Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A tribute to my favorite journalist

Mr. Collier, do you think I could be like you when I grow up?
We’ve never met, but you’ve already taught me so much.

In honor of your unwavering dedication to sports journalism, I’ve compiled what I feel to be your greatest hits of the 2008-09 Penguins’ hockey season.

October 4, 2008

You want Ross trophy, score often and fast

The first game of the season,
you taught me how to win the Art Ross.
I knew that the first tie breaker was goals but I didn’t know the second and third steps of the tie breaking process, should they be needed.
The second rung in the ladder is games played, “the fewer, the better”, so points per game, that makes sense…given that the players in question have identical goals and assists. The third, which I was completely unaware of, is the player that scores first.

Good timing, informative, and you said “NH of L”, which I guess stands for the National Hockey of League.  Lesson 1: Poetic License

October 5-February 11

It would seem as though Football > Hockey.
54 games:
including the best start in franchise history, and an epic slump,
nothing to write about.
But you did cover Pitt Football.

February 12, 2009

Crosby's shootout goal just a part of a significant day

There was still hope with only 26 games left. 32% of the season.
I had been wondering when the appropriate time to write a team off was, and that time hadn’t come.

February 18, 2009

Don't rule out collapse by others

6 days and 2 more losses prompted this:

What the Penguins need is disinterest and incompetence, and not from within, where there seems to be a considerable reservoir of both, but from outside the organ-I-zation.

so THAT’S what the Pens needed. They can succeed if other teams fail, “in other words, c’mon Rangers.” A strategy that would surely prepare them for playoff success.

Both the Rangers and Canadiens seem likely to be overtaken by Florida and Buffalo, but whether one or both can exit the top eight to the benefit of the Penguins is only the last best hockey hope around here.

Unless passion and energy make one astonishing comeback.

Well…likely didn’t happen and passion and energy DID make one astonishing comeback. The Pens would go 9-1 in the 10 games following that article. As the common phrase goes, hindsight is 20/20, but at least it’s not time to give up on the Pens.

February 26, 2009

Penguins get 2 points, but play leaves little doubt season is over

So with 20 games left, 24.4% of the season,
that dreaded time has come.

When this game started, the Penguins were within three hours of next year, because anything other than a win against the wretched Islanders -- the same wretched Islanders against whom they'd lost a shootout nine days before to celebrate the arrival of new coach Dan Bylsma -- and this team would be, to borrow a phrase from the infrastructure stimulus, shovel ready.

And not in a good way

Hmm…infrastructure stimulus…witty…topical…brilliant. More please…

If the Penguins can't crush the Islanders like a bug on home ice, what chance do they have of returning from an impending five-game road grind featuring four foes with winning records with the postseason still on the table?


By “None” do you mean zero? and by zero, I mean 0% chance…
am I grasping this concept?
That “impending five-game road grind”: 5-0
But it didn’t stop there…

The Penguins can fool themselves to whatever extent they please that they earned two points that were absolutely indispensable last night, but the way they've played the Islanders over the past 125 minutes of ice time plus a shootout has left little doubt that they've kissed this season good-bye.

Wow. Well, I guess it’s over then.

March 9, 2009

No meltdown by Fleury; just blossoming at the right time

Suddenly the Pens are a “viable entity”

In the seconds after Crosby slid a deft forehand past Jose Theodore in the shootout, Ovechkin circled behind the red line as he formulated his strategy against Fleury. Alexander Semin and Viktor Kozlov had already failed, so it was up to The Great No. 8.

"I thought he might try high to the glove side," Fleury said. "I don't know if maybe he missed it or what?"

More likely Ovechkin over-penetrated by some fraction of an ice chip. His shot clumped harmlessly onto Fleury's pad, and Penguins poured over the boards to celebrate not only a wrap on the story line but the end of the first 5-0 road trip in the history of flightless waterfowl.

Ovechkin's "over-penetration"
Looks more like he just guessed wrong.
Tricky little move, shuffle to the backhand…
Fleury’s pads were there.

Interesting fact: Penguins are not waterfowl.
Waterfowl refers to Anatidae
Penguins are Spheniscidae
Learning CAN be fun.

March 25, 2009

Penguins and the Playoff Chase: The Book on Bylsma

Eight games remain until a postseason that to some seemed impossible only a month ago (guilty), but Bylsma's team must still sense the desperation.

Guilty? You?
The lesson here is that the trade deadline means nothing.
The Penguins didn’t do anything at the deadline last year, and certainly no team will make any moves of consequence this year either, and that is precisely why it’s worthwhile to make judgments and predictions well before that meaningless day.

May 6, 2009

Penguins' 0-2 start proves much more frustrating to fans than the players

Would it be impertinent at this point to mention that the Capitals, a better team than the Penguins all winter long, look better right now, too, wonder of wonders, and that even at that, the Penguins nearly swiped both games on Washington ice?

So what's all the twitching about?

At least you’re consistent.
Where the hell did this sudden optimism come from?
I’m not going to say that any panic was warranted, but how can someone be so calm when 2 more losses ends the season,
when that same person was freaking out with 20 games left?
Oh the fair weather, and how glorious it is.

May 24, 2009

Hurricanes downgraded

Apparently, Carolina’s hockey team is named after a meteorological occurrence.
Tropical Storm, low-pressure system
That’s so…tricky…perhaps even sly.
At the very least, original.
And it’s the perfect segue to the pinnacle of originality…

May 25, 2009

 Staals see series from both sides

The Staals are brothers.
They’re from Thunder Bay, Ontario
Their parents’ names are Henry and Linda
Mentions of Sons, Brothers, Moms, Dads
”Jordan is his brother’s keeper”
There will be 4 Staals soon.
and there’s even an “Eric Stall” in the mix
The only thing this is missing is a mention of the Sod Farm.

I have to rip off Empty Netters here…
The Staals are brothers
The Staals are brothers
The Staals are brothers
The Staals are brothers
The Staals are brothers

This doesn’t include 2 Globe Sports articles, and whatever Empty Netters didn’t find.

Fun Activity: Google “Staal Brothers” and see what comes up.

The most important lesson of all:
Meeting a deadline at the cost of original thought 
It’s not only acceptable, it’s encouraged.


So after all of that, I have to give Mr. Collier some credit:
Not everything he writes is humbug.
I say this mostly because I haven’t read everything he’s written.
And partly because a lot of his stuff is actually decent.

Please, do your part:
keep collecting paychecks
I’ll be sure to do mine:
Getting drunk and laughing at the funny parts.

Well…That’s my Larry David moment.

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