Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What is it like to be a Penguins fan? Are you sure you want to know?
The story of a Penguins season is not for the faint of heart.

If somebody said it was going to be a happy little tale...
If somebody told you it was just your average ordinary season with no overtime losses, no blown leads, no gut-wrenching third periods...somebody lied.


Last season:

We started the season praising the arrival of Evgeni Malkin.
What happens in his first preseason game?

However, Malkin managed to return a mere 5 games into the season.
In game 8, he electrified Mellon Arena with a goal that made every Pens fan stand up wherever they were and realize the Pens were back.

From October 5 till December 20, there were two things on the minds of Pens fans.
A) Rumors of a 4th Die Hard movie.
B) The Pens' new arena.

December 20th was the day that Pennsylvania awarded a gaming license to the city of Pittsburgh.
Isle of Capri promised to build a new Pens arena if given the license.
But they were shut down.

And although it really wasn't on your mind every second of every Pens game, the thought of the Pens leaving would hit you at 5:30 on some jobber Thursday afternoon, and you'd have to sit there for an hour, contemplating the fact that the Buffalo Sabres or Columbus Blue Jackets may be your new team to root for.

Amidst all this crap, the Pens decided to embark on an incredible 16-game point streak.
14-0-2 from January 13 to February 19.

It was during that stretch that Pens fans everywhere stood up wherever they were and realized the Pens were contenders.

March 13, 2007 -- Lemieux announces the Pens are staying in Pittsburgh.

The Pens finished the season second to New Jersey in the Atlantic.
And for the first time since 2001, the Pens were in the playoffs.

In mid-April, Pens fans everywhere stood up wherever they were and were choke-slammed by the Ottawa Senators.

The Pens' only win of the series was in Game 2. It was a sweet victory.

But the feeling of playoff hockey for a hungry fan base came 8:08 into the second period of Game 4 with the Pens down 1-0.
After the Pens struggled for shots on goal, Jordan Staal found himself in front and pounded one past Ray Emery.

The swell of the Mellon Arena crowd in celebration of that goal, in a way, was comparable to a Stanley Cup championship, in regards to a team who hadn't seen the playoffs in 6 years.

But the Senators were all business, beat the Pens that game, and won the series 4-1.

And now, it's time for the 2007-2008 season.


Mellon Arena

Sure, it is outdated. And everything is too small, parking sucks, etc.
But to many of us, Mellon Arena is like a second home.

Other than fornicating somewhere, there isn't a better place to be on a winter night than on Center Avenue, the sharp cold piercing your lungs as you walk faster than you ever have to the gates.


Lemieux Group L.P.

Mario Lemieux was well on his way to selling his interest in the team.
Then the Pens got Malkin. Then the Pens got Crosby. Then they got Roberts.
Then they got the new arena.

And Lemieux is staying at the helm.
And he is still a beast.


Ray Shero.

Maybe we were all sick of Craig Patrick. Maybe not. He gave us two Cups.

Ray Shero walks into his office every morning and dominates.
He has made some big-time moves.

Basically, fans want a GM that they trust.
Ray Shero is a man you can trust.

Coaching Staff:

Head Coach:
Michel Therrien

The thing about Therrien is you either like him or you don't.
A lot of people thought Shero would go in a different direction,
but so far Therrien has been the man.
His job should be safe for another year, unless the something awful happens, or Pierre McGuire tries to make up another rumor like he did last year.

Assistant coach:
Mike Yeo

Yeo dominates with a solid suit/tie scheme every night.
If FSN doesn't show him before the third period, call the police.


Broadcast Teams:
(Presented by Ron Newcomer)

Radio team:

WXDX(105.9 FM)

Mike Lange and Phil Bourque

Fox Sports Net:

Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey

In-Game Reporter:

Dan Potash



Chris Thorburn, Nils Ekman, Jocelyn Thibault, Michel Ouellet.


Daryl Sydor, Petr Sykora.





MAF's New Mask

Last year's was a flower from Little Shop of Horrors eating everything.

This year's is darker with an aggravated Penguin breaking through ice with a vengeance.
There's probably a flower on it somewhere.
It's pathetic that this is the best pic we could find.


Crosby's "C"




What can be said about Mark Recchi?
Most players his age are hanging around while their respective team waits for them to retire.
It definitely isn't that way with Mark Recchi.
As was documented more and more during last season, anyone hating on Mark Recchi thinks this is still the mid-90s.
His point total may drop off a couple points this season as burgeoning Pens stars eventually take his place beside Crosby.


Gary Roberts was rejuvenated when he joined the Pens at the deadline last season.
He had a new team and an entire fanbase to show what was up.

Over the course of Penguins history, and maybe Pittsburgh sports history, no athlete has ever captured the hearts of fans as quickly as Gary Roberts.
He became a legend.

Even we can't stop and wonder if Gary Roberts can maintain that insanity over the course of the entire season coming up.
He will maintain it because this could be his last run at a Cup.
It will be fun as hell watching him.


Hopefully Jordan worked on his fist-pump/woooooo! goal celebration during the offseason.
He might be using it an extra 10 times or so this season.
That would mean Jordan Staal is a 40-goal scorer this season.
That is scary.


Over the last couple years, rumors of Ryan Malone being traded were enough to warrant putting Ryan Malone on the New York Stock Exchange.
Then again, what was he supposed to be when he got here?
He's been a consistent 20-goal scorer (on pace for about 20 last season if he didn't get injured).
Give us a 20-goal scorer every day of the week.


Christo has ridiculous sniper potential, as he gave us shades of Alexei Kovalev last season.
He turned into a shootout specialist, leading the league with 8 shootout goals in 06-07.
If he doesn't become a semi-household name, his potential could be enough for him to be tradebait at the deadline.
Everything else aside, he's a natural center who learned the winger position on the fly last season.


The expectations circulating around Syko are pretty high.
He's entering the prime of his career, and he's sitting pretty beside Sid the Monkey.
Sykora could bump in 35.
Staal and Sykora combining for 70+ goals? Wow.


Hall played his way onto the team, so he is no joke.
Got to respect a man who does that.
We don't know much about him, but we will in time.


Okay, he benefited from playing with Sid during Sid's rookie year.
But either Sid has outgrown Colby, or Colby is slumping.
It's probably a combination of both.
But how can anyone seriously hate Colby Armstrong?


Colby and Talbot look like they're the comic relief in the locker room.
We've never been in an NHL locker room, so we base that assumption on us touching ourselves.
He agitated a bunch of people last year, with a Sens fan throwing shit on him at the end of Game One.
And again, how can someone hate Maxime Talbot?


He's basically the bodyguard for Sid, Evgeni, and Jordan.
He didn't quite fit into Therrien's plans at the tail end of last season, but his presence will be felt over the marathon that is looming.


And now another player that no Pens fan could seriously hate.
He's the jobber who will piss people off and draw stupid penalties that send the Graphite Company out onto the power play.


Oh, baby. Oh, baby.
With one year under his belt, oh, man.
He spent all last season adapting to the size of NHL rinks, not to mention jobbing back and forth between center and winger.
40 of Malk's 85 points last season came on the power play. Whatever that means.
We're not saying less than 100 points would be a disappointment, but you know Malkin is expecting to hit 100 points.


If you need a synopsis of Bing, you shouldn't be here.
Only the fourth man to (legitimately) wear the Pens "C" since the late '80s, Crosby is entering the stage of his career (meaning his entire career) where he may be unstoppable at times.
We are all witness.




People that watched the Pens during the Dark Ages know the defense was poop.
Mark Eaton came in last season and helped solidify the blue line.
There were talks that his play declined after returning from his injury.
But the plight of a steady NHL defenseman is that he doesn't show up in the stats, regardless of a good game or a bad game.
What Eaton does for the team doesn't show up in the box score.


Scoods is definitely the sitting duck on the Pens blue line now, with Joe Melichar leaving.
We all understand that some people love hockey because it's entertaining.
When the Pens weren't an entertaining team, people lost interest. Big deal.
But these people better not jump in now and say Rob Scuderi doesn't belong on the Pens.
Therrien trusts him enough to put him out there when we're on the short end of a 5-on-3.
Rob Scuderi is there when it counts.


The addition of Daryl Sydor is a big deal.
Again, our knowledge of an NHL locker room is mud.
But seeing now three vets on that blue line has to have some psychological effect on the other D-men and the entire team.


As long as Crosby and Malkin are on the ice during the power play,
expect the Whitney Play ( TM) to sneak in the back door for some more gimme goals this season.
But that's not to say Whitney isn't coming into his own.
If he isn't a household name yet, he will be.


The big thing he did last year was during the Montreal game.
Five seconds left in the first period, the Pens were in the Montreal zone, and he knew that he meant absolutely nothing to the team if he stayed on the blue line.
He creeps in and scores on a one-timer from Sid with 0.2 left.
We don't know what us remembering that means.
Nazzer played 44 games last season and led Pens d-men with a plus/minus of +12.


He is the closest the Pens have to a stay-at-home enforcer defenseman.
The only problem is that he stays at home until he goes to hit someone.
And then he doesn't get back into position.
We made that observation while finishing off a bag of Pepperoni Pizza Combos, so that means whatever you want it to mean.


48 of Gonchar's 67 points last season came on the power play.
By comparison, Scott Niedermayer had only 34 of 69.
Niklas Lidstrom -- 33 of 62.

That could mean Niedermayer and Lidstrom are better breakout passers than Gonchar.
Or it means Niedermayer played on the team that won the Stanley Cup.
And Lidstrom has been unanimously the best defenseman in the NHL for the last 5 years.

Gonchar could've run a blog in the penalty box during the 05-06 season.
He improved dramatically in that department last year.
He'll make mistakes. He's human.
We don't want to know what life would be like if he wasn't on the blue line.
We stand by him.




Personal blog:
Pensblog Adam recalls calling into Mark Madden during the 05-06 season, saying MAF is repeatedly beaten over the shoulder because MAF commits to the butterfly a millisecond too early.
Madden proceeded to call Adam a homo.

If you want to give MAF criticism now, your name better be Gilles Miloche.
Miloche has worked behind the scenes to mold MAF into a big deal.

MAF wasn't in the top 5 in the NHL last year in terms of GAA, Save%, or Shutouts.
Those categories were dominated by goalies of teams that employ a defensive scheme or goalies that are just sick.

But if you look at MAF's 40 wins last season and still say MAF won't give you a chance to win against the Haseks and Brodeurs, you're a joke.


He doesn't use Reebok goalie equipment.
That's all you gotta know.
If a mediocre backup goalie is an achille's heel, we're about to find out.

He's overall an unproven goalie. He may dominate.



Predictions and opinions are total mud.
We don't want to be homers, yet we don't want to cloud our judgments just because we don't want to be homers.

As the New York Rangers have stockpiled talent during the offseason, they have looked more and more disgusting.

We'll cover our bases and say either the Rangers or Pens will win the Atlantic.

Regarding offensive firepower, the Rangers and Pens are among the tops in the Eastern Conference and probably the NHL.

Everyone wants the Cup this year, and it could happen.

We now expect the Pens will be in the playoffs, but how can anyone be sure.
It is an 82-game battle, and you know there is going to be some tense times.
We started last year taking one game at a time. And we will do that this year as well.
There is nothing worse than an overconfident fan base.

If the Pens do make the playoffs, it will be a matter if last year's playoff experience, and if the season-long tutelage of Roberts, Sydor, and Sykora, will be enough to win 16 games in the Spring.


Hopefully if you have come this far, you are willing to come a little further.
You remember the name of the arena, don't you?

Let's kick the tires and light the fires.



John said...

Wow, I just skimmed your preview, and it looks awesome. Such in depth analysis could even stun Gary Roberts. Just kidding. The notion of him being stunned is absurd. Can't wait to read it. Great job.

Lana said...

I'm tingling. I'm ready. Great preview let's get this season started.

Jonny V said...

Holy shit this day has finally come. That's what I like to see from you guys.

Trust in Shero

Avoid the injury bug

Win the Cup...and the first place Sid takes the Cup is to that old ladies house. So she can wash his feet in it...or hopefully she has a hot granddaughter to do that...that doesn't own a pink jersey...

And Tito Liebowitz is going to own yinz fuckers

Jeff said...




Vern said...

Staff, you've outdone yourselves.


If you're going anywhere else for your hockey previews, you're not human.

Staff said...

we blacked out 3 times writing this.

Spencemo said...

Whoa...what a post...I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl...Oh, wait, I am a schoolgirl again...I keep forgetting...

I'm getting all flustered that was so great...I have to go lie down now...

The Hebrew Hammer said...

Wow Gary Roberts might even pass out reading this preview. One solid job, puts EJ Hradek to shame.

Ashley said...

The so-called 'experts' from NHL on TSN made their Stanley Cup predictions. Two chose the Rangers, and three went with Detroit. It would be sweet if neither team made the playoffs...though we all know the chances of that happening.

Go Pens :)

PensfanSeoul said...


Sweltering in the heat of a Korean summer, hockey seemed light years away. Now here we are...On the precipice of yet another season of Penguins Hockey, and I couldnt be more excited (well, I mean, I could be, if someone had a ticket for me for the Pens game in Buffalo on January 1 I hear there is something special happeneing :))

Names like Mario and Jaromir and Ulfy have given way to Sid, Evgeni, and Brooks, but we all know it still sound like "domination" if you pronounce it correctly.

Ill be coming back to the states in late December, and moving around for the first month or so before settling down in Kentucky....(blech)

So call me Mud, but thepensblog will still be the first place I come for my Pens info every morning before work.

Keep it coming guys, this site has been a bright spot on the blemsih that has been my time in Korea.


Christina said...

yeahh that's definitely the right way to start the day!!! great preview guys, let's drop the puck already!!


Hooks Orpik said...

Terrific preview. I can't wait for the season.

The Pens are ready to go, the fans are ready to go, Pensblog is always in full jobbing mode...Bring it, NHL.

Erica said...

Best preview I've read so far. Probably the best I'll read.

I think you nailed that "let's not sound like homers, but let's not purposely try too much not to sound like homers" thing.


EmDubs said...

Sid the Monkey?

PO said...

wow... goosebumps... after reading that i wanna strap on some pads and some skates and beat the piss out of sean avery or anyone in a senators sweater

snoopyjode said...


and emdubs, i thought the exact same thing. staff, do you care to elaborate?

Barrasso35 said...

The Rangers are mud. They always just bring in a bunch of free agent mercenaries and never focus on building a team the right way, through their system. I predict they may make the playoffs but they won't be winning the Cup this year.


Matt said...

Awesome preview guys. Gave me serious chills.....It's a Great Day for Hockey!

Stoosh said...

Love the Shawshank reference at the end.

So I suppose if the arena in Buxton, that makes this Zihuatanejo.

Nathan said...

Great preview guys. I really can't wait for Friday night. Speaking of which, there are still plenty of tickets left for Friday night in Raleigh.

Jonny V said...

Don't know how long it'll be up, but Sid's actually on's front page

Don K. Show said...

Some jobber on here actually said "Who is Gary Roberts?"

Should we let him know?

Don K. Show said...

(and I approve of the jobbing of, since terrestrial radio is garbage)

Adrienne said...

Holy shit, the season is really starting in a couple of days... I love it!

The introductory trip down memory lane actually gave me chills. I remember the inner debate over the CBJs or Buffalo...

And there's nothing more ridiculous then being reminded of everything you missed in the entire second half of the season. Fuck you guys for that :(

Reading through our breakdown, I'm a bit surprised how many people we have on the roster that I haven't seen play, and don't ever remember us picking up.

Friday and Saturday is going to be the introduction of a whole new team for me. I'm excited for that :D

We got this season. :D LETS GO PENS!

tecmo_bowl_bo_jackson said...

I punched a family member while reading this.

That's how good it was.

Holy shit, Penguins season is starting again.

Joshua said...

I love the redemption line in the closer, awesome.

Anonymous said...

I threw up 3 times reading this review. Just that awesome.

Even C.S. Keys from Fox Channel 6 in San Diego thinks that preview was amazing.

Jason said...

rangers finish 3rd in the atlantic behind the pens and devils. they'll get into the playoffs as a 5th of 6th seed. write that down.

karri said...

OMG...this Season Preview has got to be one of the best things I've ever read on ThePensblog.

The way you managed to get the Spiderman quote to kick off the beginning of the post and then Andy's letter to Red incorporated in the ending of it was brilliant!

Just when I think you two have written your best, you come up with stuff like this to surprise and fascinate me. Totally blown away!

Jesse Marshall said...

Clutch performance, Gentlemen. Look forward to sharing the year with you. Or yinz. Whatever.

Mike Costa said...

Great Preview, God Damn It, Let's Play Some Hockey :-D

Stanley P. Kachowski said...

"Hopefully if you have come this far, you are willing to come a little further.
You remember the name of the arena, don't you?"

Motherfucking Chills.

Bravo, staff.

Thursday might as well not even show up this week. It's all about Friday, and then SATURDAY.

Anonymous said...


Sam said...

"Rob Scuderi is there when it counts."

Comparing Rob Scuderi to Larry Murphy? Quite the statement.

Awesome preview.

Sarah said...

Awesome Preview guys.
I'm ready now.
Do it.

Hooks Orpik said...

No one has pointed out special props for one of my fav. parts (probably because it caused mind-numbing seizures): the awesomeness of Ron Newcomer "introducing" the four members of the announcing team. What a nice touch that added.

Also, guess who was on the cover of the sports section in Toronto today?

Give yourself a gold star if you said a color pic of one Sidney Patrick Crosby.

Anonymous said...

That picture of Shero made my computer freeze. He's that powerful!

Don K. Show said...

Hooks, I'm surprised it took somebody that long for somebody to mention Newcomer.

When you think big-time introductions, you think Ron Newcomer.

Tee said...

I'm actually turning down taking a party train to Oktoberfest in Munich to stay at home on Friday night and watch the season opener. That my friends, is dedication.

Anonymous said...

yinz were named 3rd best hockey blog by sports business daily. Toot yer own horns. Congrats bitches.

wilsmith said...

does anyone else out there know how hard it is to find a good picture of Gary Roberts, other than a straight on file photo?

Staff said...

Thanks Anon...

We're not even sure what that is..

Needless to say we would be nothing without everyone in commentorblog and others who visit.

Go pens

Chase said...


Anonymous said...

the Fedko wiki page has been cleaned up. I'm disappointed.

Staff said...

we don't know what the monkey thing was all about.

monkey and chicken pop into our heads at random times.

thanks, everyone, for the awesome feeback. seeing the work we did on this be appreciated is why i don't hit the snooze button in the morning anymore.

Will, Gary Roberts pictures are easy to find.
We can only show you the door.
You have to walk through it.

No idea what that means.


B.S. said...

The Flyers will win nothing this year, so I'm rooting for the cross state team. Crosby is a lock for the Hart Trophy.

Anonymous said...

ummm, why does espn have Deryk Engelland on the Pens roster?

Kristen PB said...

This has been a long off-season and I NEED my Gary Roberts fix. Go Pens. Bring it home, fellas!

Kristen PB said...

This has been a long off-season and I NEED my Gary Roberts fix. Go Pens. Bring it home, fellas!


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