The Daily Bongo

January 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010 -- Late Afternoon

Pens versus Red Wings
The Pens met up with the Detroit Red Wings in an early afternoon game that was broadcast on NBC today. Depending on your viewpoint, the game was either really exciting or really boring. It was low scoring, going into a shoot out with a 1-1 tie. And it was low shooting on the Red Wings side, with only 24 shots on goal by the Red Wings in the entire game. The Pens won in the shoot out when Sidney Crosby, and then Evgeni Malkin, were able to score, while the Red Wings went 0 for 2. Final score: Pens 2 - Red Wings 1.

Thursday, January 28, 2010 -- Evening

RIP Holden Caulfield
J. D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye died today at the age of 91 of natural causes, ie, old age. I think that most people were surprised to hear that Salinger was still alive. He had lead a reclusive live since 1965. It would be interesting to know what Salinger thought during this period, just because he had such an influence with his books, and then just walked away from it all. It seems that Salinger wrote for himself after 1965, and kept all the work. I'm betting that we are going to start seeing tons of new Salinger publications now that he is dead.
Pens versus Senators
The Pens were back in town this evening to play the Ottawa Senators. Evgeni Malkin wanted to show that his slump was over, and he scored in the first minute and a half of the first period with assists from Nick Johnson and Ruslan Fedotenko. Unfortunately, the Senators went on to score two goals in the first to take the lead. The second period passed with the Pens frustrated in their efforts to get a goal. The only time the puck went into the net behind Senator goalie, Brian Elliott, was when Kris Letang shot at the net right after the buzzer sounded. That irritated a few of the Senators because goalies think it's bad karma to shoot into their net after the buzzer. Unfortunately, the karma wasn't in the Pens' favor. The Senators went on to score two goals, including an empty net goal in the last minute of the game to win with a final score of Senators 4 - Pens 1.

Monday, January 25, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Rangers
The Pens played the New York Rangers. Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal for the Pens. The first period wasn't very action-filled with each team putting up only seven shots on goal. Chris Conner, recalled from the Baby Pens today to replace injured Alex Goligoski, got his first goal of the season with an assist by Sidney Crosby to put the Pens on the scoreboard. The Rangers have been having serious problems, and haven't scored a goal in their last two games. They broke that lack of scoring streak with a goal midway through the second period to tie the game. In the third period, the Rangers scored again to take the lead, but they only held it for forty one seconds. Evgeni Malkin scored then to tie the game. Exactly one minute later, Conner got his second goal and Crosby got his second assist of the game. Pascal Dupuis sealed the deal by scoring an empty net goal in the last minute of the game. Final score: Pens 4 - Rangers 2.

Sunday, January 24, 2010 -- Late Afternoon

Pens versus Flyers
The Pens versus the Flyers match was the game of the week on the NBC broadcast this afternoon. Any time the Pens and Flyers meet, you know it's going to be an action packed game. Brent Johnson was in goal, and Marc-Andre Fleury was the back-up. This game did not disappoint, even though it wasn't a very high scoring game. In fact, it looked like it was going to go into overtime before the Pens pulled out a win with a goal by Matt Cooke. Final score: Pens 2 - Flyers 1.

Thursday, January 21, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Capitals
This evening was the first meeting of the season between the Pens and the Washington Capitals. Everyone was abuzz over the meet-up between the Caps and Pens, and Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. Both Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis were scratches due to injury, and Marc-Andre Fleury was still out with the broken finger. Brent Johnson was in goal for the Pens, and Nick Johnson was called up from the Baby Pens for his first NHL appearance. Surprisingly, he was placed on Evgeni Malkin's line, which started the game. Jose Theodore was in goal for the Caps. Crosby and Ovechkin are in the points race, and Crosby was the first to add to his total with a flukey goal. Ruslan Fedotenko aimed at an open net, and it got deflected and rode along the goal line until Crosby knocked it in. Later in the first period, Ovechkin got an assist on a Mike Knuble goal. The Caps scored early in the second period, and then 28 seconds after that, Nick Johnson got his first NHL game. Congrats to Johnson on his first goal! The game continued with both teams scoring a second goal in the period. Kris Letang scored for the Pens, and Ovechkin scored for the Caps. The third period didn't start well with the Caps getting two goals in the first three and a half minutes of the period. The crowd really seemed to be out of it at that point. You could have heard a pin drop in the arena. The Pens weren't able to score another goal, so the Caps got the win with a final score of 6-3.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 -- Evening

Douglas Preston's Impact
I have been on a reading rampage of late, trying to get in as much reading as I can before I start my new full-time job in February. Over the past two days, I have been reading Impact by Douglas Preston. Douglas Preston is part of the writing team of Preston and Lincoln Child. They write books together and as solo artists. Impact is a solo effort on the part of Preston. The book brings back one of the characters from earlier books, Wyman Ford, a former CIA operative. The beginning of the book ties in three seemingly disparate stories. Abbey Straw sees a meteor streak across the skies in Maine. She assumes that it has landed on an island off the coast because there wasn't a tidal affect by it. She takes her friend Jackie on a hunting trip for the meteorite. Then we have Mark Curso from the NPF, a government agency monitoring the Martian orbiters, who receives a strange package with a stolen, classified hard drive, sent by his boss and mentor Jason Freeman, who was recently fired from NPF and then murdered. Freeman was looking at gamma ray data from Mars, which shouldn't be a source of gamma rays. Finally, we have Ford, who is sent by the government to check out a stash of radioactive stones that have started to appear around the world and are suspected to have originated from a mine in Cambodia. How are these three stories tied? Well, they are tied together by an alien device on Mars' moon, Deimos, which is emitting gamma rays, hurtling a missile at Earth (the meteor), and slicing through Earth, entering near Maine, and exiting in Cambodia. The book becomes a race to decipher the information, escape the hit man sent to collect the hard drive, and stop the alien machine from destroying Earth. Yes, the premise behind the book begs for the reader to suspend belief. All the same, I thought that the action was fast paced, and I kept on wondering what would happen next, and how the book would end. it was a good, entertaining, fun read. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in a fast-paced, science fiction type thriller with loads of action.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Islanders
The Pens were back in Pittsburgh after their western Canada road trip to play the New York Islanders. Mike Yeo was behind the bench tonight. The guys were saying that Yeo is taking heart medication and is doing much better. As Bob Errey said during the game, Yeo is taking deep breaths and trying to maintain his calm. Brent Johnson was in goal for the Pens, with John Curry as a backup. Marc-Andre Fleury is still out with the broken finger. Sidney Crosby did his job, and got a goal for the Pens in the first period. Evgeni Malkin finally got off the schnide and scored a power play goal in the second period. Then Johnson stopped a penalty shot by Kyle Okposo. Then Billy Guerin got a power play goal to give the Pens a 3-0 lead. The Islanders got a goal, and Crosby got another, but the tide turned. At the end of the second period, into the third period, the Islanders came back to tie the game at 4-4. Fortunately, Malkin upped his game by scoring another goal to give the Pens the lead. In the last three minutes of the game, Pascal Dupuis was knocked into the boards from behind, aka called boarding. Dupuis fell face forward to the ice, with a pool of blood beneath his head. Dwayne Roloson, the Islanders goalie, peeked over the net, and saw that Dupuis was badly injured, and quickly started waving for help. Crosby and Guerin helped carry Dupuis off the ice. It looked like Dupuis was unconscious at first. It's a good thing that he was able to get to his feet with some help, and skate off the ice. That gave the Pens a power play for the duration of the game because boarding is a five minute major. Malkin put the game away by scoring an empty net goal with 30 seconds left. It gave Malkin a hat trick, and the fans threw their free give away onto the ice. In this case, it was a nice carry-all bag. Weird because a bag is not a hat, and it ain't a bag trick! The Pens won with a final score of 6-4.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 -- Morning

Rachel Is The Man
The 2009 Eclipse Award presentation was held last night in California. The big news, of course, was the Horse of the Year award, with Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta as the only finalists. Rachel Alexandra won with 130 votes to Zenyatta's 99. It was a difficult decision, but I can understand the vote. Rachel won all eight of her races compared to Zenyatta who only raced in five races this year, also winning all of them. Rachel Alexandra totally dominated the three year old filly AND three year old colt competition. She was the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness and the first filly ever to win the Woodward Stakes against 3 year old and older males. In addition, she won the Haskell, another race against the boys. When you put in three wins against male horses to Zenyatta's one race, and win, against the boys, you have to give Rachel Alexandra the edge. In addition to the Horse of the Year honors, Rachel Alexandra was named Champion Three Year Old Female of the year, and Zenyatta won Champion Older Female (older than three years.) Summer Bird was Champion Three Year Old Male, and Gio Ponti, Champion Older Male. We also learned over the weekend that Zenyatta would be back to race in 2010. Zenyatta was wowing observers with her workout times at Hollywood Park, so it looks as if she hasn't lost her form.

Sunday, January 17, 2010 -- Evening

Crichton's Sphere
I found another Michael Crichton book that I hadn't read. This one was Sphere, the story of a group of scientists who are sent by the Navy to examine a crashed ship located in the South Pacific Ocean. Norman Johnson, a psychologist who usually works on plane crashes, is called in to the investigation, but given very little information about what is going on. When he arrives in at the location in the Pacific Ocean, he learns that the investigation is for a possible spacecraft found 1000 feet down in the ocean. Johnson had worked on a plan for the US government on how to deal with alien life, and he finds the team that he had recommended in the report are gathered to assist the Navy. The team, mathematician Harry Adams, biologist Beth Halpern, and astrophysicist Ted Fielding, join the Navy personnel in the deep sea habitat to investigate the craft. With the examination, they find that the craft probably got there from America's future by traveling through a black hole. When they enter the craft, they find a sphere. Is it alien? What is its purpose? It has a door, but how does one open the door? Harry eventually finds a way into the sphere, and after that, the scientist start to communicate with the being. It is friendly or not? As strange things happen, and the ship comes under attack from a giant squid, it becomes obvious that there is danger. As with other Crichton books, the plot takes use of science and action. I found myself devouring the book quickly, eager to find out what was going on, and how it would resolve. There was a movie made from the book, and supposedly, I went to see it when it first came out. The film made no impression on me whatsoever. Surprisingly, my boyfriend remembers when we went, and said that the movie was awful, and he could only remember one scene with Harry, played by Samuel Jackson. I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it. Crichton has a way with making science fiction interesting and exciting. Whenever I read a book by Crichton, I find myself so absorbed in the story that I don't notice passing time. Crichton's books are great escapist reads. Unfortunately, there won't be any more new ones, except for Pirate Latitudes, which sucked, and the unfinished book. In the meantime, we have to satisfy ourselves with rereading the old books.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 -- Late Evening

Pens versus Canucks
The Pens played the Vancouver Canucks this evening. John Curry was in for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury. To help out with the goaltending situation, the Pens signed Alex Pechurski to an amateur tryout contract. Pechurski, 19, is from the Tri-Cities Americans of the Western Hockey League. Evgeni Malkin finally got a goal to put the Pens on the scoreboard, but then Vancouver scored two in the first period to give the Canucks an early lead. John Curry had a meltdown at the beginning of the second period, and let in three goals in a little over two minutes. So George McFly pulled curry and put in Pechurski. Pechurski gave up a goal in the second, but managed to not let any of the five shots on goal that the Canucks made into the net. The problem is that the Canucks also held off the Pens from scoring. Final score: Pens 2 - Canucks 6.

Friday, January 15, 2010 -- Evening

Fleury's Broken Finger
Marc-Andre Fleury fractured his left ring finger in yesterday's game against the Oilers. It seemed that he noticed the pain sometime in the second period. I wonder if it was when he was run over by Rober Nilisson. Since Brent Johnson injured himself a few days ago, and is listed as day to day, John Curry, who was called up from the Baby Pens, will probably be in goal for tomorrow's game against the Vancouver Canucks. The Pens are going to have to come up with some sort of backup solution, just in case both Fleury and Johnson aren't able to play.

Friday, January 15, 2010 -- Early Morning

The Pens continued their western Canada run last night in Edmonton, playing the Oilers. Again, this was a game that I fell asleep on, but it turned out to have an interesting third period. The Oilers took the early lead with goals in the first and second periods. Then Marc-Andre Fleury got a penalty for roughing because Robert Nilisson, who got a penalty for goaltender interference, came right at Fleury and bowled him over into the net. Fleury was really getting ticked at the way he was being abused in goal, so he let it out. Jordan Staal then must have decided to win the game for the Pens because in the third (the period I missed), he had an assist in all three goals in the period to give the Pens a 3-2 win. Staal got the first star of the game, and Evgeni Malkin got the third. Yes, Malkin hasn't been on the scoring sheet much lately, but he was getting most of the shots on goal in the first two periods (at least). You can't say that Malkin isn't trying. Something just isn't working for him, and the local sports analysts think that it might be that the Pens really lack skilled wingers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010 -- Early Morning

Pens versus Flames
The Pens started their western Canada road trip with a match against the Calgary Flames last night. I only wanted the beginning of the game before I went to bed. I wasn't overly impressed with the play of either side, but the Pens scored first with a goal by Sidney Crosby. He now has 30 goals for the season and is second in the most goals category. Fortunately, he is still producing. Unfortunately, Evgeni Malkin seems to have fallen off the team. He has really been a no-show, and obviously whatever Dan Bylsma is doing isn't working for Malkin. When I woke up, it was to a Pens' win, and that's all that is important in the long run for the team. Final score: Pens 3 - Flames 1.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 -- Evening

Integrity is Paramount
I am so glad to hear that there is still integrity. FSN Pittsburgh has integrity. In last Thursday's game between the Pens and the Flyers, the Flyers scored, but there wasn't conclusive evidence, at least we all didn't see the video that showed the goal until after the Toronto decision that it was no goal. Well, FSN Pittsburgh had the video that proved it was a goal, but one of the employees did not send that video to Toronto. I was incensed that FSN Pittsburgh had played fast and loose with the rules. If you have the video, send it to Toronto. It would have sucked if the Flyers lost because of that one goal. Well, FSN Pittsburgh suspended the employee who did not forward the film to Toronto. Even though I wasn't rooting for the Flyers, I think cheating is wrong, and that was cheating. I would hate it if the broadcasters in another city held back video that helped the Pens just because they were supporting their home team. I agree with the Pens' comment: "We fully support FSN Pittsburgh in its reaction to this issue. The integrity of the game is paramount."

Monday, January 11, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Wild
The Pens were in Minnesota this evening to play the Wild. Brooks Orpik had some sort of undisclosed injury and wasn't scheduled to play. Also, Brent Johnson left practice early today, and John Curry was called up from the Baby Pens to replace him. The Pens scored first with an early goal by Sidney Crosby, but per usual, the Wild scored after the puck took a funny bounce off of Marc-Andre Fleury and into the net. The second period started with another quick goal by Pascal Dupuis to give the Pens the lead again. But then seconds later, Martin Havlat scored for the Wild to tie things up again. This has just been typical of the Pens in recent games. The Pens blew a 5 on 3 power play, letting it pass without a score. But the Wild took advantage of a bounce to take the lead with a goal. Crosby tied the game early in the third, but the Wild were not to be denied. Final score: Pens 3 - Wild 4. I think the problem with the Pens is that they are having a problem, obviously, of sustaining any win. You could blame injury of key players, or stagnation on the part of others, like Evgeni Malkin. The only thing I know is that Michel Therrien lost his job for those reasons. If you don't give a seasoned coach the benefit of the doubt, why give a novice coach one? I think that Dan Bylsma needs some remedial coaching instruction. We'll see how he pulls the team out of this problem.

Sunday, January 10, 2010 -- Evening

Talking About a Little Bit of Detective Fiction
I read the short book that P. D. James wrote for the Bodlein LIbrary at Oxford to help raise funds for the library. The book is titled Talking About Detective Fiction. i was interested in reading the book because I wanted to see what James, a best selling mystery novelist in her own right, has to say about mysteries. Well, I was disappointed. I have never read a book by James. I think I tried one a few years ago, but it was incredibly boring so I gave it up. I think that part of the problem is that James loves to sound intellectual, so she frequently uses multi-syllabic words and sentences that can contain well over 50 words. The most disappointing aspect of the book is that she only concentrates on a very few writers and gives a very simplistic view of the history of the genre. From reading the book, I know the few authors that James has read, and that she seems to have a rather negative view of Agatha Christie. I suppose James wonders how someone can use accessible language and short sentences and sell a book. It's called telling a story. I don't want to be overwhelmed with the author trying to impress me with his or her literary style. i want a plot, a puzzle, and a murderer brought to justice. It won't take long to read the James' book. It's 198 pages, with an extremely short line length, and large leading (the space between the lines on the page) of the 5 x 7 inch book. In fact, it will probably be even quicker to read when you start to skim when you reach the mid point of the book. The highlight of the book were the cartoons dealing with mysteries that are scattered throughout the book.

Saturday, January 9, 2010 -- Evening

Crichton's Prey
I just finished reading Prey by Michael Crichton today. I don't know how I missed reading this book when it first came out, but somehow I did. Boy, was I glad that I finally got around to reading it! The plot follows the typical Crichton theme, technology gone awry because of stupid human ego and lack of consideration for the implications of their work. When you look at Crichton's website, you see many references to chaos theory and complexity theory. In the book, the narrator's wife is involved in a company that is trying to create nanoparticles to perform camera duties. The technology shows the particles in action with benign implications for medical imaging. However, the military would like the particles to create a military camera, to observe the enemy. Well, of course, things go awry. Jack Forman, the narrator, notices that his wife, Julia, who is a VP at Xymos, the company manufacturing the nanoparticles has started to behave differently. She is staying at work later, distancing herself from her family, and Jack starts to wonder if Julia is having an affair. When eight month old baby, Amanda, becomes ill with a strange skin reaction, Jack is the one who shows enough concern to take the baby to the emergency room. Their two older children also feel a distance from their mother. It is just the stress of promoting new technology that has Julia acting so strange, or is it an affair. Jack soon finds out when is he called in to troubleshoot his predator/prey software program that Xymos bought to automate the particles. I love how Crichton weaves science and suspense, and this book is quite a page turner. I know that some folks have problems with Crichton because they claim his books are exactly scientifically accurate, and they make derogatory remarks about his writing style. Personally, I always think those comments are made by writers who can't tell a story, or people who are unable to tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction. I loved the story and would highly recommend the book to anyone who wants a thrill a minute story.
Pens versus Maple Leafs
The Pens started a 5 game, 11 day road trip this evening in Toronto, playing the Maple Leafs. Sergei Gonchar was back on the ice. However, Brooks Orpik got injured somehow at the beginning of the first and did not return to the game. The Pens were the first to score with a goal by Billy Guerin, but then the Maple Leafs scored one right back. There was a slightly controversial period when Gonchar had a shot on goal that went in, but the refs didn't see it, and when the puck came back down, it looked like the Leafs' player was interfered with and would get a penalty shot. There was a long period of review, then the ref said that the shot for the Pens crossed the goal line, so everything after it was negated, except that the goal scorer was put in the penalty box for the hooking that happened AFTER the goal. There was a great deal of confusion on the part of the sports announcers. Right after he served the penalty, Gonchar came out of the penalty box to score another goal. Sidney Crosby also got a goal to tie with Alexander Ovechkin in the goals race. They are both in third place now. The Pens went on to win, which was good since they lost six of their last seven games. Hopefully, the winning will continue. I think that the Pens were helped by Marc-Andre Fleury playing so well, and Gonchar's goals. Final score: Pens 4 - Maple Leafs 1.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Flyers
The Flyers were in town to play the Pens. The game started out as a shooting match. The Flyers quickly got two goals to take an early lead. Then Sidney Crosby got off his slump to get a goal. The Flyers and Pens both got another goal in the first. Then less than two minutes into the second, Chris Pronger scored goal four for the Flyers, and George McFly pulled Marc-Andre Fleury and put Brent Johnson in. Within seconds, the Flyers scored on Johnson. The Pens have just been looking like crap lately. McFly finally put Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the same line, and Crosby got another goal to bring the Pens within two of the Flyers. Towards the end of the second period, the Flyers were robbed of a goal. The puck went over the goal line, and the local sports guys showed a clip that showed the puck going over the line, but Johnson covered it quickly and threw it out. i was shocked that when it went to Toronto, they didn't have that film angle to see that the puck went over the net. All I have to say is that the Pens as a whole were playing like crap, and I don't think this one "gimme" will help them to win the game. if it does, they don't deserve a win. The Pens, however, were playing not to win, and they didn't. Just getting the one win didn't do much to really break the losing attitude of the team. Final score: Flyers 7 - Pens 4.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Thrashers
The Pens tried to break their losing streak in this evening's game against the Atlanta Thrashers. The Pens are in the same sort of slump that lead to the firing of Michel Therrien. Let's see how long Dan Bylsema (aka George McFly) lasts. For tonight's game, Brent Johnson was in goal. The first period was very boring to watch: lots of back and forth skating and shooting, not getting anywhere. Finally 39 seconds into the second period, Kris Letang got a goal. Unfortunately, a little over two minutes later, the Thrashers tied things up. Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy teamed up to give the lead back to the Pens. The scoring continued with another goal by Ruslan Fedotenko. The Thrashers weren't done with scoring either, and they got another to end the period with a 3-2 score to the Pens advantage. In the third period, Luca Caputi, recalled from the Baby Pens today to replace Chris Kunitz, scored his first NHL goal. Although the first line, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, didn't show up to play, the third line did, with Jordan Staal getting another goal. The Pens won with a final score of 5-2, breaking their losing streak. Let's see how long they can maintain the wins.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 -- Afternoon

Pens' Injury Update
Chris Kunitz is going to be out for four to six weeks to recuperate from surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle. It seems that Kunitz has been bothered by the problem for awhile now, and finally decided to get something done about it. Meanwhile, Mike Yeo is still in the hospital in Tampa Bay. They are still running tests on him. The Pens aren't disclosing the injury, but it does sound like he might be having some sort of heart or stress issue. i say stress because that can cause problems like shortness of breath, dizziness, or chest pains. I'm assuming that must be Yeo's issue because they called the paramedics in, and said earlier that tests were "normal." Of course, this is all speculation on my part, but that's what one does when an organization doesn't communicate. Let's hope that Yeo gets better soon and is back behind the bench.

Sunday, January 3, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Panthers
The Pens played the Florida Panthers in a late afternoon game today. Yesterday, after the Tampa Bay Lightning game, the paramedics were called to the coaches' rooms. Well, the Pens refused to make any statement, but we found out when the game started that Mike Yeo was "under the weather" and was not at the game today. Sounds like he had some sort of problem. I hope that Yeo is okay. But I just found this article on the Pens' site, about Yeo not feeling well, and being sent to the hospital. All tests were normal, but it sounds like a heart or stress thing, maybe? Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal again for a back to back game. The thought was that the Pens really wanted to get a win back under their belts. They were the first to score with a goal by Tyler Kennedy. Then half way through the first period, Sidney Crosby got a goal. The Panthers called a time out to allow their players to regroup. The Panthers finally got a goal at the very end of the first period. Neither team was having much luck in the second period until the ending of the period when the Panthers got two quick goals within a minute of each other to take the lead. Although the Pens had a good first period, they just sort of fell apart for the rest of the game. Well, the Pens did get 50 shots on goal, but Tomas Vokoun was too good for them. The Pens now have a five game losing streak. This will be a good test for Dan Bylsema, aka, George McFly. I don't think he's a good coach, and I think that he will have trouble addressing this slump. Final score: Pen 2 - Panthers 6.

Sunday, January 3, 2010 -- Late Afternoon

Steelers Must Win
The Steelers were in Miami this afternoon, fighting for their playoff life against the Dolphins. Either team needed the win, and a variety of loses by other teams to make the wild card for the playoffs. The Steelers, per usual, played like crap, especially in the fourth quarter. The Steelers has a 27-10 lead, that they blew to only be up 27-24. Fortunately, in the last minute of the game, Jeff Reed got a field goal, and Ike Taylor got an interception with only 25 seconds left to give the Steelers the win. Since Houston won this afternoon, the Steelers have to wait for the results from games that the Baltimore Ravens, the New York Jets, and the Denver Broncos to lose in order to make the playoffs. It's not very likely that all three will lose, especially since all three are favored in their games. So the Steelers will probably have to go off and lick their wounds and figure out what the heck went wrong this season. In the game, Ben Roethlisberger hurt his right (throwing) arm, and he was getting treatment after the game. The question will be how will Roethlisberger be IF the Steelers are lucky enough to get the wild card?

Saturday, January 2, 2010 -- Evening

Chaya Japanese Cuisine
It has been extremely cold in Pittsburgh, and because of it, I decided to have dinner closer to home. Chaya is a Japanese restaurant only a five minute walk from my apartment, so my boyfriend and I went there. This was my first visit to Chaya, because I thought that it was too expensive, and the restaurant is usually crowded. Even though we went to dinner before 6 p.m., the restaurant was already crowded. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait. I ordered the Tempura Don rice bowl, which was shrimp and vegetable tempura over rice, with salad, edamame starter, and mizo soup. The salad was one of the tastiest that I have had at an Asian restaurant. The greens were mixed, and not a smidge of iceberg lettuce could be found. The ginger dressing was very tasty. The small serving of edamame was cold, but tasty. I have usually had hot edamame in restaurants, but the edamame was very good, and not overly cold. I am not a huge fan of mizo soup in general, but this one was a thicker broth with various greens and tofu. Again, I'm not a fan of mizo, and I was not a fan of this one either. The tempura was very light and tasty, and there was a fan decoration of fried noodles dragged through the tempura to create the fan effect. My boyfriend got the chicken teriyaki, and the portion of chicken good. The meat was thin, but the plate was covered. It was very tender and juicy. All in all, the food was very good, and the service was fast and attentive, even though all the tables were full. The only negative about Chaya is that it is in a small, tight space. It moved from an even smaller space to the new location close to the corner of Hobart and Murray. I could imagine that the could easily fill a much larger space. The prices are higher than other restaurants in the vicinity, with my rice and tempura bowl costing $16 as a dinner. However, the quality and quantity of food made up for the cost. I will definitely go back to Chaya, and already decided to go there for my birthday dinner this year.

Saturday, January 2, 2010 -- Early Evening

Pens versus Lightning
The Pens were in Tampa Bay for an afternoon game against the Lightning. The Lightning scored first with a goal by Martin St. Louis, who was passed over for Canada's 2010 Hockey team. Billy Guerin, another one who was passed over for the Olympics this year, scored a tying goal for the Pens. I think they were both showing that they were scorers, but there are just so many spots open in the Olympics. People are bound to be overlooked. The Lightning pulled ahead in the second period for a one goal lead. Marc-Andre Fleury managed to stop a penalty shot that Vincent Lecavalier was given because Mark Eaton broke Lecavalier's stick. However, the Lightning got a goal from Steve Downie shortly thereafter. The Pens are in a slump though, and lost their fourth game in a row. Final score: Pens 1 -Lightning 3.

Friday, January 1, 2010 -- Early Evening

Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik Make USA Hockey Team
Ryan Malone, Pittsburgher, former Pen, and current Lightning, has been named to the USA Hockey team for the coming Olympics. Also named to the team is current Pens' defenseman, Brooks Oprik. As we all thought, Ryan Miller and Tim Thomas were bath put in the goalie spot, along with Jonathan Quick from the LA Kings.