Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GTOG Podcast: Pens Lose to Rangers; Was a Certain Star Tentative?

We talk about the Pens' loss to the Rangers, the effects of playing a full season as the favorites, whether a man who owns one suit and has no professional coaching experience is the answer for the Caps, the Steelers' snoozer in K.C, and even the NBA and BCS (but only briefly, we promise).

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Monday, November 28, 2011

GTOPG: Steelers Beat Chiefs, 13-9; Top 7 Reasons Why That Was Terrible

 By Artistry

There are no style points in the National Football League.  No matter how the Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, they beat the Kansas City Chiefs.  They kept pace with Baltimore, and their 8-3 record keeps them in contention for the top seed in the AFC.  Having said that, Jesus was that game terrible. Abominable. Verging on unwatchable. Here are 7 reasons why:

7.  Troy Polamalu might have just hit a wall. And, unfortunately, he hit it with his head. He's only 30, but it's like a neanderthal, living in a cave, fighting the elements, clubbing wild animals on the head for food kind of 30. His reckless, dangerous tackling form - combined with explosive speed and instincts - makes him great, but it also makes him a perpetual injury risk.  And that guy Polamalu hurtled into head first in the 1st quarter wasn't a running back or a tight end. It was 6-6, 290 pound tackle Steve Maneri.  Seeing Polamalu stay down after that hit, then watching him looking dazed on the bench, streaks of silver lining his once jet black hair, it didn't feel right.


6.  The defense continues to underwhelm opponents. The 3 interceptions don't mean anything. If you don't intercept Tyler Palko at least three times, you're just not trying. Here's the thing. The Steelers defense consistently sets the tone for games by giving up lengthy, time-consuming scoring drives as soon as it hits the field.  I can't tell you how many times this has happened this season because I'm not looking it up, but it happened again on Sunday. Against Tyler Palko. 

5.  Tyler Palko. Never have we seen a quarteback gesticulate so wildly in the direction of his receivers to suggest they are somehow at fault for him underthrowing them by 20 yards. Truly impressive. Consider that Dwayne Bowe failed to make any effort to catch Tyler Palko's final pass just to see Tyler Palko's reaction.  As NBC's Chris Collinsworth noted, Palko was "throwing sliders" out there. Come to think of it, having to listen to Chris Collinsworth only enhanced the unpleasantness of being subjected to 4 quarters of Tyler Palko. 

"This one is coming right to you, Ike."
We've got 4 more reasons the Steeler game was terrible, and none of them are good, after the jump...

Caps Fire Boudreau, Hire Coach with Even Worse Record Against Penguins

By GTOG Staff

His hand apparently forced by Alex Ovechkin and his highly paid, highly touted, totally uninspired band of underachieving brothers, Washington Capitals GM George McPhee fired coach Bruce Boudreau and replaced him with a guy who has a proven track record of losing playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in spectacular fashion.

"Thank you Mario, may I have another?"
We're genuinely surprised it took so long. It's been nearly a full year since, after watching Boudreau address the Caps locker room during HBO's first episode of 24/7, Mrs. Artistry declared: "He's totally getting fired."  Every day that we've been able to look at the Capitals bench and see Bruce Boudreau standing behind it has brought a sense of warmth and security that we may never experience again.

"My face, head, and neck are a singular entity."
Much more on Boudreau and Hunter after the jump...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

GTOG Podcast: Talking “Goon” with the producer of the next great hockey movie

By GTOG Staff

Pittsburgh native Jesse Shapira started his Hollywood journey with a passion for hockey and a biography about a minor league enforcer no one had ever heard of.  He ended up with the authentic and hilarious "Goon," starring Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, Jay Baruchel, and Allison Pill.  "Goon" will be in theaters in March (and on-demand in February), and the film is building undeniable momentum due to glowing reviews like the ones here, here, here, here, and here.


We sat down with Shapira to talk about how he managed to convince the writers of "Superbad" to take a chance on the project, the absolute enormity of Big Georges Laraque, and what's in store for the sequel that we are demanding. It's fun. It's emotional. It's the GTOG podcast.

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[Trailer has some family-unfriendly language]

GTOPG: Pens Do What's Right; Win in Montreal 4-3

By Finesse

Make no mistake about it, this was a huge win.  Another two points for Geno.  Letang with a heroic effort.  No panic after falling down 3-1.  Carey Price getting owned by Jordan Staal on Staal's breakaway.  Dupuis with a face of unmatched intensity throughout the whole game.  And Sid calling out Nick Foligno in the postgame press conference for what Foligno is -- an idiot.

Other things ... Pacioretty should be suspended, and will be ... good for the referee for not blowing the whistle on the game winning goal ... and good for the Penguins for playing until they heard a whistle.


No time for full recap today, but Pensblog gets the job done.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

GTOPG: Pens have tough practice; Win 6-3

By Finesse

When the Pens score six goals, our instinct is to pump the Pens tires, say things like "never get too high or too low" while we secretly spray each other with champagne, and run statistical models to figure out the percentage chance that Geno and Sid finish 1-2 in scoring (14%).  But on this morning, there's really nothing to say other than Ottawa Sucks.

"They can't be for real, can they?"
The Sens jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, largely because of Kris Letang being lazy (more on that in a minute), then spent the next 8 minutes watching, waiting, watching, and then waiting again while the statisticians confirmed that yes, Jason Spezza is the most un-impactful point-per-game player in the modern era.  By the time we all looked up, it was 4-1 Pens and Sens backup goalie Alex Auld made the decision on his own to just hop the boards and come replace Craig Anderson, figuring that if the prior 8 minutes were any indication, Anderson wouldn't, and couldn't stop him.


The Pens were not particularly impressive, but that's mainly because they didn't have to be.  One hallmark of a savvy, veteran, well-coached team is to figure out how to blow out a clearly inferior opponent without burning too many calories along the way.  The Pens mastered that last night.  On one penalty kill, Sens unlikeable winger Nick Foligno carried the puck into the Pens' zone while the Pens players watched him, thought "we're winning 5-1 and that's Nick Foligno," calmly retrieved the puck from Foligno with no resistance, and then changed lines.  When Sid already had 3 points after 9 minutes, the priority became "Let's just get out of here with our health."

A few other quick thoughts:

- While Sid snares the headlines, Geno quietly has three straight 2-point games and is only 10 back of Kessel.  Sid's return has freed Geno up to do what he does best: dazzle, without the weight on his shoulders.

- If we ever had Sergei Gonchar on our Raw Emotion Podcast, we imagine he'd give us his icy Russian stare and talk about the virtues of direct deposit because it's unclear if he cares at all about hockey at this point.  More power to him.

"So, do you pay every other Friday, or on the 1st and 15th?"
- When Jared Cowen cut the Pens lead to 5-2, he fist pumped like he just bowled a 300.  George MacPhee immediately called Bryan Murray and offered Semin for Cowen straight up.

- Kris Letang may be the most talented defenseman in the NHL, but he still makes way too many bad or flat-out lazy plays.  Like over-bearing parents of a middle-schooler, part of us worries that he is a just kind of a punk, while the other part convinces ourselves that he's only acting out because he's so supremely gifted that school isn't challenging enough for him, so he gets bored and has no choice but to steal money from his teacher's purse.

Another game tonight.  Be thankful we have our health.  GTOG.



Thursday, November 24, 2011

GTOPG: When you play 1/3 of the game, you get 1/3 of the points; Pens lose 3-2

By Finesse

Good news and bad news.  The good news is that the Pens were non-existent for 2 periods, but still managed to eek out a point against a solid Blues team.  The bad news is that the Pens looked horrendous in the process, and never more horrendous than during the first period where the Pens were outshot 13-4 and almost set the franchise back 10 years.  Of course that's hyperbole, but I was at the game, and it was abysmal.  Imagine going to a golf tournament expecting to see Tiger Woods, and you actually see Tiger Woods, but then quickly realize he sucks now and you're going to spend the next 4 hours on your tippy-toes behind 10 rows of wealthy 55-year old white guys in khaki shorts yelling "in the hole!" and talking about Amen Corner while watching Tiger shoot 74.  It was nothing like that, but that would be bad.



Some notes on the game, after the jump ....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Unhappy we haven't been paying him enough attention, Bruce Boudreau acts out

By Artistry

Granted, this clip of Caps coach Bruce Boudreau we got from a Capital's blog via Dan Steinberg @dcsportsbog is several months old, and also, the video shows he's clearly going for laughs as he complains about his portrayal on HBO's 24/7. But with the Penguins and Capitals set to meet on December 1st, seeing this now is just as delicious as the remnants of any pasta sauce you might find on Boudreau's cheek.

Leader of Men
“The part that ticked me off the most was when they started showing their coach [Dan Bylsma],” Boudreau said. “And their coach at Christmas was down in the basement playing with his kid. He’s never played in the basement with his kid. Teaching him, well this is how you do this. Bull****."

See the clip and what $6 million man Brooks Laich has to say about Sidney Crosby after the jump...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GTOPG: Leftover Thoughts on Sidney Crosby's Triumphant Return

By Finesse

Some leftover thoughts from Sidney Crosby's emotional return. For full reaction, listen to our post-game podcast.

- All 4 of Crosby's points came off of his backhand which, to anyone who has ever played hockey at any level, is remarkable. There is a fine line separating the legendary players from the great players, and the ability to be as threatening on his backhand as he is on his forehand, if not more so, is what puts Sid in the former category. I'm sure 4 points on the backhand has been done before. But not often.


Our pick for the Art Ross trophy, Ovechkin on Sid, and some numbers, after the jump...

Monday, November 21, 2011

GTOG Podcast: Sid Returns; Sid Dominates; Pens Win

A special in-person podcast to celebrate the return of Sidney Crosby.  Click here for some other thoughts that weren't covered in the podcast.

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"Yeah, so, um, I'm going to go around you now."

All Systems Go

By Artistry

We just got word that Zybnek Michalek makes his return tonight to the Penguin lineup, joining the other guy. Consol is completely overrun by Canadian reporters.

Media Scrum (via @KDPomp)
Imagine you're Jack Capuano, and somebody hands you this lineup card:

Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
Neal-Malkin-Sullivan
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy
Adams-Vitale-Asham

Letang-Orpik
Martin-Michalek
Niskanen-Engelland

Fleury

What would you do? What could you do?

No idea.
The Raw Emotion Podcast tonight is going to be electric. Here we go. LGP. GTOG.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sidney Crosby to Return Monday Night Against the Islanders

The Pens lost to Florida 3-2 last night.  Snore.

The Pens announced today that Crosby is coming back on Monday night against the Islanders.  Hug your children.  Kiss your spouse.  Hug yourself if you don't have kids or a spouse.

And buckle up.


Friday, November 18, 2011

GTOPG: Their Games Sure Suck, but Tampa Bay Doesn't; Pens Lose, 4-1

By GTOG Staff

The first period had some decent pace to it. But then the second period looked like a certain 2011 playoff series. And by the third period of the Penguins' 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, we were sticking ourselves with needles to distract from the pain of watching this game.

Bouche-bag.
Tampa is just not a good matchup for the Pens. It's not that their 1-3-1 is impenetrable or that Roloson is a great goalie, because neither of those things are true. But Guy Boucher's system does just enough to make the Pens look discombobulated. In the neutral zone, just watch how often Penguin D-men have to stickhandle the puck all the way up the ice before dumping it in, leaving our usually ferocious forecheckers flatfooted. By the time the "grind bitches down" portion of the proceedings can begin, Tampa is chipping the puck back up to center ice.

Here's what's deceiving about all this, and what actually prevented us from flipping over to the Tebow game: the Pens look like they're dominating because they always have the puck. But just having the puck doesn't mean much. You have to actually be able to do something with the puck, and the Pens were trying really hard to do something with it, but spent most of the night running into each other and playing 1-on-1 hockey. It doesn't matter if they have super talented 1-on-1 guys like Malkin going against Tampa's 6th defenseman -- 1-on-1 hockey is a low percentage game. None of this would be that much of a problem, of course, if Tampa just sucked. But they don't. [Oops]

More GTOPG after the jump...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GTOPG: A Video is Worth a Million Words; Pens Win 6-3

By Finesse

I wish we had more time to do a full recap of this game.  The feeling is similar to when you have a really great inappropriate story to tell your friends, but you know that showing them pictures is the only way to really convey what happened.

 

The key takeaway from this game is that if you're an average team, you may not want to engage the Penguins in an undisciplined, yet exciting, brand of hockey because chances are you are going to lose.  The Avalanche have some world-class talent at the top -- see the Duchene goal -- but really have no business engaging the Pens in a track meet.  Even with the Pens looking sloppy and disorganized for the first 30 minutes (no one more so than Paul Martin), this game had 5+ goals written all over it right from the start when Geno went coast to coast around four Avalanche players and fired a rocket-propelled grenade that nearly broke the crossbar in half.

Just like he drew it up
Other random thoughts ... not the best night for Paul Martin to get embarrassed because Artistry spent hours on Twitter defending him yesterday ... Sullivan, as we noted last game, needs to be more of a shooting threat on the 5-on-3 PP ... and clearly McGuire and Engblom read GTOG because they said the same thing last night ... Kris Letang had a rush at one point where he literally broke a man's ankles but then immediately turned it over ... if you want to throw Martin under the bus for the Jones goal (and you should), at least ask what Orpik was doing on Duchene's goal ... Jordan Staal is on pace for 41 goals ... Tyler Kennedy is not a vestibular Ferrari but it's great to have him back in the lineup ... and finally, we preach accountability here and no one is immune, including Mrs. Artistry, who failed to tape the game for my partner in GTOPG'ing. That's not So Serviceable, Mrs. A.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Big Ben Has Broken Thumb, Because Why Wouldn't He?

By Finesse

Completely un-shocking news out of Steelers headquarters today, as it was revealed that Ben Roethlisberger has a fractured right thumb.  He sustained the injury at some point during the game against Cincinnati, but reminded reporters that he doesn't even remember when it happened and that he didn't miss any snaps.  The early word is that he will be ready to go against Kansas City in two weeks and this injury will not affect his play.  In other words, he will clutch and shake his hand vigorously after completions and incompletions alike.


Reached for faux-comment at his home today by GTOG, Ben elaborated on his injury:
There's no question that my thumb hurts.  It's just going to be about trusting B.A., Tone, and all my guys.  It's no excuse though.  I played a game in 2005 with a bad thumb and threw 4 touchdowns.  The docs didn't think I should play, but I stood up in the locker room and said, "My Name is Biggius Bennius Roethlisbergerus, commander of the Band of Brothers, General of My Guys, loyal servant to the true emperor, Mr. Rooney. Father to kids I probably don't know, husband to an unlucky woman.  And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.  Band of Brothers."

Monday, November 14, 2011

GTOPG: Steelers Defeat Bengals 24-17; Have We Learned Anything?

By Finesse

Sunday was a day that met expectations.  The Steelers beat Cincinnati on a neutral field in Cincinnati, the Ravens laid an egg against a bad team, and Ben Roethlisberger definitely, 100% was NOT making any excuses when he said, "It was really windy. That’s the only reason I went with the glove, because you can spin it a little better. It definitely affected some throws, but you know me, I’ll never make excuses.”


If you're not injured enough to grimace, just smile and point to God.
So unless you want to try to figure out whether Troy Polamalu was attempting to break up A.J. Green's touchdown catch with his mind or merely blacked out for a second, the only way to go this Monday morning is to look big picture in the AFC after the jump...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

GTOPG: Behind the scenes look at Pens 5-3 loss to Canes

By Artistry

Ever wonder what we're thinking during Penguins games like Saturday's 5-3 loss to Carolina?  The best thing you can do is follow us on Twitter.  The other option would be to steal one of our cell phones.  We pick up the texting in the midst of a furious Pittsburgh comeback, as Chris Kunitz buries a long-range shot past Cam Ward to bring the Pens all the way back from a 3-0 deficit.  Best we can do on a Sunday during the Steeler game.

Artistry, 9:24 PM - Hands.

Finesse, 9:24 PM - What a laser.

Finesse, 9:24 PM - I have a feeling Kunitz isn't done.

[Ward foils Malkin on a breakaway]

Artistry, 9:25 PM - Oh Geno.


Finesse, 9:25 PM - He needs to get his Finish back.

[The Hurricanes beat an out-of-position Brent Johnson to take the lead again, 4-3]

Artistry, 9:30 PM - I think BJ should just play entirely inside the net.

Finesse, 9:34 PM - Fleury, BJ is not.

Finesse, 9:34 PM - I think during commercial breaks the Canes announcers probably talk about how much better the Pens are. But oh well, not tonight.

Artistry, 9:35 PM - Nope. Chad LaRose. Unstoppable.

Finesse, 9:36 PM - Pens could have had 11 goals tonight. Can't win them all. Unfortunate how often our D puts itself out of position.

Artistry, 9:37 PM - What happened to Sully?

"I'm out with a lower body."
Artistry, 9:38 PM - Great Byls-stache.

Finesse, 9:39 PM - Bylsma is really making a statement with that mustache that he feels comfortable with his job security.

Artistry, 9:40 PM - We can only hope we see these guys in the playoffs. Pens in 2.

Finesse, 9:42 PM - It would make the 2009 ECF look like the Battle of Stalingrad.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

GTOPG: That looked easy; Pens beat Dallas 3-1

By Finesse

If you've been paying any attention at all to the Sid-era Penguins, then you undoubtedly recognized at least two hallmarks of this team on display last night.


First, if Marc-Andre Fleury isn't tested early in a game (eg. he's faced less than 2 or 3 shots and we're 15 minutes into the game) you can rest assured the next one is going in.  That's who he is, and we love him because of it and in spite of it.  Last night, Dallas had a total of 5 shots in the first period.  But guess what? They scored 16 minutes in.

Second, there are some games where the Pens are losing for long stretches but are playing so well that you don't care about the score because you know -- yes, you actually KNOW -- that the Pens are going to come back and win that game.  Last night was that game.  The Pens were playing so much better than Dallas, had the puck for so much longer, and had so many more quality chances that to lose this game would have undermined pretty much everything we ever thought we knew about hockey.

On Kunitz and a few more things after the jump...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pirates make huge splash; sign 36-year old catcher who hit .230 last year

By Finesse

Nothing gets the juices flowing in mid-November quite like the Pirates' annual foray into the bowels of free-agency.  Yesterday, the Bucs put the league on notice that absolutely nothing has changed by agreeing to a one-year deal with 36-year old catcher Rod Barajas, who is coming off a season in which he hit .230, only slightly below his career average of .238.  He did have 16 home runs in only 98 games, which is really impressive considering that would have tied him for second on the Pirates with Garret Jones, who only needed 148 games to reach the magical 16-homer mark.

We're almost positive this is Rod Barajas
If for some reason this signing does not excite you, maybe you'll feel better knowing just how much the Pirates and Barajas need each other.  As he told the Associated Press,
"They were aggressive.  They gave me the feeling they really wanted me to be a part of their team. They played good baseball for four months last season and showed a lot of improvement. I thought this would be a good situation to be in."
Smart guy.  The Pirates did play well for four months.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On To The Next One: The Swift Takedown of Joe Paterno

By Finesse

Something happened at Penn State these past few days that's going to take a long time to figure out.  But don't worry, there's still time to take a couple more photos of an overturned news van.


Pack up the cameras and the mics.  On to the next one.

[Read my full reaction here: On Penn State, Joe Paterno, and how we react to scandals]

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On Penn State, Joe Paterno, and how we react to scandals

By Finesse

Penn State f'd up, big time. Everyone who is calling for accountability, for investigation, and for more answers is right. It's what the situation and the law require, and I support it.  [For more, listen to our podcast].



However, in the hectic aftermath of last weekend's indictment, everyone is focusing on the questions that need to be asked about Penn State officials. It's easy to pile on. What's tougher is to think about our reaction to scandals. Why are we so certain about things? And why do we have to proclaim our certainty immediately? 


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

GTOG Podcast: Penn State, Sid’s possible return, and some Steelers reflections

We touch on the Penn State saga, the Letestu trade, Sid's possible return, and some positives and negatives from Steelers-Ravens.


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"Goon" Red Band Trailer Gloriously Unsuitable for Work

By Artistry

The red band trailer for the hockey comedy "Goon" went live Monday night.



We've been chronicling the casting, development, and screenings of "Goon" since its inception, and there's much more to come in advance of the U.S. premiere.  Look for executive producer Jesse Shapira to join us soon on the GTOG podcast.  In the meantime, catch up on what you've missed:

http://gettoourgame.blogspot.com/2010/11/goon-interview-part-i-were-making-movie.html

http://gettoourgame.blogspot.com/2010/11/goon-interview-part-ii-sign-marc-andre.html

http://gettoourgame.blogspot.com/2011/09/gtog-podcast-reflections-on-goon.html

http://gettoourgame.blogspot.com/2011/09/defending-goon-from-fake-outrage-and.html

http://gettoourgame.blogspot.com/2011/09/goon-gets-big-distribution-deal-gtog.html

Monday, November 7, 2011

Get to Our Press Conference: Steelers Congratulate Flacco on Early Hall-of-Fame Induction

By GTOG Staff

Welcome, everyone. We'd like to thank the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens for making coaches and players available on such short notice to discuss the Ravens' 23-20 luxurious stay on Gay Island victory.  Let's get right to it.

Artistry: This is for Coach Tomlin. Coach, there was some questionable clock management and general confusion on the Steelers' final possession with about 4 minutes to play in the game. Can you comment on that and how you felt knowing Joe Flacco was getting the ball with more than two minutes on the clock?

Andy Reid: Mike, I'll step in on this one if that's ok....

Mike Tomlin:  ...No Andy, I got this.  Let me just say directly that I felt ecstatic putting the ball in Flacco's hands with the game on the line.  I would compare it to being high on nitrous oxide.  Joe Flacco is a man who generally excels in no phases of the game of football, and we as a coaching staff had great confidence that he would find a way not to matriculate the ball down the field.  That said, I had no idea what I was doing on that 4th down delay of game call.  Having an additional three points on the board was desirable at that stage of the football game, but seeing as Shaun Suisham appears to be the only kicker in the National Football League who can't get a kickoff to the endzone, I had no real confidence he could kick a 47-yard-field goal.  So I chose to remain paralyzed by indecision.

"Yeah, I don't know either."
We hear from Ben Roethlisberger, Ray Lewis, and more after the jump...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

GTOPG: "This man has great hands"; Kunitz carries Pens to 3-2 S/O Win

By Artistry

The broadcasters for the Los Angeles Kings didn't know much about the Pittsburgh Penguins, but they were dead on about Chris Kunitz's hands. Kunitz brought the Pens back early Sunday morning from a dark place, scoring the game-tying goal late in regulation and the winner in a shootout to turn what looked like a deeply unsatisfying 1 point road trip into a 3-out-of-4 point gem.


Hands of a Baby's Bottom, maybe we haven't appreciated you enough lately, so this one's for you.



More on the Pens after the jump...



Friday, November 4, 2011

GTOPG: Penguins Score Hat Trick of Hockey Cliches; Fall to Sharks, 4-3 in S/O

By Artistry

Until 1997, the Penguins' made trips to San Jose solely for the purpose of getting Mario 6 points so he could pad his stats enough to be able to sit out tougher games while still winning the Art Ross Trophy. Since then, it's been a house of horrors.  Thursday night, despite an auspicious start, was ultimately no different, because the game played out in textbook fashion.  Please open your book of hockey maxims.

The teacher becomes the student
Chapter 1: Never is a team more vulnerable than in the first period following a lengthy and successful road trip.

How convenient.  Here we had the Sharks coming off a 5-1 east coast jaunt and a lengthy pre-game ceremony honoring Joe Thornton.  Difficult to immediately transition from cradling your adorable young daughter in your arms and basking in the adulation of the home crowd to taking a shoulder to the face from Deryk Engelland, and to their credit, the Penguins understood this.  They chased Anti Niemi with two goals in the game's first two minutes and outshot the Sharks 15-4 in the first period.

Chapter 2: A two goal lead is never safe.

Chapter 3: Thou shalt never be goaded into fisticuffs when thou holdest a two goal lead.

Really, have we learned nothing after all these years?  This is one of GTOG's biggest pet peeves about Dan Bylsma and his staff.  After Craig Adams fought that Frost Giant in the first period, couldn't somebody have said, guys, let's not do anything else to awaken a team that's not missing two of its top three centers, that's not down to 5 defensemen, that won't be obligated to put Mark Letestu on the ice in overtime, from its slumber?  Evidently not.  Because there was Engelland, dropping the gloves with Ryan Clowe at the faceoff at the start of the second period.  Of course this allowed Ryan Clowe to turn to his teammates after the fight, pump his arms, raise the roof, roof a backhander to cut the lead to one, and score the game-winning shootout goal. Who could have seen that coming. 

More analysis after the jump...

Dan Marino is opening a pizzeria in PGH; Douses himself in tomato sauce

By Finesse

Dan Marino is opening a pizzeria in Robinson, PA.


Historic sunburn.

GTOPG coming soon.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How much of a bargain is Marc-Andre Fleury?

By Artistry

Was the Marc-Andre Fleury contract a mistake?  In August 2010, that was a legitimate query.  And by October 2010, if you asked that question, you probably saw a lot of people nodding vigorously.  But now?


With Nashville today signing 29-year-old Pekka Rinne to a 7 year, $49 million deal, it's a good time to take stock of Fleury's value.  Rinne is top notch, but $7 million a year rockets him to the top of goalie cap hits and seems a bit rich.  NHL contracts are a moving target - what looks like a bad deal today can look terrific tomorrow. Still, we can learn a lot from looking at these cap hit numbers (which don't include the Rinne deal), courtesy of Capgeek.com.


As of today, there are 11 goalies with a higher cap hit than Fleury. Three of them have won a Stanley Cup, but two of those Cup winners are aging warriors Brodeur and Thomas, and one of them has been irrevocably scarred by an Evgeni Malkin blind backhander, top shelf, short side.  Salary-wise, Marc-Andre Fleury is in Jonas Hiller territory, and if you're asking who among the top 10 on this list we'd take ahead of Fleury, you'll be waiting for some time, because we've already walked away. What a steal.

Looks like Staal and Letang may suit up tonight. Somebody tell Joe Thornton he won't see anything soft tonight unless he asks to touch Chris Kunitz's hands. LGP.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Steve Sullivan Has No Goals; We're Fine With That

By Finesse

Because the Pens have a string of off days before heading out west, there's more time to digest what has happened over the first 13 games of the season.  Today, the Post-Gazette reports on Steve Sullivan's goalless start to the season.  Sullivan, who has 266 goals over his 15+ year career, has only three assists in the season's first 13 games and has failed to bury numerous chances.  The good news about the quotes in the PG article is that no one is panicking, including Sullivan.

"On my whistle, grind bitches down."
And neither are we.  Read on for more...