Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pre-Game Playoff Notes (Pittsburgh VS Tampa Bay - GAME 7, ROUND 1)

How did we get here (Game 7)?
That's just the playoffs!!

LINE COMBINATIONS (projected by this morning's skate)

From what I hear, Bylsma is staying with the same lines and won't make any changes which is typical since no one is out of the lineup (as was Kunitz in Game 4 when Tangradi made his NHL playoff debut); I honestly wish there was some way to get Tangradi in there or that Staal or Neal OR SOMEONE would create a presence in front of TB's net!!

  • I predicted that Neal and "Z" would both score goals in this round; Neal scored A BIGGIE during the second OT to win Game 4, so TONIGHT IS Z's NIGHT (and maybe a HT for Nealy - do it!)!!
  • the Pens are a better team than what they've been playing (especially in Game 5!), so they're due for a good game (tonight) and TB has yet to show any fatigue and I believe that's due as well --
    • the Pens are better than the Bolts, but the pressure lies with the Pens (it's anyone's game and whoever wants it more will win and WILL DESERVE IT)
  • Staal will step it up again and Fleury will have a brilliant game to make up for the last two 
  • The Pens will have ONE powerplay goal at everyone's amazement (this will knock the Bolts off their game)
  • This game will have at least one overtime
  • There will be a hero (my guess is Talbot or TK)
  • Pittsburgh will need all it's players to have his best game and I BELIEVE they can do it ...
NONE - everyone is healthy and accounted for

  • Roloson is 5-0 in elimination games (my questions: how long ago was that and who were the teams?  I GUARANTEE Roloson is a different goalie and who the opposing team is makes a difference too)
  • the Penguins have gone 140 consecutive game, including post-season, since last losing three or more consecutive games (that was back in the 2009-10 season when they lost 5 in a row from December 27, 2009 - January 3, 2010)

WBS Baby Pens Sign Samuelsson to Amateur Contract

The Penguins just announced that their AHL affiliate, WBS Baby Pens, signed defenseman Philip Samuelsson to an amateur tryout contract. Earlier this month, Pittsburgh signed Sanuelsson to a entry-level contract.

I'm guessing this means the Baby Pens are short on defensemen and need to have him play for a short period of time ... a game or two - not exactly sure how those contracts work (and I believe this is what the Pens signed the Russian goalie, Alexander Pechurskiy, to when he played one game for them back in January 2010).

The Baby Pens advanced to the second round of the AHL Calder Cup playoffs and their first game of this round against Charlotte Checkers is tomorrow night.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pre-Game Playoff Notes (Pittsburgh VS Tampa Bay - GAME 2, ROUND 1)

LINE COMBINATIONS (projected by this morning's skate)

  • TONIGHT, the Pens will have to maintain their physicality - even step it up some as Tampa Bay will be more prepared for them.  But I still think they will be unable to match the Pens intensity (too many physical Pittsburgh players compared to what few the Bolts have)
    • Tampa Bay's fire power may not be able to prevail over all of Pittsburgh's toughness and playoff experience especially with all the role players who have a history of "stepping up" in post-season as was the case in Game 1 (Asham and Kovy; but also Adams, Rupper, Talbot)
  • STILL believe that there will be goals scored by both Neal (maybe even a hat trick?) and "Z" this round
  • Game 2 will be pivotal (if the Pens win, it will be full steam ahead which will create a sense of defeat for the Bolts and will take nothing less than perfect play to cause the Pens to waver ... but if Tampa Bay wins, it just means it will take more games to reach the inevitable - Pens win the series regardless)
  • we still won't see much from Stamkos (I think what was left of his confidence what knocked out of him with the hit from Orpik in the first few minutes of Game 1) and Lecavalier; however, St. Louis may just be "out for blood" (see "TAMPA BAY LINE / INJURY INFO below)
  • Martin St. Louis was accidentally struck with a stick in the mouth losing three teeth at the hands of Michalek last Wednesday; he had to undergo a DOUBLE root canal, but that won't stop him from being in tonight's lineup (this is the playoffs, man!)
  • Randy Jones (D), ankle - day-to-day
  • Matt Smaby (D), lower body - day-to-day
  • Dwayne Roloson (projected to start in net)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pre-Game Playoff Notes (Pittsburgh VS Tampa Bay - GAME 1, ROUND 1)

LINE COMBINATIONS (projected by this morning's skate)

A few players return to the lineup tonight for Game 1 against the Bolts who took yesterday to get rested (Staal, Kunitz, Martin) including James Neal who hurt his hand / wrist in the Islanders game on April 8th; this will be his FIRST NHL playoff game!!

MY [semi-bold] PREDICTIONS:
  • TONIGHT, the Pens are going to come out with guns blazing (they may fizzle a little in the second and third, as usual, but NOT AS MUCH as usual - they are "playoff ready" after playing in the post-season for the past several years unlike Tampa Bay);
  • Staal will step it up and play his heart out as will Fleury (continuing his brilliance) and there will be goals from Neal and "Z," if not tonight then sometime IN THIS ROUND ...
  • Stamkos and Lecavalier won't be as big of a factor as St. Louis (this is Stamkos' first "go" in playoff hockey, so he might even "tucker out" the longer the series goes); I think the team preparing as if Crosby were playing (or will return) in this series is somewhat of a mistake and will throw them off a bit especially since they haven't made a playoff appearance since 2007 (and they'll need time to get their legs under them simply for that reason)
TAMPA BAY LINE / INJURY INFO (basically a healthy team):
Randy Jones (D), ankle - indefinitely
Victor Hedman (D), lower-body - day-to-day (this was from reports a few days ago)
Dwayne Roloson (projected to start in net)

It's Finally HERE!!!


Today is like a Friday, Christmas, my birthday, and every other exciting day in my life all rolled into one ... not just because the Penguins post-season begins but also because I GET TO BE THERE!!!

The VERY FIRST, playoff home game played at the CONSOL Energy Center ... I can't wait to feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck and the goose bumps form on my arms as I hear the deafening cheers made by the crowd (and I can't wait to hear Mike Lange's pre-game summary before they play the [NEW, most probably] pre-game "PUMP-ME-UP" video!)!!

I am pretty much useless sitting in my cubicle at work as I cannot concentrate on anything else but tonight's game ... I've been listening to Penguins Radio since I got here early this morning.  The ride to Pittsburgh will probably be a blur, but being at the game will be amazing and I get to share it will a very good friend and fellow die-hard Pens fan (my poor hubby has been putting tons of overtime in so it wasn't ideal for him to make the trip with me tonight unfortunately, but I foresee lots more playoff games for him to go to with me!)!!

The Penguins playoffs began early this morning for me when I woke up ... it's DEFINITELY "a great day for hockey" and "a hockey night in Pittsburgh," so ...


Is That Rob Rossi OR Indiana Jones?!!!

Then WHERE is your whip (or LARGE knife as Mearsy described the hat as his looking more Crocidile Dundee-like)?  No matter ... either conjure up a few naughty fantasies in my head!!!

I honestly LOVE Rob Rossi even though he's not the most popular Penguins beat writer.  I enjoy the fact that he's different, but I also enjoy pointing it out too (only because I AM such a fan!)!!

I have to say, though, that I like this look much more than his other decision to morph into Steven Segal's much younger brother!!!

YOU ROCK, ROB (so do you Mearsy!)!!  ; D

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Samuelsson Signs Entry-Level Contract with the Pens

The Penguins announced earlier today that they signed defenseman Philip Samuelsson to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Samuelsson was Pittsburgh's 2nd round draft pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (61st overall) and is the son of former Pittsburgh defenseman Ulf Samuelsson.

Pittsburgh's replacing the talent and depth they've brought up to the NHL with these past few signings ... keeping a good thing going!!
To read more on Samuelsson, CLICK HERE.

Penguin Radio Appearances (Today)

I've been trying to find podcasts of the ones that have already taken place, but haven't been too successful (things are harder to do at work!)!!

8:20 AM - James Neal on 93.7 FM, The Fan
8:30 AM - Chris Kunitz on 102.5 FM WDVE
8:50 AM - Pascal Dupuis on 96.1 FM, KISS
8:55 AM - Jordan Staal on 105.9 FM, The X
10:00 AM - Paul Martin on 970 AM, ESPN
1:20 PM - Ray Shero on 93.7 FM, The Fan
4:35 PM - Dan Bylsma on ESPN TV ("Rome Is Burning")
3-6 PM - Maxime Talbot on 105.9 FM, The X
5:20 PM Dan Bylsma on XM Radio (with Chris "Mad Dog" Russo)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Plum High School 2nd Annual Pittsburgh Penguins Lipdub

THANKS once again to my buddy, Aubri (who was part of the 150 students in the video), for passing this along!!  Another COOL lipdub from Plum High School (see their first one by CLICKING HERE!)!!!  It definitely gets you right into a playoffs mindset!!

From PlumHighSchoolTV on YouTube:
On Friday night, April 8, 2011 the Television Production students, National Honor Society, and their friends at Plum High School filmed our second annual Pittsburgh Penguins lipdub video. 150 students came up to school to film. We had our first ever special guest in attendance, which was the Pittsburgh Penguins mascot Iceburgh. We want to thank all the students that participated, Jim Kubus, Justin Labar and Melanie Wass from the Tribune Review, and Tom McMillan from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Also, Ed Albert from Inside Penguin Hockey, and all the students who gave up their Friday night to be a part of our 2nd annual Pittsburgh Penguin lipdub video. We decided to lipdub two songs this year, one from the 80's and a current song. We used "We're Not Going To Take It" from Twisted Sister, and "Dynamite" from Taio Cruz. Then we played our closing credits and other outtakes and highlights to "In Too Deep" from Sum 41.

We do not own the music used in this video.

Music Credit:

We're Not Going To Take It by Twisted Sister

Dynamite by Taio Cruz

In Too Deep by Sum 41

Dan Bylsma Media Appearances

The Penguins announced this afternoon the following dates / times for media appearances that Dan Bylsma will be making:

TODAY, Monday, April 11th
5:15 PM: XM Radio Home Ice with Phil Esposito
9:40 PM: SportsCenter on ESPNews (TV)

Tuesday, April 12
4:30 PM: ESPN Rome Is Burning (TV-taping at CONSOL Energy Center)

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

Sidney Crosby's goal against the New York Islanders Dwayne Roloson was the 50th goal of the season – the first time in his career at the 50-goal milestone; he added another goal tying with Tampa's Steve Stamkos for the Rocket Richard Award

Evgeni Malkin clinched the NHL scoring title with 113 points and became the fourth Pens player to win the crown and the 13th time a Pittsburgh player finished at the top

The Pens had 54 shots on the Senators to set a playoff franchise record for shots on goal in a regulation game as Pittsburgh defeated Ottawa, 5-3

The Penguins were defeated by the Ottawa Senators, 6-3, in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Tom Barrasso recorded his 21st shutout stopping all 20 shots from the Detroit Red Wings

Mario Lemieux scored on a penalty shot against the Florida Panthers' Jonn Vanbiesbrouck

Tom Barrasso recorded his eighth shutout by stopping 32 shots from the Ottawa Senators which helped clinch the first-ever Northeast Division title with a 4-0 win

Information obtained from

Sunday, April 10, 2011

SCHEDULE: Penguins VS Lightning (Round 1)

The NHL recently released the schedule for the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Here's Pittsburgh's:
  • Wednesday, April 13th - Pittsburgh @ 7:00 PM
  • Friday, April 15th - Pittsburgh, @ 7:00 PM
  • Monday, April 18th - Tampa Bay @ 7:30 PM
  • Wednesday, April 20th - Tampa Bay @ 7:30 PM
  • Saturday, April 23th - Pittsburgh @ TBD*
  • Monday, April 25th - Tampa Bay @ TBD*
  • Wednesday, April 27th - Pittsburgh @ TBD*
* only if necessary

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Not Hockey-Related, but Still (CONSOL-Related and) AWESOME!!

Yesterday, it was officially announced by the organization that UFC will be coming to Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center this summer, June 26th!!

According to, several fights have already been confirmed (although the card for the main event hasn't yet been confirmed):
  • Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo
  • Joe Stevenson vs. Javier Vazquez, and
  • Tyson Griffin vs. Manny Gamburyan
Tickets go on sale April 23rd at 10 AM (est).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's A Girl (Payton Marie Kunitz!)!!


Today we welcome another member to the Penguins Family ... Chris Kunitz and his wife, Maureen, had a baby girl earlier this morning -- Payton Marie!! : )

According to the Penguins Report, Kuni will be in the lineup tonight against the NJ Devils.


On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

Syl Apps formally inducted into the Penguins Hall of Fame

Mario Lemieux scored his 100th point making him only the third rookie in NHL history to accomplish this feat

Edward J. DeBartolo became the full owner of the Penguins, having purchased one-third of the franchise the year before

Information obtained from

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pens Sign BC Free-Agent

Earlier today, the Penguins announced that they signed Boston College forward Brian Gibbons.

Gibbons was a free agent who attended the Penguins development camp this past off-season.  He had a pretty successful college hockey career at Boston College being named as alternate captain as well as to the All-Hockey East second team and Hockey East All-Tournament Team.

He signed a two-year, entry-level contract.

It's A Girl (Everly Grayce Johnson!)!!

THANKS, Kendra G. and Debbie B., for the "heads-up!" 

This morning, Brent Johnson and his wife, Danielle, welcomed their first child into the world (a girl).  WELCOME TO THE PENS FAMILY, Everly Grayce Johnson!! : )