Dazed and Confused

To believe or not to believe? That is the question I posed to myself last night, as the Pens were on the receiving end of another 4-3 overtime loss. This time at the hands of Nick Foligno.

Tina was sitting in our common room watching the last few minutes of the third and overtime unfold with me. Obviously she saw my immense frustration after a really, really awful game tying goal by Brandon Dubinsky with 24 seconds left in the third period.

Then, overtime came and, although I hate to admit it, I knew the Pens were not leaving Columbus with a 2 game advantage. I said this to Tina, and then she questioned my belief in the Pens. I didn’t really have an answer because, well, I just didn’t. I generally do believe in my team, expect when they pull these shenanigans.

Every year, especially during the regular season, Sidney Crosby and the boys give me every single reason to believe that they are finally going to win another Cup.

Yet, every year since 2012 (2011 was an anomaly because Sid and Geno were out) they’ve managed to disappoint in rather spectacular fashion. It’s not like they go out in a hard fought battle, like last year’s Western Conference Semifinal between Detroit and Chicago. The Pens go out in a rather embarrassing fashion:

2012 : Yeah, that horrible series against the Flyers who were under their skin nearly every single game. Oh, and the scores were absolutely insane: 5-1, 8-4, 10-3. Of course it was against a team that they were more than capable of beating. But only if the Pens kept their emotions in check.

2013: Oh, hell yes I totally believed that this was their year. Sid, Geno, Neal, Kunitz, Letang, and basically every other member of the Pens was playing really well. And then, Marc-Andre Fleury happened in the first series against the Islanders.

We all know what happened. No need to beat a dead horse. Tomas Vokoun took over the net, leading the Pens to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Bruins. Which, I still can’t talk about because of how mortifying it was.

We know how it went down and not one Penguin player or Pens fan is proud of their “effort.”

2014 Regular Season: A league-leading number of man games lost to injury. Well over 500. There were highs and lows of the season, especially after the Olympics when the Pens had a few small losing streaks. But adversity is a great teacher, right?

After having the expectation to win the Cup the previous two years, it is nice not to have that pressure from the media for once. Although the Pens are considered serious competitors, by no means do they have the same high level of expectation.

2014 Playoffs (thus far): Uhhhh, I don’t even know what to say because I’m just like Pens reporter Sam Kasan:

It’s also little facts like this that have me really concerned.

And after tonight’s game, where the last two goals are actually on Fleury, I almost don’t know what to do, say, or think anymore about the Pens. But then again, this is a part of the emotional roller coaster that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The only suggestion I have is listening to “Let It Go” on repeat until Game 5 on Saturday.

Hit the reset button, come into the game with the desperation that they had in Game 4, thus leading to their victory, and PUH-LEASE come with a power play that’s capable of doing some serious damage.

So please, please, please Pittsburgh Penguins, don’t let me and the rest of your fans down. Give us a reason to really believe.

You. Can. Do. It.

New Kid on the Block

Move over Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon is driving the Halifax domination bus now.

Basically, the kid’s got 7 points. In two playoff games. His first two Stanley Cup Playoff games. Which also coincide with his rookie season.

These first two games have looked like a walk in the park for him. Did anyone else see the INSANE goal he scored during Game 2?

If not that, did you catch any of his 6 assists from the last two games?

Did I mention he’s 18? Let’s leave it at: I’m reeeeeeeeally looking forward to seeing what the rest of his NHL career is going to bring.

But obviously, there’s more to Nathan than just hockey.

He’s an excellent student.

His four-month-old puppy, Duke, is the love of his life.

Nathan’s still a kid a heart.

but really though

(via http://ryankesler.co.vu/post/80542027515 )

His bromance with Gabe Landeskog and/or Ryan O’Reilly is probably one of the best new bromances to bud this season.

I could go on forever about Nathan MacKinnon, but….. Well I don’t think there’s a downside if I went on forever about him. He’s a pretty cool 18-year-old, that also happens to be one of the NHL’s and Avalanche’s emerging stars. Can’t wait to see what he’ll do the rest of the playoffs!

Tis the Season

No, it’s not Christmas quite yet. But, personally, this is my third favorite holiday on the calendar (after my birthday and Christmas, of course).

It’s that thing 16 teams have worked so hard to earn since October.

IT’S PLAYOFF SEASON!

These first two weeks are the ultimate test of how faithful I am to hockey. There’s either three or four games each night and with finals creeping around the corner, I will be watching (almost) all of it.

the motto until someone wins the Cup

My bracket has been officially entered to NHL.com. I’ve joined a few leagues. So we’ll see where my guessing gets me in two months.

bracketYup, 32 goals will be scored in the Stanley Cup Final between Pittsburgh and Chicago. Whether or not any of that actually comes true is a long ways away. But tomorrow night is a start in the right direction.

Good thing school is not my number one priority, otherwise I wouldn’t watch games during group meetings.

Because if I miss any game, much confusion will follow.

(via http://thg-joshifer.tumblr.com)

Because I hate not knowing what is happening during the playoffs. I’d be like a lost puppy. And that’s not good.

though terribly cute

More or less, the Stanley Cup Playoffs manage to be some form of paradise and torture. All at the same time!

It usually starts like:

Then, when the roller coaster of emotions begins, I’m like:

And at the end of the day, I remember:

So good luck to the 16 teams (more luck to some than others). May the best team win 16 games.

To the Ship!

March Madness finally ends in April. Clearly, I’m not the biggest basketball fan ever, but knowing that championship season for like every sport is about to start is really exciting.

First, on April 10th and 12th, the Frozen Four is happening in Philly! Let’s go *insert team that will beat Boston College here*. I seriously hope that Union can knock them out before the championship game, otherwise, I have the Minnesota Gophers winning the whole thing.

Then, four days after that, mine and Tina’s favorite two months of the year officially begins: the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It’s on like Donkey Kong. Yup, I just went there.

The 8 teams representing the East have been  finalized and we know the Boston Bruins will be the top spot.

The other teams that have clinched a spot in the East are:

Pittsburgh Penguins

Montreal Canadiens

Tampa Bay Lightning

Columbus Blue Jackets

New York Rangers

Detroit Red Wings

Philadelphia Flyers

ugh, I still hate them

In the West, there’s a bit more instability. The Anaheim ducks have clinched the Pacific Division, but the top spot is still up for grabs. Also, as of last night, the Sharks and Kings will play each other in the first round.

Here are the seven teams that have their spots locked:

San Jose Sharks

Los Angeles Kings

St. Louis Blues

Chicago Blackhawks

Colorado Avalanche

Anaheim Ducks

Minnesota Wild

And maybe Dallas will clinch the last spot in the West? We’ll see!

So more or less, championship season is on and I’m stoked.

Yeah, that’s all I had to say.