Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday Morning Hangover...(Part 1)

After a long weekend filled with frustration Diego is back to bring you the Monday Morning Hangover. This weekend just about sucked in the world of sports here in the Burgh. To me it was one disappointment after the other, but I guess you’ll have that sometimes.

First up Saturday was the return of Pitt football against Big East opponent Rutgers. Two of the most prominent running backs in the Big East were featured in this match up Saturday afternoon, Ray Rice of Rutgers and freshman Shady McCoy of Pitt. Unfortunately for Pitt, Shady could never get it going, gaining just 60 yards on 22 carries. Rice, on the other hand, managed to have a good day against the recently improved Pitt defense, rushing for 112 yards and a TD. The superior play of the running game for Rutgers helped them to a victory by the score of 20-16.

Here's an idea, Bostick, why don't you try not to suck?

The real turning point of the game came on a bogus call by the men in stripes. After Bostick passed for a TD to Oderick Turner, the call was reversed because Turner was flagged for interference for pushing off the corner back. This play absolutely turned the game in favor for Rutgers as McCourty picked off a pass on the very next play of the game, tumbling over all of the momentum that was built up by Pitt. Despite all that the defense played strong and Pitt got 3 turnovers in the first half, they still could not translate them into points on the board.

With only 4 wins on the season, this would have to be considered an unsuccessful one, unless we can somehow ruin the National Championship hopes of WVU and beat them in the backyard brawl on December 1st. The only way I see this happening is if Wannastache sells his soul to the devil himself, but I guess we can keep hope alive for a Christmas miracle. With all expectation of a bowl game diminished for Pitt, the only thing us Pitt football fans have left to hold out hope for is that we can spoil the season for tens of thousands of cousin loving West Virginia fans, who will be eagerly waiting to set couches ablaze on that cold December night.

It's Saturday night now and it's the Pens chance to make it two in a row at home against the New York Rangers. After an encouraging victory at home Thursday night against the Islanders, coming on a game winner coming from non other then big Georges, the Pens stepped into Mellon Arena looking to keep the wins coming in front of the home crowd. This would be no easy task against surging Rangers and their goalie Henrik Lundqvist, one of the best keepers in the league so far this year, allowing less then 2 goals a game thus far.

Kick his ass, C-Bass...

The Pens came out moving the puck nicely and looking like they were carrying momentum over from the win on Thursday night. The first goal came thanks to a move made by Thierren who decided to pair up Sid on the penalty kill with Maxime Talbot. This adjustments paid dividends early as Sid set up Talbot perfectly to connect on a short-handed goal. The Pens cashed in for the second time in the first period when Crosby beat kind Henri for his 11th goal of the season.

In the second period the Pens seemed to lose their mojo as the Rangers managed to tie up the game 2-2 with two goals coming by way of ex-Pens defenseman Michael Rozsival. The Pens were riddled by penalties all night and it came back to haunt them when Girardi beat Fleury, on the Rangers fifth power play attempt, and gained the lead for the Rangers. The third period was a power struggle with the Pens fighting hard to tie the game up and force over-time. At 10:39 Sykora scored his 9th goal knotting it up at 3-3. In overtime, Jason Strudwick, a man who hasn’t scored since he did it against the Pens January 2006, put a shot past Fluery ending the Pens comeback.

This wasn’t the best game I saw them play all year, but it wasn’t the worst either. It was good to see the Pens scoring early especially against the likes of Lundqvist who has been a top-notch goalie this year. However, it is quite the disturbing trend that the Pens are showing in terms of blowing early game and multi-goal, leads. Fleury made some clutch saves early on keeping the Pens in the game and helping to get them fired up, but the team seemed to have trouble playing with passion in the 2nd period. Playing with passion and playing with discipline has troubled the Pens all year long and if their play doesn’t get more consistent soon we are going to be the bottom dwellers of the Atlantic conference for some time. Thierren has been making some smart moves on the ice as far as lineups go and with a couple extra days off the Pens should be fresh and ready to go Wednesday night against the Devils.

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