Big Lead Sports Bar


A Bad Day

Yesterday was about as bad as one could get for Pittsburgh sports. First, the day starts with news that a caravan of school buses crashed en route to the Pirate game. Who were the buses carrying? 300 Laurel Highlands Middle School 8th graders who were going to sing the national anthem. Nothing like a photo like this to tear your heart out:

We then fast-forward to the actual Pirate game, where the Team That Stranded 13 Runners dropped a third consecutive game to the St. Louis Cardinals, this time by a count of 3-2. The Pirates, always finding a new way to lose, came from behind to tie the game at 2-2 in the 7th, only to ultimately lose on a Chris Duncan pinch-hit homer in the 9th. The home run was surrendered by Salomon Torres, whose grip on the closer job weakens each day. And the winning pitcher? That would be Ryan Franklin, who's historically significant for the fact that he was the 8th player busted for steroids after MLB instituted their new rules last season.

The worst part about this three-game home sweep is that the Pirates could have easily swept the series themselves. Their pitching staff gave up a total of nine runs in three games. If not for their inept, untimely offense and brain farts on defense, you could be looking at a 7-2 team today. Instead, we finally get pinched by reality and sink under .500 for the first time this season.

Jason Bay, being unclutch yet again

The trifecta of this day came in the form of the Penguins' opening playoff game at Ottawa. While this team grew up fast this season, it was not apparent on this evening. They were outmatched and outplayed by the Senators, who were 6-3 victors in game one. I guess that can be expected when 13 of your players are playing in their first postseason game.

Game two suddenly becomes a must-win for the young Penguins, who certainly don't want to come back from Ottawa in a 2-0 hole. I fully expect the Pens to learn a lot from this experience and come out spitting fire on Saturday afternoon. If not, this series will be short and sweet...for Ottawa fans.

A picture says 1,087 words

The great part about life is that regardless of what happens, the sun will always rise the next day. None of the students were injured, the Penguins get a chance at redemption on Saturday, and the Pirates can get back to .500 as early as tomorrow. Let's hope these teams are as optimistic about their future as I am.


tecmo said...

"apparent kicking motion" repeated in my brain last night over and over. the rule is supposed to stop players from freely kicking pucks into the cage, not for whiffing on shots, falling on your ass, and having the puck hit your foot thats sliding to protect yourself from breaking in half against ray emery.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I dunno, the Pens were outplayed, kicking motion or not.

The passing was horrid. I don't think Mark Recchi cleanly received a pass the whole game.

Sid was ok. The one Penguin I was impressed with in defeat however: Jordan Staal. 18-years-old and the presence he played with in his first playoff game at both ends of the ice made me happy.

Meadowbrookalum1 said...

Lets not 1991 the Pens lost the first game in every series on their way to winning the Stanley Cup....falling behind two games against New Jersey and Boston if I'm not mistaken. Look for a bounce-back tonight and the Pens closing out the series at home in 6.

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

I don't remember the last time my blood was boiling as much as it was during the Pens first playoff game since 2001.

The Sens deserve a lot of credit they came out ready to play, the Pens clearly weren't ready, and the Sens took full advantage and did not let up until the last few minutes of the game. I tip my hat to the Sens.

That doesn't mean I didnt want to kill any of the Sens players, because, trust me, I DID!

That being said, will someone in a Pens uniform start forechecking? Ruttu started to try and mix things up VERY late in the game, we needed this after we went down 2-0.

Recchi was horrible.

The one player i was impressed with was Ouelette. He looked poised, played smart, and actually threw some hits. Keep it up Michel.

Why couldn't Army play like this? Armstrong has some skills but also can mix it up and hit. We need a bigger game from Army. He needs to forecheck hard, and provide energy while playing with Sid.

Finally I have to applaude Ray Shero for putting together this Pens team, he did a fantastic job. This team is a major improvement over last year's squad. With Sid, Malkin, Fleury, and Stall on the ice, Shero as GM, and a new arena on the way the Pens are going to be one of the top hockey franchises in the NHL for the next decade.

Thanks for bringing playoff hockey back to Pittsburgh!

tecmo said...

oh i dont think the kicking motion call was the only reason we lost the game. not at all. i can name countless reasons for the loss (mark eaton tipped a shot that was easily picked up by ottawa for an easy goal. laraque's intended drop pass to ruutu lead to a senators breakaway that resulted in an easy goal. the defense couldnt get the puck out of their own zone. the ottawa forwards were more physical than the pittsburgh defense. the pens couldnt handle simple passes and stick-handling maneuvers. daniel alfredsson was allowed to take hack after hack at the net, and the score would have been 10-3 if the ottawa captain quit missing the cage. ryan whitney struggled to a -2 rating...etc).

the thing that bugged me was the pens came back from a 4-1 deficit against the senators in march, and army and sid crashing the net could have been the spark needed to jumpstart the struggling offense.