Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Year of the Penguin

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of the smart break-out pass, it was the age of the bad penalty, it was the epoch of belief in Isle of Capri, it was the epoch of incredulity when it didn't happen, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the Autumn of hope with a winning streak, it was the winter of our despair with a losing streak, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to the top of the Atlantic, we were all going direct the other way--in short, each period was like every other period that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
- Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens wrote this before hockey existed. That's how gold he was.


It was a big year in 2006 for the Penguins. Other than Crosby's 100th point and the Kovalchuk incident, there's really not too much to dwell on in the early months of 2006.

It was a fun year for us here at The Pensblog, too.
As always, thank you for visiting the site. We wish we could personally thank everyone.

It's time for the Season-in-Review.

We will re-live some memories while also letting our game recaps and posts speak for us.
We always miss something, so please help us all out in the comments.

Links labeled 'video' take you to highlights.
All other links take you to game recaps and posts.


Five Worst Moments of the Season

5. The Second Period of the Montreal game. [ 12.16 ]
-- All season, the Pens have been highly competitive in every game. This one was the first time Pens fans really felt like "Well, maybe we aren't as good as we think."
Montreal went nuts, scoring 4 goals in the second period and dominating the Penguins in every aspect of the game.
No question that night we all felt like Tina Turner when Ike was around.

If you don't think Ike Turner played for the Habs that night, you're nuts.

4. The Ranger (as Michel Therrien calls them) win with seconds left in overtime. [ 11.25 ]
-- You're most likely thinking that this game wasn't that bad. Well, it was. Especially if the Pens lose out on a playoff berth by one point. To make matters worse, former Penguin Marty Straka ended the game by redirecting a pass from former Penguin Michal Roszival.

I knew it was you Marty. You broke my heart. You're dead to me.

3. Mark Eaton Gets Injured in a game at San Jose. [ 11.04 ]
-- A lot of people, Pensblog Staff included, know this was a huge blow to the Penguins. The Pens' defense was much improved, and we were red hot at the time; coming in 7-3-0.
But Jonathan Cheechoo nails Mark Eaton from behind. Eaton breaks his wrist, and the Pens defense goes into a free-fall.

2. Malkin is Injured in his First Preseason Game. [ 9.20 ]

I still remember sitting in front of my TV and just staring in disbelief. After all the waiting, this happens? Looking back, this was cleary John Leclair's fault. I have no idea where the Pens would be without Malkin this year, but having to think about it until we knew he was coming back was horrible.
Our Sum Of All Fears post captured the emotions of the moment (Derek's first post on The Pensblog).
--- VIDEO ---

1. Isle of Capri is Denied. [ 12.20 ]
-- I didn't realize this till just now, but this was 3 months to the day of Malkin's Injury.
Just an awful day, because this is something we had banked on for nearly a year.
It still hurts because the situation is still unresloved, but we can only hope and pray that it does get done. That day will be the only thing that can erase December 20, 2006.

Top 10 Moments of the Season

10. Penguins crush Flyers 8-2 in Philadelphia. [ 10.28 ]
-- It could definitely be higher than number 10, but this game was simply the Penguins beating up on a weak team. The fact that it was against the Flyers makes it that much more gratifying, though.

9. Evgeni Malkin scores in his first NHL game against New Jersey. [ 10.18 ]
-- Kind of sad that his first goal wasn't one of the normal variety.
For the rest of his career, Malkin has to remember his first NHL goal was cheap.

8. Nils Ekman hat trick against Tampa Bay. [ 11.08 ]-- The quickest three goals scored in Penguin history. After that game (and before it), Ekman hasn't made an impact other than being fast and not being able to finish. Koltzov, anyone?

7. Opening night. Fleury's shutout against Philadelphia. [ 10.05 ]
-- A highly-anticipated opening night was something that made us think we were dreaming. But the Flyers turned out to actually be that terrible.

6. Malkin goes on a six-game goal-scoring streak to start his NHL career.
-- The arrival of Malkin onto the scene made NHL statisticians delve into the history books.

5. Penguins shootout victory against Atlanta on December 9th.
-- A big match-up against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Pens played a consistent, hard-working game and were awarded when Colby Armstrong scored in overtime.

4. Penguins starting the season 7-3-0.
-- Not in our wildest dreams did we expect the Pens to start the season 7-3. Penguins fever was somewhat palpable in that first month of the season.

3. Sidney Crosby's 6-point night in a 8-4 win over the Flyers. [ 12.13 ]
-- Crosby goes nuts to attain first place in the points race.
--- VIDEO ---

2. Frantic comeback against Washington. [ 12.11 ]
-- This game quickly turned from one of the worst games of the season to one of the most memorable.

1. Evgeni Malkin injects hope into Pens fans everywhere with an electrifying goal in a victory against the Devils on October 24th. This win also propelled the Penguins to first place in the Atlantic Division.
The Pensblog's "We Are All Witnesses" post is one of my personal favorites that we've ever done.
--- VIDEO ---


Five Biggest Goals of 2006-07
( Not the best; the biggest )

5. Crosby scores with 3.3 seconds left in a 6-5 win over the Rangers on October 12th.
-- In one of the best games of the season, Crosby denies the Rangers a point in the final seconds with a bank shot off a Ranger's defenseman. Madison Square Garden is stunned.
---- VIDEO ----

4. Gonchar scores overtime goal against Islanders to begin a five-game winning streak in October.
-- Malkin scored halfway through the third to tie it up. A big, overtime win like this really instilled some confidence in the players...and the fans, too.

3. In the final game of that winning streak, Malkin scores in overtime against Los Angeles.
-- In a game that I remember saying no one should have won, the Pens were given a gift power play in OT. A rebound lands on Malkin's stick and he buries it into an empty net.

2. Armstrong scores in overtime to beat Atlanta.
-- The Pens have had four or five "must-win games" already this season. This was one of them.

1. Malkin scores in the waning minutes to beat Philadelphia.
-- The game tied at 2, late in the third. Malkin rises to the occasion with a wicked one-timer from the circle. Worthy of number one on your list?


Top 5 Jobber Goals
( Goals by jobbers )

5. Jarrko Ruutu scores on opening night
-- The Mellon Arena crowd falling in love with Jarrko Ruutu.

4. Chris Thorburn enjoys ice-time with Malkin and Crosby, scoring a goal against Anaheim.
-- Easily one of the best jobbers the Pens have had in recent years. He found himself on Malkin and Crosby's line after a penalty and took advantage of it.

3. Alain Nasreddine scores in Montreal.
-- Using common sense at the end of a period, Nasreddine snuck in from the point and one-timed a Crosby pass into the net with 0.3 remaining.

2. Both of John LeClair's goals.
-- Yes, all two of them

1. Joe Melichar on opening night.
-- Future Norris Trophy winner Joey Melichar puts a puck in on a pretty decent shot.


Four Worst Games of the Season
( Devils games don't count )

4. Detroit bores the hell out of Mellon Arena. [ 10.07 ]
-- This was easily one of the least entertaining games of the season. Pens managed 13 shots.

3. Ottawa shows up. Pens don't. [ 11.10 ]
-- A big Friday night brought the fans out to the Arena, only to watch Ottawa have their way with our Pens.

2. Armstrong's hit on Trevor Letowski sparks Carolina in another Saturday night loss for the Pens. [ 10.14 ]

-- A freaky game that we all hope is lost forever when talking about the 2006-07 season. Kris Letang scored a freaky goal for the Pens while Carolina poured it on.

1. The Blues suck. [ 12.19 ]
-- A simply frustrating game to watch. No comment.


Four Best Games of the Season

4. Penguins push Anaheim to the brink. [ 11.06 ]
-- Against one of the top-tier teams of the NHL, the Penguins held their ground and made Anaheim work hard for a victory on their home ice.

3. Penguins crush Flyers. [ 10.28 ]
-- One of our best games and one of our best moments of the season. Seriously, it felt that good.

2. Penguins earn a hard-fought victory over Atlanta. [ 12.09 ]
-- Nothing much to say that our game recap didn't say for us. It still resonates as a huge win.
--- VIDEO ---

1. Penguins come from behind to beat Washington. [ 12.11 ]
-- For the rest of the season, we can always fall back on this game when we're down 4-0 halfway through the second period.
To be able to come back like that shows this team doesn't give up.
--- VIDEO ---

P.S. -- What does it mean when you realize that these four games were all road games?


Five Things To Look Forward To
( In no particular order, except for number one )

5. The Playoff Push.
--The Pens, for the first time in a long time, have a chance to at least be in a position to make the playoffs.

4. The Trade Deadline.
-- Everyone loves talking about trades.
If the Pens can smell the playoffs, will Shero have the brass of a riverboat gambler?

3. The Malkin Man.
-- Can Geno Malkin step up his game to that next level that everyone knows he can? He has been inconsitent at times, but his flashes of brilliance far outweigh any of that. It should be fun watching Malkin in '07.

2. The Crosby Show.
-- If '06 was a flash of what is to come, we are going to be in for a spectactular '07. Can Sid lead the NHL in points the rest of the season? Can he lead the Pens to the playoffs? If he does both, then you can send the Hart Memorial Trophy to where you've sent it many times before: Mario Lemieux's house.

Can Bing continue going nuts?

1. The New Deal.

The Pens' Arena Deal will garner all the attention, and well, it should. Because the let's face it... if the Pens leave, we're all leaving, too.

Starting on Jan 1, 2007, the clock is ticking.


Anonymous said...

What a year! As always great job guys

Elly said...

You all put a lot of work into your posts, and it always shows. Wonderful recap, I still cry at night that I missed that Capitals game.

Happy '07!

seth said...

Great year in review. I'd just like to throw in there that I read on tsn, sports illustrated or somewhere that in the 2006 calendar year, crosby leads in points with i believe 115 in 76 games? Don't quote me on that. I believe he beat out joey thornton by 1 and jags by 2. Gonna be quite a roller coaster in '07.. here's to the good times of '06!

Joshua said...

(from pittsburgh)
Well done boys!
Yinz do a solid job of furthering the penguins heartbeat.

Happy New Year to the Staff!

Derek said...

Thanks all! Happy new year to you all.. Everyone be safe!

Geeves said...

a good post. two beefs though.

boo on you for not putting sidney's ridiculous double pass to himself for an assist against NYI in the top 10 moments somewhere.

i also think it is unfair to put isle of capri falling through as the #1 worst moment. anyone who expected that to go through was being unusually optimistic at best. their leverage as "best deal" was compromised by 1) the uproar from hill residents (justified or not) and 2) by the other bidders agreeing to at least partial arena contributions. i don't think it was ever better than 70/30 of winning, and it just went down from there.

otherwise, amen to the year in review.

though, honorable mention to every single game the devils have played as "worst game of the season"

Derek said...


Great feeback man.

I have to disagree with you though.

The Crosby double pass didn't even register for myself, I had to ask Adam what it was. I totally forgot about it.. It was a great move, but not top ten worthy. If thats OT, top 5. Dec 15, of a jobber game. No. Although the Isles were coming back.

No way Isle Capri is not the worst moment. I knew it was doomed, you knew it was doomed. But its like when your a kid and you ask for some unrealistic gift for christmas. You know your not going to get it, but you still feel like knocking over the christmas tree when you don't.
I will fight you to the death on that one...haha.

Have a happy new year man. Your blog is good times.

Andrew said...

I have 2 major problems...

1) If you ever...EVER...say anything bad about Marty Straka again I will raise more hell on Earth than you can even imagine. Marty Straka is a saint.

2) Malkin's injury was not Leclair's fault at all. Leclair did the responsible thing...and I will argue this forever. He saw the impact...he stood as tall as he could and braced himself, thinking that Malkin would just run in to him. Instead, Malkin decided to pretend to be superman and jump over him...thus f'n his shoulder up.

If you have ever played hockey, you know that what Leclair did was right. Malkin was at fault on that one.

That's all the complaining I have from this list. Otherwise, good job.

Adrienne said...

I'm with Andrew. Leave Straka alone. It's not his fault he got snatched by the fucking Rangers. (god I hate that fucking team)
Denying him that is like denying tampa their ownage OT goal from november 8th.

on another note for the pensblog nerd staff, lemme know if you're going to the carolina game :p

Anonymous said...

I love Martin Straka!!
I love Martin Straka!!
He's not dead!! He's not!

Joe said...


I was hoping for a mention of this sacred day. Eighteen years ago today, a certain #66 scored 5 goals 5 different ways -- even strength, power play, shorthanded, penalty shot, and against the french-canadian goaltender, L'emptie Nette

One of the greatest, greatest games of all time (and I had to listen to it on the radio since we couldn't get it on tv) Never forget! :)

Derek said...

Marty Straka is

hahah I cannot wait till the next Ranger game, the blog might lose 4000 readers because I have a few stunning Marty Straka jokes.
(Spoiler) Its going to pit Marty Straka vs. a Weight machine.

He was, one of my favorite players ever. But now. Hes dead

Its not personal, its Business.

And the Leclair thing, I was merely stating that Big John's existence was at fault. I know it wasn't his fault, it is just fun to blame John Leclair for anything.

Adrienne we will def let you know..

Have a great new years eve everyone!

p.s. Joe sorry that didn't get the mention. Since we were 7 or 8 we have habit of omitting huge events.

Adam said...

andrew and straka sittin' in a tree.


Andrew said...

I wish I was kissin Marty at midnight tonight...

...aaaaannnnd I'm gay.

Andrew said...

Well, big John is a good man...ah who am I kidding...he was a Flyer for way too long for me to give him a modicum of respect. Fuck'im. He's dead to me.

Geeves said...

nono, derek, you need a better analogy than that.

it's like sitting there, having that conversation with your girl...and you know she wont let you stick it *there*, but you ask anyways...and are crushed when she slaps you and storms off.


wait. when would marty straka ever be around a weight machine?

Andrew said...

Never, geeves....never. When you are hand-crafted by God (Moses/Allah/Zeus) himself (herself) you don't need weights to maintain a glorious figure.

2007 = The Year of Straka.


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