The Daily Bongo

November 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006 -- Evening

Shocking news! John LeClair was waived today. He has until tomorrow at noon to clear the waivers. After that, if he is not picked up by someone, the Pens might try to shop him around to some team for a trade. The hope is that if LeClair is picked up on waivers, I heard that the Pens will try to change their minds on the waivers and try to make a deal with the team. I was expecting to hear of a trade, not waivers. The thing is that I'm not sure about is whether any team will have interest in him. I think that John LeClair should have pulled a Ziggy Palffy. Palffy retired last year after not performing up to expectations. Palffy was 33. LeClair is 37. Also sent down was Michel Ouellet.

Tonight's episode of Survivor: Cook Islands is titled You're a Rat. Candice is finally put out of her Exile Island misery and sent home. My favorite part is that Candice, Adam, and Parvati did no work, but then became offended when they weren't given food by the others just because you should share even if you don't work. Read the recap.

Thursday, November 20, 2006 -- Afternoon

Michael Strahan gets the Punk Jerk of the Month away for his oafish behavior towards Kelly Naqi of ESPN. Early in the week, Strahan made comments on a radio show about Plaxico Burress quitting on plays. This should be no shock to anyone who watched Burress when he was a Steeler because he was notorious for not putting alot of effort into his work. So Naqi wanted to ask Strahan about the comments, but he wasn't available. She asked Burress about the comments, and I suppose that offended Strahan. I guess the oaf just wanted to make comments on the radio, and think that no one heard the comments. After all, who listens to the radio. Strahan was trying to make Naqi out as the culprit, when he was the one responsible for his comments. The problem is that the New York Giants are not living up to expectations for a variety of reasons. The players have publicly blamed the coach, and now they are turning on each other. Yes, Burress is a quitter. Strahan shouldn't have called him out publicly about it especially if he was going to wuss out on it later. And Strahan shouldn't try the intimidating jerk behavior on the female reporter.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 -- Afternoon

Sad news for Jerome Bettis. His father, John Bettis, 61, died yesterday of an apparent heart attack. He was driving home from the gym when he must have pulled over to the side of the road. He was found by a doctor, nurse, and a hospital technician who attempted to administer CPR. Jerome has gone back to Detroit to be with his mother. My condolences to the Bettis family.

John LeClair was a healthy scratch again last night, and it seems that Ray Shero feels for him. As Shero says, there should be some role for LeClair because he has given alot to hockey and the team and he deserves respect and some sort of role. I know I make the geriatric comments all the time, and that LeClair falls in that category because he is 37. Not old by any means, unless you are playing competitive hockey. It's not known if the talk will lead to a trade, or if there will be some role for LeClair outside of playing. I have to admit that I do like LeClair. He seems like a decent guy, and I know that last year the players named LeClair the "Players' Player" and the comeback player. However, this year, he hasn't been performing as well. You hate to say such things, but maybe it is time for LeClair to hang up the skates and try something else.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 -- Late Evening

On Marc-Andre Fleury's 22nd birthday and bobblehead promotion night, the Pens played the New York Islanders. Sidney Crosby started in the game this evening. I barely had time to get my camera turned on before Crosby fed a puck to Colby Armstrong who scored his first goal of the season 1:34 into the game. It was about time that Armstrong produced, and he didn't end there. He also scored a another goal in the second period, again from a feed from Crosby. The Islanders tied up the game, but 36 seconds into the third period, Chris Thorburn scored the winning goal. The game was full of energy, low on penalities, and Marc-Andre Fleury stood on his head yet again to have a stellar night on his 22nd birthday and bobblehead promotion day. At the end of the game, Fleury had stopped 33 of 35 goals with some great saves in the third period, including a puck that touched the goal line, but got cleared before it could cross. 17,082 people showed up for the game, and most were still there at the end. The final score was 3-2. Check out my pictures of the game.

Monday, November 27, 2006 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby was practising today, and is hopeful that he will play in tomorrow night's game against the New York Islanders. I can't wait for tomorrow's game. It is a promotion night a bobblehead of my favorite player, Marc-Andre Fleury, who turns 22 tomorrow.

News on the Steelers injury front. Hines Ward had a broken bone in his knee and had surgery early today to remove the bone chip. It seems that the injury is not major, and Ward said on the KDKA news show at 5:45 p.m. that he does not expect to be out for long. He will definitely miss this Sunday's game, but hopes to be back for the Cleveland Browns game on Thursday, Dec. 7. Meanwhile, Troy Polamalu might not have had as bad an injury as originally announced by Bill Cowher yesterday. Troy has a sprained medial collateral ligament. He won't require surgery and will definitely miss the game this coming week, and possibly next week. Polamalu is feeling optimistic about his return.

Sunday, November 26, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

The Steelers are playing the Baltimore Ravens this afternoon. The local sports announcers are making a big deal about how the Steelers will win this game, and they have to win to sustain the playoff talk that has been running rampant locally. For some reason, with a 4 win and 6 loss record, everyone seems to think that the Steelers are playoff bound.
However, it was a miserable loss for the Steelers with a final score of 27-0--a shutout. The game was a pitiful one, and as the local sports casters said afterwards, the highlight of the game for the Steelers came when the final buzzer rang to end the misery. There was so bad news post game. Troy Polamalu injured his knee in the game and is out for the season. It sounds suspicious because nothing seemed to happen during the game, and the announcment was made very quickly. Well, as we have suspected since the beginning weeks of the season, the Steelers' year is done, and they are going out with a whimper. Read my game recap for all the sorry details.

Saturday, November 25, 2006 -- Late Evening

The game tonight between the Pens and the New York Rangers was a thrilling one, even if it was a heartbreaker. Marc-Andre Fleury did another fine job of standing on his head and making some great saves. Sidney Crosby didn't play again tonight and the team really missed him. Just as yesterday, Evgeni Malkin was the only one able to put the puck into the net with an assist by Sergei Gonchar for his 500th career point. Fortunately, Fleury was able to fend off several shots by the Rangers to keep the game close. In the third period, Jaromir Jagr scored the tying goal. The game went into overtime. With abit over a minute left in the overtime, Jordan Staal was hooked from behind near the net which lead to a penalty shot opportunity. All 17,134 fans in the standing room only crowd were on their feet, to only have Henrik Lundqvist shove it aside. With 2.2 seconds left in the overtime, and everyone anticipating a shoot out, Martin Straka scored with assists from Michal Rozsival and Jagr (aka the Rangers former Pens line). It was disappointing, but we really don't have anyone capable of competing in a shoot out with the Rangers. We are missing Crosby, and Malkin can't continue to be the only one who scores. The team is sorely missing production from the wingers, and if I were Michel Therrien, I would give Colby Armstrong a wakeup call by making him a healthy scratch in an upcoming game. Of course, Armstrong has been used alot on penalty kills, and I suppose that as a winger (who should be scoring), he is content with being defenseive. Armstrong has 24 shots on goal. That ranges him seventh on shots. However, he has no goal, and that gives him the worst shooting percentage of the Pens. Check out my pictures of the game.

Saturday, November 25, 2006 -- Morning

No need for Pens fans to worry. Evgeni Malkin didn't suffer any lasting effects from the hit that he received from Brendan Witt in yesterday's game. That means that Malkin should be in the home game tonight against the New York Rangers. In other injury news, I'm imaging that Sidney Crosby won't play this evening because of his groin injury. It is wasn't quite right yesterday, I don't think it will be that much better in 24 hours. I'll have my usual report of the game as soon as I get home from it.

I received an early Hannuka gift yesterday. My boyfriend gave me the Nintendo DS and a Brain Age. He knows that I am into keeping my brain young and active and following natural ways of doing things. He bought the game yesterday afternoon. I wasn't displeased with my initial testing results, and have begun the daily training program. The thing that I have found is that I have forgotten alot of common math. It's difficult to churn it out in a fast pace too. The daily training that I know have is reading aloud, calculations x 20, calculations x 100, low to high, and syllable count. Supposedly reading aloud passages of books is good for the prefrontal cortex, so that makes up the "reading aloud". Syllable count is also just what is says it is. The calculations are the simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems that are timed. It's amazing how you get things wrong when you know you have a clock ticking away the seconds. The two exercises I get are of 20 and 100 problems. The low to high is difficult although I have been doing well. Numbers are flashed on the screen in boxes, and you have to memorize them and then touch the empty boxes on the screen to mark the boxes that had the lowest number to the highest. The game also has suduko puzzles. I have to admit that I'm not a game person, but I do like puzzles. Brain Age is really alot of fun, and whether it actually improves my brain age in real terms, I am enjoying playing along.

Friday, November 24, 2006 -- Afternoon

The Pens played the New York Islanders in an early afternoon game. Sidney Crosby warmed up with the team, but the groin must not have been feeling well because he didn't play. Evgeni Malkin was energized and making plays throughout the first period, but the Pens weren't able to score. Jocelyn Thibault was in goal for the game, and in the second period, he didn't have the puck well, and Alexi Yashin scored a goal for the Islanders. The Pens were missing something today even though they tried their best. Malkin was able to score a goal in the third so the game wasn't a shutout. However, the scariest moment for fans was late in the third period when Malkin was checked heavily in the left shoulder (the one that was dislocated), and he didn't return to the game. The hit was so hard that it knocked Malkin's helmet off. We'll have to hope that the shoulder wasn't reinjured. The Pens lost the game with a final score of 3-1.

Ken Hitchcock got the job with the Columbia Blue Jackets, but lost his debut effort last night against his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers.

Thursday, November 23, 2006 -- Evening

There was a nwe episode of Survivor: Cook Islands this evening. It was interesting to watch a group of people scavenging for food as I lumbered around with a belly full of Thanksgiving dinner. The final merger has happened, and Jonathan flips again. Nate is the person voted out. Read the recap.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Boston Bruins tonight, bringing the 16,958 fans to their feet. At times that was bad for my picture taking because I couldn't get most of the great shots and missed a couple of the goals because folks jumped up in front of me blocking my view. The game was a sellout because so many students are home from college, and they were lined around the building for the $20 student rush tickets. My least favorite player, Mark Recchi, scored the only goal of the first period. The Bruins came back in the second period, pulling goalie Brian Finley and putting Tim Thomas in his place. Then they also scored three goals to pull ahead to a 3-1 lead. Disgruntled rumbles could be heard from the fans because the Pens just didnt seem to be making the most of the power play opportunities, and there were several cries of "shoot the puck!" People were really getting unhappy when Evgeni Malkin got a holding penalty ten minutes into the third period. The Pens killed the short handed situation, and just as Malkin's penalty expired, Maxime Talbot tossed the puck to Malkin, who came charging down the ice to score a beautiful goal on Thomas. The crowd and the players were really energied by the goal. Marc-Andre Fleury was practically standing on his head in goal, and the others were playing as if they were possessed. Malkin managed to get a penalty for holding called on a Bruin, and that was all the Pens needed to tie the score with a second goal by Recchi. The game went into overtime with no additional score. You guessed it! A shootout. The Pens had Michel Ouellet go first. He missed the net. Marco Sturm went next for the Bruins, and he got the puck past Fleury. Malkin went next and was stopped. Next for the Bruins was Patrice Bergeron who also missed. It came down to out third person. Michel Therrien chose Sergei Gonchar who also wasn't able to get past Thomas. So the Bruins won with one goal in the shootout and a final score of 4-3. I really felt for Fleury, and he should have gotten one of the three stars of the game for his saves. However, the three stars were Malkin (3rd), Recchi (2nd) and Bergeron (1st). Check out my pictures of the game.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 -- Late Morning

Sidney Crosby is not going to play against the Boston Bruins tonight. He is going to sit out the game to allow his strained groin muscle some recovery time. I will be at the game tonight and will be posting pictures from the game after I get home.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 -- Morning

The word from Sidney Crosby is that he was that he was having some groin strain yesterday. The groin muscles are used alot by skaters, and although Crosby hasn't had groin problems in the past, he was feeling something yesterday. The rationale of the trainers was not to continue to use the muscle and possibly have the problem be aggravated. Crosby is going to be reevaluated today to see if he will play against the Boston Bruins tomorrow night.

Also in Pens news, Michel Ouellet didn't play yesterday because of a knee problem that turned into a hamstring problem. That's why Michel Therrien was forced to play John LeClair last night.

Monday, November 20, 2006 -- Evening

KDKA had a very nice interview today on the 6 pm news with Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Jordan Staal. Staal wasn't featured much in the interview on tv, but he did speak alot more in the uncut video on the KDKA web site. Some highlights from the clip. Staal said that it is nice having young players because they can grow together and develop a chemistry. As he said, you don't have to have the greatest as lon as you work as a unit. The other serious moment in the televised interview was Crosby's comments about Evgeni Malkin. It was obvious to Crosby that after all Malkin when through to get to the NHL showed his passion for wanting to be here. Then the interview turned humerous. They were asked how they were communicating wtih Malkin, and Fleury said that if you talked really slow, Malkin understood, and Crosby joked that the French speaking Fleury was teaching Malkin English. Fleury was asked about being superstitious, and he said that he was on game day, but that Sidney was a freak. It seems Crosby has this thing about his stick--after he tapes it, he doesn't want anyone to touch it. Well, one time, Mike Yeo picked up Crosby's stick to illustrate some plays, and Crosby had to retape the stick. They lost that game in overtime, so Crosby always thinks of that. Crosby was asked about staying with Mario Lemieux, and he admitted that he eats alot of Lemieux's food. As Crosby said, he likes staying with Lemieux and sees it as his comfort zone. That's why he went back this year. Lemieux has four kids and as Crosby said, there's always something going on. Fleury was asked who he would not want to face while in goal. He sneaked a peek at Crosby, and then said that Crosby was good, and that he would LIKE to face him just who shut Crosby up. Both were asked if Crosby scores more on Fleury in practice, Crosby said yes, and Fleury instantly said he does not. Then Fleury added that Crosby cheats and waits for Fleury to face someone else and then will sneak a puck behind him. Crosby said they all count, and Fleury insisted that he cheated. The interview was great and showed especially the camaraderie between Fleury and Crosby. Check out the uncut video in the video section on the KDKA Sports page. Some other things from the uncut version is that Andre Roy is the clown of the team, and Maxime Talbot has the best pickup line--probably helped by his French accent, Fleury says. Oh, and for all the females out there, Fleury has a girlfriend, who is also French. I know that we are all saddened by that news.

The Pens played the Philadelphia Flyers this evening.
First period: John LeClair was playing this evening, and he scored a power play goal (his 108th) in the first two minutes of the game. That's what happens when you sit someone out. Crosby makes a great play! He was rushing towards the net with Dominic Moore. Crosby spins around and backhands the puck to Moore who sinks it into the net. With less than five minutes played, the Pens lead 2-0. Fleury is making some great saves. It looked like Malkin scored a power play goal, but it looked like the net was knocked off its moorings by Derian Hatcher. While they are reviewing the play in Toronto, Malkin is by the bench talking to Ryan Whitney. They were both going back and forth and Malkin laughed which makes is obvious that Malkin has been picking up the English. With only seconds left in the period, the Pens put on a flurry of moves and Whitney scores. As the period ends, the score is 3-0.
Second period: The Flyers finally scored at 4:55 with a goal, and less than a minute later, Crosby scored his 10th goal of the year to get the Pens back to a three point lead. Geoff Sanderson got a breakaway and tossed the puck in the upper corner of the goal and scored. Crosby got injured at some point in the game, and went back to the locker room with 8:51 left in the period. There really isn't work on what the problem is, but it seems that he has thrown off the rhythm of the team because the Pens got their second "too many men on the ice" bench penalty in the game.
Third period: Crosby didn't come back to the play in the third period. No word about what is wrong, but the fact that he was playing right before he left the ice makes me think it is just a strained muscle. With only 2.1 seconds left in the game, the Flyers get a goal to make the score 5-3. It was a fluke goal, and the Pens win. The Pens are 4-0 against the Flyers this sesaon.

Jaromir Jagr got his 600th career goal last night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jagr says that he is going to give the puck his mom.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 -- Afternoon

The Steelers played the Cleveland Browns this afternoon. Although the Steelers played miserably for most of the game (the first three quarters), but manage to pull out a win and stay out of last place. Read the game summary.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are talking to Ken Hitchcock today to replace Gerald Gallant. It seems that the Blue Jackets GM, Doug MacLean has a short list of possible coaches and Hitchcock and Pat Quinn are on the list. I have to admit that I liked Pat Quinn, and sort of hope that he gets picked. MacLean hopes to have a decision this week.

If you live in the Pittsburgh area, set your DVR or video recorder for the 6:00 pm news on KDKA tomorrow. They have an interview with Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury. There's a third person in the mix, but I didn't catch who that was. It should be entertaining, and I'll give a recap of it for those who aren't in the area.

Saturday, November 18, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the New York Rangers this evening at Mellon Arena. All 16,737 of those in attendence were in for a good game. Of course, the game could have been better. We really don't have a single defenseman who is worth his weight in salt. In fact, Sergei Gonchar is a huge disappointment, letting the puck slide past him alot while the Pens are on the attack during power plays. John LeClair hasn't been getting alot of time in the past few games, and he was a healthy scratch this evening. Michel Therrien has always threatened to not play the non-producers, and unfortunately, the whole season has been pretty much non-productive for LeClair. I think that put the fear of god into Mark Recchi who scored two of the Pens three goals. Jordan Staal scored the other goal. Sidney Crosby had assists on both of Recchi's goals. The Pens won the game with a final score of 3-1. As usual, there were boos every time Jaromir Jagr touched the puck. I was hoping that Jagr would score his 600th career goal tonight, but he was held to no points this evening. Nils Ekman took a high stick to the face that took him out for the rest of the period, and there was a lengthy controversy in the last minute of the game about the exact amount of time that was left on the clock. As with every home game that I attend, I have some pictures of the game. I try my best, but every time, I just seem to miss the picture that I want. I'm going to have to get some lessons on how to get the perfect picture.

Friday, November 17, 2006 -- Evening

Everyone can now vote for his or her favorite hockey All-Star at You have to register to vote, and when you do, you get entered into a raffle to win two tickets to the All-Star game in Dallas on January 24, 2007. We all have until January 2, 2007 ot cast our vote. So vote early and vote often as the Democrats say.

The Pens played the Buffalo Sabres this evening. I didn't hold out much hope for a Pens win because Buffalo is so hot that they are being blamed for global warming. Jocelyn Thibault wsa in goal, probably because they didn't want to demoralize Marc-Andre Fleury. I understand that they didn't want to have the same goalie for tonight and tomorrow, but I think I would have played Fleury tonight. The Pens managed to keep up with the Sabres fairly well in the first period only allowing one goal. In the second period, the Sabres started to pull ahead with two more goals for a 3-0 score. Then Sidney Crosby came on to score a beautiful goal with an assist from Mark Recchi. Thibault did a nice job this evening with several nice saves. He wasn't alone in that respect. Martin Biron made some excellent saves. The Pens pulled Thibault with more than a minute left in the game, and Crosby made his second goal of the game and 9th goal of the season. With the mid-ice face off, Thibault was back in the net, but he left as soon as the Pens got to the other end of the ice. Unfortunately, that left an opportunity for the Sabres to get an open net goal. The game ends with a final score of 4-2.

Friday, November 17, 2006 -- Morning

Jordan Staal has moved out of a hotel and into a guest house at on Mark Recchi's property. I suppose that I should give Recchi some credit because he seems to trying to make up for being a cancer in the locker room last year. He got that reputation for being hard on the young players (maybe a geriatric's jealousy) and basically creating an unhealthy atmosphere. Staal thinks that the move is a good one because it gives him the opportunity to get comfortable.

There's a new book coming out about Sidney Crosby's rookie year called The Rookie: A Season with Sidney Crosby and the New NHL by Shawna Richer. I have my name on the reserve list at the local library, but the book hasn't been processed yet. As soon as I read it, I'll post a review, but I thought that some might want to check it out before then.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 -- Evening

YouTube has made a deal with the NHL to show clips of NHL games within 24 hours of the original broadcast. It's great that the NHL has seen the power of a site such as YouTube that provides free video content to the general public. The clips should start sometime this month on a channel that will belong to the NHL. I just searched for the NHL channel and couldn't find it. As soon as it is available, I will post a link to it.

Survivor: Cook Islands was on tonight. Tonight's show was a good one. The Aitu tribe whooped butt and showed the strength of their bond. Raro went to tribal council and had to vote out two members. Rebecca and Jenny were the two who went to the jury. I have to admit that I really like the members of the Aitu tribe, and I hope that they go far. Read the recap.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 -- Afternoon

Sometimes I really don't understand people. The case in point this time is the OJ Simpson story. We all know the story of OJ and the murder of his wife. He was found not guilty by a criminal court because his lawyers played up the race card and the prosecution wasn't as adept at playing up the murderous wife beater angle. A civil court found OJ responsible, and he had to compensate Nicole's and Ron Goldman's families. Well, now OJ needs some money, and guess what? He wrote a book entitle If I Did it, and describes how he would have murdered his wife...if he did it. One of those "news" shows is supposed to interview him about the topic next week. What I can believe is that the jerk is allowed to smirk and make money after murdering his wife? I mean, really, is there any doubt now that he did it? So he is allowed to make money off the situation while rubbing his children's faces the mud. I feel so sorry for them. They must want to believe that the jerk is innocent, and to have them do this again to their mother, this time in print, just shows what an incredible low-life OJ is.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 -- Evening

Evgeni Malkin and the Pens have won in court today. The US District judge in NY rejected an injunction from Metallurg Magnitogorsk to prevent Malkin from playing with the Pens this year. Metallurg Magnitogorsk can still seek compensation from the Pens, but they will not be able to stop Malkin from playing. This is great news for all Pens and hockey fans.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 -- Afternoon

There is a lengthy article about Evgeni Malkin in today's USA Today. The article is a nice one covering Malkin's past, his jump from Russia to the US and the possible legal problems that he might experience, and how he is getting along with the team. The biggest issue for Malkin right now is learning the language so he can communicate with others. The legal case that Metallurg Magnitogorsk is bringing against the Pens is being heard by a district court judge in New York this afternoon. As soon as I hear the outcome, I'll post it.

Monday, November 13, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Philadelphia Flyers at the Mellon Arena tonight. Because it was a chilly Monday night, the attendance wasn't that great, with only 13,781 fans showing up. It was almost a bad night, because the Pens really suck defensively. Ryan Whitney, in particular, had three good opportunities for scoring a goal, and couldn't get the puck on the net. Sergei Gonchar had issues letting the puck slip past him which was frustrating when we had a power play, and the Flyers were clearing their end. On to some stats for the game. The first period was scoreless, but the Pens were banging away at the Flyers net with 13 shots on goal. Antero Niittymaki did a great job standing on his head and stopping the puck. It earned him the third star of the game in the end. The second period started with Randy Roitaille scoring first with an unassisted goal. Sidney Crosby scored the first goal for the Pens, again unassisted. The score was tied for most of the second period until Jordan Staal scored his sixth goal of the season. The Pens finished the second period with a lead. Again, the Flyers came to tie up the game, and the fans were starting to get anxious. After all, the Flyers are a really bad team, and we all came to the game expecting the Pens to whoop some ass. The anxiety continued until Evgeni Malkin score his ninth goal of the season and the game winner. There were two fights in the game. The first was between Andre Roy and Ryan Potulny and in the last minute of the game, Ryan Whitney and Derian Hatcher. I have pictures of the game. Check out the multimedia page to make sure you see all the pictures of the fights and the game play.

Monday, November 13, 2006 -- Morning

There will be an induction ceremony at the NHL Hall of Fame tonight. Patrick Roy will be inducted along with Herb Brooks. Herb was the coach of the 1980 American Olympic team that had the "Miracle on Ice" by winning the gold medal in the Olympic games against the strong, Russian team. He was also a coach and head scout for the Pens and was working for the Pens on a scouting mission when he was killed in a car accident. I wonder if there will be any mention of the ceremony at tonight's Pens game.

Tonight, the Pens are playing the Philadelphia Flyers. Since the Flyers haven't been doing well this season, I'm hoping for a win. It will help that Peter Forsberg isn't playing tonight because he is getting a splint for his ankle. I'll post the pictures that I take at the game when I get home.

Sunday, November 12, 2006 -- Evening

The Steelers (2-6) played the New Orleans Saints (6-2) late this afternoon at Heinz Field. The Steelers had a very good start and pulled ahead with a score of 14-0. However, the Saints came on, justifying their 6-2 record to pull ahead by a touchdown at the end of the first half. The Steelers came out fighting in the second half, and actually managed to pull ahead of the Saints to win their third game of the season with a final score of 38-31. Read the recap to see all the details.

Another of my favorite goalies, Patrick Roy, will be officially entered into the NHL Hall of Fame on Monday. He has really impressive numbers, playing in over 1000 games, winning 551 times and winning more than 200 games for two different teams.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 -- Evening

I missed most of the Pens game this evening against the Carolina Hurricanes. It's not that I missed a good game. Jocelyn Thiboult was in goal for the Pens, and he let in a couple of very sot goals. The Pens are seriously lacking in any sort of cohesive defensive team, and hopefully Ray Shero will be making some additions at some point that will change that. John LeClair finally got a goal in the game and so did Mark Recchi. I guess that it was geriatrics day in Carolina. Nils Ekman thought that he had a goal, but it was called off by the officials. After a review, there wasn't conclusive evidence that the goal occurred, so Ekman wasn't given credit for it. I just caught the last few minutes of the game, and the Pens really seemed out of it at that time. The final score was 6-2 with Carolina winning. I suppose that alot of us got really excited by the Pens and had visions of a Stanley Cup because of a few early wins. We are now waking up from the dream and realizing that we might not have a Stanley Cup or even a playoff contending team. It is a young team, and the future looks bright. We just have to be patient and realize that there is still alot of growth left. My hope is that the team stays here in Pittsburgh so we can see the end result.

There was a new episode of Endurance: High Sierras this evening. The drama from last week is resolved with Cameron switching up the Blue and Grey teams. However, Blue comes back to win the Endurance mission and to show everyone that they are a powerhouse team. Read the recap for the show summary.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 -- Morning

The Dominator, Dominik Hasek is back to old form. Hasek shut out the Nashville Predators last night for a Detroit Red Wing win of 3-0. This is Hasek's second consecutive shut out. Hasek credited the defense with doing a good job which makes his job easier. Last night, Hasek faced 21 shots--the fewer number of shots that a goalie has to face, the better chance he has of stopping them. The Red Wing defense is good at clearing the puck from in front of Hasek, and keeping it out of his zone as much as possible. So far, the Dominator has 153 minutes and 28 seconds without a goal being scored on him. Hasek has 71 career shutouts. This is all good for Detroit with a record of 11 wins, four losses and one overtime loss. Way to go, Hasek! I wonder how long he can keep it up.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have made his way onto the NHL All-Star ballot. The voting will start on Nov. 15 with the game being played Jan. 24 in Dallas. Others on the ballot are Alexander Ovechkin, Eric Staal, Jason Speeza, Cam Ward, Dany Heatley, Saku Koivu, Mats Sundin, Petr Sykora, Markus Naslund, and Jarome Iginla. I know that I will be voting as much as i can for Crosby and Malkin. We will all be able to Click to Vote. I'll put up the link to the site as soon as it is available.

Friday, November 10, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Ottawa Senators in front of a standing room only crowd of 17,056. There were a ton of students wrapped around Mellon Arena waiting for an opportunity to get into see the game. You knew that the Pens were in trouble when the Senators had 19 shots on goal in the first period compared to the Pens 6. Again, this was a game that was a tale of defense. The Pens were having trouble clearing their side of the ice, and in keeping the puck in the Senators end. I don't know how many times Sergei Gonchar let the puck go by him while the Pens had a power play. Evgeni Malkin had a decent night with a goal and an assist. However, the problem with the Pens is their inconsistent play, and their lack of a single good defense man. The highlight of the game was the fight in the first period between Eric Cairns and Brian McGrattan. The final tally for shots on goal was Senators 44 and Pens 17. Final score was Senators 6 and Pens 3. Check out my pictures from the game.

Thursday, November 9, 2006 -- Evening

Survivor: Cook Islands was on this evening. The show was interesting eith Candice and Jonathan mutinying to Raro. Brad is voted off. My favorite player so far is Ozzy, and I hope that he gets far. However, the people I like never seem to have to luck to make it to the end. Read the recap for all the details.

Willie Parker made some interesting comments about his fellow teammates recently. According to Parker, last year, the Steelers were hungry for a Super Bowl win. They really wanted it, and they played accordingly. This year, they are the champions, and it's hard to be motivated to want something that they now have. According to Parker, they really aren't trying very hard this year. There hasn't been alot of backlash against Parker from his teammates which tells me that Parker has called it right. Some may wish that Parker wasn't as vocal about the problem, but that may be the wake-up call for the team.

My boyfriend just bought me the Canon S3 IS with accessory kit from B&H online. I got the camera because I wasn't happy with the quality of photos from my old digital camera. It's not that my old camera was bad--it was just able to 3x optial zoom. With that, I couldn't get pictures that were very crisp from the other side of the ice. So I wanted something with a better optical zoom. The Canon S3 IS has 12x optical zoom. If you look at the pictures that I took at the Pens game before yesterday, you will notice that some of them don't look crisp or very zoomed. Yeah, I know that I can do a software zoom on the older pictures that I have, but I really don't have time to do that much manipulation to the pictures. When I come home from the game, it takes time to download the photos to my laptop, put them into iWeb, write up captions, and do my usual commentary on the game. Last night I was up until 1 am, and I have to be up early for my full-time job. So I want something that makes life easier for me. The Powershot S3 IS did just that. Yesterday's pictures were gorgeous. Every picture that I took--and there were 205 of them--were crystal clear, close-ups, without a single bad picture. Granted I need two hands to manage this one, and it is heavier and bulkier than my old Canon Powershot SD300. However, I am so much happier with the pictures.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Tampa Bay Lightning to a home crowd of 14,483. Their first period of play was nothing to write home about, but the play did pick up in the second period. The most thrilling four minutes gave us a natural hat trick (three consecutive goals) by Nils Ekman. He scored the goals in the fastest time for a Pen with time spread being 4:10. The game went into overtime, and unfortunately, Vincent Lecavalier got a pass from Martin St. Louis and broke away to toss the puck into the net behind Marc-Andre Fleury. The Lightning won in overtime with a final score of 4-3, and the Pens got a point for the OT loss. Check out my pictures from the game. I bought a new camera and I am very happy with the results.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 -- Evening

Barbaro had the cast removed from his right rear leg today. After his recovery from the anesthesia in the swimming pool, he walked back to the stall putting weight evenly on all legs. The right leg is looking good. The only thing left now is for the left hoof to complete its healing from laminitis. Right now, everything is well with it, but it will still require several months of growth to determine what the final outcome will be.

Bernardini has been retired from racing, and he will stand at stud Sheikh Mohammed's Darley at Jonabell near Lexington. The cost to mate your mare with Bernardini will be $100,000.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 -- Early Morning

The game between the Pens and the Anaheim Ducks started out with a gaol by the Ducks. However, Dominic Moore of the Pens came back seconds later with a resounding goal of his own. Only minutes later, Chris Thorburn scored his first NHL goal to give the Pens a 2-1 lead. The first period ended without any further scores. The only other score made in regulation time was in the second period when the Ducks tied things up. The game went into overtime, and the Ducks put the only shot on goal that went in for the winner. I think the shots on gaol tell the story of the game with the Ducks having 40 while the Pens had only 17.

Monday, November 6, 2006 -- Evening

Some news on the Pens front. First I have to talk about Mark Eaton. He was the player who was slammed into the boards by Jonathan Cheechoo. Eaton has come back to Pittsburgh and is having surgery on his left wrist and be out indefinitely. Michel Therrien said that the hit was a vicious, and it will be reviewd by the NHL officials. The Pens will be playing the Anaheim Ducks (they aren't mighty anymore) later this evening. Colby Armstrong has been removed from the first line because his level of play hasn't been up to the standards that Michel Therrien believes Armstrong should display. Armstrong admits that he hasn't been as strong as he could have been, and this might be motivation for him to improve his game. Also Jocelyn Thibault is going to be starting in gaol this evening.

Sunday, November 5, 2006 -- Early Evening

The Steelers played the Denver Broncos in a late afternoon game at Heinz Field. The Steelers are playing in desperation mode because everyone agrees that it would be the end of any playoff hopes for them if their record is 2-6 after the game. Personally, I didn't pick them in my Beat Bob competition because I just don't think that because the Steelers need to win that they will win. Denver is 5-2 for the season and a strong competitor. The Steelers lose yet again with no one but themselves to blame because the number of turn overs and penalties that the Steelers accummulate. Read the game recap for all the details.

Saturday, November 4, 2006 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the San Jose Sharks tonight. The Pens wind up losing, but the game was full of energy by both teams. Final score was 3-2. Read the recap.

Saturday, November 4, 2006 -- Evening

Surprising and sad day at the Breeders Cup races at Churchill Downs this afternoon. The sad news came when co-favorite in the Distaff race, Pine Island, stumbled after dislocating and fracturing her left front ankle. So severe was the injury, with broken skin meaning that infection was a strong possibility for future treatment, that Pine Island was euthanized shortly afterwards. Her jockey, Javier Castellano, was thrown heavily to the ground, and there was some concern because he was also Bernardini's jockey. Catellano was all right physically, but was feeling the effects emotional. The other co-favorite, Fleet Indian, was pulled up with a suspensory ligament injury. It is thought that Fleet Indian will be just fine, and she was due to be up for sale at Keeneland on Monday as a broodmare, but has been pulled from the sale. Winner of the Distaff race was Round Pond trained by Michael Matz, trainer of Barbaro.

There was also abit of a surprise for Bernardini fans. He finished second to Invasor in the Classic race. There was alot of talk of a matchup between Bernardini and Lava Man in the race, and only a few even considered Invasor. Lava Man was not much of a challenger in the race and finished 7th. Brother Derek, the early leader, has a very slight bump by Bernardini in the stretch and there was an objection placed against Bernardini, but the objection was denied and the results stood. Invasor, ridden by 18 year old sensation, Fernando Jara, came flying by Bernardini in the stretch to win by a length. Premium Tap was third and Giacomo was fourth. Complete results for the day's events at the Breeder's Cup can be found on my horse racing page.

There was also another episode of Endurance: High Sierras this evening. This season's Endurance is very interesting and there have been alot of twists and turns. Things have really been changed up this time. Read the recap to find out what is left hanging this week.

Saturday, November 4, 2006 -- Morning

This afternoon's Breeder's Cup Classic has a 5:20 pm ET post time and should be a doozy. There are three horses that could be considered for Horse of the Year honor. Of course, first there is Bernardini, who won the Preakness, Travers and Jockey's Club Gold Cup in his six straight wins this year. A question mark still hangs over Bernardini because he really hasn't faced any stiff competition. Perhaps it's just that he makes it look easier than it actually is. Who knows. Then there is Lava Man, the $50,000 claimer who has won $2,770,000. This year, the 5 year old gelding has seven wins in seven races. The only problem with Lava Man is that he hasn't won outside of California, and the Breeder's Cup Classic is at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Lava Man is a grandson of Seattle Slew. Then there is Invasor. He's raced in Uruguay and Dubai, and has run only three races this year--all wins. The last race was the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga in August. That could be Invasor's weak spot because he is coming into the Breeder's Cup Classic with a light race schedule and just workouts to get him into conditiion. Invasor has only lost one race--in Dubai. There's also George Washington, who has raced well in Europe, Brother Derek, Lawyer Ron, Giacomo, last year's Kentucky Derby winner, and six others who might be spolilers in the race. All in all, it should be entertaining, and the winner will more than likely be Horse of the Year.

Thursday, November 2, 2006 -- Evening

Tonight's episode of Survivor: Cook Islands is titled Why Aren't You Swimming?. So far, my favorite in the game, Ozzy, has managed to survive. He is amazing in his food gathering and competition abilities. Jessica from Aitu is voted out after Aitu wins reward but loses immunity. Read the recap for all the details.

More news about Barbaro. Dr. Dean Richardson has said that the cast may come off of Barbaro's injured right leg next week. Dr. Richardson was also honored at National Turf Writers Association Dinner yesterday. He received the Joe Palmer award which is for "meritorious service to racing." Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, trainer, Michael Matz, jockey, Edgar Prado, and exercise rider, Peter Brette, were given the Mr. Fitz Award. That is named after Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, and it is given to the individual or group that typifies the spirit of racing. Fitzsimmons trained Gallant Fox, Omaha, Nashua, and Bold Ruler about many others.

Evgeni Malkin was named NHL Rookie of the Month for October.

Thursday, November 2, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

I missed quite an exciting Pens game last night against the LA Kings. Unfortunately, my 8:30 to 5:00 job got in the way of me staying up late to watch the game, especially since it started at 10:30 last night. That's the bad thing about West Coast trips. I saw most of the first period. The Kings were the first to score, but Jordan Staal showed everyone why it was a good idea to keep him in the NHL by scoring the tieing goal. Shortly after that, Evgeni Malkin scored his sixth goal in his first six games, becoming the first person in 89 years to do that. Unfortunately, Marc-Andre Fleury didn't have the best of evenings, and he let in a soft goal which allowed the Kings to pull ahead. Noah Welch tied the game up in the third period, and the game went into overtime. Malkin stepped up to the plate and scored the winning goal during a power play to give the Pens their seventh win in 10 games. So far, the Pens have won five games in a row, a feat they haven't accomplished since the 2001-2002 season. The thing that really gets my goat was the naming of the three stars of the game. This is something that is done by the local media, and even though Malkin scored two goals (one of them the winning goal) and was the first in 89 years to score a goal in his first six games, he received nary a mention. Meanwhile Mark Recchi got the third star for his two assists. Obviously an anti-Malkin move.

Ken Hitchcock is still involved with the Philadelphia Flyers organization. Hitchcock will act as a scout for the team. However, Hitchcock has made very clear that he hopes to find a coaching job somewhere. Considering his skills, I'm sure that there must be a team out there who would value someone with Hitchcock's experience.

The Breeder's Cup Classic is this Saturday at Churchill Downs. Bernardini is entered for the race along with Lava Man, Brother Derek, Lawyer Ron, and Perfect Drift. In total 13 horses will be competing for the Classic. If Bernardini wins, he will be a shoo-in for Horse of the Year honors.

Barbaro is featured in the Fall 2006 Penn Veterinary Medicine Bellwether magazine. The main article covers the team of veterinarians who have been caring for Barbaro since his accident. The coverage is extensive and even has a timeline for Barbaro since the Preakness. An additional article has questions and answers about Barbaro, covering such topics as the source of the bone graft that Barbaro received (which came from his tuber coxae--the point of the hip for us laypeople) and his feeding schedule. Barbaro is doing as well as can be expected and the weekly updates have been moved to bi-weekly.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006 -- Late Morning

This was shocking news to me. Darius Kasparaitis, of the New York Rangers was sent down to the Rangers' AHL team for conditioning. It seems that Kasparatis hasn't been performing up to snuff since he underwent shoulder surgery over the summer for a torn labrum and side muscle. The surgeries were in May and June respectively, and Kasparaitis missed the first five games of the season because he was still recuperating. Kasparaitis used to play for the Pens a few years back, and used to be a huge fan favorite because he could always be counted on for solid defensive moves. Kasparaitis will be playing with the Hartford Wolf Pack for 10 days.