Counting Down The Minutes: Off-Season Edition
Can we blame Gary Bettman for the fact that it’s not October yet? Let’s do it anyway.
If, like me, you reside in the Pens camp, maybe you’ve been following the news that we’ve just hired a new goalie coach: Mike Bales, who was already a cog in the Penguins machinery as our goalie development guru. Goaltending has been a spot of some concern for the Pens over the last few seasons- *cough* playoffs *cough*- so here’s hoping that Bales can coax some consistent brilliance out of Flower and Co. The goaltending tandem at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton put up some of the best numbers in the AHL under Bales’ tutelage in 2012-13, which is enough to fill our heads with wild optimism and pre-season giddiness. What if Flower posts a 1.20 GAA this season, guys?! He could! He could do it!
This is the time to be drunk on POSSIBILITY.
Bales joins Jacques Martin in the newbies section of the Pen’s coaching corner. A one-time Jack Adams winner (1999, Ottawa), Martin has a very impressive resume. I’m hoping he’ll bring a fresh perspective to the bench, as well as some gravitas and balance, but what I really need to know is, can he hop up the wall and hurl obscenities over the gleaming dome of Pierre McGuirre and in the direction of the always delightful Peter Laviolette? Because that’s an important part of the job, Jacques. Do you mind if we call you Jacques?
Just another day at the office.
And what about you, Rangers supporters? What news have you been nibbling on before your entrees arrive in October? Most likely you’ve been daydreaming about what our shiny new coaching staff has planned for the coming months. Shouting relentlessly at beleaguered forwards and cursing angrily at reporters for no real reason? No, friends, that is so last season. It’s a brand new day at MSG. Welcome, Alain Vigneault! Welcome back, Ulf Samuelsson and Daniel Lacroix! We can’t wait to see what you have in store. May I suggest simply speaking to your players in a normal, even occasionally respectful, tone of voice? There, we’re improving already.
Honestly, it was fun while it lasted. Mostly. Is fun the right word?
For those who don’t support the Pens or the Rangers, we still feel your pain. The off-season may be the one thing that truly unites all hockey fans, regardless of team orientation. Because whether you dance with the Devils, get your rocks off in Colorado, or by the misfortune of your birth are somehow wedded to the Leafs, we’re all thinking the same thing right about now:
DROP THE FREAKING PUCK ALREADY.
Cheers, and thanks for reading.
Game notes: Rangers/Pens. Rangers win 6-1.
Let’s Go Rangers?
Sometimes when people ask me what my favorite movie is, I tell them something respectable like Rashomon or Vertigo or The Seventh Seal or whatever. But honestly, it’s Dumb and Dumber. Which, as you may know, features the following quote: "Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…AND COMPLETELY REDEEM YOURSELF!”
The Rangers beat the Pens last night. Everyone came to play. Everyone.
So much happy!
But I should clarify. When I say ‘everyone’, I do not mean Marian Gaborik, who now hustles for the Columbus Blue Jackets. But I do mean Ryan Clowe, Derrick Brassard, and John Moore, the new kids on the block. Brassard and Moore hit the ice just 15 minutes after arriving in New York, and then combined for two goals and three assists on the night (Moore: 1 G; Brassard: 1 G, 3 A). Clowe got his name on the score sheet just days after making the move from San Jose. What in the name of Messier is that about? The noobs took the welcome mat, doused it in fine champagne, and set it on fire.
Welcome. We love you already.
Oh, and on the subject of Gaborik— he deserves sincere thanks for his services to the club, but I have felt for a long time that Gabby needed to go. His performance this year was absolutely horrendous, but more than that he just didn’t look happy. Square peg, round hole. I wish him all the best in Columbus. And he gets to play with Dubinsky and Anisimov again. That’s cool, right?
Back to all the good stuff. Brian Boyle picked one up to start things off in the first, and also notched three assists. Ryan McDonagh tallied twice. Brad Richards had three assists, Dan Girardi had one. Granted the Pens defense was asleep at the wheel (also asleep at the wheel: the Pens offense, aside from Pascal Dupuis, because of course. The man is a warrior), but wouldn’t it have been just like the Rangers to fail miserably to take advantage of that fact?
Somehow, though, they managed to turn on the charm and seal the deal.
So what clicked? Don’t act like you know, because no one knows. The team has been nearly impossible to diagnose this season. Maybe this new group of players can manage to stop the blood that has been gushing directly out of our hearts since we banished Brandon Prust and the aformentioned Dubinsky and Anisimov. Will the Rangers give a similar performance tomorrow night in Pittsburgh? Flip a coin. Let’s be honest— there’s nothing about the Rangers performance this season to suggest that a win of this magnitude could herald a lasting upward swing.
But then again, we know they can do it. Hell, we’ve always known they can do it. Sticks up and fingers crossed, boys. We’re all hoping that you, too, will be able to go from this:
The look of success if I have ever seen it.
Cheers, and thanks for reading.
Aww, thank you very much! I am always so glad to hear that. I hope you’ll keep reading. Cheers! :)
Game notes: Rangers/Pens. Rangers win 6-1
Clearly— and I’m saying this with great deal of love— the Pens have some adjusting to do. Yes, Crosby is still out and that’s obviously huge, but the continued absence of Kris Letang and Paul Martin is a pretty big challenge too. I really believe that the Pens have all the depth they need, but that doesn’t do much good unless everyone is on the same page. And I don’t know what book the Pens were reading last night but it did not contain any chapters titled, “Giving Two Shits: How To Appear As If You Do” or “Defense: A Love Letter”.
And who, may I ask, is in charge here?
I do not think that the Pens are destined for shipwreck simply because they’re sailing with a Sidney Crosby-shaped hole in the boat for a while. I do, however, imagine there are a few people in that locker room glancing around and wondering how all the pieces fit together with the keystone missing. It’s absolutely fixable. Fine-tuning, boys. Let’s do some.
Still in it to win it.
Anyway. Rangers perspective to follow soon.
Cheers and thanks for reading.
Game notes: Pens/Sabres. Sabres win 4-1.
You’re eating an ice cream sundae. No, I’m sorry, you’re eating a superlative, 100% delectable ice cream sundae. It’s everything you ever could have wanted, as far as desserts go. It even has a glistening, juicy cherry on top.
And it’s ALL YOURS.
Then your little brother starts wailing behind you. You whip your body around in your seat awkwardly. Your elbow hits something…something cold. My god, the cherry. You watch helplessly as it rolls quietly off the table and onto the bare floor.
You’re freaking out inside.But it’s all going to be just FINE, little buddy! No need to fret— you still have one hell of a good thing in front of you. Right?
What I’m trying to tell you is that the Pens lost to the Sabres. OK. No biggie. Still #CupOrDie around here.
Honestly, what can you do? Sometimes you win 15 games straight, setting a record for the second-longest win streak in NHL history, and sometimes you lose 4-1 to Jason Pominville and his jolly band of C students. C students except for Ryan Miller— he’s totes in all AP courses. Steve Ott dropped out but is for some reason still smoking in the Seniors Only parking lot.
There were of course highs along with the lows last night. Jarome Iginla scored his first goal as a Penguin. Let’s give the man a proper slow clap and not let that little milestone get lost in the shuffle.
You’re really one of us now!
And, ladies and gentlemen, I’d also like you to turn your attention to Brooks Orpik. Number 44 now has more career appearances than any other Penguins denfenseman in history, 622 to be exact. Tap your goddamn sticks on the ice. Three cheers for Free Candy.
Yes, Brooks. You get a slow clap too.
Also of note was the fact that Marc Andre Fleury saw a little action after Vokoun got invited back to the bench. He stopped all 16 of the shots he faced. Don’t tease us, MAF. How’s the head feeling?
Flower. Je t’aime.
Next up is a home-and-home against the Rangers, which should be interesting. The last time I tried to recap the Pens/Rangers game my brain turned inside out and I could smell colors for a week.
Anyway, let’s all get back to enjoying the fact that our team is still dominating. And someone should probably bring Sidney Crosby a bite of that sundae. You can eat ice cream with a broken jaw, right?
Cheers, and thanks for reading.
Interesting article about hockey and jaw fractures.
This article made me feel a) pleasantly well-informed and b) 63% more concerned about Sidney Crosby’s current condition than I was before I read it.
Damn you, knowledge.
Game recap: Pens/Islanders. Pens win 2-0
This game was kind of like an Easter egg hunt. But in this case, as you scurry around the hedges in your starchy white pinafore, you quickly realize that a lot of the eggs are filled with things like battery acid, and toenail clippings, and bloody teeth. Sidney Crosby’s teeth.
How could this go wrong?
Frustration takes over. You’re sitting on the lawn amongst the clover and cursing the Easter bunny for all he’s worth. Fluffy little flop-eared jag.
Lucky for you, you have a mom and dad and grandparents who love you, and who have secretly hidden freaking SOLID GOLD NUGGETS around the yard just in case the Holiday Lagomorph comes up short.
TAKE THAT, RABBIT. Anyway, point being: the game turned out alright. Let’s roll.
All you need to know about the first period is that Sidney Crosby got hit by a Brooks Orpik slapshot right in his precious, angelic mouth.
Slapshot. In the mouth.
Sidney Crosby. During his first shift, a puck flew through the air with great velocity and landed directly on his talking/chewing parts.
Did you hear me? Did you hear Steiggy and Errey mention it 657,842,228 times? THIS WAS A BIG STORYLINE, OK?
Now Dan has to reshuffle all his lines and we’ve got Tyler Kennedy playing center, Dupuis all over the dang place, James Neal oscillating wildly between left and right wing…things are messed up, man. The period ends and our only two shots have come from Deryk Engelland. At this point we don’t know if Sid is coming back or what.
Welcome to Bizarro World. Find a comfy chair, because we’re going to be here for a while.
We start the 2nd by successfully killing what’s left of a Deryk Engelland hooking penalty. Apparently Engo wants to see his name in print tonight because he’s all over this one early on. The kill goes fine, thankfully.
Maybe it’s the combination of Sid being MIA and all our new guys out on the ice, but things just feel weird for most of this period. Accidentally wearing our shirt backwards all day weird. Store-brand Oreos weird.
Andrew MacDonald gets booked for tripping, but all that happens on the resulting power play is that Kunitz blasts one waaay wide, and Dupuis fans on a slap shot seconds later. Duper is playing right point because WEIRD.
We get an update: Crosby will not be rejoining us this evening. OK. It’s like that, huh Universe? SERENITY NOW.
Jarome Iginla, bless his warm and fuzzy heart, sets up James Neal with a beautiful little pass in front of the net, but Nabokov says no way. I would like to take this opportunity to say how curse-wording awesome it is that Jarome is a Penguin. Welcome, sir. Extra mega bonus points for pulling an epic PSYCHE move on Boston. You really thought you had him, you silly bears.
The weird keeps on rolling as Kunitz, who everyone knows is a harmless little hedgehog who just likes to score wicked goals, gets a boarding major and a game misconduct after a 100% legitimate shoulder hit on Josh Bailey. The penalty was bullshit, but we do hope that Bailey is OK. He did not return to the game.
During the kill, Matt ever-loving Cooke gallops onto the ice and proceeds to put the hurt on every Islander he sees. He is an absolute beast down low, on the half boards, everywhere. The crowd is out of their seats. Cookie is a one-man penalty killing machine. Someone starts passing around a petition to exempt him from next month’s Moustache Boy. It gets over 6 million signatures in under two minutes.
But wait! The fun doesn’t stop there! As Cooke continues his righteous crusade, the Universe decides to throw us another curveball and Brooks Orpik gets called for hooking. Now we have to deal with a 5-on-3. I repeat:
This is how the period ends.
We’re gonna be OK, right Dad? Dad??
For those of you keeping count, our top line— AKA the top line in the entire NHL— has now been completely dismantled and Pascal Dupuis is the last man standing. We are not amused. Duper seems to have things under control when he chats with Dan Potash during the 2nd period intermission, but he can only manage a weary, half-hearted version of his usual “Daaaaan”. Dan hangs his head and sheds a single, mournful tear.
We come out of the gate ready to fight the good fight in the 3rd. We take the remaining minutes of the 5-on-3 and KILL THEM TO DEATH. We are not going down like chumps, Universe. DO YOU HEAR US?
Suddenly it starts to feel like we’re finally shaking the weird off. The Iginla-Malkin-Neal line has a fearsome shift, passing with furious accuracy and pelting Nabokov with shots from every angle. The puck ends up back at the blue line where Despres acccidentally turns it over to Michael Grabner, who takes off on a breakaway. No biggie, Vokoun is there to slam the door in his face. Have I mentioned that Vokoun has been solid as a rock tonight? He is a blessed spot of consistency in a night that has otherwise been a drunken, sideways roller-coaster ride.
THEN, right after Vokoun sends Grabner to bed with no dessert, knight in shining armor Matt Cooke reappears and sends one home off an Engo rebound. GOAL, suckers! Pens are up 1-0. In the name of Crosby’s mouth, WE WILL WIN THIS.
Another update: Crosby has been sent to the hospital for
Extreme Makeover: Hockey Edition dental work. He’ll probably have some blank spaces where his teeth used to be when all is said and done, but it looks like that‘s the worst of it. Poor little buddy. Am I the only one who thinks he’ll be kind of adorable with missing teeth?
Cookie’s goal has got everyone fired up. James Neal makes a thunderous hit on Travis Hamonic directly in front of the corner camera, sending a shower of delight across the realm. It is a perfect storm of body placement- meets camera placement- meets James Neal is pissed off and wants in on this action.
Nealer soon proves that monster-truck body shots aren’t all he has to offer, as he rockets up the right wing and treats Nabokov to one of his trademark faster-than-a-speeding-bullet wrist shots. GOAL. Neal is relieved- he hasn’t made an appearance on the score sheet for his previous nine games. We weren’t worried or anything, Nealer, but we’re glad you’ve got your scoring touch back. Oh and by the way, KICK ROCKS, ISLANDERS. 2-0 Pens.
Finally, after the Isles pull Nabokov with about three minutes remaining and fail in their attempts to tally, it’s over. It’s all over. Merciful heavens, this was exhausting.
Pens win. FIFTEEN GAMES unbeaten, kiddos. It was a wild and weird ride tonight, but we got home safely in the end. Also, we got to welcome Uncle Jarome into the fold.
Let’s keep this thing going. Join me as I raise a toast to an entire calendar month of winning, and to Sid’s prompt return.
Cheers, and thanks for reading.
Sure, Ray Shero is a trade-making machine. But he’s really just in it for the hugs.
Game Recap: Rangers/Caps. Caps win 3-2 (S/O)
So close, yet so not close at all.
Best view in the world. (Courtesy of me.)
Full disclosure: last night was an extra special game for me because I was there, man. Yup— my first ever Rangers game at the Garden. I’m from the west coast, so my relationship with the Rangers has always been a long distance affair. Unsurprisingly, the experience of being at MSG and watching the dudes do their thing live was exponentially better than watching on television (more on that at the end of this post).
I mean aside from the fact that the Rangers lost.
Going into this contest, the Rangers were the number nine seed in the east, while the Caps were snugly nestled in the number 11 spot. It’s always hard to predict how a bottom-of-the-barrel match up like this will unfold— will each team play their hardest, hoping to fan the tiny flame of self respect to which they so desperately cling, much to the relief of their loyal fans? Or will spectators instead find themselves watching no one‘s favorite three-act play, “Hockey: It Shouldn’t Look Like This” ? Well folks, last night it was a little of both.
Things begin predictably for the Rangers, which means lots of poorly-timed passing and feeble attempts at breaking out of the neutral zone. Marian Gaborik shows he has good ideas, but his attack comes to a halt the minute anyone gives him a mean look or even breathes in his direction. He is as delicate as a blush-colored cherry blossom in springtime. Although Ryan Callahan can’t quite seem to find his rhythm, he’s still working hard to move the puck into the zone. So there’s that.
Anton Straalman gets nabbed for a dubious holding penalty about eight minutes in, which is immediate cause for concern because the Caps somehow have the best power play in the league. Nicklas Backstrom promptly demonstrates why as he goes to the net and farts one in, despite the fact that Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh are standing DIRECTLY NEXT TO AND IN FRONT OF HIM in the crease. Embarrassing. From my seat I have an excellent view of the ‘are you fucking kidding me?’ look that Henrik Lundqvist throws at his defense.
Please let this be a dream.
After another failed cross-ice pass from the Rangers, the Caps regain possession and begin a cheerful romp through our defensive zone. They are like grizzly bears cavorting by the roadside, while the Rangers are pasty, shorts-and-socks wearing tourists who are happy to stand back and just watch the magic happen. Ovechkin tips it in while we’re busy reloading the film in our cameras. He is the fastest of all the grizzlies, if not the most attractive. We can’t wait to show these pictures to our grandchildren. 2-0 Caps.
Wasn’t there a sign about not feeding the bears?
But just when you think all hope is lost, Arron Asham is suddenly flying up the left wing, flanked by recent minor league call-up Chris Newbury. No one in the building expects anything to come of this, including Braden Holtby. But before I can finish the next sip of my drink, Asham has buried the puck in the net and suddenly it’s 2-1. Huh? We are back in the game, courtesy of the player I regularly refer to as ‘the guy I can’t believe we paid actual American money for’. I’m a jerk. Fantastic work, Arron.
Way to prove a blogger wrong, dude.
Late in the first, the hockey gods decide to part the clouds and shine a heavenly beam of light onto MSG, giving the Rangers a two-man advantage as Chimera and Alzner get sent to the box in rapid succession. I turn to the friend next to me, who has never been to a hockey game before, and say “This should be a good thing but it probably won’t”. Derek Stepan has had enough of my lip, and decides to prove me wrong by sniping one in from a terrible angle, off a feed from Brad Richards. My eyes get larger and my mouth gets smaller. The game is tied at two apiece.
Don’t act like you knew this would happen.
Hot damn- are things about to get interesting? (answer to follow shortly)
2nd and 3rd periods
Answer to the above question: not really, no. I won’t bother recapping the second and third separately or in any kind of depth because not much happened. It wasn’t boring hockey, but it wasn’t eventful hockey either. During the latter periods, I spent much of my time scanning the luxury suites for Marc Staal. He’s feeling better, you guys! And Jordan and Eric have started wearing visors! My seat was directly below the suites, and therefore shared the same luxurious, classy hallway. If you think I didn’t take an extra long time going to and from the bathroom, hoping I’d run into someone famous, you are GROSSLY MISTAKEN, my friend.
Michael Del Zotto really impressed me last night, especially during the second and third periods when he was the only Ranger who was playing angry. Why wasn’t anyone else playing angry? DZ may not have done anything to land himself in the highlight reel, but his head was clearly in the right place. Coach Tortorella must have taken notice because 4 logged more minutes than any other player last night aside from Hank, with a grand total of 26:24. Well earned.
Why can’t your brothers play more like you, Mikey?
Ribeiro, Perreault, and Johansson were the three Caps names cursed most frequently by Rangers fans during periods two and three. For some reason we were letting these guys run all over the place— we gave them all the time and space they could have ever hoped for. Ribeiro forced Hank to make two of his best saves of the night (one in the second and another in the third). And late in the third, Perreault managed to throw himself right on top of our beloved Henrik, prompting the guy behind me to scream, “I TOLD YOU we should have punched Perreault earlier! He has a FRENCH NAME, come on!” Did I mention that Rangers fans are awesome?
We will straight up cheer your faces off.
By the way, Mike Green was back in the Caps lineup and seemed to be trying to make an impact on both offense and defense. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Despite the Caps best efforts, and thanks to the fact that the Rangers didn’t simply keel over and die, regulation ends with the score still tied 2-2.
(in which the Rangers play with a moderate amount of intensity and Ovechkin fires a shot that causes me to clench my fists and utter curse words)
Rick Nash’s crazy long reach finally failed him during the shoot out, much to the chagrin of Rangers fans everywhere. Ovi scored, which always sucks. For a minute it looked like it was lights out for the Broadway Blueshirts, but then Derek Stepan, without a doubt this season’s unsung hero, dangled and scored on the bland and listless Braden Holtby. Which brings us to…
Nicklas Backstrom. The man who started things off with a fart. It all comes down to this single Swede-on-Swede shoot out attempt. Who will return to the Royal Kingdom wearing the glorious mantle of victory? Hank trains his flawless, steely eyes upon the advancing enemy. Backstrom brushes his perpetually grimy hair from his cherubic face, and approaches with speed. Forehand. Backhand. Forehand. He shoots! And…
Shit. Game over. Rangers lose.
Hank slams his stick against the glass before storming through the door and off the ice. I have not seen him look this angry before. It was a little frightening, but also awesome because I was seeing it live.
Rangers fans, I don’t know what to say about our playoff hopes this season. Our team…well, our team does lots of amazing charity work and wears the sharpest, most well-tailored suits in the NHL, hands down. That’s something, right?
What do you mean they don’t give points for wearing the crap out of a suit and tie?
But despite our murky short-term future, there is one thing I do know, now more than ever: Rangers fans are awesome. Spending the evening at the Garden was a dream come true for me, a dream that was even better than I expected thanks to people like the beefy guy two rows in front of me, who started the Let’s Go Rangers chant in the middle of the national anthem. The tween girl next to me, wearing a Jagr jersey and poring over the stat printout provided for members of the media, and who gave me an adorable, shy high-five after Stepan scored in the shoot out. The grandpa watching the game from the comfort of his motorized scooter, shouting at Gaborik to stop playing scared. And my lovely friend Sophia, who as I said had never been to a hockey game before, but who left a fan. You guys made my night, and you are what makes this team special.
Cheers, and thanks for reading.
Hockey: They’re Doing It Right— Episode II
In this episode, the Chicago Blackhawks dis-freaking-mantle the Colorado Avalanche 5-2
Cut to: third period
Colorado, let’s start with the good news. You made use of almost every possession you had in the third period of last night’s game. You didn’t get a ton of shots on net, but you were accurate. You didn’t roll over, and your goaltending actually wasn’t as quite bad as the score would suggest.
Unfortunately this all adds up to shit because you were playing the Blackhawks. And the Blackhawks were ridiculous.
It seemed like Colorado failed to make a single successful east-west pass during the entire third period, so pervasive was Chicago’s team defense and incisive forechecking. Kane and Co. have got to be the most efficient team in the NHL right now, purely in terms of their incredible economy of movement. Every effort feels like it has a distinct purpose, with a noticeable lack of scrambling and approximately zero wasted energy. The Blackhawks are on the ice for exactly two purposes: to score, and to remove the puck from you so that they can score some more. End of story.
No time for small talk.
Chicago played with more intensity in the third period, with a two-goal (and later three-goal) lead, than I have seen
my own NY Rangers other teams play with at any point during this season. They did not look satisfied with the score, they did not let up on the surgically precise checking. Not even for a minute. How many times did the Hawks steal the puck along the boards last night?
Answer: a lot. A lot of times.
Anyway, nice work Chicago. You are a hell of a lot of fun to watch. If there is any justice on this earth, I will have the pleasure of rooting against you in the Stanley Cup finals as you take on one of my beloved teams from the east— a team whose name I cannot mention directly because of deep, crazy superstition.
Holy crap, how good would that series be?
Anyone got any bright ideas?
If, like me, you are a Rangers fan, you’re well acquainted with the fact that things have not gone as planned this season. Kind of like how things did not go as planned on the Titanic. Or the Hindenburg. Or [insert your own favorite crash-and-burn metaphor here].
Anyway, since my own attempts at analyzing the situation so often turn into bouts of pouting, cursing the hockey gods from afar (they live in Canada, obviously), and shouting random obscenities at passers-by, I suggest you read Dave Lozo’s take on the whole mess over at NHL.com. Lozo provides a pretty comprehensive look at the who, what, when, where, and why of the Rangers breakdown— hint: the names Nash, Tortorella, Richards, Gaborik, Prust, Dubinsky, and Anisimov come up more than once.
I won’t lie, it kind of stings to read such a thorough dissection of the team’s woes, but the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?
Game recap: Rangers/Penguins. Pens win 3-0
As a fan of both the Rangers and the Penguins, I knew this game was going to be difficult. I did not anticipate the fact that it would cause my brain and my heart to cleave completely in two, leaving me emotionally and mentally drained and totally incapable of writing a recap.This is your two-team brain on hockey.
Seriously, I tried for hours to do a normal write-up, but all for naught. Too much emotion, not enough rational thought. Instead, I figured I’d just give you a direct transcript of the schizophrenic dialogue between the rival factions of my brain. Here is what the voices were saying as I watched this game unfold:
Rangers fan: Let’s Go Ran— oh Hank. Oh buddy.
Pens fan: Beau Bennett GOAL! Great start, not gonna need that last-minute comeback today boys!
Rangers: Nice work Girardi, great hit on Crosby.
Pens: Hell yes, hit him back 87. Salty Sidney is the best kind of Sidney. Man, his game is so well-rounded. He Who Will Not Be Bullied
Rangers: Good to see some speed from Gaborik through the neutral zone.
Pens: Good to see Brandon Sutter shutting Gaborik the fuck down in the neutral zone.
Rangers: Ooh, J.T. Miller with the cross check on Crosby! Way to throw your weight around, newbie. Go down easy much, Sidney?
Pens: You’re gonna cross check our captain? You grew up a Pens fan, Miller. Show some goddamn respect.
Rangers: Captain Cally blocking shots with no stick AGAIN. My god this man is wonderful. You represent all that is tenacious and steadfast in the world, good sir.
Pens: Callahan? Wait, who is that?He will literally never say die.
Rangers: These announcers seriously need to get off Crosby’s jock. We get it, the guy is THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD EVER OF ALL TIME ANYWHERE OH MY GOD SHUT UP.
Pens: Steiggy and Errey are the best. Maybe dial the Crosby love back just a smidge though. We can all see how well he’s playing.
Rangers: Wow, McDonagh, kind of a dangerous hit on Dupuis. So our game plan is to act like a bunch of dicks? Got it.
Pens: ARE YOU EFFING JOKING? You’re gonna shove Duper head first into the boards? Real nice. Oh, and here comes Crosby— wait, why is 87 going to the box? Crosby sits but not McDonagh? WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SHIT?
Rangers: Hank deserves so much better than this. We managed to fire off, what- ONE SHOT this period?
Pens: Ok, that was a good first period! Is it just me or is Kris Letang playing an awesome two-way game today? Hot like fire!
Rangers fan: Looks like we have a little more fight in our game now. Let’s go Rangers.
Pens fan: These long shifts could start wearing us down. Stick with it, Pens.
Rangers: NO ONE has a stick for Rick Nash? Hello? Anyone? Welcome to the game of NHL hockey you are playing in, New York. HEADS UP.
Pens: *takes a sip of beer*You’re on your own out there, bro.
Pens: That was an obvious trip on Glass! How are these penalties going uncalled?
Rangers: How is Marc Staal doing? Has anyone heard anything?
Pens: Yes we heard the newsflash, Steiggy. Brooks Orpik is wearing a visor. Message received.
Rangers: Ha ha.
Pens: Brian Boyle, if you ever snow our goalie again we will END YOU. Ryan McDonagh why don’t you interfere with Crosby some more? Chump.
Rangers: We’re keeping it in the zone but I still don’t feel like we have an attack per se.
Pens: Did they just show J.T. Miller’s mom wearing a Pens jersey? That was a Pens jersey!
Rangers: Well, let’s hope we at least keep that momentum into the third.
Pens: Look at these guys, getting paid to do what they love!
Rangers fan: Finally, some effective, clean defense. Love how we’re breaking up their lateral passing game.
Pens fan: If there’s any potential weakness in our top line, it’s that their positioning could become a little predictable.
Rangers: Ooh, that may have been our best chance.
Pens: Stick save from Flower! He’s been so good with the paddle today.
Rangers: Tyler Kennedy goal? Top shelf?
Pens: TYLER KENNEDY GOAL! Top cheese!
Rangers: Ughhh. Hank, I am so sorry.
Pens: SUPER DUPER GOAL! Sweet forehand-backhand. Man, he is all about shooting from those bad angles. This is what it looks like when skill and luck combine, people.
Rangers: Put the damn puck in play, you jerks!
Pens: We’re playing the clock. Smart.
Rangers: *rubs forehead* Hank played a hockey game today. The rest of the team were just dudes in Rangers sweaters who happened to be skating on the same ice as the Pittsburgh Penguins. I need a drink.
Pens: Eight straight baby! Flower with the franchise shutout record! I need a drink!I tip my hat to you, monsieur.
This concludes my descent into split-personality psychosis. I hope it was less painful for you than it was for me. Pens fans, congratulations on another win. Rangers fans, my deepest condolences. We’ll get ‘em next time, right?
Cheers, and thanks for reading.