Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pens in bad shape/Thanksgiving!

You may remember me writing a week or two ago that I wasn't concerned about the Penguins slow start. Well, scratch that - now I am very concerned. After getting beat last night by the Devils at home, that wrapped up a stretch of 9 games against Atlantic Division opponents in which they won only 2, and were able to force overtime in another. That's 5 points for, and 14 points given to our division rivals. Not good news. The Pens' record is now 8-13 (2) (OT losses = losses in McDonati's mind), the 18 points better than only Buffalo and Washington in the East. To put things in perspective, the Penguins have 4 wins at Mellon Arena this season. The Devils have 3. And the Devils are only 2 points ahead of us.

So what is the problem? Scoring goals, goaltending, defense, and consistent effort from the entire team. Crosby and Malkin have been as incredible as you would expect, but everyone else tends to stand around and watch. Jordan Staal is having a big time sophomore slump (2 pts), Roberts and Recchi are showing their age, energy guys like Colby Armstrong and Maxime Talbot are off and on hurt, and we don't seem to getting many calls (which is more of an effort thing). Fleury/Sabourin will make some spectacular saves, and then let in some head-scratching goals, often in bunches. We blow early leads, or we fall behind early and can't catch up. We seem to invent different ways to lose each night.

Tonight, the Pens travel to Ottawa (no Thanksgiving in Canada) to battle the Senators for the first time since the playoff debacle. At first, one would think it's not a good thing to be playing the NHL's top team in a stretch like this, but it might be just what the doctor ordered for the Pens. Reason: they're getting out of that wretched Igloo. The ice surface at the dump known as Mellon Arena is absolutely terrible. The puck bounces like a basketball out there. That spells big problems for teams like the Pens who rely on fast skating and smooth passes and offensive pressure, and plays right into the hands of defensive-minded teams like the Devils and Flyers. Getting onto some Canadian ice, which is much more well-maintained than in America, could be just the spark that the team needs to finally start turning its talent into goals, and then into points in the standings. Sure, Fleury will probably allow about 4 to the Sens, but if we can score 5 no one will complain. There's still lots of time to turn the season around, but they should start doing it sooner rather than later.

In other news, it's Thanksgiving!! Yayyayayay! The football games on tap today:

Packers at Lions: Brett Favre on Thanksgiving! He's so great! He's like Tom Brady, only older!! <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3 (synopsis of what Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be saying the entire broadcast)

Jets at Cowboys: The Jets' 2-8 record is NOT indicative of one of the teams that northern New Jersey calls its own. They are feisty, and will (read: BETTER) give the 'Boys a good game in Dallas (read: to ease the pain of certain Steelers' fans who are bitter from this past weekend) tonight.

The tryptophan will have truly kicked in by this point, and if you're "lucky" enough to have the NFL Network, this game won't help you stay awake.

USC at Arizona State: Back in my day, you watched Barry Sanders in the morning and the Crackhead Cowboys in the afternoon and you liked it. Now you have these NFL Network games, and even college games at night. And this one might be the best of the day, as the Trojans and Sun Devils battle for a Rose Bowl berth. ASU still has only the 1 loss to Oregon, and is the team no one seems to be talking about anymore for the BCS. But their chances are still alive. Beat USC tonight and they'll likely jump over idle Ohio State. Then if LSU loses to Georgia/Tennessee or Kansas/Missouri loses to Oklahoma, they could slip right in there with WVU. And the Mountaineers aren't guaranteed to beat 2 loss UConn this weekend. That said, I think the Trojans crush them tonight. Fight on!

And we talkin Yep, the Old Spice Classic in Orlando begins today, including none other than your Penn State Nittany Lions, who will not be ignored by this blog! The 8 team field includes South Carolina, who we play today (12pm ESPN2), NC State, Villanova, George Mason (with Jordan Norwood's brother), and Kansas State. So we should get some indication of whether we can be more competitive in the Big Ten this season, and a couple wins here would be great for building the NIT resume (let's not get ahead of ourselves).

Oh yeah, and there's even a hockey game as mentioned above.

So it's a day chock full of sports, and food, and sleep! From all at Sports Fountainhead, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

E said...

new jersey just owns pittsburgh