The Daily Bongo

October 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the Minnesota Wild this evening. Dany Sabourin started in goal. He is getting rewarded for his performance in Saturday's game. The first period wasn't a very exciting one, no penalties and no goals. However, the action picked up at the beginning of the second period when the Pens scored two goals in three minutes by the same threesome. Evgeni Malkin got the goal, and Sidney Crosby and Ryan Malone got the assists. The Wild scored in between the two goals. The Wild tied things up in the third period, but then Petr Sykora helped the Pens take the lead again. Sykora is the goal leader on the Pens. It wasn't the end of the scoring for the Pens. Crosby came on to score a beautiful goal with a feed from Sergei Gonchar and Malkin. Michel Therrien had a great idea when he paired Crosby and Malkin on the same line. The Pens held off the Wild and won the game.

Sunday, October 28, 2007 -- Early Evening

The Steelers game wasn't much of a nail biter this afternoon. They played the Cincinatti Bengals in Cincinatti, and the Steelers pretty much whopped their butts. Cincinatti is having some serious problems, and the team is a bottom dweller in the AFC North. There have even been rumors that the team may trade Chad Johnson. The problem is that there have been such high expectations for the team over the past few years, and they have yet to fulfill those expectations. There is also talk that coach Marvin Lewis may be on the chopping block because of the team's performance. Anyway, the final score today was Steelers 24 - Bengals 13.

I also watched the recording of yesterday's episode of Endurance: Fiji. Check out the recap.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Montreal Canadiens. The game finally became a thriller, but in the first period, it looked as if the Pens were not interested in winning the game. Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't at his best, and he was pulled when the Canadiens scored their third goal at the start of the second period. The thing is that I wouldn't have blamed Fleury because he wasn't getting alot of support either offensively or defensively. Dany Sabourin did a good job in goal, and the Pens seemed energized, scoring two goals in the second period. As the third period was coming to a close, some of the fans around me were booing because they felt that the Pens weren't putting alot of effort into winning. With abit over two minutes left in the game, the Pens pulled Sabourin, and with the aid of two penalty calls against the Canadiens, they tied the game. Not score in the overtime, and it took 16 shooters before someone scored in the shootout. Unfortunately, it was the Canadiens. I couldn't believe that Michel Therrien had Mark Recchi and Sergei Gonchar in the shootout, but not Jordan Staal. There are some issues in the team, and they are not being resolved. My seat was chosen as a winner if the Pens scored five goals in tonight's game. I didn't have alot of hope that would happen, and it didn't. No prize for me, and no win for the team. The next home game is on Nov. 7. Check out my pictures of the game and shoot out video.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 -- Late Evening

What a disappointing game this evening. The Pens played two great periods of hockey against the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the third period, things fell apart and the 1-1 time turned into a 5-2 loss for the Pens. Marc-Andre Fleury made some great saves, but that just wasn't enough. What irritated me was this guy in the stands who was yelling to pull the goalie after two goals. My gosh, they aren't going to win every game, and the goalie is going to let some pucks in. Even Martin Brodeur has losses. The major problem with the Pens is that they really are in a scoring slump. The wins have been coming when the defense plays above and beyond, and unfortunately, that wasn't happening this evening. After the game, Michel Therrien said that the guys just weren't playing up to snuff. One of the problems is Mark Recchi. Just because he has had a good past that doesn't mean that he isn't past it now. Unfortunately, he is very much past it. When he is on the ice he seems to be moving in slow motion. As one fan stated, Sidney Crosby looks like he has a ball and chain attached to his leg when Recchi is on the ice. Crosby makes the pass, but then his line mates just aren't stepping up to the plate. There was a scary moment this evening when Maxime Talbot went face first into the boards at the end of the first period. It was very scary looking, but he did get up to leave the ice. He didn't play after that, and I heard on the news that he had injured his neck. I will post the pictures for the game tomorrow evening.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 -- Early Evening

Pictures and game recap from tonight's Pens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game will be posted Friday evening.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 -- Evening

I wasn't able to go to the Pens versus the New York Rangers tonight. There are three games this week, and with my classwork picking up, I didn't think that I could spend so much time having fun. Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal for the Pens. The first period was well played, and Fleury made some good saves. The second period started with a power play goal by Evgeni Malkin with assists from Ryan Whitney and Sidney Crosby. Shortly after that, Jordan Staal was obstructed as he went to the goal. You know what that means: penalty shot! Staal missed, but I notice that huge cut on his forehead. It appears that he was hit with the puck yesterday during practice. Staal had a huge goose-egg on his head and eight stitches. Michel Therrien said that Staal was finally looking like a hockey player. This was a bad night for me to miss the game because Marc Staal was playing for the Rangers. So I missed the opportunity to get J. Staal and M. Staal pictures. I definitely started to get nervous as the third period winded down, and Fleury had a shut out on the line. Fleury was great this evening, and the shut out was save. Final score was 1-0. Fleury got the number one star of the game, with Malkin getting the second star, and Brooks Orpik getting the third star.

Monday, October 22, 2007 -- Evening

The Steelers played the Denver Broncos last night. I had picked the Steelers to win the game, but unfortunately, that was not to be. They started out slowly, and the Broncos took the early lead. In the second half, the Steelers managed to come back to tie things up. However, with only a second left on the clock, the Broncos scored a field goal to win the game.

Sunday, October 21, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

I caught up on yesterday's episode of Endurance: Fiji. The teams were picked in this episode, and there was drama when one of the girls, Briana, didn't like the guy she was being paired with. Read the recap for all the details.

Saturday, October 20, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played a back to back game tonight. They traveled to Washington to play the Capitals. The game was one of the most exciting that I have seen this season. The game was low scoring, and the Pens won with a final of 2-1. The game had everything: great saves by Marc-Andre Fleury (who was the first star of the night) and a nice fight between Georges Laraque and Donald Brashear. The most surprising fight (yes there were two) was between Jordan Staal and Matt Pettinger. It was funny to see Staal fight, because he is such a scrawny guy, but he is scrappy. It was great to see Fleury in his element tonight. He did a great job. As Fleury told Don Potash after the game, he is just going to take it a goal at a time and be confident. Michel Therrien denied all reports that the Pens are looking for a vetern goalie to backup Fleury. Everyone played well in this game, and the fans can only hope it continues.

Saturday, October 20, 2007 -- Early Morning

Dany Sabourin was in goal for the Pens game against the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday evening. This wasn't because the Pens didn't have faith in Marc-Andre Fleury, but because Fleury will be playing tonight against the Washington Capitals. Again, the Pens didn't come out playing well in the first period. In fact, the Hurricanes scored within the first minute. It wasn't until later in the second that the Pens seemed to pick up the momentum when they were down 3-1. They managed to tie things up, and the game went into overtime and a shootout. The Pens scored on all three attempts by Erik Christensen, Petr Sykora, and Sidney Crosby. Fortunately Sabourin was able to stop Ray Whitney to get the win. Sykora got the first star of the game for his two goals during regulation and his shootout goal. Crosby was the second star. There was some drama when the Hurricanes Scott Walker suddenly bent over, skated to the bench, and then fell to his knees. At first I thought it was a wrist injury, but I found out when I got home that it was a torso injury. It looked like Walker was going to be taken off by a stretcher, but he got off the ice with the help of the Pens' team doctor and a couple of Hurricane players. Walker was checked out at the hospital. Fortunately, there were no serious problems, and he was released. I have videos of a fight between Ryan Malone and Mike Commodore fight and the shootout. Also, I have my pictures. All are available from my Pens' multimedia page.

Friday, October 19, 2007 -- Early Evening

Pictures and game recap from tonight's Pens vs. Carolina Hurricanes game will be posted by Saturday morning.

Friday, October 19, 2007 -- Late Morning

There are rumors that the Pens are looking for a vetern goalie to backup Marc-Andre Fleury. Although Fleury hasn't been exceptionally bad (in my opinion), he hasn't provided the Pens with the level of consistency that they expected from him this year. He has been letting in too many goals, and some of them have been because he hasn't been rebounding the puck properly or getting in the proper position. Of course, it doesn't help that the defensive guys aren't helping. Tonight the Pens will be playing the Carolina Hurricanes here at the Mellon Arena. I will have the game recap and photos posted by late tomorrow morning (if not earlier).

Thursday, October 18, 2007 -- Evening

Last night's Pens vs. New Jersey Devils game was something else. The Pens weren't playing well at the beginning of the game, but they picked things up. The refs, however, were calling one bad play after another. At one point in the second period, they gave the Devils a goal when Fleury was on his back, in the net, with a Devil on top of him while Travis Zajac knocked the puck in. As most of the sports reporters were saying afterwards, the refs should have called the play dead. What was Fleury to do as he was pinned to the ice by another Devil? The crowd went wild, and there was a stoppage of play while people booed and threw the promotional mouse pads and Ice Time magazines on the ice. The Pens wound up losing the game in a tight one, with a final score of 5-4. Things are not going well for the Pens, and right now, they are last in the division and 14 out of 15 in the conference! I did take pictures of the game.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 -- Early Evening

Pictures and game recap from tonight's Pens vs. New Jersey Devils game will be posted Thursday evening.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

The new season of Endurance: Fiji started yesterday. I was only able to watch it today and just finished my recap. It sounds like it will be an interesting season.

Saturday, October 13, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening. Dany Sabourin started in goal. Michel Therrien said that it was because Sabourin really hasn't played a full game in awhile, so he wanted to give him that practice. However, it was not to be. Sabourin was pulled out of the game in the first period when he was slammed into the goal by a Leaf who was supposedly pushed into Sabourin by Brooks Oprik. Sabourin had to get some stitches for bleeding near his left ear, and Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal. Fleury stayed in for the rest of the hard playing game. In total, the Pens had 52 shots on goal, and there were ten goals in total. The final score was 6-4 with the Pens winning the game! Orpik left the game in the second period after a hit to the head that left him with a slight concussion. Mark Recchi, Evgeni Malkin, and Ryan Malone had to help a very unsteady Orpik to the locker room. Sidney Crosby finally got scored a goal (make it two) this evening, and Maxime Talbot also had two goals. In fact, Talbot's last goal was an empty net goal while the Pens were short handed in the last 50 seconds of the game. Talbot usually practices shooting at the net before the warm-up at home games. It obviously helped him today. Finally, the Pens gave a good showing. I was definitely worried earlier in the game when the Maple Leafs had a 3-1 lead.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the Montreal Canadiens last night. It was a disappointing game because the players did not seem to play well together. There were moments of brillance, but the lines do not appear to be solid yet. In fact, I think there are some serious problems with the Sidney Crosby line. Michel Therrien doesn't seem to have that line setup yet, and I have to wonder why. Is it because there isn't anyone who plays well with Crosby? Is is because he is limited by some of the players on the roster? At this point, the weakest links are Sergei Gonchar and most of the others on the defensive zone. Mark Eaton and Ryan Whitney are play makers, but the others are struggling to keep up with the action. Speaking of struggling to keep up, Mark Recchi seems two steps behind everyone else. There are chemistry problems on this team, and I hope that they start playing better soon. I did manage to get some nice pictures of the game.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby was practicing today after sitting out yesterday's workout. Crosby's right foot was bruised when he blocked a shot in Saturday's game. Quite a few people in Pittsburgh were concerned that he had broken something and that it was being kept quiet. After all, at the end of the last season, Crosby had a broken bone in his foot. All seems well this time, and the swelling is down. Tomorrow night the Pens will be playing the Montreal Canadiens here at home. I'll be at the game, but I probably won't be able to upload pictures until Thursday evening. Schoolwork has really put a crimp in my usual game blogging!

Sunday October 7, 2007 -- Evening

The Steelers played the Seattle Seahawks in what many were calling a Super Bowl rematch. Seahawk fans have been holding a grudge for a few years now, claiming that the officials gave the Super Bowl to the Steelers. I didn't hold out much hope for the injury riddled Steelers, but they managed to put out a win in the sulty, late Indian summer here in Pittsburgh. The temperatures were in the 80s, unusual for early October, and that may have affected the Seahawks. The final score was Steelers 21, Seahawks 0. Next week is a bye week for the Steelers, and hopefully that will provide plenty of time for Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, and Casey Hampton to heal. None of them were dressed for today's game.

Saturday, October 6, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played their home opener this evening against the defending Stanley Cup champions, Anaheim Ducks. Was it a great evening! The Pens won in the end, although there were some tight moments. Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal, and I think that he got so disgusted with the defensive play of the team that he started to make some moves on his own. The Pens' defense sucks, and the moves that Ray Shero made over the summer didn't do much to improve the level of play in that area. Sergei Gonchar has to be one of the worst defensive players on the team and in the NHL. He cannot handle the puck at all. Every since time the puck came near him, Gonchar would let it go past. In fact, in the final seconds of the game, Gonchar let the puck go past, and it resulted in an Anaheim goal on a breakaway. Gonchar's lazy efforts need to be erased from the team, and if I were Shero, I'd be encouraging Gonchar to retire. Petr Sykora scored two goals and had an assist on a goal by Evgeni Malkin. Malkin and Sykora really appear to have a chemistry together. Sidney Crosby got hit in the ankle with the puck, and although he continued to play in the game, there is concern that he might have swelling later. Anyway, the Pens won with a final score of 5-4. I have pictures and video from the game.

Friday, October 5, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the Carolina Hurricanes in their season opener this evening. Tomorrow, the Pens will be playing in their home opener. The first period did not start well for the Pens with Eric Staal scoring two goals. Things didn't improve in the second period when Andrew Ladd scored for the Hurricanes. Things didn't improve in the second period as the Pens seemed to find it difficult to get the puck past Cam Ward, and Marc-Andre Fleury had troubles stopping the puck. The Hurricanes had a 4-0 lead after two periods. Michel Therrien pulled Fleury at the start of the third period. Dany Sabourin took over the net minding duties. Finally with less than four minutes left in the game, Mark Recchi scored. The Pens lost with a final score of 4-1.

Thursday, October 4, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens have named their three alternate captains. Mark Recchi is a full time alternate. Sergei Gonchar will have the role of alternate during home games, and Gary Roberts will hold that role on the road.