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Stanley Cup Finals Sure to Excite

May 30, 2009 by Big Tony · Leave a Comment 

Ladies and gentlemen the time has arrived as hockey fans the world over gear up for the sports biggest club competition final featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings. The storylines in this series are plenty as the defending champs try to stave off last year’s runner-up in the new and improved Pittsburgh Penguins. Beyond all of the hype and excitement is where we find the keys to victory for each team. For Pittsburgh they need to have their best players be their best players and have each role player take his role and embrace it every step of the way. If someone is in a scoring slump he shouldn’t try to do too much to make up for the slack simply allow everyone else to fill in the void and focus on doing one thing and doing it well. Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury will have to be at the top of their game for sure but the team needs to rely a lot on last year’s journey and the success of veterans like Billy Guerin whether it’s on game day or at practice. Detroit on the other hand needs to overcome their health problems. The biggest hurdle for them is have played three overtime contests in the last round and are licking their wounds as a result. Otherwise the team has nothing to worry about as just about all of them have experienced an enormous amount of success. Unlike last year however this series will have a different tone and the Pittsburgh Penguins will use their grit, experience, and skill to raise the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1992 and the third time in team history. No curse here for touching the Prince of Whales Trophy folks, it will be the Penguins taking home the 2008-2009 Stanley Cup Title. Enjoy the Finals everyone!

Pens-Caps Game Seven Bound

May 11, 2009 by Big Tony · Leave a Comment 

ovie game seven pic Pens Caps Game Seven Bound fedetanko staal game seven pic 252x300 Pens Caps Game Seven Bound

What else should anybody have expected but to see Pittsburgh and Washington go to a seventh game. After an intense back and forth battle Monday night both teams will have to retool and focus their energies on playing what is all but certain to be another incredible match-up. The difference in the game will likely not be Washington having home ice advantage, or superstar play from Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Semin, etc, but it will come down to the goaltenders. Sure it seems obvious that the last line of defense will determine who wins and who loses but it is more than the obvious. Which of the two will make the big save at the right time and who will make the easy save when it’s necessary? Which will push the play up the ice when the puck comes into his respective zone or make a simple play when a simple play is required rather than trying to be a hero with the puck? Smart play from the netminders, not just great saves, will be the difference in game seven. As the games have gone on Varlamov has been the one people are waiting to fall apart, and it was believed that finally happened in game four. But he has stood his ground and been able to battle back from the adversity he faced. The series is six games old and he has not caved yet and he won’t—quite frankly neither will Fleury. Varlamov has played well but Fleury has another level to take his game to, it’s a level we saw last year in game five of the finals and it’s a level we’ll see Wednesday night. Because of Fleury kicking it into another gear he will simply outduel Varlamov and the Penguins will head into round three.

P.S. This is my 100th entry. Thanks very much to everyone who reads these and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. Here’s to the next 100!

Talbot and Penguins Rally to Eliminate Flyers

April 25, 2009 by Big Tony · Leave a Comment 

penguins advance 228x300 Talbot and Penguins Rally to Eliminate Flyers
Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins who overcame a 3-0 second period deficit on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon. The Flyers had a loud home crowd behind them, with all the momentum in the world and were seemingly headed toward pushing the series to a seventh game Monday night in Pittsburgh. However, the Penguins remained calm and the Stanley Cup finalists from a year ago used that experience to not only battle back but to score five unanswered goals to ruin the day for the Flyers and ending their season. The big stars—Malkin, Crosby, and Fleury—all played a major role in getting Pittsburgh back to the second round as you might expect, but it was role player Maxine Talbot who got the ball rolling. At 4:21 of the second period Talbot engaged Daniel Carcillo in a fight that by all accounts Talbot lost. As a result of the fight the Flyer bench was pumped up and the fans went absolutely crazy! There was one problem for Philly and that was the effect the fight had on the Penguins bench. Up to that point the Penguins had not lost composure but they also did not have a great amount of energy coming from the bench; but after Talbot’s fight the players were jolted with a surge of electricity as they suddenly came to life and 14 seconds later Ruslan Fedetanko got the Penguins on the board. It was the beginning of the end for the Flyers when Fedetanko scored and it teaches everyone a valuable lesson about fighting. If your team is up 3-0 with all the momentum in the world and the other team is fairly deflated DO NOT FIGHT! You cannot give that other side anything to go on, simply frustrate them by not engaging in their antics and continue to bury them on the scoreboard. If not, then you re-invigorate the other side and give them something to build off of. So while guys like Crosby put the numbers on the scoreboard, the Penguins owe a debt of gratitude to Max Talbot for being smart enough to engaged the Flyers in battle, ultimately being the springboard to Pittsburgh’s success. So Kudos to Max Talbot and shame on you Daniel Carcillo for obliging to Talbot’s request; now Philly can thank Pittsburgh for sending them to the golf course two years in a row.