The Daily Bongo

December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011 -- Evening

Lackluster Pens
The Pens were in New Jersey to play the Devils this afternoon, and it was a lackluster performance. The Devils took an early 2-0 lead, and even though the Pens started to pick up their play in the third period, it was not enough to bet Martin Brodeur. The Pens lost with a final score of 3-1. The team has been in the doldrums lately, and I think that if it weren't for the injuries, people would be questioning the coaching of Bylsema. I know that I question it because even with the injuries, he still has Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal. I would imagine that as more players come back to the team, there might be more questions if the level of play doesn't pick up. Sidney Crosby is out indefinitely, if he ever does come back since he is suffering concussion symptoms again. Kris Letang also has a more severe concussion than originally thought. The frustrating thing about Letang is that he came back after the hit to play, and score the winning goal.

Thursday, December 29, 2011 -- Evening

Jagr Back in Pittsburgh
Jaromir Jagr and the Philadelphia Flyers were in town this evening to play the Pens. The crowd turned out to mostly boo Jagr, but I have to admit that I'm conflicted over the whole thing. i appreciate Jagr for the outstanding player that he is. Granted, he is a bit of a drama king, but that makes Jagr all the more interesting. Jagr gave an interview to a group of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia reporters that the Post Gazette published. I have to say that Jagr's comments about the Pens' interest in Tyler Kennedy struck a cord with me. If I were Jagr, and I was was trying to make a deal with the Pens, and the Pens told me that they were waiting to hear what Kennedy was doing, I would wonder what role I would play with the Pens. If a third liner is more important than Jagr, he was right in thinking that he would take a back seat to said third liner. Jagr is a first or second line player. If the Pens weren't interested in that, the Flyers were.

When the game started, the Pens were the first to score with a goal by Jordan Staal, 44 seconds into the game. The Pens then went off of their game, allowing goals from Kimmo Timonen in the first and from Jagr and Matt Read in the second period. The game still had a period to go, and Evgeni Malkin scored a goal to bring the Pens close to tying the game. The Pens pulled Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the game, but instead, Max Talbot got an empty net goal to seal the deal for the Flyers. The Flyers win with a final score of 4-2.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Back from Christmas Break
The Pens were back from the Christmas break with a game at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes scored first, with the only goal in the first period. But then James Neal got a goal to tie things up in the second period. The Pens really broke out in the third period, with goals from Steve Sullivan, Pascal Dupuis, and Jordan Staal. The Hurricanes did manage to get another goal in the third, but the Pens went on to win with a final score of 4-2.

Friday, December 23, 2011 -- Evening

Pens in Winnipeg
The Pens were in Winnipeg to play the Jets this evening. The first two periods were fairly even in scoring. In the third period, the Pens pulled away, with goals form James Neal, Jordan Staal, and Pascal Dupuis. Pens win with a final score of 4-1.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 -- Evening

Blackhawks in Town
The Chicago Blackhawks were in town to play the Pens this evening. Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal for the Pens. As usual, Fleury had a good performance. Evgeni Malkin was on fire, making himself a presence in the game, winning faceoffs and assisting on all three Pens' goals. The Blackhawks came on in the third with goals by Jonathan Toews and Viktor Stalberg, but it was too little, too late. The Pens won with a final score of 3-2. Pens goal scorers: Chris Kunitz, James Neal, and Tyler Kennedy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011 -- Evening

Back to Back Games
The Buffalo Sabres were in town this evening to play the Pens. Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal for the Pens. The Pens came out shooting, scoring three goals in the first 10 minutes, which resulted in Ryan Miller being pulled from goal. Recent call-ups from the AHL, Jason Williams and Simon Despres got their first career NHL goals. Evgeni Malkin scored the third goal. After pulling Miller, Thomas Vanek scored for the Sabres. It was obvious that the Pens were dragging after their 10 minute scoring burst. With 2:30 left in the first period, Malkin got his second goal of the game. Ryan Miller started the second period, and within seconds, James Neal scored off an assist by Malkin. In the third period, the Sabres started to come back with two goals in a minute and half. But then Malkin got his hat trick goal, and Chris Kunitz scored shortly after that. The final score was Pens 8 - Sabres 3. Fleury got his 200th NHL win, and he was congratulated by the team. Fleury is the fourth youngest goalie to reach 200 wins.

Saturday, December 17, 2011 -- Afternoon

Pens Lose in Ottawa
I was not feeling well on Friday evening, and I fell asleep before the Pens game. I did miss a whole lot of scoring, which was ultimately a lose for the Pens. The Ottawa Senators went on a scoring rampage with the Pens in the second period, and Brent Johnson was pulled from the net after letting in five goals. The Senators won with a final score of 6-4.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 -- Evening

Crosby-less Pens
The Pens were at home to play the Red Wings this evening, but they were there without Sidney Crosby in the lineup. Crosby has had a return of concussion-like symptoms, and he will be out for an indefinite period. This is really bad news for Crosby, even though he says that this instance of the symptoms is not as severe as the last. At least Crosby has hope, but it does make me concerned that he might never be able to play like he did in the past. And that is a sad day for all hockey fans.

Unfortunately, the Pens weren't able to beat the Red Wings this evening. Evgeni Malkin got a goal in the first period to give the Pens an early lead, but then the Pavel Datsyuk got a flakey goal in the second, and then Johan Franzen scored one, and Danny Cleary got two to give the Red Wings a 4-1 win.

Saturday, December 10, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Beat Islanders
The Pens played the New York Islanders this evening. As is usually with the Islanders/Pens games, it was a high scoring game. The Islanders scored first and took a 2-0 lead in the first period, but then the Pens came back to tie the game up before they went into the second period. The Pens started to pull away once the second period started. After the Islanders had a goal in the second period, but Pens just shut down the Islanders. Goals for the Pens came from Steve Sullivan, James Neal (2), Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, and Paul Martin. Final score: Pens 6 - Islanders 3.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 -- Evening

Jagr Against the Pens
Jaromir Jagr played the Pens for the first time this season. The Pens were in Philadelphia to play the Flyers without Sidney Crosby. Crosby had knee on knee contact with Chris Kunitz in the Bruins' game on Tuesday. The problem was a knee problem. Crosby wasn't feeling good afterwards, so they tested him to make sure the concussion wasn't back. Crosby didn't travel with the team, and he'll miss the next two games.

The Pens came out with a lackluster display in the first two periods. Marc-Andre Fleury made some nice saves, but the Flyers were up 3-0 by the middle of the second period. James Neal got a goal in the last few minutes of the second, and then Evgeni Malkin got another eight minutes into the third period. Unfortunately, the Pens couldn't get another goal to tie the game. The Flyers win with a final score of 3-2.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 -- Morning

Pens Lose to Bruins
The Pens were in Boston last night to play the Bruins. The Bruins have been a hot team lately, and they are 9-0-1 in the last ten. The Pens weren't able to stand up to them in last night's game. The Bruins had a 3-0 lead in the third period before Matt Cooke was able to score the Pens' only goal. Final score of the game: Bruins 3 - Pens 1.

Saturday, December 3, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Battle
The Pens were still on their road trip this evening. Tonight, they played the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have been slumping lately, mostly because Eric Staal has not been scoring. it seems that the hit that Eric put on his brother Marc Staal almost a year ago, resulted in Marc Staal getting a concussion. Marc hasn't been back on the ice, and folks are figuring that it has had a psychological impact on older brother Eric. Think of it, if you were the older brother, and you did something that had such a negative physiological impact on your brother. Unfortunately, the Hurricanes coach suffered the same fate as Bruce Boudreau, and on the same day. So the Hurricanes also have a new coach.

Brent Johnson was in goal for this game, playing his 300th NHL game. Johnson was hot in the first period. Even though the Pens were playing sluggish hockey, Johnson came them in the game by stopping all the pucks that came his way. Craig Adams got the first goal in the second period, with an assist by Sidney Crosby. The Hurricanes tied things in the second, and the game was tied going into the third period. Arron Asham and Pascal Dupuis got goals for the Pens to give them a 3-1 lead. Jamie McBain got his second goal of the game for the Hurricanes to bring them within one of the Pens. James Neal scored what looked like a goal, but it was called off because Evgeni Malkin fell over Brian Boucher, preventing him from playing the puck. As Bob Errey and Paul Steigerwald said, the Pens have had an issues with interference calls. It sucks because Neal did a great job playing the puck. Poor Jordan Staal got whacked in the face by the puck, and had to be helped off the ice by the trainer and Matt Cooke and a couple of other players. In the last minutes of the game, the Hurricanes started to draw penalties by diving. One of the worst was Eric Staal grabbing Pascal Dupuis' stick and falling down. The Hurricanes had a 5 on 3 advantage. With 17 seconds on the clock, there was a huge scrum on the ice with the puck under Brent Johnson. Brooks Orpik jumped in like Superman lying on the line right in front of the goal. With a flurry of shots against them, the Pens managed to hold things together and keep the Hurricanes from scoring. The Pens won with a final score of 3-2.

Thursday, December 1, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Play Caps
The Pens took the train from New York to Washington, DC. I think that they have done that in the past; at least I remember seeing video of the players on the train before. I was interested in this game because I wanted to see how Dale Hunter looked as new coach of the Capitals. Craig Adams got a surprising goal for the Pens in the first period. The Pens had 13 shots on goal to the Capitals 4 in the first period. The Capitals brought their game up a notch in the second period, getting a goal off of 11 shots on goal. Chris Kunitz got a goal in the third period to give the Pens a one goal lead. Fortunately for the Pens, the Capitals suck, and replacing Bruce Boudreau with a junior hockey league coach/former Capitals player, was a stupid idea. The Pens outshot the Caps, with the Pens having 35 shots on goal to the Caps 17. Yep, 17 over three periods. The Pens get the win with a final score of 2-1.