- History was made last night in Pittsburgh, as the Penguins played their first game in the new Consol Energy Center before a sell-out crowd. Allegedly. I can't confirm this, because NHL Network chose not to broadcast the game, opting instead to go with an electric pre-season tilt between the Blackhawks and Lighting in Winnipeg. If Hall-of-Fame Dave Molinari is to be believed, however, the Pens topped the Red Wings in the inaugural contest by a 5-1 margin. The storyline today is that journeymen wingers Bret Sterling and Ryan Craig both popped in a couple of goals for Pittsburgh, and, can you believe this, one or both of them could be the scoring winger the team is looking for. Uh huh. Right. Sterling has been mired in the Atlanta Thrashers' system for the last while, and he was quoted today in the PPG saying, in effect, now that he's with a good team he can finally show what kind of player he is. I suppose it's possible that this guy who scored 2 goals in 19 games with the Thrashers could be blossoming into the next Jock Callander in front of our very eyes in games we can't watch on TV, but I'm afraid it's much more likely that there is a reason he is a journeyman.
- Speaking of journeys, news leaked this week that ABC may have chosen its next Bachelor. The speculation now is that in January 2011 the network will bring you the first ever recycled Bachelor, Brad Womack. If you'll recall, and I don't, Womack rejected all of the ladies vying for his affections back during the 2007 season. Here he was, on a reality dating show where contestants are expected to "find love" during what amounts to a series of televised, glorified first dates and, inexplicably, his walls never came down. I don't understand it. Didn't he realize he was living a fairy tale? Somebody needs to learn to open up his heart this winter, and his name is Brad Womack. Think of this as something you can look forward to following the inevitable post-Winter Classic hangover.
|I don't think you're ready for this rose.|
- The news that HBO will do a "Hard Knocks" style four-part documentary on this season's Pens-Caps Winter Classic is just about as good as it gets for the NHL. Look, we all recognize the potential downsides of this production: 1) fans across the continent will again have every opportunity to complain about the overexposure of Crosby and Ovechkin; 2) we'll likely have to suffer through interviews with Bruce Boudreau and Ted Leonsis; and 3) no one needs to see Max Talbot take his jersey off in the locker room. But if you've seen "Hard Knocks" or that phenomenal Bird-Magic documentary HBO ran a while back, you can't doubt what a positive development this is for the league. It won't be "One From the Heart" or anything, but I'm excited.
- The Capitals are a little bit like Will Ferrell's 70's anchorman Ron Burgundy. Undeniably talented, consistently amusing, and blissfully unaware that they are embarrassing themselves.
|I'm Ron Burgundy?|
- The Washington Post's DC Sports Blog points out that, despite seeing a similar prediction blow up in his face last season, Caps owner Leonsis is once again blabbering on about the inevitably of his team winning the Stanley Cup. "One year, a goal scored won't get called back," he said. "It'll happen to the other team, or we'll be on the power play in overtime in the playoffs." Leonsis went on to suggest that the Capitals are "generationally great" and reiterated that they are now prepared to win because they now realize that the playoffs are "officiated differently." I really don't even know where to begin here. I've often wondered if Leonsis ever came to realize that comparing last year's Washington team to the Oilers of the 80's was, at best, ridiculous. Guess not. In closing, I am pleased to see that the Caps will continue to put Tom Poti out against Geno's Malkin's line for the next two years, and I have complete confidence that their management will move swiftly to retain a new chiropractor with sufficient access to steroids.
- From Finesse: If GTOG had existed last year, we would have definitely talked at length about the Matt Cooke hit on Marc Savard. Artistry strongly condemned the hit, while I agreed that it was probably unnecessary but not dirty [Ed.'s note: "probably" unnecessary?]. Savard missed nearly two months but did come back in time to be a part of the Bruins' historic collapse against the Flyers in the playoffs. Now, sadly, Savard is experiencing additional post-concussion symptoms and there is speculation that he could miss the entire 2010-11 season. Regardless of what one thinks of the Cooke hit - and there is no point in rehashing the specifics at this point - no one can be happy that it might keep Savard out for an entire season, which undoubtedly would raise concern about whether his career could be over. GTOG wishes Savard the best, and just to maybe make him feel better, here is Evander Kane destroying Matt Cooke.
- Major Trap Game for the Steelers this weekend against Tampa Bay. On the road, no one expects them to lose, Charlie Batch behind center. Defense playing at a possibly unsustainable level. Gigantic divisional showdown with the Ravens looming. Anyone else feeling terribly uncomfortable?
- Finesse is still fired up about Mike Vick. He offers the following:
- On Tuesday, I wrote about how the best thing for Vick's career would be to go back to the bench because he has already done enough to entice other teams to give him a big-money offer at the end of this season and playing further could only deflate his value. Well, now we learn that Vick will be the Eagles' starting QB this Sunday and there are rumors swirling that teams are inquiring into Kevin Kolb's availability. Just because there are teams inquiring does not mean that the Eagles are considering a deal, but I would be BEYOND STUNNED if the Eagles traded Kevin Kolb. This is a team that traded their still-good franchise QB Donovan McNabb to a bitter division rival because they believed that Kevin Kolb was their long-term future. They can't possibly give up on the Kevin Kolb era after two quarters, a mild-concussion, and 6 good quarters from their backup, can they? If Andy Reid and Eagles' management pulls the trigger on a Kevin Kolb trade in order to go with Mike Vick, that decision coupled with the McNabb trade has the potential to become the worst series of personnel moves ever made by a professional sports franchise. Imaging the furor in Philly if the Eagles traded Kolb and Kolb and McNabb succeeded with their new teams while Vick languished with his mid-70's passer rating. Congress would have to update the Patriot Act to keep tabs on all the homicidal Eagles' fans, and Stephen A. Smith would have to invent a new font to convey how loudly he wanted to say "A-PO-PLEC-TIC!!!'. The only positive thing I could say about Andy Reid if he trades Kolb is that it would mean that in addition to his enormous head and body, he also has enormous cojones.
|Coach Andy Reid|
- Is it me, or has Mike Milbury taken over as executive producer of American Idol? It just seems like whoever is running the show there probably thought trading Zdeno Chara and Jason Spezza for Alexei Yashin's empty uniform was a good idea. Randy Jackson is verging on insufferable, so if you can keep him as the anchor of your judging panel, I guess you have to do it. Jennifer Lopez hasn't said anything interesting, well, ever. And have you seen Steven Tyler lately? This show jumped the shark a while ago, but now we're entering train wreck territory.
- Former Pirates' utility player Jose Bautista who, if memory serves, sucked, just hit his 50th homerun of the season for the Toronto Blue Jays. Of course he did.
- Finally GTOG Nation, we don't need to remind you that the NHL regular season is right around the corner. But we do want to tell you to stay tuned for our mega-NHL season preview, right here at gettoourgame.com, beginning October 1st and continuing every day until Game 1 against the Flyers. We can't wait to monitor Bret Sterling's every move and bring you the insights and analysis you deserve. LGP. GTOG.