Friday, March 31, 2006

Pens 4, Islanders 0

This was a pretty solid game for the Pens all around. They played pretty well defensively and got some great goal tending from Sebastien Caron. The Offense was also able to rebound from a slow first period to break the game open in the 2nd. They got goals from Gonchar and LeClair 1:11 seconds apart and the Islander never threatened.

The game was back and forth for the whole first period with turnover after turnover leading to some scoring chances for both teams. The goal tenders were able to keep the score knotted at 0 heading into the second. Gonchar, who has finally starting shooting the puck on the power play, got his first of two after getting a deflection of a defenders stick. After LeClair was able to stab a puck past Snow, Crosby got his 33rd goal of the season after a good reaction to a Hilbert feed to beat Snow on the backhand. Gonchar closed out the scoring with another PP goal at 18:16 of the 3rd.

In all Crosby has a Goal and 2 Assists (both on Gonchars PP goals) giving him 83 on the year with 9 games left. He needs to average 2 point the rest of the way to top the century mark. Malone, Koltsov, Armstrong, and LeClair were all able to get an Assist on the night with LeClair also getting a goal.

Caron made 29 saves for is first shutout of the year and the Pens second. He was pretty solid in net stopping a couple of breakaways and a Penalty Shot early in the third. The Defensive was also able to keep most of the shot to the outside or altered them when they were taken close.

Next up New Jersey at 3 pm on Sunday...


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Panthers 5, Pens 3

Some good, some bad. That's pretty much the story of the Pens so far this season and this game was no different. The Pens seemed to be so and not really wanting to play the first period and promptly went down 2-0. They did the little mistakes on defense that always seems to cost them.

However as has been the tread lately the team woke up and play to the final buzzer. The Pens were able to pull it to 4-2 and were awarded a power play but failed to capitalize. The teams then traded goal with a minute left (Empty Netter and Koltsov rebound goal) for the final score.

John LeClair was able to score his 400th goal for his career to become the 77th player over all and 7th American to accomplish this feat. While it is not quite a season he and the Pens were hoping for, he has put up some decent numbers (18 G, 25 A). I am hoping that with the hopeful influx of talent the Pens hope to get (Malkin) LeClair should be able to give some stability next year if he comes back.

Fleury had a bad game. He gave up 4 soft goals that either beat him on is glove hand which when he is on never happens or 5 hole. This is the first game is awhile in which he just seemed like he was fighting the puck and doing the bad habits he had before. Caron came on about half way through the game and held the Pathers scoreless with some help from a badly shanked tap in. Luongo didn't get challenged and how could he with the huge body and even bigger pads. Luongo of course subscribes to the Garth Snow school of goal tending, "Pad up and don't move". How this guy can't win games by himself all the time I won't know because there is no where to shoot.

Next up the Islanders again on Friday...


Monday, March 27, 2006


From time to time I will post articles that are worth reading because there is basically nothing going on on off days. I am not a big fan of the Press most of the time because when the team is down they love to pile on. Instead of seeing a good young team that has been coming together of late and will make mistakes, they just like to keep them a laughing stock of Pittsburgh. Even when the Steelers win the Super Bowl there was always something they could do better. If you can take the negative comments aside this article is worth a read.

I do agree with the following through...

March 27, 2006 -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
But ugly as they are, the thing that Penguins opponents had been starting to observe about those pads is that they're becoming harder and harder to put a puck behind. Since March 11, when Fleury stopped 38 of 41 shots to help the Penguins beat New Jersey, 6-3 -- a performance he followed the very next game by stopping all 22 shots in a 2-0 skunking of Philadelphia -- Fleury had won four of six starts and perhaps unofficially begun the years-long accumulation of consistent competence that will surely make him on of the league's best before too many more birthdays.

Collier I think was complimenting Fleury and I do think Fleury is finally getting over the hump.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Canadiens 6, Pens 5

This was a strange game that went back and forth. Every time that the Pens would mount a charge and pull with in one, the Habs would get the goal to extend it back to 2. The Pens showed up a little late as usual this season but were able to battle the rest of the game to make the Canadiens earn this win. There were also some calls that seemed to be favoring the Habs either from call that were not called for them and called against them. This seems to happen with the NHL helping out teams in playoff contention vs those that are not. The Pens also missed out on a chance to sweep the season series for the first time in their history.

Montreal got off to a good start with a Power Play goal and an even strength goal 41 seconds apart. The Pens were able to turn the tide for the rest of the period but were unable to put anything past Aebischer and went into the intermission on a Power Play.

Armstrong was able to pull the Pens back to within 1 on the carryover PP of an Assist from Crosby and Gonchar. Armstrong was able to sneak the puck just through the five-hole of Aebischer. However, as rest of the game would go, the Habs returned to the 2 goal lead off of a good bounce to the stick of Higgins. Surovy got a Power Play goal by jamming a lose puck in past the foot of Aebischer that was made by a nice keep in by Welch. Former Penguin Alexei Kovalev was next in line with the put back of a rebound after what looked like a boarding on Hilbert that would have killed the Power Play. After another questionable call on Orpik, Armstrong picked up a rebound off a Hilbert shot for the Pens 10th SH goal this year and 7th in the last 22 games. The shorthanded goal have come from a direct result of the more aggressive PK that the Pens have been using.

Noah Welch figured in on the next two goals, one good and one bad. The bad one happened first at the end of the 2nd when he knock the puck past Fleury while trying to knock a Kovalev centering pass behind the net. Kovalev was credited with his second goal of the game. Welch however got that one back early in the 3rd by lashing a slapper from the left point for his first official NHL goal. Crosby got the second assist on Welch's goal for his second point of the game.

Ryder and LeClair traded goals 1:05 apart mid way through the 3rd. Ryder's coming first on a 2 on 1 break by wristing a puck under the crossbar. LeClair got his 399th goal off a rebound in front. The rest of the game was pretty tight from the Candians who were working to make sure they left with at least a point. The Pens were awarded a Power Play with 2:51 left but could not get the tying goal with Fleury pulled. The Habs had about 5 chances for an empty netter but were happy to get the win.

The Pens now have 2 days off and will face the Florida Pathers at home on Wed...


Friday, March 24, 2006

Penguins 4, Islanders 3 OT

When the Pens needed to show up tonight they did. Granted it wasn't until OT that they were able to put away the Islanders. In all the game was pretty evenly played with each side taking a few runs until Crosby ended the game with a wrister on a 2 on 1 break with Armstrong.

The game started out with a decided edge to the Pens; however, it was the Islanders who got their first of 5 straight power plays 0:39 in. Ryan Malone was able pick up a rebound and break in alone on DiPietro. While Malone was gathering himself to make a move he fell but had enough concentration to bat the puck through the five hole while sliding on his side. It was the Pens 9th Shorthander and Malone's 4th.

The Islanders were able to then tie it 80 seconds later off a Hunter break and went up 2-1 just before the 1st intermission of a Blake wrister. The extended their lead to 3-1 just 1:16 into the 2nd period. Fleury never seemed to see the shot and only a couple of player and the goal judge seemed to know it was a goal. Fleury however settled down and kept them off the board the rest of the way.

Pens were finally awarded their first power play 8:35 into the 2nd and they used it to get back into the game. Crosby bring the puck into the zone sent a nice pass across to Hilbert who deflected the pass past DiPietro. Gonchar tied it just under 3 minutes later off a rebound of a Noah Welch slap shot as the Pens second power play expired. Welch got called up earlier in the day due to Cairns suspension. Welch never seemed out of place or overmatched and made some nice defensive plays that have been quite lacking this year. Stories of Welch making the team next year do not seem that far off. He recorded his first NHL point on the Gonchar goal and was named the game's 3rd star.

The game was pretty much back and forth the rest of the way with neither team able to get that 4th goal and that setup Crosby's heroic in OT. Crosby had a chance earlier in OT when DiPietro was out of the net and miss played a puck however Crosby hit the outside of the post on a shot from the left boards. Crosby was able to pick up a miss played puck by former Penguin Joel Bouchard and start a 2 on 1 with Armstrong. Crosby faked the slap shot and then was able ot put the wrister past the glove hand for this 3rd OT winner this year. He now ties Malone for the Rookie record for OT winners. With a Goal and an Assist, Crosby now has 78 point on the year with 12 games left.

Next up Montreal on Sunday...


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Senators 5, Pens 2

As you can tell from the previous post, I don't have a lot of inside information about this game (what a good one to start with). From what I have been able to gather this one was a typical Pens game this year. Penalty Killing let them down (3-11) after a few games where it has been great. Five on Five play was pretty even. No respect from the Refs. It seems to happen with all the team that are at the bottom of the standings is that the Refs don't believe the bottom team deserves to get the even play. Case in point Sid gets kneed and the Senators get 2 min for tripping. Cairns starts something with Chara, which at no point threated his season, and gets 40 mins worth of penalties.

I don't get it.

Hopefully I will have more on Friday...


Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I was unable to watch tonights game due to the NHL figuring that a $60 million dollar contract with OLN was better then a lesser one with ESPN or another highly visiable cable network. After losing a whole season to a labor dispute and with the need to grow the sport, they put exculsive National Coverage on a Cable channel that most people have to pay alot extra for. For me to get OLN on my cable system I have to get the highest package available. With all the extra money that I had to spend to get this blog (its free) I didn't feel the need to double my cable bill to get OLN. I think this is really going to hit people really hard come Stanley Cup time because they are the ones that are going to show Games 1 and 2. Hopefully next year OLN or the NHL will wisen up and make it OLN available to more people so that the greatest game can be seen by more people.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Season To-Date...

What is there to say about the season so far this year...

Disappointing... There were so many hopes that this year was going to be great. There were a bunch of big signing (Recchi, Gonchar, Palffy, LeClair), the drafting of the future (Crosby), and developing talent (Fleury, Whitney, Surovy) and a healthy legend (Lemieux). I did, however, which that they would have stuck to the plan of developing all the young and fast talent they had received and drafted during the previous rebuilding but with the talent they signed how could you not be happy. No one knew what the "New" NHL was going to be but speed figured to be a key component which the Pens seemed to have a lot of outside of the Veterans. These players however started the year with the Baby Pens and proceed to start the season 21-1-0-1. Then came the retirements of Palffy and Lemieux way too soon. And not to mention all the losing.

Hopeful...Once the season had ended (well the playoffs), the Pens decided to do what they should have done and play the stock pile of young talent. In watching the last few games I have a real hope for the next few years of Penguins Hockey.

Unsettling...The only thing that could really derail all of the good thing that are going to happen in the future is the City not getting them a new area. The City is going to build a new area in the future because if not then there will be no entertainment (concerts, kid shows, wrestling) so why not just put the money upfront now and keep a permanent tenant who just happens to generate a TON of tax revenue.

These are just some of the highlights (err...lowlights) from this year. More will be talked about in depth in the future as stuff happens. I could go more indepth however I won't bore you this early.



Well I decided to start keeping a blog on my biggest sports passion, which as you can see from the title is HOCKEY and inpaticular the Pittsburgh Penguins. While coming from a small town where there was no Ice rink or was cold enough in the winter to have a frozen pond I was introduced to Hockey quite late in life. Being an avid sports fan it only took me a few games to realize that Hockey has a lot to offer over the other "Main" sports. I won't go into great detail because if you are reading this you already know and if you don't watch a few games and you will. Another reason that I decided to do this is that while I am a big fan of Hockey so few people in my life are. I have tried to convert as many as possible but no one has the same interest as me. I hope that this blog will allow me to vent some of my hockey knowlegde (not much) as well as find other people to discuss or argue relivant hockey points. Please feel free to contact me for info, comments, and maybe a kick if I go awhile without an update.