The Daily Bongo

March 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens were supposed to wear their powder blue uniforms in this afternoon's game against the New York Rangers, but because they have a crappy record in the pastel uniforms, they decided to go with home black. I think it's rather funny because I really hate the blue uniforms. They play like a bunch of girls when they wear the blue, but it seems to be a big fan favorite. There are alot of blue jerseys in the stands. It was looking good at first when the Pens came out and got two goals in the first period from Max Talbot and Matt Cooke. The Rangers, however, came right back to tie things up in the first. Then Ruslan Fedotenko got his first goal in 16 games in the second period. Unfortunately, the Rangers tied it up later in the second period. Sean Avery was getting attention from the Pens with everyone trying to give him a hit, and Tyler Kennedy getting involved in a roughing with him. I would call it a fight, but it didn't look like a single punch was thrown. Sidney Crosby got a goal in the third period to give the Pens a lead that they kept. Colton Orr got a five minute penalty for interferring with Mark Eaton, shoving into the boards and causing a cut on Eaton. The Pens had a few empty net opportunities in the third, but didn't deliver. Not that it mattered because the Pens won with a final score of 4-3.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 -- Afternoon

The Pens played a good game against the Calgary Flames last night. I haven't seen so much hitting from the Pens as I did last night. It was a physcial game, and the players seemed to be playing with a playoff mentality. Marc-Andre Fleury was stellar in goal and got his fourth shutout of the year and the number one star of the game. Both Kris Letang and Hal Gill got goals for the Pens. Final score: Pens 2 - Flames 0. I only stayed for the first two periods of the game, but I do have pictures.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 -- Late Evening

Pictures, video, and game recap from tonight's Pens vs. Calgary Flames game will be posted Thursday afternoon. Check the game recaps page for information on this season's home and away games.

Sunday, March 22, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

Evgeni Malkin played in this afternoon's Pens game against the Flyers. The Flyers were the first to score, and it really put a damper on the audience participation. The Pens finally got to experience a team that wanted to win and that hadn't played an overtime game the day before. The Flyers took at 2-0 lead into the third. Kris Letang scored for the Pens midway through the third, and it looked like they might have a chance to tie things up, but they couldn't. The Flyers won with a final score of 3-1.

Saturday, March 21, 2009 -- Late Evening

News about Evgeni Malkin this evening. In last night's game, Malkin hit Wayne Simmonds in the final minute of the game. The NHL investigated the play with a disciplinary hearing today with Malkin. The hearing was by phone, and it is expected that the decision would be made before tomorrow's Pens versus Flyers game tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. If Malkin is suspended, it will be the first game that Malkin has missed this season.

Friday, March 20, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens played the Los Angeles Kings this evening in PIttsburgh. The Pens have been really lucky in their schedule lately. They have gotten a few teams on the second night of back to back games. That helps because you are more likely to have a tired team. The Kings won in overtime against the Boston Bruins last night. The Kings came out to play, but the Pens were too much for them. The Pens got goals from Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the first, and Tyler Kennedy and Bill Guerin in the second. The Pens didn't score in the third, but the Kings did. Marc-Andre Fleury did a nice job in goal, and the Pens move even closer to definitely securing a playoff spot. Final score: Pens 4 - Kings 1.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens played the Atlanta Thrashers this evening. The Thrashers were playing for the second night in a row and won last night against the Washington Capitals. Evgeni Malkin played this evening, even though he left the practice skate yesterday because he wasn't feeling well. The Thrashers scored in the first 34 seconds, but the Pens didn't give up. They got the goal back a few minutes later with a goal by Sergei Gonchar, and then pulled ahead with a Chris Kunitz power play goal in the last minuute of the first period. Jordan Staal, who has been putting in an effort since Michel Therrien was fired, scored at the start of the second. I had heard that Staal had issues with Therrien, and I wouldn't put it past the baby to have not played well just to get rid of Therrien. Evgeni Malkin got two goal within less than a minute of each other to give the Pens a 5-1 lead. The penalties were flying, and goals were flying. In the last three minutes of the game, Malkin was tripped up going in for a goal, and he got a penalty shot, but he missed. Malkin had to settle for only five points in the game. Final score: Pens 6 - Thrashers 2.

The New Jersey Devils tonight, and Martin Brodeur now holds the record for wins in the regular season with 552. Congrats Marty!

Sunday, March 15, 2009 -- Evening

Yesterday evening was a big one for Martin Brodeur. He tied Patrick Roy's wins record of 551 wins in last night's game against the Montreal Canadiens. Brodeur was happy to be in Montreal because it's his hometown, and because no one loves hockey more than a Montreal fan. Roy was in attendance and had talked to Brodeur ahead of time. As Roy said, if there's anyone who can understand the work and discipline that Brodeur put into the game to achieve the goal, it's him, Roy. I have to admit that I really am a huge fan of both Roy and Brodeur. Brodeur and Roy don't have the best of relationships, probably because of the competition factor. Roy was chosen over Brodeur as the sole started for the 1998 Canadien Olympics team, and that may have caused some bad blood. Also, the Colorado Avalanche with Roy beat the Devils to win the Stanley Cup in 2001. Brodeur can pass Roy in his next game this Tuesday, played in New Jersey.

Comparison Patrick Roy vs. Martin Brodeur
Patrick Roy Martin Brodeur
551 Wins 551
1029 Games 986
66 Shutouts 100
3 Vezines 4
4 Stanley Cup 3
3 Conn Smythes 0

Sunday, March 15, 2009 -- Early Evening

The Pens were back on the ice this afternoon against the Boston Bruins. The game started with a presentation to Eddie Johnston for his 25 years with the Pens. They must have picked this game because it was a Bruins game. Johston played his entire career as a goalie for the Bruins. Mathieu Garon was in goal for the Pens. Billy Guerin scored the first goal off of an assist from Sidney Crosby in the first minute of the game. The Pens have really had a shot in the arm with all the goals that Guerin and Chris Kunitz have had for the team since the trade. The least didn't last for long because 16 seconds later, Mark Recchi scored for the Bruins. It was the first shot that Garon faced, and obviously after sitting on the sidelines so much, he wasn't ready for a puck. The Bruins scored again midway through the period while the Pens were looking flat. But finally, the Pens got a 5-3 power play goal by not playing their usual power play line, which Sergei Gonchar has said isn't clicking. Kunitz got the goal with assists from Crosby and Guerin. Unfortunately, our power play sucks so much that the Bruins were able to get a short handed goal on a Pens power play in the second period. The Bruins took a penalty in the first minute of the power play. Gonchar shot the puck at the net, and it went it, but it looked like it might have hit Kunitz's stick, which might have been high. But after a review from Toronto, the goal was cleared, and tthe Pens tied the game. Then seconds later, Kunitz got a breakaway and got a hat trick! The Pens had a 4-3 lead. All fans should be glad that Ray Shero trade girly-boy Ryan Whitney for Kunitz. This team would not be possibly playoff bound without the efforts of Kunitz and Guerin. The Pens had two goals in 18 seconds. The Bruins got it back with a power play goal to tie things up. The Pens weren't done though. Petr Sykora, back this weekend after missing a few games due to an upper body injury, scored to take the lead. In the final minute and a half of the game, the Bruins pulled goalie Tim Thomas, and Jordan Staal took advantage to get an empty net goal. The Pens win with a final score of 6-4 and get a much needed two points to stay in the playoff race.

Sunday, March 15, 2009 -- Morning

Talk about disappointing! The Pens played their game against the Ottawa Senators as they played most of their games this season. They played for 40 minutes and let the Senators get back into the game in the third period. The Pens blew a 3-1 lead and let the Senators tie things up. The game went into overtime and a shootout. It took five shooters to determine the winner, and that winner was the Senators. The Pens really have to win practically all of their final 12 games to guarantee a place in the playoffs, and blowing leads means you give up two points and end up with one! Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal for the Pens, and Mathieu Garon will probably be in goal for the game today against the Boston Bruins. Final score of today's game: Senators 4 - Pens 3. Check out my pictures of the game.

Saturday, March 14, 2009 -- Late Evening

Pictures, video, and game recap from this afternoon's Pens vs. Ottawa Senators game will be posted Sunday morning. Check the game recaps page for information on this season's home and away games.

Thursday, March 12, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens were back on the road tonight, playing the Columbus Blue Jackets. Steve Mason, the Blue Jackets goalie, has had a great record against the Eastern Conference this season with a 0.99 goals-against average, 0.964 save percentage and six shutouts. The Pens played well in the first period, but the Blue Jackets played better. They went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead over the Pens. I don't know if the Pens were playing like bad or if the Blue Jackets just playing well. I've been wondering over the winning streak that the Pens have had if there wasn't an element of the other teams not playing laying down to lose. Going into the third period, the Blue Jackets had a 2-0 lead. The Pens decided to play in the third and did a great job of tying the game and taking it into overtime. Mason was playing a great game, especially in the overtime. The announcers were talking about how the fans were standing for the entire overtime. I hate it when people stand. It's really hard for the non-tall people to watch any of the action. Both Mason and Marc-Andre Fleury played well in the overtime, and it went to a shootout. Mason was on top of his game in the shootout. He shut down Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin. Fleury stopped Jason Williams and Rick Nash. But the third shooter for the Blue Jackets, Kristian Huselius got it past Fleury. The Pens lose in overtime, but at least they got a point from the game. Final score: Blue Jackets 4 - Pens 3.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens played Florida Panthers in a make or break game last night. The game was important to both teams because they are both battling for points to get into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Pens scored first with a goal by Evgeni Malkin. The Panthers didn't lay down and die though. They scored three goals in the second period to take a 3-1. When the third period started, the Pens came out flying and got two quick goals by Jordan Staal and Sidney Crosby. The game was tied in regulation and went into overtime. Tomas Vokoun was phenomenial, facing 50 shots in the game. There were no goals in overtime so the game went into a shootout. Kris Letang went first for the Pens, and he scored. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Richard Zednik. Then it was Crosby's turn, but he couldn't score. Fleury again stopped Steven Weiss. Malkin sealed the deal by scoring on Vokoun. The Pens won with a final score of 4-3. Unfortunately, the Pens gave up a point to a team that they are battling for points. It was a good win though. Vokoun was just great and deserved the second star of the game. Check out my pictures of the game.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 -- Late Evening

Pictures, video, and game recap from tonight's Pens vs. Florida Panthers game will be posted Wednesday afternoon. Check the game recaps page for information on this season's home and away games.

Sunday, March 8, 2009 -- Early Evening

The Pens played the Washington Capitals in an afternoon game today. Petr Sykora was a scratch in the game, probably because of an upper body injury he has. Not sure what that is. Sergei Gonchar was back in the lineup after taking time off for the birth of his baby daughter. The Pens scored first with a goal by Sidney Crosby (assists by Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz) in the first five minutes of the game, but Alexander Semin tied things up for the Caps around seven minutes later. With the second period, the Pens took a two goal lead with Guerin getting an assist and a goal. Gonchar got the other goal. However, things went wrong at the start of the third period. Alexander Ovechkin scored a power play goal in the first 29 seconds of the period, followed less than a minute later with another Caps goal by Brooks Laich. Both sides played hard the rest of the period, and neither team could score. With only minutes left, there was a bench miscommunication (George McFly and Guerin were both asleep) and the Pens played for 30 seconds with only four men on the ice as Crosby tried to get one of them to understand that the team was one man down. Fortunately, the Caps didn't take advantage of that. The game went into overtime. No goals were scored, so we had a shootout! Alexander Semin went first for the Caps, and he was stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury. Then Kris Letang took a shot, but didn't score. Next up was Viktor Kovlov, who was stopped by Fleury. Crosby went next, and he scored. It was all on Ovechkin's shoulders, but he couldn't get the puck past Fleury. The Pens get two points and move back into a playoff berth and seventh place. Final score: Pens 4 - Capitals 3.

Thursday, March 5, 2009 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby was on the ice this evening when the Pens played the Florida Panthers. The game was a crucial one because the Pens are battling the Panthers for eighth place. Sergei Gonchar was not playing because he was rushing home because his wife was in labor. It will be their second child. Bill Guerin was also on the ice for the Pens. In the last few minutes of the second period, the Panthers scored, and then less than a minute later, Sidney Crosby tied things up. Both Marc-Andre Fleury and Toman Vokoun have been playing well, especially Vokoun who faced 33 shots in two periods. At the start of the third period, Tyler Kennedy managed to get one past Vokoun to give the Pens the lead. Then shortly after, Kris Letang got a goal to give the Pens a 3-1 lead. The Pens got another goal from Kennedy. Amazingly, the Pens had 47 shots on goal. The Pens went on to get a much needed win with a score of 4-1.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 -- Afternoon

As the trade deadline ticked down to the final minutes, the Pens traded a conditional draft pick to the New York Islanders for Bill Guerin. If the Pens don't make the playoffs, the Islanders get a fifth draft round pick. If the Pens make the playoffs, it's upped to a fourth round pick. Winning the Stanley Cup ups the ante to a third round pick. I'm not very enthusiastic about this deal. Even though Guerin was the captain of the Islanders, his stats are on a par of Miroslav Satan. And the Pens are trying to dump Satan, only there aren't any takers. Guerin is 38 years old and has two -15 seasons. I don't know if Guerin is the sort of winger that will play well with Sidney Crosby because I really wonder who will be a good fit for Crosby. Crosby isn't one of those players who makes others around him good. You have to be good, and then you have to jell with Crosby's playing style. All I have to say is good luck with that. However, I was down on Chris Kunitz, and I think that the Pens would have lost yesterday's game if it weren't for Kunitz. So I have to give him some props. 27 more minutes before the trade deadline. Oh, I almost forgot that the Pens also picked up right winger Craig Adams off of waivers. Adams was playing for the Chicago Blackhawks. Why not pick up another team's loser?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 -- Evening

The Pens played the Tampa Bay LIghtning this evening. Chris Kunitz came out to play, and he scored two goals in the first period. Matt Cooke got a goal in the second period to give the Pens a 3-1 lead. They managed to hold off a late rush from the Lightning to take the win. With this win, the Pens moved into 7th place. There was news from Detroit. Marian Hossa went into the boards head first, and after several minutes, he was taken off the ice in a stretcher. You could see him moving his arms, but there isn't any information on his condition yet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 -- Afternoon

The Pens have put Miroslav Satan on waivers. Satan has been an under-performer all season, and obviously the Pens can't trade him to another team, so they put him on waivers as the trade deadline looms. Gary Roberts was also placed on waivers by the Tampa Bay LIghtning. Unlike Satan, there might be some interest in Roberts, especially from the Calgary Flames. More Pens news: Sidney Crosby is going to miss tonight's game against the Lightning because of the sore groin problem that he has had for the past week or so.

Sunday, March 1, 2009 -- Late Afternoon

I just finished reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. Read my review of the book.

The Pens played the Dallas Stars this afternoon. Sidney Crosby did not play again because of the groin issue. Today as yesterday, the Pens went on a scoring phrenzy. The Pens didn't put many shots on goal: out of 13 shots, they had four goals. Jordan Staal, Kris Letang, Miroslav Satan, and Evgeni Malkin all had goals in the first two periods. Of course, you could say that the problem was that the Stars had many injuries and weren't playing at full throttle. The Stars got a goal in the third to break the shutout for Marc-Andre Fleury, but the Pens held out to win. Fleury go his 100th win in the game, and the Pens have a streak with three wins in a row and are now in 8th place in the standings. Final score: Pens 4 - Stars 1.