Wednesday, July 18, 2007

From Captain to... Private?!

First things first: A friendly reminder that today is the last chance to send in your suggestions for a new nickname for Sid. Tomorrow, the voting begins!!

There's not much to report about just Sidney today, but there has been some interesting Penguins news over the past couple of days. And since Sid is a Penguin, this stuff affects him which gives me good reason to pass it on to you.

  • For those of you who don't remember or simply didn't know, as part of preseason training for the 2006-2007 season, Ray Shero and Michel Therrien enrolled our boys in boot camp - LITERALLY! The Penguins trained for a few days at West Point U.S. Military Academy in New York last year, and they have been booked to do it again in September of this year. (Make your own Colby Armstrong joke here.) Dave Molinari of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Sid and the rest of the team is scheduled to spend September 23 through 26 at West Point enduring some good old fashioned basic training. Coach Therrien is working closely with West Point officials to develop an itinerary, but - tee hee - he won't release any details to the media so that the players won't know what to expect when they get there!!! What a way to get back into the swing of things, eh? The rigorous training the Penguins endured received last year is credited with making the teammates so close and helping to facilitate the HUGE improvement that took them to the playoffs. Kinda makes you want to enlist, right? Don't get hasty, now!

  • "You're in the Army now..."

  • The Penguins front office has some new faces. They've added Tom Fitzgerald (Director of Player Development) and Jason Botterill (Director of Hockey Administration). Ordinarily this would be about as interesting as watching grass grow, but longtime Pens fans recognize the name Tom Fitzgerald and may even experience headache and nausea upon hearing that name uttered. Some new and/or young fans are probably asking, "Why, Snoop?" Well, picture this: It's the 1995-1996 season, game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and our heroes are facing the Florida Panthers at home in what is then known as the Civic Arena. The Panthers feature a right winger named Tom Fitzgerald. It's been a hard-fought series. Key Pens center Ron Francis is out with a broken foot. The score is tied at the start of the third period. Less than 10 minutes into the third, Fitzgerald secures his place in the NHL history books and the ire of every single Pens fan. Fitz fires off a slapshot from about 60 feet back that somehow found its way past goalie Tom Barrasso. The damage is done. It is followed up by an insurance goal from Johan Garpenlov. Penguins lose. Wow.

    As if that isn't bad enough, Fitz also played for the 1992-1993 New York Islanders!!! The Isles' improbable and unbelievable upset of the back-to-back Stanley Cup defending champs - our own Pittsburgh Penguins - was completed by a series-winning goal in just over five minutes of overtime in Game 7 from one
    David Volek. Wow. Again.

    Anyhoo, you can now see why it was a bit of a shock to see that Fitz is now working in the front office! One of two things is going on here: Either
    Mario Lemieux is even classier than I originally thought (is that possible?), or he's living by the "Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer" motto...

  • And finally, the funding for the Penguins' new arena was NARROWLY passed on Tuesday. TheVoteWasThisClose: 102 - 100!!! Very literally, we were one vote away from a problem. But since the majority always wins, no matter how small the margin of difference is, we can all breathe a big sigh of relief. The Pens are going to get their new home! :)
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