My beloved Penguins have managed to finish out the second half of the season with a playoff berth AND home ice advantage, all without their top two players.
That is HUGE!!! Like super-colossal huge. Like Godzilla-sized huge!
The luscious-lipped, uber talented Sidney Crosby has been out of action since a wicked one-two head slam which has left him with a frightening massive concussion that could have ended his young career just as it was really starting to cook. I'm happy to report he has been skating with the team during practices, but still not allowed any contact.
Number two man, Malkin, has been gone for months after an ACL injury resulting in surgery. Geno won't be back until next year. Sid probably won't see any ice time during this post season either.
Both leaders missing, and yet those young men have stepped up to the challenge. It has been so freaking exciting! Seriously, you can't peg who's going to be the top scorer from one game to the next. I'm in an online Pens tourney and I have to tell you, it's damn difficult to pick your team because there's no predicting who'll stuff the biscuit in the net.
Last night's heros were Tyler Kennedy (who's picked up the high-scorer baton lately) and Aaron Asham, putting the Pens in the lead for two periods.
|TK celebrating Goal #1|
But the true hero of last night's game was former Dallas Stars (boo), James Neal.
|Double OT victory pile up|
James Neal is in there somewhere
He's been struggling to rack up points during regulation play, but he has come through for us in OT more than once. Last night he pulled off this blind-sighted beauty to give the Pens a 3-1 lead in the series against Tampa.
Thank you Mr. Shero for what has turned out to be a brilliant trade.
One of the many things I appreciate about hockey and hockey players is their genuine joy for the success of their peers. Who's the first person to congratulate the team after this double OT victory? Sid.
Check out the post-game reception here.
P.S.: Our coach, Dan Bylsma is made of awesomesauce.
|Me and Yoko|
visions in white
|Youngsters sporting their playoff beards|
My friend Yoko and I got to go to game one. It was white-out night meaning everyone was asked to wear white and given white rally towels to wave during the game.
It's a simple idea this white out thing, but it's so successful at making everyone feel as one unit, reveling in our singularity of support for this team of working-class guys who never EVER disappoint.
My boys managed a 3-0 shut out, ending on an empty netter.
The game was so exciting, we ignored our sushi until the period break.
Yes. You read correctly.
We ate sushi.
At the arena.
Consol is not your father's arena. No siree, Bob.
Besides the amazing victory, there was another stirring moment. National Guardsman, Sgt. Jim Timney had the honor of singing the National Anthem. Nothing special about that really. Servicemen sing the Anthem all the time. What made this extraordinary was it was the first time I have personally witnessed the entire crowd singing aloud. At one point the Sargent held out the microphone. It made me tear up to hear all of those voices singing together. I'm tearing up now.
I am a ginormous SAP.
Admit it. You're tearing up, too, right? RIGHT?
The Pens are back in the Burgh for game five on Saturday. God I love these guys!!
Pull out that rally flag, Baby!
LET'S GO PENS!!