Thursday, November 13, 2008

Random Notes from around the Three Rivers

I racked my brain for a good portion of the day and truth be told, I just could not really come up with a truly good idea for a column, so I decided instead I would bounce around the Pittsburgh sports scene and give some commentary on what's going on in our slice of heaven.

-As I am typing this, the Pens are in the midst of a monster collapse against the hated Philadelphia Flyers. Such a huge collapse, in fact, that they pulled Marc-Andre Fleury prior to the third period because he blew a 3-0 lead and it has morphed into a 4-3 tilt in favor of the Fly Guys. It remains to be seen how this one turns out, but I am becoming increasingly concerned with this team's apparent inability to play a complete game. The season is still young and the Pens will undoubtedly have ample time this season to work out some of these kinks, but good teams just don't have these kinds of collapses. When the Pens are on their A game, they can outplay anyone in the league, but these moments just don't come often enough.

-If Big Ben says he is healthy enough to stay on the field, then you know what? I believe him. At no point in his career has Roethlisberger ever shown interest in anything but winning, and I truly don't think personal stats and glory are secondary to this kid, and as much as it may have looked like he was struggling badly in the Indy game (and even he admitted that he was), I am willing to give our Super Bowl winning QB the benefit of the doubt, and let's not forget one thing folks. Despite how well he played in the second half of the Redskins game, there is a reason why Byron Leftwich was run out of Jacksonville and Atlanta and spent several months without so much as a nibble on the free agent market.

-This one goes out to a certain person who is a fan of that largest college in the state. Earlier this year, I heard certain things emanating from State College about a certain math equation that seemed to develop: If Penn State > Oregon State, and Oregon State > Preseason National Championship Favorite Southern Cal, then quite obviously, Penn State > Southern Cal. Now a few months later, I'd like to present the following equation to you crazy Stater fans who pretend not to care about Pitt, but get all riled up about Pitt anyway: Earlier this season, the following equation developed: Pitt > Iowa. Last weekend, Iowa > Penn State.... Would you like for me to finish that equation??? No? Okay. Well I look forward to the comments anyway.

-Speaking of my beloved Panthers, it is going to be unbelievably fascinating to see how the goofy Big East shakes out the rest of the way. I know that there are countless college football fans who look down their nose at the Big East, and for some they probably have the right to do so (looking directly at the Big 12 and SEC), but I really believe it is the most parity-filled league, and I think that's a good thing. While it hurts the league's ability to have a truly elite team, it keeps all the fans interested (except of course for Syracuse, who absolutely owns Louisville for some reason, but would likely struggle against Gateway High School), and it also can lead to possible scenarios like the potential 5 team tie that the Big East could have atop its ranks in a few weeks if things break just right.

-I'll be headed to the Panthers' clash with Fairleigh Dickinson at the Pete tomorrow night and will report some impressions afterward. It should be a laugher, meaning there could be some very intriguing looks at the youngsters.

-It's not the least bit surprising to see the Pirates keeping all quiet on their home front while other teams are a wheelin' and a dealin' following last week's meetings. The Bucs don't actually have a ton of potential trade candidates on the roster. Of course, it's almost considered to be a sure thing that Jumpin' Jack Wilson will be dealt, but I think we will see Neal Huntington stand very pat on that one until he gets a good deal, and no good deals are likely to come through until after the elite free agents are off the market.

-Right as I was having a bit of a brain cramp as far as what to write next.... GOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL for Sid the Kid. He comes in from the right circle and drills one past the keeper from his knee. I mean, I know Sid has gotten off to a bit of a slow start (as slow as one can call it when a player is averaging more than a point per game) but this guy absolutely OWNS the Flyers doesn't he? Ever since Dirty Derian Hatcher cheap shotted him and knocked out a tooth he has been a one-man wrecking crew against the Pens biggest rivals. Very exciting stuff, and let's see if the Pens can get another one on the board here in the waning minutes of the third to cap another exciting comeback.

-I've previously postulated, though I don't think in this forum, that I thought that the Big East could be headed for a split down the line that would cause them to lose some of their catholic schools (specifically St. John's, Seton Hall, Providence and DePaul) because of how difficult it has been for these schools to compete since the expansion. But with the announcement of a Providence man, John Marinatto, to replace Mike Tranghese as commissioner, I am going to shelve that prediction. I do think that this could lead to something (I have no idea what) being done to give the Catholic schools a leg up against their much larger competition. I also think that this means this will essentially be a continuation of the Mike Tranghese era, and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, I think the Big East could have used some new thoughts regarding their incredible uniqueness, and this likely means regurgitated thoughts.

-Remember a year ago when the Pirates were rumored to be getting Kelly Shoppach and Cliff Lee for Jason Bay and it was shot down by the Pirates because it was viewed as not being enough? Well, a year later, after getting some serious question marks in exchange for J-Bay and watching Cliff Lee take home the Cy Young earlier today, I'd say they made the wrong call there. To be fair, most thought it wasn't enough for Bay and hindsight is always 20-20, and yours truly certainly was opposed to it, it probably isn't a great sign when you can say that your GM turned down a deal that would have allowed him to acquire the Cy Young winner at his lowest value of his entire career. Still though, I'm not actually upset with NH, just wanted to bring it up in case anyone forgot.

-Here we go with a SHOOTOUT!!!!!! Petr Sykora shoots first for the Penguinos, and... he shoots it directly into the goalie's pads. Here comes Simon Gagne against Sabourin... and he makes a brilliant poke check! 0-0 after the first round! Next for the Pens is Kris Letang, a shockingly good shoot out man. Here he comes... DENIED by Biron on the forehand, and he even tried to put it in a second time and was denied twice, luckily it only counts once. Next is the dreaded Mike Richards... and Sabourin makes a spectacular save after getting deked out like crazy. Here comes our star Sid the kid.... and he MISSES the net! Damn! That was a poor move by 8-7. Jeff Carter is last... you can feel the tension... SABO MAKES THE SAVE!!! We're going to extra shots. GENO! GENO! GENO! Here comes Malkin...He makes a sick move but can't finish with what Paul Alexander calls the old Peter Forsberg move. Poke check by Biron stops him. Kimmo Timonen skates up... He had Sabo beat but HE HITS THE POST! Next up, sell your soul because here comes Satan!!! Miro is poke checked away by Biron and we are still scoreless after 4 1/2 rounds. Oh man this is nerve wracking. Joffrey Lupul coming in... and SABO makes another one! WOW this is unreal. Here comes the rook, Alex Goligoski...What a MOVE!!!!! HE SCORES!!! Back and forth he snaked and he knocked it around Biron. Here comes the hated thug Scotty Hartnell... I hope he breaks his neck... and Sabourin poke checks it out!!!!! PENS WIN! PENS WIN! PENS WIN! What a performance by Dany Sabourin in relief, and that jerk Hartnell, after getting stopped, bowls over Sabourin in a typically ridiculously dirty play and talks trash on him. Ooohh Man do I hate that guy. It doesn't matter though because that loser choked!!!!!! Pens with their second monster comeback in a row! On that note, I think I will call it a column here with this little strem of consciousness-y account of the Pens shootout. Good Fight, Good Night!

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

How did I know that this was coming about Pitt/ Penn State? You can be delusional all you want pal, but you and I know what would happen if they played this year in a game. Let me know when you guys get more than 50,000 at a game. When that happens, then maybe we'll talk because at least you'll have half of our capacity.