The Daily Bongo

February 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011 -- Evening

Kovalev Shows Up
Alexi Kovalev showed up this evening for the Pens in their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He scored the first goal for the Pens this evening, and then scored the shoot out winner. The game, in general, was a goal-fest for both team. The score was tied at 5-5 into the shootout. Final score: Pens 6 - Maple Leafs 5.

Friday, February 25, 2011 -- Evening

Kovalev Back With the Pens; Orpik Out
Alexi Kovalev is back with the Pens, after his lack of performance and general locker room cancer antics, lead to the Ottawa Senators dumping him on the Pens. For some reason, fans appear to be happy that Kovalev is back with the Pens, however, I don't think it's such a great deal. Kovalev has not been performing and is probably not likely to do perform well for the Pens. Because Craig Adams has Kovalev's old number, 27, Kovalev will wear 72 this time around. Adams made the offer to give up the number, but Kovalev said no. Meanwhile, Brooks Orpik is out for four weeks with a broken finger. The poor Pens have really been burdened with injuries this year.
Pens Start Road Trip
The Pens started a five game road trip this evening against the Carolina Hurricanes. Unfortunately, Alexi Kovalev didn't add much to the team. Pascal Dupuis scored one goal for the Pens, but the Hurricanes scored four goals. Eric Staal suffered an upper body injury and left the game. Final score: Pens 1 - Hurricanes 4.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Lose
James Neal and Matt Niskanen were both on the roster for this evening's Pens match against the San Jose Sharks. The game was a close one. Tyler Kennedy was the star of the game for the Pens, getting both goals. The second goal was great because it tied the game with less than a minute left, taking the game into overtime. Unfortunately, the Sharks got one past Marc-Andre Fleury in the last four seconds of OT. Final score: Pens 2 - Sharks 3.

Monday, February 21, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Play Caps and Trade Gogligoski
The Pens finally got into the trade business today, trading Alex Golgoski to the Dallas Stars for winger James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen. Neal and Niskanen were not in tonight's lineup against the Washington Capitals. The first period of the Caps game didn't have any scores, but in the second period, Alexander Ovechkin got his first goal against the Pens this season with a power play goal. Marc-Andre Fleury kept the Pens in the game by stopping 23 of 24 shots. However, the Pens were unable to capitalize on any of their 39 shots. The Caps win in a shutout with a score of 1-0.

Sunday, February 20, 2011 -- Evening

Lame Road Trip
The Pens West Coast trip this week was an extremely lame one. They played in Colorado on Wednesday, and then had a layoff until today, when they were in Chicago to play the Blackhawks. I will give the Pens props. They have been playing well, considering they don't have Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, AND have been decimated with injuries all season. In today's game, the Pens were able to match goal for goal with the Blackhawks and take the game into overtime and then a shootout. Unfortunately, Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks goalie shut down the Pens in the shootout, while Patrick Kane managed to get one behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Final score: Pens 2 - Blackhawks 3.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 -- Late Evening

Pens' West Coast Trip
The Pens started their West Coast stint in Colorado with the Avalanche. Surprisingly, the Pens were able to pull off an overtime win. It might help that the Avalanche are struggling this season. Final score: Pens 3 - Avalanche 2.

Sunday, February 13, 2011 -- Early Evening

Suspensions Levied, and Mario Speaks
The NHL levied suspensions and fines against the NY Islanders late last night. Trevor Gillies was suspended for nine games, and Matt Martin was suspended for four games. The Islanders were fined $100,000. Basically Colin Campbell acknowledged that the Islanders were the ones who started the goon show on Friday. About Gillies and Martin, Campbell said:

"The actions by the Islanders' Gillies and Martin were deliberate attempts to injure by delivering blows to the head of players who were unsuspecting and unable to defend themselves. The message should be clear to all players: targeting the head of an opponent by whatever means will be dealt with by suspension."

Eric Godard of the Pens received a 10 game suspension for leaving the bench to go to the aid of Brent Johnson when Micheal Haley tried to fight Johnson. It's never fair when a real hockey fighter wants to take on a goalie.

Mario Lemieux responded to the situation today, and said:

"Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be. But what happened Friday night on Long Island wasn't hockey. It was a travesty. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.

"The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.

"We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players. We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action.

"If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it."

Pens Lose
The Pens were still in New York to play the Rangers in a late afternoon game. The Pens scored first and held a 2-0 lead, but the Rangers tied things up in the first and never looked back. The Rangers got their first win in sic games. Final score: Pens 3 - Rangers 5.

Friday, February 11, 2011 -- Evening

Only 7 Pens remain on the ice by the end of the 2/11/2011 game.
Embarrassment to the NHL, Islanders, and Pens
The Pens traveled to New York to play the Islanders. This was the first rematch since the Brent Johnson/Rick DiPietro fight that resulted in DiPietro injuring his knee and having facial fractures. Brent Johnson was back in goal because the Pens didn't want to risk Marc-Andre Fleury being injured. The game was an embarrassment for the Pens and the Islanders. The Islanders had a 4-0 lead at the end of the first period. The Islanders kept scoring, and Johnson was pulled for a portion of the second period, and Fleury was in goal. Starting in the second period, numerous fights broke out between the Pens and the Islanders. By the end of the game, only seven Pens skaters were left in the game with the two goalies, as you can see from the photo to the right. There were seven game misconducts for the Pens and 151 penalty minutes. The NHL should have egg on his face because the Islanders went out of the way to assault the Pens. One instance was when Matt Martin dropped his gloves and attacked Max Talbot from behind, just like Todd Bertuzzi did to Steve Moore. That one was because Talbot had hit Blake Comeau, which resulted in a concussion. Trevor Gillies elbowed Eric Tangradi when he was down. That was a blatant attempt to give Tangradi a concussion and do serious damage. Gillies then stood in the runway to the locker room, taunting Tangradi as he was kneeling on the ice being attended by a trainee. After the game, it was confirmed the Tangradi did have concussion symptoms. The NHL really needs to address the psycho behavior displayed in this game, and NEEDS to hand down some harsh penalties. Final score: Pens 3 - Islanders 9.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Pull Out a Win
The LA Kings were in town to play the Pens this evening. The game was a close one. Brett Sterling, one of the recent call-ups from the Baby Pens to help out with all the injuries, scored first. The Kings tied things at the end of the first. More bad news in the game when Dustin Jeffries suffered a lower body injury that took him out of the game. The game became a goalie match, with both Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonathan Quick stopping the puck left and right. The game went in to overtime, and Jordan Staal stepped up, seconds before OT was over to score for the Pens. Pens win with a final score of 2-1.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 -- Evening

Cooke Gets His Just Dues
Matt Cooke of the Pens was given a four game suspension for boarding Fedor Tyutin in last night's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. I missed the play last night, but Cooke and Dan Bylsma, loser, claim that Tyutin looked and saw Cooke flying at him. Well, it was a textbook case of boarding. Tyutin was by the boards, in the corner, and Cooke charged him, shoving Tyutin into the glass. The thing is that Cooke does this all the time. What really irritates me is that Pens fans support Cooke's dirty antics because he's on the team. i hate fans who do that sort of thing. If the same thing happened to Sidney Crosby, we would be up in arms. Because it was against the opposing team, it's okay. Bull!
Crosby Still Out
Speaking of Crosby, he is still out. Supposedly, he is with his parents in a warm climate location, trying to relax and get over the concussion symptoms. This all sounds really bad, and it has been a hot item on the sports talk shows. Obviously the problem was exacerbated by Pens playing Crosby AFTER he had the concussive hit in the Winter Classic. If Crosby didn't play, and didn't get the second hit, he might be playing right now. Players, coaches, and fans have to understand that head injuries are serious business and treat them accordingly.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Suffer From Injuries
The Pens have been having a hard time with injuries this season. Not only are Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Mark Letestu out with injuries, but Aaron Asham has an injury, and Chris Kunitz, who skated in the morning, was out with a lower body injury. The Columbus Blue Jackets were in town this evening, and they took a 3-0 lead into the third period. Things were looking dire. Tyler Kennedy got a goal in the third, but it was too little too late. I think the Pens will make the playoffs because the Carolina Hurricanes, who are in 8th place now, are 14 points behind us. Final score: Pens 1 - Blue Jackets 4.

Sunday, February 6, 2011 -- Late Afternoon

Pens Lose
The Pens had a bad game today against the Washington Capitals this afternoon. The Capitals scored a goal in each period, with the final goal being an empty net in the last minute of the game. In the third period, Tim Wallace (of the Pens) got in a fight with David Steckel. Some were wondering if there would be a retaliation fight against Steckel, since he is the one who put the hit in on Sidney Crosby in the Winter Classic. The Pens lost with a final score of 0-3.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 -- Evening

Bad News for Malkin and the Pens
Pens fans got bad news earlier this afternoon when the MRI came back showing that Evgeni Malkin had torn his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his knee. It sounds he will need season ending surgery. When you combine this with Sidney Crosby's concussion and Mark Letestu's arthroscopic knee surgery that has him out for four to six weeks, things are not looking good for the Pens. Fortunately, the rest of the team is rallying to win games.

Friday, February 4, 2011 -- Evening

Malkin In...Then Out
The Pens were playing the Buffalo Sabres this evening in Pittsburgh. Evgeni Malkin started the game, but unfortunately, he had a bad hit in the Sabres corner. Malkin's right knee looked like it bent the wrong way. Malkin crumbled to the ice, and then limped off the ice. After being off for a few weeks with his left knee and sinus infection, it looks like Malkin will be missing more time with his right knee. The Sabres scored in the first seventeen seconds of the game, then again seven minutes later. Fortunately, the Pens had a comeback in the second period with goals by Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy, and Matt Cooke. Pens won with a final score of 3-2.
Johnson Breaks DiPietro's Face
We found out today that Rick DiPietro has a fractured face and injured knee. Obviously, we should be calling DiPietro "Glass Boy." I mean, who would think that one punch would do so much damage.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 -- Evening

Goalie Fight and a Pens Win
The Pens were back in town to play the New York Islanders this evening. Jordan Staal was back in the lineup. The officials reviewed the game misconduct penalty and said that no additional penalties were needed. From watching the video replay of the incident, Brandon Prust elbowed Staal, who just hit him back in the face. It definitely wasn't a sucker punch. The Pens got two goals in the first period from Tyler Kennedy and Chris Kunitz. Max Talbot finally got a goal after several games worth of tries with an empty net goal in the end of the third period. Talbot got his 50th goal and 100th career point. The best thing that happened was when Rick DiPietro went crazy and interfered with Matt Cooke with 16.3 seconds in the game. There was a crush in the corner, with the cameras focused on it, when we saw the ref fly away from the group. Brent Johnson and DiPietro were dropping the gloves near center ice. Johnson landed one punch, and DiPietro fell to the ice. Both goalies got penalties for leaving the crease, fighting, and game misconduct. Both benches were watching the jumbotron for the goalie fight. I don't know if Marc-Andre Fleury would have challenged DiPietro. It's not often that you see the goalies drop the gloves. Unfortunately, Johnson probably won't get credit for his second shutout of the season because he was tossed from the ice with only 16 seconds left. Final score: Pens 3 - Islanders 0.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 -- Evening

NHL All-Star Game
Marc-Andre Fleury and Kris Letang were the only Pens who made it to the NHL All-Star Game this past weekend. Sidney Crosby only got cleared for light workouts this past weekend, and Evgeni Malkin supposedly had knee problems and a sinus infection. Fleury really seemed to be enjoying himself at the All-Star game. He was the goalie for Team Lindstrom in the breakaway competition. Fleury did a slew of things to entertain the audience and the shooters. He did jumping jacks, push-ups, the wrong end of his stick, and various poses to distract the shooter. In the draft on Friday, Letang was selected for Team Staal, so he and Fleury were on competing teams. Letang did his job, scoring two goals and wracking up 18 minutes of playing time. Team Lindstrom won the game.
Pens Play in New York
The Pens were in New York to play the Rangers this evening. Evgeni Malkin was cleared for play, but didn't make it for the Rangers game. Unfortunately, Mark Letestu hurt his leg during practice by hitting a rut in the ice. Aaron Asham suffered an upper body injury in the game. With all the injuries, it would be surprising if the Pens were able to win. In the second period, Jordan Staal got an elbow to the face from Brandon Prust. Staal retaliated by punching Prust in the face. Staal got a 5 minute penalty and a game misconduct for "sucker punching" Prust. It sure didn't look like a sucker punch to me! Regulation ended with the game in a 3-3 tie. There were no goals in the overtime, so it went to a shootout. The shootout went to seven shooters with Dustin Jeffrey finally scoring the winning goal. Final score: Pens 4 - Rangers 3.