Thursday, December 30, 2010

GTOPG: Pens Lose 2-1 to Islanders' Farm Team; Sid to Shave; More on 24/7

By Artistry

When I was in high school, kids in my neighborhood played a lot of street hockey. There was a guy we'll call Tommy Z., who was a very good athlete, good hand-eye coordination, quick feet, but he had no real hockey skill to speak of. I hated playing against Tommy Z. I felt like I should be able to beat him just by sheer force of will and superior talent, but damned if Tommy Z. didn't out-hustle, out-hack, and pretty much neutral zone trap me to my wit's end every single time. In the words of Pascal Dupuis, "F--- you, Tommy Z." You know where I'm going with this. The New York Islanders without Mark Streit and Kyle Okposo? That team the Penguins played Wednesday night was kind of like Tommy Z. with a missing leg. The Penguins actually managed to lose to a hopping Tommy Z.

Tommy Z.? Is that you?
- The same thing was on everyone's mind last night as the minutes ticked down. Could Sidney Crosby keep his consecutive game scoring streak alive? You know it was on the players' minds, because they were forcing Sid the puck at every opportunity, to the extent that Evgeni Malkin actually looked confused about what to do on the power play. Do I take this open shot, or do I cycle it over to Sid? It was unnatural. You know it was on Dan Bylsma's mind, because he kept Crosby on the ice for about four minutes in overtime. And you know it was on the Islanders' minds, because they played with a desperation the Penguins' simply couldn't match. Crosby hit the crossbar on a beautiful feed from Tyler Kennedy, and that's as close as he would come to registering a point. There were no tape-to-tape passes on this night. The puck was jumping. The streak is over at 25 games, and now Crosby can get back to scoring points in the natural flow of the game. And, mercifully, he can shave.

- I had a bad feeling about the game and the streak when Bob Errey dropped this beauty about Crosby during his pregame rambling: "I'm even starting to wonder if he's the greatest player to ever play the game." Bobby, you just lost your spot on Mario's wing in the Winter Classic alumni game.

- One of Errey's "Tips to Win" on Wednesday: "Finish the Year Off." Really? That's one of the tips to win? That's right up there with, "Remember to Breathe" and "Wear Your Skates."

- Rick DiPietro is still in the league?

- You really need to know where Josh Bailey is on the ice at all times. [Ed. Note: I'm a little bitter about this loss.]

- The Penguins are terrible at penalty shots. 0 for the last 12.

- It was difficult to watch the Pens' squander a magnificent shootout goal by Geno. When he jumped over the boards, I think I shouted, "For once in your life, Geno!" And he shook DiPietro so hard that the oft-injured Isles' goalie ended up in the corner. It didn't matter, in the end. If you didn't have an uneasy feeling watching Robbie Schremp take his turn against Fleury, you don't know anything about Robbie Schremp.

- Yeah. A bit of a one-trick-pony, Robbie Schremp, but his one trick is embarrassing people on penalty shots. In the end, the Penguins probably had the very same thought I used to have after a game with Tommy Z.: At least we got out of here with one point.

Additional thoughts on last night's episode of 24/7, after the jump...

- I get lost sometimes in Brooks Laich's eyes.

- Can you imagine Penguins' fans chanting "We want the Capitals" and "Ovechkin sucks" during a game against some other team?  Me either.

- Hockey players sometimes need stitches. They frequently need X-rays or some other kind of medical attention. We get it.

- What was going on with Brent Johnson and the sleeveless Christmas sweater? He was clearly jockeying for some camera time there, but, sadly for him, was completely upstaged by the quite humorous Benny Lovejoy.

- Telling his players they should finish checks against Geno because he tends to retaliate was the first intelligent thing I've heard Bruce Boudreau say. Sure, it's an obvious point to make, but Captain Hot Sauce has set the bar pretty low for himself, wouldn't you say?

- Who would you say cried more during the course of the Penguins game against the Capitals, Crosby or Alex Ovechkin? Let me answer that one for you. Ovechkin. Crosby does get penalized for having a higher pitched voice.

- GTOG doesn't pick on children.Terrible form. But I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Bruce Boudreau's eldest son looks like (gasp) Mike Green.

Proud of you, son.
Don't leave your dad hanging, little Bylsma. I'm being told that we have a big weekend ahead of us. Finesse and Poise will be live at the Winter Classic. Buckle your seatbelts and pray for clear skies. LGP.


  1. Didn't get around to watch the episode until now. What an epic, incredible, hour of television (cue the "It's not TV..." joke here). I didn't think they could top the much hyped first episode, and boy, was I wrong. Knowing full well the result of the Pens-Caps game, I was on the edge of my seat during the shootout.

    A few quick thoughts:
    1. The Bylsma-Boudreau disparity just keeps getting larger and larger. Boudreau is trying so hard to look better, and HBO is trying so hard to make him look better. But the more they show him, the worse he comes across. His behavior on camera makes him look like a much older, balder and fatter man than someone his age, weight and hairstyle should look. Who would go to war with a guy of this level of intelligence, poise and sense of humor? We still don't know, because wars tend to break out after the conference semis.

    2. Can someone please tell HBO that there's a guy in Pittsburgh named Mario, and that his story is kind of interesting?

    3. Some day the Capitals will win a Stanley Cup. And as he is given the cup for the first time in his life, sporting the biggest smile anyone has ever seen, Ted Leonsis's first words will include something about the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  2. what a great last penalty shot! wowzer.