The Daily Bongo

April 2009

Wednesdday, April 29, 2009 -- Evening

Versus sucks as the distributor of televised hockey in this country. Why you say? Because last night, two game seven games were played: between the Rangers / Capitals and the Devils / Hurricanes. Versus only had the rights for the Rangers/Caps game. They couldn't show the last period of the Devils/Hurricane game which was quite exciting. The Hurricanes scored in the final minutes to tie things up, then Eric Staal gave the Canes the win in the last minute of the game. So that means that the Pens will play the Capitals, and the Hurricanes will play the Bruins. The first game of the round for the Pens will be in Washington on Saturday. It will be televised on NBC at 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens removed the interim portion from Dan Bylsma's title and have signed him to a long term contract. I really don't know if I buy into George McFly being the savior of the Pens. I think that Ray Shero made some decent trade deadline deals, and that the Pens would be in the same shape today with Michel Therrien as a coach. I mean, the guy got them to the Stanley Cup last year. Maybe it is just bitter grapes on my part, but I'm not a huge McFly fan.

Saturday, April 25, 2009 -- Early Evening

Game six between the Pens and Flyers. The game did not start out well for the Pens. Most of the first period went without either side scoring. Then the Flyers got two quick goals in the last three minutes of the period. Then when the second period started, Daniel Briere got a goal to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead. I was resigning myself to a game seven here in Pittsburgh, when Ruslan Fedotenko and Evgeni Malkin struck to give the Pens a goal. Then less than two minutes later, the Pens got a second goal from Mark Eaton. Things were looking up. Finally, in the final minutes of the second period, Sidney Crosby scored to tie things up. The third period started, and Sergei Gonchar got the go-ahead goal at 2:19. The video guys centered in on Martin Biron, and one thing I noticed with my new HD TV is that Biron has extremely light blue eyes. His face looks quite eerie in his mask (and outside of it). There was alot of action in the third period. Biron was pulled from the net, and Crosby took the puck down to the empty net, missed with the first shot, came around the net, and got it in the other side. The Pens win with a final score of 5-3 and move on to the next round.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 -- Evening

Game five between the Pens and Flyers here in Pittsburgh. Petr Sykora was scratched for the game because he has been slumping for several games and was on the ice when the goal was made in the last game. Meanwhile, George McFly was playing the non-performing Miroslav Satan, called back from the minors before the playoffs started. Kris Letang was also scratched, but he might have had an injury in the last game. The first period went without a goal. Then the local station, FSN, lost the feed. This is not the first time something like this has happened. Once, they showed women's basketball instead of the Pens. Another time, they lost the feed because of snow in Atlanta. That was the Dallas game. Also, FSN has an HD channel, but only some of the games are in HD. Really crappy channel, but it's all we have. Unfortunately! It really sucks to not watch what is happening. Listening to the radio on the computer is just not the same. The Flyers scored in the second period, and it seems that Evgeni Malkin scored, but it was called off because he may have kicked the puck in. Not that I know because there is no feed of the game. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the feeds came back. FSN was claiming that a lightning strike and power outage in Atlanta, lost the feeds for a game played and broadcast in Pittsburgh. Okay! The Flyers got a second goal at the start of the third period. Whatever the Pens did seemed to be flat and two steps behind the Flyers. The Flyers got another goal in latter half of the third period. The Flyers won with a final score of 3-0, and the play returns to Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens were back in action in Philadelphia. Neither team scored in the first period, but the Pens got the first goal off of a fluke from Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz passed the puck to Crosby, and Crosby skated into the net with the puck. Toronto reviewed the play, but it was a goal. Shortly after that, Tyler Kennedy got a goal for the Pens. The Flyers didn't seem like the same team that played on Sunday. Or maybe the Pens were just playing better. Marc-Andre Fleury did a great job throughout the game, withstanding numerous beatings and muggings from the Flyer players. Halfway through the third period (and 39 shots), the Flyers got a goal from Daniel Carcillo. The Flyers started to attack the goal, and they pulled Martin Biron from goal with a little over a minute left in regulation. Fortunately, Max Talbot got an empty net goal for the Pens to give the Pens a 3-1 lead in the game. The Pens won, and lead the series 3-1. Fleury did a great job, stopping 45 of 46 shots, getting the number one star of the game.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 -- Early Evening

The playoff action moved to Philadelphia today, and the Flyers came out to win. They got two quick goals from Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Then the hostilities broke out with the Flyers playing their usual bully style of hockey. Evgeni Malkin scored a goal in the last 12 seconds of the first period, and then Rob Scuderi scored a second goal 13 seconds into the second to tie things up. The Flyers weren't done scoring, and they quickly got two more goals to give themselves a two goal lead. The Pens managed to get another goal by Malkin, but the Flyers just managed to stay a step ahead of the Pens the entire game. In the last two minutes of the game, the Pens pulled Fleury, but the Flyers got an empty net goal to seal the deal. Game three goes to the Flyers with a final score of 6-3.

Friday, April 17, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens faced the Flyers in game two of the quarterfinals tonight. Both teams came out with something to prove. Daniel Carcilo didn't play tonight because he was suspended for one game for the hit he gave to Max Talbot's head in the final faceoff of Wednesday's game. The Flyers were the first to score, which doesn't mean that Marc-Andre Fleury didn't play well. He made some stellar saves in the game. Finally, in the last four minutes of the second period, Billy Guerin scored off of assists from Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby to tie things up. Unfortunately, the Flyers scored in the first two minuts of the third period. It was a soft goal that Fleury should probably have stopped, but you can only make so many great saves. It's difficult to stay at that level for an entire 60 minutes. With less than four minutes left in the game, the puck ricchoted off of Malkin's right leg and into the net. Game tied. Regulation time ended with a tie, so the game went into overtime. The fourth period was very energetic. It wasn't until the last five minutes that the penalties started to fly. First Hall Gill got a penalty, then the Flyers wound up with two. When Gill got out of the penalty box, the Pens had a five on three advantage. Again, Guerin showed why he was picked up in the trade. He scored to give the Pens the win. They have a 2-0 lead in the series. Even though Martin Biron got the third star of the game, Fleury really deserved it because of the great saves he made. However, for some reason, Fleury is under appreciated. Anyway, the Pens win with a final score of 3-2. On to Philadelphia on Sunday. Game 3 will be at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 -- Evening

Time for playoff hockey! I didn't go to the game because I have an early morning tomorrow, and on Friday, so I won't be at that game either. Fortunately, I can watch in HD. Everyone is calling this the Keystone Krunch because it's a showdown between the Pens and the Philadelphia Flyers. Four minutes into the first period, and the Pens had a power play opportunity. The Pens crowded the net, and Sidney Crosby got a goal. There was a review because the puck came off of Crosby's skate, but Toronto said there was no distinct kicking motion. Nothing more happened in the first period, goal-wise, but less than two minutes into the second period, Tyler Kennedy got a goal to give the Pens a 2-0 lead. The Flyers were being killed with penalties, getting six by the start of the third period compared to the Pens 3. 6:28 into the third period, Evgeni Malkin made a beautiful, unassisted goal to give the Pens a 3-0 lead. Mark Eaton sealed the deal halfway through the third period by scoring the fourth goal of the game. The Flyers were able to get a goal off a a penalty on Marc-Andre Fleury for tripping. Things got rough at the end of the game with some fighting and a game misconduct against Scott Hartnell. The Pens get one win down with a final score of 4-1. The Pens played strong today, and I have a good feeling for the series. The Flyers were really looking like a frustrated team, and Fleury was playing well. Next game is Friday.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 -- Evening

The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New York Rangers today. That means that the Pens will finish in fourth place and have home ice advantage. (We have more wins that the Flyers so even though we have the same number of points, we finish ahead of them.) The playoffs should start here in Pittsburgh on Wednesday or Thursday, and we should know for sure when the NHL announces the playoff schedule later tonight.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens played the final game of the regular season against the Montreal Canadiens this evening. The only thing of importance about this game was that a win might put the Pens into fifth place in the conference since the Carolina Hurricanes lost today. Miroslav Satan was called back from the AHL, and he cleared waivers so he will be able to play with the Pens during the playoffs. I'm not sure how useful he will be to the team. No one put a claim against him during the call back period. They could have done that, and it would have prevented him from playing during the playoffs. The Pens were first to score with a goal by Evgeni Malkin. That gave him a six point lead over Alexander Ovechkin for the scoring championship. The Canadiens tied things up in the first, after Max Talbot had a goal called off because of a high stick on the puck. No goals in the second period, but the Pens got two short handed goals within a minute of each other. Talbot got the first goal, and Kris Letang got the second. There were only seconds left on a Brooks Orpik penalty when Letang scored. Final score of the game: Pens 3 - Canadiens 1. The Pens are now fifth in the conference and will face the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. The Flyers play their last regular season game tomorrow. If they lose, then we move into fourth place, but the Pens will still play the Flyers. So after tomorrow, we will know if we have home ice or not.

Before the game ended tonight, we found out that Alexander Ovechkin only got two points in the Washington Capitals game, so Evgeni Malkin is the scoring champ and Art Ross Trophy winner for the season.

Thursday, April 9, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens played their final home game of the regular seasong against the New York Islanders this evening. I wasn't at the game this evening because I was feeling sick and sold my tickets. Mathieu Garon finally got an opportunity to start in goal, which is a good idea because he should have some conditioning just in case he's needed for the playoffs. The Islanders were the first to score on a power play only five minutes into the first period. The Pens tied things up before the period ended, and then scored two more goals in the second period. The Pens weren't done. The Pens scored three more unanswered goals in the third period to win with a final score of 6-1. It was good to end the home season with a win. Only one more game left in the regular season, and the only thing up in air now is where the Pens will finish in the standings.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens were still in Florida this evening. This time, they were playing the Tampa Bay Lightning. The first period was an incredibly boring period, with both sides totally lacking in any energy. The Pens had five shots on goal compared to the Lightning six. The Pens finally came to life in the second period, starting with a goal by Ruslan Fedotenko, followed by two power play goals by Sidney Crosby in less than two minutes. The third period was a scoring fest for both teams. The Pens got three more goals from Matt Cooke, Petr Sykora, and Jordan Staal. Sykora's goal was the 300th of his career. The Lightning got four goals in the third to make the game closer than it should have been. The final score: Pens 6 - Lightning 4. With the win, the Pens guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, which will start April 15.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

I just finished reading Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston this afternoon. It was an excellent thrill ride of a book, and one that I strongly recommend. Read my review of the book.

Sunday, April 5, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens again late this afternoon. They arrived in the morning to play the Florida Panthers. Before the game, Dan Bylsma (George McFly) talked about how the Pens knew that winning this game would clinch a playoff spot for them. If the Panthers won, it would tie them with the New York Rangers. So the game was an important one for both. Marc-Andre Fleury was back in goal again today. The Panthers scored after a bad Pens' pass 1:55 into the first period. Pascal Dupuis scored for the Pens to tie things up. Close to the end of the first period, Keith Ballard saw Evgeni Malkin coming down the ice with puck by the boards, and Ballard got down low to trip Malkin around his knees. Malkin went head over heels--his feet were actually up where his head should be. Bob Errey said that it looked like clipping to him, which is a penalty. No penalty was called on Ballard though. Fortunately, Malkin didn't get hurt, and Sidney Crosby came to his aid by dropping gloves with Ballard. All I have to say is that Crosby defnitely ain't no fighter. He got more clips to the helmet than he gave. You have to give him an A for effort and jumping in to help his teammates. The Panthers scored again in the final 20 seconds of the first to take the lead. Obviously, the Panthers liked to score in the waning seconds of a period because they scored again to take a 3-1 lead in the last 12 seconds of the second. Things weren't looking good for the Pens, and even though they got a power play goal from Mark Eaton at 14:06, the Panthers came up with an answering goal at 15:56. McFly's lack of coaching experience was highlighted in the final two minutes of the game when McFly didn't call a timeout, and then was trying to yell to get Fleury's attention to pull him from the goal. As Bob Errey said from the announcer's booth, he couldn't believe that McFly didn't use his timeout. Finally with 50 seconds left in the game, McFly called a time out. The Panthers held on to win the game and to tie with the Rangers. The Panthers are still in the playoff hunt, and the Pens are still waiting to clinch a spot. Final score for the game: Panthers 4 - Pens 2. Tomas Vokoun did a great job in the net for the Pens. The season isn't over yet, and you have to hand it to the Panthers for not just giving up. You also have to wonder if Fleury should have played today or if Mathieu Garon should have been in goal. As the announcers said at the end of the game, the Pens just seemed like a tired team. Next game is Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Saturday, April 4, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens have a short road trip in the last few games of the season, and tonight's game was against the Carolina Hurricanes. This was an important game because the Hurricanes and the Pens are battling for playoff position. Tyler Kennedy was the first to score for the Pens, but a few minutes later, Eric Staal scored for the Hurricanes to tie things up. The Hurricanes got another goal in the second period. It looked like Billy Guerin might have tied things up, but his goal was called off because there was a delayed penalty called against the Pens. Chris Kunitz had tripped someone, so the Pens went into the third behind one. Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy teamed up to give the Pens a goal in the third to tie things up. Evgeni Malkin was tripped up on his way to the net with a puck, and because of it, Malkin got a penalty shot. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to score. Guerin got a penaly for tripping in the last two minutes of the third period to give the Hurricanes a one man advantage. Fortunately, the Hurricanes didn't score, and the game went into overtime. However, the Pens didn't capitalize on that, and the Hurricanes scored 1:11 minutes into OT to win the game. At least the Pens got a point out of the game. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, clinched a playoff spot. Final score: Pens 2 - Hurricanes 3.

Friday, April 3, 2009 -- Evening

Today marks the start of 100 hours of astronomy in honor of the International Year of Astronomy. This year marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's use of a telescope to observe the wonder in the skies. It is also the 400th anniversary of Johann Kepler's Astronomia Nova. To celebrate the 100 hours of astronomy, people are encouraged to go out and look at the skies through a telescope. If you can't make do that, either because you don't have access to a telescope or have cloudy skies, you can view the webcasts at

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 -- Evening

The New Jersey Devils were in town this evening. So, of course, the reporters were in the Pens locker room asking Marc-Andre Fleury what he thought of Martin Brodeur. Fleury seemed very embarrassed as he admited that he admired Brodeur from the time he was a kid. Then the reporters asked Brodeur about Fleury who was 12 when Brodeur started in the NHL. It makes you wonder what the point of some of that was. But the game was the important thing. The announcers also made a big deal about how the Devils were on a down swing while the Pens have been hot for the month of March. The game started, and about six minutes into the first period, the Pens got two quick goals from Matt Cooke and Bill Guerin. Even though the Devils got an answering goal from Brian Gionta, Evgeni Malkin helped the Pens to pull away with a power play goal late in the first period. Midway through the second period, Sidney Crosby scored a goal to be followed 13 seconds later by Jordan Staal. The Pens had a 5-1 lead, and Bob Errey and Paul Stagerwald were talking about how the coach still had Brodeur in goal. At least the Devils took a time out after Staal's goal. In the third period, Chris Kunitz scored a goal in the third period. A bit later, Crosby was lying on the ice, sliding towards Brodeur's net, with the puck in front of him. He used his leg to kick the puck in past Brodeur. Of course, Crosby knew right away that he kicked it. And the refs reviewed it and took the goal away. No more scores for the game. The Pens won with a final score of 6-1. All in all, a really good effort. The playoffs are looking closer every game.