Challenge Accepted

Yes, it’s been a quiet summer here at For the Love of Goons. But that doesn’t mean we’ve gone underground. Tina and I are here, just with work and life consuming every free second.

One of those free moments was used to complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I was so glad to be nominated and excited to dump a bucket of freezing cold ice water over my head with the rest of my coworkers. But what’s even better, watching athletes complete the challenge themselves.

Here’s the story behind this awesome trend that’s swept the nation:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:11366483

Obviously, Sidney Crosby completing it was one of the highlights of the summer. However, nothing was going to beat seeing James Neal’s long overdue acceptance of Paul Martin’s  nomination. Which led to this video appearing on my Twitter feed this afternoon.

It’s the second (or third) time Evgeni Malkin has been nominated to complete the challenge. So let’s go Geno!

Just a small update for the time being. Hope you all are enjoying your last few weeks of summer. Can’t wait for hockey season to be under way!!

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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

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!

image

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.

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!

For the Love of Geno

I’m obsessed. As if Evgeni Malkin couldn’t be more adorable with his Russian foriegn-ness, he does it again in this video.

Twitter Q&A with Evgeni Malkin

Geno not fully knowing or understanding the American language is probably the best thing that has ever happened. Just watch how he asks to know the name of a cat:

“How’s name this guy?” In case you had trouble understanding him, but you know it’s just another reason to love Geno more and more.

My sincerest thank you’s are owed to the Pittsburgh Penguins media team for putting these two videos together because with them, Geno becomes the hockey world’s most lovable foreigner.

It’s (Actually) Rivalry Night

On the night of a Pittsburgh Penguins game, I love hearing Penguins’ radio announcer Mike Lange say, “It’s a hockey night in Pittsburgh!” It’s the best possible introduction to every single Penguins game, whether at Consol Energy Center or on the road. But tonight I am tempted to scream, “It’s a rivalry night in Pittsburgh!”

The bad blood that exists between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers will always exist. Whether they are two evenly matched teams, or one is dominating the other, the bubbling hate between these cross-state rivals is undeniable and relentless.

giroux - crosby 2011

Swinging punches, incessant chirping, and not-so-discrete tit for tat moments are clearly a staple of these true rivalry games. But lets look beyond their nasty history and dive into what these two teams have been up against so far this season.

Philadelphia Flyers (6-10-1)

For the second season in a row, the Flyers are off to a less than impressive start that got Peter Laviolette fired after having a horrendous preseason and losing the first three regular season games. However, after bringing in former Flyer, Craig Berube, it does not appear that the team is doing any better. There have been some glimmers of optimism, like the 5-0 win over the Ottawa Senators, who are only one spot out of the Wild Card. But then there have been some other games when it appears that all hope is lost. Specifically the 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals, where Ray Emery now infamously beat an unwilling Braden Holtby to a pulp.

Pittsburgh Penguins (11-6-0)

Yes, I am completely bias since they are my favorite team. But I’ll also be the first person to call them out when they’re not as great as they could be. Recently depleted by the injuries of two of their top four defenseman, Rob Scuderi and Paul Martin, the Pens have been struggling, losing 5-1 to the Rangers and 2-1 to the Blues. Sometimes the defense doesn’t show up, other times the offense disappears, or in most cases the boys just get a bit too cocky. There doesn’t appear to be a thoroughly logical explanation for their ups and downs, especially now with James Neal and Beau Bennett back in the line up earlier than expected. It’s been said before and I’ll repeat it again, the Pens have an explosive offense when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are scoring. Except they (especially Geno) have been lackluster in their past few games. Maybe the game against the Flyers will light a fire under their asses.

so true Sid, so true

so true Sid, so true

Who knows how this game will end; one team is looking for a bounce back, the other a glimmer of hope when things are really not going well. Maybe this heated rivalry will foster the best out of these two teams and add more fuel to the fire between the Flyers and Penguins. I’m excited and you should be too! It’s a real rivalry night!