The Daily Bongo

october 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008 -- Early Morning

Last night's Pens game was more of the same sort of play. The Pens came out in the first period, and only two, yes, two shots on goal in the whole period. They picked things up in the second period, and missed some good opportunities, but the Phoenix Coyotes came on in the third period to pull away and win with a final score of Phoenix 4 - Pens 1. There is something just not right with the team yet. It could be the lose of Sergei Gonchar or something else. The team just doesn't seem to be gelling, or at least none of the lines is gelling offensively.

The bad news from last night's game was that Sidney Crosby left early in the second period with an undisclosed injury. One of the Phoenix TV stations was saying that it was due to a jab in the ribs. However, the Pens aren't saying anything, and all Crosby will say is that it's a day to day thing.

Thursday, Octover 30, 2008 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the Phoenix Coyotes later this evening in the second game of the Western trip. There have been rumors about the Pens and the Atlanta Thrashers. Supposedly there is going to be a huge trade between the two teams, but I can't think of anyone other than Ilya Kovalchuk who would be worth a trade, and I can't think of anyone that I would want to give away for him. It seems that some think it will be Kovalchuk and Colby Armstrong for Jordan Staal, Kris Letang, and Miroslav Satan. That sounds like a real loser trade, and I can't imagine that the Pens would do that just to find another scorer for a year. I mean, they already did this with Marian Hossa last year. After one year, he was gone. I don't think the Pens can afford to make another trade like that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 -- Late Morning

The Pens did not play well last night against the San Jose Sharks. Well, at least Dany Sabourin, in goal, played better than the rest of them. The offense really needs to understand that shooting the puck at the net results in goals. The Pens only managed a total of 11 shots on goal the entire game! Yes, you did read that correctly. How can you expect to score if you don't shoot at the fricking net? I'm not sure what the problem is other than the fact that the offensive lines don't seem to be gelling or producing. Should they be scrambled up some more? Maybe. The final score in the game was Pens 1 - Sharks 2.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 -- Evening

The Pens are playing the San Jose Sharks later this evening. I'll report on the game tomorrow morning.

Funny story! The Tampa Bay Lightning are having some major problems. There were rumors on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday that one of the owners of the Lighting was in the locker room giving direction to the players on game strategy. Why the owners would want to do that when they have a competent coach in Barry Melrose, I don't know. I think that the problem is that they brought in a slew of the Pens' non performers, like Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi, and Ryan Malone. So why I am I lumping Malone in with the geriatrics? Because he was only an average to mediocre player from the start. Yeah, he had a good year last year, in a contract year, and playing with Sidney Crosby. Anyone would look good if they have Crosby rebounding the puck off of them into the goal. Malone just has one goal and no assists in seven games. Recchi has two goals and no assists, and Roberts is pointless (in more ways than one!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008 -- Evening

The Steelers played the New York Giants later this afternoon. The Steelers played okay through the first three quarters, but then the Giants scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to win the game with a final score of 21-14.

Saturday, October 25, 2008 -- Evening

The Pens played the New York Rangers this evening at Madison Square Garden. The Pens played well in the game and had a great deal of energy. Darryl Sydor was the first person to score in the first period, and then Sidney Crosby snuck a puck in behind Henrik Lundqvist in the second for the Pens to take a 2-0 lead. In the third period, the Pens took a penalty that cost them when the Rangers broke the shutout to get a goal. In the last minute, the Rangers pulled Lundqvist, and the Rangers scored with only 8.1 seconds left in the game to take the game in to overtime. Just as with the Capitals, the Pens just really stopped playing in the third period. I mean, the Pens only had two shots on goal in the third while the Rangers had 18! Although the Pens tried hard during the overtime, they couldn't score. It went to a shootout. The Rangers wanted to go first, and they sent out Nikolai Zherdev couldn't score for them. Kris Letang went first for the Pens, and didn't score. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Nigel Dawes. Petr Sykora went next and he couldn't score. Fredrik Sjostrom managed to get one past Fleury. It was all down to Sidney Crosby, and Lundqvist made the save. The Rangers won with a final score of 3-2.

I went to the CMU homecoming football game this afternoon. CMU doesn't have a great football team, but I went just for the fun of it. I never went to a football game with metal bleachers, and it sucked because it had rained earlier in the day. There is nothing as miserable as sitting on damp, cold bleachers. The Tartans wound up losing to Wittenberg University with a final score of 21.14. The atmosphere was just like the Disney movies set in the 1950s and 1960s. It was really an interesting experience. I don't know if I would do it again. The Kilties, the CMU marching band, performed at half time. They wore their kilts and did some marching, and they were joined by alumni Kilties.

Curlin finished fourth in today's Breeders' Cup Classic. The races were held at Santa Anita Park this year, and this may have affected some of the horses because the track has a synthetic turf. Curlin had never raced on a synthetic surface before, and it seems that may have hurt him. Curlin took the lead on the turn for home, but then got passed by Raven's Pass. Raven's Pass went on to win the mile and a quarter race by two lengths in 1:59.27. Henrythenavigator finished second and Tiago was third. Curlin was fourth in a dead heat with Go Between. Curlin's owners really can't complain though because Curlin is still the leading money winner with over $10 million in earnings.

Friday, October 24, 2008 -- Afternoon

The Pens vs. Carolina Hurricanes game last night was quite exciting, at least in the third period. The Pens started the game in a rather lackluster fashion. In fact, Brooks Orpik gave up the puck that allowed Brandon Sutter to score the Hurricane goal in the first period. Everyone can make a mistake, and the defensive guys had their rank lessened when Hal Gill was scratched due to an undisclosed injury. Sitting through most of the first two periods, it looked like it was going to wind up being a 1-0 win for the Hurricanes. But the players started to pick up some momentum at the end of the second period, and it carried through with a vengence to the third period. Sidney Crosby, Ruslan Fedotenko, Max Talbot, and Evgeni Malkin all scored goals (Malkin's was an empty netter.) Marc-Andre Fleury tried to get into the act by chucking one at the empty net from his end of the ice, but he just missed the goal. The third period was full of energy, and the Pens really pulled out all stops. Now if only they could spread that over the whole game. Fleury got his 80th career win. The final score: Pens 4 - Hurricanes 1. Check out my pictures of the game.

October 23, 2008 -- Late Evening Pictures and game recap from tonight's Pens vs. Carolina Hurricanes game will be posted Friday evening. Check the game recaps page for information on this season's home and away games.

Monday, October 20, 2008 -- Evening

The Pens played the Boston Bruins this evening in an away gaem. Dany Sabourin got to start in goal this evening, and he did a great job stopping the puck. Miroslav Satan scored the first goal in the first period with the assistance of Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. The Bruins came on to tie things up in the second. The rest of regulation went without a score, mostly because no one on either side wanted to shoot at the net, so the game went into overtime. There was no score in overtime so it went to a shootout. Kris Letang went first and was stopped by Tim Thomas. Phil Kessel scored for the Bruins. Then Petr Sykora went next and scored for the Pens. Patrice Bergeron was stopped by Sabourin, but then Crosby was stopped too. It was down to Michael Ryder, and Sabourin stopped him. Then it was Satan who was stopped by Thomas. David Krejci was next, and he was stopped. Next up was Malkin, and he scored! Then Sabourin stopped Marc Savard, and the Pens got the win! Sabourin was the player of the game this evening, and the Pens win with a final score of 2-1.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 -- Late Afternoon

The Steelers played the Cincinnati Bengals this afternoon in Cincinnati. The Bengals have really been bad this year, and they don't have a single win this season. Chad Johnson caused controversy when he asked to be traded but wasn't, and since then, he hasn't been given the ball much in the games. Also Carson Palmer has an injury and has been our for a few games. So there wasn't alot of concern about the Steelers winning this game. Although the Steelers got a 10 point lead in the first quarter, they started to ease off in the second quarter and the Bengals pulled within three points. The second half though was all Steelers, and they went on to win with a final score of 38-10. Troy Polamalu got his clocked cleaned in the third quarter when he put a hit on a Bengal and Palamalu's helmet came flying off. You could tell right away that Polamalu wasn't really quite thinking right after it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening at Mellon Arena. There has been a great deal of controversy over the past two days with people questioning the Pens motivation when they basically just gave up in the third period of the last game to give up a 3-0 lead to lose. Michel Therrien got really testy (and deservedly so) when he was asked if he had told the players to take it easy in the third period. As Therrien said, "do you think I would actually say that?" I really do like Therrien as a coach, and I think that problem is the team trying to generate some chemistry with the new players and line ups. Today was not a bad game. The Maple Leafs scored first, but the Pens came back and played the entire game with a vengenace. Sidney Crosby got his 200th assist, 300th point, and 100th career goal in the game. Then Evgeni Malkin got into the act, and scored his 200th point. Marc-Andre Fleury played a stellar game too. He has really stepped up his performance early this year. Usually Fleury, and the team in general, have a slow start. I'm not as concerned as others are because the season is 82 games long, and we are just at game 6. The Maple Leafs were having problems generating opportunities today. Their first goal came after the Pens had been given 8 straight minutes of penalties. It seemed as soon as one penalty was finished, the refs would call another against them. One other goal was called off because after the play was reviewed, it was determined that the puck was kicked into the net. Final score: Pens 4 - Maple Leafs 1. Check out my pictures of the game.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 -- Evening

The Pens played the Washington Capitals this evening at Mellon Arena. Alexander Goligoski scored with assists from Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. In the last minute of the first, Malkin made a good shot during the power play to score his second goal of the season. Jose Theodore, the Capitals goalie, really seems to be off his game this season. That's what the Caps get for getting rid of Olaf Kolzig. The Capitals were really playing a crappy game. They took a penalty for too many men on the ice at the end of the first period, and then in the start of the second, they took a delay of game penalty. This time, Miroslav Satan got assists from Petr Sykora and Evgeni Malkin. The Pens gave up a goal shortly after that to get the game to Pens 3 - Capitals 1. Meanwhile Alex Ovechkin has been playing like a thug. He seems to love to take dirty hits at people, and he has been charging Malkin the entire game. By the end of the second period, it was so bad that Malkin was yelling so loud you could hear him over the television. Ovechkin just gathers up speed and throws his body at Malkin. I just hope that Malkin doesn't get hurt one of those times, but I would just love it if Ovechkin hurt himself. Unfortnately for the Pens, the Capitals came on in the third period to tie things up at 3-3 and then to take a one goal lead. The difference was the Capitals making 21 shots in the third period while the Pens only had 6 shots on goal. It really sucked because the Pens were doing so well the first half of the game while the Capitals were so bad. Final score: Pens 3 - Capitals 4.

Ryan Hollweg was in the news again. He got a three game suspension from the NHL for boarding yet another player. Boarding is when you hit a player from behind when the player is facing the boards. It is really dangerous because you could really hurt the player being boarded. Back in early 2007, Hollweg boarded Chris Simon who responded by striking at Hollweg with his stick, catching Hollweg around the throat. Not to defend Simon, but he was just responding in anger and retaliation to Hollweg's cheap move. Of course, Simon is a goon who doesn't deserve sympathy and has done some really nasty stuff himself. But the thing is that does not lessen the scum that Hollweg is. So Hollweg missed his next three games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think that Holleweg should get alot more than three games.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 -- Afternoon

I didn't make it to the Pens game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, and won't make it tonight either. I have been sick with a bad cold, and just couldn't make it to the games. In fact, I just watched bits and pieces of the Pens-Flyers game through a cold medicine haze. The Pens are still having problems getting some chemistry going. The Pens had a two goal lead in the second period, and let it trickle away in the last minute of the second period to have the Flyers tie things up. The game went into overtime when Pascal Dupuis scored the game winning goal with an assist from Brooks Orpik. Orpik has been earning his salary this year with a the first goal of the game in the second period. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have not been performing up to snuff in the first four games of the season, and there has been alot of concern amongst the fans about the lack of chemistry on their lines. But it is still early days, so I'm not too concerned. Marc-Andre Fleury has been really on top of his game and gave another good performance on Tuesday. The final score was Pens 3 - Flyers 2.

Saturday, October 11, 2008 -- Late Evening

The Pens had their home opener this evening against the New Jersey Devils. I wasn't expecting many goals, but I was expecting to see some shots on goal. In regulation, the Pens only had 15 shots on goal, with two of those shots coming in the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury was exception in goal this evening. Fleury blocked over 40 shots before a puck finally slid past him with less than three minutes left in the game. That goal tied the score to 1-1 and took the game into overtime. Unfortunately, the Pens weren't really playing well together in overtime, and the Devils got another one past Fleury. All in all, Fleury stopped 47 of 49 shots. Evgeni Malkin seemed to have alot of problems identifying his own players and made quite a few beautiful passes to a Devil player, who would then take the puck down the ice to shoot at Fleury. The team needs some work, but Fleury was really in the zone today. He is keeping the team in the games if they would only score.

The Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division banners were already hanging when we got to the arena. The Pens decided to not raise the banners in a ceremony before the game. I thought that sort of sucked because it would have been nice to celebrate the great season last year. Of course, they didn't win the Stanley Cup so there wasn't much to celebrate there. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died right at the start of the game, so i wasn't able to get any photos during the game. I did get a picture of the banners and video of the player introduction.
New Pens' banner to honor 2007-2008 season accomplishments

Tuesday, October 7, 2008 -- Evening

I forgot to comment on Sunday evening's Steelers' game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Surprisingly, the Steelers were able to pull out a win, even though they have alot of injuries on the team and are otherwise playing like crap. Ben Roethlisberger is the most sacked quarterback in the NFL, and he was sacked even more in this game. All the fans have been calling into the sports shows to complain about the Steelers performance. Max Starks hasn't been playing, and they think that his inclusion on the team would help the offensive line. Who knows. All that I can say is that the Steelers seem to find a way to win, which I think is impressive.

Sunday, October 5, 2008 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens and the Ottawa Senators played again today in Stockholm. In yesterday's game and again in today's, the Pens were having a great deal of difficulty in generating anything with their power play. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the Senators. They scored on a power play on a Eric Goddard double roughing penalty. Unfortunately, our penalty kill left much to be desired too, and the Senators got another goal in the third period while Mark Eaton was in the box on a holding penalty. The Senators got another goal in the waning minutes of the third period. The Senators almost won in a shutout when Alex Goligoski scored in a power play in the last seconds of the game. There was 1.1 seconds left on the clock, but it counted. The final score was 3-1.

Saturday, October 4, 2008 -- Evening

The Pens played the Ottawa Senators this evening in Stockholm, Sweden. Petr Sykora didn't play today because he has been suffering from a respiratory infection. Tyler Kennedy came out flying and scored the first goal for the Pens in the first 40 seconds of the first period. Kennedy has been really hot this week, and even scored a goal in a pre-season exhibition game against the Finnish club, Jokerit on Thursday. Pens and Senators traded goals through regulation, ending in a tie. The game went into overtime where Tyler Kennedy scored his second goal of the season with 25 seconds left on the clock. The team played well together today, and it was a good start. Of course, I'm not going to put too much into this because last year, the Ottawa Senators started out hot to only fall apart in the last half of the season. Also, one game doesn't mean much. The Pens will play the Senators again tomorrow evening (afternoon here in Pittsburgh.) Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik were the alternate captains in today's game. The management wanted to give the young, up-and-coming players the responsibility of taking leadership roles, and I think that's a good thing. When you get the players involved, it really improves morale. I think that the Pens are a really nicely managed team. They send the players out to deliver tickets to season ticket holders, and had an outdoor display during playoffs so fans could be at the Arena to watch the games. The Pens also did a nice job by opening up Mellon Arena for free this afternoon so fans could watch the Stockholm game there and take tours of the locker rooms.