Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gameday mongoose.

Friday, November 21, 2008


- Madd Dog Matt has some good stuff up today; like his thoughts on last nights' game, and a practice update from today. Particularly interesting was this:
The team placed goaltender Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve Friday, retroactive to October 31st.
I like Kari, I really do. But I think that Pavelic is a tougher individual. It looks as though he's going to be here for a little while. An extended evaluation period?

- I, too, am very excited about Kovy showing emotion and standing up for his teammates. I remember him getting pretty excitable during the '07 playoffs (among other times). But don't we have some guys on the roster to do that for him? ("Paging Eric Boulton... Eric Boulton to the white courtesy phone...")

- Todd White listed as day to day, Joey Crabb called up.

- Ryan Kennedy over at the Hockey News has an article about the captaincy. Why all the talk about the 'C' all of the sudden? I thought about writing a dissertation on Kovy & the C, but everyone had already said everything. Except this: I think Kovy is a player of exceptional talent balanced by exceptional self-awareness. You can tell in interviews; we've heard Semin's honest opinion, and then we heard Kovy's diplomatic response. It seems Kovalchuk has the unusual blessing of both extraordinary skill and a large heart - the ability to achieve great things, but the desire NOT to step on anyone in the process. I think he would rather the captaincy be given to him rather than risk the possibility of seeming like an egotist by stepping up and taking it. But my feeling lines up with "Mad Dogg" Matt's:
Leadership? No question.
Captain Kovalchuk? Without a doubt.
The need for the "C" letter? Whatever.
We saw last year what Kovy is capable of: putting an entire team on his back and carrying them as far as they will let him. But they didn't let him. They were disinterested and lackadaisical. Thay just flat out didn't care. But this year is different. This year, from the top down, there is heart. A belief that WE CAN, and the skill to back it up. Once the bolts are tightened and the tires balanced, we'll be off. So I want you to do this:

- Go to the Thrashers 411.
- Read this quote on the right side of the page:
When People Believe In Us, We Want To Play For Those Who Believe In Us. - I. Kovalchuk
- Turn on your TV, your radio, or even go to Phillips on Saturday night.
- Believe.

You gotta be kidding me...

Re: 1st Star, Sidney Crosby?
The "Atlanta Hockey Media" voted for the only name they recognized on the scoresheet. I get it. He's good. Quit shoving it down our throats. I "hated" him as a joke, 'cause my wife thought he was cute.... Now I see him so much, I wanna vomit. Gimme Ovie, Iginla or even Avery over this guy.
I know, never blog angry. Three points is a pretty good night. Still... makes me wanna vomit...

Re: Letang's hit on Todd White
If that'd been Sid (or even Malkin) instead of Todd, Pens (and much of the NHL) would be calling for the officials heads on a joke no-boarding call that.

Re: Matt Cooke's impression of Lithgow at the end of Cliffhanger
Ah, diving as only Sid can teach. Good to see the fundamentals are being passed on.

Re: Officiating
Unconfirmed reports are saying that sometime before the game, a box of Dunkin Donuts was placed in front of Ref Don Koharski's locker with note that read "Bon appetit, M.T."


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moose out, Pavs in

The Pony vs. Sabu is set for tonight. Pavs last faced the Pens and got tagged for 5 goals. Let's hope he remembers.

New tradition.

Gameday mongoose.

Pens @ Phillips

For some reason, Pens fans don't like Kovy.....

Go buy a tshirt or hoodie from Sally. I did; it'll change your life.

I don't know why that would be...


- Army w/ GWG
- Malkin takes a run @ Kovy
- Boulton vs. Goddard: Boults is 1-1-2 against Goddard; they really like scrapping. It's a sure thing they drop the gloves by the middle of the second.
- Battle of the Backups: Moose v. Sabu. Moose is finding his stride, but Sabourin's already hot.
- Here's to hoping the lucky bounces continue.
- Defense is key; we've got to tighten up on Crosby & Malkin, something we've not really had success with lately. The Pens haven't been overly successful at the Bulb, but this really two completely diferent teams. Score first, score often; mongoose.

And now we throw it over to Puck Daddy with one of the most important questions ever asked...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Speaking of unlikely scenarios...

This Puck Daddy article has raised an interesting question in my mind:

Is Jordan Stall the center Kovy's been needing?

Here are some pros:

- Pens current depth chart @center:
1) Sidney Crosby
2) Evgeni Malkin
3) Jordan Stall

Not sure Jord would be getting top-line minutes anytime soon. He'd probably like to be playing more, I would think.

- Speed, strength, and some pretty good ice-vision. Maybe not Crosby-esque, but better than we've had.

- UFA after this year. Could be in the $4-5 mil/yr range, according to Leahy.

- Defensive ability might cover for some of Kovy's... um... indiscretions...

- Still a youngun. Locking him up for 4-5 years wouldn't be much of a risk.

- Uh, did you SEE the Pens-Wings game?

And there are some downsides:

- It doesn't really sound like he wants to leave:
"I have a lot of great friends here. It's a great fit for me. It's a team I want to be part of. We're young and we want to grow together."
Not really the talk of someone itching to leave town.

- Draft pick compensation would be high. A 1st, 2nd & 3rd rounder, if Leahy's estimate is correct. Some might see that as giving away the future

- Is Staal what he appears? Or is this merely a hot streak?

- Let's face it, Atlanta isn't exactly a free-agent magnet, as Dan Boyle was nice enough to point out.


Daily Reading

From Kevin Allen:

Doughty draws comparisons to a young Ray Bourque.

Allen puts forth a list of 18-yr-old defensemen in the NHL and leaves it to the reader as to where Drew Doughty would fall. Kinda makes you wish Bogo was healthy.

Meanwhile, back at the Rawhide Ranch, questions are being answered....

...and at the Chronicle, those mad scientists drop the most unlikely NHL/blaxploitation combo to ever see the light of day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Off Topic

Usually, I hate these things, but check out "Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers" list. What's great isn't the list itself, but the photos of the ballots sent in by artists:

Merle had to do some thinking...

A surprisingly organized Keef.

Mike Campbell: disgustingly good at everything, including making lists.


X Still Hasn't Figured It Out: When Talking To Scott Hartnell,
Use Small Words And SPEAK SLOWLY.

The Flyers Crash The Crease Like It's Filled With
Booze & "Get Out Of Suspension Free" Cards

Re: Philthadelphia Game

Big up to Slava & Little, especially Bryan extending a point streak to six games AND jumping back out on the ice after a rough check. Gamer of the night. Moose & Havelid need to run some Herbies after Lupul's goal.

Other than that...

I grew up in NEPA - I've seen Flyer fans in their natural habitat. A level of darkness unseen by normal human beings.

We shall speak of it no longer.

Re: Attrapé!

Seems some Habs fans got caught stuffing the box. Now they're saying "...shyea, like it matters..."

From Habs Inside/Out:

"Late last week, the NHL said it was studying the legitimacy of this Habs runaway, the rules stating that automated voting activity is prohibited. Saturday into yesterday morning, it stripped thousands of votes from the Canadiens, as many as 20,000 from Kovalev alone if you’re to believe the “real-time” totals.

But then, does it really matter? The All-Star Game long ago took a fork in the road from its original purpose and much of its relevence."

But if it doesn't matter... why cheat? Boo hoo, mes amis, you got caught. Deal.

(h/t Pensblog Staff)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Treatise on Booing, or, Gamers & Bums

Every year, I get a performance review. My boss tells me how I've done on the year; things I've done well, things I need to do better. He then takes this info to his boss, and they decide if I need a raise, paycut, or other such results.

In the NHL, head coaches, GMs and owners all have a chance to discuss with players their performance. They go over what went well, what didn't go so well, and what to do next. They figure out if a player needs a raise, a paycut, or needs to be shipped out of town on the next plane. But there's another component to this equation. One that is responsible for a large part of the team's earnings, and therefore part of the players' salaries. What is that component?

Us. The Fan.

We spend money, the team pays players. Simple economics. How do we do our part in the performance review process? We cheer, and (conversely) we boo.

It might seem to be an over-intellectualization of something so base and primal, but if it didn't play a part, there wouldn't be terms like "fan-favorite." A player stinks it up on the ice, doesn't give 100%, or is a cancer is the dressing room, fans boo. Things get worse, fans don't show up. Something's gotta give. So, in that spirit, I offer you my list of who I will and who I won't boo and some reasons why.

Not Boo:

Eric Belangier - Deadline pickup, key to our playoff push. Resigned with Minnesota. Always worked hard, never a lazy shift. Gamer.

Pascal Dupuis - Sent to Pittsburg in a deadline deal. Special teams, work ethic, fun name to say (say it with me: Du-pweeeeeeeeeeee!). Gamer.

Marc Savard - Took $5 mil/year to play for an O6 team and be closer to his kids. Don't blame him one bit. Gamer.

Bobby Holik - Honest, tough, wouldn't turn it up until about midseason, but that's OK - Jersey took him back. They needed some pylons (Kidding, Bobby, I love ya!). Gamer.

Greg de Vries - Now with Nashville, contributing pretty regularly. Good to see him on a playoff team. Gamer.


Danny Heatley - I get it. Tragedy. But it wouldnt've been so bad if he didn't ask for the trade after a year in some Euro-League. Oh yeah, and then rip the Thrashers once he got back to the motherland. Bum.

Andy Sutton - Meh. No special reason. Just another bum on Lawn Guy Land. Bum.

Ho$$a. - Mercenary. Self-interested. The reason for this list, actually. The chants weren't enough, the jersey sales weren't enough. I think the Puck Huffer chicks said it best:
"Hey, Hossa, how about you stop looking for a team to carry you across the finish line and instead stick with a team and help them get there yourself."

Did I miss anybody? Any quibbles with my choices?

Notes on the Carolina Game

- Feels great to be wrong.

- Is it just me, or does Dan Kamal kind of give off a Uecker-type vibe? Not that that's a bad thing - I've always felt spoiled with Kamal. I don't think I'd rather have anyone else (other than Rick Jennaret or Mike Lang, maybe). Especially not the guy from Carolina... or the Islanders Guy... or the Detroit guy... or the Sharks guy...

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: Dan needs a colorman. Bad. I think the strain is getting to him. Witness the following from last nights broadcast:

On Enstrom's 1st period minor:
"'How was your trip, sir?'
'Pretty costly, now I'm in the box.'"

On a shot in the 2nd being deflected into the mesh:
"The shot deflects into the mesh... It's a fine mesh you've gotten us into..."

Dan, if you're reading this, I kid because I love. Don't change a thing. I mean it.

- OK guys, let's split up into groups, go door to door, and see if any of the other 29 teams have some PK we can borrow. Seems we're a little low.

- Nice goal by Perrin. I really hope he finds the back of the net some more; the man has MAJOR work ethic, and I always like to see those guys succeed. They're the backbone of the league.

- Boulton. +1A. Scoring machine.

- The third line looks like big, chippy guys with good hands. They'll come on soon enough and provide a little ancillary scoring. A little jobbing in the corner goes a long way.

- Boomer Gordon from XM204 says we're rolling two solid scoring lines - not faint praise from a man who knows hockey.

- Slava Kozlov: I may not agree with Rawhide's call to give Kozzy the 'C', but I don't think you could ask for a better player at this point. Experience, humility, and ability all in the shape of one Russian Professor. Gamer.

- I seem to remember reading Slava said something about this new system being similar to one they ran in Detroit. That's gotta be better than the dump-and-no-chase system from last year (cue rimshot).

- Is Hainsey worth the $4.5 mil? Yup.