Category Archives: Pittsburgh Penguins

Game Four Puts The Penguins On The Brink. Maybe They Shouldn’t Have Made The Trade.

By beating Pittsburgh 2-1 Saturday night, the Detroit Red Wings are only one game away from (1) winning the Stanley Cup, and (2), making me look really smart because I predicted Detroit in five games.

Detroit just seems too deep in the lineup for the Penguins. It’s a team of much more than simply Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Nick Lidstrom. There’s all kinds of contributors spread throughout this lineup. Kind of makes you wonder how they went something like one win and eight losses during a bad stretch in the regular season.

And they’re doing this job with seven Swedes in their lineup. What would Harold Ballard think?

Pittsburgh on the other hand is Sidney Crosby, Gary Roberts, who makes up with heart what he’s lost in skill, (he is, after all, about 80 years old), and sometimes Marian Hossa and Evgeny Malkin.

Malkin looks like he’s in school, learning with great surprise that it takes a whole different game in the playoffs than it does in the regular season. Maybe he’s learning for future years, maybe not. All I know is that if I’m choosing a Russian for my team, I’d pick Pavel Datsyuk over Malkin. Datsyuk has this wonderful feistiness that I didn’t realize he had, and it goes along perfectly with his great skill.

Marian Hossa is good, not great, and I think Pittsburgh may have been more successful if they would’ve kept Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen, instead of trading these young studs to Atlanta for the hired gun, Hossa. And don’t forget, Pittsburgh also gave away future star Angelo Esposito and a first round draft pick in this Hossa deal.

Not to mention the fact that Hossa could be gone from Pittsburgh after this season.

Announcer Bob Cole has been doing a fairly good job in this series. Maybe he’s only a wanker when he does Habs games.

Further to the last post regarding arenas and how most are named after banks and other corporations. It occurred to me today that maybe Vancouver Canucks fans might want to hope that BC Ferries doesn’t buy General Motors Place. There’s something about BC Ferries Place that doesn’t sound right. Don’t you think?

 

 

A Short Tale Of Two Arenas

Game four of the Stanley Cup finals is played, of course, at Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena. This place, once known as the Civic Arena and nicknamed the Igloo, is the oldest in the league, having opened its’ doors in 1961. It holds about 17,000 people, is old, it leaks in places, and some people can’t see because an overhead structure obstructs their view. So televisions have been placed so they can watch the game they’re at on the screen.

The Civic Arena became the home of the Penguins when the team entered the league in the 1967 expansion.  The name was changed to Mellon in 1999, and was, like several other arenas around the league, named for a bank. 

When game five goes in Detroit, it will be, as always, played at the Joe Louis Arena, named after Detroit native and world champion boxer Joe Louis. It’s nice that this arena isn’t named after a bank or some other conglomerate.

The Joe has been around since 1979, and before that, the Wings played at the old Olympia, home of Gordie Howe, Alex Delvecchio, Terry Sawchuk, and several hundred dead octopi.

It holds just over 20,000. 

Sidney Crosby Takes The Bull By The Horns And Wakes His Penguins Up

The good news for the Pittsburgh Penguins is their three big guys, Crosby, Malkin, and Hossa, played well. The even better news for the Penguins is that they won game three, and are now pretty well back in the series. But not quite.

Sidney Crosby did what all great stars throughout the years have done. Stepped forward and scored huge goals in big games. Like Orr did, And Richard, Howe, Messier, Lemieux, Gretzky, and all the great ones over the years did.

Tonight, he netted the first two of the game, which broke the team goal drought, and which got the Penguins going.

That’s why he’s a star. He acts like one.

The Penguins barely won game three, though, hanging on for dear life through the third period. And all they have to do is win the next three out of four games.

So I’m not going to predict anything. I’m not Kreskin. It’s sort of possible that Pittsburgh could come all the way back and win this series. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

And like Toe Blake said, “predictions are for gypsys.”

One thing I feel though. Penguins defenceman Hal Gill should be read the riot act. What guys like Gill are known for are silly physical penalties that happen because the skill level isn’t quite up there. He can cost his team the game, which almost happened tonight.

One other note regarding tonight’s game on CBC. Pittsburgh cameras are placed alnost as high up as they are in Tampa. These cameras should be down at least fifteen feet. Detroit’s are. Lots of teams are. Although lots aren’t. I don’t know why. 

In Montreal news.

Guy Lafleur has apparently said that when Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev become free agents in 2009, the Habs should concentrate more on signing Kovalev. He said Koivu is too serious and business-like in the dressing room, too demanding of his teammates.

What the hell is wrong with that? That just tells me that Koivu is about winning, is about making sure he and his teammates give their all. This is the way Mark Messier was, and Ted Lindsay years ago, and so many other great leaders. These guys have all summer to relax, joke around, have a good time. During the season, they’d better perform, better take it seriously. They’re being paid enough money.

If Koivu’s teammates, and there’s probably only a couple if any, don’t like his hard-core expectations, they should take up ballet instead.

Of course, this could be just one more case of Lafleur saying things that maybe he shouldn’t be saying. He’s been doing this for more than thirty years.

I say the team should concentrate on signing both. They’re equally important in the scheme of things in Montreal.

But I honestly do like the tough approach from the captain.

Game 2. Is It Going To Get Worse For The Pittsburgh Penguins?

Am I ever all glad I’m not a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. All the anticipation, all the confidence, and all the high expectations for Sidney Crosby, Marian Hossa, and Evgeny Malkin. Now, after two games, the Detroit Red Wings have won both games, both in shutouts, outscoring Pittsburgh 7-0 in the process. How much more dismal can it get for the Pittsburgh Penguins?       

Sidney Crosby has looked absolutely ordinary.

And Evgeny Malkin especially has so far been lousy at best, and it’s a bit of a flashback to another time. It took years for the Europeans to dispel the notion that they didn’t show up in the playoffs. Players came along like Pavel Bure, Sergei Fedorov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Alex Ovechkin, and Ilya Kovalchuk who showed grit and soul in the playoffs.

Now, the Penguins and Malkin are, for some strange reason, in some sort of deep sleep. They’re boring, lacklustre, and outplayed.

Who would’ve thought? The Montreal Canadiens would’ve given the Red Wings much more a run for their money.

And regarding the Detroit Red Wings, they have seven players on their team from Sweden, and the core of these, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Johna Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, and Tomas Holmstrom, are playing such a serious game of playoff hockey, that they’re all making Crosby, Malkin, Hossa and company look like the Ottawa Senators.

Wow!

This Detroit team is impressive indeed. Pavel Datsyuk, from Russia, is a magician, and the video shown often the past year of him coming in on a shootout and doing this wonderfully beautiful move stands out as as smooth a goal you’ll ever see.

Such an anticipated series between two colourful teams with a load of stars. But so far, it’s been completely one-sided. Most of us thought this was going to be a sensational series. So far, it’s anything but.

Am I ever glad I’m not a Penguins fan.

Detroit Looks Too Strong For The Penguins. Plus!! How The Octopus Started!

(From last year, 2008)

I just need to say this. There’s still a few things to be ironed out in my new site, which is the one you’re looking at right now. For example, some of my stories on Google aren’t connecting. And we’ve fixed a few other little things. And if the site is a bit slow to boot up, it’s probably because there’a a lot of good stuff on it which wasn’t there before.

I just want to make sure you bookmark it, add to your favourites, or whatever. It’s now dennis-kane.com.

I’m praying you’ll experience no trouble. You are being automatically transferred from the old one to the new one, and hopefully that’s all going well. You just need to bookmark it, that’s all.

It’s very stressful for me. I don’t want to lose readers. dennis-kane.com

Now, to the playoffs. I know it’s early, but my take on all this is that the Detroit Red Wings have just too much ammunition for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They not only have three of the world’s best players in Nick Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, and Pavel Datsyuk, but they keep uncovering lesser lights to come forward and play like Rocket Richard. First it was Johan Franzen, then Mikael Samuelsson and Dan Cleary. Who will be next?

There’s too much fire power there. Of course Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin, and Marian Hossa, and this is substantial stuff. But Detroit seems more well-rounded, more experienced, and more confident.

If I was a betting man, I’d lay down hard cash on the Detroit Red Wings. No question about it.

I wonder if Brendan Shanahan is regretting not resigning with the Wings. It could have been an excellent chance to tuck another Cup under his belt.

And speaking of Shanahan, rumour is Montreal might still be interested in him. But he’s old, slow, and he had the Habs wine and dine him before he chose the Rangers at the last second. If I was Bob Gainey, I’d be taking this personally. But business is business, I guess.

But we don’t want him, plain and simple. He didn’t show good character.

The other rumour is that Montreal is also interested in grabbing Marian Hossa for next year. This is a bit better situation than Shanahan, but would he be paid more than Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev, for example?

We don’t want to rock the good ship Habitants. They’re on an even keel to powerhouse city, and we don’t want any big waves.

ABOUT THE OCTOPUS:

During the intermission of a 1951-52 playoff game at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium, an octopus was thrown on the ice. The fishmonger who threw it later explained that the eight tentacles of the octopus were supposed to symbolize the number of victories needed to win the Stanley Cup. It’s been a tradition ever since in Detroit.

So now you know.

Andrei Kostitsyn Will Stay, A Scary Habs Story, And A New Site That Looks Like The Old One (Almost)

Several things to talk about on this sunny west coast day. And don’t worry, It won’t take long. I know you have a lawn to cut.

(Please note – I’m on a new site now  dennis-kane.com, so please add this new address to your favourites. More about his down below. Thanks.)

Reports say that Andrei Kostitsyn has said his plans are to stay with the Montreal Canadiens and not accept any offers from certain Russian teams with fat wallets. He likes Montreal, he likes the team, and he likes playing with his brother Sergei. Andrei was a free agent and could’ve bolted on us, but isn’t going to now. He’s a star in the making, and we need him for the Quest for the Cup next year. So hip hip hooray to Andrei Kostitsyn!

We like Andrei. He’s a good Hab.

Now a shocker of a tidbit. Are you ready for this?

Sometime around 1950, the Habs were returning from Toronto by train when their car suddenly derailed while crossing a bridge over ice waters of the Ottawa River. Had the car been flung to the right instead of to the left, which threw several players from their berths, the entire team would have plunged into the river.

I didn’t know this before but have just read it in a Terry Sawchuck biography. Imagine. We could’ve lost the entire Montreal Canadiens in one fell swoop. This is all quite unnerving.

Now, the news I’ve been waiting to tell you. You might see a few changes in the look of this blog. With the help of computer whiz Robin Murray, my old site was transferred lock, stock, and barrel over to a new one (although it looks the same) and I have a new domain address. It’s dennis-kane.com.

You have been automatically switched over to the new one through the wonders of technology, and this will always happen but you might, at some point, want to remember the new address, dennis-kane.com.

I moved it to this new one so I can have more freedom. I’ve included tasteful ads, and a world map showing where people live who have gone on my site. There’s CBC daily sports news updates, a whole bunch of Habs videos you can watch, and other cool things.

This blog is very important to me and I want it to grow, and it is. It was stressful doing these changes because I basically didn’t have a clue, but Robin took on the challenge, and with great patience and know how, came through for me. He never got angry at me with all my questions and obvious stress showing all over my face and voice, and he just carried on with a smile, tweaking and suggesting, and getting it done.

I grew up with typewriters, and so Robin became more important than you can imagine. If you have any questions for this great guru, he’s at greatoutdoorstoday@gmail.com. He’s a friendly sort.

NHL Powers-That-Be Are Not Rocket Scientists

That sound you hear is the sound of hockey fans all over the world losing interest in the 2007-2008 NHL season.

NHL brainiacs are probably quite intelligent people in many things in their lives. Some might be able to rebuild car engines, others might do complex math equations, while others might be able to fix broken plumbing.

But when it comes to running the show, these same people are really stupid.

It came first when the NHL season was stretched to 82 games. Because already, we know the playoffs are going to go into late spring, early summer.

But now we’ve been waiting since Monday for the first game of the Stanley Cup finals to begin on Saturday. Almost a week later.

Don’t these people understand that with summer comes outdoors stuff? There’s barbeques, beaches, camping, lawn cutting, sitting outside, baseball, campfires, gardens to attend to, things to build, things to fix outdoors, going for walks, sleeping on the hammock.

Hockey goes on the backburner very quickly.

So it’s up to these people to hold our interest because it’s in their best interests. If no one’s watching, then advertisers won’t advertise. Seats won’t get bought. Merchandise won’t be sold. Fans just might go away and stay away.

All because these people, Gary Bettman, Colin Campbell, NHL General Managers and owners, are really stupid.

If they are really forced to stretch this out, then come up with a plan B. Just don’t go away and expect us to stick around. This week, there could have been classic playoff games to watch on regular cable TV. There could’ve been documentaries on the Stanley Cup, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. We could’ve learned more about Evgeny Malkin, Henrik Zetterberg, and Pavel Datsyuk.

They could’ve force-fed us hockey on different levels and forced us to stay interested.

There should’ve been a big build up all week to the final showcase. But nothing. Zero. Except for the usual TSN, Sportsnet spewing.

How can they not realize they’re losing viewers by playing right into summer with big gaps in between? Can they be that stupid? 

It’s fine and dandy for hard-core Detroit and Pittsburgh fans to gear up for the final. But two cities does not make a league, or television ratings.

Surely at some point, these people should clue in. Shouldn’t they?