Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bachelor Fantasy Suite Recap: Learning the Levels of Love Language

By GTOG Staff

As with all great episodes of The Bachelor, last night's 2-hour show opens with an ample dose of montages and heavily edited voice-overs.  If it wasn't for the shameless editing, it would simply be impossible to pretend that Ben had any feelings whatsoever for Nicki other than, "It'd be cool if you were my sister because then we could hang out a lot and because you aren't that hot, I wouldn't have to worry about you hooking up with my friends."  But even with clever editing, Nicki's downfall is predictable from the get-go, as Ben pins her with the dreaded "darkhorse" label and says that there are "moments" when he pictures himself with Nicki, although presumably those moments quickly pass and he resumes touching himself to thoughts of Courtney.

"Bin, you have no idea what I'm capable of."
The same negative signs are there with Lindzi as well, so long as you are seasoned enough to pick up on them.  "I think I might be falling in love with Lindzi," Ben declares, which sounds nice on the surface but is as good as an outright dumping in reality.  This man is supposedly a week away from proposing to Lindzi and he "thinks" that he "might" be "falling in love" with her.  Translation: give me credit for trying to be nice, but I'd much prefer to sleep with Courtney.

If you're not a pro at this, here's the GTOG Levels of Love Language.  All of them can sound romantic in a voiceover, but if you aren't consistently securing language in the top-3, you aren't going anywhere.

  • I love you
  • I am in love with you
  • I have fallen in love with you
  • I am falling in love with you
  • I am starting to fall in love with you
  • I am starting the process of falling in love with you
  • I think I'm starting to fall in love with you
  • I can see myself being in love with you
  • I can see myself falling in love with you
  • I can see myself starting to fall in love with you
  • Those feelings -- those feelings of love -- are there
  • I can see myself being in love with someone like you
  • I can see myself falling in love with someone like you
  • I can see myself starting to fall in love with someone like you
  • I imagine a scenario where I'm falling in love with someone who bears a resemblance to you

A full recap of Fantasy Suite night after the jump...

Monday, February 27, 2012

GTOG Podcast: Bachelor Fantasy Suite Night

It was an emotional night in GTOG headquarters as we recap Fantasy Suite Night on the Bachelor. After Chris Harrison offered three women the opportunity to sleep with Ben, he accepted, and then sent the most obvious one packing. What a night. What a podcast.

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So much on the line.

GTOG NHL Trade Deadline Live Blog

Although the rumors are that today is going to be a (relatively) quiet day, we'll be here to cover all the action.  We will update this post throughout the day, so make sure to check back often.  And while you're waiting,  you can listen to our podcast wrapping up the weekend for the Pens and previewing the deadline below.

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Live-Blog after the jump...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

GTOG Podcast: NHL Trade Deadline Special

Time to get inside Ray Shero's head.  With Monday's trade deadline looming and the Pens coming off a couple of dominating performances, we tell you what we see unfolding over the next 24 hours, ponder Geno Malkin's place in history, and welcome a special, very vocal guest.  Buckle up.  It's the GTOG trade deadline podcast.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pens-Lightning Preview: Nonsense about Stamkos Revisited

By Finesse

The internet is basically one big giant super computer where people make predictions and rankings that are forgotten about almost before they are read.  But every once in a while, a list or prediction comes your way that makes you go "WTF?!?!" And the best thing about the internet is that while lists and predictions are ignored at the time, they're ALWAYS still on the internet.

Enter Adrian Dater, formerly of Versus.com, but now with the Denver Post.

Adrian Dater, or the guy from the "Don't Talk to Strangers" posters?
In July 2010, only the second month of GTOG's existence, Dater put out a list of his top-10 centers in the NHL.  Thanks to Puck Daddy, the list still exists.  Here were Dater's top-10:

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
3. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
4. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
5. Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers
6. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
7. Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
8. Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
9. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
10. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

Remember -- this list was from July 2010.  Obviously, Richards over Malkin was laughable at the time, although slightly less laughable than today (remember, Geno did not have a great 09-10 season for his standards).  Mikko Koivu on this list, however, was always laughable.

But the most glaring omission, as we pointed out emphatically at the time, was Steven Stamkos.  The guy had just scored 51 goals during a season in which he turned 20 years old.  Since then, Stamkos scored 45 goals last season, and already has an astonishing 43 goals this season.

The point of this post is three-fold: 1) to fill space; 2) to show you that you should always listen to GTOG's predictions and rankings (after all -- GTOG and its family all predicted Courtney as the winner of the Bachelor before the season started and, obviously, that's looking quite strong); and 3) Steven Stamkos is really, really good.

So good.
Finally, we leave you with a what-if:  Two of the guys on the top-10 list who actually belong there (Toews, Backstrom), were drafted after Jordan Staal in 2006.

Go Pens.

Friday, February 24, 2012

GTOG Podcast: Talking "Goon" with Exec Producer Jesse Shapira

By GTOG Staff

"Goon" premiered in New York City Thursday night, so what better time than now to revisit our discussion late last year with the hockey comedy's executive producer, Pittsburgh native Jesse Shapira:

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]

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Big Ben's Barracks: An Insider's Look at the Big Ben-Todd Haley Sitdown

By GTOG Staff

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger reportedly took the first step early this week in what will be his ongoing evaluation of new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Team officials invited GTOG to document the interaction between Ben and Haley as part of a massive effort to document the life and times of Ben, in preparation for what will ultimately be an epic autobiography entitled, "My Guys." We were happy to oblige. Roethlisberger sat down with Haley in the coach's new office at the team's South Side training facility. The following is a verbatim transcript of the meeting.


Ben (extending his hand): Mr. Haley.

Haley (staring at Ben's hand for a beat, then shaking): Nice grip, soldier. I like my men to have big, powerful hands. Have a seat.

The full conversation, after the jump

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

GTOPG: Pens Go Off Script; Win 2-0

By GTOG Staff

If you've watched the Fleury-era Pens long enough, then you had to be convinced at various points last night that either of the following two things were going to happen:

1) After the Pens dominated for several consecutive shifts in the first period, the Rangers were going to come back on a 2-on-1 and score because a Pens' defenseman slid himself totally out of position.  Ryan Callahan would be prominently involved in this play.

2) With about 11 minutes left in the third period, the Rangers were going to score on a bad angle shot, not based on luck or skill, but based solely on the historically-proven theory that when the Pens have a 2-0 lead in the third period, Fleury almost never gets the shutout.  See Seven, 2009 Game.

But thankfully neither of those things happened, as the Pens got the two clean points they earned.  You can thank the penalty-kill and you can thank Fleury, but send your first-born to Evgeni Malkin.  What an incredible player.


More after the jump, including thoughts on Paul Martin...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bachelor Hometowns Recap: You Need Harry Cox on this Journey

Hometowns are everything. The GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast is the only thing that really does this episode justice.  Finesse checks in from a parking garage in Colorado to break down each hometown date, each blessing, and each fairy tale.  It's an emotional, and echo-y, journey.  It's the GTOG Podcast.

Your best bet for listening is to click here to subscribe on iTunes and download the podcast.  Or you can listen below...

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Hierarchy of Blessings

Sunday, February 19, 2012

GTOPG: Breaking Down the Neal Deal; Pens Exposed in Buffalo, 6-2

By Artistry

Even in the midst of his almost completely scoreless Spring 2011 debut with the Penguins, James Neal's skating and overwhelming physical style reminded us of Marian Hossa.  Now more than three years after Hossa rejected a 7 year, $50 million offer to sign with Pittsburgh, Ray Shero gets the last laugh, inking the younger Neal to a more cap-friendly 6 year, $30 million deal.  That's another horse in a stable of five big-time forwards - four under the age of 25 - making some $30 million a year combined.  It's almost enough to make you forget about a defense that gave up 10 goals this weekend. We'll get to the salary cap implications of the Neal contract in a moment, but we begin with the weekend split against the Flyers and Sabres.


- Paul Martin was guilty of at least two more glaring positional errors Sunday in Buffalo.  He got caught in a 2-on-1 down low on a power play and decided to take neither man, leaving Paul Gaustad to score the Sabres' third goal.  On a late-game Buffalo power play, he left tiny little Tyler Ennis all alone in front of the net, then left him alone again to grab his own rebound, making this the first time in NHL history that a defenseman wanted absolutely no part of Tyler Ennis.  It was nauseating.  It validated everything a legion of doubters have been saying about the the Prime Minister.  But the Paul Martin Effect, that phenomenon where Paul Martin becomes the sole defensive scapegoat and focus of fan and media hostility, cannot and must not overshadow the deterioration of the Penguins' team defense.  Paul Martin didn't give up 10 goals in two games.  And he's not solely responsible for putting the team in a 2-0 hole last week against both Winnipeg and Tampa.  This is a team effort.  Watch the tape.  There's Brooks Orpik getting abused by Derek Roy.  There's Matt Niskanen looking like he's been promoted beyond his level of competency.  There's Brent Johnson.  Wait, there goes Brent Johnson to the bench.  And look at this:  Norris Trophy candidate Kris Letang finishes the day at -4.  Right there with our buddy, Paul Martin.  The Penguins need to get there house in order defensively, and we're certain they recognize this issue is much bigger than one guy.

On Jagr, Staal, and what James Neal just did to the salary cap, after the jump...

Real Deal Deal Done: Pens Extend James Neal for 6 Yrs, $30 Million

By Artistry

There's a lot to process here, but we've known all along that the baseline for a legitimate top-line, bulldog in the corners, play-through-pain warrior with a cannon for a shot and a sniper's touch is $5 million per.  The other thing we've known for a while now is James Neal isn't going anywhere.  So here we are.

Money.
Jimmy, we're thrilled to have you.  More to come tonight on this weekend's games and the salary cap implications of the Real Deal James Neal Deal.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

GTOPG: Their Top Was Heavier Than Our Top; Pens Lose 2-1

By Artistry

You really can't make too much of the Pens' 2-1 loss last night to Anaheim. Forget the Ducks' record (they're somehow only .500 despite winning like 15 out of their last 17), and forget that they have Bruce Boudreau behind the bench (he's Bruce Boudreau). Any team with Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and a hot goalie is going to beat you now and again. Don't kid yourself.

Not funny.
But you really can't make too little of it, either, and here's why: Evgeni Malkin was far and away the best player on the ice in this game, and it didn't matter. He deked, he dangled, he dominated every shift, but he couldn't beat Jonas Hiller. And that's why if we've said it once, we've said it a million times, you need not one, not two, but three threatening lines to win the Stanley Cup. You need to come at the opposition in waves, and what we saw last night was BIG wave, little ripple, little ripple, BIG wave. Not good enough.

Thoughts on the Paul Martin Effect after the jump...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Diminishing of Sidney Crosby

By Artistry

You hear the same thing from every hockey TV talking head, from any objective fan, and from opposition coaches like Guy Boucher. There is one NHL player right now who is head and shoulders above everyone else, who skates on an elevated plane reserved for the immortals. And Evgeni Malkin deserves all of the accolades. With 69 points in 49 games, Geno averages 1.41 points per game. The next guy in line is Claude Giroux with 62 points in 52 games. But Malkin's dominance would be just as apparent if he were playing in a league where no one keeps stats. His re-emergence as a contender for "best player in the world" status calls to mind what Ken Dryden once said about Mario Lemieux: "Lemieux looks different. Lemieux looks dominant." That's Malkin right now. He has 17 goals in his last 17 games, and many of them have been of the jaw-dropping variety. Have you ever seen a black rhinoceros thunder across an open prairie? Have you ever watched a killer whale devour a walrus? We're talking about a force of nature here.


Of course, all this is happening as the Penguins, the league, and its fans, read the daily reports on Sidney Crosby, learn that he's skating and is no closer to a return, and don't think much about Crosby at all beyond that. It's not surprising, really. That long losing streak is ancient history. The top line of Malkin, Neal, and Kunitz has been unstoppable, the team is relatively healthy, and we're all tired of the endless speculation and uncertainty surrounding Crosby. Maybe he'll be back, we tell ourselves, but maybe he won't. Best not to dwell on what we're missing. Better to enjoy the spectacle of Malkin prancing around the offensive zone like a gazelle and consider: maybe Malkin's just better. Better than Giroux, Datsyuk, or the Sedins. Better than Crosby. As close to unstoppable as anyone in the league. On a level with any forward that's ever played. With the way Geno's going right now, whatever happens with Sid, even if he does manage to come back, we can't break up that top line.

Read on after the jump...

Bachelor Episode 7: Sun allergy? What sun allergy?

By Finesse

[Listen to the Raw Emotion podcast here]

In our highly acclaimed Bachelor season preview, we pointed out something that no one else was talking about: Lindzi with a zi claimed to be allergic to the sun.  On a show where at least 50% of your time is devoted to swimming with the sea animal of which you are most terrified, this type of affliction poses an enormous threat to one's ability to earn the fairy tale.  So how has Lindzi overcome this affliction to not only achieve a level of tan-ness previously attainable only by Photoshop but also to earn the privilege of bringing a winemaker back to her hometown?

One eye on Ben, one eye on the sun.
Our belief?  There is no allergy.  This is your classic fake-allergy-for-sympathy situation, an unforgivable offense on a show where honesty is not just the best policy, but the only policy.  And if you're not on board with our belief that Lindzi is an unapologetic liar seeking sympathy love -- after all, only Newt Gingrich would have the balls to break up with a woman with a sun allergy -- we have an alternative explanation: ignorance.  Lindzi, you're white, and when you go in the sun for extended periods of time, your skin might get a little pink.  It's not about having an allergy, it's about being white.

Anti-allergy measures.
A full recap after the jump...

Monday, February 13, 2012

GTOG Podcast: Bachelor Episode 7 Recap

Another episode, another outpouring of emotion.  In this week's Raw Emotion Podcast, we discuss why Ben kept Courtney despite all the signs of her being an asshole, why he kept Nicki despite all the signs that she has zero chance of winning, and how he could let Rachel go.  We also look toward next week's absolutely crucial hometown dates and predict who we will see in two weeks in the Fantasy Suite.  It's raw.  It's emotional.  It's the GTOG Podcast.

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My lips taste so good with Sriracha

GTOPG: Malkin > Adele; Pens Win 4-2

By Finesse

Last night, two all-world talents performed: Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh and Adele at the Grammys.  Malkin had two goals while looking like a top-10 talent of all time.  Adele sang "Rolling in the Deep" and looked afraid to hit all the notes.  This is apropos of nothing, other than to say that Malkin would be a better singer than Adele would be hockey player.

You could have had it all
The Pens' first-line combined for 8 points and was completely unstoppable.  Throw Letang in that mix, and it's arguably the best 4-man unit in hockey.  Mathieu Garon was overwhelmed, Brent Johnson held the fort, and the Pens got two points that they needed, earned, and would have had no excuse not getting.  All in all, a big night.

Hands.
Also, Bylsma finally split up the Martin-Michalek pair.  Wonder where he got that idea...yesterday?

Our only concern, after the jump...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

GTOPG: Zamboni Time Machine; Pens Light Up Jets, 8-5

By GTOG Staff

If we've said it once, we've said it a million times about the random weekend afternoon games against bad teams: you try to accomplish two things -- pad the stats and don't get hurt.  The Pens hit all the checkboxes Saturday.

Check.
- For those of us who enjoyed those games in 1988 when an AHL star like Jock Callander was capable of stickhandling out of the corner and roofing one when nobody expected it, the beatdown of Winnipeg evoked powerful memories of a time when defensemen were pylons and prime talents like Evgeni Malkin racked up 5 point games like they were taking a shower in the morning.  The game now is probably better in many ways, but it's so systematic and regimented, it's inevitably less joyful.  Watching Geno hop into a zamboni time machine, now that was fun.  That's 485 points in 400 NHL games for a guy who, for about 100 of those games, played well below his capabilities.  We haven't crunched the numbers, but by sometime next year, we suspect he'll join Mario and Sid on the list of the top 10 points-per-game scorers of all time.

Having bookends like James Neal and Chris Kunitz is useful. The Geno to Neal play off the draw has replaced the Geno-push-the-draw-forward-and-tap-to-wide-open-winger-in-front as easily the most dangerous faceoff play in hockey.

Would have owned 1988.
- We've come to expect big games from high-profile centers coming back from injury, but don't take for granted how good Jordan Staal looked against the Jets. The fact that he picked up where he left off offensively is enormous for this team's prospects with or without Crosby.

About that defense, read on after the jump...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chris Harrison's Unapologetic Consolidation of Power

By Finesse

GTOG was the first news outlet to expose Chris Harrison's strong-arming of Casey S. on this past week's show and tell you that it was nothing more than Harrison flexing his muscle and reminding Ben Flanjik who was in charge.  Now, predictably, other outlets have caught on and finally picked up on this story-line.  We are not experts just because we say we're experts; we're experts because we are experts.  (Ed. NOTE: We also implied in a non-libelous way that maybe Chris Harrison just wanted to sleep with Casey S.)

"Emmanuelle Chriqui and I have been friends for years..."
In his blog, Harrison is unapologetic about his unilateral decision to strong-arm Casey S. off the show by telling her in no uncertain terms that she was in love with a guy she said wasn't even her boyfriend.  He wrote:
You all saw what happened with Casey S., so let me take you behind the scenes and tell you what led me to step in and talk to her. We heard from Casey’s former boyfriend and a couple other people that Casey had spent serious time with him leading up to the show and that she still had serious feelings for him. In fact, her ex-boyfriend explicitly told us that he was currently in a relationship with her. I’ve said before that one thing I regretted during Ashley’s season is not going further and telling her more about Bentley and his intentions. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. Now, I want to make it clear that in my opinion Casey didn’t come on the show with bad intentions; she didn’t come on the show to deceive Ben. Like many people who have come on this show in the past, Casey learned a lot about herself and changed during her time here. My talk with her was in no way confrontational, but I did want to make things very clear, to her and everybody watching. Unfortunately that lesson of making things very clear for all involved was one I learned a few seasons ago. It’s funny to see how once the show airs, people’s memories can suddenly and dramatically change. 
Strong words.  Harrison was caught off guard last season when Bentley promoted his "Family Fun Center" business by acting like one super d-bag that carries a lot of smaller d-bags.  Now, much like Jerry Jones firing the Cowboys' coach and taking over on the sideline, Harrison has consolidated all power in one place: himself.

Not going to let this happen again.
Right now, Harrison is a rogue Border Patrol Agent keeping watch over the walls that guard and protect Ben's heart.  He'll use all necessary force.  So let this be a warning to you.  Chris Harrison has had enough of you and your wrong reasons.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ben Will Evaluate Coach Haley and Go From There

By Artistry

Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger today was nothing but magnanimous in announcing that, although he's heard plenty of bad things about the new Steelers offensive coordinator, he will not immediately fire Todd Haley.
"Everybody has an opinion, as we all know, and [other players are] letting me know what their interaction with him was -- good, bad and indifferent," Roethlisberger said, apparently forgetting he was talking to the media about his boss. "I've heard a lot of things and I'm looking forward to meeting him and forming my own opinion."
This is the way a General talks when some interloper tries to interfere with his mission. The worst thing you could ask a leader of men to do is leave a man behind on the field of battle. The second worst thing?  Asking him to finish a mission with a brand new offense.
"I hope we don't have to start over and if we do, you know what, here we go. Let's do it. We'll do it. We're not going to complain about it," continued Ben. "But I would hate to have to set certain guys back who are doing so well right now.  This is a f***ing terrible idea."*
The good old days, when Men were Men, and Leaders of Men led their Men
In all seriousness, the potential for a long, drawn out feud between Big Ben and his fiery new offensive coordinator has us salivating.  We'll be writing a new semi-regular feature called "Big Ben's Barracks" (think "Big Ben's Corner" but with more military references and alliteration) throughout the off-season.  This is as big as it gets.

*Almost all of these are things Ben Roethlisberger actually said.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bachelor Episode 6 Recap: Let's Get Fancy

By GTOG Staff

[Make sure to listen to this week's Raw Emotion Podcast recapping Episode 6]

This wouldn't be the first time a Bachelor season has been hijacked by a sinister, back-stabbing, not-nearly-as-attractive-as-our-hero-thinks-she-is harlot like Courtney.  Remember Vienna in Season 14?  (Ed. note to selves: we now have a Bachelor frame of reference dating back several years. It's time to reevaluate everything).  But this is the first time a Black Swan has faced such feeble competition.  Courtney's a woman among boys out there.  A c-word among b-words.  She's openly taunting the other Ladies, but somehow she's got the competition apologizing to her.  She's practically running unopposed.  "It's getting hard," she whines early in the first of two consecutive hours of whining. "So hard to feel special."  No, Courtney, as long as your Breast-gun offense isn't grounded by a trip to a cold-weather location, it's really not.  Can anyone get fancy enough to stop her?

Murderer's Row
Full recap after the jump...

The Onus is Ours: The GTOG Promise

We just got an incredible email from a reader. She built us up to the highest of highs, then tore us down to the lowest of lows for our failure to consistently recap episodes of The Bachelor. Basically, she put The Onus on GTOG.

And you know what? She's right. We have failed. We have let you down. But what we will never do is shy away from an Onus. We're not scared of you, Onus. Bring it.

February 8th is the first day of the rest of GTOG's life. 100% re-dedication starts now.


GTOPG: Never fun to lose in Montreal; Pens lose 3-2

By GTOG Staff

Whenever the Pens get to overtime, part of you (and everyone else) is thinking, "we'll take the point."  But taking that point last night also meant giving a point to Montreal which is an act that no man should ever have to endure.  Montreal is a really annoying team because they're annoying AND they aren't good.  In fact, they're one of the worst teams in the league.  They stink.  And they are comprised of a lot of annoying players who also, individually, aren't good.

There's nothing worse than an annoying -- and dangerous --- player like P.K. Subban.  He gets hype because he skates fast through the neutral zone, but if you want to know where that skill will get you, look down the Habs bench at Scott Gomez, who hasn't scored in a year.  Literally, a year.  The truth about Subban is not only that he's dangerous -- when Letang tackled him, Subban kicked his skates up in the air like he was a wrestler avoiding a 3-count and we promise you, and anyone else who has ever played promises you, that kicking your feet up like that is something you can control.  It's also that he sucks.  He's on pace for 29 points this season.  Paul Martin is on pace for 28.   Subban is like the pro wrestler who brings a foreign object into the ring as soon as the referree gets distracted and uses it to pummel the opposition. Except he's not faking.

Overrated.

More thoughts after the jump...

Monday, February 6, 2012

GTOG Podcast: Bachelor Episode 6 Recap: The Power Shift

Another night, another shocking episode.  Casey S. is in love with someone named Michael, Ben is taken aback by her betrayal of his devotion to her 1/8th of the time, and Courtney is taking off her top.  But most importantly, the real hero of the show reestablished himself as the alpha dog.  What a night.  We cover it all on this week's Raw Emotion Podcast, with extra emotion to make up for last week.  Buckle up.

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"So I don't know if you know this about me, but I got bids from every sorority at my school."

GTOG Super Bowl Recap: Take a Knee; Giants win 21-17

By Finesse

We must weigh in on the debate of the day -- should the Patriots have allowed the Giants to score that late TD?  Should the Giants have scored or stopped at the one-yard line?

As repugnant as he is to us and human-kind generally, Belichek made the right decision by letting the Giants score a touchdown with 57 seconds left rather than run the clock down to about 20 seconds and then kick a chip-shot field goal for a 18-17 lead.  And it seems that at least someone (reportedly Eli Manning) on the Giants knew that the best decision they could make would be to not take the free TD and instead kick what should have been the winning field goal (albeit there would have been about 20 seconds left for the Pats).


But here's where things went wrong.  If the Giants actually had the strategy that they were not going to take the free touchdown, WHY HAND THE BALL OFF AT ALL?!?!?!?!?!  This is one of my biggest pet peeves.  If you are just killing time before kicking a field goal, and you don't need to gain any more yards (and the Giants were already at the 6 yard line), why not just have the QB take a knee?  Why are you taking completely unecessary risk by handing the ball off (possible fumble) then having the running back burrow into the defensive line (who will be doing nothing other than trying to create a fumble)?  By handing the ball off to Bradshaw, the Giants were creating a situation where the only thing that could happen was something bad -- a fumble, or the Pats get the ball back.

(NOTE: You could make a decent argument that the Giants should have just taken the touchdown and trusted their defense to stop the Pats, as they did.  But it's clear that they were stuck in some no man's land of decision making, so this assumes that they had decided the best option was to kick the field goal).

Again, if you decide that you want the field goal, nothing good can come from handing the ball off.  I hope you're sitting down for this because I'm about to tell you a hard truth -- NFL players are not necessarily very bright.  They are world-class at doing one thing: being super-athletic.  Decision making is not their strong suit, so a coach's job is to put players in a situation where they have to make as few decisions as possible.

If you need evidence of this point, just look at a few plays earlier when Hakeem Nicks caught a pass for a first down and could have let the Giants run the clock down to zero before kicking a FG if he goes down inbounds.  He went out of bounds.  Or look at the Bradshaw TD -- he knew he shouldn't have scored, but instinct took over and he couldn't help himself.  Or look at Marian Barber III's epic meltdown in Denver earlier this year when he could have iced the game by staying inbounds, but instead went out of bounds and allowed Tebow to come back, win the Denver fans' affection, and make John Elway want to kill someone.

(Another side note: You could argue that Marian Barber killed the Steelers' season with that play as well.  If Chicago wins that game in Denver, the Broncos don't make the playoffs, Ike Taylor never gets abused by Demaryius Thomas, and maybe the Steelers -- who easily could hang with the Giants or Pats -- have a different fate).

The point is this: No matter how many times you tell players not to do something stupid, they'll do something stupid.  Or something bad will happen.  So your job as a coach is to minimize the risk of catastrophic failure.

Or just pray for a little help from above.






Sunday, February 5, 2012

GTOPG: When no emotion is the rawest emotion; Pens lose 5-2

By Finesse

Sometimes you just know.  About two hours before the Pens-Devils game, I texted Artistry to say, "Pens game today has all the makings of a classic snoozer in new jersey."  And so it came to pass that this quickly became one of the most unwatchable Pens' games since the lockout.

By the book.
There's no possible way we can recap a game like that.  We only have so many eggs and so many baskets, and they are all going into Monday night's Raw Emotion Podcast after what should be one of the most passionate, shocking, and emotional Bachelor episodes ever filmed in Panama City, a place we presume will quickly be deemed "the perfect place to fall in love."

To hold you over, here's our Super Bowl recap...from last year.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Get to Our Postgame: "He's not human. He's like a piece of iron"; Pens Win, 2-1

By GTOG Staff

Not many people are aware of this, but let us fill you in on Chris Kunitz's little secret. Before every game the Penguins play against Boston, he grows a beard, flies to Moscow, saws some lumber, and scales the tallest mountain in the Russian Alps. There's no sign of life. No sound but the howling wintery wind. And he screams.

"Zdenoooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"

Come on, when Kunitz chopped down Zdeno Chara like he was a piece of wood Satiuday during the Pens' 2-1 win in Boston, we were all thinking the same thing: You cut him! He's not a machine. He's a man! Chara is Drago - bigger, stronger, faster, and the worst nightmare imaginable for a team relying heavily on one line for offense.

"I must break you."

"I defeat all man. And I'm not wearing any pants."
But here's the thing.  Chara doesn't like to be hit.  And that makes Kunitz and the equally fearless James Neal his worst nightmare.


The spectacular MAF, the elephant in the room, and other notes, after the jump...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

GTOPG: One Line Team?; Pens Lose 1-0

By GTOG Staff

We knew this game was coming.  Not just because all win streaks must come to an end, but because the Kunitz-Malkin-Neal line was carrying too much of the burden, and the rest of the forwards were doing very little.  That's a formula for the occasional 8-game win streak, but it's not sustainable long-term.  One loss isn't going to ruin our optimism about this team, but it does afford us the opportunity to voice the concern we have been openly suppressing during the win-streak: the Pens rely WAY too heavily on one line.

This may have been his 11th consecutive minute on the ice
If you go to the Pens website and view the roster, we swear there are three great lines on there.  Unfortunately, the centerpieces for two of those lines are injured.  With Sid, no one knows what is going to happen.  But what we do know is that Jordan Staal will be coming back in a couple weeks and when he does he will carry, you guessed it, The Onus.  Before he got hurt, he accepted The Onus.  But when he gets back, he's going to have to live with The Onus, embrace The Onus, maybe make love to The Onus.  He must become The Onus, and The Onus must become him.  Because right now, Evgeni Malkin is orgying with multiple Onuses and it's going to wear him out.

Thoughts on the actual game after the jump...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

GTOPG: It's Fun to do Bad Things; Pens Win 5-4

By GTOG Staff

Yes, the Penguins were sloppy Tuesday night. Yes, the Leafs had like 30 breakaways. And yes, for two periods the Geno-Neal-Kunitz line was kind of like the slugger who can't find his swing after a trip to the all-star home run derby. None of that matters. That's about as bad as the Penguins can play, and they won.

This was the showcase game in Marc-Andre Fleury's "Grant Fuhr Tour": It doesn't matter how many goals he allows; he's making a half dozen saves every night that make you open your mouth and then close it again, because you don't even know what to say. And Malkin, always looking for a new challenge, seems intent on showing he can win the Hart and Art Ross trophies solely on the basis of his work in the third period and shootouts. Not many players in history could consistently flip a switch during the second intermission and suddenly take over the game like Geno.

"Come to me, my children!"
We could look at this game and say the Pens were lucky because they were.  But as we've said for a long time, good teams win games that they shouldn't.  Last year the Pens had ZERO third period comebacks.  Last night, you absolutely knew the Pens could get to 4 goals before the buzzer (the only question was whether the Leafs would have 8 by then).  It's a totally different feeling.  There's belief everywhere.

Much more, including thoughts on the Fleury-Johnson question from Finesse's Dad after the jump...