Welcome to Bettman's Nightmare's first live in-game blogging extravaganza. Check in all game long for insightful commentary as today's Pens/Phlyers game unfolds.
12:29 PM (pregame) - NBC has no pregame for hockey. I guess since they've got the worst NFL pregame show in the history of that sport, perhaps we should be grateful.
12:38 PM (0:30, 1st period) - No surprise with the Staal line starting the game for Pittsburgh. They start every game, but usually get matched against the opponents top line.
12:44 PM (5:00, 1st period) - So much for the Black & Gold Rule. Crosby goes for a slash that results in the recently hot Jeff Carter scoring from behind the net. I hate backup netminders.
12:46 PM (5:40, 1st period) - Traditional thinking would call for a fight right now because the Penguins are lacking momentum. No?
12:51 PM (7:45, 1st period) - Whaddyaknow?! Scott Hartnell goes into the netminder. Surprise, surprise, surprise. I can't wait until Hartnell is traded to the Pens. Hartnell, by the way, went into Johnson a few seconds earlier of his own accord as well.
Stay classy, Philly.
12:53 PM (8:30, 1st period) - The Pens' power play is worst in the league, but it has been playing better of late... oh well, there goes that thought anyway as Pronger dives to the ice. Pronger is, quite literally, 3x the size of Alex Goligoski.
12:56 PM (10:40, 1st period) - No discpline for Pittsburgh today, as Staal takes a Tripping (Hooking?) minor. This is going to be bad. And Scott Hartnell is the worst skater I've seen since Happy Gilmore.
1:04 PM (13:45, 1st period) - Nice follow up by Richards on the goal. I think it should stand... but then again, bear-hugging Malkin may need to be called after all.
1:06 PM (14:00, 1st period) - It has been the subject of debate since Crosby's debut in the league. The NBC broadcast just mentioned Derien Hatcher knocking out 3 teeth of Crosby's. Yet, that was where Crosby's diving reputation was born. How, I ask, does someone dive while getting his teeth knocked out. Seems to me that a player would legitimately hit the deck when losing teeth.
Anyway, Pens score. Tie game. Maybe that'll shut the Philadelphia crowd up. They'll be booing Danny Briere and Donovan McNabb by the end of the period.
1:15 PM (19:10, 1st period) - No need at all for a fight. Clean hit on Goligoski.
1:21 PM (end of 1st) - Outside of the guys in Orange & Black not actually being able to stay upright (maybe they were out drinking too late last night), good action in the first. How Philadelphia fans can keep a straight face when talking about Crosby diving is really beyond me. I'm going to go walk my dog.
1:33 PM (1st intermission) - The 1st period stats show all momentum going Philly's way. Nonetheless, I predict a fight to open the second. It won't regain momentum for Philly, it won't avenge a dirty hit (Letang got what was coming to him from Darrol Powe during the fight). It might get the crowd back into it, but if they're out of it already, then shame on them in the first place.
Dan Carcillo just can't help himself. Following up on my 'The Code is Dead' post from a day or three ago, by the way, Dan Carcillo is a legitimate fighter. Yet, even I wouldn't be intimidated by him, underscoring my point that fighting is no longer a legitimate deterrant to running opposing players' stars. I'm not saying Carcillo wouldn't beat me to a pulp - just that I wouldn't look across the bar at him and shiver.
Back to game action as Hartnell goes into the netminder AGAIN.
1:40 PM (2:20, 2nd period) - Nice effort by Guerin, better save by Emery. One of Emery's legitimate strengths is tracking the play from side to side.
1:44 PM (6:00, 2nd period) - Nothing much going on in the second thus far. But no fights, which is surprising to me, at least. Emery is seeing absolutely everything coming at him.
1:48 PM (8:00, 2nd period - as 28-Orange loses the carry in and blows a saucer pass on back-to-back rushes) - Sorry, Mikey, but Giroux is a 3rd liner at best. If I were a Phlyers phan (I gag at the very notion) I would be on the JVR train, body and soul.
1:54 PM (11:40, 2nd period) - With Richards' penchant for headhunting, I don't know if I would want Crosby matched up against 18-Orange. Skills-wise, however, there's clearly no contest.
2:00 PM (14:30, 2nd period) - Pronger has nothing to do with it, but I think the matchups Philly have going against Crosby are really spot on. Crosby has shown some intensity this afternoon, but it hasn't resulted in points.
... The mustache on "Billy G" is the result of team-building exercise for Pittsburgh. The loser of the monthly shootout contest in practice is forced to wear the '70s 'stache for the month. Guerin was January's loser.
2:04 PM (17:03, 2nd period) - Diving count: Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 1
2:08 PM (19:55, 2nd period) - ABSOLUTE BULL SHIT! Boozehound Richards ducks away from the hit, and draws a penalty. Maybe Carter will give him a kiss and a backrup and Richards can come out with a spine in the 3rd.
2:15 PM (2nd intermission) - I agree with the NBC analysts that Ian Laperriere is one of the real strengths of Philadelphia. He does everything, as whatshisface was saying, but contrary to a Dan Carcillo, he does it with an identifiable respect for opponents and the game. I'm not sure I could point out a cheap shot taken by Ian Laperriere (ahem, Matt Bradley, Marian Gaborik).
2:20 PM (2nd intermission) - The NBC analysts must be reading Bettman's Nightmare. You heard them note that Pronger is one of the few players that are truly intimidating. I agree. He is one of the few players in the league that could actually act as a deterrent to taking a shot at a star player. Unfortunately, Pronger hasn't decapitated anyone this year, and he doesn't get in fights. I guess maybe he was truly intimidating to opponents a few years ago...
2:26 PM (open of the 3rd) - Big kill here. Pittsburgh has the capacity to come back in games, but Philly could go for 2 quick ones if they start with 1 on the PP to start the period.
2:29 PM (1:50 3rd period) - Another dumb penalty for Pittsburgh. Ho, hum.
Surprised Letang exited the scrum with all his fingers in place.
2:32 PM (4:00, 3rd period) - I've heard that big penalty kills can also provide momentum to a team. I've never really bought it. It would seem to me to be more of a big exhale after killing them - especially when the penalties are dumb and unnecessary like the ones the Pens have taken.
2:34 PM (4:55, 3rd period) - There's a thought. Ray Emery hasn't really been tested much in this game. That could result in a relatively weak goal for Pittsburgh if they would just put the puck on nete in any sort of unexpected way instead of shooting it squarely into Emery's pads from an unobstructred view.
2:36 PM (6:30, 3rd period) Absolutely filthy by Arron Asham. He should get thrown out of the game. I don't know who he was pummelling, but it was from behind, while that man was face down on the ice. Typical Orange & Black tactic.
As for Hartnell and Malkin, A) Its evidence of the code not existing (no deterrent to hitting opponents' star players) and B) I didn't see anything wrong with the two of them facing off. No punches thrown.
2:48 PM (11:10, 3rd period) - Mike Richards is also a liar. When asked by Pierre McGuire why he didn't shoot the puck, the correct answer was "Did you see my penalty shot against Carolina yesterday?!"
2:50 PM (12:40, 3rd period) - 2 bad calls in a row - but they even out. Emery just faced the first real tester of the game (other than Crosby's big slapper that caught the iron in the 1st - which really doesn't count anyway).
2:51 PM (14:00, 3rd period) - Too much passing, not enough shooting. No wonder they're one of the worst power play teams in the league, really. A Pittsburgh radio station actually made up a song spoofing the Pens' inability to shoot the puck - and that was 15 years ago!
2:58 PM (16:30, 3rd period) - I wonder if the two teams spent their respective loads in the 1st. The 2nd & 3rd periods have been largely uneventful from a hockey-relevant point of view.
2:59 PM (18:30, 3rd period) - Wow. Whaddyaknow? Put the puck on the net instead of passing it, and good things happen. 5-hole on Emery, even though he was screened.
3:01 PM (19:10, 3rd period) - Another horrible call. Gonchar's stick never even made contact with Giroux's flailing body.
3:05 PM (end of the game) - Philly really needed Scott Hartnell out there at the end to run over Johnson.
3rd star: Ray Emery
2nd star: Jeff Carter
1st star: Matt Cooke
3rd anti-star: Scott Hartnell
2nd anti-star: Alex Goligoski
1st anti-star: Arron Asham
3:10 PM (post-game) - Thanks for tuning in en masse, guys. I hope you enjoyed following as much as I enjoyed blogging.
Oh, how I love when the Pens beat the Phlyers!