the other team’s net for you.

Love,
The -Ookies

After the third Devils goal, we have to recant. Apparently the officials will essentially pick up the puck and toss it into the other team’s net for you.

In other postgame wrap-up news, this was the exchange we had after Niedermayer (the Lesser) had his ass vehemently handed to him in that “fight” with Cooke:

Pookie: Cooke just got him with the old “I know something you don’t. I am not left-handed” trick!
Schnookie: And Robin fell for it!
Pookie: He was like, “WHAAAAAA???”
Schnookie: When the correct response is, “I know something you don’t. I am also not left-handed.”
Pookie: Yup. But instead, he was just like, “OH SHIT!”

And finally, in his postgame interview with Stan, Marty said that goaltending is fun with the other team doesn’t score. We… aren’t sure what to make of that.

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A while back we published a shocking list of 38 things you don’t know about Sid Crosby. In order to drum up a bit more interest in this godforsaken Stanley Cup Finals, we decided to do some investigating and come up with a similarly shocking and similarly numbered list of things you don’t know about tomorrow’s Game 7. We’re not trying to start any kind of trouble or ensnare anyone in any scandals — we’re just trying to bring the truth to light.

(Unrelated to this list, but related to Game 7, we’d like to thank Tyler from The Triple Deke for asking us to pen a guest post about our experiences with SCF Game 7s. The Triple Deke is a wonderful blog, and if you’d like to read our post, you can find it here.)

1. If you rub a balloon on Zetterberg’s beard for five minutes, you can use the ensuing static electricity to power a 75 watt lightbulb for the length of the first intermission.

2. There are only 39 things you don’t know about Sid Crosby, and we’ve already told you 38 of them.

3. Kirk Maltby revs himself up for games by reading the Oconee County phone book.

4. Joe Sakic contacted a lawyer in the hopes of suing the Red Wings over the term “Joe Vision”; Sakic had been planning to unveil a brand of signature glasses frames under the name “Joe Vision” in July.

5. Bill Guerin is quite literally a “pea-brain”. His brain stem terminates in a pea. The rest of his cranial cavity is filled with sawdust.

6. Prior to stepping in late in the season to guide an NHL team to the Stanley Cup Finals, Dan Bylsma’s greatest accomplishment was successfully inventing device to keep bananas from bruising in brown bag lunches.

7. Brian Rafalski stole a Scott Stevens sweater from the dressing room before leaving NJ. He keeps it in a mahogany box hidden under his bed, and whenever he’s feeling down in the mouth, he puts the sweater on, poses in front of the mirror, and asks his reflection, “Who’s a pretty boy? Who’s a pretty boy?”

8. Whenever Doc Emrick’s mic is turned off, he silently weeps for what hockey broadcasting has become.

9. Darren Helm is hot. No really, you probably don’t know this, because you’re so tired of hearing him lauded as being the greatest hockey player to ever breathe that you instinctively ascribe entirely negative attributes to him.

10. When Troy Crosby heard Rob Scuderi’s new nickname, he used his superstar son’s money to purchase every jigsaw puzzle for sale in the greater Pittsburgh metro area. He then arranged them in the shape of the Rbk logo, set it alight, and giggled as the bonfire burned.

11. Hal Gill has an actual medical condition that prevents him from ever doing anything right. He caught it from Marc-Andre Fleury, who has a rare intermittent case of it.

12. When asked, none of the players involved in the Stanley Cup Finals could correctly locate Chile on a world map.

13. It’s all a conspiracy against both teams. All of it.

14. Maxime Talbot hopes to quit his day job as soon as he can make a decent living off his Etsy shop.

15. The Devils played cribbage during their playoff “run”, the Hawks let loose with Wii MarioKart, and the Wings spent their downtime playing Trouble. That is, until Kronwell obliterated the little plastic dome that houses the dice. Lidstrom suggested they simply roll the dice to continue the game, but at that point, the spell was broken.

16. Kris Letang has a fillet of penguin in his freezer.

17. Ray Shero is terrified of ice.

18. Chris Chelios has also forgotten that he exists.

19. NBC is losing considerable amounts of money on this game because their permit to use Mike Milbury in public expired on Wednesday; the extension fees for a Milbury permit are designed to be exorbitant enough to discourage anyone from applying for one. This is one of very few financial burdens the network failed to shunt onto the NHL in the fine print of their broadcast agreement.

20. Win or lose, Henry and Linda Staal still love Jordan third-best of all their sons.

21. Miro Satan doesn’t think it would be at all funny to play for the Devils, but sadly, most of his teammates do. There have been no less than 45 man games lost by the Penguins this season as a result of injuries he has inflicted on teammates who have made the mistake of saying, “You know what would be funny? If you played for the Devils.” Satan’s explanation for his short temper is always a terse, “It’s pronounced differently, jackass.”

22. Nick Lidstrom’s testicle has long wished that it was the center of attention, so it’s delighted at the recent media kerfuffle about it.

23. There are concerns in the Pittsburgh front offices that Sid Crosby will not be able to play well, as he’s announced behind closed doors that he’s “waiting for Game 87 to make [his] statement.” No amount of explanation of how the playoff format works seems to have made a dent.

24. That giant cartoon-esque octopus’s arms are getting very sore from holding that pose all season. It can’t wait for the series to end so it can just go out behind the Joe to stretch and smoke a cigarette.

25. Evgeni Malkin spends six hours every day having extensive, life-like make applied to give him his trademark lumpen potato face; in actuality, he is strikingly handsome but has always been insecure about imagined flaws in his visage.

26. Pierre McGuire plans to get invited to as many of the winning players’ days with the Stanley as possible, in the hope that one of them will let him sit naked in the bowl of the Cup so he can poop in it.

27. Mike Babcock keeps a list of all the names of every pro athlete he thinks never should have been drafted. The joke’s on him, though, because several of the names on there — including, surprisingly, Brian Rafalski — weren’t drafted at all.

28. Marian Hossa can’t wait to eat that monkey.

29. Ed Olczyk has petitioned the League to allow his name to be included on the Cup if the Pens win. His grounds for inclusion are that he was “responsible for making Marc-Andre Fleury awesome.” The League hasn’t responded because they’re still not sure whether the petition was a joke.

30. The NBA has petitioned the League to allow LeBron James’s name to be included on the Cup if either team wins. If not LeBron proper, they will be satisfied with Puppet LeBron.

31. Mike Babcock has petitioned the League to allow only his name be engraved on the Cup if either team wins. If the League won’t comply, Babcock is prepared to whine his way to victory.

32. Pavel Datsyuk doesn’t know what this “candy corn” is that you speak of.

33. The GMs of both teams are beginning to believe that every rule in the CBA was devised specifically to keep them from succeeding by a cabal of shadowy League officials. Only one of those GMs is right.

34. Chris Osgood credits his surprising playoff success to his new yoga and meditation regimen. “I had literally forgotten how to play hockey,” he says in a testimonial for a Detroit-area chain of yoga schools, “but now my mind is open again and the hockey has flooded back in.” The Red Wings’ defensive system has plans to file a lawsuit against the chain of yoga schools, because it believes it deserves the credit more than the yoga does.

35. In a further attempt to have himself declared the next Scott Stevens, Brooks Orpik challenged Petr Sykora after Game 6 about the veracity of his alleged foot injury. Further proving that Orpik is no Scott Stevens, Sykora ignored him.

36. The Stanley Cup doesn’t think the whole “Mario’s swimming pool” thing was very funny, because it can’t swim.

37. The series is fixed.

38. We aren’t going to like either one of these teams more for winning. Oh, wait. You already knew that.

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Oh no, our East Coast bias is showing! Wings/Hawks got nothing but drunken babble, but Pens/Canes gets its own open thread. Because that’s how we roll here in the Eastern Time Zone.

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Here we go, Game 2 of the Official Series We Care About — Go Pens! Go Stars! We’ll be filling this with what little thoughts pop into our heads as we watch the games today and tonight.

— This game has been a game of extremes: Extreme craptitude by Hossa, extreme awesomeness by Malkin and Sid; extreme coolness from Doc, extreme annoyingness by Pierre who’s decided it’s not enough to over-pronounce the French names and is now attempting to add some “Swedish” flair to Lundqvist.

— We learn that Sid requested there be no white-out in the crowd today. We’re hoping this is just the beginning of Sid flexing his divo muscles. Next up, he’ll demand the crowd wear only lilac. Then he’ll threaten to not skate unless every other seat is occupied by a shih tzu wearing a top hat. Finally, he’ll refuse to leave the dressing room unless the entirety of the upper deck is filled with pure white roses with the thorns removed.

— Just as we’re reliving Pierre’s awesome “Finno-Pierre” pronunciation of Jarko Rutuu in last year’s Playoffs (it sounded a little like “yahrkhuuu rrrhuttttuahwah”) he shocks us with this analysis: “I think that that # 87 had a lot to do with turning this franchise [the Penguins] around.” Wha-huh? Next up he’ll tell us the team with the most goals at the end of the game wins!

— Gronk scores for a case of sod! Woo-hoo! It’s a good thing he did, too, since we were getting to the hair-tearing-out-point with the Pens. Throughout the entire Devils series all we wanted to see was some players getting to the puck around the net. The Pens were doing that, then stopping to say, “Hey, look, we got he puck!” without following up on the play, as if to prove we have to be more specific in our directions. It was a tiresome little game, and we’re glad Jordan Staal had had enough of it!

— Mike Richter, makes Boomer’s day, by appearing on the intermission show to discuss his business ventures to fund green companies while encouraging major sports leagues to go greener. Despite her Devils fan-ness, Boomer will never forget that Richter was her first hockey true love. As an eco-conscious person herself (she spent her morning attempting to fix a leak in one of her five rain barrels) this whole segment is like a Cupid’s arrow making a direct hit on her heart. Meanwhile, Pierre continues to make himself look like an idiot by looking bored and asking Richter derisively, “Do you really think this will work?!” Also, he reduces the NHL players’ attempt to go carbon neutral by giggling over the Niedermayer brothers driving to games in a *scoff scoff* hybrid car. He also spews some nonsense about them drinking their Starbucks coffee out of “cups that can be refashioned into… um… other cups!” Meanwhile, we wonder why the Niedermayer brothers weren’t brining their own refillable cups to Starbucks in the first place. Do they want our Earth to die?

— Adam Hall scores for a case of sod-filled Tastykakes! The empty netter seals the Game 2 win for the Pens. We are loving this series so far!

— We’ll admit we very much enjoyed seeing Laraque appear of out nowhere to help Hal Gill defend Fleury there after the final whistle. Heh.

— Is it just us, or did Pierre look a little sad that Malone took the time to give Gronk a buddy-buddy facewash just before the post-game interview but didn’t give Pierre a second glance?

— We realize that Jordan Staal is the Pookie of the Staal brothers. The third of four, he doesn’t have the special status of being oldest or youngest, and Marc is most likely more concerned with framing his life in relation to his older brother not his parents. Pookie is fairly certain this means Gronk must be the smartest, most wonderful of the Staal children. Schnookie is concerned that this makes her the Marc Staal of the Ookie Family. “Does this mean I’m the one who looks like an especially inbred Prince Harry?” she asks. Pookie hates to be the one to tell her, but… yes.

— We will now take a brief intermission (if you can call a four hour break a “brief intermission”) but will return for the drop of the puck for the late game. Go Stars!

— Aaaaaand, we’re back! Go Stars!

— This game is giving us an opportunity to see how the Hockey Gods feel about defense. In one corner we have the Hero of Defense, Sergei Zubov. In the opposite corner we have the Zero of Defense, Brian “Spin-o-Rama O’ Despair” Campbell. Who will prevail?

— Schnookie is momentarily distracted from the game by a kamikaze bug that dive-bombs the back of her throat. Her surprised hacking drowns out the sound of the VS announcers. Pookie wonders if she can train an army of bugs to execute that move on command every time Pierre gets airtime.

— Anyone who doubts the power of recessive colors making the crowd look smaller should take a look at the wide angle of the sea of dark teal sweaters at the Shark Tank. Maybe it’s the lighting at the arena, but from far out, the building looks like swath of empty seats. Did Sid demand that this game be played without fans?

— We are assuming, after the Sharks score their second goal of the game on a breakaway, that Turco is thinking of his choice to try to race the attacking skater to the puck, “If I could go back, I might do that differently.”

— The VS intermission show reveals quite the shocker from the postgame comments following G1 of this series. What a surprise — Ron Wilson is blaming Patrick Marleau for the Sharks’ problems.

— Allow us to go out on a limb here and say that the Stars are looking really good. For all that they were in a deep and terrible swoon to end the season, they’re remarkably mentally resilient now. We’re ever so happy to have picked them as our favorite WC playoff team. Of course, there are still three minutes left in the third period as we say this, so if the Sharks end up coming back and winning this game, you can blame us.

— And even with us declaring this one over with a bit of time left in the final frame, the Stars still pull out the decisive win. No offense to our good friends who are pulling for the Sharks, but we’re delighted. It’s another great day of hockey!

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— 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:

Dear Stars,

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.

Kind Regards,
The -Ookies

— 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.

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We’ve suffered through the Rangers/Penguins home-and-home these last two days, and here’s a look at what’s on our minds now.

— Pierre McGuire is consistently the most annoying man in sports broadcasting. At one point during Sunday’s game on NBC there seemed to be some promotion where you could log on to some website after the game and, if you could answer enough questions right about what Pierre said during the broadcast, you would get 20% off on purchases from the NHL store. Or something. We decided we’d rather pay 20% more for our purchases at the NHL store than listen to Pierre. We’re also convinced that Doc’s follow-up to reading the instructions for the contest — “So do your best impersonation of Nipper, the RCA dog, and keep your eyes pricked for your master’s voice!” — was the subtlest dig at Pierre yet. When does he get hit with another out-of-control puck?

— We’ve finally seen Getzi’s “The Cup changes everything” commercial, and we think it’s fantastic. He does such an hilariously wooden job of making sure to EMPHASIZE at least one WORD in every sentence. Pookie suggested after we collected ourselves, post-laughing fit, that Getzi is secretly a student of the Meisner Technique, and he spends his days driving his teammates nuts by saying, “OOPS, my shirt fell off” … “Oops, MY shirt fell off” … “Oops, my SHIRT fell off” …and so on.

— Last year we were quite fond of the spunky Penguins. This year we’ve hated them, despite our efforts to feel otherwise. That said, as soon as Sid is back in their lineup, we like them a lot more. So yeah, we’re fully putting forth that we are completely shallow, but you know what, Gentle Reader? We don’t care. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to say, like Geraldine, that no, we’re not sports fans. We’re man fans. Or, um, little wooden manboy fans.

— We’re fairly certain that when Scott Gomez burned every single bridge he’d built in his entire career to sign for zillions of dollars to be Mr. A-One Super-Duper Star in NYC, he didn’t think the Iso-Cams on NBC’s Game Of The Week would be Sid Crosby and… Sean Avery.

— Daryl Sydor? Surely he died in Vegas!

— Hollweg’s mustache and Jagr’s, um, whatever you call that thing on his chin (is it a chin version of a bikini wax?) would be vaguely acceptable as facial hair if they were combined. As it stands, they’re not sharing the same face, so they’re both atrocities.

— With each progressive commercial break on Versus, we’ve become increasingly convinced that we are not the demographic that the advertisers think we are. We also wonder if Versus never sent us our playoff tracker because they figured the address we’d provided for them was no longer valid because we’d moved into an old-folk’s home. An old-folk’s home with walk-in bathtubs. (Walk-in bathtubs! Will wonders never cease?)

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We are like every other hockey fan in that we spend a lot of time bitching that the officials never do anything right. We’re always ready to heap scorn and outrage on some hard-working referee after we get to review his every call in excruciating detail and from multiple angles. So we’d like to take a moment now to appreciate a call made in this evening’s Bruins-Penguins game.

We were in the middle of dinner, up to our elbows in chicken tacos, when our attention was drawn to the TV by the quivering excitement in Bob Errey’s voice. It seemed that Georges Laraque and Zdeno Chara were squaring off to fight, and Errey squealed that this was the bout he’d been looking forward to for weeks. And so the two behemoths struck ye olde boxing poses, and spent a long moment sizing each other up while the officials swept their discarded gloves aside. Then they spent another long moment waving their fists at each other in what they surely thought was a menacing manner. Then they spent another long moment bobbing and weaving in nearly imperceptible, spastic torso fakes. Then they spent another long moment waggling their eyebrows at each other as if to say, “Wanna go? Let us earn our keep by our fists like men!” Then they spent another long moment wondering if they’d turned off their stoves before leaving home. Then they spent another long moment clenching their fists into ever more imposing weapons of flesh. Then they spent another long moment whipping out the financial pages of the local newspapers and reviewing their stock portfolios. Then they spent another long moment waiting for the airplanes passing overhead so the noise would not be a distraction.

What we’re saying is that they spent ages wasting time posturing like a couple of preening, pantywaisted peacocks on parade.
(more…)

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