Big Lead Sports Bar






Casey Hampton showing some love. Easy on that glass!

I wish I could've seen the look on Ray Shero's face when Marian Hossa buried his second goal of the game, an overtime series-ender, at 7:10 of the extra period. For all the critics of the somewhat controversial deadline deal that cost the Penguins Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito, and a future #1 draft pick, Hossa's performance today should probably silence any of them who still remained. And for that, Shero must be very proud of himself.

"Where's the high sticking call?" - Tom Renney

But Shero's goal was not to shut up armchair GMs, it was to win the Stanley Cup. And with Sunday's win over the New York Rangers, the Pittsburgh Penguins advanced to their first Eastern Conference Finals since 2001, bringing them within eight wins of holding the iconic trophy above their heads. The next roadblock in their path is a team you're somewhat familiar with: the Philadelphia Flyers.

Yes, it's the Penguins and the Flyers in the Conference Finals; it's the hockey equivalent of the Steelers facing the Browns, Bengals or Ravens with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. In other words, expect a series for the ages.

While a loss on Sunday would not have been the end of the world for the Penguins, it would have been devastating. They thoroughly outplayed the Rangers for the majority of the game, yet the outcome was totally up in the air throughout the third period and into overtime. The Rangers were a lucky bounce away from sending this series to a Game Six, which would've meant a trip back to New York while the Flyers sat home and watched. Instead, Hossa saved all that trouble and just ended it when he had the chance, etching his name into the annals of Pittsburgh sports history in the process.
We've got a few days until this Instant Classic starts; Game One will be played Friday night at Mellon Arena. Until then, we'll just have to continue our city-wide love affair with Shero, Hossa, and most importantly, the Penguin ownership that ponied up the extra cash to bring him here.

Game Notes:
--Ed Olczyk, pregame: "Henrik Lundqvist outgoaltended Marc-Andre Fleury in Game Four." Yes, he really said "outgoaltended".
--Anyone notice the TV ads becoming repetitive during this series? I guess we must all be fans of Iron Man who buy Edge shave gel and wear Dockers.

--How many times do you think Jaromir Jagr wanted to slug Jarkko Ruuttu during the game? 400? 500?

Penguin fans were displaying signs at a level rivaled only by wrestling fans

--Evgeni Malkin led the Penguins with 10 shots on goal on Sunday.
--The Penguins outshot the Rangers 40-22 and 6-0 in OT.
--Before this season, Hossa had 13 goals in 55 career playoff games. This year, he already has four in nine games.
--Jarkko Ruutu: "A pest worth loving". As long as you're a Penguin fan.
--The Pens held Jaromir Jagr without a shot in Game 5
--PG's Empty Netters has comprehensive coverage
--Trib recap and photo gallery here
--We'll close coverage of this series with this photo:


HotDog_Zanzabar said...

The best part about wrapping up the series is the fact that the world is spared from having to stare at Jaromir's facial hair.

Koz said...


How about that, eh? He had it shaved by the post-game locker room interviews. Impressive.

And I thought that was Casey Hampton in that first pic!

Look for my get to know the Flyers preview tomorrow, folks.

Paul Rinkes said...

That Dockers commercial ... I can watch it a thousand times and not get tired of it. That song is amazing, though it gets goofy -- the agency used the best part.

For me, though, those Edge commercials are weird. The women don't look excited about flying up some guy's nose -- shocking, I know ...

Anonymous said...

I wanna throw up every time I see that stupid Edge commercial - which is about 400 times during a 3 hour broadcast.

And I always get the urge to run to the nearest department store and buy every single Dockers pair of khakis in the store, just so my boyfriend can work, weekend, dress, and golf in them.

LeeTunnel said...

BIG SNACK! I love it.

Most obvious part about the Dockers commercial is that guy has never golfed a day in his life.

Can anyone explain the disdain for Jagr? I get that he publically forced himself out of the door in '01, but it seems to me that his pay gripes were legitimate at the time and more of a function of the Jagr and the Pens doing business in the old broken system that existed then and not that he hated Pittsburgh or the Pens.

okel dokel said...

You should hear the Flyers fans; we are going to sweep them. They'll be lucky if we let them win two. And my personal favorite, I can't wait until Crosby gets in the penalty box, I am going to do a Tie Domi on him and beat the crap out of him.

It should be fun to live here in the Philly area and listen to all of the crap.