The Daily Bongo

Pens 2006-2007 Season




2006-2007 First Round Playoff Matchup
Game Date Matchup/Result Winner Score
1 Wednesday, April 11, 7pm et Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators OTT 3-6
2 Saturday, April 14, 3pm et Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators PIT 4-3
3 Sunday, April 15, 6pm et Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins OTT 4-2
4 Tuesday, April 17, 7pm et Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins OTT 2-1
5 Thursday, April 19, 7pm et Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators OTT 0-3


2006-2007 Atlantic division final results
Team GP W L OT PTS Home Away Div
New Jersey 82 49 24 9 107 25-10-6 24-14-3 23-6-3
PITTSBURGH 82 47 24 11 105 26-10-5 21-14-6 20-9-3
NY Rangers 82 42 30 10 94 21-15-5 21-15-5 15-12-5
NY Islanders 82 40 30 12 92 22-13-6 18-17-6 17-11-4
Philadelphia 82 22 48 12 56 10-24-7 12-24-5 5-20-7


Monday, August 20, 2007 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby was in town today to instruct some kids attending the Pens Summer Hockey School. Crosby spent the time showing the kids various moves and signing autographs. I really admire Crosby because he genuinely seems to be a nice person. As Crosby said, he knew what it was like when he was a kid and got an autograph from a player. Crosby is just returning the favor. As I was watching the bit on the local sports station, I was struck by one comment that Crosby made. Crosby was asked how it felt to coach Mario Lemieux's son, Austin, at the camp. Crosby replied that he talks to him all the time at "home" so Crosby isn't intimidated. It's very obvious that Crosby does see Lemieux's home as his own, and the Lemieux family as an extension of Crosby's own.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 -- Evening

Jordan Staal and Eric Staal are being given a plea deal. The charge is petty misdemeanor and will result in no jail charge.

Thursday, August 2, 2007 -- Early Afternoon

The Pens have announced their plan to provide tickets to those on the waiting lists. Starting next Monday, people on the waiting list can start to buy six and 12 game plans. If you aren't on the waiting list, you have to wait until Wednesday. Individual tickets are going on sale September 15. I'm not looking forward to a packed arena. Why you ask? Because that means that a tall person with a big head will more than likely be sitting in front of me. That always ruins my view of our goal--especially with the prarie dogs--the people who leap up out of the seats whenever someone gets close to the goal. When I take pictures during the game, I have to throw out quite a few because it's the back of a head or someone's huge broad back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 -- Evening

So there is alot of something being made out of the fact that Jordan Staal was arrested late Saturday/early Sunday morning for disorderly conduct. Staal was at a resort in Minnesota for a bachelor party for his brother, Eric. Well, the group was fairly noisy, and the police decided to take action around 3 a.m. Jordan was booked and released, but Eric was held overnight. The Staals' agent said that the brothers were there, but they had gone to bed. Jordan was charged with disorderly conduct and underage drinking. The Pens did not have an official comment. As Ray Shero said, they know that something transpired and are waiting for the legal system to take its due course. The agent, Rick Curran, said that he thinks the charges will be dropped or reduced.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 -- Afternoon

The Pens signed an extra, veteran goalie to the team with the signing of Ty Conklin to the lineup. He is expected to play with the Baby Pens. However, if needed, he can join move up to the majors. The Pens also announced their promotions. There are four bobbleheads on the scheduled, honoring Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Mark Recchi's 500th career goal last year.

Monday, July 16, 2007 -- Late Morning

Michel Therrien signed a one year contract extension with the Pens today. I thought that it would have been more than a year. It makes me wonder about the comments that some were making in the middle of the season that Ray Shero wasn't happy with Therrien and might want to replace him. Of course, Therrien will have two more seasons with the Pens.

Thursday, July 12, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens signed Colby Armstrong to a two year deal. Armstrong will make $1.2 million each season. Armstrong initially was going to go to arbitration, but accepted this deal to avoid the arbitration process.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 -- Afternoon

The NHL has released the upcoming season's schedule. The Pens have a few good games coming up. The home opener on October 6 is with the Anaheim Ducks. I'm really looking forward to the December 3 game at home against the Phoenix Coyotes. It will be my chance to get some pictures of the Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 -- Morning

Sidney Crosby signed a five year extension to his contract either late last night or early this morning. The deal is rumored to be at $9 million a year, but the official announcement doesn't mention any financial aspects.

Friday, July 6, 2007 -- Afternoon

Jocelyn Thibault has signed a one year deal with the Buffalo Sabres. I suppose that he was getting tired of playing second fiddle with the Pens and wanted to make something of his career.

Thursday, July 5, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens have re-signed Maxime Talbot and Erik Christensen today. Both of them got two year contracts. Christensen gets $750,000 for each year of the contract, and Talbot gets $650,000 the first year and $700,000 the second. Not a bad chunk of change. Meanwhile, Colby Armstrong has gone to arbitration. It doesn't mean that he won't sign with the Pens, but that he hasn't been happy with the offer so far. Usually players go to arbitration when they feel they aren't being offered what they are worth. I'm not a huge Armstrong fan, and personally, I wouldn't pay him much. In my opinion, Armstrong underperformed most of the time.

Monday, July 2, 2007 -- Morning

Some surprising news from the Pens front this morning. There were rumors from the local television stations (KDKA) that the Pens were going to sign Paul Kariya. I wondered about that because I think they get their rumors from a loser who is always wrong. Well, I was right. Kariya was signed by the St. Louis Blues. However, the Pens did make a signing. They signed Petr Sykora and Darryl Sydor.

Sunday, July 1, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens resigned Ryan Whitney to a six year contract. Whitney should make $24 million over the deal.

Thursday, June 28, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens are no longer accepting offers for full season ticket orders. 13,500 packages were sold so far. Part of the reason is that half-season ticket holders were being told they would have to upgrade to full season to retain their seating locations. The Pens wanted to keep some seats open for individual tickets and smaller plans like the six and 12 game plans. Also, the Pens said they want to keep some seats open for student rush. That's admirable, and shows that the Pens are thinking of the young fans who cant afford the expensive tickets.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 -- Evening

Georges Laraque is actually okay, and will be ready for training camp. The MRI done today didn't show any damage. I think that Laraque was just being a big sissy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 -- Evening

In Pens news, the rookies got together for a training at Southpointe today. They will be returning for the rookie camp in September. Also, Georges Laraque injured his shoulder while doing some off season training. The rumor is that the injury occurred while Laraque was doing some weight training. Laraque is headed to Pittsburgh for evaluation by the team doctors. I was underimpressed with Laraque's performance with the Pens last season. After all, he was brought in to be an enforcer, and he didn't seem to enforce anything.

Monday, June 25, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens have made qualifying offers to the following players: Colby Armstrong, Ryan Whitney, Erik Christensen, and Maxime Talbot. No offers were made to Michel Ouellet, and he will become a free agent on July 1. I am so glad that Maxime Talbot is staying with my team because he is one of my favorites.

Saturday, June 23, 2007 -- Evening

I've been intensifying my study for the GRE because the test is only three days away, so I haven't been quick on commenting on the Pens draft yesterday. The Pens got another center Angelo Esposito as the 20th overall pick. Even though we really don't need another center, Esposito may have been a really good pick. Originally, he was slated to be one of the top picks in the draft, but Esposito didn't have a good rookie season in the Juniors. That brought him down abit, and put him within reach of the Pens. I believe that Ray Shero's philosophy is to take the best available, and then see how things develop, and that's what he did with Esposito. The kid does seem like a really good pick, so I'm not complaining. Also, Chris Thorburn was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for a third round draft pick. Heres the complete list of list of Pens' picks. There were four centers and three defensemen in the mix with only one left winger.

Friday, June 22, 2007 -- Evening

Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts have signed on year deals with the Pens. Their deals are rumored to be $2 million and $2.5 million respectively. Both would have been free agents if they didn't sign by July 1.

Thursday, June 14, 2007 -- Evening

I hate Versus, and the NHL should be hanging its head in shame. Why? Because here in the US, Versus was supposed to carry the NHL Awards show starting at 7 p.m. Well, it wasn't on. A fighting show was on instead. Finally at 8 p.m., a scroll eent across the bottom of the screen saying that the show was being rescheduled for 11 p.m. What the heck! This is why folks here in the US are losing interest in hockey. Hockey is only available here on crappy Versus--and they can't even show the Awards show live. How absolutely ridiculous! For shame NHL and Versus.

So to find out who won what, I have to resort to refreshing the TSN Hockey page. The Pens had some bad news when Michel Therrien lost the Jack Adams Award for Outstanding Coach. However things picked up when Evgeni Malkin won the Calder Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Rookie. Sidney Crosby won the Lester B. Pearson Award AND the Hart Trophy. I was whooping it up for Crosby when I read it on TSN. It seems that the vote wasn't even close. Crosby had 91 first place votes and 1,225 points. Roberto Luongo was second with 25 first place votes and 801 points. Martin Brodeur was third with 21 first place votes and 763 points. What a great night for Crosby and the Pens!

Here are the list of winners:

CALDER MEMORIAL TROPHY
Award for outstanding rookie
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

FRANK J. SELKE TROPHY
Award for outstanding defensive forward
Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina Hurricanes

HART MEMORIAL TROPHY
Awarded to most valuable player to his team
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

JACK ADAMS AWARD
Award for outstanding coach
Alain Vigneault, Vancouver Canucks

JAMES NORRIS MEMORIAL TROPHY
Award for outstanding defenseman
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

LADY BYNG MEMORIAL TROPHY
Awarded to player that displays sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

LESTER B. PEARSON AWARD
Awarded to the most outstanding player as voted by fellow NHLPA members)
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

VEZINA TROPHY
Award for outstanding goaltender
(For the first time since the inception of the NHL awards in 1983, there are more than three finalists in a category; There was a third-place tie in balloting for the Vezina, resulting in four finalists.)
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

MASTERTON TROPHY
(For the player who exhibits perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey)
Phil Kessel, Boston Bruins

Sunday, June 3, 2007 -- Evening

Some news on the Pens front. Stephane Dube was fired yesterday. Ray Shero said that Dube didn't do anything "wrong", but that Michel Therrien was supportive of the move. I wonder if the firing was because Dube either wanted more money or that the Pens weren't as happy with the conditioning of the team. I have to admit that I thought the team was stronger than the previous season. This past year, the Pens had strong third periods and overtimes. That wasn't the case just a year earlier, and I think that had alot to do with conditioning. The Pens are searching for a replacement.

Saturday, June 2, 2007 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby was at the Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks game. Crosby is really a mature kid. He said that he was getting over not being in the Stanley Cup finals until he was there to see the game this evening. I think that Crosby will make a great captain. He is mature beyond his years, and he's a great ambassador for the NHL.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 -- Evening

News from the Pens today. It seems that there will be a press conference sometime tomorrow at Mellon Arena to announce that Sidney Crosby is the new team captain. Since the retirement of Mario Lemieux over a year ago, the team has not had a captain. Crosby was named the alternate captain, but it was felt that he was too young to take the team on his shoulders. At the age of 19 (20 in August), Crosby will be the youngest captain in NHL history.

Friday, May 25, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens are trying to address their weakness in the defense area by picking up a minor league defenseman, Jonathan D'Aversa. D'Aversa was playing in the Ontario Hockey League, and has the stats of a scoring defenseman. Also, the Pens have tendered offers to both Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts. There wasn't any information on the type of offer, and how receptive the two players were.

Monday, May 21, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens office has been going out of their way to alienate the fans. The latest story that has been making the rounds is that season ticket holders with a half season plan (21 of the 42 games) are being asked to ante up for a full season to keep their seats. It seems that there has been a high demand for full season tickets. Part of the reason may be that the team did well this past season, and some fans are participating in the fair weather act. The other part is that those who have season tickets will get the in with the new arena. Now some of the half season ticket holders are saying that they feel cut out of the process. Their option is to turn in their seats and get tickets in a section that is not as good. I wonder though, what are the Pens to do? They are looking for the guaranteed seat by having someone purchase a full season. Even though the half season tickets cost more than a full season, over the span of a year, the Pens make more from the full-season. I know that it would suck if I were a 20 game ticket holder. Right now, I would like to move my seats to another area of the arena, and it doesn't look like it will happen. My hope was to move to an area where I wouldn't have a head in front of me. That's probably not going to happen because of the current ticket fiasco.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007 -- Afternoon

Both Craig Patrick and Mike Lange might be heading to Phoenix for openings pertaining to the Phoenix Coyotes. Patrick is one of nine people being considered for the GM position with the Coyotes. All I have to say is that Patrick in the last few years here wasn't doing a great job with managing the team. He brought Eddie O in as the coach, and made some suspect trade deals. So if I were Wayne Gretzky, I would pass him up. Mike Lange, on the other hand, wants to return to television because that's where the money is. He took a huge cut when he moved from the tv announcer position to radio game announcer. Since there is no television opportunity for Lange here, one of the local sports reporters, Bob Smizik thinks that Lange might go for an opening in Phoenix. It seems that Lange started his career in Phoenix.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 -- Evening

The NHL announced the finalists for the various awards that are not based on statistics today. The Pens feature heavily in the awards this year. Sidney Crosby was nominated for the Hart Memorial and Lester B. Pearson awards. Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal are nominated for the Calder Trophy for Rookies. The one that I am most excited about is Michel Therrien's nomination for the Jack Adams Award for the best coach. I hope that he wins it. Here is the complete list of finalists:

CALDER MEMORIAL TROPHY
Award for outstanding rookie
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins
Paul Stastny, Colorado Avalanche

FRANK J. SELKE TROPHY
Award for outstanding defensive forward
Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina Hurricanes
Samuel Pahlsson, Anaheim Ducks
Jay Pandolfo, New Jersey Devils

HART MEMORIAL TROPHY
Awarded to most valuable player to his team
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

JACK ADAMS AWARD
Award for outstanding coach
Lindy Ruff, Buffalo Sabres
Michel Therrien, Pittsburgh Penguins
Alain Vigneault, Vancouver Canucks

JAMES NORRIS MEMORIAL TROPHY
Award for outstanding defenseman
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim Ducks
Chris Pronger, Anaheim Ducks

LADY BYNG MEMORIAL TROPHY
Awarded to player that displays sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

LESTER B. PEARSON AWARD
Awarded to the most outstanding player as voted by fellow NHLPA members)
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

VEZINA TROPHY
Award for outstanding goaltender
(For the first time since the inception of the NHL awards in 1983, there are more than three finalists in a category; There was a third-place tie in balloting for the Vezina, resulting in four finalists.)
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Monday, April 30, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens are being recognized for their great season. The Hockey News, in this week's issue, Sidney Crosby was the named the NHL's Best Player, MVP, and first team All-Star center. Evgeni Malkin was named the Best First Year Player and was placed on the all-rookie team. Jordan Staal was in the top five for first year players and penalty killing. The one that I love the most is that Michel Therrien was named the best coach of the year. As for the NHL awards, the Hart finalists are to be named tomorrow, and Crosby is expected to be a finalist. We'll also find out if Therrien is a finalist for best coach of the year. The awards ceremony will be on June 14 in Toronto.

Friday, April 27, 2007 -- Early Evening

Ryan Whitney had wrist surgery yesterday. His rehab is supposed to take six to eight weeks. I haven't found anything that explains what the injury was or what surgery was performed.

Thursday, April 26, 2007 -- Afternoon

Sidney Crosby is in the running for the Top 100 Most Influential People of the Year on a Time magazine poll. Right now, Crosby is in the number four spot. Vote for Sidney, and vote often!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 -- Evening

Evgeni Malkin has gone to Russia to visit with family and friends and to play for the Russian national team in the upcoming World Championships. Malkin hasn't been in Russia since his dramatic escape from Metallurg Magnitogorsk last August. Also playing in the World Championship is Colby Armstrong for Team Canada.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 -- Evening

Ray Shero was talking yesterday about changes that the Pens might make for the next season. Michel Therrien should be back next season. Some of the local sportscasters are saying that Therrien should be coach of the year for the work that he has done in improving the performance of the Pens over the past season. So what changes will be made? Well, as Shero said, he would love it if everyone came back because the team did have chemistry. However, that said, he would still like to beef up the defense and get a solid scoring winger to play with Sidney Crosby. I hope that they can find someone that fits the role and the budget.

Saturday, April 21, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

Sidney Crosby announced today that he will not be playing for Team Canada in the upcoming World Championship because he has a broken foot. It seems that Crosby broke the foot on March 16 when the Pens were playing the Montreal Canadiens. Crosby blocked a shot with the foot, and everyone at the time marvelled at the fact that he didn't get hurt. Well, he did. Since then, Crosby has been playing through the pain. Now he just wants to take some time off and let the bone heal. Crosby also plans to work with the Pens this off season to come up with a long term deal so he won't become a restricted free agent in 2008. That good for the Pens fans.

Monday, April 16, 2007 -- Afternoon

I forgot to mention the ugly moment from yesterday's Pens game. As is usual when a Canadian team plays, the Canadian National Anthem was played, and some people actually started to boo the anthem. I thought that was a very crass thing to do. After all, we have Canadians are our team too. We can boo the Ottawa team or individual players, but it's a low point to boo the anthem of a close ally. When the Canadian teams come to Pittsburgh, I always sing along with the anthem to show respect, and it really disturbed me that some of my fellow fans would want to stoop so low.

Sunday, April 15, 2007 -- Late Evening

The third game of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators quarterfinal series did not go well for the Pens. There were definite problems for the team in the second and third period, with the key problem being lack of shots on goal. Sometimes the players need to realize that it's not necessary to wait for the pretty goal or the sure shot. The only good things about the game were the first period--when the Pens were playing like they wanted to win, and Sidney Crosby who got his third goal of the series (a goal a game). The Pens go down in the series 2-1 with a final score of 4-2. After the game, Michel Therrien was very critical of some of the players. As he said, some people aren't showing up in the highlght reels and are taking stupid penalties. It seems that the defense men and Evgeni Malkin might have been some of the targets there. We can never hear the questions in the news conferences. Malkin had three of the eight penalties in the game today. It will be interesting to see what changes are made in Tuesday's game. I did get alot of pictures of the game.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 -- Evening

The local sports folks have been analyzing the Pens loss yesterday. Some were blaming Marc-Andre Fleury, but I thought he did a great job considering that he was in the midst of a firing range. The biggest problem was that the Ottawa Senators came out to play playoff hockey. They upped their level of aggresssive play, and the Pens didn't have an answering return of aggression. The Pens' players were getting knocked on their asses left and right, and basically being pushed around. The Pens answer in the most part was to act like little girls being bulled in the playground by the boys. They didn't do much of anything. The sad part was that our "enforcer", who is supposed to intimidate others so they won't take unfair advantage pretty much was on the roster for the game, but didn't show up. Yep, Georges Laraque was on the ice, but his game was somewhere else. Michel Therrien was asked in a news conference if he expected the Pens to play more aggressively. He said yes. He was then asked why Laraque wasn't more aggressive in yesterday's game, and Therrien said that the reporters would have to ask Laraque. Laraque had no answer, but he better pick up the level of his game. I mean we have Laraque so our players aren't being used for punching bags, and so far, the opinion that I have developed of Laraque is that he is a huge wuss! As Michel Therrien said, "The positive thing is that the first game is under their belts. I didn't think our team was tight, but I guess they were. We can't do worse than that. That's probably one of the worst performances we had this year." Here's hoping for a better game on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 -- Afternoon

I thought this would happen. The Dapper Dan dinner is being postponed. It was originally scheduled for this coming Sunday evening. However, the man of the year, Sidney Crosby is going to be playing in the third game of the Ottawa series. The dinner is now scheduled for the next Sunday, April 22. It will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center with the doors opening at 5:30 p.m., and the festivities starting at 6 p.m. If the Pens need a game 6, it will be held that same day at 1 p.m. here in Pittsburgh, so there will be no conflict--unless the game goes into multiple overtimes.

Monday, April 9, 2007 -- Early Evening

There is going to be a rally for the Pens on Wednesday at noon. Dan Onarto, the Allegheny County Chief Executive, and Mayor Luke Ravinstahl will be the hosts of the event. The rally will be held at the Allegheny County Courthouse Courtyard, 436 Grant Street. There is going to be free food and music at the event, and I'm sure alot of fun.

Monday, April 9, 2007 -- Late Morning

The NHL has released the schedule for the Pens playoff games against the Ottawa Senators. Here's the schedule:
Best of Seven Series
Game Date Matchup/Result
1 Wednesday, April 11, 7pm et Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators
2 Saturday, April 14, 3pm et Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators
3 Sunday, April 15, 6pm et Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins
4 Tuesday, April 17, 7pm et Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins
5 Thursday, April 19, 7pm et Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators
6 Sunday, April 22, 1pm et Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins
7 Tuesday, April 24, 7pm et Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators
This back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday are going to suck because of the travel time. Also, Sidney Crosby was supposed to attend the Dapper Dan dinner on Sunday evening where Crosby was going to be honored as Pittsburgh sportsman of the year. I guess that they will have to have someone stand in for him for that.

Sunday, April 8, 2007 -- Early Afternoon

My pictures are finally ready. It took awhile because I wound up with five pages instead of the usual two. My seats were very nice, but didn't give me a good view of the other end of the ice--at least for photographic opportunities. The glass distorted the camera view more than normal eyesight. I had alot of fun at the game, and enjoyed all the ceremonies--awards and "Shirts Off Their Backs." Sidney Crosby locked up the scoring championship for the season. He's the youngest player to achieve the honor.

Saturday, April 7, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played their final regular season game against the New York Rangers. During the game, we all found out that Ottawa Senators beat the Boston Bruins so this final Pens' game didn't mean much. Ottawa gets the home ice advantage when the playoff series starts next week--probably on Wednesday. The Pens played to win though, and they did in the end. The final score was 2-1, and there was alot of tension between the teams, culminating in Jarkko Ruutu throwing down the gloves against Sean Avery who didn't thrown down the gloves. George Laraque talked to the refs, and Ruutu just got a two minute unsportsmanlike penalty. Before the game, various player awards were distributed. After the game, it was "shirt off our backs" with the players taking the shirts off their backs for the fans. After the players took off their shirts, they threw t-shirts into the stands. I was standing in a section by myself--taking photos--when Michel Ouellet threw a t-shirt right at me. It was one seat off, and someone tried to run down to get it, but I was right there and grabbed it up. I have more than double my usual number of pictures. It may take me until later Sunday morning to get them all processed so keep your eyes on the multimedia page.
For the awards:
The Good Guy Award: the entire Pens team
Masterton Award: Alain Nasreddine
Booster Club Award: Sidney Crosby
Edward J. Debartolo Award: Mark Recchi
Rookie of the Year: Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal
Player's Player Award: Mark Recchi
Most Valuable Player Award: Sidney Crosby

Saturday, April 7, 2007 -- Morning

I am very excited about the final regular season Pens game tonight. I have tickets in the Igloo section. That's the section in the middle of the rink that should give me a good view of both goals. I believe that I am closer to the south end goal (where the Pens shoot twice), but I'm still excited. The last time I was there in December, I chowed down on a Reuben sandwich and had an excellent view of all the players. I'm hoping to get some good pictures this evening, and should have them posted sometime in the early morning hours. News on the Pens front includes information that the season ticket prices are rising for the first time since 2001. My seats will be raising from $30 for a full season to $45. That's a 50% increase. I suppose they want to get people used to the fact that the tickets are going to be a heck of a lot more expensive in the new arena.

Some folks in the Hill District area of the city, the location of the current and new arena, are pulling what is in my opinion an extortion bid at getting money. The group who is proposing the plan has nine points, such as wanting $10 million up front and a yearly stipend, and reguirements on minority hiring for all positions at the arena. Why do I call it extortion? Because the group went public, and they have made threatening comments about future action if their demands aren't met. What I don't understand is what makes them think they have a right to anything? Jobs will be created in the area with concessions in the arena, and the promise of additional eating facilities. Remember, these are the same people who tried their darndest earlier to prevent the Pens' and Isle of Capri's casino bid. The Hill District group campaigned heavily to prevent development in the area. Now when it is going to happen, they want a piece of the pie. I think that they should stick with representation from their elected official, Tonya Payne, who seems like a level headed person wanting the best for her district. It seems that she realizes that going into bargaining with threats isn't the way to get what you want.

Friday, April 6, 2007 -- Afternoon

I just finished reading a very timely book. It is The Code: the Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL by Ross Bernstein. As the title states, the book looks at fighting in the NHL, and the rules that players follow before, during, and after the fight. Some would have you believe that fighting means that the NHL is out of control, but the players themselves view fighting as the way to police the game. The enforcer's role on the team is to give the skill players room to play the game. Read my review of the book, and then go out and read the book yourself.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 -- Evening

David Morehouse has been named President of the Pens today. His role will be to oversee the redevelopment of the existing Mellon Arena area and government and corporate relations. Morehouse has experience with government by being a senior consultant with John Kerry during his presidential run in 2004. After the election loss, Morehouse, a native Pittsburgher, came to the Pens in December of 2004. His acquaintance with Ron Burkle (friend of Bill Clinton) is what got him the job. Before today, Ken Sawyer played a dual role as CEO and President. Sawyer will now concentrate on the building of the new arena.

The Pens have been big news in town lately because of their playoff entry. Since the players are so young, a local TV station, KDKA's Bob Pompeani and his crew did some photoshopping to put beards on the younger guys. After looking at the pictures, I think the only one that looks good and realistic is the beard on Jordan Staal. The beards on Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin looked identical. In fact, Crosby called them on it when he saw the beards. The problem is that they make the beards too full. Guys who are growing a beard for the first time have bald spots and usually don't have alot of hair under the lower lip. The hair follows more along the jawline then filling up the area up to the lip.

For all local Pittsburghers planning on attending the Pens game on Saturday, several fan sites are encouraging everyone to dress in black and to bring their white rally towels. I'll be there with my black Pens t-shirt and rally towel. I think it might be a great site, sure to inspire the Pens. I hope to have pictures for my multimedia page.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 -- Late Morning

I forgot to mention last night that Ryan Whitney was a scratch yesterday because of a sore groin. It was the first game of the season that Whitney missed. As Therrien said, if this were a playoff game, Whitney would have played, but at this point, it is important to rest him so Whitney is in primo shape for the playoffs next week.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Buffalo Sabres this evening at Mellon Arena in front of yet another standing room only crowd of 17,132. Surprisingly, there were empty seats all around though, so I guess that people had the tickets and just didn't come. The Pens were disappointing this evening, and really didn't play well at all. It was disappointing because they needed the win to take first place in the Atlantic Division. The New Jersey Devils didn't disappoint in their game, and won the game to seal up the Atlantic Division. Everyone in the crowd seemed to think that the Pens should win every game. However, that's not how life is. The team wasn't jelling tonight, but hopefully things will be better when the playoffs start next week. The Sabres were just great at clearing the puck when they were short handed, and in attacking the net. I just heard some of the local sports guys saying that the circus which is being held in Mellon Arena and the warm temperatures here in Pittsburgh may have made the ice less that desireable, but it didn't affect the Sabres. The final score was Sabres 4, Pens 1. Check out my pictures of the game.
As an aside, one thing that I noticed is that more people are coming to the games who have obviously never been to a hockey game. In a way, it is good, but in another it is bad because they are not aware of good etiquette. They don't seem to know that while play is going on, you don't just randomly stand up and remain standing. The people directly in front of me were making quite a few people yell at them to sit down. I can understand excitement, but the rest of us want to see and enjoy the game too. The woman was a really weirdo, and kept on waving at the players on the jumbotron and waving an invisible rally towel. I don't think it will be any better at the playoffs.

Sunday, April 1, 2007 -- Late Morning

There's an interesting article in the local newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It seems that the Pens are committed to providing a better viewing experience for their fans. The seats are going to have more leg room which will be sweet. I'm only 5 feet 4 inches, and my knees are right up against the seat in front of me. Usually taller people have their knees overlapping into the row ahead. Also, those obstructed viewing seats will be things of the past. Everyone will be able to see the jumbotron, and there will be no more swiveling around a pole to see one goal and then the other. I remember going to a game years ago where the person next to me had such a seat and it really sucked. Of course with all these improvements, there will be a price, and that means higher ticket prices. I know that I'm anticipating higher prices and a PSL (personal seat license). I cna only hope that I'll be able to afford to go to the games. The Pens are planning other activities for the arena, like NCAA tournament matches, US figure skating championships, NHL All-Star games, NHL draft, Presidential conventions, concerts, and other events or conferences. What has always annoyed me was the idea that the arena would only be used by the Pens. There are so many other opportunities for a venue that will seat 18,500. The problem is that tax dollars went into PNC Park and Heinz Field against the wishes of the taxpayer, and those locations are not utilized to their full benefit. PNC Park can only be used by the Pirates, and Pitt football and the Steerers are pretty much the only users of Heinz Field. There are some other events at Heinz Field, but not that many.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

I forgot to comment on this earlier, but Martin Brodeur said in a article that he wrote for a French language Canadian paper that he would pick Sidney Crosby for league MVP. Of course as Brodeur explained later, that would be if he could not vote for himself. As Brodeur said, "You should never vote against yourself - that's not a good sign." I know that I would have to vote for Crosby. He is the reason this team is staying in Pittsburgh. Tickets sale went out of the roof when he was picked in the draft. Also Crosby's play has been superb, and is one of the elements that has gotten the Pens to the place they are now. However, I am a huge fan of the goalie (as anyone can notice who looks at my pictures from the home games. Without a good goalie, your team is screwed! According to the TSN article, Brodeur doesn't think that just because there is an award for best goalie that the goalie shouldn't be considered for MVP. After all, the top scorer is still considered for MVP. Whoever is most important for your team's success should be considered, and that means goalie in some cases. Now Brodeur said that he thought that he and Roberto Luongo should be considered for the goalie award, the Vezina Trophy. Luongo and Brodeur both have 43 wins so far this season.

In other Crosby news, Upper Deck is releasing a Sidney Crosby action figure. The doll is 11 inches, and looks like your basic GI Joe doll. The doll is being released today and have 1500 in a black (home) uniform and 500 in a white (away) uniform. Cost for the doll is $49.95. Allstarvinyl.com is sold out, and the response by folks trying to get the doll crashed the server! Allstarvinyl is hoping to offer more on April 9th on a better server.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 -- Afternoon

Really bad news for the New York Islanders. Rick DiPietro is out indefinitely with post-concussion syndrome. That's the thing that is so bad with head injuries. You think that everything is fine, but it's not. The Pens have had the same issue with Eric Cairns. He has been out since Nov. 22 because of post-concussion syndrome. For the Islanders this is not good news because they are in a battle to get into the playoffs.

Monday, March 26, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens had 2000 individual seats that they put on sale this morning for the first two playoff games. The seats were sold out in 13 minutes! There is definitely a playoff frenzy in the city. Everyone is talking about the Pens, even people who don't normally watch hockey. You can even tell that the atmosphere is charged at the games. Of course, there have been alot of emotions this year because the team has been playing well and there was a threat of them leaving the city. I heard on the radio yesterday that people are trying to encourage everyone to show up to the playoffs dressed in a white shirt. That would be interesting, but I know that I have to wear my black Staal t-shirt because the Pens have won every time I had the shirt on. I think everyone would agree with me on that one.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 -- Early Evening

The Pens played the Boston Bruins early this afternoon at Mellon Arena. Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal for the Pens. In the past nine games, the Bruins beat the Pens. However, today was a new day. The Pens came out flying and make three goals in the first period. Maxime Talbot was the starting center even thoguh he broke the tip of his nose in the first period of yesterday's game. Tim Thomas, the Bruins' starting goalie, was pulled when the second period started because of the number of goals that he let in. Goal scorers for the Pens were Evgeni Malkin, Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone, and Sidney Crosby with two goals (and an assist on the Roberts' goal). Folks were chanting "hat trick" and "MVP" through most of the third period. Fleury had his fifth shut out of the season and got the third star in the game. Today was not as good a day for picture taking because the crowd was very excitable, and were doing the prarie dog act of jumping up in their seats at the slightest sign of the Pens going near the opposing net. Some folks in back of me were getting vocal about how people should be sitting because the prarie dogs would just stand and not sit down. What could you do though? Everyone just seemed to be really excited. There were also some guys in B17 who painted themselves up and wrote the letters P, E, N, and S on their chests. I have pictures of them and other action from today's game.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the Atlanta Thrashers this afternoon at Mellon Arena. As is usual, the game was a standing room only sell out. Jocelyn Thibault was in goal for the Pens, and he did a great job, and got the number one star in the game. Actualy, both Thibault and Kari Lehtonen did great jobs. Michel Ouellet and Jordan Staal scored to give the Pens a 2-1 win. I was just happy that it was a regulation win and the Pens got two points. If the New Jersey Devils lose tonight, the Pens will be in a two way tie for first place in the Atlantic division. I was on a streak with my picture taking today, and actually caught both Pens' goals. Check out the pictures and see what you think.

Monday, March 19, 2007 -- Evening

Interesting news from Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, has said that the NHL All-Star game may come to PIttsburgh to be played in the new arena. The earliest date that the game could be here is in 2011 or 2012.

One of the funniest, but true, stories that I read was the article calling for John LeClair to get the Pens' MVP award this year. As Guy Junker, the author, said, LeClair should get the award for his accidental hit on Evgeni Malkin. The accident took Malkin out of action which allowed Jordan Staal to get his opportunity to shine--and shine he did. Staal is the youngest player to get a hat trick, to score two short-handed goals in the same game, and the youngest to score on a penalty shot.

Sunday, March 18, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Ottawa Senators this evening at Mellon Arena. The game was a real nailbiter. For some reason, the Pens are just unable to pull off a win in regulation. This game was no exception. Everytime the Pens would make a goal, the Senators would come back immediately with an answering goal. Part of the problem is that defensively, we let the opposing team crowd the net. That's never very good, and leads to some of these goals. The shots on goal also tell a story with the Senators putting up 35 to the Pens 19. Maxime Talbot, Sidney Crosby, and Ryan Whitney scored for the Pens in regulation. Surprises of surprises was that Jarkko Ruutu was the only person who scored in the shoot out. Marc-Andre Fleury did a good job, and I think he gets a bad rep because of the defense not clearing rebounds and allowing the other team to take up residence in the crease. We give up a point to Ottawa which was not good, but at least we get the win with a final score of 4-3. Check out my pictures of the game. Check out the multimedia page for shoot out video.

Friday, March 16, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Montreal Canadiens this evening at Mellon Arena. As is usual with the games, it was standing room only. There were quite a few Canadien fans in the arena, and there were several rows of them in front of me. Usually when I take my pictures, I have a clear view when the Pens defend in my end, but not today. The Pens came out wanting a win, and although the second period was iffy, they didn't disappoint. The first goal was made by Sidney Crosby, and it was spectacular. Crosby beat out four, yes I did say four, Canadiens to score the goal. Erik Christensen scored two goals, and Gary Roberts and Michel Ouellet scored a goal. Crosby put the finisher on with an empty net goal in the final minute of regulation. Marc-Andre Fleury did a great job making some really nice saves even though he let in three goals. The problem is that the Canadiens were at times running all over him and planting themselves in the crease which is the common problem that our defense has. We have to learn how to get people out of the front of our net. Final score was 6-3, and the Pens got two points on the Canadiens! Check out my pictures of the game.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Buffalo Sabres this evening at Mellon Arena in front of another standing room only crowd. There were tons of Sabres fans at the Arena, walking around chanting before the game, and continuing the chants during the game. Before the game, Mario Lemieux gave a little speech about the Pens staying in Pittsburgh. At the news conference, he was saying that he wasn't going to sell the team or give up his interest to Ron Burkle. The atmosphere at the game was electric and at times, the Pens responded with some great plays, especially by Sidney Crosby and Maxime Talbot. Talbot especially was energized. However, there were also times when it seemeed that the Pens wanted to lose the game by letting Sabres get into the crease and have free access to the goal. That's why the Sabres were able to get four goals on only 19 shots. It wasn't that Marc-Andre Fleury was giving up weak shots as much as players like Chris Drury stand in front of Fleury without challenge. Also, at the end of regulation, the Pens had a 4-3 lead, when Mark Recchi missed an open net goal in the last minute of the game. Then Drury planted himself in front of Fleury, and the Sabres scored with only six seconds left before the end of regulation. The game went into overtime and then a shoot out. Fleury was stellar again in the shoot out, and Crosby scored the winning shoot out goal. The Pens win with a final score of 5-4. Check out my pictures of the game. Also, check out the multimedia page for video clips of the Lemieux speech and the shoot out. Unfortunately, I don't have a good angle for the shoot out goals on our end, but I do have a good angle for the Fleury saves.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 -- Early Evening

I just finished watching the Pens press conference. The term papers have been signed and the lease for the new arena is expected sometime within the next 30 days. It was exciting news, and I have to admit that tears came to my eyes at points. I have to take back some of my disappointment in Mario Lemieux. i think that he was using the Kansas City deal to keep the Pens in the city. I am so glad that the Pens will stay here. Mario thanked the fans because it was fan turnout to the games--having so many sellouts that convinced everyone in the government to keep the Pens here in Pittsburgh. I am off to the game now. Go Pens!!

Tuesday, March 13, 1007 -- Late Morning

The official annoucement will be made at a 5 pm news conference this evening, but Ed Rendell has confirmed that a deal has been made between the Pens and officials. I just did a happy dance because now I really do believe that the Pens will stay here. What wonderful news on an early spring day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007 -- Early Morning

Was I shocked this morning when I picked up the morning paper to see a headline story about the Pens arena deal being completed. According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette the deal was finalized over the weekend. The Pens will pay $3.8 million a year for the $290 million arena. They will also pay an additional $400,000 per year for capital improvements. The arena should be ready for use by the 2009/2010 season. Until then, the Pens will remain at Mellon Arena. Supposedly, the official announcement will be made later today. Governor Ed Rendell is supposed to be in town for the announcement. The story is that they will all still meet tomorrow to discuss minor details. I'm really not going to believe it until I hear the offical word from Mario Lemieux's mouth. I've been on enough of a roller coast ride to not leap on for another round. It is very promising, and I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for the official word.

Saturday, March 10, 2007 -- Early Evening

The Pens played the New York Rangers earlier this afternoon in front of a standing room only crowd at the Mellon Arena. From what I understand, the rest of the home games this season are standing room only. Michel Therrien wasn't there today as coach because he was attending his father's funeral. The first two periods were not very good, and the Pens were playing as if they wanted to lose. It was pitiful because they weren't taking advantage of power play opportunities and during one had no shots on goal. The Rangers took advantage and took the early lead. The Pens were down 2-0 going into the third when the team finally showed up to play. First up was Evgeni Malkin who scored his 31st goal of the season. Then Sidney Crosby ended his drought by scoring his 28th goal of the season and 100th point. That was a thrilling moment. Malkin realized the importance of the moment and grabbed the puck to give to Crosby and leaped on the celebrating group of Pens on the ice. Regulation ended in overtime, and I was thinking yet another shoot out, but Colby Armstrong scored his third overtime point to give the Pens the win. The arena was still packed with most of the 17,132 still there. The game also had a highlight of a fight between Georges Laraque and Colton Orr. Everyone in my seating area had been waiting for a Laraque fight, and were entertained by this one, even though it was short. Check out my pictures of the game. Also, check out the multimedia page for pictures and video clips from all of this season's home games.

Thursday, March 8, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the New Jersey Devils this evening at Mellon Arena. The Pens play was spotty throughout the game. There were moments of them being really bad, and then brilliance. Evgeni Malkin was the first to score, but the Devils came back. Again as in many games, it looked like the Pens were going to lose, but MIchel Ouellet tied things up with an assist by Malkin. the game went to overtime, and then a shoot out. Unfortunately, Erik Christensen, Malkin, and Sidney Crosby didn't score. Patrik Elias won the game for the Devils. Final score was 4-3. As usual, Martin Brodeur was stellar as usual, and Marc-Andre Fleury was also very good. The problem that the Pens have is that the defense really is on the crappy side when it comes to guarding the net or keeping the puck in play on power plays. I don't know how many times the Pens didn't clear the rebound, or let the opposing players get between the net and the goalie, or how many times the puck has gone past a defenseman into our end during the power play. Final score today was 4-3. Check out my pictures of the game.

Possibly good news for Pens' fans. it seems that the Pens and the officials made some progress. Further talks are scheduled for next Wednesday. It seems that the talks took around five hours this evening--starting around 6 pm, and ending after 11 pm. All I know is that I am not going to get my hopes up until I hear that the Pens are definitely here to stay. I'm tired of these ploys of delay.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007 -- Evening

Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle went to Las Vegas today to shop the Pens around that city. Las Vegas has been looking for a sports team, either basketball or hockey. Supposedly, things are totally done with the Pens in Pittsburgh, and they will be meeting with officials later this week. Word has it that it will be tomorrow in Philadelphia. I can't understand why the Pens would go with Las Vegas because there isn't an arena there that is suitable, and the Pens would have to go through another process of finding funding to build a new arena. Wouldn't it be funny if they moved there, and had the same travails that they have here? I have given up on the Pens being in Pittsburgh next season. If it happens good, but I have resolved that I need to give up on the wishful thinking.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007 -- Early Afternoon

Things are still being discussed between the Pens and the local officials. Officially, folks like the mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, are saying that they are reaching out to the Pens and that a deal is still close to being done. I don't know about that, and I am tired of the rollercoster ride that both sides have put the fans through. I don't think that the elected officials or Pens management (Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle) really care about whether the team stays in Pittsburgh or not. I think that both sides are just playing a game of face-saving, and hoping to blame the other for the deal falling through. Yeah, Lemieux is piqued about the treatment he has received and the broken promises. I think at this point, he is just interested in pulling the spoiled child temper tantrum and taking his toys (the team) elsewhere just to show them that he can. All I know is that I am sick of getting e-mails from the Pens asking me to put my money in now for season tickets for the upcoming season, when it seems that the team management wants to move to Kansas City. Just do it guys, and stop playing mind games with the fans. I know that I, for one, am sick of it!

Monday, March 5, 2007 -- Afternoon

Really bad news for Pens fans in the city of Pittsburgh. The team has sent a letter to Ed Rendell (governor of Pennsylvania), Luke Ravenstahl (mayor of Pittsburgh), and Dan Onorato (Allegheny County Executive) stating that the team has reached an impasse in the negiotiations and is going to begin actively searching for alternative locations. That means that the Pens are going to be leaving the city of Pittsburgh. As I have said all along, I don't think that anyone involved in the whole deal really care about the fans. It doesn't matter to anyone that the team sells out games here. The government officials don't care, and the Pens management doesn't care. Everyone is in it for themselves and saving face. The Pens management just want to seem like the golden boys who have tried so hard to keep the team here and have failed. I think that there is pettiness on both sides, and unfortunately, the ones who lose out are the ordinary fans. The Pens management has even gone so far as to say that they are concerned about the appeal that Isle of Capri made against Don Barden getting the slots license. As the Pens said, Barden is to give them $7.5 million in revenues from the slots. But Isle of Capri said they would finance the arena? I think that it is all smoke and mirrors and that everyone knew a long time ago what the outcome would be. I wish that they would all just stop trying to save face and tell us the truth. So get used to the Kansas City Penguins--if they keep the Penguins logo.

Sunday, March 4, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon. The first period was not a very good one, and the Flyers took an early two goal lead. I wasn't feeling alot of hope for a win, but the Pens came on in the second period to get two goals, one by Gary Roberts and another by Erik Christensen. Roberts was doing a good job in the game causing some disruption on the ice, and putting pressure on the Flyers. In the third period, the Flyers pulled ahead by a goal, but the combination of Christensen and Roberts went into action to tie things up. The game went into overtime and there was still no score. It was time for a shootout, and Christensen went first, and of course, scored. Evgeni Malkin, however, didn't. Marc-Andre Fleury did a great job of stopping both Flyers. It came down to Sidney Crosby who came through with a goal. The Pens win with a final score of 4-3. Check out my pictures of the game.

Friday, March 2, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens did not have the assistance of Mark Eaton in their game this evening because he is going to be out for two to four weeks for a sprained knee. It's not good, but then it is not as bad as it could have been. He should be back in time to give the Pens a boost to get into the playoffs. In other Pens news, Ed Rendell, PA Governor, is saying that the deal for the arena is very close. Of course, until something is actually signed, there is still a possibility that the team will wind up in Kansas City. However, I am feeling a tad hopeful. There is also a story that the Isle of Capri has appealed the slots license going to Don Barden. The appeal is going to delay the opening of Barden's casino.

Friday, March 2, 2007 -- Morning

Some scary news for the Pens as a result of yesterday's game. Mark Eaton suffered a lower body injury while trying to put a check on one of the New York Rangers' players yesterday. He is going to be evaluated today, and hopefully, it isn't that serious.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 -- Evening

It seems that I have been concentrating on the Pens alot lately. That's because I love hockey, and the Pens have been making big news in the city. There was some talk about why the Pens didn't renew their lease with Mellon Arena for an additional year. It appears that the story is that by not renewing the lease, the Pens are putting pressure on the local government officials to come up with a plan to keep the Pens in the city. If the Pens had extended their lease, there might be a feeling of laxity amongst those in power in coming up with a plan to keep the Pens in the city. Supposedly, the government officials believe that a deal will be struck between the interested parties. We'll see.

As for the Pens themselves, they did some practising, and it seems that the the following lines are going to be in place:
Line LW Center RW
First Roberts Crosby Recchi
Second Malone Malkin Ouellet
Third Staal Talbot Armstrong
Fourth Laraque Christensen Ruutu

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the New Jersey Devils this evening. The Pens put up a valient fight, but the Devils scored in the first seconds of the second period, and Martin Brodeur made sure that was enough. Brodeur got his 12th shut out of the season, and got the first star of the game. Marc-Andre Fleury did a great job with some very nice saves. He got the third star of the game. The Pens really came out fighting in the third, but it just wasn't enough. Check out my pictures of the game.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

The Pens made a couple of minor deals before the end of the trade deadline today. They gave up a seventh round pick to the San Jose Sharks for minor league goalie, Nolan Schaefer. He is going to head straight to the Baby Pens. Then they gave up a fourth round pick to the Florida Panthers for Joel Kwiatkowski, a defenseman with some a fairly poor record. Kwiatkowski is a -5 so far this year, and on a -7 pace for the season. I wouldn't have thought he would be a good pick, especially since he seems to be prone to critical errors in TSN's assessment of his skill. He's just seems to be a poor defenseman. I know we needed someone on defense, but you would have hoped we would do better than this!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Early Afternoon

The Pens traded Dominic Moore to the Minnesota Wild for a third round draft pick. The thought is that the Laraque deal was for a third round pick, and not eighth round. So basically it was Moore and Carcillo for Laraque. I still don't think that is a bad deal although some of my buddies disagree. Some are on the "trading our future for the present" bandwagon, but I don't see that happening.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Late Morning

The Pens made a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes and got Georges Laraque. The Pens give up Daniel Carcillo (a draft pick from 2003) and an eighth round pick. Now this move I am happier with because Laraque has a reputation as an enforcer. The Roberts deal from this morning still sucks, and seem incredibly stupid.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Morning

The news is final, and a pall settles over Pens fans everywhere. Ray Shero has decided to trade Noah Welch for Gary Roberts. Roberts had a no trade clause in his contract, but waived it to come to the Pens. He is going to be arriving in town sometime today, but will not be in the lineup tonight against the New Jersey Devils. I really don't understand this move at all. The Pens get a geriatric of 40 who doesn't have very good stats. This guy is identical to John LeClair--who the Pens dumped earlier in the season--only OLDER! What do they think they are going to get from him? Veteran leadership in the locker room? I thought that Mark Recchi was already providing that? We'll have to see what transpires in the next few games.

On a brighter note, Marc-Andre Fleury is in goal for the Pens tonight.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 -- Morning

The news is final, and a pall settles over Pens fans everywhere. Ray Shero has decided to trade Noah Welch for Gary Roberts. Roberts had a no trade clause in his contract, but waived it to come to the Pens. He is going to be arriving in town sometime today, but will not be in the lineup tonight against the New Jersey Devils. I really don't understand this move at all. The Pens get a geriatric of 40 who doesn't have very good stats. This guy is identical to John LeClair--who the Pens dumped earlier in the season--only OLDER! What do they think they are going to get from him? Veteran leadership in the locker room? I thought that Mark Recchi was already providing that? We'll have to see what transpires in the next few games.

On a brighter note, Marc-Andre Fleury is in goal for the Pens tonight.

Monday, February 26, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

Rumors are burning up the Internet wires that the Pens are making a deal with the Florida Panthers for Gary Roberts. It seems that Roberts has a no-trade clause in his contract with the Panthers, but he is interested in being traded to either Toronto or Ottawa because his daughter goes to school in that area. Roberts is a geriatric, left-winger, who doesn't have that great a set of stats that I would consider getting him. I wonder if this is another one of those rumors, although TSN seems to believe that a deal has been worked out between the Panthers and the Pens. The big question right now is if Roberts will waive his no-trade clause.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 -- Afternoon

There has been alot of speculation among fans and sports analysts about if, when, or how the Pens will take advantage of a trade before the deadline on Feb. 27. There was some talk of them getting a goon yesterday, and Georges Laraque's name came up. However, it seems that the price that the Phoenix Coyotes wants is probably too high for the Pens. Rumor has it that the Coyotes wanted a first round draft pick, and the Pens aren't willing to give that up. Do we need a goon? I think that we need some way to protect our young talent that is being abused by the goons on other teams. Our former goon, Andre Roy was suspended for three games for abuse of refs. It seems that Roy had a roughing call that he disagreed with, and he must have taken up the matter with the refs in an inappropriate manner. That means that Roy won't be playing tomorrow when the Tampa Bay Lightning met the Pens.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

Michel Therrien has announced that Jocelyn Thibault will be starting in goal tomorrow night. Poor Marc-Andre Fleury. I'm not sure if this will be a boost for Fleury's confidence.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 -- Late Morning

The rumors about Michel Therrien yelling at Marc-Andre Fleury after the game on Monday aren't true. That doesn't mean that Therrien is happy with Fleury's performance over the past few games. He isn't, but he is hoping to express his displeasure and encourage Fleury to do better. The question is whether Fleury will be in goal for tomorrow evening's game against the Florida Panthers.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 -- Afternoon

I am really feeling for Marc-Andre Fleury. After yesterday's game, he was called out by Michel Therrien as just givng an okay performance over the last four games. Yesterday's game was the worst of the bunch, and even Fleury was upset with his performance. After the game, Therrien supposedly gave Fleury some flack over the game, saying that Fleury has let in way too many goals over the past four games that he played. After the talk, Fleury was seen removing his uniform in anger and punching a door in the locker room. Let's hope that things pick up for Fleury--he is my favorite on the team--and that the team still manages to make the playoffs. You can never tell if a loss like yesterday's may lead to more losses.

Sunday, February 18, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the Washington Capitals this afternoon. The Capitals haven't been doing so well this season, and the Pens have just been electric. Well, the good luck continued for the Pens in this game. Jocelyn Thibault was in goal, and he did a fine job making a few very nice saves. Olaf Kolzig was injured so Brent Johnson was in goal for the Caps. Mark Recchi, Evgeni Malkin, and Maxiime Talbot all scored goals. Talbot has been hot of late getting points in his last few games. The game was fast paced, had a penalty shot (unsuccessful thankfully), and ended in another win for the Pens. The final score was 3-2. Unfortunately, I was behind an extremely tall man, but I did manage to get a few shots (although I missed the penalty shot as I was trying to look around the behemoth). Check out my pictures of the game.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 -- Evening

My pictures are finally ready, and I hope that everyone enjoys them. You should also check out the coach's post game interview on the Pens' Multimedia Page. Bits of the interview have been making the television newscasts. The best bits were when Therrien said that the refs never make a mistake. The coaches do, the players do, but never the refs. That was in reference to the six (seven counting the goalie) on the ice during the Tuomo Ruutu goal. I have a picture where you can clearly see five Blackhawks grouped together while the sixth joins them. Sucks that the refs can't count, but at least the Pens won in the end. There was also a funny comment where Therrien said that he was doing the a poker move by putting Mark Recchi, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin on the ice at the same time. it worked when Crosby assisted on the Malkin goal that tied the game in the final minutes.

Wednesday, Februrary 14, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Chicago Blackhawks this evening at Mellon Arena. Believe it or not, there was still a sellout crowd of over 17,000 at the game even though the streets were still snow and ice covered, and the temperatures were dropping. The game was a thrilling one that went into overtime and a shoot out. It shouldn't have because the fourth goal by the Blackhawks was scored when six men were on the ice. The Blackhawks were not called for the penalty, even though there were very obviously six of them celebrating the score. I wanted to see how the NHL scored it because did all seven Blackhawks on the ice get a plus? Nope. I wonder how they determined who to leave off? The shoot out was won by two stops by Marc-Andre Fleury and two goals by Erik Christensen and Evgeni Malkin. The Pens get two points out of it and remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points. You just don't expect them to keep on piling up the points, but they do. Sidney Crosby again missed out in the shoot out, and again went another game without a goal (eight so far). Crosby did get a point though on Malkin's tieing goal at the end of the third period. Fleury did another great job in goal. I have to admit that some bozos in the stands were getting on my nerves with their stupid comments and lack of knowledge of hockey statistics. A guy two rows back in the C17 section loudly proclaimed when Fleury let the first short handed goal in that Fleury always lets in one soft goal every game. Hmm...wonder how Bozo number one accounts for those shut outs that Fleury has had this season. The guy has been playing superbly. Even so, everyone lets in a goal now and again. No goalie go through the season without letting in a single goal. Then someone onw row behind hind me commented that surprisingly Fleury was able to stop a goal when he gloved one. Dah! He does that alot. When Fleury made a great save in the overtime that they kept on showing on the jumbotron, I looked back to see what Bozo number one in section C17 was saying. His mouth was shut, but he was also not acknowledging that hes an idiot. Some of the fans really get on my nerves with stupid comments and totally not knowing anything about the game while loudly proclaiming their ignorance by their remarks. Enough said. Since I had to take the bus into town because my car is covered in ice, and will have to get up early in the morning to get to work, I will post my pictures of the game Thursday evening. Keep your eyes on this spot for the pictures! In the meantime, check out my video of the shoot out.

Saturday, February 10, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens played the Toronto Maples Leafs in Toronto this evening. The Pens pulled out a win in overtime with a Jordan Staal hat trick. Check out the game recap page.

Friday, February 9, 2007 -- Evening

I was listening to the Mark Madden show on the local ESPN radio station on my way home from work this evening. He had Damien Cox, from the Toronto Star. Cox was talking about how good a job Michel Therrien is doing, considering that the Pens are basically a young team. As Cox was saying, Madden had given him something to think about, and Cox thinks that it wouldn't be a far fetched idea for Therrien to be considered for coach of the year honors. Of course, it is still to early to think of things like that. I know that I am feeling hopeful about the team's prospects, and I am putting in my bid for playoff tickets. The Pens ticket office sent out a form to all season ticket holders, and I don't think that I can pass it up. To get my current seat in the playoffs will cost $60. (Right now, it's $30 a seat.) In Cox's article for today, he says that Sidney Crosby and Martin Brodeur are the two to watch as front runners for the Hart Trophy. The Hart Trophy is given to the player who is judged to be most valuable to his team.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 -- Late Evening

The Pens played the Nashville Predators this evening. The Predators have the best record in the NHL, and I have to admit that I was concerned that the Pens would lose. However, the team surprised me by winning in a thrilling game. Marc-Andre Fleury turned in another superb performance, blocking 25 of 26 shots. He was really on fire and earned the number one star of the game. Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin both got goals, and Sidney Crosby got two assists. Mark Recchi had a good showing with three assists. I have to admit that he is not playing like a geriatric! The Pens won with a final score of 4-1, and look like serious playoff contenders. Check out my pictures of the game.

Fifty Third Game of the Season

Goals
Predators
Pens
1st
1
0
2nd
0
2
3rd
0
2
Final
1
4


Shots on goal
Predators
Pens

1st
5
10

2nd
14
9

3rd
7
7

Final
26
26

SCORING SUMMARY
G Per Time Team Goal Scorer Assist Assist STR
1 1 17:53 NSH S. NICHOL (7) S. BROOKBANK (1) S. HARTNELL (14) EV
2 2 5:46 PIT J. STAAL (19) S. CROSBY (60) M. RECCHI (32) EV
3 2 8:05 PIT E. MALKIN (26) M. RECCHI (33) S. CROSBY (61) PP
4 3 3:10 PIT M. RECCHI (18) E. MALKIN (33)   EV
5 3 18:36 PIT J. RUUTU (4) C. ARMSTRONG (14) S. GONCHAR (34) EV-EN

Monday, February 5, 2007 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby is getting upset about some of the things that are done to him during a game. Crosby is getting speared and high sticked left and right. In yesterday's game, he got a high stick to the face and the refs didn't call the penalty. My opinion is that we need an enforcer who will make the others think twice before they do something. As some of the local sportscasters were saying, and they were echoing comments made by the players, there's no need for an enforcer because the others on the team stick up for Sid. The only thing that I have to say is that I know that Ryan Malone strikes about as much fear in my heart as a grandma would. So you can imagine how scared an intimidator is. Yep, not at all. Which is why Crosby is getting knocked around like a rag doll. We need some sort of enforcer type before Crosby has a serious injury from these shenanigans.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 -- Evening

I forgot to mention earlier that Colby Armstrong was a scratch in today's Pens game. Everyone in the stands wondered what had happened. Well, I found out when I got home. It seems that Armstrong injured his knee during the Montreal Canadiens game. Some say that it might have been either the hit on Saku Koivu or attack by Sheldon Souray. Aramstrong didn't go with the team on the flight to Montreal. Tomorrow's game is at 2 pm. The question is how physical will the game be tomorrow. The tone was set in Thursday's game when Sidney Crosby was speared on the face-off. I think that the NHL really needs to investigate the cheap shots that players have been taking on Crosby. The one on Thursda is really bad because it was probably condoned and encouraged by Montreal coach, Guy Carbonneau. It seems that Carbonneau thought he should start the game with his fourth liner, and the Pens should do the same. The thing is that the Crosby usually starts the games at home. When he doesn't, Evgeni Malkin does.

Friday, February, 2, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

There are still alot of rumors about where the Pens will be next season. They are still talking to Kansas City, and there a new offer from local officials. I am getting really tired of all the indecision and game playing. I just wish that the whole matter would be over so we would all know where we stand.

Thursday, February 1, 2007 -- Morning

Mark Recchi turns 39 years old today. He's getting up there--for a hockey player. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Recchi's, but he really has been a workhorse for the team. When you see him on the ice, he's chugging around, making plays. That's why he was chosen as the NHL First Star and Player of the Week. There is supposed to be another ceremony for him at the beginning of tonight's Pens game against the Montreal Canadiens. No word yet on any deals between local officials and the Pens about an arena. Everyone is anticipating that there will be word sometime soon. The local news stations have said they will cut into regular programming if there is an announcement.

Sunday, January 28, 2007 -- Early Evening

There have been rumors on the local news shows that there is going to be a framework of a plan between the government officials and the Pens announced in the next two days. As the Mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, was saying, he understood that the Pens needed soemthing by the end of January, and the officials are trying to do their best to get something done. We'll have to see if there is any truth to the rumor. I don't want to get my hopes up to only have them dashed in the end.

Thursday, January 25, 2007 -- Morning

The NHL All-Stars was last night, and I have to admit that I usually find All-Star games a tad on the boring side. This game was no different. As usual,it was a scoring fest, but surprisingly, Sidney Crosby didn't get a single point. Crosby shouldn't feel bad though because Wayne Gretzky also didn't score a point in his first All-Star game. Both were 19. The Western Conference won the game with a a final score of 12-9.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 -- Afternoon

Ed Rendell talked to Ron Burkle yesterday, and says that he is optimistic that a deal can be done between the officials and the Pens. It's interesting that Burkle and Rendell have a relationship from Burkle contributing to Rendell's campaigns and to see Burkle getting more involved recently with the negotiations. The thing that I wonder sometimes is if Mario Lemieux is really concerned about doing what is right and good for the team, or if he is concerned about injustices made toward him? Sometimes, I think that he has taken the whole process more personally than someone who is an experienced businessman or politician. He feels too much about what is right, and is willing to spite them all for petty injustices that he perceives. The positive thing that I heard today was Rendell saying there is still room to tweak things. That means that Burkle is providing the voice of reason---I hope!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007 -- Morning

I watched the NHL All-Stars programming last night. They has the Young Stars game in which Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Ryan Whitney competed. Malkin didn't score, but Whitney did. I think that the guys were just having fun and enjoying the experience as much as possible. I haven't seen Malkin with such a huge smile on his face that just stayed there. After the Young Stars, they had the skills competition. Surprisingly, Sidney Crosby was picked for only one skill. What was that you might ask? Accuracy? Nope, shoot out! My jaw dropped because we know that the one thing that Crosby has a problem with in the regular season is the shoot out. Well, he gets two out of three to help the Eastern Conference win the skills section! They asked him about it afterwards, and he said that there wasn't the pressure that you have in a game where the score could mean a win or loss. This is just for fun. So that does indeed mean that nerves gets to him. I don't know what the solution is to that because I know that I have trouble controlling my nerves.

In other news that will be of interest to Pens fans is the arena process. Mario Lemieux has expressed his displeasure with the last meeting, basically because Don Barden was invited and now seems to be expecting to be involved in the development of the Hill District area, and to make money from the deal. The Pens have taken offense at this, and now are shopping around again. They contacted Houston as a possible location for the team, and are going to get a tour sometime later this week--maybe Friday. When Ed Rendell, PA governor, heard that he said again that the deal the Pens got was a sweet one, where they pay less than 18% of the costs for building (which is less than other sports teams in PA), pay $2 million in rent, and get a cut of the revenues. Rendell says that if Lemieux makes a move to take the team out of Pittsburgh, Rendell will petition the NHL for a decision. Gary Bettman was asked about this at the All-Star game, and his comment was: "We love Mario, but we're going to have to evaluate any potential transaction on the merits. That's what the board does." It seems that before the NHL Board of Governors would allow the team to relocate, they would take into consideration the "tremendous" fan base in Pittsburgh and the "measurably sweetened Plan B" for the arena. (Quotes are from Bettman.) I can understand Lemieux's pique at the whole thing when Barden was pulled into the talks, but hopefully, he will get over it and get back to the tables to discuss the matter. The decision has to be made soon because the schedule has to be made for next season.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 -- Early Afternoon

Mario Lemieux said yesterday that he was very disappointed in the offer that the government officials made to the Pens for the arena deal. He said again that he is going to look for the best offer, even if that is outside of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, and Allegheny County Chief Executive, Dan Onorato, said that they understand Lemieux's feelings of frustration, but that they believe that it is still possible to work out a deal with the Pens. I have to admit that after the first meeting, I was starting to feel some optimism. However, something went horribly wrong in the second meeting between the city, county, and state officials. I tend to believe that it was the inclusion of Don Barden in the meeting. It seems that Barden wants to get something back for the money that he is going to put in. In order to now give him that money, the officials will have to lessen the deal for the Pens. Of course that isn't going to be acceptable. I don't know why they are even going down that path with Barden because his agreement to put $7.5 million in per year had no string attached. At least that appeared to be the government's deal with the winner of the slots license. Things are definitely not looking positive.

Friday, January 19, 2007 -- Evening

There is still not a deal between the Pens and the local and state government officials. Last night's meeting started around 9:20 p.m. and lasted for 90 minutes. It was attended by local officials, Ed Rendell, and Don Barden who won the casino license. Ed Rendell claims that it is the best deal offered to a sports team. The deal is supposed to cost the Pens less than deals made with other sports teams in the state. There are no real details on the deal, and neither side is really talking. The only thing that can be noted is that the atmosphere doesn't seem as optimistic as it was after the earlier meeting.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 -- Evening

News with the Pens this evening. The meeting was still in progress at the start of the Pens and Boston Bruins game. Let's hope that there is good news soon. As for the spear in that Jason Blake put on Sidney Crosby in the New York Islanders game on Tuesday, Blake is being fined $1000 for the act. Ray Shero was really upset about the intentional act to hurt a key player in the last few seconds of the game. The league must have seen his point, but the controversy is that some people are saying that Crosby over embellished. I don't know--I'm not sure what I would do if I was speared in the midsection by someone behind me. Crosby isn't make a big deal of it though. I think that Crosby is a class act.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 -- Evening

The Pens are going to met with Ed Rendell sometime tomorrow evening. The goal is to come up with a plan for funding. There wasn't any word on whether Mario Lemieux would be there, but there would be representatives from the Pens at the meeting. One of the nicest stories that I have seen in awhile was about a few of the Pens players handing out free pizzas to the students who were waiting for hours in the student rush lines. The line usually snakes around the building, and has contributed to the game sell-outs. The vice-president of communications, Tom McMillan had the idea to have the players ( Colby Armstrong, Maxime Talbot, and Chris Thorburn) hand out the pizzas, and it went over well with the chilled fans. The Pens really appreciate their fans, and it would be great if they will stay in town.

Monday, January 15, 2007 -- Evening

There have rumors that the Pens are going to trade Ryan Malone and possibly Brooks Orpik to the New York Rangers for Petr Prucha. There was an interview with Malone on the local sports show, and Malone said that the Pens told him that they weren't looking to trade him. However, Malone admits that he hasn't been performing up to snuff this year. Prucha's stats aren't that astonding to make it worth losing both Malone and Orpik. Or maybe he is since neither Malone or Orpik are actually lighting up the ice. We should know soon if the deal goes through with the Rangers. I suppose that what we have to keep in mind is that you can't expect to get someone who's better than Malone for Malone. It just doesn't work that way. I think that it's probably a good idea to trade Malone if someone wants him because I don't think he is going to get any better than he is now.

Sunday, January 14, 2007 -- Late Morning

The Pens are going to send three players to the NHL Young Stars game. They are: Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Ryan Whitney. I thought Whitney was the oddball choice in the group, but I suppose as a defensive player, he is one of our best. Marc-Andre Fleury won't be in the Young Stars because he isn't in his entry level contract. Unfortunately, even though Fleury was in the top three with votes, he won't be in the All-Star Game. Also in Pens news, Mark Eaton appears to be on target to return to the team after the All-Star break.

Friday, January 12, 2007 -- Early Evening

There was an interesting story in the Post-Gazette today. It seems that the Pens could get to stay at the Mellon Arena next year without paying any rent. This deal hasn't been made public before, but SMG, the folks who run the Arena, would forgo the rent. They would also allow the Pens to buy into a deal to get more revenue from items such as parking and concessions for hockey and non-hockey events. It would cost the Pens $5 million for the deal extension, and could net them $20 million. It will be interesting to see how the story turns out.

Speaking of the Pens, Ray Shero is doing some behind the scenes campaigning to get more Pens on the NHL All-Star Game. Shero is thinking of Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal in particular. Even if the two don't make the regular team, they could be on the Young Stars.

Thursday, January 11, 2007 -- Afternoon

Evgeni Malkinis one of five finalists for the ESPN the Magazine's Next award. The magazine is looking for the "next" athlete who will shape sports over the next few years. It will be interesting to see if Malkin will be picked as the cover boy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 -- Afternoon

Sidney Crosby became the youngest player voted into the NHL All-Star game since fan voting started in 1986. Jaromir Jagr held that record until Crosby came along. Jagr was voted to the All-Stars in 1992 at 19 years and 11 months. Crosby is 19 years and five months. Crosby also had the most votes of all players with 825,783 votes, which is the second highest since Jagr received 1,020,736 votes in 2000. Marc-Andre Fleury and Evgeni Malkin also were top vote getters in their areas with Malkin being 5th amongst forwards and Fleury third amongst the goalies. The All-Star game will be held in Dallas on Wednesday, January 24 at 8 p.m. ET.

Monday, January 8, 2007 -- Late Afternoon

Some random Pens comments: I found an interesting article in a local paper about hockey superstitions, especially as they apply to the Pens. I had heard the one about Sidney Crosby and his issue about no one touching his sticks before a game. He tapes them up, and doesn't want them touched. I was abit surprised that Marc-Andre Fleury didn't seem to have any really unusual superstitions because we all know that goalies are a weird bunch. As for the Pens rally yesterday, it seems that 400 fans showed up at Mellon Arena. That's not a huge number, but that was probably due to the fact that the game was four and a half hours later. Also, I wonder how many people are like me and totally disillusioned by the whole process. What will happen will happen, and I can only hope that the team remains in the city. I just don't think that anything the fans do will influence the outcome. Since Jordan Staal made it to his 40th game, it seems that he will be staying with the team. The kid can play, and will only get better. The Pens really have a bright future with the players on the current roster--well, some of them at least.

Thursday, January 4, 2007 -- Evening

Mario Lemieux and the Pens ownership had a busy day today. Earlier this morning, they had some additional meetings with the people out in Kansas City. Then they came back to Pittsburgh for a 90 minute meeting here in Pittsburgh with the Mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, Allegheny County Chief Executive, Dan Onorato, and PA governor, Ed Rendell. After the meeting, Ravenstahl and Onorato met with the press and said that they didn't want to discuss the details of the meeting in the media. As they said, they want to make a sincere effort to get the Pens to stay in the city and don't want to do negotiating through the media. Lemieux was of the same feelings. Both sides say that they are optimistic about the Pens staying in the city of Pittsburgh, and that the meeting was positive. Lemieux did add though that the team had to investigate all opportunities, including those in other cities. The Kansas City people said that their offer is a $300 million dollar arena with no cost to the Pens. I don't know how things will work out here, but Rendell made a comment that nothing is for free. This might be the only time that I agree with Rendell. You should always worry about things that are free, not only for hidden strings but for quality of the offer. A petition has been started in an effort to keep the Pens here in Pittsburgh. I don't hold out any hope for it working, but who knows. I added my name to the petition because it can only help. Lemieux has said the decision will be made within 30 days.

In other Pens news, Nils Ekman has a dislocated left elbow, and although he will not need surgery, he will be out for the rest of the season. I saw a clip of Ekman injuring his elbow, and it did not look good.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 -- Evening

Maybe I am just being pessimistic, but I have been feeling very depressed over the Pens situation. Today, Mario Lemieux and the Pens ownership met with Kansas City officials today. Lemieux and majority owner, Ron Burkle, wanted to check out the Sprint Center which is supposed to be available for the 2007/2008 NHL season. It's not looking good because of the closeness of all involved. Lemieux is friendly with William "Boots" Del Biaggio III who has a deal to put a hockey team into the Sprint Center in Kansas City, and Philip Anschutz who has a hand in the Sprint Center is buddy/buddy with Ron Burkle. It is definitely sounding like the Pens will be moving. One of the speculations is that the Pens will move to LA because Sidney Crosby will be a big fan draw in the city. Then the LA Kings (owned by Philip Anschutz) will move to Kansas City. What is really sad is that no one cares about the hockey fans in PIttsburgh. The government officials don't care, and the Pens ownership doesn't care. No one cares, and I think that the decision was already made to move to Kansas City as soon as Isle of Capri lost the slots license bid. There is going to be a rally at 3 pm on Sunday at Mellon Arena before the Pens game for fans to show their support of keeping the Pens in the city, but it is pointless in my opinion. It should just be a gathering of fans to commiserate over the fact that we have lost a hockey francise in this city because of lack of interest in the city, county, and state government officials in providing an entertainment facility that would house the Pens and all the other entertainment events that are hosted at Mellon Arena. After all, when the Pens leave the city, we will still need a new facility to house events--and will lose the biggest lease holder--the Pens. Boy, am I depressed! Lemieux and the Pens ownership are meeting with local PIttsburgh officials tomorrow. It will just be too little, too late. :-(

Saturday, December 30, 2006 -- Evening

No word yet on the extent of the injury that Nils Ekman suffered last night. The rumor is that the injury is going to require a lengthy recouperation time. In other Pens news, Mario Lemieux is going to meet with Ed Rendell this coming Thursday to discuss the future of the Pens in Pittsburgh. The question is whether the deal will be sweet enough to keep the Pens here. I know that I am not looking forward to a licensing fee to purchase season tickets. I was talking to some other season ticket holders last night, and they would not get tickets if there was a license fee. It seems that licensing fees are the way that teams go--making you buy a license or seating fee to get the right to buy season tickets. So you pay more money on top of the actual ticket fee.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

I just finished reading The Rookie: A Season with Sidney Crosby and the New NHL by Shawna Richer. I was looking forward to reading the book because of the glowing reviews in the local media, but I was disappointed by the content of the book. I expected an insider's coverage of the full season, but the book only provides a superficial glance of the season for the most part. Read my review for more details.

Saturday, December 23, 2006 -- Evening

Dan Onorato, the Allegheny County Chief Executive, has promised to get a deal done for an arena in Pittsburgh. According to Onorato, he believes that a deal can be made by February. Something has to happen soon because the NHL is going to need to know where the team will be in order to make up a schedule. For the financing part of it, Don Barden has pledged $7.5 million a year for 30 years, and there will be an additional $7 million from slots revenue. That comes to $435 million which would cover the financing costs of the $230 million that will be the government's portion. Now they want the Pens portion. The thing that irks me about it is that the arena isn't just for the Pens. It's for other shows--like the Ice Capades, NCAA basketball (if we can get it back during the tournament time), boxing matches, the circus, the Harlem Globetrotters, and other musical acts. The Pens should put in something, but this isn't like the baseball and football fields in the city that are used pretty much exclusively by the sports teams. There are alot of opportunities here that for some reason our elected officials are blind to. Even if the Pens leave the city, we will still need a venue for those events. As it is, the Mellon Arena is sorely deficient.

In other hockey news, the league is considering an overhaul that will change the structure of the conferences. Instead of having six conferences, officials are looking at consolidating to four. There will split up into two divisions with two conferences in each. Each division would send the top two teams to the playoffs (for a total of four teams) and then the top four seeds after that. The Pens, if they stay in Pittsburgh, could be in a division with Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo, and Boston. The restructuring plan is part of a scheme to look at ways to redo the scheduling. Right now I think the schedule sucks because here in Pittsburgh, we keep on seeing the same teams over and over again. I'm getting a little tired of seeing the same teams all the time, and would love to see more of the Canadian teams. I've been practicing O Canada, and so far, have only had one opportunity to sing it out of 18 games. I only will have six opportunities out of 41 games.

Thursday, December 21, 2006 -- Afternoon

Bad news for all the Pens fans here in the city of Pittsburgh. Mario Lemieux has announced that the team is no longer up for sale. Instead, the current ownership is going to shop the team around to other cities. The possibility of relocation is looking like the only option left for the Pens. As Lemieux said in the statement, the team has been trying to get an arena deal for the past seven years, and they have to look at a long term solution for the team. I know that the people out in Kansas City are really eager to have a hockey team, and they have been trying to woo the Pens for awhile. I hate to say that next year at this time, we will probably be watching the Kansas City Pens every now and again on Versus. What else is the team to do?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 -- Afternoon

The Pens are up in the air over their future in this city after this morning's announcement about the Pittsburgh slots license. Local officials have been assuring everyone that the head of PITG, Don Barden pledged $7.5 million for 30 years to Plan B which would build an arena for the Pens. The Pens press release isn't as optimistic, and I am afraid that my view point isn't optimistic either. If the city was committed to the Pens, a plan would have been developed years ago instead of waiting on the Pens to get involved with the Isle of Capri plan. Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner, has also released an announcement that the future is uncertain for the Pens and the team might have to relocate. It is a sad, dark day for hockey in the city of Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 -- Late Morning

I was listening to the broadcast of the Pennsylvania Gaming board this morning, and held up my posting while I was waiting to hear what the decision would be about the slots license for Pittsburgh. It's amazing how much crap they go through that shows what a politicized thing the slots license awarding is. Sometimes I think that politicians just love to hear themselves talk and don't care if bore everyone. Their goal is just to do some self-promoting. The ironic thing is to hear the one committee member talk about being objective. I think that means being objective about how you line your pockets with cutbacks. After alot of mumbo jumbo, Majestic Star and the PITG group got the license for the North Shore area of the city. Isle of Capri is out, and the Pens are out in the cold. This probably means no arena and no team in the city after this year. I'll keep my ears open for comments from the Pens on the matter.

Monday, December 18, 2006 -- Evening

Mario Lemieux had a press conference this afternoon where he talked about Jim Ballsillie dropping the deal with the Penguins. Lemieux admits that Wednesday is the turning point because that is the day that the slots license comes out. As he said, the Pens are just going to wait until then to determine the future of the team. It's hard to explain to anyone why the slots folks would turn down a $290 million deal to build an arena that would be used not just by hockey, but other events. Check out the news conference.

Monday, December 18, 2006 -- Afternoon

News on the Penguins front. Another player has thrown his hat into the ring as a prospective buyer. This time it's Toronto businessman Frank D'Angelo and a billionaire partner, Dr. Barry Sherman. They say that they will keep the team in Pittsburgh, and say that they can even help with the financing of the arena. It seems that D'Angelo owns Steelback Beer and would be willing to finance so he can call the arena the Steelback Arena. Also, he can supply the beverages for the arena. We'll have to see what happens. The announcement of who gets the slots license in Pittsburgh is scheduled for this coming Wednesday. Everyone seems to know that the Harrah's folks are the ones who the corrupt Pennsylvania government have promised the license. It will be interesting to see if that is actually the case on Wednesday. If so, I think that someone should start an investigation into our corrupt Governor and other Pennsylvania elected representatives.

Friday, December 15, 2006 -- Morning

The Pens are playing the New York Islanders tonight at the Mellon Arena. I am really excited about the game because I have seats in the Igloo which is center ice. They are really good seats, so I am excited about it and my viewing opportunities. Also, there should more food opportunities--expensive, but what the heck.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 -- Afternoon

Sidney Crosby has the lead in the points race for the NHL after getting six points in yesterday's game. For the season, Crosby has 47 points. Crosby is the talk of the print and air waves because of his six point game. It's not a common occurrence for a player to score six points in a game, and everyone is on the Crosby bandwagon. Crosby is a joy to watch, and I'm glad that I have the opportunity to see him play. It will be a shame if the team leaves the city.

In other Pens news, John LeClair was placed on unconditional waivers and is an unrestricted free agent. That means that the Pens aren't responsible for paying his salary even though it goes against their salary cap. Hopefully another team will pick up LeClair because he isn't ready to retire. The problem is--who will pick up an older player in his waning years? Not many, if any, teams.

Saturday, December 9, 2006 -- Morning

The Pens are playing the Atlanta Thrashers this evening. It will be interesting to see how the game goes because for the first time, Michel Therrien has called out Evgeni Malkin for not producing lately. Just to make it clear, Therrien isn't saying that he is unhappy with Malkin, just that he has to pick up his level of play. Usually the line that sees the most results is whichever line Sidney Crosby is on. That can't continue because you can't have a successful team with only one line, or only one player who is able to elevate his game to a level that produces results. Crosby is really impressive. He always seems to have energy, and he always seems to really try to get the team a win. He is my second favorite after Marc-Andre Fleury.

Thursday, December 7, 2006 -- Afternoon

The Pens are also playing an away game tonight against the New York Rangers. Michel Therrien has said that Jordan Staal will play tonight but there is no word on who will sit tonight. There has also not been any word on the future of John LeClair. Because I will be at the Steelers game tonight, I'll have to post my comments on the Pens game some time tomorrow.

Monday, December 4, 2006 -- Evening

Now on to Penguins news. John LeClair cleared re-entry waivers. That means that no team wanted him at even half price. What this means for LeClair's future is unclear because it will be his decision to retire at 37, or for the Pens to find some sort of role for him. I feel for LeClair because he isn't the one who is deciding that it is time to go. He's being told by the system that he's not wanted, and that would be hard to take.

The Pens have called up Micki DuPont and Alain Nasreddine from the Penguins and sent down Noah Welch. Also, Ryan Malone participated in a full contact practice today and it is thought that he is fully recovered from his forearm fracture. Malone is supposed to play tomorrow.

Sunday, December 3, 2006 -- Afternoon

John LeClair was placed on re-entry today. Any team has until tomorrow at noon to pick him up. If a team does, they only have to pay half of his salary this year. If more than one team wants to pick him up, he would go to the team who is lowest in the standings. Now the thing is that if he doesn't get claimed, he remains a Pen which doesn't help his situation.

Friday, 1, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Evgeni Malkin was NHL Rookie of the Month for November for the second straight month. This is the first time a rookie has won two months in a row since Ron Hextall did it in October and November of 1986. Also, it appears that John LeClair passed waivers without being claimed by any team. I thought that something like that might happen. Now no one is sure what will happen and if LeClair will be asked to go the Baby Pens or if he will continue to be on the Pens roster. It apppears that he can still do that. It's a sad story in a way because nobody wants to go through such a public display of diminished abilities.

Friday, December 1, 2006 -- Afernoon

I had some misinformation yesterday. Stan Savrin said on his local television show on Fox Sports that Michel Ouellet was sent down to the minors when actually it was Andre Roy who was sent down. That is alot more understandable because Roy has been a healthy scratch of late. Yeah, Roy is a goofy comedian who makes his teammates laugh, but that doesn't mean that he performs up to snuff on the ice. No word yet on the fate of John LeClair. Perhaps we will know more by this evening when the Pens play the New Jersey Devils in an away game.

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.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 -- Afternoon

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.

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.

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.

Sunday, November 19, 2006 -- Afternoon

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.

Friday, November 17, 2006 -- Evening

Everyone can now vote for his or her favorite hockey All-Star at nhl.com. 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.

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.

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 -- 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.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 -- Morning

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.

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.

Thursday, November 2, 2006 -- Evening

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

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.

Monday, October 30, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens have decided to keep Jordan Staal on the roster. This was a move that the team had to make because Staal is producing and is very popular with the fans. I heard a clip from a press conference with Michel Therrien where he said that he would not have kept Staal if he was only going to play him for four or five minutes. As Therrien said, he is going to make sure that Staal plays 10 to 12 minutes in a game. You have to feel to sorry for Jordan's older, Marc. He was drafted by the New York Rangers and still hasn't played in the NHL. The Pens' other young recruit, Kristopher Letang, is going back to the Juniors.

Dave Nonis, the general manager for the Vancouver Canucks has some interesting remarks about the state of the NHL free agency. As he said, with the way things are now, by the time players like Sidney Crosby or Staal hit their prime (around 25 years of age), the team that has put so much into their development will probably lose the player when he goes for the money with another team. That is the thing that really sucks, and it was one of the considerations in the Staal situation. The team has to wonder if they should play the kid because that will make the clock tick down on free agency. Another comment that Nonis said that I agree with 100% is that every team should play every other team in the NHL at least once during the year. It would be great to see some of the teams and players that we don't get a chance to see because they don't come to our area. We didn't play the Phoenix Coyotes last season, and are playing them in an away game this year (in January). I would LOVE to see the Coyotes. Even though I"m a Pens fan, I would love to do the Coyote howl if they score. I would love to see Wayne Gretzky. Hasn't happened because of the NHL's unbalanced schedule. That's what Nonis said--the people of Vancouver would love to see Crosby. They can't because of the schedule.

Sunday, October 29, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

The Philadelphia Flyers are really playing so far this season like the Pens of last season. It was rather interesting to read the commentary from the Philadelphia papers. I mean, the Flyers have their own players running into each other, and Derian Hatcher taking a penalty that lead to the goal by Evgeni Malkin and elbowing Sidney Crosby and giving up the puck that lead to Crosby's goal. As Hatcher says: "I don't even feel bad out there. Defense is a team concept. Six of those goals were on odd-man rushes. I know what the (plus-minus) numbers are, but I don't feel bad on the ice." It's nice that Hatcher doesn't feel bad when he's not performing up to par for the team. The comment that really riled my goat was by Peter Forsberg. He said: "ItŐs probably the worst (home) loss I ever had. We do have a young team but you canŐt blame it on that." Excuse me? A team that has 70% of its players (16 born before 1980 and only 7 after 1980), you don't have a "young" team unless you are deluding yourself about what young is. The Pens have a young team. The Flyers have a team full of geriatrics who are feeling the heat of having to perform in the fast paced world of the new rules in hockey. I am very glad that the Pens won. It appears that the Flyers fans were booing and taunting Crosby all evening. I would imagine that Crosby showed them what he's really made of when he scored his first ever career hat trick.

Thursday, October 26, 2006 -- Evening

Colby Armstrong and Ryan Whitney were on the Stan Savran show on the local Fox Sports TV station. They were talking about how nice it is to be on a team that is actually winning now. My favorite part of the interview was when Savran asked them about Evgeni Malkin (btw, it's pronounced Mol-kin not Mal-kin). Savrin was trying to find out what sort of person Malkin is, and they both agreed that he seems to be a really cool guy. It seems that he smiles and laughs alot. Also, Malkin is really enthusiastic about playing, and as Colby said, Malkin acts as if every goal is the first one. That explains the emotional bear hug that Malkin gave to Sidney Crosby. As both said, the enthusiasm and joy that Malkin has just rubs off on all of them. it also seems that both Colby and Ryan, along with Andre Roy, give Malkin a hard time, talking to him in English as if he understand them. As Ryan said, Malkin just talks back to them in Russian. It seems that Malkin is really fitting in well with his teammates.

In other Pens news, Barry Melrose was saying on one of the ESPN radio shows that Jordan Staal should be sent back to the Juniors. As Melrose puts it, being in the Juniors for another year will allow Staal to mature and develop. According to Melrose, young people are being ruined by playing too young. I don't know whether I buy that theory. After all, Crosby was 18 and playing in the NHL. If Staal plays more than nine games in the NHL, it starts to count againt his three year entry level contract. However, the Pens can keep from losing a year to free agency by playing him in less than 40 games. In that case, he would still have seven years before free agency.

Wednesday, October 25, 3006 -- Evening

Everyone has been talking about the beautiful goal that Evgeni Malkin made yesterday. It seems that the folks on VS made alot of references between the goal that Malkin made and one that Mario Lemieux made in 1984. Some have been getting upset because as they say, Malkin isn't a Lemieux. I'm not saying that Malkin is Lemieux. I'm saying that he is Malkin, a very young, gifted hockey play with excellent puck handling skills and the ability to see how a play will unfold. The games this season are exciting. It doesn't matter if we wind the Stanley Cup or not. What matters is that when I go to a game this season, I know that I'm going to have an enjoyable time, win or lose. Yeah, wins are better, but it's great when you go to a game and know there might be a chance for a win. My favorite part of the clip that shows the goal is the bear hug that Malkin and Sidney Crosby gave to each other right after the goal.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 -- Afternoon

Maxime Talbot was called up from the Baby Pens this afternoon. He might be playing this evening against the New Jersey Devils. I'll be at the game tonight and should have details on the game later this evening.

Monday, October 23, 2006 -- Evening

I heard this on the Mark Madden show on my way home from work. The Pens are going to have Evgeni Malkin as a left wing on the Sidney Crosby line. The plan is to have Jordan Staal be the center on the second line and get some ice time with Mark Recchi and Nils Ekman. The Pens have also recalled Noah Welsh from the Baby Pens.

Sunday, October 22, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

It seems that Ryan Malone broke his arm in the game yesterday and should be out for four to six weeks. That really sucks then because it means that while Malone was getting in his stupid fight, he broke his arm.

Friday, October 20, 2006 -- Evening

Boy, do I feel for Sidney Crosby. The guy is getting dragged down, tripped, and banged around by players on other teams left and right, and Ted Nolan of the New York Islanders accuses Crosby of diving. I think that this is just a sorry ass excuse by a coach who is disgruntled that his players are getting caught knocking Crosby around. Crosby isn't letting it bother him. As he says, just look at what you see on the ice, and you have to admit that he isn't diving. I just think some of the diving calls are stupid. I think it is ridiculous to see someone with the stick twisted between his legs getting called for diving. It doesn't matter what team the guy is on--it's bogus. It's even worse when they call one guy for tripping, and then the guy who was tripped for diving. What's up with that!?

Monday, October 16, 2006 -- Evening

Great news from the Pens today! Evgeni Malkin will be playing in Wednesday's game against the New Jersey Devils. It will be interesting to see how much Malkin can energize the team. The problem is getting shots on goal and making soemthing of the power plays. So far, the Pens are 2-2-0 this season which is 100% better than last season, but there is still a ways to go. The biggest issue that I see is that some of the bad behaviors of past seasons haven't been fixed.

Sunday, October 15, 2006 -- Early Evening

There was a very nice interview with Jim Balsillie. That's the guy who has agreed to buy the Pens. The deal has yet to be approved by the NHL board of governors. Balsillie seems to be a man of action, and I'm not sure that he is just going to wait around for something to happen in the city in regards to an arena. I really like his comment that he doesn't want to move the team to uncharted waters like Kansas City because there isn't a history of hockey doing well in the area. Also, he said that the Toronoto Maple Leafs probably wouldn't like him moving a competing team to Hamilton which is really close to Toronto. The question is what will happen with the team next year because I don't see an arena on the horizon.

Friday, October 13, 2006 -- Evening

Evgeni Malkin is healing well and practiced with contact today. The word is that he might be playing with the Pens in a matter of days. It would be great if he is playing for next Wednesday's game which is a home game and a Sidney Crosby bobblehead promotion night.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby bruised his hand yesterday in practice. It seemed he wanted to glove the puck, and when he reached up to stop the puck and bring it back down to the ice, he bruised the hand. There was some concern that the hand might be broken, but it isn't. A bruised hand is much better than a broken one. I'm imagining that Crosby will be playing tomorrow against the New York Rangers.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 -- Evening

Tonight is the start of the NHL season. There was just a news story on the local sports show that the Pens might have a buyer. It seems that the rumor about Jim Balsillie, the Canadian fellow who is a CEO of the company that makes the BlackBerry may indeed be buying the team. The rumor is that the deal will be announced tomorrow before the home opener. In other Pens news, Brooks Orpik is going to miss tomorrow's game because of an injured right hand that might need surgery. Finally, things are looking good for the team staying in Pittsburgh because of Gary Bettman's comments that the city is a good hockey city. According to NHL statistics, the Pens were number 1 of all of the NHL teams in arenas which exceeded 90% of capacity. The Pens has a 2005-2006 attendance of 647,975 which was a 33.07% change from 2003-2004. Second was Carolina (31.34% change), followed by Calgary (19.10% change), Tampa Bay (15.09% change), Boston (13.09% change), Buffalo (12.97% change), Nashville (12.23% change), New York Rangers (11.23% change), Phoenix (10.74% change), and Ottawa (9.66% change) rounding out the top ten. The teams with a negative change in the past season were Dallas (-0.41% change), Edmonton (-2.51% change), New York Islanders (-3.78% change), Washington (-5.54% change), and rock bottom St. Louis with a -23.42% change!

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens have sent down Dany Sabourin to the Baby Pens and announced their 23 man lineup. As I noted yesterday, Jordan Staal made the team which was abit unexpected. However, if the kid plays and deserves the opportunity, great.

Monday, October 2, 2006 -- Evening

Marc-Andre Fleury will be starting in goal for the Pens on their home opener on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers. In other surprising, or not so surprising news depending on your outlook, Jordan Staal also made the team. It will be interesting to see how long Staal remains with the team considering that most thought that he would be spending time in the junior leagues since he just turned 18 a month ago.

Sunday, October 1, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

The Pens lost again to the Buffalo Sabres last night in the final pre-season game. The Pens had a second place ranking in the Atlantic division with their pre-season stats. They had 2 wins, 2 loses, and three overtime loses for a total of 7 points. Not great, but also not bad. It will be interesting to see how the season progresses. The start of the season starts with the home opener on Thursday, Oct. 5 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Saturday, September 30, 2006 -- Afternoon

Marc-Andre Fleury is going to be in net tonight when the Pens meet the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in two nights. The Pens lost last night in overtime. Final score 4-3. Fleury is in a battle to keep his job because his level of play hasn't been as good as the other goalies in the pre-season. The management admits that Fleury is the franchise goalie of the future, but they want to win games now. How this will work on Fleury's psyche is anyone's guess, but he seems a fairly stable sort of kid. The only question that I have is whether Jocelyn Thibault and Dany Sabourin are that much better. I think that the deciding element is that if Fleury is sent down to the minors, they don't have to worry about him going on waivers and having someone else grab him. That would be the case with Thibault and Sabourin. Meanwhile, there is no new news on Evgeni Malkin. He was skating on his own before team practice yesterday, and is expected to go to Buffalo and practice with the team, even though he won't play. The Pens should have more news about his condition and possible return next week.

Monday, September 25, 2006 -- Afternoon

The Pens played another exhibition game last night against the Philadelphia Flyers last night and won by a score of 2-1. There wasn't any commentary on the game, and I had difficulty finding out the outcome. I suppose that the local sports reporters just aren't as interested in the Pens exhibition games. The Pens are going to spend the next four days (starting today) at West Point building team chemistry and training hard. I think that Michel Therrien was really disappointed in the team's conditioning when he took over last December and wants to avoid the same thing this year.

Good news for Evgeni Malkin. He does not need surgery on his shoulder. The damage isn't that bad, and it seems that Malkin will only be out for four to six weeks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006 -- Late Morning

The Pens lost again last night to the Buffalo Sabres. This time, the Pens lost 3-2 in a shootout. Marc-Andre Fleury sat out this game, and Michel Therrien is expecting Fleury to pick up his game. It seems on Friday that Fleury only stopped 19 of 24 shots. Dany Sabourin played in goal last night, and he stopped 44 of 46 shots. This doesn't mean that Fleury is on his way out because he is only 21, but he does have a problem with focus and consistency. He is going to have to find a way to gain that to become the type of goal that everyone expects him to become.

Saturday, September 23, 2006 -- Late Morning

The Pens lost last night to the Washington Capitals. The score was tied at 4-4 at regulation, and the Capitals came on to win in overtime. It really sucks that the rest of the pre-season games won't be televised, but I will be going to next Friday's game and can see how the team looks. In other news, the Pens have purchased the last parcel of land that they will need to build their arena. Even though the new mayor, Luke Ravenstahl has been pushing hard to get the Pens to commit to Plan B, the plan that would require the Pens to fork out some of the money for the building of the arena, the Pens are sticking with the Isle of Capri plan. They have to do that. The Isle of Capri plan is the best deal for them. The Pens would get an arena at no cost if the Isle of Capri gets the slots license. If the Pens switch to commit to Plan B, then IF the Isle of Capri does get the license, they can say "no arena for the Pens because they backed out of the deal first." Of course, with the fix being in, Isle of Capri won't get the license.

Friday, September 22, 2006 -- Early Evening

The local news and television sportscasters have been talking about Evgeni Malkin. The story is that he is going to be reevaluated next week, and that the plan is for him to have surgery. He might be out for three to six months. What we should all be glad about is that the injury isn't that bad. In fact, they were showing a clip of him in the locker room today, and he was holding his stick with his gloves on and bending the arm. Malkin looked good, although his lower lip looked abit swollen. While they were filming him, he winked and smiled at one of his fellow players. As Michel Therrien said, when he saw the accident, he was worried that it was much worse and that there was an injury to Malkin's neck. As Therrien said, this is much better than what it looked like at the time. The Pens are playing tonight, but the game isn't being broadcast on radio or television. It sucks because I had tickets for the game, but couldn't go because of Rosh Hashanah.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 -- Early Evening

Finally word has been released on what is the problem with Evgeni Malkin. His shoulder was dislocated and he will be out indefinitely. That is horrible news. John LeClair must be feeling really bad at this point, because he is the person who caused the accident. Yeah, I know that accident means that the finger of blame should not be pointed, but he has to be feeling bad. The other question that should be asked is should the Pens have been playing in an arena where the ice was in such bad condition because of the heat. Yeah, the NHL was promoting hockey, but that means the loss of Malkin for a possibly lengthy period. Other news is that Mark Recchi has a fractured cheek from a slashing that he got in the game. I really dislike Recchi, the locker room cancer and geriatric jerk. Sidney Crosby is going to be sitting out tomorrow night's exhibition game. The Pens don't want to risk losing Crosby to injury because he played in a pre-season game. That is really the problem with pre-season games. The players are at risk for little if any return.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 -- Evening

Yesterday, I missed the Pens game on television because of a wine appreciation class that I am taking, but I am at home tonight watching the Pens play the Philadelphia Flyers in Moncton, New Brunswick. Evgeni Malkin is playing this evening, along with Sidney Crosby. Jocelyn Thibault is in the net for the Pens.
First period
Sergei Gonchar scored the first goal for the Pens in the first minute of the period when the Pens had a five on three power play. While they are talking about the game, Paul Steigerwald lets us know that Malkin's nickname in the locker room is Gino--for Evgeni. Ryan Malone scored the second goal for the Pens. The team is looking good this evening. Not that it means much because it is the beginning of the game and pre-season. Jeff Carter scored an answering goal for the Flyers. The period ends with a score of 2-1.
Second period
A really scary moment for Malkin in the first two minutes of the game. He and John LeClair were coming down the ice. Malkin passed the puck to LeClair in front of the net and then circled to the back. LeClair missed the net, and then lost his footing coming behind the net because the temperature is so high in Moncton, and the ice is wet. LeClair was spreadlegged, and Malkin came up and tripped over him. Malkin came flying head first over LeClair, landing on his head and shoulders. Malkin just laid there for awhile, and from the way he fell, there was concern that he broke his neck. But then we saw Malkin moving his head, then arms, then legs. There was blood coming off of Malkin's head, and he was dangling his arm as he went off the ice. I really hope that Malkin is okay, but there is no word yet on how he was doing. Gonchar was at his side to translate for Malkin. You know, I try not to be anti-geriatric, but Malkin was keeping his feet. Why couldn't LeClair keep his feet--or at least make the beautifully setup goal? At 6:19, Gonchar scored his second goal of the night. Score is now Pens 3, Flyers 1. 15 minutes into the period, the Flyers score again to make the score 3-2. A minute later, the Flyers tie the game. At the end of the period, we found out that Malkin was taken to the hospital. LeClair was interviewed during the break, and it seems that Malkin was in alot of pain. It isn't looking good. LeClair said that he hit a rut in the ice and just lost control.
Third period
The Flyers come out flying, and within two minutes, they score a goal to pull ahead 4-3. But Crosby wasn't going to let that be the end of the story. He comes down the ice, shoots, misses, and then banks the puck off the goalie into the goal. Score is now tied at 4-4. We did find out with 13 minutes left in the game that Malkin was back from the hospital and in the building. That sounds promising. At 10:58, Crosby assists with a goal by Colby Armstrong. Score is now 5-4 with the Pens leading. The Flyers weren't able to get another goal, and the Pens win--5-4. I'll post whenever I hear more about Malkin.

Second Pre-Season Game

Teams
Flyers
Pens
1st
1
2
2nd
2
1
3rd
1
2
Final
4
5

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens played the Ottawa Senators in the first pre-season game. The Pens didn't manage to pull out a win, but Sidney Crosby scored a goal and an assist to give the Pens the only two points that they had in the game. Evgeni Malkin didn't play in the game. I wonder if that was because of the problems with the contract in Russia. The final score of the game was 5-2. Of course, the pre-season doesn't mean much, but it does make you worry that the team might not gel this coming season. I think that the fans do get abit hyper about having Crosby and Malkin on the team.
First Pre-Season Game

Teams
Ottawa
Pens
1st
0
0
2nd
3
0
3rd
2
2
Final
5
2


Monday, September 18, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

There was a rumor in the morning paper that the Pens would not name a captain, and the rumor is true. I can understand the issue with the naming of the captain. The real leader of the team, or the person that everyone wants to lead the team is Sidney Crosby. Even Michel Therrien has admitted it is Crosby's team. The problem is that Crosby is really too young to be a captain. So no one will hold the role for now.

Saturday, September 16, 2006 -- Evening

I went to the Pens practice this morning, and have been diligently working on the video clips that I have of that practice all afternoon and a good portion of the evening. The practice was an interesting and lengthy one. Unfortunately, because of the length, the battery in my video recorder ran out of juice, so I had to give up filming. The players were broken up into two teams with the black team players practicing first. The team was showing alot of speed and energy in the practice. I have to admit that Evgeni Malkin looks huge. He moves fast, but the thing that is impressive about him is how he just commands his place. He is able to push others out of the way and get to the puck. Also, he has nice hands with the puck, and really makes his shots and play look effortless. After the black team practice, there was a scrimmage game between the black and white players. It was only two periods long, and the white team beat the black team with a score of 6-3. Yesterday's practice had a different result with the black team winning with a score of 5-3. They treated the scrimmage as two real periods. The clock ticked down, the announcer called the plays, there were refs, and officials recording the game. It was really neat, and the players were playing the game as if it was for keeps. Whenever a penalty was called, the player who had the penalty against him (or a representative in the case of goaltender interference) would make a shot at the goal with the offending player behind him. Malkin scored a goal this way. He played on the same line as Ryan Malone and Mark Recchi, and Michel Therrien is thinking of keeping it this way in the regular season. Sidney Crosby scored a realtime goal in the game to lead the white team to their win. I left before the white team practice because by that point, I had already been there for over two hours and I was getting hungry. Others were eating hot dogs and nachos, but that wasn't my idea of breakfast food. There is another practice tomorrow morning from 9:00 until 12:30. It should follow the same format as today's practice with white team practice, two period scrimmage, and then the black team practice. If you attend the practice you should be prepared for alot of fans so seating will be more difficult to find in the prime spots the later you go. Also, take some breakfast foods with you--unless you like a "dog" for breakfast. For photos and video clips of today's event, go to my new multimedia page. I will be updating it throughout the season with material from the games and practices.
Black Team
Forwards
7      Michel Ouellet
8      Mark Recchi
12      Ryan Malone
25      Maxime Talbot
36      Andre Roy
39      Jordan Morrison
46      Ryan Stone
48      Tyler Kennedy
52      Jordan Staal
63      Tim Wallace
67      Joe Jensen
71      Evgeni Malkin
72      Connor James
Defense
3      Mark Eaton
4      Noah Welch
33      Eric Cairns
38      Matt Carkner
47      Micki DuPont
54      Ryan Lannon
55      Sergei Gonchar
74      Michal Sersen
Goaltenders
35      Andrew Penner
41      Jocelyn Thibault
50      Patrick Ehelechner
White Team
Forwards
10      John LeClair
16      Erik Christensen
18      Dominic Moore
20      Colby Armstrong
24      Libor Pivko
26      Ronald Petrovicky
28      Nils Ekman
37      Jarkko Ruutu
42      Stephen Dixon
45      Dennis Bonvie
56      Jonathan Filewich
57      Daniel Carcillo
70      Mathieu Roy
87      Sidney Crosby
Defense
2      Josef Melichar
5      Rob Scuderi
19      Ryan Whitney
32      Alain Nasreddine
43      Wade Skolney
44      Brooks Orpik
49      Kristopher Letang
58      Paul Bissonnette
Goaltenders
29      Marc-Andre Fleury
30      Dany Sabourin

Friday, September 15, 2006 -- Evening

Some disappointing news on the hockey front. An arbitration group from the Russian Ice Hockey Federation ruled that Evgeni Malkin would not be eligible to play for any other team than Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the upcoming season. Malkin has a week to respond to the ruling. The deal is that in Russia, a worker can get out of a contract by giving two weeks written notice. Some in Russia say that law doesn't apply to athletes or actors. With the start of the season less than three weeks away, we can only hope that we will be seeing Malkin play for the Pens this season.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens are beginning their regular team training camp this week. Public sessions will be held on Friday through Sunday from 9:00 am until 12:30 pm. The reason for the length of the session is that the players will have to do the training in shifts. You can't have 50 some people on the ice at one time. I'm planning on attending both the Saturday and Sunday sessions, and will post the material on my YouTube channel.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 -- Late Evening

Mario Lemieux has asked the Pens not to have a re-retirement ceremony for his number. Instead, the number will just be up in its previous location near the roof. As Lemieux said, the attention should be directed to the youth of the team.

Sunday, September 10, 2006 -- Evening

Since I got alot of video footage from the Pens rookie practice this morning, I started a YouTube account. I'll put the videos that I get from the practices there. I'll probably add videos from other events in the Pittsburgh area too. So far, the videos that I have there are of Sidney Crosby watching the practice, some drill footage, a shootout practice, and a scrimmage. Here's my channel.

Sunday, September 10, 2006 -- Afternoon

My boyfriend and I went to the Pens rookie practice this morning. The practice was scheduled from 10:00 am until 11:30 am, but it ran over that time. The practice started with drills for the first hour. There were one on one and two on two scenarios on both ends of the ice. All were off the form of one trying to score while the other tries to prevent the score. After that, there was a zamboni of the ice and then a half hour game. The players then had to do some exercising drills up and down the ice to show their skating ability and conditioning. Finally, the players just milled around on the ice and practiced shooting the puck. The folks who were manning the Mellon Arena were getting antsy because the practice was still going on at noon, and they wanted to go home. Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Noah Welch were among the players on the ice. I have to admit that on young kid really caught my eye because he was getting the puck into the net and making some nice moves. That was number 74, Michal Sersen. You had to feel for Malkin because everytime he had the puck, people would cheer. He scored a goal in one of the drills and everyone just cheered. In fact one guy in the stands Was standing behind Malkin pretending to put his arm around Malkin's shoulders while Malkin was standing with his back to the audience. The section of seating that was cordoned off for the fans was packed. I'd say there were over one thousand people there. We were all on one side of the arena and on the other were some coaches and management, including Michel Therrien and Ray Shero. Sidney Crosby and Ryan Malone were also in the stands, and I have a clip of them watching the practice. I also have a clip of some of the practice drills. Here's the breakdown of the players at the rookie training camp:
Black Team
39      Jordan Morrison
42      Stephen Dixon
46      Ryan Stone
49      Kristopher Letang
53      Moises Gutierrez
56      Jonathan Filewich
58       Paul Bissonnette
61      Daniel Fernholm
63      Tim Wallace
70      Mathieu Roy
71      Evgeni Malkin
74      Michal Sersen
White Team
4      Noah Welch
48      Tyler Kennedy
51      Nick Johnson
52      Jordan Staal
54      Ryan Lannon
57      Daniel Carcillo
59      Jeff Kyrazakos
64      Ryan Martinelli
65      J.P. Paquet
67      Joe Jensen
72      Connor James
Goaltenders
40      J.C. Blanchard
50      Patrick Ehelechner
60      Gabriel Bouthillette

Thursday, September 7, 2006 -- Evening

Since things are working out with Sam Fingold, the Pens are talking to two other original bidders. One of the two is Andrew Murstein who had backing from Dan Marino and Mark Cuban. The Pens are hoping that the issue is resolved soon.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens have a rookie practice this week, and the sessions will be open to the public this coming Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 11:30 am. The overall training camp starts the week after that with public session Sept. 15-17. Times for those practices have yet to be released. The practices will be at Mellon Arena.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006 -- Afternoon

Evgeni Malkin signed a contract with the Pens today. Malkin arrived in Pittsburgh last night and was signed by 10 am this morning. He's going to be staying with Sergei Gonchar for a few months until he becomes acclimated to the language and culture abit. I am really excited about the upcoming season. Now if only the team will gell, and someone puts Mark Recchi in his place.

Monday, September 4, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Rumor has it that Evgeni Malkin is going to sign with the Pens tomorrow. It seems that they are in agreement on all but a few minor, final details. There isn't alot to contest about the contracts because the contracts are the same across the NHL for rookies. The question is whether Metallurg Magnitogorsk will take legal action to prevent Malkin from playing this coming season.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

The Pens may not have a buyer after all. It seems that Sam Fingold's letter of intent may expire because he hasn't been able to find the financial backing for his $175 million bid to buy the Pens. We should know what is happening in the next several days. The Pens were hoping to have a new owner by the start of the new season which is in five weeks.

Friday, August 18, 2006 -- Evening

Evgeni Malkin has given an interview to TSN about the situation with Magnitogorsk. They seemed to be putting alot of psychological pressure on him every day, and that he worried about what would happen to his parents if he didn't sign with Magnitogorsk. Malkin said that he really wanted to play for the NHL. Malkin says that he is not in shape at this point, but that he hopes to be in playing shape soon, and playing with the Pens this coming season. I am excited again. I have full season tickets, and I hope to see some exciting games.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

It has all the earmarks of a cold war era spy novel. Young, talented Russian wants to come to escape the oppression of his country to come to the US. He plots the first opportunity to race to freedom and takes advantage of it while his compatriots search for him. That is the story of the flight to freedom for Evgeni Malkin. He alerted his agent that Finland would be the first location when he would have access to his passport. It seemed that Magnitogorsk controlled his passport and would not let him leave. As soon as Malkin received his passport in Finland, he slipped away from his team, met his agent, JP Barry, and hid away while the American visa was obtained. That happened yesterday, and it seems that Malkin is now in Los Angeles with his agents trying to find out how he can join the Pens. It will be fascinating to hear Malkin's story directly from his own lips, and that first Pens' press conference will be a winner!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 -- Early Evening

It seems that Evgeni Malkin is still in Europe, but that he should be escorted to the US within the next 24 hours. The big news is that Malkin has tendered his two week notice to Metallurg Magnitogorsk that he is quitting the team. That is supposedly all that he will need to get out of his contract with them, according to Russian law. This doesn't mean that Malkin will be playing with the Pens because Metallurg is going to sue for Malkin's loss. This is bigger than just the Pens because the Russian league wants a better deal from the NHL.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 -- Afternoon

"Where, oh where, has Evgeni Malkin gone? Oh Where, oh where can he be? He left Finland with his baggage you see, oh where oh where can he be?" (sing to "where oh where has my little dog gone?"). That's the song that the Russian team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, is singing today. They are accusing the Pens of the crime of the century in stealing Malkin from them. The thing is that there are alot of fishy things going on in the Malkin case. It appears that when Malkin recently signed the one year renewal with Metallurg, he did it at 3 am in the morning because as Malkin's mom said, they made Malkin an offer he couldn't refuse. Gosh knows what sort of pressure the team was putting on this 20 year old, but according to his father, Malkin finally snapped. The rumor now is that Malkin is in Toronto where the offices for his agents, Pat Brisson and J.P. Barry, is. A report out of Finland was that Malkin left on a plane for New York.

Saturday, August 12, 2006 -- Evening

Now at this point, it is only rumor, but it seems that Evgeni Malkin left the training camp for the Metallurg Magnitogorsk Russian team. The team was training in Finland, and Malkin supposedly left with his clothes, some personal items, and his travel papers (passport) and is supposedly headed to North America. I believe it when I see him here in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006 -- Evening

After a great deal of excitement here in the 'Burgh generated by the Russian League having an agreement with the NHL, the bubble was burst when news started to spread that Evgeni Malkin would not be coming to Pittsburgh. Sergei Gonchar talked to Malkin and says that Malkin has no plans on coming to Pittsburgh this season. So now the Pens are going to have find someone to fill the spot that Malkin would have taken on the team.

Monday, August 7, 2006 -- Evening

Evgeni Malkin claims to want to play in the NHL. However, the Russian team that he plays for said that Malkin signed a deal that would turn his three year contract into a one year contract. That means that Malkin would be playing for the NHL in the 2007 season.

Saturday, August 5, 2006 -- Evening

Marc-Andre Fleury signed a deal with the Pens today. The deal is for two years and the financial details were not released.

Thursday, August 3, 2006 -- Afternoon

Mike Lange has agreed to be the play-by-play guy on the radido for the Pens.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 -- Early Afternoon

Meanwhile, the Pens still haven't heard anything yet about Evgeni Malkin joining them in the upcoming season. At this point, there is really nothing that the Pens can do. They have to wait to see what the Russian league is going to do, and if they really will let Malkin go.

Saturday, July 29, 2006 -- Morning

Samuel Fingold signed a letter of intent to buy the Pens. Supposedly Fingold is going to "try" to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh, but in June Fingold was saying that he didn't think that the city would able to build an arena for the Pens. Now Fingold comes from Hartford, Conn. which used to be the home of the Hartford Whalers. The city lost that team, and has been trying to get another team back. Well, this purchase of the Pens is very suspect, and I know that I am concerned that next year, the Pens will be playing in Hartford. After all, how can they build an arena in a year, and the Pens don't have a lease with Mellon Arena.

Friday, July 28, 2006 -- Afternoon

Ray Shero has been at it again. Late yesterday evening, it was announced that Shero was dumping a whole slew of folks from the Penguins payroll. This time he got rid of Rick Kehoe and the entire equiment team. That includes Steve Latin who has been with the team for 18 years. I can't understand why he would can all of the equipment team. I can truly understand wanting to make changes in the team, but that would be coaching and players. Equipment people really don't influence the direction of the team.

The rumor is also strong that Sam Fingold, the Hartford, Conn. real estate developer is very close to signing a letter of intent to buy the Pens. We'll have to see if this is just more of the rumormongering that has been going on for the past year or not. It seems that Fingold's originial intent was to move the team to Hartford, but that might not be as easy as he hopes with the NHL committed to having the team remain in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 -- Evening

Ryan Malone got a good deal from the arbitrator. The arbitrator said that his 2006 salary should be $1,300,000 and for 2007, it should be $1,450,000. The amount is an 85% increase over the amount that he made last season.

Monday, July 24, 2006 -- Afternoon

Tell me it ain't so Ray! It seems that the Pens may have signed Mark Recchi to return to the Pens. I think this is the worst move possible because of his salary ($2.28 million) and the fact that it was known that Recchi was a disruptive cancer in the locker room with his attitude toward the younger players, especially Sidney Crosby. It seems that Recchi has a reputation for being a jerk in the locker room. We can only hope that the Pens are getting Recchi to trade him.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens have signed Brooks Orpik to a two-year deal. They also signed Matt Carkner, a free agent who was playing in the AHL last season. No information on the salaries of eithter.

Friday, July 21, 2006 -- Early Evening

Some news on the Pens front. Ray Shero has resigned Colby Armstrong. He has agreed to just under $817,000 for the next season. The contract that he signed is a two way contract which means that the Pens can send him down to the minors if they want. If they do, he would then mae $75,000. The Pens also made a trade with the San Jose Sharks for right winger Nils Ekman and a goaltender prospect, Patrick Ehelechner.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens picked up more players from the Nashville Predators today. They picked up forward, Libor Pivko, and center, Dominic Moore, in exchange for a third round draft pick in 2007. Moore appears to be someone who might be good in killing penalty minutes, and Pivko appears to be good with assists. Moore played with the New York Rangers last season, and was just traded to Nashville, who immediately traded him to the Pens. Interesting!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 -- Afternoon

It seems that the Pens might remain here in Pittsburgh. It seems that the NHL and the local and state government may have set the mechanisms in place so it will be difficult to move the Pens out of the city. It seems that one of the bidders who was interested in moving the Pens to Canada has dropped out because of this development. It seems that the new owners will be committed to joining in the Isle of Capri plan to build the arena. This is interesting news, and I hope that it is true. There have been so many rumors floating around about the Pens that I just haven't even been mentioning it. Alot of it has turned out to be rumor and at times, lies, so I will only really believe it when it actually happens.

Monday, July 17, 2006 -- Afternoon

Marc-Andre Fleury and Colby Armstrong have turned down the offers made to them by the Pens. They are still restricted free agents, and hope to work out a plan with the Pens. They have not gone to arbitration as Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik have. Fleury received an offer of $989,100 and Armstrong was offered $817,325. That amount is a five percent increase over the amounts they made in the last season.

Friday, July 14, 2006 -- Late Afternoon

Ray Shero has hired Chuck Fletcher as an assistant general manager. Fletcher has worked with in management for Florida and Anaheim. Eddie Johnston, who has filled many roles with the Pens over the years will continue as senior advisor in hockey operations.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 -- Late Morning

Greg Malone, a scout of the Pens, has found another job with the Phoenix Coyotes. It seems that Ray Shero gave the scouting staff the permission to look for new jobs and Malone took him up on it. Malone was with the Pens for the past 16 years. Considering the quality of some of the players and the way the team hasn't been jelling, it might be for the best to be rid of Malone and bring in some fresh blood.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens announced their 2006-2007 season schedule. It seems that the home games are going to be heavy with weekend dates. Of the 41 games, 10 will be Saturday games and a total of 21 weekend dates (6 Friday and 5 Sunday) . That will be perfect considering that I have tickets for the full season. They also announced the promotion. I am really excited over these because there will be a Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury bobbleheads. I am really excited about the Fleury bobblehead because he is my favorite.

Friday, July 7, 2006 -- Early Evening

Say it ain't so! The Pens might actually be contemplating bringing back the "Cancer in the Locker Room", Mark Recchi. The Carolina Hurricanes have chosen not to pick up an option on Recchi and he is an unrestricted free agent. It seems from the rumors that I heard that he was also a "Cancer in the Locker Room" there too. The thing is that if you have someone who is disruptive and doesn't get along well with the young members of the team because he feels the need to lord it over them, I say let him retire and lord it over his own house. I think it is abit of the Napoleon complex. Short men have real issues, and I think that it intensifies as they age. Let's hope that Ray Shero doesn't fall into the Recchi trap and bring him back. Excise the cancer!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 -- Evening

The Pens signed another free agent today. This time it was Jarkko Ruutu. His specialty appears to be in racking up penalty minutes which I'm not sure that the Pens really need at this point because we have enough trouble killing penalty minutes. Last season was his best, but it's not that impressive to me. Obviously I don't know what Ray Shero is looking for, but I'm wondering why he sees in Ruutu.

Monday, July 3, 2006 -- Afternoon

A few changes have happened on the Pens front today. First was that the hiring of former Montreal Canadien GM, Andre Savard as an assistant coach for Michel Therrien. It seems that Savard has done a slew of things like coaching, scouting, and GM. It's interesting that he would come to Pittsburgh for an assistant coaching role. I would have thought that he would have gone for a higher role in hockey. Next is that Ray Shero picked up Mark Eaton as a free agent from the Nashville Predators. Eaton is a defenseman and lead his team in blocked shots. We do need some help in defense, and I hope that Eaton is going to provide it.

Thursday, June 29, 2006 -- Evening

Mike Lange has been fired by Fox Sports here in Pittsburgh! There were no reasons given, and the local Fox Sports show tried to soften the blow by saying that his contract wasn't renewed. Now this is a guy who is in the Hockey Hall of Fame for his broadcasting skills. The Pens were quick to distance themselves from the decision to fire Lange, and have offered him a position to call the games for radio broadcasts. This is such a shock to all Pens fans. Lange is considering the Pens offer at this point, and I hope he takes them up on it.

Speaking of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Herb Brooks was elected yesterday to the Hall. He was the coach of the 1980 US team that shocked everyone by winning the gold medal in the Olympics, and he was also affiliated with the Pens with several jobs including coach and scout. Also elected to the Hall of Fame was Patrick Roy. The first time I saw Roy, I thought that his name was pronounced as it was spelled as opposed to Wah. So I would always refer to him fondly was Patrick Roy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 -- Evening

Dan Marino has said that the reason he decided to join forces with Mark Cuban and Andrew Murstein to buy the Pens because Murstein is committed to keeping the team here in Pittsburgh, and Marino would like to help in any way possible to make that happen. I have to admit that I have started to lose hope that we can keep the Pens here, and got full season tickets for this coming season because I don't expect the Pens to be here much longer. Call it fatalistic, but I just don't see that others who are in the power to make it happen are really that interested.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 -- Evening

Dan Marino and Mark Cuban have joined with Andrew Murstein in a bid to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tim Benz, a local sports reporter on ESPN Radio, broke the story today. This could strengthen the bid made by Murstein. The group supposedly isn't getting alot of press from the Pens because they think that Plan B might be feasible. Plan B is the proposal to build an arena for the Pens here in Pittsburgh without funding it from a slots license (or being funded by someone who gets the slots license).

Monday, June 26, 2006 -- Early Evening

The Pens are doing abit of housecleaning today. They only made offers to six of the 17 restricted free agents. Folks who got the offers are Colby Armstrong, Ryan Malone, Brooks Orpik, and my favorite player, Marc-Andre Fleury. Those who did NOT get offers include Konstantin Koltsov, Andy Hilbert, and Tomas Surovy. I think that Ray Shero is going to totally redo the makeup of the team. Hopefully that will get the team winning some games.

Saturday, June 24, 2006 -- Late Evening

Today was the day of the NHL draft. The St. Louis Blues kept their first pick (they decided to not trade it away), and they took Erik Johnson, the defenseman. He would have been perfect for the Pens because we need some good defensemen. There were rumors that some teams did want to trade for the Pens slot, but none of the deals were good enough for the Pens to pass up Jordan Staal. As my boyfriend said, the Pens are heavy with centers and don't need more, but my comment is that you can't pass up a Staal, especially when Jordan Staal is supposed to be the best of the Staal brothers. (Eric Staal is his brother. The Pens did better with their other picks. They got two defensemen, Carl Sneep and Brian Strait, and a goalie, Chad Johnson. In other moves, the Pens bought out the contracts for Sebastien Caron and Shane Endicott for $200,000 each. Both are now unrestricted free agents. Basically the idea is that the Pens are hoping to save money by getting rid of both players.

Friday, June 23, 2006 -- Late Evening

Tomorrow is the NHL draft. The Pens will have the second pick. The St. Louis Blues have the first pick and word has it that they are going to pick Erik Johnson who is a hot defenseman. It sucks because the Pens could really use a defenseman. Jordan Staal is another hot prospect, but the Pens don't need another offense guy. The draft is tomorrow at 6 pm. Here's a listing of the 30 top prospects in this year's draft.

Also in Pens news: there is a rumor that there could be a "letter of intent" signed between the Pens and a prospective owner. It appears that two men have paid the $100,000 fee to look at the team's books to determine if the team would be worth investing in. We can only hope that the new owner will do what he can to keep the team here in Pittsburgh. I'm not holding out much hope because at this point, no one really seems to have a plan for an arena for the team. The team can't stay if they don't have an arena to play in.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 -- Late Evening

The NHL gave out its end of the year awards. The show was longer than it needed to be with music and comedy skits throughout. I have to admit that some of the comedy skits were funny. Well, I suppose they have to make it worthwhile for the players to show up in their tuxedos. Unfortunately, Alexander Ovechkin won the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year. Ah well, we will see how he and Sidney Crosby in their whole careers. For the full table of winners, check out the hockey page.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 -- Evening

A little bit later on tonight, the NHL awards will be handed out. The one that is of the most interest to Pittsburgh fans is that Sidney Crosby is going to be up for the Calder Memorial Trophy which goes to the Rookie of the Year. Alexander Ovechkin is also a strong contender for the award. Ovechkin has some nice statistics, but Crosby is seen as the more well-rounded player. I should have the results on the awards later tonight.

Friday, June 16, 2006 -- Evening

Some news on the Pens front is that there are supposedly several buyers interested in buying the Pens. Some of the bidders might even want to keep the team in the city--even if there isn't a slots deal to build an arena. Things are looking dour for anyone getting a slots license in this state anytime soon. The Pennsylvania Gaming Board has run into numerous delays in approving licenses to the folks who will provide the slots machines. That has to happen 90 days before the license can be given to the casinos. Rumors abound on the local television stations that the delays are being caused because more folks want to grease their palms and pocket money. I think that the PA government officials are more interested in what's in it for them than in actually doing something with the slots. It is quite frustrating for the Pens fan, and for all the folks who want slots in PA so they don't have to travel to West Virginia to get their slots fix. Other news is that Joey Mullen is out as coach of the Baby Pens next year. Ray Shero has his own ideas of what is best, and obviously thinks that a player who ain't all that as a coach is not the way to go. Thank you! It's about time the Pens dropped the player bit and went for folks who actually have coaching experience and skill.