Tuesday, December 21, 2010

GTOPG: Geno Lobbying HBO for Larger Role in 24/7 Documentary; Pens Roll, 6-1

By Artistry

Add me to the long list of people who have a bone to pick with Matt Cooke.  And Mike Rupp, you're in the dog house too, big fella.  Thoughtless, selfish penalties by those two in the second period of last night's demolition of the Phoenix Coyotes put the brakes on what could very easily have been a record-breaking night for Evgeni Malkin.  After the penalties, the Pens quickly found themselves killing off a two-man advantage, the game got chippy, and the Coyotes (or, as Bob Errey, who is apparently an American pioneer living in 1842, would say, "the Ki-yotes") realized they should probably pay some attention to Sid and Geno.  Until that stage of the game, Phoenix had done nothing to make the Penguins' stars the slightest bit uncomfortable, and Geno had already put up a 5-spot with 12 minutes to play in the second.  We've been waiting to see him get back to this level on a consistent basis for the better part of two years.  It's still too early for any kind of formal celebration, but we found GTOG contributor Eloquence grinning broadly this morning.

- "The two-headed monster is making a vicious return," he said.  "Geno's shot is getting back to scary levels.  But let's see if the PP can stay above 20% for a few weeks (17% the last two seasons; 16.8% right now).  Even from Europe, Finesse's wisdom to keep things in perspective is echoing loudly."  Until Dan Bylsma gave Malkin a few days to rest his weary bones, his shooting percentage was hovering around 7%.  Since Geno returned last week against Philadelphia, he's converting at over 26%. 

Look Out Now.
- Eloquence, coming down from his high, offers more perspective:  "Phoenix's overall performance may be the worst I've ever seen by an NHL team.  Really. They got dogged in every facet of the game.  Go down 5-0 in 30 minutes; veteran player gets KO'ed (Engelland looked like a magician undoing that poor man's helmet, waiting for him to throw a punch, dodging it, and then dropping him with a right-hander); register ONE shot on some 4 minutes of PP (more than half on a 5-on-3); and the only goal coming from a deflection off a leg, then Fleury's helmet, and trickling across the goal line.  It reminded me of Happy Gilmore's winning putt."

- Not to be overlooked on what was clearly Geno's night, Crosby turned on the afterburners against the Coyotes, and could easily have had 8 points himself.  "Sid is doing more things with one hand than I can ever remember," Eloquence said, disingenuously.  "What about 5:30 into the 3rd period when he dragged two Coyotes to the net before dishing to Letang for a missed open
cage.  Again, this is the 3rd period of a 4 goal game.  Amazing what a dead piece of wood can do."

- The Penguins have now won 13 straight games with Chris Kunitz in the lineup.  Sometimes when Little Artistry wakes up in the middle of the night from a bad dream and needs to be comforted, he asks for Chris Kunitz's hands.

So Soft.
- Marc-Andre Fleury was again spectacular and deserved the shutout.  Not only was Phoenix's single goal a total fluke, but they were put on the power play only because the officials modeled their game after their counterparts working the Steelers/Jets game on Sunday.

- And if you think Geno is on fire right now, here is one more note from Eloquence:  "Now for an edition of our favorite pastime here at GTOG: mocking ESPN.  Geno scored 5 points.  This should be the newsworthy equivalent of 40-50+ points from an NBA player; 4-5 touchdowns from a QB; or three homeruns in a game from a steroid-injected baseball player.  Does ESPN notice?  Nope.  Instead ESPN has TWO headlines about Favre, one about the emotional state of the Giants' punter, and of course something about Terrell Owens.  ESPN probably has a reporter drinking the fluid drained from Owens's knee after his surgery."

- It's OK to let yourself feel good about the Penguins right now.  But if you still feel yourself aching a little bit inside, that's understandable, too.  You miss Jordan Staal.

Trap game coming against Florida on Wednesday night.  Don't even think about the Caps and Captain Hot Sauce Bruce Boudreau until Thursday morning.


  1. This will be a great game to re-watch from the HBO perspective. From a entertainment perspective, it really had everything: high scoring from our stars, amazing penalty killing, Tyson-worthy knockout fighting, controversial hits, and most likely a very spirited bench and locker room. If this game were a movie it would resemble Bad Boys II. I am in total agreement of Eloquence's statement about the Coyotes performance. They looked apprehensive to even be on the ice with the Pens for large segments of the game. I’ll admit I found myself giving my television a standing ovation at the Pens penalty killing abilities last night. Gotta say that win felt great, what a game

  2. A trap game is when you're playing not to let a win slip. Other teams you look in the eye and try your hardest to defeat (unless you're the Caps, in which case you put your head down in misery to the tune of your screaming head coach). Florida has won 5 of their last 7 games, including a 5-0 shutout at Philadelphia and a 3-0 at Washington. They're playing like a playoff team right now.

  3. P.Co, fair enough. Call it a personal trap game for me, because I'm going to the Caps game on Thursday and am therefore in danger of overlooking the Panthers.

  4. From listening to a little of the game against Phoenix, I want to caution against getting to high from this win. December home games against below average western conference teams are where scoring titles are won, not Stanley Cups. Recall 66's five goal gem against St. Louis when Frankie Leroux nearly killed Tie Domi. Memorable, but bigger fish to fry.

    Nonetheless, if this game were a reminder of anything it's that the pens have two players who, at their peaks, are the best two players in the league. Welcome back, 2009 Geno.