Summertime Happiness

Thinking that hockey season is just a few short weeks from coming to a close is really depressing. Myself, Tina, and all other hockey fans around the world have to wait until September just for our favorite groups of guys get back together for training camp. Then, we have to wait another month for the regular season to officially start. That’s just so far away!

But then again, it’s SUMMER!

So when there isn’t hockey on tv, what is a girl to do? Oh yeah! Get on social media and find things related to hockey!

Like, “How To Be a Hockey Player” for all you summer / beer leaguers out there.

Or, “How The Playoff Beard Came To Be”

Or, there that whole, follow hockey players on social media to see what they’re up to. Because why not live vicariously through them?

Seriously, I wish I was in Matt Duchene’s shoes, hanging out with country singers in my spare time.

But let’s be honest, we’re way more excited for the new NHL season to start, especially when we have no stock in the Stanley Cup Final. Yet, I will be watching every single game, including tonight’s Game 7 between the LA Kings and Chicago Blackhawks.

P.S. – Go Hawks!! (because Patrick Kane is on a whole other level)

So during this all too long wait, players go to training camp. My particular favorites are Andy O’Brien:

And then, there’s Gary Roberts’ group / Biosteel #CAMP

To say the least, I’m excited for #CAMP 2014 and all things related to hockey players training. If it meant I could hang with those guys, then count me in for insane workouts and a strict diet.

As much as I love summer, I love hockey season even more. So I’ll enjoy the last few games before it’s 3-4 month hiatus.

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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.

In That Moment

Ask me the question, “Do you believe in miracles?” and obviously my answer is, “YES!”

But I’m not talking about the 1980 Olympic Men’s Hockey Team. I’m talking about the 2013-14 Pittsburgh Penguins. I would like to think in a perfect world that they are more than capable of pulling off miracle-like situations.

If any night I was hoping for it to happen, it would’ve been last night. Granted, in the opening minutes when the score was 2-0, I started to slightly panic. But, per usual, Brandon Sutter came up in the clutch.

Brandon Sutter Goal Game 6 v NY Rangers

Come time for the second period, I had some hope. Thoughts along the lines of, “Ok, it’s only one goal and maybe we’ll have an unlikely hero.” And that almost did happen. Twice.

Then, not much later, Brian Gibbons came up with another great breakaway chance, in which Lundqvist didn’t even know where the puck was.

So those two chances go by and the clock starts winding down, until Derick Brassard punishes the Pens once again, and then the period closes.

Me at this time: Ok, 20 minutes to go, and only a two goal deficit. There are worse things.

Welcome to the third period. Might I add that the only thing I was yelling at the TV was, “SHOOT THE PUCK!” Because at that point, the Pens apparently had forgotten that the only way to score the goal was to shoot the puck. Especially on the power play.

The game ended, the Pens on the losing end, aaaaaaaaaaand there was not steam pouring out of my ears for a change. It was more like, “I’m just done.”

Kinda like a few weeks ago when the Pens lost a horrendous Game 5 against the Blue Jackets. Want to revisit that little meltdown <— click there.

But, Sid looks like he was pretty done too.

And so was James Neal. Who received a 10-minute game misconduct with just under 10 seconds left in the game. I have still yet to figure out what he did to get that. Anyone with a clue, let me know.

same, though

But more or less, if the Pens don’t win on Tuesday, we can’t call it “out of the ordinary” since that’s been the trend for a few years now.

If they do lose, my sanity goes with it.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

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!

Happy Birthday, Dutchy!

On this glorious January day in 1991, Matt Duchene graced the world with his presence and we immensely thank his parents.

He’s officially a member of Team Canada, meaning he’s going to tear it up in Sochi, if and when he’s Sid’s and or John Tavares’s winger. Yes, either of those good-looking men since they workout together in the summer!

It’s so easy to love a guy who keeps really great company. But if you’re an Avalanche fan you know he’s capable of magical goals that leave everyone speechless and 29 other goalies looking like helpless kittens.

Just watch the first one again, close-up.

how does he do it?!

Not only does the birthday boy have unbelievable hockey skill, he’s actually a huge country fan. So much that his dog, Paisley, is named after Brad Paisley.

Oh yeah, he plays the guitar too! In related news, all the single ladies just put their hands up to volunteer to be his girlfriend.

Just to make all you country girls fall in love just a bit more, over the summer Matt and a few teammates attended Luke Bryan’s concert. Then, they casually met him afterward!

If you didn’t love Matt Duchene already, you do now.

Happy 23rd Birthday, Dutchy! Celebrate wisely after playing the New Jersey Devils tonight!

obviously with Pauly

Bowling for Smiles

There’s nothing like when hockey player’s are performing charity work within the community. Last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins took a break from being the on-ice idols to become friends with children who are in less than fortunate circumstances.

2014 “Pens & Pins” Make-A-Wish Charity

It’s events like this that make my heart melt. Seeing guys who are larger than life, take time out of their busy schedules to have fun with well deserving kids, is a sight that is always welcome to any fan.

It’s these kind of moments that bring a smile to anyone’s face. Not only does it make you want to restore faith in humanity, but it makes you want to try to be a better person.

It’s no secret that all NHL teams perform acts of charity, like going to local children’s hospitals to deliver Christmas presents. But every time it happens, my overall “level of happiness” soars through the roof.

Whenever any hockey player performs charity work, it completely reaffirms the reasons why Hockey Players are Actually Sweethearts.

Like #4 Can Make a Difference.

24 Reasons Why Hockey Players Are Actually Big, Cuddly Sweethearts

And #7 They’re Very Caring.

But they're also very caring.

Hockey players are the most awesome athletes in the world. Bringing smiles to well-deserving kids and their families warms my heart beyond belief. So, thank you NHL players for being the amazing guys you are and being a part of something that’s greater than yourselves.

The Eligible Bachelor

Welp. There he is. Town & Country’s 50 Most Eligible Bachelors list includes oh so single, Sidney Crosby. At least I think he’s single. Honestly, the picture they used describes him perfectly. Focused, clean-cut, loves his career, and awkward, with a hand (actually fitting) in his pocket.

There were four categories of which comments were made.

First: “The Skinny”. According to his brief profile, he’s rich. As if we were completely unaware of this fact when Sid signed his 12-year contract extension for an average of $8.7 million a year. Oh and it’s stated that he’s the best player in the world (I am aware that  this is a debatable fact). If you’d like to be reminded of how awesome his skills are, re-read Mr. 250 .

Second: “Likes”. He likes the playoffs, yet can’t grow a beard. Yup. That is one undeniable fact. However, I’m also fairly confident he also likes puppies and pockets.

oh the pockets

The third category: “Natural Habitat”. Answer: Nova Scotia, Canada. However, it cannot be assumed that everyone knows Canada’s Golden Boy is from Cole Harbour. As many of us found out yesterday, there are some people under the impression that he was from the United States.

this actually happened

look to the right. in the dark pink there.

I mean, it’s a nice thought because then the USA Men’s Hockey Team could increase their chances of winning gold.

The last category: “Caveat”. Something about Sid potentially missing teeth on our a date.

I have faith that his fake teeth will be in and he will sweep me someone off my their feet.

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!

15 Reasons to Smile

After a rough week of hockey and now the beginning of finals week I couldn’t take it anymore.

We all need a reason to smile. Cause it’s our favorite.

 

So enjoy this little break from studying and take a breath. A deep breath.

Here’s a few things things to remind us that everything is going to be alright.

1) ALL MEN LOOK CUTER WITH PUPPIES

toews6

tuuka

kelly oct 001

p2

toews1

p7

2) THIS HAPPENED

3) SO DID THIS

4) THIS KID SCORED HIS 250TH GOAL…

5) THE OLYMPICS ARE IN ONLY 59 DAYS

6) 24/7 STARTS THIS WEEKEND

7) THERE’S ONLY 16 DAYS UNTIL THIS MAN COMES TO TOWN

8) THE OIL KINGS DECIDED TO START THEIR SINGING CAREERS

9) KRUG CONTINUES TO GET MORE AND MORE ADORABLE

http://video.bruins.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=484075

10) THIS BEAUTY OF A MAINER (@du24theboyz) GOT RECALLED

tumblr_m7imrxQ4Ne1r3xwuio1_400

11) THE COYOTES WENT CAROLING

12) CELEBRITY CRUSHES

13) THIS BROMANCE EXISTS

 

14) EVERYTHING GINGER

15) NHLers ACTING ABILITIES

And with that I’m going to wish you all good luck on your finals and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

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!