Friday, December 30, 2011

Unusually Hot or Not? The Women of GTOG Rank 33 NFL Quartebacks

By Mrs. Artistry and Artistry's mom

"NFL quarterbacks are hot," Mrs. Artistry observed, as her husband flipped between football games on a recent Sunday.  "Unusually hot."

"I don't think so," her husband replied.  "Not a deep field."

And thus another of GTOG's Truly Great Ideas was born. Here, for the first time, Mrs. Artistry and Artistry's Mom join forces to rank 33 NFL quarterbacks based on whom in some alternate universe they'd like to kiss on New Year's Eve.  [Disclaimer: These rankings are the Women of GTOG's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of GTOG or its sponsors.  It is recommended that you seek independent advice before making any QB hotness ranking decisions.]

1.  Tom Brady, New England Patriots

"I own your team, your wife, and your mom."
Mrs. Artistry:  "Looks like he thinks he's hot, but unfortunately, he is hot."

Artistry's Mom:  "Hot."

Artistry:  "Whatever."

Finesse:  "WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?!?!"

2.  Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

"Look into my eyes while I throw this interception."

Mrs. Artistry:  "Hot."

Artistry's Mom:  "Oh yeah."

Artistry:  "Excuse me while I pour a bucket of cold water on my whole family."

Finesse:  "Hell of a tan for what looks like a cloudy day."

3.  Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Was 4th before Brett Favre retired.
Mrs. Artistry:  "He's kinda cute. Friendly."

Artistry's Mom:  "Nice smile."

Artistry:  "Great bangs."

Finesse:  "He's in an abusive relationship with William Gay."

4.  Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

Only Jay Cutler smile on record
Mrs. Artistry:  "Nice teeth."

Artistry's Mom:  "Nice smile. Cute."

Artistry:  "Huge advantage to Cutler here because this picture doesn't show his frat boy haircut or his infamous pout/scowl.  In terms of ranking QB hotness, this is what I would refer to as a false positive."

Finesse:  "Looks like he has too many bottom teeth."

5.  Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

His dad asked for $120K just to let Cam be on this list.
Mrs. Artistry:  "Cute, but big chin."

Artistry's Mom:  "Ooooh."

Artistry:  "From the center of an NCAA scandal to #5 on Women of GTOG's QB hotness list. A meteoric rise."

Finesse:  "Can we get that sound your mom made on tape?"

Numbers 6-33, plus lessons learned on NFL QB attractiveness, or lack thereof, after the jump...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

GTOG Podcast: Saluting Jagr; Steelers MVP; and the purity of The Bachelor

By GTOG Staff

What's the worst thing that happened in Thursday's Pens-Flyers tilt?  If not Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot scoring, maybe it's the realization that the emperor of Penguins defensemen wears no clothes.  Artistry is in pain.  Finesse isn't.  Mark Kaboly cares deeply about who won the Steelers MVP award.  We don't.  The Bachelor starts on Monday, and you better believe we're locked and loaded.  This thing sizzles like a Jagr wrist shot from just inside the faceoff circle.  It's the GTOG podcast.

For iPhone/iPad:

Podcast Powered By Podbean

For Flash:

Get Us to the Game: The Politics of Jagr; The Unbearable Uncertainty of Crosby

By Artistry

Most of the time when we talk about emotions on this website, it's with tongue planted firmly in cheek (don't tell anyone). But not today.  The Philadelphia Flyers are in town to play the Penguins, and there are just so many feelings to unpack before we get to the game.

- Let's discuss the notion of emotional intelligence. I'm talking about the ability to perceive, understand, and manage emotions.  Max Talbot has some.  Jaromir Jagr doesn't seem to have very much at all.  Observe.

- Fortunately for Jaromir Jagr, he's a hockey player, and not a surgeon, teacher, or police officer charged with quelling a riot. If you've played the game, or if you ever watched Mario Lemieux, you know that intense rage can turn a skilled man with a puck on his stick into a human tornado. And Jagr has the puck on his stick a lot.

Breaking down the Jagr equation and how to manage Crosby emotions, after the jump...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

GTOPG: The Girl With the Bra Outside Her Shirt; Pens Win 4-2

By Finesse

There are a lot of fashion trends that we don't understand.  Skinny jeans for men.  Juicy tracksuits.  Anything from that store Buckle in Ross Park.  But one thing we haven't seen before, and really need to sit down to discuss, is the girl at the Penguin game last night in the white t-shirt .... wearing her bra outside her shirt.  Asking us to formulate an opinion on that after only 12 hours is asking too much.

She's somewhere out there.
GTOG was in the house for last night's game and it was quieter than ever.  No exaggeration, my g-chat notification chime when I'm watching at home is louder than Consol.  But there's no need to beat that dead horse any more, especially because there was somewhat of an excuse for the quiet last night as Carolina played as if they're trying to set a record for most coaches fired in one season.  I'd be embarrassed if I was a Carolina fan, but if I was a Carolina fan, I probably wouldn't have been watching.

"I want 6 months severance!"
Other than having a good record (obviously), one hallmark of a good team is beating bad teams with relative ease.  Another hallmark is beating horrible teams while barely breaking a sweat, and that's what the Pens did last night.  Somehow, this was a 1-1 game going into the third period, but the Pens came out for the final frame and scored two quick goals, punctuated by Pascal Dupuis laughing on the bench, presumably about how easy it was to score both of those goals.  One Jordan Staal soft pass into the back of the net past an out-of-position goalie later, this one was in the books.  Consol erupted and was the loudest it was all night, what with all the car keys jiggling from the traffic-beaters.

- Neal-Malkin-Kunitz is not only on the list of best lines in the league, they're at the top.  Geno is an artist, Neal an unstoppable physical force, and Kunitz a calculating wrecking ball.  You can pencil that line in for 2 goals every game.

- Dupuis had been quiet for the past few games and most of last night until his beauty top shelf against an overmatched Justin Peters.  Peters played fine, but there's no way he's giving up less than 4 goals when he's facing 52 shots.

- Simon Despres is silky smooth.  He shows no fear jumping up into the play, and though at times this may seem overconfident, it's a sign that he knows he is good.  That's huge. What a player.  When Martin and Engelland are back, it's not a given that Lovejoy stays and Despres is scratched.

- That terror you feel inside is the prospect of another day of "no updates" on Crosby and Letang.

- Great job by Fleury to stay true to his "I'm giving up 2 goals no matter what" policy after a one-game deviation against Winnipeg.

- Crosby has been out for 8 games.  The Pens have a power play goal in seven of those 8 games, for a total of 10.  If When Crosby comes back, is there not finally enough evidence that he and Geno need to be on separate PP units?

- Huge game on Friday.  HBO cameras are in town.  Go Pens.

"Did someone say cameras?"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GTOG's Top 12 Posts of 2011

By GTOG Staff

In the spirit of the end-of-year-tradition of letting our earlier work this year do our work for us now, here are 12 of our top posts/moments, etc. from the past year.  There are a lot more than 12 here.  Basically, they're things we think you may be interested in reading again.

Thank you, everyone, for a great 2011.

12. Summing up Steigerwald-Lambert-gate

Ryan Lambert from Puck Daddy went toe-to-toe with John Steigerwald about Alex Ovechkin, women with mustaches, and some really unfunny reference to Sidney Crosby being a vampire.  We shamelessly injected ourselves as the voice of reason.

11. Steelers Lose the Super Bowl

Aaron Rodgers' epic performance, Rashard Mendenhall's devestating fumble, and why we weren't that upset.

Top 10 after the jump...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

GTOPG: The Penguins Won 4-1; Pitt Did Not

By Finesse

No big recap from last night, other than to emphasize how good Chris Kunitz is.  Kunitz for MVP.

Went to the Pitt game.  Embarrassing performance all around.  Nasir Robinson just turned the ball over three times while you were reading this.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Top 10 All-Time Pittsburgh Penguins Fashion Statements

By Artistry

The holiday season is a time for family, alcohol, and lists.  With the first two adequately covered, we bring you the first of maybe some more lists this holiday season.

When it comes to making fashion statements, Pittsburgh is known for blondes with big hair, chewing gum, and Steelers' jammer pants.  But it's also about hockey players who make some, shall we say, interesting wardrobial decisions.  Here are the top 10 all-time Pittsburgh Penguin fashion statements.

10. Dan Bylsma's Winter Classic fedora

This old-school, Landry-esque number says elegance and it says confidence, all with a touch of sass.  The young coach's bold take on outdoor hockey supervision paved the way for the eventual unveiling of Bylsma's fashion master-stroke, the Byl-stache.

It's also clearly an homage to its coaching-hat forefather, the Pierre Creamer beret.

9. Evgeni Malkin's Wild and Crazy Guy Get Down Boogie Oogie Oogie 'Til You Just Can't Boogie No More Spectacular

When Geno enters a room full of foxes, it's game over.

8.  Jaromir Jagr's white sock, brown shoe, "Maybe if I pull these tight jeans up extremely high and tuck in my t-shirt it will take your mind off my supersonic mullet" ensemble.

 See the Top 7 Pittsburgh Penguins Fashion Statements of all time, after the jump...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GTOG Podcast: Artistry checks in from the Gulf of Mexico

"The Great Judge counts not whether the podcast is any good, just that you recorded it."

-Dr. Maya Angelou, April 14, 1972

It is in the great Doctor's spirit that we discuss the Steelers' playoff scenarios and something about our prediction that Evgeni Malkin would win the scoring title. It's something, alright!

Click here to subscribe on iTunes

For iPhones/iPads:

Podcast Powered By Podbean

For Flash devices:

GTOPG: All's Well That Ends Well; Pens Win 3-2

By Finesse

For two periods, the Pens physically dominated the Blackhawks, both skill-wise and in terms of just generally being beasts.  If we could have gotten inside of Chicago coach Joel Quenville's head during the second period, it would have been a refrain of, "Dear Lord, Please keep Evgeni Malkin in the Eastern Conference.  Please keep Evgeni Malkin in the Eastern Conference."

"I better )))))))"
But just as I was getting ready to tweet, "The next time someone (like GTOG) says that Malkin doesn't need to be paid more than Kane and Toews, show me footage of this game," Chicago's stars started taking over the third period.  The Hawks outshot the Pens 19-4 in the third, but if hitting the post counted as shots, it would have been more like 30-4.  The Pens were certainly lucky to escape the third period, but were not lucky to win.  Even without Sid, Letang, Martin and Michalek, the Pens never have an excuse to lose.

More on the game after the jump...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

GTOPG: Move along, nothing to see here; Steelers lose 20-3

By Finesse

If there has been one constant in the Ben Roethlisberger era, it's that he really knows how to lay an egg.  When he decides to suck, he puts everything he has into it and really, really sucks.  And so it was last night, where he played on one leg and managed to render meaningless his 330 yards passing because of 4 turnovers and horrifically inept clock management at the end of the first half.  But in spite of this being perhaps the most unwatchable game of Ben's career -- and there have been several -- we're not overly concerned.  Well, maybe just a little.  Let us explain.

We explain, after the jump...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wake Up With GTOG: Big Ben, Kim Jong Il, and other links

By Finesse

The Steelers are in the driver's seat for the #1 seed in the AFC.  With some aging players, especially on defense, and a lot of banged up players throughout the lineup, earning a bye in the first week of the playoffs would be ... huge.

- And that's why General Roethlisberger will be leading his men out of the tunnel tonight against the 49ers in San Francisco.  We're still holding out hope that he is driven onto the field in a golf cart.

So gingerly.
- Dejan Kovecevic takes on the concussion epidemic and advocates for bigger playing surfaces to accomodate much bigger, faster, and stronger players than when the current dimensions were created in the glass-of-milk-for-dinner early 20th century.  Creative solution, though obviously impractical to implement in the 44,675 new stadiums/arenas that have been built in the last 10 years.

- I agree with Dejan that the bigger/faster/stronger nature of sports today is a factor, but is there just an evolutionary hiccup?  It's a lot easier to design training regimens (and drugs, for that matter) that add 25lbs of muscle to your shoulders and thighs than it is to design something that makes your skull more protective of the brain.  Maybe the cranium hasn't caught up?  Wait.  What am I saying?

- Kim Jong Il is dead.  Wonder if he's lonely?

- Finally, an interesting read from Construction magazine on being a Pittsburgh sports fan.  Solid discussion about the circumstances that led to the current success of the Pens and Steelers.

Artistry hasn't been consulted on this yet, but look out for a podcast tonight that will likely be recorded during the 4th quarter of the Steelers game, mostly because neither of us will feel like staying up to record it after the game.  He may be on a physical vacation, but there is no time off from raw emotion.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

GTOPG: The Best Player in the League; Pens Win 8-3

By Finesse

The endless saga with Sidney Crosby's concussion has robbed the NHL of its best player, but it hasn't robbed the Pens of the best player in the NHL.

Malkin has been in full gallop-mode for weeks now, but at times the finishing ability was inconsistent.  Now he's burying the puck, taking advantage of goalies having embarrassingly bad nights (Miller, Ryan), and setting up his highly capable teammates on the doorstep.  It's a beautiful thing to watch.  He'll be leading the league in scoring by January 1st.

No need for a full recap today, but know this.  Yesterday we felt sorry for ourselves.  Today, we realize how lucky we are.  Go Pens.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

GTOPG: The Onus Has Shifted; Pens Lose 6-4

By Finesse

There is no amount of spin that will make last night's loss any easier to stomach.  There are no injuries severe enough to excuse a 5 goal second period, and no amount of bad luck that can account for four points from Jared Cowen.  The Pens played like garbage, something that's becoming quite common this month, and even though they showed some degree of heart and toughness in coming back from a couple deficits last night, that heart and toughness was pretty much just Chris Kunitz standing in front of the net blocking Alex Bald's vision.

At the beginning of the season, we gave The Onus to Jordan Staal, writing:
So as he enters his sixth year in the league (at only 23-years-old), he's finally set up to answer the question that we've been wondering for a long time: what is Jordan Staal? Is he what he has been the first five years, a guy who can put up around 50 points but probably should be no better than your 2nd best center? Or, is he a guy who was sacrificing for his team, but stands poised now to have a break out year statistically (breakout for him would be 60+ points)? At 23 and with six years experience, it shouldn't matter anymore that he might be playing behind Sid and Geno: take the reins Jordy, and score 25/35 (at least) no matter who is out there. Do that, and we might forget that the three picks immediately after you in 2006 were Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom and Phil Kessel.
But now, like the rest of the roster, Staal is hurt.  While The Onus stays with him rain-or-shine, we're frankly so frustrated with the injury situation that we don't even care about our One Season-One Onus policy.  That's right, we're reassigning The Onus.  And to us, there's only one candidate.

The Pens roster is a mess right now.  Everyone is hurt, was hurt, or is going to get hurt.  There was a 50/50 chance that Fleury was going to catch gout in the third period last night.  But despite the injury woes, the Pens roster is talented enough to, at the very least, not give up six goals to Ottawa.  The problems the Pens are experiencing as a result of their injuries go beyond the X's and O's and the strain on the organization's depth chart.  There are very good players capable of stepping in for all of the injured guys -- and they've done so.

The much bigger issue is that it finally seems like the Pens' spirit is starting to wane.  The year-long uncertainty surrounding Crosby -- uncertainty that is showing no sign of letting up -- the constant shuffling of lines and D-pairings, and the revolving door to the training room has, at least from the outside, given this season a different feel.  One of resignation, not optimism.

Bylsma is the reigning Jack Adams winner as the league's best coach.  He has 4 months of practice from last year shuttling guys from Wilkes-Barre to the big club not just to ride the pine, but to run the point on the power play.  But unlike last year, things are getting to the point where expectations have to shift -- there is no more waiting around for the bad luck to change.  The Pens have to make it change and that starts with Bylsma.  He can't make guys healthier, but he can make sure the team doesn't feel sorry for itself.  We believe that he can do it, and there's no coach we'd rather have in this scenario.

If Bylsma can do that, if he can get the team to keep shrugging it off -- well, that's the stuff that Jack Adams is made of.

Jack Adams also made of this sweater.
It's only Decemeber, so the most important thing is for the Pens to show no signs of panic.  That's the least of our concerns, because Bylsma and Shero are big-picture guys.  But sometimes we are guilty of being overly dismissive of the regular season, which at GTOG is often just a defense mechanism we use when we don't feel like talking about a loss.  For the Pens, December is a time to refocus on the details and, no matter who is in the lineup, figure out where this team wants to go in the future.

Does it want to linger in the middle of the playoff-pack and just hope that the injury luck turns around by April?  Or does it want to look at itself and say "you know what, we can still be the best team in the East?"

That's the question Dan Bylsma has to answer.  And that's why he has The Onus.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Kid is our Hero

By Artistry

We have our first shoe-in for GTOG's 2011-12 Heroes list, and it's this kid.

What kind of parents instigate a temper tantrum and then put it on YouTube for the whole world to see? Detroit Red Wings fan parents, that's who.  Hey honey, I have an idea, let's get our kid all riled up and confused and angry while he's rocking a Pittsburgh Penguins war helmet and then film it.  So cruel.  This child probably doesn't realize it, but he's an inspiration.  His innocence reflects how a lot of us feel right now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

GTOPG: We've seen worse; Wings Spank Pens, 4-1

By GTOG Staff

The Penguins fan-base right now is a little bit like a dog that keeps getting smacked on the nose with a newspaper.  The injuries that we don't want to talk about anymore, and recent losses to the Flyers, Rangers, and Bruins - teams that a few weeks ago each looked like reasonable bets to lose in the conference finals to the inevitable Stanley Cup champion Penguins - are all enough to make us want to just keep our head down for a while.  When news broke Tuesday that Malkin and Staal would be game-time decisions against Detroit, we flinched.  And then we remembered, we've seen worse.  Far worse.  Need we remind you, the Penguins played a game last season in which their 12 forwards had a combined 57 goals in the previous 54 games.  You think this is adversity, hockey gods?  We laugh at this.  Do your worst.

Laudable effort, Hockey Gods.
The Penguins aren't Stanley Cup favorites anymore.  They're not even the best team in the Atlantic Division.  With Giroux and Pronger on the shelf in Philadelphia, for the time being we'll give that title to the Rangers.  But if you haven't learned that none of this matters when HBO hasn't even aired Episode 1, Season 2 of 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, there's no hope for you.  Let's get to the game after the jump...

Monday, December 12, 2011

GTOG Podcast: Chris Mack joins us to talk Crosby, the salary cap, and Big Ben

Good man, that Chris Mack.  Join us for discussion of what this Sidney Crosby business really means, what we would be thinking if we were in Ray Shero's shoes, and what to do with Big Ben.  Plus we reveal our consensus pick to win the upcoming season of The Bachelor.  It doesn't get any bigger.  It's the GTOG podcast.

Click here to subscribe on iTunes

For iPhone/iPad

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Flash Player

Sid's Sequelae: What do we do now?

By Artistry

Sidney Crosby is gone again. He is absent from the Penguins lineup in that way that makes us feel like he's really missing, and we have no idea how to find him.

He's "not feeling bad," but he sure ain't feeling good, and no one knows what to do with that information.  So we look back at the transcript from that vestibular ferrari press conference, and we see this:

Dr. Collins: Yes, there will be no evidence that this injury is there anymore, or we wouldn’t put him back to play. The brain wants to recover from this. It will recover over time and with the right therapies. It was a more significant event, but we’ll get there. We’re getting there. He’s made tremendous progress. Our research – and many others in this field, and we’ve come a long way with research – understands that if you have full recovery, the outcomes are far less in terms of revisitism and problems reoccurring. And I expect that to occur in this case. I’m very optimistic that we’ll see Sid have a very long and fruitful NHL career.

Dr. Carrick: I think that we’ve got some markers now that we didn’t have before on Sid Crosby and his brain function. Our goal is to make his brain function better than it has been. So hopefully he’ll have a better functioning nervous system than he had before, and certainly we don’t expect any sort of sequelae.

Uh, doctors? Paging Drs. Collins and Carrick. This is a sequel, is it not?  The first of maybe multiple sequels, nay, sequelae?  How could you say there would be no sequelae?  You Latin spewing bastards.

We're not really angry with Sidney Crosby's doctors. We're not angry with the people who, out of ignorance and even outright malice question Crosby's toughness.  And we're not going to think the worst, that we're facing the possibility of "Police Academy"-level sequelae.  We know that Sidney Crosby is worth waiting for.  So we'll continue to choose the one good option here.  Hope for the best.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

GTOPG: Thank God for the Islanders; Pens Win 6-3

By Finesse

Forget all the analysis you've been reading about NHL realignment because the only thing that matters right now is keeping the Pens in the same conference/division with the Islanders.  Nothing cures a team that for 20 minutes looked on the verge of slipping into a December slump better than being able to play 40 more minutes against Al Montoya.  Coming off losses to two Eastern Conference powers and having to dress Jason Williams, this was a huge two points on the road.

"I'm so good."
- Fleury's high glove side is like a really bad pimple you had in high school that went away and will never come back as bad as it used to be, but every once in a while gets a litte red.

- Paul Martin scored, and as far as GTOG is concerned, it was a laser off the crossbar.  You can show us video of it hitting Dylan Reese's butt and dribbling over the goal line, but we will choose not to believe that video.

- Pascal Dupuis is so good.

- We hope Claude Giroux is ok (<-- mandatory to say that), but if anyone deserves bad news it's Paul Holmgren.  Feeling very anti-Flyers today.

- Evgeni Malkin is third in the league in points per game.

- The 5-minute elbowing call on Travis Hamonic is the early favorite for worst call of the year.  Our take is that's too bad.  Go Pens.

 [Great find by @HF_Steve on Twitter]

Friday, December 9, 2011

Top 10 Ben Roethlisberger Quotes About his Ankle Injury

By GTOG Staff

[Make sure to check out our live podcast last night from Steelers-Browns]

What can we, mere mortals, even begin to write about a performance like Ben Roethlisberger's last night against Cleveland?  A man of many talents, let's let his own words do the talking (quotes taken from the PG, the Steelers website, and; all pictures from Yahoo).  Only two of these are fake.

10. Ben as Leader of Men

"I just didn't want to let the guys down," Roethlisberger said. "We're in a tight race right now."

9. Ben as The Great Communicator
 Tomlin: "The doctor said you’re good to go; how you feel?"
 Roethlisberger: "OK."
 Tomlin: "You want to go?"
 Roethlisberger: "Absolutely."
 Tomlin: "All right, let's do it."

8. Ben as Poet Laureate

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not break both ankles."

Top 7 after the jump...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

GTOG Podcast: Big Ben's epic performance and complete Pens/Flyers analysis; We do it live!

What happens when GTOG goes live for the last 5 minutes of Steelers/Browns? We talk Big Ben's Mona Lisa. We tell you the truth about the Penguins. We even take a minute for the NBA. And we do it with unprecedented passion. We don't want to oversell this, but it's the greatest podcast in history.

Click here to subscribe on iTunes

For iPhone/iPad:

Podcast Powered By Podbean

For Flash:

Crosby Update: We Have No Idea What to Say

By Finesse

Sid is sitting out the next two games as a precautionary measure.  It's unclear what this is a precaution against, but theories abound.  Much like Herman Cain's wife when she heard news reports about her husband's affair with Ginger White, but he was on the campaign trail and couldn't get home to discuss it, for us it's the not knowing that hurts the most.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Steigerwald-Lambert: A Postmortem

By GTOG Staff

A few follow-up points to Tuesday's post on Ryan Lambert and Puck Daddy taking John Steigerwald to task for his very Steigerwaldian take on Alex Ovechkin.

We're not defending John Steigerwald's reasoning. We don't like him or his casual put-downs of Russians and Russian culture any more than Mr. Chesnokov. And we're certainly not saying it was smart to take suspicions that Ovechkin took PEDs and put them into a "guilty until proven innocent" column. We are saying Lambert was overly preoccupied with the messenger and willfully ignores a legitimate question. We're talking about a player who looked nothing less than superhuman prior to a steroid investigation which - according to the New York Times and Sports Illustrated - involved the Washington Capitals, and who subsequently struggled to match the production of Pascal Dupuis. You don't think it's fair to ask if he might have had a little artificial help?  Put aside Steigerwald's bizarre claims about women's mustaches, and focus on the bigger picture.

We have no idea where this woman is from.
We merely responded to what seemed to us a smug dismissiveness toward the whole steroid question. The messenger (Steigerwald) and his inartful message (as communicated in his article and on his radio show) have been rightfully attacked, but part of us thinks that these attacks are designed to deflect attention away from the ultimate issue ... might steroids be an explanation for Ovechkin's seeming decline? And if so, then what else in the NHL are steroids responsible for?

Steigerwald, in his patented douche-tastic way, was essentially doing the same thing that all sports fans do in 2011 -- we look at someone and decide whether we think he/she is on steroids. Some of the facts he used to support his theory were wrong, and that makes him a bad journalist.  But it doesn't mean that we can't speculate about who is or isn't on steroids until we get a photo of them shooting up. We do it all the time.

Player X hits 50 home runs in 2010. Player X hits 20 homeruns in 2011. What do we all think? Steroids. Of course we don't know that unless there is a positive test, but isn't it at least a possible explanation? If we knew the names of any baseball players, we could probably name 50 players we think have used/are using steroids.

Consider the way a more respectable and well-respected journalist brought this topic up on Twitter just a few days before Steigerwald went nuclear.

We don't actually care whether Ovechkin is, was, or ever will be on steroids. We don't get offended when players use steroids in any sport. If Crosby is on steroids, we hope they make his skull more protective of his brain.

For Ryan Lambert to cavalierly dismiss even the suggestion that PEDs had some role in Ovechkin's precipitous decline - a decline that hockey writers have been trying to explain for more than a year, by the way - doesn't make a lot of sense to us. For Chesnokov to ask whether Steigerwald also thinks Jonathon Cheechoo's massive drop off in goals a few years ago was attributable to steroids, to that we say ... maybe. We simply don't know, but to brush it off like it's nothing is crazy. And for us to go point-by-point against Wyshynski on Twitter just shows why Twitter is a great way to get traffic to your site (thanks, Greg) but a terrible place to debate legal nuance.  If you want to do that, if you really feel you must, email us at  But you might want to read Artistry's comment first.

Wake Up With GTOG: Pensburgh agrees that Consol is the library of NHL arenas

By Finesse

Here's a great article from Laura Z. of Pensburgh about the deafening silence at Consol Energy Center.  Glad we're not the only ones.

Electric atmosphere, in the sense that there is electricity.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

On the Ovechkin Steroid Question, Did Ryan Lambert Just Come Off as Dumber than John Steigerwald?

By Finesse

[For additional follow up, click here]

Ryan Lambert, the guy whose articles we intentionally skip on Puck Daddy, went on Trib Live radio today to confront/get confronted by John Steigerwald. On Sunday, Steigerwald wrote a column in a newspaper no one reads (the Somewhere Observer-Reporter) in which he says that it was his personal belief that Alex Ovechkin's decline in performance was the result of him stopping use of performance enhancing drugs (with some factual "updates" here).  Lambert responded on Monday, purporting to have "squashed" the accusation.

Let's be clear. John Steigerwald is generally a reprehensible human being. We dislike him, and so does almost everyone else. Imagine if Rush Limbaugh had a baby with Rush Limbaugh and named it Rush Limbaugh and then that kid inseminated himself and had a baby named John Steigerwald. That's what we're dealing with here. But if there's one thing we like less than John Steigerwald it's when the Internet hockey media community unites in smug disdain for anything, no matter what it is. Today brought out the worst in everyone, including Puck Daddy. If we ever longed for #nowords, today was the day.

Read on for the worst, after the jump...

GTOPG: Thank God we didn't have to listen to Jack Edwards; Pens lose to champs*, 3-1

By GTOG Staff

After last night's game, GTOG was pissed.  Angry texts were exchanged.  Plans for raw emotion podcasts were made.  We angrily called out two players who we secretly think get a little too much love in Pittsburgh (Finesse: Orpik; Artistry: Sullivan).  This morning, however, with the benefit of some perspective, we're no longer angry about the Pens' lackluster 3-1 loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champion* Boston Bruins.  But we're still very disappointed.  Let's go plus-minus on this:


1. Where's the edge? The Bruins are known for playing an annoying style with hyper-annoying players like Brad Marchand (who should be suspended for the slew foot on Niskanen).  And while the Pens responded to the Bruins' peskiness, the Pens didn't initiate any of it.  Everything was reactionary: Niskanen's fight, Vitale's fight, tackling that Pee Wee with the facemask who hit Geno.  We love that our guys stand up for each other, and seeing Marchand and Colin Campbell's kid get hit repeatedly in the face is always deeply gratifying, but the whole night it felt like the Pens' "edge" was forced.

Consistently putting nose where it doesn't belong.
 2. The three-headed monster was hibernating.  Staal was way off his game (he gets a slight pass for the obviously uncomfortable eye injury he was dealing with).  Sid was good, but far from dominant -- on his first shift of the game, he had about 4 really lazy passes.  The fact that he has so many points is a testament to his unbelievable talents, because for the past 5 or so games, he has not been as dominant as we're accustomed to.  It will come.

And then there's Geno.  Oh, Geno.  You look so graceful, so pretty.  You gallop like a Clydesdale leading a pack of ponies.  But can you please bury one of your chances?  You make incredible moves and then shoot the puck about 4 inches lower than it needs to be.  The upper corner is your friend, and you treat the top shelf like it's forbidden.  You have no bigger fans than GTOG.  But we know what you're capable of, and you're capable of more.  Just sayin'.

3. Finish ain't just a language in the Finnic group of the Uralic family of languages.  It's fantastic that the Pens out-shot the Bruins 46-27, because we can stick it on the Pens' season-ending award for "most games out-shooting the opponent by double digits and still losing."  It's not going to be difficult for the Pens to get shots on anyone; the team is that good.  But before you chalk this up to Tim Thomas standing on his head, or the Pens getting some bad bounces, consider the following: Tim Thomas and his creepy mustache play for Boston.  He's a great goalie, the best in the league.  If anyone is capable of stopping 45 of 46 shots in 4 out of 7 games, it's him.  He is their team, so if you can't beat him, then you aren't better than Boston.

With his eyes closed.
[We'd be remiss if we didn't point out the 7 posts that the Bruins hit].

4.  As Mike Tomlin would say, the Penguins got outplayed "in all three phases."  It doesn't matter if Letang was out.  Failing to scoring on over 3 minutes of 5-3 PP time is unacceptable.  The ghost of Mike Yeo.

Having said all that, let's spin positive for a moment. Check out the "plus" side of the legder, after the jump...

Monday, December 5, 2011

GTOPG: Like sands through the hourglass, these are the Bungles; Steelers Win, 35-7

By GTOG Staff

Like the crunching of the fall leaves under your feet, or the seasonal depression, every December plays out the same way: the Steelers demolish the Bengals in a game that really could have been a lot closer if not for the fact that the Bengals were involved.

De-cember Football.

As the Steelers' defense does all the time now, they were about to give up a clock-killing scoring drive on the opponent's first possession, only this time the Bengals were determined not to let that happen.  A pretty touchdown pass by Andy Dalton was called back for a false start.  On his next throw, Dalton lofted one just a few fingertips too high.  The Bengals drilled a field goal, only to have that waived off because they took too long.  The Steelers then blocked the most obviously-going-to-be-blocked field goal ever, and it was off to the races.  The Steelers went into beat-down mode.  The Bungles had arrived.

As we discussed on our podcast last week after the Steelers escaped Arrowhead Stadium with a win over a lousy Chiefs team, you should never put any stock into a Steelers' performance against a bad team.  The fact that the Steelers narrowly beat K.C. was meaningless; it indicated nothing about the Steelers' ability to beat a good team in the playoffs.  Yesterday, on the other hand, was encouraging: the Steelers were given an opportunity to bury a feisty team, and they did.

More on the game and the final quarter of the season, after the jump...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

GTOPG: Pens Squash Desparate Canes; Win, 3-2

By Artistry

Sidney Crosby took another step forward in his return to dominating the NHL on Saturday, previewing for the rest of the conference what the Penguins will look like when they roll out Sid, Geno, and Staal on consecutive shifts, you manage to limit the damage, and then Arron Asham, Craig Adams, and Richard Park jump down your throat.  This 3-2 win in Carolina will be remembered for a possibly unprecedented kill of a two-man advantage for a full two minutes at the end of regulation when Pittsburgh's top two penalty killers - Staal and Cooke - weren't even on the ice.  Brent Johnson was impenetrable.  Brooks Orpik was in beast mode.  But this was mostly about how fruitless it can be to try to keep pace with a Penguins team that has its horses up front going at a full gallop.  Incredible prelude to Monday night's game against the formidable Bruins, and a reminder to new Carolina coach Kirk Muller that he will go down in history as #2.

We're busy watching the Bengals botch field goals right now, so no full recap. Hoping Jordan Staal is OK and gearing up for tomorrow.  LGP.

Friday, December 2, 2011

BREAKING NBA NEWS: Someone implies that Chris Paul can read

By Finesse

Absolutely enormous NBA news today, as Ric Bucher cites a "source familiar with [Chris] Paul's thinking" and reports that Chris Paul has been following the news and does, in fact, understand that the New York Knicks do not have a lot of good players that they can trade for him.

According to Bucher, the "source familiar with Paul's thinking" said:
"He has not asked for a trade to the Knicks because he knows the Knicks don't have anything to offer.  He wouldn't insult the Hornets by doing that."
Via an exclusive text message to GTOG this afternoon, a source familiar with the bounds of human etiquette and decency reports that yes, the Hornets are still insulted.

In other news, an individual living inside Kobe Bryant's head has confirmed that Kobe has received a copy of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in the mail and plans on reading it at his leisure over the next two days.  This source would neither confirm nor deny earlier reports from a source familiar with a source familiar with the situation that Kobe received the copy of the CBA by email, as opposed to old fashioned mail.

GTOPG: Getting 17 shots on goal is what Dale Hunter is all about; Pens Win, 2-1

 By GTOG Staff

Sometimes the Penguins win and we write recaps that barely even acknowledge the existence of the opponent.  But sometimes, while thrilled that the Pens won, we can't objectively say that the story of the game is anything other than the opponent.  Last night was all about Washington.

We make sport out of poking fun at the Capitals and often that comes out of a place of begrudging respect for a deadly lineup.  (Other times it's because the owner writes like, and has the emotional stability of, a 4th grader.  Thank you.).  But we were in attendance last night and there was something that felt much different.  Having been to about ten Pens-Caps games in D.C. over the past 5 years, there were two constants: the fans hated the Penguins and loved the Capitals.  Last night only one of those was still true -- the fans hated the Penguins.

It's 30 games into the season so we would never write the Capitals off.  Not with that lineup.  But make no mistake about it -- the 2011-12 Capitals have a dramatically different feel than anything else from the Ovechkin-era.  As Pens fans, we couldn't be happier.  But if we were Caps fans?  Oh boy.

Sometimes the best way to gauge a team is to watch the people who watch the team every day.  If there is something wrong with the team, the fans will almost always sense it and it will manifest itself in more grumbling, less cheering, and a general expectation that they're going to lose.  Last night was almost completely devoid of the things that we had come to expect at Verizon center: an enthusiastic crowd, a sense of anticipation and excitement every time Ovechkin stepped on the ice, and even "Crosby sucks" chants.

"Wait, they aren't showing my old highlights at every game?"
There is something happening in Washington that is hard to explain.  Maybe it's as simple as sending a message by shipping out Alex Semin, although he's just an outbreak, not the actual virus.  Maybe it's as simple Mike Green getting back on the scooter and heading to the rink, but if the answer is to get a guy healthy who Caps' fans wanted to trade over the summer, then we're extremely confused.  Or maybe it's just 30 games into the season and we should follow GTOG's model of never getting too high or too low.  It matters not how you play in December, only how you're playing in May (you know, if you're still playing in May).

One thing we don't think is going to be the answer is Dale Hunter.  It seems that the thinking behind the Dale Hunter hiring went something like this:
Ted Leonsis: Ok, Bruce has to be fired.  Who should we hire next?
George McPhee: I don't know.  [Turning to Alan May].  Alan, why are you naked?
Alan May: I'm thinking about how tough Dale Hunter was in the early 1990's.
McPhee: Gee, maybe we should hire Dale Hunter?
Leonsis:  Ok.  Thank you.
The only thing that is being consistently touted as one of Dale Hunter's virtues is his toughness, to which we say, what effing difference does that make?  Dale Hunter isn't going to be able to elbow his way through the Tampa 1-3-1, or cross-check his way through line-matching during a road playoff game.  The guy owns one suit, and people are talking about that like it's a good thing.  He's a 50 year old man who has to wear a suit to work every day.  And he has one suit.  It's almost like his simpleness is being treated as his greatest asset.  Maybe it will be, but right now there's an eerie familiarity about all of this.

Much more on the game after the jump...