Thursday, March 29, 2007

2001: A Jobber Odyssey

The morning of May 22, 2001.

The sun broke through our curtains; the smell of playoff hockey waking us up.
That's the last time we uttered the phrase: "Huge Pens playoff game tonight."
By 11:03 P.M. that evening, it was over.
An exhausting season finally wrecked by the much-hated New Jersey Devils.

"We'll be back..."

Six long years ago.
So much has changed.
Everything has changed.

Here's what we've seen since 2001:


Playoff Penguins of 2001

No clue why Hrdina was on this line. But it was solid.
Jaromir Jagr -- he was dying alive, but he was still scoring. 52G 69A 121P
Hrdina was mud.
Mario was Mario.

What a line.

Alexei Kovalev was disgusting -- 44G 51A 95P
Marty Straka -- 27 G 68 A 95P
Robert Lang -- 32G 48A 80P
In all-time Pens history, this line has to rank in the top 5.

Now, this is where the lines get foggy. But we figure someone reading this will know.

This wasn't a line for sure.
Stevens played 17 games in the playoffs.
Morozov was a joke.
And Josef Beranek had something to do with the tying goal in Game 7 in Buffalo or something.

Jobbers R' Us.
Rene Corbet was solid.
Wayne Primeau was sound.
Kraft was a farce. If you bought his jersey, you don't know what's going on.

The Defense

Darius Kasparaitis -- Bob Boughner
As solid as NHL D-men could be at that time.

Andrew Ference -- Janne Laukkanen
Laukkanen looks like he knows he's the man.
Ference was serviceable; a couple big goals in those playoffs.

Ian Moran -- Hans Jonsson
Ian Moran was shaky.
Hans Jonsson was "consistently inconsistent"... according to Mario Lemieux.
How did we not throw up when they were on the ice in a big situation?


Johan Hedberg -- J.S. Aubin

Moose was out of control.


The 2001 Playoffs were a magical mystery tour.
Every series took years off our lives.
Marty Straka was surreal.

Here he is stealing the puck from a certain Capital defenseman and scoring the game winner in Game 6 Overtime:

Straka was one of many heroes in the legendary 7-game series between the Sabres and Pens in the second round.

We all remember Lemieux tying Game 6 late.
With Straka scoring another overtime goal to send it to Buffalo for Game 7.

And of course:

The Bryan Bell " mmmyyyeeeaaahhh! "

And then besides taking acid before the second period of Game 2 against New Jersey, the Pens had nothing left in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Current Penguins
  • Jordan Staal was 12. Crosby -- 13. Malkin -- 14.
  • Sergei Gonchar was a Capital.
  • Mark Eaton was still 5 years away from discovering his powers.
  • Mr. Roberts' neighborhood was in Toronto.
  • Mark Recchi was a Flyer.
  • MAF, Talbot, and Army were in Juniors.
  • Malone, Orpik, Whitney, and Scuderi were still in college.
  • Melichar was just starting his Penguins career.
  • Laraque was a second-year player for the Oilers.
  • Ruutu was your average jobber for the Canucks.
  • Nasreddine was working at Chick-Fil-A in Robinson.
  • Ouellet had 40 goals in juniors.
  • Lord Therrien ran the Habs.
  • Ray Shero was getting people coffee in Nashville.
  • Mike Yeo was most likely banging your mom in 2001.

Early 2001 Events
  • January 11 -- AOL and TimeWarner merge.
  • February 11 -- Three Rivers Stadium is imploded.
  • February 18 -- Dale Earnhardt dies.
  • March 29 -- Pensblog Adam gets first pubic hair.
  • April 9 -- Pirates play first game in PNC Park.
  • April 15 -- Joey Ramone dies.
  • Hotmail was the shit.
  • South Park was in its 5th season.
  • You could still go hang out at the airport.
  • Having an AOL screen name was huge.
  • If a hot girl talked to you on ICQ, you threw up on yourself.
  • Google's plethora of web tools didn't exist.
  • People thought Osama Bin Laden was a dish at Pasta Bravo.
  • High-definition TVs were in their infancy.
  • Satellite radio had about 20 subscribers.
Some shows that debuted 2001:

Movies that came out in 2001:


Napster was huge.

The gayness emanating from the backstage festivities at these concerts is only rivaled by the events that take place in the 2006-07 Ottawa Senators locker room.

Britney was unreal.

do it.

Tons of great albums. Too many to list.

Pensblog Favorites:

Everyone likes different music.
Suck it.

Things that didn't exist yet:

Of course, we're counting on you for more.
Go Pens.


Anonymous said...

Reading this post brought back some good memories - my big question is this: at the close of that season I bought and still own an authentic Hedberg jersey (Penguins alternate at the time, now our standard home) - cool or not cool?

Anonymous said...

oh sarge hahahahahhahhahahaha



Joshua said...


Cause Hedberg was and still is the shit. We owe the Moose much and he still gets cheers in Pittsburgh.

Loser Chris said...

Yeah, Hedberg jersey definitely = cool!

Staff said...

Does anyone have a picture or remember when someone changed the Heidelberg exit to Hedberg?

Good times

Anonymous said...

hahaha the Hedberg sign, that was actually my mom's best friend's little brother that did that when he was really really drunk!!

Anonymous said...

Thanx 4 the trip down memory lane guys! What a year. This one is gonna be one to remember aswell! PLAYOFFS!!! And since the Devils lost 2night, one step closer to #1!!


Staff said...

We will pay top dollar if someone has a picture of this hedberg sign.

It is so far google proof


Anonymous said...

Weren't Dan LaCouture and Marc Bergevin on the 2001 team as well?

tiffany said...

Canaan, great pic!

And "Wii" might have been in the making in

Awww....I love the Moose. Couldn't find a picture of it, but here's an article from that talks about it. Just scroll down til almost the end:

Staff said...

Yes they were.
Dan LaCouture only played 5 games in the playoffs and Marc Bergevin played

Derek said...

"In goal, the Pens and the City of Pittsburgh have rallied around Johan "The Moose" Hedberg."

"Pittsburgh fans love the Moose so much that one crazy fan altered the Route I-279 exit sign from Heidelberg to Hedberg in homage to the goaltender."


Anonymous said...

I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but Nasreddine gets some love from

Nick said...

Kraft Morozov and Corbet maybe?

A young just graduated from high school Matt Godfrey often referred to them as the Kraft Mac and Cheese line.

And unless you watched game 6 in my basement while listening to Hanging by a Moment from Lifehouse on my older brother's dinosaur computer, you're not a true pens fan.

That leaves me, Adam and my little brother as the only true Pens fans alive. haha.

So many memories. Going to play pick-up ice hockey and then coming back just in time for the sun to set and turn on the game. Dancing like a fool while my dad was on the phone in that 2nd period vs the Devs. Marty Straka's slapshot vs the Devs in game 1 that said hey, maybe we can win this thing.

My pap declaring Jaromir Jagr has the biggest waste this town's ever seen after the Devs series. I still believe to this day that Jaromir's lack of playoff success since then is because my pap said "he ain't gonna win nowhere else, because no one else will put up with him whining and crying all the time. They'll ship him off to the next place." Washington, New York and no rings."


Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Wow, getting nostalgic for 6 years ago feels wierd to me.

A week ago we were on the early-90s because of the Stanley Cup teams. Now we're on the early-2000s (Does this decade get a name by the way? So far, I just hear people call it "This decade".)

Anyways, that was a good playoff run. My parents had just moved to Tampa and I was settling in at their house here. I remember when Kasper scored that goal I screamed at the top of my lungs. It wasn't even a happy sounding scream because the next morning the neighbor told me he thought I'd hurt myself.

Also, I don't know if anyone remembers this BUT after Straka scored the GW goal in Game 6 of that Sabres series they interviewed him and it was HILARIOUS. The combo of him speaking broken English while extremely excited was funny as hell.

I remember they showed the interview on Sportscenter and, I believe Kenny Mayne, said "Somebody get Marty Straka a valium drip!"

By the way, two things ESPN doesn't have enough of anymore: Kenny Mayne and the NHL... well and balls too.

Anonymous said...

is it just me or does 2001 seem like a lifetime ago??

Great post.


Andrew said...

1) It's sad to think that, at one point, Morozov was an assistant captain. That thought alone makes me want to throw up.

2) Those videos gave my whole body an erection.

3) Nick...I either watched the game in your basement or Dausch's...I don't really know though, cause all of those houses in your plan looked the same.

Kyle said...

Before the lockout, Morozov was getting to be a pretty good player. At a time when the Penguins had nothing, he deserved to wear the "A". Right now, he is playing in russia and set the season points record. If he ever comes back to the NHL, i wouldnt mind him coming back to the Pens

Adrienne said...

Good memories... Damn

Alexei Kovalev was disgusting -- 44G 51A 95P
Marty Straka -- 27 G 68 A 95P
Robert Lang -- 32G 48A 80P
In all-time Pens history, this line has to rank in the top 5.

Damn right you bitches finally show Straka some love! Seriously. The whole bloody season, this is the first time he's gotten props.

Glen Sather can fucking eat me; I want Straka back.

Here's what we've seen since 2001:
Damn. I COMPLETELY forgot about Chiodo going insane with his stick of the crossbar like that. :D

That Kasparaitus goal is my mothers all time favorite goal celebration ever.

I have to say though- I'm now PISSED I'm going to be missing the playoffs. :( Fuck.

And speaking for everyone: MOOOOOOOOOOOSE!

Spencemo said...


♪ tiffany ♪ said...

Since the Pens are officially in the playoffs, here's a song (based on 'Fallout Boy - This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race') & the video:

Pensblog Boys - This Ain't A Dream, It's A Playoff Race

They are hockey players
Providing you with entertainment in each game
And don't really matter who's watchin'
As long as the fans keep cheerin'
That's just what they need to win

This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race
This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race
This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race
We try not to get too turned on, but we obsess

Sid's the leading man
And the guys believe in him and follow him, believe and follow him
Sid's the leading man
And the guys believe in him and follow him, believe and follow him

They're not a team you see givin' up
(You know Jersey's sinkin')
But the real losers have already sunk
(Philly Flyers of the gutter)
At night every ticket is sold, while you keep
Drinkin' not like chicks in bars
No, more like p-p-p-parties

This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race
This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race
This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race
Bandwagon's full. Please, catch another

Sid's the leading man
And the guys believe in him and follow him, believe and follow him
Sid's the leading man
And the guys believe in him and follow him, believe and follow him

This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race
This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race (Now you)
This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race (Wear out the groove)
This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race (Sing out loud)
This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race (Oh, oh)
This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race

...playoff race
Sid's the leading man
And the guys believe in him and follow him, believe and follow him
Sid's the leading man
And the guys believe in him and follow him, believe and follow him

FritoWill said...

i don't want to sound like a dick here, but Three Rivers was imploded on the 12th of February.

The only reason i know that is because that was the first day i worked for FritoLay. I have a great story about my old boss and I ditching work at 5 AM to get a good spot to watch the distruction.

Even I didn't have a Kraft jersey!!!

Rico Fatastic said...

Rico Fata sighting!

I can't believe there was a stretch of time where my favorite Pens were Rico Fata and Ric Jackman. I don't know if that speaks more to my taste in players or the quality of the team.

Oh, and Chiodo was the balls.

Karri said...

Guys...thanks so much for the memories. - The Kasparaitis goal is one of my favorites!

"March 29 -- Pensblog Adam gets first pubic hair." - uh....

Tiff...LOVE the song!
"This ain't a dream, it’s a playoff race" - Great

Can't wait for the game tonight.


Sarah said...

it cracks me up when I see "Kraft" jerseys @ the Arena.


AndrewGurn said...

That Lang-Straka-Kovy line was sick.

Kraft is the biggest homo ever.

Band of Brothers rocks.

Rico Fata is my hero.

Awesome post.

-Andrew "incomplete sentences" Weitzel.

Anonymous said...

that was unreal.

i hope i'm not making this up, but i have a distinct memory of Mario shedding some tears after scoring that tying goal in game 6.

...he couldn't handle his own awesomeness.

Loser Chris said...

"Mark Eaton was still 5 years away from discovering his powers.

Anyone else craving a Smallville-esque series revolving around the life and times of a young Mark Eaton?

Spencemo said...

Kevin Stevens was my favorite Penguin ever. Loved him. Got his jersey. Loved Kasparaitis, me & the old man were at the game when he gave Lindros the concussion (BAM!), but his name always reminded me of some chronic disease..."I'm sorry, Bill, but you've got an acute case of Darius Kasparaitis..."

Gavin said...

Loved the montage to Crowded House's classic "Don't Dream It's Over" - a very nice touch. And I was still working at ESPN up in Bristol when Lemieux scored the game tying goal against Buffalo, and I literally ripped my headset off and paraded around the tape room high fiving random PAs, knowing full well that the Big Fella wasn't going to let us lose that series.

I also remember watching the Straka OT game winner from my apartment up in New Britain, CT earlier that same year and blasting Blur "Song 2" after he scored, effectively waking up my entire complex and turning it into my own Igloo. Beautiful memories, but definitely time to create some new ones ASAP.

loralei said...

I was at game 6 of the first 2 series. Straka got the gwg in both. Matthew Barnaby was sitting in front of me in game 6 of the Buffalo series. (I think he was playing for Tampa then? It was right after he was traded away?) He high fived me after I jumped up and screamed when Straka scored. It was kinda awesome...

Mike Costa said...

I Remember Sitting In My Living Room With My Dad When Kasparaitis Scored The Winner Vs. Buffalo. I've Never Jumped/Screamed So Loud In My Life And I Still Remember It Like It Was Yesterday :-D

Anonymous said...

I love the team we have now, but miss having Straka and Kovy.

I would get an erection everytime #27 zig-zagged toward the goal with the puck. (plus he was money in EA NHL games)

Bert said...

I went to one home game in each series that year. It seemed easier to get playoff tickets then, compared to this year. I'll be watching them on TV until more tickets are available, and even then I may still end up shut out of tickets. It just feels like with the arena deal and how much talent they have, the fans are behind them more than ever.

Moose was the shit that year. My wife still has a Moose stuffed animal from Penstation.

Will said...

Hahahaha "you could still hang out at the airport."

I spent that entire summer reenacting the Kasparitis dive in my front yard. Good times.

Ellen said...

According to the P-G, Ekman starting inplace of Roberts tonight.

Jon said...

I remember game 7 versus Buffalo, my girlfriend at the time was helping me pack up my apartment up at IUP because the year was over. I knew not to get the cable unhooked yet b/c of the game, and had a final paper due in my bio class on friggin' prostaglandins (?!?). Needless to say after that goal, much sex was had, the apartment didn't get cleaned (taking about 100 bucks from me for the security deposit), and I turned in a shitty paper.
You guys are going to be the only Pens fans I'll be celebrating with this year cause i'm stuck out here till the end of May, and I can't wait to get this shit started

Tee said...

I would just like to announce that this Saturday at 7 PM I will be making my glorious return to the gamedaychat room during the game. I will sign only pictures which I provide for a nominal fee of 5$ per picture. No flash photography please.

Jon said...

And not to burst anyone's bubble, but yinz do realize that if we have any hope of winning the division, we have to root for the phlyers not once, but twice to beat the devils?

Andrew said...

jon - i was rooting for the isles the other night, and i fucking hate the isles. almost as much as the flyers.if it means us getting 2nd seed, i'm all for it.

Stoosh said...

Game Seven of the Buffalo series in 2001 will always be one of those "remember exactly where I was" moments.

I was a brother of Delta Tau Delta fraternity down at Washington & Jefferson (class of 1998), and because a bunch of my friends were still in school for a year or so after a graduated, a whole bunch of us got together for the series down at the house. We had probably 40-50 guys and girls packed into the seats around the big screen in the party room...there was much drinking, much grilling of the hamburgers and hot dogs on the patio...just a fantastic atmosphere, especially after the Immaculate Deflection and Classic Marty winning Game Six in OT.

The finality that comes with an overtime in a Game Seven creates this tension and anticipation that is absolutely unmatched. During the OT, everyone was either standing up or they were sitting on the very edge of their seats, fixated on the TV...if your heart wasn't racing with every scoring chance, you weren't human. The whole time, you're sitting there just hoping that when the puck finds a net to end the game and the series, it's in the back of the Buffalo goal.

When Kaspar took that pass and fired the puck into the net, all the tension and anticipation that built up over the first 13 minutes of overtime pretty much exploded. Sheer bedlam. Most of us flew out of our seats, jumping up and down and all over the place, spilling beer and other drinks of choice on everyone. We were all so ecstatic, I'm not sure any of us paid attention to the replays or realized Kaspar scored the goal until maybe 10 minutes after it happened (the goal happened so quickly when you were watching it, no one realized it was in until we heard Lang or whoever that was yell during the broadcast).

For as much fun as we had, it still sounds like Jon had a better night. :)

dying alive said...

Don't Dream It's Over = excellent song. Crowded House was the shit in the late 80s.

I miss Hedberg and Straka. I'd love to see either or both finish their careers as Pens.

I can suck it up and root for the Flyers twice if it helps us win the division. I only hate them marginally more than the Devils anyway, so it's like rooting for syphillis instead of AIDS.

Sara said...

the only playoff game i've ever been to was game 6 against the caps when marty scored the game-winner.

i was in the last row of E on the side where he scored it and i can still see the puck going in, hitting the back of the net, and knocking the water bottle off. i had never heard the arena so loud. amazing.

i also remember buying the tix off ticketmaster for $30, a week before the game. ha. definitely not something that can be done in 2007.

also, the moooooose phenomenon were some of my favorite days :)

AJ said...

Not to be a party pooper... but the Chick-Fil-A in Robinson didn't exist in 2001... Nasreddine was actually working at Pizza-Dairy World just outside of Settler's Cabin park.

Otherwise, brilliant post.

I seem to recall Ian Moran playing on the wing and Bergevin playing D during that payoff run? Maybe I am confusing it with a different season.


Jeff Harr said...

I was working at the Iceoplex as a busboy at Jay's that season (with Pensblog Adam, I think). I remember seeing Ian Moran, Robert Lang, Martin Straka, Rick Kehoe, and other Penguins around the place, and of course I saw them during practice skates. Having just moved to Pittsburgh from upstate NY and never having watched hockey before, I immediately fell in love with them and have stuck with them for the last 6 or 7 years unfalteringly.

I don't have the 91-92 cups to remember, but this year is MY year.

nicole said...

I wish I had a picture of the changed Heidelberg exit sign. It was all over the news. In the PG archives perhaps?

Tiffany...nice playoff song! - I love Fall Out Boy. Good job with the lyric changes.

Adrienne...I forgot about Chiodo going insane with his stick too.

Staff said...

we fact checked as best we could.
will, you jobber haha.

i am on the hunt for HEDelberg.

Way too easy to photoshop it.


Anonymous said...

Theres a pretty sweet video of crosby and gretzky on espn's main nhl page.

FritoWill said...

sorry Adam, the date will never leave me beacuse of the work cituation i have with it.

Its a sweet story that is too long to type on here.

Doppler said...

A bit off the subject.

Anyone see the Islanders and some of the players aren't getting along.

Video of the fight here

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Hey, remember that playoff game against the Flyers that went like 55 zillion OTs, and then we lost.

Yeah, that blew dick.

Why'd I even bring that shit up?

aerosmith said...


that vote for sid pic. unbelievable!

great site, btw!

Spencemo said...

Another early 2001 event, my fifth wedding anniversary...the husband and I exchange our gifts: customized, authentic Pens jerseys...what's more romantic than that?!

~tiffany~ said...

"I'm sorry, Bill, but you've got an acute case of Darius Kasparaitis..." -- Spencemo, that's hilarious... ;D I love Darius.

WOW.....that Napoleon Dynamite pic is wicked. Who's next to Sid, that Malkin??

And btw, happy to hear some people liked the

dying alive said...

Doppler, it might be the beers I've had tonight, but I just laughed for about five minutes at that video. Between that and the Vote for Sid pic, I'm still having trouble pulling myself together.

Did anyone else hear Errey refer to MAF's 3rd period save as "sick?"

rachel said...

Tiff, great song as always!

Dying alive, Errey definitely said that, haha
"That was sick!"

My other favorite quotes from the game...
Armstrong's goal that came from Crosby battling along the boards: "Ward was on him like a pancake... It's like playing mini hockey with Austin Lemieux in the basement!"
Therrien on Malkin getting the too many men on the ice penalty: "That redness in his face is not from the sun folks."
2 goal post hit by the Bruins: "He wanted to check the post on the other side to make sure the net was 4x6"
When Fleury was shown stretching before the 3rd: "Those little flippers there!" "He certainly looked like a pinball machine! He's all jacked up for playoffs!"
When Melichar got his face smashed off the boards:
"I think I'll laugh about it as my head got smashed off the board!"

Andrew said...

The Kaspar goal was sick. I remember us all making a wish at 11:11 then crossing every body part we had.

Worked like gangbusters.

What the fuck is gangbusters anyway?

Anonymous said...

Anyone else surprised at how calm Mike Lange is on the Lemieux goal that tied the Sabres game? HE doesnt seem quite as excited as I was..


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