In That Moment… Part Deux

Last night, it all ended. The Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated from the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And I’m officially like:

(almost) all of the people around me

This is partially my fault because I chose to go to school in the Greater Boston Area and live with a Bruins fan. Then, I come home to Connecticut, where I didn’t choose to live, to a mix of Rangers, Bruins, Devils, Islanders and a mix of every other fan of an Eastern Conference team because this is no longer Whalers country. It’s quite awful. Especially since I am an all-too-proud Penguins fan.

There are other Pens fans in the state, and though I am friends with them, they are a rare sighting in this part of the country. Either way, we are not a particular favorite no matter where we go in the tri-state area or New England because (DUH!) it’s technically Rangers/Bruins/Islanders/Devils territory. We are those awkward, rebel children who people think were dropped on the head as babies or our parents didn’t raise us properly. It’s more like my parents were Hartford Whalers fans, then Carolina stole the franchise. So you ask, “Shouldn’t you be a Canes fan then?”

Umm, NO!

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Long story short, my parents didn’t care who I was a fan of, so I turned to the Penguins when I could’ve so easily ran to the Bruins or the Rangers, like (almost) every other citizen of Connecticut.

So, the “how I became a Pens fan” aside, last night was torture. Once again.

Last night was too much because, the reality is, this is another horrendous playoff loss that adds to their trend of the last few years. They give their fans all the hope in the world during the regular season, to have it all come quickly crashing down in the playoffs in rather spectacular fashion. I think that’s where it really kills us.

Expectations: Thank you so much, media, for placing the Pens on your highest pedestal because they have arguably the two best players in the world. One of which in a press conference the day before, promised that they were going to win Game 7.

Personally, I don’t make promises that I can’t keep. Never guarantee anything. But in Evgeni Malkin’s case, he needed to make that promise to the fans to keep them faithful seeing as Game’s 5 and 6 were not pretty. At. All. Especially in comparison to a spectacular Game’s 2, 3, and 4. And since Geno and Sid are *arguably* the two best players in the world, they have the weight of the world on their shoulders because if they don’t perform and the Pens lose, they are the ones to blame, right? Well, I don’t really know. Granted, I was visibly upset the past couple nights when a certain number 87 wasn’t really shooting the puck or crashing the net nearly as much as he should. But, he’s changing his game, right? I don’t know. Either way, it killed me whenever numbers 87, 71, 18, 58, and 14 were on the ice (not necessarily for a power play, but even just individually) and not shooting the puck. There was WAY too much “pretty” passing and play-making, which drove me up and down a wall.

Sure, Geno is score. But not this time.

I can’t say I’m necessarily pointing my finger entirely at Sid, Geno, Neal, Kunitz, Letang, and the rest of the goal scorers, but they certainly didn’t help the cause. There are a multitude of things that have gone wrong in the Pens locker room and I can only make that assumption based on what we saw on the ice for the last three games of the series.

Though there were a few people who under-performed, other guys stepped up to the plate and I just have to say, thank you. I seriously and sincerely mean it.

Brandon Sutter (aka Flat Stanley)

Because he did a hell of a lot of this:

It’s literally impossible for me to be mad at him because  he was unarguably the Pens MVP for the last month. Flat Stanley did it all. Kill penalties, score, and score shorthanded. I will cry if he is traded this summer. I will be sobbing all the way from Connecticut if Ray Shero deals him because he earned his spot on the team.

Jussi Jokinen

He also happened to enjoy scoring quite a bit this post season for the Pens and the fans thoroughly enjoyed watching him tear it up. It was a career post season for Jokinen and we hope to see many more.

did Jussi that?!

Thank you so much for scoring the Pens lone goal last night. Just, thank you, in general, for showing up for the playoffs. Much appreciated.

Matt Niskanen

So maybe towards the end of the series he wasn’t playing his best hockey, but I love Nisky. Shero neeeeeeeeeeds to resign him to, or like Sutter, I will be sitting in a pool of my own tears if he doesn’t.

He’s such a cutie and he’s pretty good at scoring a few goals too.

Oh! And he has a puppy, therefore, Shero needs to resign him if they ever want me to buy the puppy calendar ever again.

Paul Martin (aka The Breakfast Maker)

Pauly has improved significantly since his initial acquisition by the Penguins. He’s also the official breakfast maker of James Neal, so he needs to hang around if we ever want to see Nealer score again.

He’s also a wearer of glasses. Aka the sexiest thing a guy can possibly do.

Plus, Pauly is a former Minnesota Gopher and here at For the Love of Goons, we looooooove us some cawlidge hawkey.

All in all, the 2013-14 season didn’t have the ending us Penguins fans were hoping for it too. Once again. Yes, it’s begun to take a toll on us, but here’s a bright side: at least we have a Stanley Cup. There are franchises that actually don’t have ANY. We have three and luckily, we were able to see one only five years ago. Understandably, that’s quite some time ago, but we should have some faith, right?

Changes will be made this summer, no question. What changes will be made? Who knows. The waiting game is on for the draft and free agency.  Then, hopefully sooner rather than later, it’ll be October again. A new season, a clean slate, and a new chance at winning the Stanley Cup. Just maybe 2015 will finally be the year.

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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.

Happy Birthday Andrew Ference

Today is Ference’s 35th birthday!!!

Andrew Ference Headshot

 If you look up the definition of gentleman in the dictionary you’ll find Andrew Ference.

Here are some reasons why we think everyone should strive to be more like him…

1. His smile…

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2. He participates in the NOVEMBER PROJECT

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The November Project is a free support system of people who want to work out during the cold months of the year. They meet early in the morning in locations across North America.

http://november-project.com

3. He advocates for Alberta’s bullying helpline (1-888-456-2323)

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4. He can erase his beard and sneeze off his mustache

5. His ink

6.  Mr. and Mrs. Ference are ADORABLE

nhlhockeywags:Andrew & Krista Ference 

7. Not to mention their daughters

8. GINGER BEARD

9. His goalie skills

10. He’s hilarious

11. He’s not only friends with Bergy but is also classy as f&@#

12. He visits hospitals (with his BFF)

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13.  Even Big Z loves him

15. … near… far

14. Chipotle

15. He has a best friend named Maggie


So while Ference is busy setting a great example for the rest of the human race… What have you done lately for someone else? Make Ference proud, not only today on his birthday, but everyday.

Getting the Call

Ahh, the smell of Sochi is truly in the air. All of the hockey teams have been chosen and whether or not you agree with who is or isn’t on whatever team you’re rooting for, it’s time for us fans to be excited for those lucky guys who got “the call”.

As many of us know, NHL Revealed will be coming to NBCSN starting on January 22nd and to CBC the following day, and late yesterday, the league released a clip of New York Islanders captain John Tavares.

I would’ve loved to see him actually get the phone call and talk to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. However, it’s just as adorable listening to John telling his parents the amazing news. Personally, I would’ve been jumping up and down on the bed like an immature school girl if I ever received the call to be on Team Canada, but being John Tavares, he had to be a bit more subdued.

All in all, congratulations to everyone who was named to Team Canada, USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, and all other competing Olympic teams.

Here’s a link to the rosters of all competing nations:

http://www.iihf.com/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/recap/8367.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=955&cHash=2e1a9eceb4

And the Oscar Goes To…

It’s no secret awards season is officially upon Hollywood. The Golden Globe and Grammy award nominations were released not too long ago, meaning (my favorite part) the red carpets will be rolled out and the glamazons get to show off what great (and not so great) dresses their stylists picked out for them.

what I live for besides hockey

And when Jennifer Lawrence isn’t tripping up the stairs to receive her Academy Award, I’m totally wondering about whether or not this will be the year Sidney Crosby gets another Hart Trophy or if Steven Stamkos will (eventually) make an impressive return from a broken leg and receive the Masterton. Casual thought process right?

Since this is my “happy place,” when the NHL’s hottest best players get dressed up in John Varvatos suits, strut their stuff on the red carpet, and then eventually up onto the stage if and when they receive their award. As much as I want to talk about seeing all of this in July, I think some predictions are required at the almost-halfway point of the season.

Hart Trophy (League MVP) – Sidney Crosby

Sid the Kid (although he is 26) has been, once again, on a roll with points and making some stellar plays in the process. I must pick him. Here are a couple highlight reel worthy moments from this season:

Art Ross Trophy (Most Points) – Sidney Crosby

If you’re going to be league MVP, you may want to have a substantial amount of points. Please see above if you forgot why already.

Rocket Richard (Top Goal Scorer) – Alex Ovechkin

As much as it is to my disdain, Ovi is probably going to run away with this award, unless Alexander Steen goes on some insane goal bender. Or my other theory that Steven Stamkos makes some miracle-like come back and scores 30 goals in his first 15 games post-injury. Oddly enough, Ovi did have a four goal night against the Tampa Bay Lightning not too long ago.

Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman) – Duncan Keith

He’s been on fire as of late, with an overall 28 assists and 30 points. He essentially is running the Blackhawks dominant power play. Let’s be honest, the guy has won it before, what’s to say he can’t do it again.

Goal vs. Flyers (12/11/13)

Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) – Tomas Hertl

Anyone else remember that really impressive four goal night against the New York Rangers? You know, when that fourth goal is probably going to be nominated for goal of the year? Hertl is still rolling with the Sharks and leading all rookies in goals (15) and points (24).

Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender) – Josh Harding

The guy has been impressive. He’s the reason the Minnesota Wild are actually doing well right now. He’s second in the league for games won (17) and tied for first with 3 shutouts. Harding has also posted a current league best of 1.49 Goals Against Average and is second with a Save Percentage of .939. Impressed much?

Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward) – Patrice Bergeron

Umm, hello! The guy is a class acts as well as an insanely amazing two-way player. His only competition at the end of the day is going to be Jonathan Toews. But I think since Patrice kinda got snubbed last year, he’ll definitely receive the Selke this year.

Jack Adams  (Coach of the Year) – Bruce Boudreau

The Anaheim Ducks are playing some great hockey as of late. It’s not just the big guys like Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Teemu Selane that are doing all of the heavy lifting, all members are contributing to their success. They have a home record of 13-0-2 and through the last ten games are 7-1-2. There’s no other explanation that some great coaching by Boudreau.

Any agreements? Disagreements? Leave some thoughts in the comments!

The Night Hockey Broke My Heart

Forewarning: This isn’t our typical kind of article. So if you’re looking for pictures, gifs, and funny commentary, please continue to the next article.

It’s an unfortunate reality that  in life our favorite things, people, and sports teams inevitably disappoint us for something they did that we simply cannot stand behind.

Clearly I am an avid hockey fan. I have a passionate love for the game that my parents and non-hockey-fan friends see has borderline crazy.

On more than one occasion, I have been thoroughly disappointed by the Penguins before. Whether it was the end of the 2011-2012 season with their last game against the Flyers ending in absolute bedlam, along with the atrocious  playoff series to follow or in the Eastern Conference Final last year where they were swept by the Bruins and the rivalry that has budded since. And I’m sure Tina can say how many times the Bruins have disappointed her as well.

Leading up to my next point. In my time as a hockey fan, the game itself has never disappointed me. But there’s a first time for everything.

Last night was nothing but normal here at school, Tina and I in separate rooms watching the Penguins @ Bruins final regular season game for this year.

Then, incident #1: Brooks Orpik laid a huge hit onto Loui Eriksson within the opening minute. I’m not going to discuss whether I think it was a clean or dirty hit, but this hit set the stage for the rest of the game seeing as Eriksson had to leave the remainder of the game and no penalty was assessed on the play.

Now mind you, at this point I’m looking at the TV like “Oh God. Here we go again.” Because as tough as the Penguins are, hard hitting will always and forever be the Bruins dominant territory. If you watched you know the game got more and more intense throughout the first period. Shawn Thornton being the “stick up for your teammate” kind of guy was going after Orpik to make sure he answered for his hit on Eriksson. However, if you know Brooks’s game as well as I do, you know he’s not the kind of guy who feels the need to fight in order to settle a score for something he did. Thornton continued to harass him without answer and was given a minor penalty for roughing about 6 minutes into the game.

mckenzie

The game continued in its rough nature until the two most highly controversial plays of the night. Let’s go in chronological order and discuss James Neal’s run-in with Brad Marchand first.

Everyone knows I love Nealer, but his knee to Marchy’s head is something I will not standby and defend him for. It made me even more upset when in his post-game interview he tried to play it off as if it was an accident and he didn’t notice him laying on the ice. I call shenanigans on those statements. Luckily Marchand was okay and able to finish out the game. As for another post-game interview, specifically coach Dan Bylsma’s, I applaud him for calling Neal out and saying he didn’t make the effort to get out the way. Neal has a phone hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety at a date TBD and since it is a phone hearing, his suspension will be no more than 5 games.

Now the incident that ensued in the seconds after Neal’s knee on Marchand.

There was a bit of a scrum occurring between the two teams at the other end of the ice because if the previous incident and dutifully, the referees were breaking it up. One of the people involved in the scuffle was none other than Brooks Orpik. If you’ve seen the video (which will not be posted on this blog), then you know Shawn Thornton made an effort to skate towards Orpik, pull him down to the ice, and punch him in the head a couple of times. I do not want to know what possessed him to do such a thing to an unsuspecting player who made it pretty clear in the minutes before that he was not interested in fighting.

Orpik was down on the ice for a significant period of time and the training and medical staff were immediately called from the benches once the referees saw the condition he was in. After getting him to Mass General Hospital, where he was able to complete a number of tests to ensure he was okay, the Penguins did release a statement saying the Brooks was conscious and alert. *insert slight sigh relief here*

In Thornton’s post-game interview, he did nothing but apologize for his actions, and as a Penguins fan I’m glad he did. He will have an in-person hearing with the Department of Player safety at a date TBD, meaning he will face a suspension of 6 or more games. Now before any of you start smack talking Thornton for being “such a dirty player” please keep in mind that this will be his first suspension EVER. One dirty play does not make him a dirty player. Make sure you get your facts straight.

When all hope was essentially lost at this point in the game, there was one moment that made me realize there was still some class left. This act was performed by none other than Patrice Bergeron, helping the responding EMT get the stretcher over to where Orpik lay unconscious.

bergeron

 

This was the only redeeming moment in the entire game. So thank you Patrice for making me believe there was still some sort of light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

Say whatever you want about what happened at this game, but for me, I was crushed at what this “rivalry” has come to. If playing tit-for-tat and messing with a players long term health has become a part of it, then count me out because that’s not a true rivalry. Also, if you’re a so-called fan saying “Orpik got what he deserved”, then you need to learn to respect another human beings life. Because it doesn’t matter what team you cheer for, any decent fan would never wish this upon their worst enemy. This is a time when Eriksson and Orpik’s long term health has come into play and all any fan should be caring for is that they both make a full and speedy recovery.

I’m happy this is the last time the Penguins and Bruins are to meet in the regular season because I don’t want to know what the next game would (or may (come playoffs)) have entailed after this disgusting, gutless display of hockey.

The score may have been 3-2 in favor of the Bruins, but there was no real winner at the end of this game.

Take the time to read these articles as well:

http://section328.com/2013/12/08/no-place-in-our-game-for-what-happened-tonight/

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/shawn-thornton-s-hit-on-brooks-orpik-is-the-kind-of-garbage-the-nhl-needs-to-clean-up—quick-144044508-nhl.html

What We’re Thankful For

Tina and I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. We go to an awesome college, there’s no lockout this year, and our favorite players have continued to impress us with their good looks and charm throughout these past few months.

Here’s some of our favorites:

But most importantly Tina and I are most thankful for all our loyal readers. Without you guys, this blog would not exist!

Pens vs. Bruins (Megan vs. Tina)

Living with someone else who’s as passionate about the game of hockey as you are is a wonderful thing.

Except for when you like different teams.

That are in the same conference.

Have a pretty big rivalry.

And a fairly brutal history.

Luckily Megan and I manage to keep our differences to ourselves the majority of the time.

So with that said this article isn’t going to contain too much opinion and I’ll try to stick to an objective recap (wish me luck).

While the Penguins outplayed the Bruins, especially in the first 10 minutes of the game, the bruins managed to be the first to put the puck in the back of the net.

Loui Eriksson, from Soderberg, went between the legs and had a beauty of a goal to kick the bruins into gear.

Shortly after, Soderberg had another assist and set up Smith to score on the Bruins only power play opportunity of the night making it 2-0

 The Pens weren’t going to let that last for long though and good ole’ ginger beard Nealer came to the rescue scoring just 37 seconds into the second

He did it again in the third with a gorgeous top shelf goal to tie the game

Chara answered though and brought the Bruins ahead 3-2 with 5:15 left in the third

And then the game was almost over

But then this happened…

Crosby, being his usual self, decided that he really didn’t want the game to be over and tied the game with .3 seconds left

Shave it. Now.

So they headed to overtime, but the Bruins didn’t let Crosby’s goal bring them down.

At all.

And Krug only let OT last for 34 seconds

While neither team played at the level that they’re capable of, they gave us fans a pretty great show

Rask is still one of the keys to the Bruins success, keeping them in it when they’re being outplayed

And while the Pens weren’t on top of their game, they once again relied on their top talent (Crosby & Neal) to pull them through when needed

Fortunately (for me) the Bruins still found a way to win.

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Tis the Season for Ginger Beard

The time has come. It was something that had to happen.

My unconditional and undeniably strange love for gingers combined with Megan’s obsession with James Neal and his ginger beard resulted in our collection of these fabulous pictures.

We hope you enjoy this as much as we (mostly me) do.

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dat flow doe

 

Keep your head up Marc, a ginger beard is something to be proud of

the intensity though

Ginger beard and a baby… excuse me while I wipe up my drool

Even if the only thing about you that I respect is your beard

And a Merry Christmas to you too Nealer