Lots of sports action to recap this weekend. The Pens took a big loss, Pitt dropped another one on the road in the Big East, and championship Sunday lived up to expectations. Pretty disappointing for Pittsburgher’s as Sid the kid got hurt and the hated Pats continued their amazing winning streak.
I’ll start by talking about our beloved Penguins. The injury to Sid sucks, that’s for sure, and it happened on my friend’s birthday - way to go "Shiver me Timbers" Pricer, at least he was too smashed to remember it (most likely). Anyhow, the injury looked serious, and it was confirmed at a press conference this morning that Sid would be out till March, a good 6 to 8 weeks at least is likely.
Although this is bad news for the Pens, it could also prove to be beneficial as well. Just look at last night for example, no Sid, no problem. I know what your thinking, yes we did loose the game, but on the other hand we managed to score 5 goals without the captain skating. And that’s with a 4th line filled with players I’d never really heard of, and Sabourin pooping the bed for more then half the game.
Without Sid there a lot of players who are going to be forced to step up and be forced into bigger roles on the team. Undoubtedly Geno Malkin is the first name that comes to mind here, but contrary to popular belief and 7 goals, 2 assists, and +5 in the last 5 games, he can’t do it alone. Players like Jordan Staal, Max Talbot, Eric Christensen, and Petr Sykora will all have to step their game up and make plays in order to keep up the current pace that they’ve been on and keep a high seed going into the playoffs.
Also, the minor league players who are playing in the NHL for the first time will have a couple months to get accustomed to the speed of NHL play. This could prove to be valuable as #47 Tim Brent, #34 Jonathan Filewich, #48 Tyler Kennedy, #39 Chris Minard, and #33 Ryan Stone may be able to contribute come April. With that said, as long as we can get solid goalie play from Conklin and the Flower the rest of the way out we should be in good shape come March when Sid returns to the ice.
The Pens went 1-1-1 over the weekend, and managed to nab an extra point by going to OT last night against the Capitals. This was the battle for Red Square as Geno Malkin faced off against former roommate and Russian counterpart Alex Ovechkin. Versus got pretty lucky picking this one, as it was one of the most entertaining games of the season, and it didn’t even feature the game's best player.
Geno and Ovechkin stole the show; they each put up 2 goals and an assist, and both made spectacular plays throughout. Malkin finished with 7 shots and Ovechkin fired 11. The best play came in the 2nd, when Malkin was swooping in behind his own goal and Ovechkin came at him like a charging freight train from the opposite direction. Luckily, Geno saw him at the last minute and managed to shoulder check him and send him spiraling down to the ground like a Blackhawk helicopter shot down by an RPG (Note from Snack: That's a Call of Duty 3 reference for those of you not hipto the scene). This play almost resulted in Malkin dropping the gloves with his former Russian buddy, but alas, it never ended up happening. This coulda been a nice heavyweight battle as Ovechkin goes 6’1” 215 lbs and Malkin goes 6’ 3” 200. There’s always next time I guess (March 9th at Washington).
Crazy stat of the game: The Pens took 15 shots and scored on 5 of them...that’s pretty efficient shooting even though we were playing against Ollie the goalie.
Side note: The Pens looked good in the shootout again; Christensen and Letang both beat Kolzig, but both managed to miss the open net. Even though we lost, I like the line up the Pens used last night for the shoot out. I think that’s the line to stick with for the time being, as those guys have the ability to win a lot of close games for the Pens in the last couple months.
* Thanks to the reader for mentioning this in the comments - that hit by Staal on Donald Brashear was sweet, young Staaly really rang the big man’s bell on that one, way to go Jordan!
(Note from Snack: It's just been announced that Geno Malkin is in the All-Star Game, replacing an injured Sid. I'm glad this injustice was finally taken care of, but it doesn't diminish the fact that he should have been there in the first place.)
Pitt loses to Cinci
I'm not going to discuss much about the Pitt game, as I was stuck working and am relying on Snack's "expert" account. Here's a recap from someone who saw it, but I will say this - If Blair doesn't play well, Pitt doesn't play well.
It seems like as he goes, so does the team. The hard nosed, physical aspect of his game is missed every time he's not on the court, and to be honest, without his inside presence, we're just a perimiter team, and that won't get it done in the Big East.
Now on to some football action, and Sunday had plenty of it with both championship games taking place is some sub zero temperatures (the way football was meant to be played). The early game wasn’t such a good one, as the Pats pretty much held control throughout, but the night game was one of the best playoff games I’ve seen in quite some time.
Patriots vs Chargers
No one really thought the Chargers were gonna win this one, especially the odds makers who set a 14.5 point spread in favor of the Pats. The Chargers did have a shot, but they ended up with too many mistakes and not enough TD’s to get the job done.
Tom Brady did everything he could to keep the Chargers in the game by throwing three picks and looking very un-Bradylike. It was the Chargers who could not make the most with the opportunities given to them as they made four red zone appearances, but scored zero (count em zero) TDs against the rugged Patriots defense. It didn’t help that LT sat on the sideline in an overcoat and that tinted visor helmet of his the whole game. (Hey LT I know your pissed about not playing but how about getting your teammates a little fired up) That really made me mad that he was just sitting there like that, cheer your team on ya jagoff.
On the other hand, Phillip Rivers gained some points with me for the performance he put forth that cold afternoon in Foxboro. After the game it was released that Rivers has his knee scoped during the week, and he was noticeably limping all through the game Sunday. Rivers still managed to play a pretty solid game, even though he had two picks. I strongly disagree with the halftime assessment of Bill Cowher, Dan Marino, and company who all wrote Rivers off in favor of Billy Volek. It took balls for Rivers to play in that game, and I believe it was his game to be won or lost.
The true error in judgment came toward the end of the game when the Chargers were facing a 4th down and 10 from the Patriots 36 yard line. Norv Turner elected to punt in this situation. The Pats did what they do, and Norv and the Chargers offense were forced to watch from the sidelines as time ticked down and they lost the game and were sent back to sunny San Diego.
Note: TMZ posted pics today of Tom Brady going to his girl’s apartment in NYC with a walking cast on his leg. Could be trouble for the golden boy.
(Pic from bostonherald.com)
Poor baby...Waddle up to your supermodel girlfriend, jagoff...
Packers vs Giants
Now this game was a nail biter, with both teams repeatedly gaining and losing the opportunity to put this one away and move on to the Super Bowl. It was bitter cold in Lambeau with a wind chill temperature dropping down to a frigid negative 25 degrees. (It wasn’t much warmer in the Burgh Sunday) And I admit, I expected to see some maniacs with their shirts off, but I definitely didn’t expect them to be girls...those female Pack fans are hardcore, no doubt about it.
(Pic from viewimages.com)
How you doing?
I was rooting for the Pack in this one, and not just for Favre, but for Mike McCarthy as well. As you saw, friends of PNA from Pittsburgh made it to the game - all the way down to the sideline - and were kind enough to send us some exclusive pics. Who says we don’t know people? If the Pack woulda won please believe there woulda been some rowdy celebration pics...there’s always next year I guess. (That seems to be the theme of this post)
I thought this would be a good game, but I had no idea how crazy it would get. After battling back and forth for 3 quarters the score remained knotted up 20-20. Luckily for the Packers it stayed that way after Lawrence Tynes missed two field goals to send the game into OT. (I didn’t think there was a snowball's chance in hell he was missing the second one) Apparantly Tynes was wearing some leg warmers so he wouldn’t get cold...guess that didn’t work out too well for him.
Favre was forced to throw most of the day as the Giants D wasn’t giving the Pack any room to run the ball. A mistake by Favre in OT proved to be the turning point of the game, as he threw an INT on an out pattern in the second play of overtime. In my opinion, Corey Webster, the man who intercepted Favre, saved the life of Lawrence Tynes, who surely already had money placed on his head in NYC for missing those two easy kicks in regulation. (even my friend from Jersey who roots for the Giants gave up hope after miss # 2) Tynes, seemingly knowing his life could have damn well been on the line, booted a 47 yard game winner sending the Giants to the Super Bowl.
This has been quite the run for the Giants in the playoffs, winning all their games on the road to make it to Arizona in two weeks. Eli Manning is easily the playoff MVP thus far, as he has yet to throw a pick all post season (knock on wood). Also, how about Plax? This guy really learned to catch since leaving the Burgh...He was grabbing up everything thrown his way, finishing with 11 catches and 154 yards, and looked pretty unstoppable in the process.
Side note: Some jagoff called in Mark Madden yesterday talking about Santonio is a better WR then Burress. Madden basically laughed at the dude and told him there’s not a GM in the league that would take Holmes over Burress, and I agree. The Steelers really miss a player like Plax with an amazing combo of size and speed. Sure he might not be the toughest guy, but there is a lot to be said about a guy who plays hurt all season long and still manages to put up the numbers that he did this year… not to mention dominate in the playoffs.
See yinz next week…