Separation Anxiety

To say I’m heated, fuming, livid, sad, devastated, rip-roaring  mad, crushed, and/or pissed off just would not cover my feelings towards what’s going on with the Penguins these days. Fine. Fire Shero and Bylsma. That needed to happen. Fine. Hire … Continue reading

The Unfortunate Nickname

Poor Brandon Sutter. You ask  why? Watch this weeks preview of “In the Room”

In the Room: A Peek Inside 2/25/14

Sutter gets THAT nickname because he’s skinny? But as our resident bad boy, James Neal, admits, he doesn’t even know how “Flat Stanley” became the official nickname for him.

If he was so skinny, he probably couldn’t do this:

Definitely making it my mission to make sure “Flat Stanley” doesn’t stick around for much longer.

Preview: Sochi 2014

In a few weeks the Olympic hockey team rosters are due.

Team USA and Team Canada have quite a bit up in the air and the players haven’t been making their roster decisions any easier. We’ve decided to take a little look at some of the players around the league that may (or may not) have a chance at making it to Sochi.

Team USA

Goalies:

Ryan Miller

While not playing as well this season as he has in the past, Miller has made the saves that he’s had to make. He’s currently at the top of our list for making the team given that there really isn’t anyone else that is stepping up for the spot. And after all, he’s just so damn American.

Jonathan Quick

A groin strain has had Quick out for a while and the Kings are being relatively vague about how much longer until he’ll be playing again. At the beginning of the season he was USA’s number one choice, so if he can get back out on the ice in time there’s a chance that he could still be considered… but most likely not.

There are obviously other goalies that are being considered such as Ben Bishop and Jimmy Howard. With Howard’s recent injury that’s going to have him out for 2-4 weeks there’s no telling what Team USA is going to end up doing. They’re going to have to consider not only who’s the most skilled but who’s going to be the healthiest and in best shape when it comes to game time. (No I didn’t forget about Timothy Thomas… I just don’t want to talk about him).

Defense:

Team USA is going to look at getting defenseman that work well together as pairs and not necessarily players who are good individually. There are a lot of options out there for Team USA to choose from so pulling players that already have chemistry is going to be where they start from.

Ryan Suter

As a veteran on Team USA, Suter is going to play a big role at Sochi. You’ll find him leading the teams defense and most likely getting the most time defensively on the ice.

Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin

While both of these players are currently out with injuries, there’s no way that you can count them off Team USA’s roster. If there’s any chance that they will be healthy by the Olympics, Poile is going to make sure that they’re going to be making the trip.

Some other players that have a good chance of making team USA on defense are John Carlson, Justin Faulk, Jack Johnson, and Erik Johnson. Young players like Torey Krug and Seth Jones are most likely being considered as well.

Forwards:

When it comes down to deciding which forwards will make the roster there isn’t much controversy. It’s going to be the last few spots that are going to be a tough decision for Poile. Some of the men that have a pretty solid chance at making the roster are Zach Parise, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Kane, Phil, Kessel, Bobby Ryan, Ryan Callahan and Dustin Brown.

David Backes

Our favorite goon of a forward that is most likely headed off to Sochi is the David Backes. A mysterious upper-body injury that forced him to leave the game on Thursday against the Senators hopefully won’t hamper his opportunity.

Team Canada

Goalies:

Carey Price

As expected, Price is doing an alright job with the Montreal Canadiens so far this season. He currently has a record of 15-10-2, save percentage of .935 and a goals against average of 2.00. He has the potential to be the teams starter, but thank goodness back-ups are a thing.

Roberto Luongo

Luongo has been playing better as of late, but his overall stats are no better than those of Price’s. With a record of 16-8-5, save percentage of .921 and goals against average of 2.19, it’s going to be a tough decision for Coach Mike Babcock to decide who will be Team Canada’s net-minder. However, the positive is that he was the starting goaltender in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Oddly enough, Marc-Andre Fleury may potentially be an option for Team Canada as well since he currently leads the league in wins with 18. However, Steve Yzerman has some tough choices because Braden Holtby, Mike Smith, and Corey Crawford were also invited to camp this past summer. None of these choices are outstanding, but they’re all a solid choices for the team.

Defense:

Duncan Keith

Keith currently has 28 assists and 30 points in 36 games. He can quarterback a powerplay and shut down the oppositions offensive threats. He would be a perfect fit for Team Canada.

Shea Weber

Most famously known for having the second hardest slapshot in the world (next to Zdeno Chara of course), he is a strong stay-at-home defenseman that Team Canada will need if there are going to be some offensive defensmen on the roster as well.

Kristopher Letang

When he is in the Penguins line up, he is a difference maker seeing as he quarterbacks their powerplay and also is not afraid to jump into the offensive rush. However, he is currently on the IR with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Meaning there is room for guys like, Drew Doughty, Brent Seabrook, and Alex Pietrangelo.

Forwards:

Jonathan Toews

Since the 2010 Olympics, Toews has done nothing but impress. Winning two Stanley Cups and taking home the Selke Award for Best Defensive Forward, proving that he is capable of leading teams to championships and being a great two-way player that is key to every teams success.

Mike Richards

Another strong, aggressive player who is excellent on the penalty kill as well as the power play. He’s proven his ability to win at all levels with having a Stanley Cup, World Junior Championship, and was a member of the 2010 gold medal winning Team Canada.

Sidney Crosby

Since he was Mr. Golden Goal back in Vancouver and is currently leading the league with 47 points I suppose I have to put him on the list. He is the first layer of the offensive threat that Canada is going to be able to bring.

There are many other options available to Steve Yzerman like Chris Kunitz, Matt Duchene, Patrice Bergeron, and John Tavares to name a few.

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