The Daily Bongo

January 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009 -- Evening

Tonight, the Pens were on the Canadian leg of their away games, playing the Toronto Maple Leafs. Mathieu Garon was in goal for the first time as a Pen. Both teams traded goals with the Maple Leafs always winding up somehow with the lead. The Pens tried valiantly to tie things in the third period, but they weren't able to do so. The Maple Leafs won with a final score of 5-4.

Friday, January 30, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens were in New Jersey playing the Devils. The Pens started out strong with Max Talbot and Sidney Crosby getting goals within 20 seconds of each other to allow the Pens to take the early lead. Things were going well until the third period. Petr Sykora took a penalty, then argued with the ref to get an additional two minutes tacked on for poor sportsmanship. The Devils scored in the first two minutes of the penalty, and then tied the game in the last minute of the third to put the game into overtime. Unfortunately, the Devils scored in the overtime to get the win. The Pens had to settle for one point. The final score: Pens 3 - Devils 4.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

I went to the Pittsburgh Steelers fan rally held in downtown Pittsburgh. The rally was held so fans could get together, wear Steeler gear, and cheer for the team. Everyone is really excited about Super Bowl XLIII, and there was a sign at the rally from a fan who is disgruntled over the possibility of no parade if the Steelers win on Sunday. Last time, the team paraded through the town on cars, and the problem was that the team went through narrow streets, crowded with fans. At least there was a rally today. It didn't last long, but it was entertaining. Check out my pictures of the rally and video of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl throwing eggs at a Cardinal mascot.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 -- Morning

The Pens played the New York Rangers last night. It was an important game because everyone was talking about the Pens' slide into 10th place, and how Michel Therrien should be fired. Sidney Crosby, Max Talbot, and Pascal Dupuis were all back on the ice, but Matt Cooke was off for a two-game suspension. Cooke got the suspension for a head hit against Scott Walker in the January 20th game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The first twor periods of the game were not that great. The game started with a fight between Eric Goddard and Colton Orr. Then the Rangers scored in the first three minutes. The Pens came back a few minutes later to tie things up, but the second period was a mess with the Rangers making 18 shots on goal to the Pens 8. Marc-Andre Fleury made some beautiful saves that kept the Pens in the game, and the offense (and Kris Letang) rewarded Fleury in the third period. The Pens scored five goals in the third to easily win the game. Petr Sykora and Kris Letang both score two goals in the game, and Crosby had a goal and three assists. Very nicely done. The final score of the game: Pens 6 - Rangers 2.

Sunday, January 25, 2009 -- Evening

This weekend was NHL All-Star weekend. Yesterday was the Special Skills competition. Evgeni Malkin won the accuracy competition by hitting seven of eight targets. The most surprising thing was when Malkin helped out Alexander Ovechkin in the breakaway competition. Malkin brought out a straw hat and big sunglasses for Ovechkin and helped him put on the gear. Then Malkin squirted gatorade into Ovechkin's mouth, and then Malkin handed his stick to Ovechkin. Ovechkin used both sticks until he got to the goalie, then he just used Malkin's stick and scored on the rebound. There was a story on the Internet that Ilya Kovalchuk orchestrated the reconciliation between Ovechkin and Malkin. The All-Star game was this evening, and although Sidney Crosby didn't play, he appeared in a dress suit on the ice when the line up was announced. Crosby also spent some time in the announcer's box with the Versus announcers. The East took an early lead, but the West fought back. The game was tied through an overtime, and it went to a shootout. Alex Kovalev got the winning goal for the East to get the win with a final score of 12-11.

Thursday, January 22, 2009 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby is going to miss this year's NHL All-Star game. Crosby was saying that he was going to play, which everyone hoped from the player with the most votes in All-Star history. However, he hurt his knee in the January 14 game against the Washington Capitals. He missed a game but came back. Ray Shero and the team's doctors felt that Crosby should skip the game. So Crosby's hands were tied, and he had to take one for the team. It's extremely disappointing. I think that there should be some sort of way that injuried players can still participate at the All-Star game. Maybe have the injured players at the event signing autographs, or walking out on carpeting at a start of the game. This is the second game in a row that Crosby missed, and that is a huge disappointment to the fans.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens played their last game before the NHL All-Star game tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. The game started out well for the Pens, with Evgeni Malkin scoring a power play goal at 2:33 in the first period. But then the Hurricanes starting shooting the puck at Marc-Andre Fleury as if he were a duck in a shooting gallery. Fleury played well, stopping 38 of the 40 shots. The Pens just couldn't get a goal. In the last four minutes of the game, the Pens had a four minute power play due to a high stick that gave Malkin a bloody lip. However, the Pens just couldn't score. The game ended with the Hurricanes winning, final score: Pens 1 - Hurricanes 2. Unfortunately, the Pens are now in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully, they will come back from the All-Star break with a renewed vigor.

Monday, January 19, 2009 -- Afternoon

Mike Zigomanis, of the Pens, had shoulder surgery on January 14, and will be out for the rest of the season. Zigomanis hurt his shoulder in the Dec. 3 game against the a href="" target="_blank">New York Rangers. Dr. James Andrews, a renown orthopedic surgeon who has worked on many athletes, performed the surgery.

I forgot to mention last night that Hines Ward sat out most of the Steelers game yesterday after injuring his knee on a play. It seems that it's a sprained knee, and Ward will be getting an MRI on it sometime today. Supposedly Ward is claiming that he will be playing in the Super Bowl. I guess if the opportunity comes, you try to play, unless it does serious damage. After all, he will have some time to rest it since the Super Bowl is on February 1.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 -- Late Evening

The Steelers played the Baltimore Ravens this evening in the AFC Championship. Right before the Steeler game started at 6:30 p.m., the Arizona Cardinals won the NFC Championship to get into the Super Bowl. Ken Whisenhunt, the coach of the Cardinals, was the former offensive coordinator for the Steelers. I was very tense watching the Steelers this evening because I wanted thme to win, and they weren't delivering a knockout blow. Both the Steelers and the Ravens were having difficulty getting first downs. The Steelers were the first to score with two Jeff Reed field goals. Then Santonio Holmes had a great run to get a touchdown. The Ravens pulled within two of the Steelers (14-16), but Troy Polamalu sealed the deal by intercepting a Joe Flacco throw and running it in for a touchdown. The gaiety turned to sorrow though when Ryan Clark hit Willis McGahee, and both players wound up lying on the ground. Clark managed to walk off under his own steam, but it looked like he had had his clock cleaned. McGahee didn't walk off the field. They called in a stretcher and wheeled him out. It didn't look good because McGahee wasn't moving after the hit. As he was being wheeled off, he did move his arms slightly. There were only three minutes left in the game at that point, and the Steelers had the ball because McGahee fumbled on the his. The Steelers ended it with Tyrone Carter making another interception. Final score: Steelers 23 - Ravens 14.

Sunday, January 18, 2009 -- Early Evening

The Pens played the New York Rangers in the early afternoon today. The game was early because the Steelers are playing in the AFC Championship this evening. The Pens played a great game this afternoon. The team played with energy, and they put pucks on the net. They were also doing well with the neutral zone trap. Sidney Crosby and Rob Scuderi were both back in the lineup. Marc-Ande Fleury played a stellar game and got a shutout for his efforts. A large number of fans brought Terrible Towels to the game, and the stars of the game came out with twirling towels. My favorite was Fleury who came out with a Steelers' helmet and a towel. Final score: Pens 3 - Rangers 0. Check out my pictures of the game.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 -- Afternoon

Okay, I admit it! I don't understand Ray Shero's logic at all. So many people in this city think that Michel Therrien needs to go. However, I think that Ray Shero isn't his dad. Today, Shero made a deal, trading Dany Sabourin, Ryan Stone (Baby Pens winger), and a fourth round pick in 2011 for Edmonton Oilers' goalie, Mathieu Garon. No one either here or in Edmonton can understand the deal. Edmonton has an issue because they had three goalies, and getting rid of their goalie for a goalie still leaves them in the same situation. The stats for both Garon and Sabourin are statistically the same. But there's a problem. Garon's salary is $1,100,000 while Sabourin only makes $500,000. So what Shero did was trade away some of the cap that could have gone toward a scoring winger, which the team desperately needs. What is Shero thinking? This is the second like for like trade he made this season. We don't need what we already have. We need the Marian Hossa that we lost.

Friday, January 16, 2009 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Anaheim Ducks this evening at Mellon Arena. The Pens were decimated by injuries with Sidney Crosby, Max Talbot, Kris Letang, and Rob Scuderi all injured and not playing. Because of the injuries, Mark Eaton and Philippe Boucher were in the line up and Janne Pesonen and Bill Thomas were called up from the Baby Pens. Matt Cooke was on the first line with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora. Cooke took full advantage of the opportunity, and scored a goal both at the end of the first period and the start of the second period. Brooks Orpik has some sort of injury in the first period, and left the game to not return. That put added pressure on the depleted defense, but they manned it up and managed to put on a good show. It was surprising at how well the Pens played considering the number of injuries. Unfortunately, at the end of the game, Corey Perry tried to take the legs out from under Malkin, and he actually knocked Malkin to the ice. Hal Gill came to Malkin's defense, but Malkin wound up lying on the ice under a pile. Since the clock had run out when this sneaky move was made, Malkin went right to the locker room, and he didn't come out for the second star of the game. All in all, it was a win, which was just what the Pens needed with the player loss. Final score: Pens 3 - Ducks 1. Check out my pictures of the game. The win got the Pens into the eighth spot of the standings.

Thursday, January 15, 2009 -- Evening

The folks at NASA have found definite signs of an active biological or geological presence on Mars. Scientists have detected methane on the plant. This isn't something that is a maybe, but a definite detection. Over the past several years, scientists using facilities in Hawaii, Keck and the Infrared Telescope Facility, have detected methane. The thing that makes this so interesting is that methane is quickly destroyed in the Martian atmosphere. Substantial plumes of methane were found in the northern hemisphere where there are also thought to be ancient flowing waters or ice. Scientists aren't sure if it is of geological or biological origin, but it does make you start to wonder what is going on under the Martian surface. The results were announced in Science today. The methane is probably the result of underground volcanos, but scientists hate to give up the biological element.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens played the Washington Capitals this evening here in Pittsburgh. I didn't go to the game because I had given my tickets to a friend. It's a good thing I did because we had a few inches of snow here in Pittsburgh, and it snarled the traffic in the city. As the game started, there were several empty sections. Most of the talk before the game was about Evgeni Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin. In the last home game, Ovechkin launched himself at Malkin with intent to injury (it seemed to me), but Malkin slipped out of the way. It seems there is alot of bad blood between the two, but Ovechkin denies it. It seems there may have been a fist fight between Ovechkin and Malkin's agent. Again, all soap opera rumor, but it is obvious that the two are not friends, or "buddies" as Ovechkin insists. The Pens were the first to score in the game with a goal by Malkin. Towards the end of the first period, Rob Scuderi threw his body to the ice to stop a puck on the net, and stopped the puck with his face. It looked like the puck caught him over the right eyebrow. There was some blood on the ice, and Scuderi wasn't back on the ice for the start of the second period. Miroslav Satan finally broke his goal drought and scored his 350th career goal in the second period. Ovechkin was really acting like an asshole the entire game. Ovechkin was hitting Crosby and just making heavy hits on everyone. Not only that but before the start of the period, Ovechkin went over to the Pens' bench, and started mouthing off to Crosby. Unfortunately, when the third period started, Ovechkin scored a goal to give the Caps the lead. The Pens had a slew of injuries in the game. First Scuderi, then Max Talbot left in the third period with an injury. Then Kris Letang took a puck right up above his skate on his right leg. Things weren't looking good when Ryan Whitney scored a goal to tie things up again. Ovechkin was on a scoring frenzy though, and had an assist and a goal. With less than four minutes left in the game, Sidney Crosby hurt his left leg and had to be helped to the bench by a ref. The Capitals just pulled away in the third to get a 6-3 victory.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens played the Philadelphia Flyers this evening. Michel Therrien put Matt Cooke on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and it worked. But first things fist. It wasn't looking good in the first period when the Flyers scored after Marc-Andre Fleury had a flub clearing the puck from behind the goal. While Fleury was out of position, Mike Knuble got the puck into the net. The Pens didn't let that get them down. The Crosby, Malkin, and Cooke line got two goals. Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal also got goals. The Pens did a great job with the neutral zone trap in this game and broke the Flyers' 14 game win streak and the Pens' five game losing streak. The final score was Pens 4 - Flyers 2.

Sunday, January 11, 2009 -- Late Evening

I hear this was mentioned during yesterday's Pens game. Jaromir Jagr has expressed an interest in returning to PIttsburgh. As Jagr said, "I would just go there and play for them for the minimum salary," Jagr said. "I owe Mario so much because he taught me how to play hockey. If he would want me to, I would come back for the minimum and try to help him. But he doesn't need me. He has good players there." Even though there was bad blood with some fans over Jagr leaving the team, I've always been a Jagr fan. He left because he knew the team couldn't afford him, and they were decimating the team because they couldn't afford to keep anyone. Now I wonder if Ray Shero or Mario Lemieux will talk to Jagr and make it happen.

Sunday, January 11, 2009 -- Evening

This weekend has been playoff weekend for the NFL. The Steelers played the San Diego Chargers in the late afternoon game today. Yesterday, the Arizona Cardinals beat the Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Tennessee Titans. Today, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants. So as the Steelers game was starting, none of the other teams that had a bye last week had won their playoff game. The first quarter was pretty even. The Chargers scored first, and then in the second quarter took a 10-7 lead. Then the Steeler defense and offence showed up. Willie Parker had some great runs. Ben Roethlisberger was in great shape. You would not believe that he had a concussion in his last game. Santonio Holmes had a touchdown from a punt return. Final score: Steelers 35 - Chargers 24. Next week, the Steelers will meet the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens were in Colorado to play the Avalanche this afternoon. Since it was the fathers' trip, every player gets to play, so Dany Sabourin was in goal. The Avalanche have been having the same problems as the Pens with generating wins and having their roster decimated by injury. Joe Sakic was out with a broken hand from an accident using a snow blower, and recently had back surgery for a herniated disk. Sakic will probably be out for the rest of the season (unless he comes back for the last 11 games.) Hie return is dependent on how well he recouperates from the surgery. Unfortunately, the Pens didn't play with alot of spirit. Both teams traded goals in the first and beginning of the second period before the Avalanche pulled ahead to take the lead. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby both scored goals (Malkin's was a power play goal), and Jordan Staal got a short-handed goal. Michel Therrien pulled Dany Sabourin from goal at the start of the third and put in Marc-Andre Fleury. Something is not right with this team, and hopefully, they fix it soon. Final score: Avalanche 5 - Pens 3.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 -- Afternoon

When I got home last night, there was a power failure. That means I didn't get a chance to comment on my wonderful dinner last night. I went to a local Asian restaurant called, Sun Penang. It is on Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill in the section between Murray and Shady Avenues. The restaurant is small, and the wait staff is very attentive. They have exception food for a cheap price. We have gone there a few times and usually just had the ginger chicken, which is very tasty. Last night, we had Roti Telur as the appetizer. Roti Telur is an extremely thin pancake with egg in the center. It comes with curry sauce, which I use as a dip to add extra flavor to the Roti Telur. It doesn't need the sauce, but it does add a nice touch. Probably one person could eat the Roti Telur, but we share since we are watching calories. For the main course, I had dried curry chicken, which was chicken covered with dry curry and then covered with a curry sauce. My boyfriend had the Spicy Thai Chicken, which was thin strips of deep fried chicken with a spicy dipping sauce. Both dishes had sides of steamed rice. The food is excellent at Sun Penang, and I plan on going back may times to try out entrees. In the summer, the restaurant has outside tables too.

Friday, January 9, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

We finally have word on Ruslan Fedotenko of the Pens. Fedotenko broke his right hand in the fight with Colby Armstrong and will be out for 4 to 6 weeks. Chris Minard is going to come up from the Baby Pens to fill in for Fedotenko.

Thursday, January 8, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens started their Father's Road Trip today. The fathers have been invited to travel with the team for the past couple of years, and it has been a huge success. The Pens played the Nashville Predators this evening. At first, the Pens were going out with alot of energy and pulled ahead to a 3-0 lead with goals by Petr Sykora, Jordan Staal, and Max Talbot. But then the Predators came back after their goalie was pulled after the second Pens' goal to tie things up in the waning minutes of the second period. The story is in the shots on goal. In two periods, the Pens had 10 shots while the Predators had 30. Midway through the third period, the Predators took advantage of a Sykora penalty to score a power play goal to take the lead. The Pens tried to attack in the last minute of the game, but the Predators just scored an empty net goal to seal the deal. Final score: Pens 3 - Predators 5.

Other news for the Pens. Jordan Staal signed a 4 year, $16 million contract extension. The contract will go in effect next year when his current contract runs out. I wonder how those who keep on saying that the Pens are using Staal as trade bait take this news. For the past two years, tons of fans have theorized about the Pens using Staal in a trade for a winger for Sidney Crosby. I don't know if Ray Shero has given this any thought, but the fans and the rumor mills have constantly beating the "Trade Staal" drum.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be in the starting lineup for the East in the January 25th NHL All-Star Game. Although Marc-Andre Fleury received alot of votes, he won't be part of the East team. The rest of the starting lineup are Montreal Canadiens players, since the game is in Montreal.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens were back at home for a game against the Atlanta Thrashers. Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen were back in town, and Armstrong made his presence felt on the ice from the start. First Armstrong shoved around Ruslan Fedotenko, who responded by giving Armstrong a right hook to the jaw. Unfortunately, Fedotenko left the game at that point with red knuckles and flexing his fingers. I hope that Fedotenko didn't break any bones in his hand on Armstrong's concrete head. Then Armstrong tried to rough around his "friend," Sidney Crosby. Fortunately, that resulted in a penalty for Armstrong. The Pens were playing with energy, and Petr Sykora got the first goal for the Pens. The best thing about the goal was that it was a power play goal. The Pens haven't scored on the power play for some time now. Then Sykora scored his second goal in the second period. The Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora combination is magic for the team. Just as the goal was scored, Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey told us that Pascal Dupuis was out of the game with an injury. Sidney Crosby got credit for redirecting a Malkin shot into the net for a power play goal. Marc-Andre Fleury was inspired in goal and made several nice saves. The Thrashers did get a goal in the third period, but it was for naught. The Pens finally got a win! The final score was Pens 3 - Thrashers 1. Fleury did a great job and got the number three star with Malkin as number two and Sykora as number one.

Monday, January 5, 2009 -- Evening

It was a depressing night in Pittsburgh. The Pens lost another one in a shutout against the New York Rangers. It was painful to watch. The Pens aren't able to generate any sort of offense or defense. Michel Therrien pulled Marc-Andre Fleury during a Pens power play in the last minutes of the third period. The Pens had a six on four power play, and the Rangers scored a short handed empty netter. The Rangers shot the puck to that end, and then BEAT the Pens in getting to that end. Scott Gomez had several seconds to get the puck and get the goal. It is really pitiful, and I don't see any change coming soon since the players don't seem to think they can win. The question is: how secure is Therrien's job? With the whole team sucking so much, it seems that Therrien might get the axe. I really like Therrien and hope this doesn't happen. However, something has to change. I don't know if Sergei Gonchar coming back will be enough to get the team back on the winning track.

Sunday, January 4, 2009 -- Evening

I have become a huge fan of the streaming videos from Netflix. I have been a subscriber for some time now, but I couldn't watch the shows instantly because I have a Mac. The software didn't work with Macs. However, in the past few months, Netflix expanded the service to Macs. This evening, I was watching Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor, in Pyramids of Mars. The only frustrating part of the experience is that Netflix kept on claiming my network connection was slowed, and would stop to buffer. The quality of the video isn't always that great. In fact, the larger you make the display, the more noticeable it is that the background is pixilated. It's a great idea to be able to watch your video on demand, but if the quality doesn't improve, I can't imagine that it will be that popular. It really depends on the network connection, and how good Netflix determines the connection to be. I tried to watch another Doctor Who episode earlier, and the voice and picture were out of sync. It was impossible to watch. The Pyramids of Mars was a very entertaining episode. Tom Baker is one of my favorite Doctors, and the serial had alot of action and mummies. It there's one thing I like, it's a show dealing with Ancient Egypt, even if it is mummy robots.

Saturday, January 3, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

I have not had good luck with the Pens home games lately. Usually my camera acts up. Today, I only got to see a part of the first period before I had to leave for a family emergency. I didn't miss much today because the Pens were really stinking up the arena. The Panthers scored two goals in the first period, and Michel Therrien pulled Marc-Andre Fleury and put Dany Sabourin in for the second period. Unfortunately, Sabourin let in three goals in the second period. The Pens, in the meantime, only generated one goal and two fights in the second period. Max Talbot was the first to engage in a fracus with Greg Campbell, who was harrassing Sidney Crosby in the second, and in the next play, Crosby dropped his gloves and started punching away at Brett McLean. Therrien pulled Sabourin and started the third period with Fleury. Fleury let in one more goal in the third period. The Panthers won the game with a final score of 6-1.

We have a new Doctor Who. David Tennant has said that this coming season will be his last, and I believe that he will be filming four episodes this coming spring. The new Doctor is the youngest Doctor ever, Matt Smith, who is 26 years old. I'm not sure how I feel about Smith because I don't know him that well. He was in Ruby in the Smoke in a supporting role. I'll have to see how he does as the Doctor before I express an opinion. I will say that I loved David Tennant as the Doctor. At first, it took an episode or two for him to win me over. After all, Tennant was a drastically different from Christopher Eccleston, whom I also liked.

Thursday, January 1, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens named Petr Sykora and Ryan Whitney as alternate captains today. The Pens have been naming differnt alternate captains every month this season.

The Pens were in Boston this evening to play the Bruins. There was a change around in goal for both teams. Danny Sabourin was in goal for the Pens and Manny Fernandez was in goal for the Bruins. Dustin Jeffrey got his first NHL goal for the Pens at 2:59 in the first period, but the Bruins' David Krejci tied things up less than two minutes later. Unfortunately, the Bruins scored the next two goals to get a 3-1 lead. Even though the Pens' Ruslan Fedotenko scored a goal in the latter minutes of the third period, the Bruins held the lead to get the win. The final score was Pens 2 - Bruins 4. The next Pens game is this Saturday afternoon against the Florida Panthers. Hopefully, the Pens can overcome their losing ways and get a win in that game.