Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pens v Rangers (W 3-1)

This is a hockey blog; specifically, it is a Sidney Crosby blog. Normally I like to keep all the things I write here related to Sid or his team, but I thought I should start today's recap out with an explanation of why I may seem out of sorts or slow to respond to my emails or just generally not quite myself for the last recaps of this season: This past Friday, after a normal night at my house with my husband and our four dogs, our nearly 13-year-old Chocolate Lab, Bentley, suddenly went into respiratory failure at around 9:00pm. We had him at the local vet literally less than 15 minutes after the episode started only to be told that he had a mass in his chest. It could only be one of 2 things - a tumor or a problem with his esophagus. If it was a tumor, there was nothing that could be done. If it was the esophagus thing, there was a slim chance that he could be "saved," but he would have lived the rest of his days in a kennel at the vet's office with a feeding tube and getting oxygen treatments. He was quite obviously in pain, and his prognosis in either scenario was grim. After careful consideration, we made the awful decision to bring him peace. I know he was an Old Man, but he was a good dog and will be sorely missed.

My beautiful Bentley
07/31/1995 - 03/28/2008

Today's game was the NBC Game of the Week. Pierre McGuire interviewed Sid to start the game. The Saint basically said that he's not worried about developing chemistry with Marian Hossa because Hossa is so easy to play with. Early on, Sean Avery and Scott Gomez had a little give and go play that resulted in Hal Gill taking a holding penalty. On the ensuing Rangers power play, Evgeni Malkin refused to let Jaromir Jagr have the puck. He and Hossa went sailing down the ice 2-on-3. Geno passed the puck to Hossa, who had a fantastic scoring chance, but Henrik Lundqvist made a great save to prevent it. Then, Brandon Dubinsky went hard to the net as Jagr fired a shot from the blue line. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Jagr's shot, but Dubinsky was there to capitalize on the rebound for the power play goal. [Pens 0, Rangers 1]

Then Hossa made an unreal move - the only way I could come close to describing it was that it was kind of like a drop pass to himself. What a player! Big Georges Laraque drilled a guy into the boards in a clear demonstration that the game was about to get more physical. Tyler Kennedy followed suit and drilled another Ranger shortly thereafter. Geno was all over Jagr like white on rice (← where does that expression even come from?!). Then Sid set up an amazing play. From the far corner, he centered a pass that was intended for Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis was unable to get a shot on it as he was surrounded by Rangers, but the puck hit his skate and went right to Hossa, who streaked in from behind. Hossa sniped the puck right past Lundqvist. [Pens 1, Rangers 1]

On the very next play, Petr Prucha took a penalty for roughing, but the Pens couldn't capitalize on their advantage. Later, we could actually hear Sid tweaking after an icing call because it was more than clear that Sid had touched the puck first. After a couple of Rangers near misses, they turned the puck over to Geno, who headmanned the puck to Ryan Malone. As he rushed the goal, Bugsy was hooked by Fedor Tyutin. On the ensuin Pens power play, Sid made a sweet pass to Hossa, but Lundqvist shut the door on Hossa's shot. Then Sid powered his way through all four Rangers only to be slashed by Fredrik Sjostrom in the process. This gave the Pens more than 30 seconds with a 2-man advantage. Geno fired shot after shot after shot. It seemed like he was setting up each of the Pens on the ice with him with awesome scoring chances that they couldn't get past Lundqvist, which included a redirect attempt from Sid on one knee. Finally, Geno took matters into his own hands and blasted a shot that popped Lundqvist's waterbottle up in the air. [Pens 2, Rangers 1] Sid earned a second assist from this goal because he sent the puck to Sergei Gonchar, who then passed the puck to Geno for the powerful shot.

The goal came with just a few seconds left on the 5-on-3, so the Pens had almost 90 seconds left on their power play, but they didn't score another goal. With only :04.3 seconds left, Flower made a key save to keep the Pens in the lead as they went to the second period.

Forty seconds into the second period, Hossa was given a penalty for hooking. Bugsy and Jordan Staal were beasts on the penalty kill, and the Rangers were unable to score. The Pens' 4th line (Laraque, Jarrko Ruutu, and Mad Max Talbot) along with defenders Kris Letang and Daryl Sydor had an amazing shift. They were able to keep the puck in the offensive zone for several minutes. The crowd was so impressed that they gave the men a standing ovation. As he went to the bench, Ruutu was involved in a little physicality with Dan Girardi that resulted in a broken nose, but he's so tough that he didn't miss any ice time because of it.

Just a note - those Verizon "Hockey Fans Aren't Like Other Fans" commercials are pretty funny. The last one showed a new dad beating on the nursery glass and yelling that his baby was the best baby in the hospital. The new one had a woman in a French maid costume sprinkling white rose petals on a bed. She calls her husband and tells him to come into the room. He bursts in dressed as a Flyers goalie, and she looks at him like he's nuts. He says, "What? You said fantasy! Let's do this!"

The Pens got a ton of chances, but the Rangers made a ton of blocks. Jordan got away with a hit from behind on Gomez. Then something frightening happened to Geno. He and Dubinsky got tied up in the corner. Geno went down, and Dubinsky kept playing and in the process, kicked Geno in the back of the head then dragged his skate over Geno's neck and face. Unbelievably, play was not stopped as Geno writhed around. He got up and ripped off his helmet and made his way over to the bench. The trainers took him to the locker room for medical assistance. Meanwhile, seeing their superstar super-scorer getting injured did not sit well with the rest of the Pens. The Pens' physicality amped up. After being hit hard by Christian Backman, Sidney gave Backman three hard cross checks. The Pens ended up drawing a penalty not on Backman but on Jagr for hooking. Predictably, as the play was whistled down, a fight broke out between the teams. Backman said something to Sid, and Sid crosschecked him again. Backman went after Sid. Letang rushed in to defend his captain from the onslaught of other Rangers. It ended up that Letang and Marc Staal were involved in the worst fight, with Letang taking his former Team Canada World Juniors teammate Staal down pretty easily.

After the dust settled, the Pens ended up with a power play, but they were unable to even get a shot during their advantage. More nastiness from both sides came. Our man Sid gave Martin Straka a crosscheck, and the Rangers' bench went wild. With less than 2 minutes left in the period, Jordan drew an interference penalty on Michal Rozsival. During the Pens' advantage, Ryan Whitney (playing left wing again) had a little issue with Brendan Shanahan. Whit hit Shanahan, who went down. As he was down in the corner, Shanahan held onto Whit's arm - out of view of the refs. Whit found a way to get out of it, though, when he pushed on Shanahan's head and knocked his helmet off. The period ended with the same score as the end of the first period.

The third period began with Geno coming back to the ice after receiving 10 stitches. (WHEW!!!) Dubinsky was seen chatting with Geno and tapping Geno with his stick. Hopefully it was an apology. Rozival was still in the box for about 10 seconds. The Pens were again held shotless on their power play. A little after he got back on the ice, Rozival just missed a wide open net as the puck slid through the blue paint while MAF was down. Jagr was prevented from getting to the puck to push it over the goal line by the Pens' defensemen. We were told that Sid was mic'd up again today. They played a few clips of him repeatedly yelling, "Hey, hey, hey!" to his teammates. The best clip was of Sid telling the linesman, "I like my job better, for sure!" after the erroneous icing call.

Hossa passed the puck to Sid, who was highsticked by Gomez on the rush. McGuire (who was broadcasting from between the benches), Mike "Doc" Emrick, and Eddie Olczyk all quickly came to the conclusion that Sid had faked it and sold the refs on it. Dubinsky yelled from the bench to Sid, "Faker!" to which Sidney just laughed in response. The Pens didn't score (or get even a single shot) on their allegedly ill-gotten advantage.

As NBC returned from the next commercial break, McGuire had to eat a big plate of crow as he told us that Sid made his way down the bench and asked him point blank, "Did you say I embellished that?" McGuire said it on live national television, so it wasn't as if he could deny it. He owned up and said yes only to be shown the black marks on Sid's mouthguard that came from the tape on the blade of Gomez's stick as it clipped him in the teeth. SUCK ON THAT!!! It's too bad for Sidney. It seems like everyone - even the "unbiased" journalists - buys into that "diver" crap.

The Pens 4th line had another amazing shift, but Lundqvist just wouldn't let them score. Jordan drew yet another penalty, this time it was on Straka for tripping. The Pens finally started getting pucks on net for this power play, but Lundqvist made a series of great saves to keep his team in the game. At right about the 6:00 mark, insanity ensued. A break in the action came only when Letang took a crosschecking penalty. This time, the Pens kept the Rangers shotless on this Rangers power play.

With :46 seconds left in the game, Lundqvist was focussed solely on getting back to the bench so the Rangers could add an extra attacker. He was apparently too focussed on that because he missed catching the puck but moved his feet to play the puck and escape as though he had. I don't know if he realized that he didn't have the puck because he suddenly froze. Max swooped in and poked the loose puck into the back of the net for the insurance goal. [Pens 3, Rangers 1]

Paul Mara took a holding penalty in the last 20 seconds of the game, but the Rangers had already lost the game. With this win, the Pens are perched atop the entire Eastern Conference! These teams go at it again tomorrow night in Madison Square Garden at 7:00pm. GO PENS!!!

Labels: ,

Creative Commons License
The Sidney Crosby Show
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
(Based on all work at