The Daily Bongo

February 2007

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 -- Evening

It seems that I have been concentrating on the Pens alot lately. That's because I love hockey, and the Pens have been making big news in the city. There was some talk about why the Pens didn't renew their lease with Mellon Arena for an additional year. It appears that the story is that by not renewing the lease, the Pens are putting pressure on the local government officials to come up with a plan to keep the Pens in the city. If the Pens had extended their lease, there might be a feeling of laxity amongst those in power in coming up with a plan to keep the Pens in the city. Supposedly, the government officials believe that a deal will be struck between the interested parties. We'll see.

As for the Pens themselves, they did some practising, and it seems that the the following lines are going to be in place:
Line LW Center RW
First Roberts Crosby Recchi
Second Malone Malkin Ouellet
Third Staal Talbot Armstrong
Fourth Laraque Christensen Ruutu

Interesting story about a doctor who works with the Steelers. It seems that he has been questioned by federal authorities and will be investigated by UPMC. It seems that Dr. Richard Rydze bought $150,000 worth of human growth hormone from a pharmacy in Florida. HIs story is that he uses it on his elder patients and that he would not use it on any of the players that he works with. My question is why does a doctor buy human growth hormone (HGH) from Florida when he practices medicine in Pennsylvania. Not only does he get it from Florida, but he buys it with his own credit card. If he has patients that need the treatment, why wouldn't he prescribe HGH for them and let them get it from a local pharmacy. Does he buy it and then charge them for it? It just sounds really strange and peculiar to me. Is it a common practice for doctors to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on drugs from out of state for their patients? Is HGH not available from pharmacies in Pennsylvania? The Steeler management is saying that they do not believe that any players used human growth hormone. I's just really confused, because it all sounds highly suspect to me.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the New Jersey Devils this evening. The Pens put up a valient fight, but the Devils scored in the first seconds of the second period, and Martin Brodeur made sure that was enough. Brodeur got his 12th shut out of the season, and got the first star of the game. Marc-Andre Fleury did a great job with some very nice saves. He got the third star of the game. The Pens really came out fighting in the third, but it just wasn't enough. Check out my pictures of the game.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens made a couple of minor deals before the end of the trade deadline today. They gave up a seventh round pick to the San Jose Sharks for minor league goalie, Nolan Schaefer. He is going to head straight to the Baby Pens. Then they gave up a fourth round pick to the Florida Panthers for Joel Kwiatkowski, a defenseman with some a fairly poor record. Kwiatkowski is a -5 so far this year, and on a -7 pace for the season. I wouldn't have thought he would be a good pick, especially since he seems to be prone to critical errors in TSN's assessment of his skill. He's just seems to be a poor defenseman. I know we needed someone on defense, but you would have hoped we would do better than this!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Early Afternoon

The Pens traded Dominic Moore to the Minnesota Wild for a third round draft pick. The thought is that the Laraque deal was for a third round pick, and not eighth round. So basically it was Moore and Carcillo for Laraque. I still don't think that is a bad deal although some of my buddies disagree. Some are on the "trading our future for the present" bandwagon, but I don't see that happening.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Late Morning

The Pens made a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes and got Georges Laraque. The Pens give up Daniel Carcillo (a draft pick from 2003) and an eighth round pick. Now this move I am happier with because Laraque has a reputation as an enforcer. The Roberts deal from this morning still sucks, and seem incredibly stupid.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Morning

The news is final, and a pall settles over Pens fans everywhere. Ray Shero has decided to trade Noah Welch for Gary Roberts. Roberts had a no trade clause in his contract, but waived it to come to the Pens. He is going to be arriving in town sometime today, but will not be in the lineup tonight against the New Jersey Devils. I really don't understand this move at all. The Pens get a geriatric of 40 who doesn't have very good stats. This guy is identical to John LeClair--who the Pens dumped earlier in the season--only OLDER! What do they think they are going to get from him? Veteran leadership in the locker room? I thought that Mark Recchi was already providing that? We'll have to see what transpires in the next few games.

On a brighter note, Marc-Andre Fleury is in goal for the Pens tonight.

Monday, February 26, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

Rumors are burning up the Internet wires that the Pens are making a deal with the Florida Panthers for Gary Roberts. It seems that Roberts has a no-trade clause in his contract with the Panthers, but he is interested in being traded to either Toronto or Ottawa because his daughter goes to school in that area. Roberts is a geriatric, left-winger, who doesn't have that great a set of stats that I would consider getting him. I wonder if this is another one of those rumors, although TSN seems to believe that a deal has been worked out between the Panthers and the Pens. The big question right now is if Roberts will waive his no-trade clause.

Sunday, February 25, 2007 -- Early Evening

My boyfriend and I went to a late Valentine's Day dinner yesterday, so I missed the episode of Endurance: High Sierras last night. Thank goodness for the DVR! I watched the show this afternnon, and was very happy to see that the Blue team broke the jinx of teams not being able to make it back after being sent to Tmeple three times. The Blue team is feisty, and I have to admit that I really don't like the attitude of the Blue and Green team. I hope they get their comeuppance in the next episode when the five teams that did not make it to the final three (one of the teams was elimated before the colors were chosen) would get to pick a team which gets a huge advantage in the next Temple mission. Let's hope that karma bits Purple and Green where the sun don't shine! Read my recap for full details on the latest episode.

The Pens played the Tampa Bay Lightning late this afternoon. Jocelyn Thibault started in goal for the Pens for the second game in a row. Unfortunately, in the first four minutes of the game, the Lightning get two goals to take the early lead. Martin St. Louis makes the first goal for the Lightning with Paul Ranger scoring the second. The second period starts, and an interesting thing happens. Sidney Crosby broke his stick, and the only person on the bench who noticed and handed out a stick was Colby Armstrong. As the announcers say, only one of the few right handers on the team stuck out a stick for a left hander. They were coming down hard on the other left handers on the bench not paying attention. Then Thibault gave up a light goal, and Michel Therrien pulled him and put in Marc-Andre Fleury. The whole team has been playing out of sync since Thibault let in a rebound in the first first period. The hope is that with Fleury in goal, the bleeding will stop and the team will start to sync up again. Finally, the Pens get a power play goal from Sergei Gonchar. At least, it seems that Gonchar will get the credit although Jordan Staal was creating traffic. Then it looked like the Lightning had scored, but it went off the post behind Fleury. Alot of passing and action on the part of the Pens who are trying to even things up abit. The announcers are commmenting on how the Pens seemed to have found their legs all of a sudden. A replay of the near goal from the LIghtning is shown again, and Fleury got his toe in the path of the puck saving the goal. The fast paced second period ended without further goals. An minute and a half into the third, the Lightning score again with a puck that Brad Richards just gets past Fleury. The Pens seem to have given up in the third period, and Vincent Lecavalier scores a short handed goal. The game is over, and it ends with a fight with Maxime Talbot and Nick Tarnasky. Talbot was upset by a hit from Tarnasky on Colby Armstrong earlier in the game. The Pens lose by final score of 5-1.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 -- Afternoon

There has been alot of speculation among fans and sports analysts about if, when, or how the Pens will take advantage of a trade before the deadline on Feb. 27. There was some talk of them getting a goon yesterday, and Georges Laraque's name came up. However, it seems that the price that the Phoenix Coyotes wants is probably too high for the Pens. Rumor has it that the Coyotes wanted a first round draft pick, and the Pens aren't willing to give that up. Do we need a goon? I think that we need some way to protect our young talent that is being abused by the goons on other teams. Our former goon, Andre Roy was suspended for three games for abuse of refs. It seems that Roy had a roughing call that he disagreed with, and he must have taken up the matter with the refs in an inappropriate manner. That means that Roy won't be playing tomorrow when the Tampa Bay Lightning met the Pens.

The interesting game will be tonight's game between the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres. The Senators have added some goons to the roster to take care of the Sabres. Now what I find ironic about this is that the Senators were the ones who "started" the whole matter when Chris Neil hit Chris Drury from behind when Drury didn't even have the puck. It was pretty obvious that it was a dirty hit. Neil wasn't penalized for it, but it doesn't change the facts. The NHL is just really crappy about addressing things like this. They should penalize the player who pulls the dirty hit, the coach, and the team. That would be the only way this type of behavior will be addressed. Drury, meanwhile, is out indefinitely due to the 20 stitches in his forehead and concussion symptoms. So who does get fined? Lindy Ruff, the Sabres coach, for the Sabres retaliation. Ruff was fined $10,000. It totally misses the point that the problem was that Neil put that dirty hit to intentionally hurt a player. The NHL totally misses the picture, and it demeans the whole game. Putting on the first hit is fine and dandy. Letting yourself get emotional and taking justice into your own hands because the NHL is unwilling to do it, now that is something that the NHL doesn't tolerate. Disgusting! Shame on you NHL!

Thursday, February 22, 2007 -- Evening

I watched the women perform last night on American Idol. They were better than the men with a few really good performances. I really liked 17 year old Jordin Sparks, Melinda Doolittle, the backup singer who seems stiff when she moves, and LaKisha Jones, who has a little 4 year old daughter. I skimmed through the show this evening during an intermission in the hockey game to find out that Amy Krebs, the girl who Simon Cowell said didn't stand out--and she didn't, and Nicole Tranquillo were sent home. The surprise was on the mens' side. Paul Kim was the first to go, and that wasn't much of a shock. HIs performance wasn't that great. Also I think his ethnic background went against him because I don't think that America wants to vote for an East Asian. The second guy out was more of a shock because Sundance Head wasn't voted out, and Sanjaya Malakar, the 17 year old, wound up getting the fourth highest vote amongst the men. Rudy Cardenas was the second man sent packing.

The Pens played the Florida Panthers this evening. Jocelyn Thibault was in goal for the Pens. Most of the first period went by without a score until Jordan Staal scored on a power play from a pass by Evgeni Malkin. Sidney Crosby also had a hand in the goal. Thibault has been doing a great job in goal, and has made some nice saves. That continues through most of the second period, but Juraj Kolnik scores for the Panthers with a little over two minutes left in the second to tie things up. With less than three minutes left in regulation, Crosby gets a high sticking penalty. At the start of the penalty, Staal almost had a short handed goal. Then Maxime Talbot ran himself ragged trying to save any Panthers' goals. The Panthers got a delay of game penalty with two seconds left in regulation. The Pens have a power play to start overtime. However, although they try, they don't score. After the power play is over, Colby Armstrong scores to win the game.

I only saw the highlights--or maybe it could be called lowlights--from the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres game. It all started when Chris Drury was violently knocked to the ice, and was lying there bleeding. Well, fights started to break out. The refs got things cleared up, but on the next face-off, the Sabres went for the Senators top player, Dany Heatley. A huge brawl broke out with the goalies coming out of the crease to fight each other. Both goalies were thrown out of the game, and I believe they said on the news clip that 120 minutes of penalties were divvyed out. The coaches were even yelling at each other.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

Michel Therrien has announced that Jocelyn Thibault will be starting in goal tomorrow night. Poor Marc-Andre Fleury. I'm not sure if this will be a boost for Fleury's confidence.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 -- Late Morning

The rumors about Michel Therrien yelling at Marc-Andre Fleury after the game on Monday aren't true. That doesn't mean that Therrien is happy with Fleury's performance over the past few games. He isn't, but he is hoping to express his displeasure and encourage Fleury to do better. The question is whether Fleury will be in goal for tomorrow evening's game against the Florida Panthers.

I watched American Idol last night. It was the first night for the top 24 to compete, so we had two hours of the 12 men singing their little hearts out. It was dismally disappointing, however, with practically all of them sounding bad and singing boring songs. I thought that Sundance Head was the worst. He picked the song that I dislike the most Knights in White Satin and did an extremely miserable job with it. I can only hope that the women do better. I have to admit at this point that I am really glad that I'm not keeping up on blogging about the show. Especially considering all the hockey games that are coming up, I would really have difficulty forcing myself to watch three evenings of torture a week. If I were forced to pick the best of the bunch, it would probably be Chris Robinson. As the judges said, he was the only one who sounded like he came from this decade!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 -- Afternoon

I am really feeling for Marc-Andre Fleury. After yesterday's game, he was called out by Michel Therrien as just givng an okay performance over the last four games. Yesterday's game was the worst of the bunch, and even Fleury was upset with his performance. After the game, Therrien supposedly gave Fleury some flack over the game, saying that Fleury has let in way too many goals over the past four games that he played. After the talk, Fleury was seen removing his uniform in anger and punching a door in the locker room. Let's hope that things pick up for Fleury--he is my favorite on the team--and that the team still manages to make the playoffs. You can never tell if a loss like yesterday's may lead to more losses.

Monday, February 19, 2007 -- Afternoon

The Pens played the New York Islanders this afternoon at 1 pm. This means that in 72 hours, the Pens will have played three games. The NHL doesn't allow teams to play three games in three days, but it's happening now with the Pens because of the afternoon games yestterday and today. The Pens came out flying in the game today and Ryan Malone scored the first goal within 45 seconds of the start of the game. Unfortunately, Victor Kozlov ties things up by scoring for the Islanders at 14.49. The Pens aren't done in the first period. With only 49 seconds left to play, Mark Recchi scores for the Pens. Score is 2-1 at the end of the first period. Malone came out again in the second period, and in the first 49 seconds, shot another puck into the net. There was a review because it wasn't clear if the puck went in or not. The review went to Toronto, and Malone was awarded the goal. It's a back and forth game, and the Islanders come back seconds later to get a goal themselves. Seconds later, the Islanders get another to tie the game at 3-3. The Islanders take the lead a few minutes later with a goal by Miroslav Satan. The Islanders take the lead with a score of 4-3. With only minutes left in the second, Recchi gets a second goal. He and Malone are working hard in this game. Spooky! Malone scores for a third time 48 seconds into the third. So his hat trick times were 0:45, 0:49, and 0:48. The Pens only had the lead for a minute before Chris Simon tied things up. With less than a minute left in the game, the Islanders broke the tie with a goal by Mike Sillinger. It had to happen sometime. The Pens lose with a final score of 6-5. Considering the time between the last three games, it's not surprising. They did put up a valiant fight!

Sunday, February 18, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the Washington Capitals this afternoon. The Capitals haven't been doing so well this season, and the Pens have just been electric. Well, the good luck continued for the Pens in this game. Jocelyn Thibault was in goal, and he did a fine job making a few very nice saves. Olaf Kolzig was injured so Brent Johnson was in goal for the Caps. Mark Recchi, Evgeni Malkin, and Maxiime Talbot all scored goals. Talbot has been hot of late getting points in his last few games. The game was fast paced, had a penalty shot (unsuccessful thankfully), and ended in another win for the Pens. The final score was 3-2. Unfortunately, I was behind an extremely tall man, but I did manage to get a few shots (although I missed the penalty shot as I was trying to look around the behemoth). Check out my pictures of the game.

Saturday, February 17, 2007 -- Evening

A new episode of Endurance: High Sierras was on tonight. I think that the thing that has been annoying about this season is how annoying and superficial some of the players are. The Green and Purple teams are peopled by those arrogant teenagers that everyone dislikes in school because they are so mean to others. Yeah, they may be popular with a certain group because mean sticks together. Blue wins the mission and gives the Samadhi to Purple. Too bad they couldn't give it to both Purple and Green. Read the recap for more details.

Friday, February 16, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the New Jersey Devils this evening. I found out why Alain Nasreddine was a scratch in Wednesday night's game. It was because his son, Alec, was born Wednesday morning. Before the game, the announcers were saying that the Pens should try to win because it will be good psychologically for them to win against the division leader--especially since they may have to face them in the playoffs if the Pens make it. Within three minutes, Jarrko Ruutu drew first blood with his goal. Rob Scuderi scored his first goal of the season two minutes later. The Devils started playing with energy, and the game got even more exciting. The tag team of Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal joined together to get Staal his 24th goal, and Malkin his 37th assist. By the end of the first, Cam Janssen got a penalty for charging against Scuderi (even though Janssen, fortunately, missed Scuderi), which showed how frustrated the Devils were getting. In the second, the Devils finally got a point. However, a short while after that, with the benefit of a power play, Sidney Crosby got the puck right after the face off, and shot the puck between the legs of a defense and right past Martin Brodeur. The Devils came back a short while later to score another goal. Score is 4-2. The fourth line is playing big. It looks like a goal by Dominic Moore, but it was actually shoved in by Ruutu. The Devils think that it is shoved in by the skate, and the refs review it. The Pens keep the goal to go ahead with a score of 5-2. Unfortunately in the first half of the third period, the Devils took advantage of two power play oportunities to score two goals. The second of those goals was upsetting because Marc-Andre Fleury was reaching for the puck with his glove, when the puck ricochetted off the glove and into the net. In the final minute and a half of the game, the Devils pulled Brodeur and put on the heat. The Pens made several unbelieveable saves with Fleury making some great saves. The Pens hold on to salvage a win with a final score of 5-4. Whew!

Thursday, February 15, 2007 -- Evening

My pictures are finally ready, and I hope that everyone enjoys them. You should also check out the coach's post game interview on the Pens' Multimedia Page. Bits of the interview have been making the television newscasts. The best bits were when Therrien said that the refs never make a mistake. The coaches do, the players do, but never the refs. That was in reference to the six (seven counting the goalie) on the ice during the Tuomo Ruutu goal. I have a picture where you can clearly see five Blackhawks grouped together while the sixth joins them. Sucks that the refs can't count, but at least the Pens won in the end. There was also a funny comment where Therrien said that he was doing the a poker move by putting Mark Recchi, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin on the ice at the same time. it worked when Crosby assisted on the Malkin goal that tied the game in the final minutes.

Bill Cowher has joined CBS team of analysts for the Sunday NFL games.

Wednesday, Februrary 14, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Chicago Blackhawks this evening at Mellon Arena. Believe it or not, there was still a sellout crowd of over 17,000 at the game even though the streets were still snow and ice covered, and the temperatures were dropping. The game was a thrilling one that went into overtime and a shoot out. It shouldn't have because the fourth goal by the Blackhawks was scored when six men were on the ice. The Blackhawks were not called for the penalty, even though there were very obviously six of them celebrating the score. I wanted to see how the NHL scored it because did all seven Blackhawks on the ice get a plus? Nope. I wonder how they determined who to leave off? The shoot out was won by two stops by Marc-Andre Fleury and two goals by Erik Christensen and Evgeni Malkin. The Pens get two points out of it and remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points. You just don't expect them to keep on piling up the points, but they do. Sidney Crosby again missed out in the shoot out, and again went another game without a goal (eight so far). Crosby did get a point though on Malkin's tieing goal at the end of the third period. Fleury did another great job in goal. I have to admit that some bozos in the stands were getting on my nerves with their stupid comments and lack of knowledge of hockey statistics. A guy two rows back in the C17 section loudly proclaimed when Fleury let the first short handed goal in that Fleury always lets in one soft goal every game. Hmm...wonder how Bozo number one accounts for those shut outs that Fleury has had this season. The guy has been playing superbly. Even so, everyone lets in a goal now and again. No goalie go through the season without letting in a single goal. Then someone onw row behind hind me commented that surprisingly Fleury was able to stop a goal when he gloved one. Dah! He does that alot. When Fleury made a great save in the overtime that they kept on showing on the jumbotron, I looked back to see what Bozo number one in section C17 was saying. His mouth was shut, but he was also not acknowledging that hes an idiot. Some of the fans really get on my nerves with stupid comments and totally not knowing anything about the game while loudly proclaiming their ignorance by their remarks. Enough said. Since I had to take the bus into town because my car is covered in ice, and will have to get up early in the morning to get to work, I will post my pictures of the game Thursday evening. Keep your eyes on this spot for the pictures! In the meantime, check out my video of the shoot out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 -- Afternoon

We finally had a snow storm here in Pittsburgh. It has been the heaviest snow of the year, and we wound up getting a few inches. It might have been more, but the snow turned to ice midway through. The storm started yesterday, turned to ice yesterday evening, and then turned back to snow overnight. I have been working from home since I have been sick with a flu, and didn't want to spend a great deal of time outside making myself sicker. My boyfriend did brave the elements at lunchtime, and took the following pictures for me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 -- Late Morning

Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, have set up a $3 million endowment in honor of Dr. Dean Richardson at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary school to study equine diseases. The endowment will go towards further research in laminitis which was the ultimate cause of death for Barbaro. In other Barbaro news, Bloodhorse magazine is going to release a commerative issue with 80 pages of articles and 50 color photos. There will probably be a glut of materials on Barbaro in the upcoming months, with a book already due for release at the end of February titled Barbaro: A Nation's Love Story.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 -- Morning

CMU is a local university with big aspirations. The researchers in the Robotics Institute have written a program for the Mars Rover which allows the Rovers to autonomously determine how to get around obstacles. The engineers simulated a test situation by putting an "obstacle" in Opportunity's path. Opportunity was able to successfully get around the obstacle. The software test was performed last week on Feb. 7. The goal of the software is to enable the Rovers to get around obstacles and to get out of dead-end situations. The Rovers are really something to admire. We didn't think that the Rovers would last so long, and yet, there they are--still performing and providing valuable data.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 -- Afternoon

I have been battling a bout of stomach flu, and have been staying at home. Unfortunately, I was doing alot of sleeping, and because of my illness, I missed yesterday's home game between the Pittsburgh Panthers and Louisville Cardinals. My boyfriend's boss gave him the tickets, and it sucked to miss an opportunity to see a Big East game. My boyfriend went, and he really enjoyed himself. I would have too, especially since Pitt lost to Louisville with a final score of 66-53. I am not a huge fan of Pitt sports, and I think that it has alot to do with the fact that I used to work at Pitt's Alumni Relations. It really soured my view of the organization.

I did manage to finish reading Gordan Ramsay's new autobiography Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection. The book is as most of these celebrity biographies are: short, big font, and not alot of bang for the buck. There are some nice color photos, and I did find out some things that I didn't know before. Ramsay did not have an easy childhood, and had a father who was abusive to his mother and the kids. It seems that Ramsay has alot of his qualities today in retaliation to his father. I find that I like Ramsay even more than before because of his honesty. Ramsay is how he appears, and doesn't try to make himself out to be a saint. In some respects he reminds me of my boyfriend who will say things to get a rise out of people. The book was a quick and interesting read.

Sunday, February 11, 2007 -- Morning

I watched my recording of the new episode of Endurance: High Sierras this morning. I really don't like the Purple team because Dakota is such a jerk. I hope that they don't go on to win the whole thing. He needs to be knocked down a few pegs by losing the game. There was nother Temple mission, and Orange is sent home. Read the recap for more details.

Saturday, February 10, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the Toronto Maples Leafs in Toronto. The game got stopped in the first two minutes in the first period because a ref was hit with a puck. He was okay. The game was just flying by! The first whistle and second stop in the game occurred twelve minutes into the game (other than the stoppage for the ref). That was the fastest that I've seen. There was alot of back and forthing with the puck, but no scores. Jordan Staal scored with only 38 seconds left in the period to give the Pens a 1-0 lead. The second period started another goal by Staal (his 22nd of the season) at 3:22 with an another assist by Evgeni Malkin. Five minutes later, Malkin scored his own goal with an assist by Sidney Crosby. Things were looking good because the Pens had a 3-0 lead, but that quickly vanished when the Maple Leafs scored three goals in the final six minutes of the game to tie things up. The third goal was by Bates Battaglia in the last 55 seconds of the game. The period ends with the score tied 3-3. The Maple Leafs started to play a more physical game in the last half of the second period, and it showed with their scoring. Darn! Just shortly after the third period started, the Leafs score again to take the lead, 4-3. The Pens were done, however. Ryan Malone scored a goal less than a minute later to tie things up. The Leafs scored again, and then within minutes Maxime Talbot tied things up. There was a fight. Someone jumped in front of the video camera, and I missed seeing it the first time, but it was between Ronald Petrovicky and Kris Newbury. Newbury had been giving Petrovicky problems earlier, and the twosome got into a punching battle. From the look of the second camera, Petrovicky knocked out Newbury with a punch, and Newbury hit the ice. They called in a stretcher and took him off the ice. Right after the game restarted, Marc-Andre Fleury made some great saves. Regulation ended in a tie. It looked like the game was going to go to a shoot out when Malkin came breezing down the ice with the puck. He made a pass to Staal who scored his first hat trick! Ryan Whitney jumped on Staal knocking him to the ice, where they were joined by Malkin. Everyone charged Staal, and rubbed his face with their hands to the point where he had a cherry red face by the time they were done. A great win, retrieved from a possible loss. These guys don't seem to give up!

Friday, February 9, 2007 -- Evening

I was listening to the Mark Madden show on the local ESPN radio station on my way home from work this evening. He had Damien Cox, from the Toronto Star. Cox was talking about how good a job Michel Therrien is doing, considering that the Pens are basically a young team. As Cox was saying, Madden had given him something to think about, and Cox thinks that it wouldn't be a far fetched idea for Therrien to be considered for coach of the year honors. Of course, it is still to early to think of things like that. I know that I am feeling hopeful about the team's prospects, and I am putting in my bid for playoff tickets. The Pens ticket office sent out a form to all season ticket holders, and I don't think that I can pass it up. To get my current seat in the playoffs will cost $60. (Right now, it's $30 a seat.) In Cox's article for today, he says that Sidney Crosby and Martin Brodeur are the two to watch as front runners for the Hart Trophy. The Hart Trophy is given to the player who is judged to be most valuable to his team.

Thursday, February 8, 2007 -- Evening

I have been really frustrated and angry for most of the week because of problems that I have been having with my Verizon 3 MB DSL line. Basically since Saturday, I have been plodding along at modem type speeds of anywhere from 128 kbps to 350 kbps download speed. The Verizon technical support sucks. Basically every time I called, I got routed to India. The people there didn't understand English and had no technical skills whatsoever. it really irritates me when some dingdong tells me to clear my cookies in IE to improve my speed--while I have a Mac and use Firefox. For the past week, we have been unable to get anyone to accept that it is a network problem--even though we offered them traceroutes that showed where the problem might lie. Traceroutes? What are those? Delete those IE cookies! So after yelling myself blue in the face, and raising my blood pressure no end, I decided that I needed to drop Verizon. I am in the process of moving to a local ISP, Nidhog. My boyfriend had me talk to the guys to make sure that I was going to be happy with the level of support, and they sound like winners. I should be switched over sometime tomorrow--I hope, I hope! In the meantime, this evening, I have practically no connection from home because the speeds are even worse. It is just so frustrating to deal with a monolith that refuses to acknowledge a problem and when you talk to someone different every time you call. Especially frustrating is getting routed to crappy support from India. At least give an American a job with an American company with an American customer! What absolutes gets my goat and just makes me want to kick soembody is that my hands are tied. I can't get the techincal support folks to acknowledge the problem, so I can't get it fixed. There's no one to listen to me, and I have just been railing away at a deaf Behemoth. At least with Nidhog, I will have contact with someone who comprehends English and who wants to fix my problem. I hope tomorrow I have much better news!

I have given up on my blogging about American Idol. I just haven't had alot of time with the full season tickets to the Pens, being very busy at work, and not having enough time in the evenings to do all the things that I want to do. Something had to give, and with American Idol requiring three nights a week, it was the first to go. I might watch the show from time to time, but I'm just not going to be able to watch it on a steady basis. The same applies to Survivor: Fiji.

The Pens played the Philadelphia Flyers this evening. In the first period, it looked like Jordan Staal might have scored, but the goal was called off because the refs claimed that Ryan Whitney prevented the goalie, Antero Nittymaki, from making a save. At least Whitney didn't get a peanlty. Staal was not to be denied though, and later on just right as a Pens power play ended, Staal scored! Unfortunately, Simon Gagne came on abit over two minutes later during a power play to tie things up. The Pens are killing themselves with penalities, and the Flyers take advantage as Gagne scores again to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead. The second period was going by without alot of scoring, until Michel Ouellet got a goal on the power play, and Ryan Whitney and Marc-Andre Fleury got assists on the goal. The third period starts with a goal by Mark Recchi in the first 34 seconds of the period. Just seconds later, Erik Christensen scores to give the pens a 4-2 lead. Gagne gets a hat trick in the third to bring the Flyers within one of the Pens. However, it looked like the puck went off of Mike Knuble's skate. The Flyers are a bunch of goons. Fleury had stopped the puck under his glove, and the whistle went off when one of the goons charged Fleury and knocked him around, bending him into a backward C against the goal post. Less than three minutes left in the game, and so far, the Pens still have a 4-3 lead. Darn! Less than 1:30 left in the game, and Knuble manages to get a goal to tie the game. Time expires, and the game goes to overtime. The Pens lose an opportunity at getting two points. Fleury made some really great saves in the overtime to keep the Pens in the game. It comes down to a shoot out. Jocelyn Thibault and Mark Recchi gave some advice to Fleury before the start of the shoot out. First up for the Pens in the shoot out is Erik Christensen. Christensen is stopped! Next up is Jeff Carter who is stopped by Fleury. Evgeni Malkin is next up for the Pens, and it goes off the goal post. No score. Now up comes Peter Forsberg. He looked like he was almost going to go around Fleury, but he goes off the goal post too. It's up to Sidney Crosby who finally drills one into the net! Finally, Crosby scores on the shoot out. Now it is Simon Gagne who is stopped by the man--Fleury. The Pens get a point by winning in the shoot out. The announcers say that the Pens have just moved into fourth place with this win.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Nashville Predators this evening. The Predators have the best record in the NHL, and I have to admit that I was concerned that the Pens would lose. However, the team surprised me by winning in a thrilling game. Marc-Andre Fleury turned in another superb performance, blocking 25 of 26 shots. He was really on fire and earned the number one star of the game. Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin both got goals, and Sidney Crosby got two assists. Mark Recchi had a good showing with three assists. I have to admit that he is not playing like a geriatric! The Pens won with a final score of 4-1, and look like serious playoff contenders. Check out my pictures of the game.

Monday, February 5, 2007 -- Evening

I was really disappointed in yesterday's Super Bowl game. The first thing that disappointed me was that the game is played in the south and covered arenas because they want to eliminate the bad weather element. It was a down pour the whole fricking game. I'm saying have the game in the North and take your chances. I was cheering on the Chicago Bears because I really can't stand Peyton Manning. He is such a wuss, and annoyingly ubiquitous. The commercials were a disappointment. The only one that really sort of made me chuckle was the Nationwide commercial with K-Fed. That's the one where he goes from rap star to working in a fast food joint. I did like the Prince concert. It might have something to do with the fact that I like Prince. I think that some people didn't like it because they couldn't sing along with the songs, but I just liked seeing him perform. The only issue I had with Prince was that lame bandana that he had on his head at the beginning of the performace. It was probably to keep his head from being wet and bedraggled, but he was in for a soaking.

Sidney Crosby is getting upset about some of the things that are done to him during a game. Crosby is getting speared and high sticked left and right. In yesterday's game, he got a high stick to the face and the refs didn't call the penalty. My opinion is that we need an enforcer who will make the others think twice before they do something. As some of the local sportscasters were saying, and they were echoing comments made by the players, there's no need for an enforcer because the others on the team stick up for Sid. The only thing that I have to say is that I know that Ryan Malone strikes about as much fear in my heart as a grandma would. So you can imagine how scared an intimidator is. Yep, not at all. Which is why Crosby is getting knocked around like a rag doll. We need some sort of enforcer type before Crosby has a serious injury from these shenanigans.

Sunday, February 4, 2007 -- Afternoon

The Pens are playing the Montreal Canadiens this afternoon, and there has been alot of hype about the game because of the shenanigans of the Canadiens during the game. Through the first period, the action is rough and ready, and both teams are playing with intensity. The Canadiens especially so because they were beaten yesterday by the New York Islanders. The first to score is the Pens with a powerplay goal by Jordan Staal. The Canadiens score on almost five minutes into the second period with an even handed goal by Tomas Plekance. The Canadiens take a hooking penalty that give the Pens a power play. Ryan Whitney takes advantage of it to score a goal to give the Pens a 2-1 lead. Sidney Crosby gets an assist on the goal. Within less than two minutes of the game, the Canadiens score with a second goal by Plekance. The score is tied 2-2. The Canadiens get another power play opportunity when Evgeni Malkin gets an interference penalty. Mark Streit scores for the Habs. There was some consternation on the part of the local game announcers because Crosby is getting man-handled alot. I know that Therrien says we don't need an enforcer, but I disagree. The Pens had a power play when Francis Bouillon got called for a holding. He had an earlier high stick against Crosby that wasn't called. Anyway, the Pens took advantage of the opportunity, and Michel Ouellet scores to tie that game with two and a half minutes left in the game. The game ends in a 3-3 tie, and heads into overtime. Darn! Crosby lost the puck, and there was a two on one against Fleury, and the puck went in. The Canadiens win the game, but in overtime, so the Pens get at least a point.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 -- Evening

I forgot to mention earlier that Colby Armstrong was a scratch in today's Pens game. Everyone in the stands wondered what had happened. Well, I found out when I got home. It seems that Armstrong injured his knee during the Montreal Canadiens game. Some say that it might have been either the hit on Saku Koivu or attack by Sheldon Souray. Aramstrong didn't go with the team on the flight to Montreal. Tomorrow's game is at 2 pm. The question is how physical will the game be tomorrow. The tone was set in Thursday's game when Sidney Crosby was speared on the face-off. I think that the NHL really needs to investigate the cheap shots that players have been taking on Crosby. The one on Thursda is really bad because it was probably condoned and encouraged by Montreal coach, Guy Carbonneau. It seems that Carbonneau thought he should start the game with his fourth liner, and the Pens should do the same. The thing is that the Crosby usually starts the games at home. When he doesn't, Evgeni Malkin does.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 -- Early Evening

Just call the Pens butter because they are on a roll. The Pens played the Captials in an early afternoon game before a sellout crowd at Mellon Arena. The Pens have been playing well of late, and went into the game with a five game winning streak. It extended to a six game streak. I was really excited about this game because it was the first time this season that I had a chance to Alexander Ovechkin. I took advantage of the opportunity, but loading up on pictures. Marc-Andre Fleury had another outstanding game, and had his second shut out in three games. Fleury is hot, and he has been playing with an intensity that shows what a great goalie he is going to be in the future. In fact, the players on the team have said that Fleury is the reason they have the wins they do because he keeps them in the game. The first period went by without any goals. Ronald Petrovicky was the first to score with an unassisted goal. The only other goal in the game was an empty netter by Jordan Staal. The game was a fairly clean game with four penalties in the first and three in the second. None were awarded in the third period. Now let's hope that the Pens keep it up. Check out my pictures of the game.

Friday, February, 2, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

The last Harry Potter is scheduled for release on July 21. The book is titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There hasn't been alot of information about the book at this time, but the cost is $35.95, and the implication is that the book must have more pages than the last one. Supposedly, a record number of people, 1.5 million, have pre-ordered the book from Amazon. I'm not shopping at Amazon as I used to because when you do choose the free shipping option, they purposefully hold up your shipment. Other online stories don't pull shennigans like that, so I'm not shopping from Amazon. However, I will probably stop at the local Barnes and Noble. That would be alot more fun because there will be festivities at the store.

There are still alot of rumors about where the Pens will be next season. They are still talking to Kansas City, and there a new offer from local officials. I am getting really tired of all the indecision and game playing. I just wish that the whole matter would be over so we would all know where we stand.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Montreal Canadiens this evening at Mellon Arena. The game was a sell-out, probably aided by the fact that the Canadiens were in town and it was a give-away night. The give-away tonight was a Marc-Andre Fleury wall banner. The game tonight was extemely exciting. The crowd was cheering at every move, and the Pens seemed energized on the ice. You knew it was going to be a thrilling, fight fest when Sidney Crosby got a hit in the first seconds after the face off that left him lying on the ice. There were Montreal's Sheldon Souray got a game misconduct when he retaliated against Colby Armstrong for a hit against Saku Koivu. The Pens had a 4-2 lead in the third period, but with only six minutes left in the game, the Canadiens tied things up. There was no score during the overtime, which means shoot out. I wasn't feeling very hopeful, but Erik Christensen and Evgeni Malkin scored in the shoot out, but Crosby didn't. Fleury was playing magnificently as evidenced by stopping 40 of 44. He managed to stop two of the shoot out goals to give the Pens the win. As people were leaving, they were screaming and chanting in the streets, and blowing their horns. You would have thought we won a playoff game instead of a regular season game. Needless to say, it was quite an experience. Check out my pictures of the game. Final score 5-4.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 -- Morning

Mark Recchi turns 39 years old today. He's getting up there--for a hockey player. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Recchi's, but he really has been a workhorse for the team. When you see him on the ice, he's chugging around, making plays. That's why he was chosen as the NHL First Star and Player of the Week. There is supposed to be another ceremony for him at the beginning of tonight's Pens game against the Montreal Canadiens. No word yet on any deals between local officials and the Pens about an arena. Everyone is anticipating that there will be word sometime soon. The local news stations have said they will cut into regular programming if there is an announcement.