Phoenix goalie scores empty-netter

Last night Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith scored his first NHL goal. It was a beauty of an empty-netter. Just as the buzzer was sounding to end the game, the puck crossed the line. I love it when goalies have the opportunity to add a goal to their career highlight list because it happens so rarely. What a fun way to close out the win over Detroit.

Congrats, Smith!

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Game Night: Pens vs Flyers

During the regular season, there’s nothing better than Pens vs Flyer games. If you don’t think it’s the best rivalry in hockey, then you might as well just leave this blog right now. I know it’s not Original Six, but the hatred is real and strong. You can feel it in the air, and you can see it as soon as both teams hit the ice.

I don’t like anything about the Flyers. They are just filthy, greasy, dirty goons. And don’t even get me started on their fans.

flyers

It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you end up — if you wear the orange and black at any give point in your career, I’m not going to like you. That goes for you too, Talbot. Sorry, superstar.

With that being said, I’m not going to pretend that we haven’t choked a time or two because we let those filthy Flyers wind us up during rivalry games. It’s so easy for us to lose our cool with them and start playing Philly hockey. We never win when that happens. Tonight I’m so happy to see us playing our kind of hockey out there.

LET’S GO PENS.

#BurghProud

One of my favorite things about the sports world is how it brings communities together. No city is a better example of that than Pittsburgh. I love watching how the Penguins are supporting the Pirates in their playoff run this season. From playing baseball on ice after practice to raising the Jolly Roger in Consol Energy Center after this weekend’s win, the city pride is palpable. 

Dupuis supports the Pirates

Dupuis supports the Pirates. (Photo courtesy of @penguins Instagram account)

I don’t know much about baseball, and I’m not going to pretend to be a big Pirates fan, but you can’t help falling in love with the way the city of Pittsburgh is cheering as one right now. 

But let’s hope they don’t get crazy with their celebrations. I’m convinced James Neal got his upper-body injury during that baseball game after practice last week. And that’s the last thing we need. It’s been nice to see other players stepping up in his absence, and it’s fun to see the abilities of younger players shining through — but I would like to have the Real Deal back in uniform soon.

Penguins play baseball on ice

Penguins play baseball on ice. (Photo courtesy of @ROOTSPORTSPIT Twitter account)

It seems like Geno is working pretty well with whoever is on the ice with him so far. And so long as we keep getting the puck to Crosby and Kobasew, I’ll feel pretty good about our goal-scoring opportunities. Here’s hoping they can turn this into a bit of streak…

Next game is Tuesday against the Hurricanes. I’m looking forward to it because my sister lives in Raleigh and fancies herself a ‘Canes fan now. It’s funny how distorted peoples’ minds get when they move down south. I won’t hold it against her though. At least she’s paying a little more attention to the greatest game in the world. We’ll also get to see the Staals in action, which is always entertaining. Is the Staal Brothers drinking game still fun these days? The answer is always yes.

Are you ready?

This time tomorrow I will be enjoying the end of the first Penguins regular season game!  It feels like ages since they last laced up their skates. And now that several other teams have already started playing, I’m just getting jealous. I’m ready for my team to be back on the ice, too.

As a Pittsburgh hockey fan living in Cleveland for the time being, I have my fair share of hockey viewing issues. Luckily, a fellow Penguins fan at work lives just down the road from a bar that gets all the regional networks. We’ll be enjoying dinner and potentially some Yuengling with a group of friends tomorrow night. I hope this Cleveland bar is ready for some Pittsburgh pride.

It’s going to be an interesting start to the season with today’s announcement that Vokoun is out for 3-6 months and Neal is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Not to mention that Letang is on IR. I know we have a long season ahead of us, but I’m hoping we can start off with a bang. And I have high hopes that Fleury will come out with something to prove. Despite the talk surrounding his recent performance, he is and always will be my goalie. 

Have you watched a game yet? Who are you pulling for?

Pittsburgh Penguins, Consol Energy Center

Are you ready? (Source: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America)

Because it’s the Cup…

That’s the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff tagline. Not sure how I feel about it from a creative marketing view, but I get it. And you can work it into just about any ad or commercial…because it’s the Cup.

I saw the first playoff commercial today during the Penguins vs Flyers game on NBC. And that’s all I’ll be saying about that game. Besides the fact that Hartnell better be ready for retribution come April 1 in Pittsburgh.

Back to advertising — I love the new commercial because it focuses on the fans, and hockey fans are the best fans in the world. We are the most underserved fans, yet the most dedicated. The season runs from October through June. It’s a long haul. Our teams play several times a week. There’s a lot to keep up with, and ESPN doesn’t make it easy on us to watch the highlight reels. We have to order all kind of special channels (Regional FSNs, NBC Sports Network, The NHL Network, etc.) to catch our team on the ice if we don’t live in-market, and catching our team on a major network like NBC is cause for celebration.

What I’m trying to say is that we’re a dedicated crew. Hockey fans take loyalty and commitment to a different level, and I love that this Stanley Cup Playoffs commercial is all about the fans.

What do you think? And how ready are you for April 11?

Pucks & Pixels

I love this interpretation of the new campaign. Image designed by Pucks & Pixels.

Back in the lineup…

It’s a great day for hockey. And I’m not just saying that because I love the Penguins tagline. It’s a great day for hockey because I feel like playoff hockey is within reach. The season is coming to a close, teams are leaving it all out on the ice and my team is looking like a top contender for the Cup.

Not to mention that Sidney Crosby is back.

Sidney Crosby returns

Sidney Crosby back on the ice and making an impact. Photo by Getty Images.

Regardless of whether you’re a fan or not, you have to appreciate what it means to have him back in the game. The entire league benefits from having the best player in the world back on the ice.

Stay tuned for the latest and greatest hockey news. It’s only going to get better and better the closer we get the playoffs.