Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

-- Penguins have yet to submit a complete effort.

-- Bucs go on Spring (winter?) Break.

-- Shout-outs.

---Getting It Together---

Game 2: Penguins 4, Senators 3
Game 3: Senators 4, Penguins 2

Of the three games so far in the series, the one I felt the most certain Pittsburgh would win (on the day of the game) was Game 3.

Fresh off a come-from-behind win the day before. Younger legs. Better conditioned from a season full of high-speed hockey, stuffed with overtime contests.

It appears I didn't consider fatigue. I no longer consider the Penguins in "shock-and-awe" mode for being in the playoffs. Their shellacking in Game 1 took care of that. They're matching the Senators in intensity now (thank you, Mr. Roberts), but they're still a step behind most of the time.

The officiating hasn't been quite as suspect as some have said. It's just been largely uneven. Sidney Crosby getting punched in the face in Game 2 was the only truly flagrant one they didn't call that I saw with the official looking right at it. I mean uneven insofar as Crosby's "kicking" goal in Game One was disallowed. Ottawa's first goal in Game 3, while Fleury was being hooked by some Senator crashing the net, stood. The thing I find truly suspicious is this:

Ottawa coach's name: Bryan Murray
Linesman from game 3: Brian Murphy


Game 4 tomorrow. Considering how the Penguins have not put together a three-period effort against the Senators, the Penguins must win this one, or it's all over on Thursday.

Even if it's not a complete effort, there can be no dumb hockey or lazy hockey.

No getting out-hustled to every puck dumped into your own zone. No getting owned on the boards, then retaliating, resulting in dumb penalties. No getting outshot by 10-15 goals.

And, of course, no giving up more goals than you get.

In breaking news, my projected Stanley Cup Champions (New Jersey...sorry, karri) are down 2-games-to-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. I said NJ would win that series in 6. That means New Jersey will win the next three games. Take it to the bank.

---Early Brrrreak---

The Bucs have played only one game (in theory) in the three-and-a-half days since last blogged. They got smacked around by Barry Bonds and fans had to sit through the chilly weather wire to wire to see the fireworks that they wanted to see.

Seriously. What would the McNutting group do without Zambelli?

The Pirate offense matched the game-time temperatures, failing to score more than two (relevant) runs in all four games at PNC Park. I speculated on WHYGAVS's message board that if the score Friday night had been 4-2 Giants in the bottom of the 9th, no way does Chris Duffy smack a 3-run home run.

Incidently, that is the only dinger hit by a Pirate this year that brought in more than two runs.

I hope that lights a fire under the guys who are supposed to be doing that.

Then again, if Chris Duffy is going to be afraid of stealing bases now that pitchers realize how quickly they have to deliver the ball to the plate, maybe he should start thinking about the fences more often.

Getting two days off and moving to warmer/dryer locales may help.

Oh, and not dressing in those obnoxious red uniforms. No wonder the Giants beat up the Bucs and stole their lunch money.


Speaking of bullying, loyal reader/commenter karri wanted to go kick Bob Walk's tokus after laying into Jason Bay during the telecast of the game last Tuesday. For those who missed it, during the top of the 9th inning and the Bucs nursing a 2-0 lead against the Cardinals and runners at first and second, Albert Pujols flies out to Bay for the first out. David Eckstein, at second, breaks for 3rd. Bay throws toward 3rd, allowing Chris Duncan, at first, to go to 2nd.

Needless to say, both runners are safe. Had Bay thrown toward 2nd, there might have been a double-play ball still in effect, or, at the very least, a single would not have driven in the tying run. Before Scott Spezio does, in fact, tie the game with a single, Walk is laying into Jason Bay...pretty much for the rest of the inning. Merciless.

Karri did not like the ragging. I agree with her to a point. Jack Wilson had as much to do with it as Bay, as Wilson was the cutoff man and positioned himself for a throw toward 3rd. I'm sure Walk was echoing the sentiment of just about every Pirate fan who understands where the ball is supposed to go in that situation.

Although, I appreciate her stance on being respectful (pretty much my mission statement), I think for a franchise trying to pull out of a 14-year nosedive, watching a 4-3 team that night blow a legitimate chance to stay above .500, even this early in the year, is almost a back-breaker. Notice they haven't had much success since.

When your offense isn't going to have a lot of games where they're scoring more than 5 runs, those plays are absolutely critical. Now, if they threw to 2nd and Duncan made it anyway, at least the play was the correct one and you can blame Torres.


Speaking of Torres, King Salomon just barely escaped St. Louis tonight with a save. The Pirates are 5-2 on the road.

It took the Pirates 16 games to get their 5th win last year (vs. 11 this year). It took the Pirates until June 5th at Colorado to get their 5th road win.

Now they just have to win at home.

Glad Snell could get his first win of the year after pitching quality baseball in three consecutive starts.


Side note. I'm going to try to be on as often as I can during Pirate games. I will either be at the radio station running the game, or I will be at home trying to pay attention.

Regardless, this site is pretty neat, and I'm surprised more folks haven't discovered it yet.

Quick link to Pirates Chat.

Bookmark it, and I hope to see some of you there soon.

---Hello! Hello! (HOLA!)---

1) As always, thanks to my loyal female fan base, Karri, Nicole, and Tiffany (alphabetical...cuz I love you all the same). I honestly think your attention keeps me updating this thing more than I might normally.

2) Welcome to Tim and Matt (chronologically). Feel free to drop by any time and let me know what you think, and let me know when I'm slacking.

3) Matt, thank you for reminding me of the Steelers @ Patriots game to open the 2002 season. As soon as you mentioned it, the repressed memories returned to the fore. I think I forgot that game on purpose. And now I think I hate you.

4) A final thank you to all my visitors this past week. For the first time in Steeltown Sports history, I have had four-digit visits in a week's span. I have a long way to go to be among the ranks of my friends at ThePensBlog and Mondesi's House (admittedly superior, funnier, and more involved), but it's nice to see a spark after almost a year's time.


Blogger Matt said...

Aw, cmon Mike, don't be a hater! We need positive energy around these parts, especially with Game 4 looming tonight. Say it loud and say it proud ... WE WILL WIN

4/17/2007 9:24 AM  
Blogger Steeltown Mike said...

If I'm too specifically positive toward a Pittsburgh team, I jinx 'em. See my Superbowl prediction from XL (SEA 23, PIT 20 - OT), and the two games previous to that.


I'll leave the positive stuff to yinz guys. I'll just believe in the power of negative thinking.

4/17/2007 2:46 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Hey, I'm all about superstition. Totally understandable. That's why I'll be out at a bar spending money (where I was when they won Game 2) while I watch tonight's game instead of comfortable on my couch (where I was for Game 1 and 3).

4/17/2007 2:52 PM  
Anonymous karri said...

Hi Mike,
Like the new post! You gave out props again. :) (too sweet) Just checkin' out what you had to say before I head out to much to comment little time to do it...

Well, real quick...I thought for sure the Pens would win game 4...(still think you're wrong about NJ) :P...very disappointing night all around...except the Pirates...what's going on...they're not supposed to win...the Pens are...ohhh, my head hurts!

Well, I just wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading your posts. It's about time you got a little credit for your hard work. (...nothing like gettin' a little love, huh...)

P.S. Welcome Matt! ttyl

4/18/2007 5:54 AM  

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