Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Outdoor Game Liveblog


-We've never done a live blog before so I thought this was a good time to try it. Max Starks is out with a knee for the game Saturday and Trai Essex is starting in his place, so we're off to a booming start.

-Every channel has the Rose Parade on, including NBC, which is a great lead in for the game. Pulling in the right demographic, I'm sure. I'll be back at 1:00.

-Nice intro montage with what looked like a 5th Staal brother. I can't decide if I'm upset I'm not there. On one hand, the atmosphere looks incredible, but at least I'll be able to see the puck. Bob Costas is a professional...a no look interview as that NHL rep came up right behind him.

-Baby blue is my new favorite color. Sweeter retro jerseys: Pens or Steelers?.

-Bob Costas was almost killed by a zamboni and still kept the interview going. So far I've been impressed. The snow is beginning to look like its going to be a big issue.

-First Eddie O appearance! How many minutes into the game until he brings up Fleury being sent down to the minors and how that led to his firing? 5? 10?

-GOAL. Holy crap. This is awesome. The puck moved 5 feet before the snow slowed it down at center ice. Of course Sid was unfazed, took it to the net, and Army slammed it home.

-The game started so fast I didn't have a chance to mention this, but no national anthem? With God Bless America being sung there was no diss to our country, but still kinda weird. Somewhere Jeff Jimerson is smoldering.

-From Pat: "Oh my god. Sid did the old street hockey juggle! I haven't seen that since the 7th grade!"

-Horrible power play for the Penguins. Momentum beginning to shift as we're having trouble getting the puck out of our zone. There is going to be talk after the game about how the snow may have affected gameplay too much, but compared to the slop that was the Steelers-Dolphins game this is nothing.

-As Sean mentioned in the comments, Darren Pang put himself in danger of getting run over by the Zambonis, bringing our almost death-by-zamboni count to 2. The snow seems to have slowed and the puck is now moving normally. Another penalty coming up on the Sabres. The Buffalo fans are restless.

-How much filler do you think Emrick and Olczyk have to fill in the gaps from ice problems? If we're going to get a "Hey I used to coach the Penguins!" reference from Eddie, this is the time.

-All fans are now beginning to get restless. I would not want to be the ice repair crew right now. By the way, can Conklin's pads and gear look any more mismatched? Sabu with his vintage gear is looking good on the bench.

-Colby gets the even it up penalty you knew the refs would call after the rash of Sabres penalties.

-Sid deftly knocks down the puck in mid air and gets the puck to Malone who hits the post. The Sabres bring it right back and Conklin makes a spectacular save. This is how hockey is supposed to be played.

-Eddie O: "Wood is good!" No joke necessary.

-First period ends, and I don't think this can be going much better for both the Pens and the NHL as a whole. High-quality play, weather adding a bit of a different element but not affecting things that much, and 73,000 die-hards in the stands. Plus, that whole winning the game thing and Sid displaying his hand-eye coordination a few times. Just unreal.

-During the intermission we're told by the weather guy that the second period will be the best in terms of weather. We open the second period and it is sleeting. Good call.

-Not a good start. Campbell rifles it into the twine, ending Conlkin's 81 minute shutout streak. The Sabres seem to have realized this isn't an exhibition.

-Laraque and Ruutu generate a few nice chances, but the momentum has shifted in favor of the Sabres. The crowd is also starting to get into it. I look forward to hearing the reports about the number of Pens fans in the stadium.

-Two years ago, do you think Brady Quinn thought his biggest sponsorship would be for a protein drink? Is he the first back up in league history to even star in commercials?

-NBC just put up a graphic on shots this period. Buffalo - 14, Pittsburgh - 0. That just about sums up this period.

-The two shots the Penguins were credited for doesn't really do justice to the amount of chances they had. They tried to get too cute with the puck, instead of getting it on net, and when they did shoot, the missed wide right every time.

-If a puck hits Ryan Miller's toque and somehow stops it from going into the net, could the refs award the goal? With the start of the third, I'm anticipating Gary Roberts emerging from the tunnel to take the ice.

-I'll take any win, but a shootout win would be just a little bit cooler. NBC has apparently lost its 50 yardline camera and we're now viewing from behind the Sabres' goal. I feel like I'm playing NHL 95.

-NBC is having issues, as it has to switch to a still frame audio only feed for about 10 seconds. Just more proof of the media's disregard for the NHL.

-We learn that Eddie and Emrick are actually on ground level, blocking the view of many spectators who payed a ton of money to see the game. We also learn one of the Zambonis is out of commission with a chunk of ice jamming it up. And by chunk of ice they mean Bob Costas.

-The only thing this game needs, other than more delays, Brady Quinn commercials, and camera issues, is a fight. I'm looking at you Big George.

-About 5 minutes left, they're still working on the ice, and Eddie makes the first reference to his coaching stint! Can't believe he lasted this long. Something about getting to know Sid, "before I got fired". Well done, Edzo.

-We discover that NHL teams send out Christmas cards. Somehow I don't think the Penguins' have Malkin and Sid wearing sweaters in front of a fire place. As the time ticks down Conklin makes a huge save, but Armstrong takes a huge penalty. A dubious call, but still a dangerous 4 on 3 as we head to OT. Not good.

-Conklin is half-man, half-god, half possible centaur. The PKers channel their inner Ulf Samuelsson and kill it off. Momentum switch in progress.

-Game is wide open, with the Sabres getting the better chances. At this point, every Penguins fan is just hoping for the shoot out to give Christenson and Letang a chance to win this.

-Shoot out. Kotalik up first for Buffalo. Top shelf. 1-0 Buffalo.

Christenson up next. Seemed to have trouble from the get go, the snow interfering with his movement. No goal.

Tim Connolly next for the Sabres. Sabu denies him.

Letang up next. Snow makes it looks like the puck is going through water. Letang doesn't care. Top shelf back hand.

Afinaganov finds Conklin's glove.

Then Sid comes up with the chance to bring the roof down. You can barely see the puck through the snow and he makes sure to keep it flat. Somehow, someway, he shuffles the puck through Miller's legs to finish off quite possibly the most entertaining Penguins' game since Lemieux's back was still an issue.

-Great game, great atmosphere. I can't wait to here the in person recaps from those who went to the game. If you did end up going, shoot us an email and we'll post it or just leave a comment.. I had fun live-blogging the game, maybe we'll do this again if we get some positive feedback on it.

End of Post


Sean said...

Regarding the National Anthem, I thought the exact same thing. You do the Canadian anthem and then the American one, not God Bless America.

I hope Darren Pang doesn't get run-over by the Zamboni!

Anonymous said...

Great game so far. Enjoying your comments, lets see if we can win this thing

Pat said...

Sweet Jesus. What a game. What. A. Game.

At what point do we consider Fleury's injury a major blessing in disguise? It is premature to put Conklin's name along side the long list of great/random goaltenders like Tugnutt, Hedberg, Lalime, et al. But man, Conklin sure is playing like a goalie that wants to be between the pipes down the stretch.

So many more thoughts. Must decompress.

Burt Friggin' Hoovis said...

Dude, I hope the rumored game between the Flyers and Pens at Beaver Stadium comes to pass. Can you imagine how fun that would be?

Sam said...

It would be incredible and something I really hope they consider doing. The crowd sounded great today, but I can't imagine 55,000 Penguins fans screaming at 55,000 Flyers fans.

Anonymous said...

"-Two years ago, do you think Brady Quinn thought his biggest sponsorship would be for a protein drink? Is he the first back up in league history to even star in commercials?"

No, that would be Reggie Bush.

Sam said...

Good point. Maybe they should stop worrying about money and their image and actually start playing football.

Anonymous said...

That's one of the only problems with the NFL - overhyped college players taken in the top of the draft get bigger contracts and more endorsement deals than proven veteran players.

It's really backwards and unfair when you think about it, but the media today is all about hyping who's "NOW", not who's "GOOD".

Sam said...

There is way too much stock in potential in the NFL. For the Pirates, it's the exact opposite.

How many more games until Conklin starts getting more media attention?