Posted on: May 24, 2009 8:55 am

Pens - Canes Series

I am reading a lot of posts from Pens fans proclaiming it to be destiny for the Pens to go to the Cups finals.  There is also a lot of dissing on the Canes, and in particular, Cam Ward.

I look at it another way.  I think the Pens are very fortune to be where they are at right now.  I think the Pens were outplayed for much of the Flyers series, but were fortunate to get a bunch of big goals.  By the end of the series, the Pens were clicking on all cylinders, and proved too much for the Flyers to come back on.

For the Washington series, I thought the Pens were firing on all cylinders all 7 games.  But, they had no answer for Ovechkin, and if anyone else from Washington would have stepped up, I think the Pens would be golfing right now.  Despite the Pens overwhelmingly dominate play, Washington was beating them on the scoreboard for a fair bit of the series.

Now, for the Canes series, we are seeing the Pens hitting on all cylinders again.  Yet, Eric Staal was a heel of his stick away from tying up game 1 late.  Games 2 and 3 came right down to the wire, even though the final score does not indicate that.

Don't get me wrong, I think the Pens were the better team in all 3 series.  But, you don't have to be the better team to win, you have to score the puck the most, and for all of their dominance, the Penguins have kept their opponent in pretty much all of the games this post season.

As for Cam Ward, I think he is doing a decent job.  I know the Pittsburgh media has been harping on how he is going to steal 2 or 3 games for the Canes, but he is seeing a ton of odd man rushes late because the Canes are getting behind and pressing, allowing the Pens to open it up.  No goalie is going to stop the Pens in an up-and-down hockey game.

Not sure the point of this post, other than I think the Pens have been the better team in all of the series, but I don't think the arrogance displayed on the message boards by some of the Pens fans is NOT justified.  As Bill Cowher used to say, there is a fine line between winning and losing, and I think the Pens are just on the other side of that line.  When they play the Western opponent in the finals, I would like to see them a little farther over the line than they are now...

Category: NHL
Tags: Canes, Pens
Posted on: May 14, 2009 5:49 pm

Ovie vs. Sid/Geno

There has been a ton of discussion on CBS's boards about who is the best player in the NHL.  The discussions always come down to Ovechkin, Crosby, and Malkin (I don't know how Pavel Datsuk is always left out of the discussion, maybe because it is always Pens and Caps fans arguing???).

From watching the Caps/Pens playoff series, here are some points that I saw (before you hate on me, keep in mind that I am a serious homer...):

- All 3 players left their souls on the ice.  Nobody held anything back.
- Sid has a gear that he has not shown until now.  He completely stole the show, I thought.  If the Pens win the Cup, there is no doubt who will be holding the Conn Smythe trophy
- When you watch the games, it really looked like Scuderi and Gill shut Ovechkin down over long period of times, but, then you look at the stat sheet at the end of the game and he has 2 goals.  And you sit there and think to yourself "How many goals would Ovechkin have if he played well??"
- Geno didn't have a great scoring series, but he was completely dominating on the puck.

I really like Bylsma as a coach.  He turned Pittsburgh into one of the great fore-checking teams I have seen this side of Detriot.  I really think we are just scratching the surface on Crosby and Malkin's potential.  This system that Bylsma has put in is going to turn these two into something really special.  I love watching Penguins hockey under Bylsma!!

As for my verdict as to who is the best: I thought Crosby was the best in this series overall.  I thought Malkin was the best forechecker and defender.  And I thought Ovechkin was the best at taking runs at players (just kidding Caps fans :-).  What can you say about Ovechkin?  Who else in the history of the NHL can score consistently with wrist shots from the blue line?  The dude is sick. 

I think it should be a law that the Caps and Pens play every year in the playoffs.  I wouldn't mind seeing the Pens-Flyers series every year too!!
Category: NHL
Posted on: May 11, 2009 5:39 pm

We bow to your superiority, Penn State

As a fan of college football growing up in the '70s, I was (and still am) a huge fan of Pitt.  Pitt's traditional rivalries with Notre Dame, WVU, Syracuse and Penn State made Pitt one of the funnest teams to watch in America.  It seemed like every week Pitt was playing not only premium competition, but a hated rival.  For sports fans, that is as fun as it gets!!

Since then, the relationship between administrations at Pitt and Penn State have soured, and there is no longer a football game between the schools.  I believe it is bad for both teams, as rivalries make both teams fun to watch.  I can make several arguments for both schools, but that is fodder for a different post.

What I want to talk about in this post is how the Penn State fan base has completely distanced themselves from Pitt.  It is incredible.  There is a faux superiority reeking from every post of a PSU fan.  It seems that this faux superiority even has roots in the local media:
  (This article even claims that Pitt and Penn State were never even rivals)

I am completely turned off by the attitudes of Penn State fans:

- They actually think that their cheif rivals are Ohio St and Michigan.  I guess if you don't have a true rival, you might as well try to but in on one of the best rivalries there is...

- They compare Pitt to Temple and Villanova football programs.  Whatever...  Pitt's had some down years recently, but you can only compare Pitt's tradition to some of the most storied college football programs in history.

- They cite pride in the Penn State tradition, and that it is an insult to even mention Pitt and Penn State in the same sentence.  Before your first championship in the early 80's, PSU had done nothing.  Before JoePa arrived at Happy Valley, did they even have a football team???

I guess I am so turned off by Penn State people that I have recently been lobbying hard against a renewed Pitt-PSU rivalry.  The PSU fans in the Western part of the state are begging for the rivalry to be renewed, and the Pitt fans have been for it for a long time.  Our brothers in the Eastern/Central part of the state have stated over and over that a Pitt game is way below PSU's sensibilities.  The thought of sitting in Heinz Field listening to them talk like spoiled socialites about how watching their team play Pitt is demeaning to them makes my skin crawl.

Stay in Philadelphia.  Stay in Happy Valley.  When you grow up, give us a call.  Maybe we can play some good football again.  In the mean-time, have fun watching The Citadel, FIU, Temple, Florida Atlantic, Florida A&M, and whoever else you can pay to come to your stadium.  Us pathetic people in Pittsburgh will only be watching Pitt play our traditional and Eastern rivals.  You guys are too good for us...

Category: NCAAF
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or