Bring It On (Again)

Round 2 is upon us like prom season, and everyone finally has their dates.  How are you feeling?  Like the prettiest girl in the room?  Anyone afraid someone else might wear the same dress?  I’m nervous and we definitely need a chaperone.

We bid Round 1 farewell with this announcement: I am no longer 100% right. Thanks for nothing, Avs and Sharks!

bracket5

Current predictions score: Pants – 6 of 8, Chuck – 4 of 8

Rangers do one thing for me, beat Flyers in series: 4-3

When the Flyers are knocked out of the playoffs, regardless of year, other teams or life in general, I have a moment of bliss.

oprah

Bubbz always.

The Rangers came out strong in GM7, then got back on their heels while the Flyers surged late.  Sound like any other hockey teams I know?!  King Henrik was the difference maker yet again.  New York will get one day of rest and of my gratitude, then it’s back to work and hating them Friday night in Pittsburgh.

ny2

Admiring his own face on the Jumbotron.

In other breaking news: Rick Nash has no playoff goals. This is apparently the only Rangers storyline available so tell your friends. It will be broadcast continually on sister station Radio Crosby.

For the record, I do hate the Rangers more than the Flyers.

arrow

God, that is a thin line.

But I’d rather the Pens play the Rangers in R2. The Flyers bring out the Pens’ most infuriating problem – composure – while playing Pittsburgh seems to ignite Philly’s tenacity.  The Rangers are no easier opponent but at least it will (hopefully) be the Penguins playing, not Hurricane Neal and the Tantrums. Watch me hate this decision later.

consol

Tomorrow, tomorrow.

There’s only one reason for us to miss the Flyers in May.  Give it a moment, then move on.

giroux

Maybe he’ll grow a summer beard.

Wild take it to OT, take series from Avs: 4-3

Game 7 overtime?  Someone hold my hair back.  The Wild got there with a goal at the 17:33 mark of the third, and it only took 5 minutes of OT to put the Avs away.   Nino Niederreiter, who sounds like an imaginary friend at a tea party, had two goals including the OT winner.  Listen to the clang off the backbar.

 

Yowza.  This is the first time the Wild have gotten past R1 in 10 years.  The Wild have this headline and I confess I laughed (just once):

nino

I hear a rimshot.

We’ll miss the Avs kids who were having a blast out there, but MacKinnon, Gabe and the boys have many years of playoff hockey ahead of them.  Gabe’s beard though… bummer.

gabe

Sad first, then shower and selfie.

Kings win 4 in a row, collapse Sharks series: 4-3

Sharks gonna shark.  There are so many bad jokes – Sharks get bitten! – but the worst of all is San Jose’s record of playoff choking.  That said, we should have all picked the Kings because they know how to win 4 in a row (and then some) in pursuit of post-season glory.  Plus their bandwagon fans are famous and sparkly, and the NHL could use a few entertainment column inches.

kings

So long and thanks for all the fish.

You should hug Sharks fans today – that was eviscerating. Sweep? Sucks. Reverse sweep?

panda2

Come back with carbs.

Round 2 starts tonight, with the Bruins and Canadiens (and Chuck) asking everyone else what took so long.  Typical dates, we’re never ready when they come to pick us up!  This series is going to be like the holidays with family – everyone knows each other, hates each other and every old crime comes out in a stress-spolsion.

Save us a good seat, okay?

Elevator to Chuck's party.

Elevator to Chuck’s party.

Tyler Tuesday: And So It Begins…

The Dallas Stars’ season is over but weep not, interweb friends!

You know what that means?

More of this!

Seguin, Tyler - cabo beach

And this!

And hopefully much MUCH more of this!

#SquatsSoHard

#HatTip to Tyler and Co. for even making the playoffs and for holding their own against the Ducks. I’m sure that Seguin would rather still be playing hockey, but I think that he’s gonna just fine.

Also fine (both literally and figuratively) – Jamie Benn.  Seguin’s life partner will no doubt be spending his summer making Pants I and fall more in love with him.

dallas

Bless your heart, Instagram.

We are girding our loins in preparation for what Mr. Seguin and social media holds for us this summer.

This is actual quote.

Judging by the photos above, I think we’re off to a great start.

Birthday Boy: Jonathan Toews

If I had Photoshop at work, I’d make a picture of Jonathan Toews wearing a pair of Olympic gold medals and a pair of bootyshorts, standing atop two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe trophy, the city of Chicago and your boyfriend’s hopes and dreams of ever being good enough.  Since I don’t, this ought to give you the idea.

t ski

Better than a wind machine.

Or maybe his selection to Rant Sports’ 15 Pro Athletes Who Would Steal Your Girlfriend in a Heartbeat.  Jon is listed at #1.

2014 NHL Stadium Series - Pittsburgh Penguins v Chicago Blackhawks

Truth in advertising.

Happy 26th birthday, Jonathan Toews.

toews-lean

Right down the fairway.

We didn’t get to talk a lot about the Blackhawks this season, consumed as we were with life in the East.  If I could freeze time to watch hockey, I’d never miss a Toews game.  Chicago didn’t replicate last year’s season-start winning streak, they didn’t win the conference or even their division.  But they did just win four in a row to put down the Blues and advance to Round 2 like they owned the place. And after two Cups in four years, maybe they do.

t cup

Toews knows how to party.

I could talk forever about Tazer.  Suffice to say I wish he played for my team, or barring that I wish I got to watch him more often.  If I had kids – boys or girls, fans or players – Toews is who I would tell them to watch. Nowadays, they might even learn to have a little fun.

Past JT19 birthday celebrations: 2011; 2012; 2013 As the Blackhawks await the winner of the Wild/Avalanche series, we hope Jon puts these days off to good use.  Rest that beat-up arm, do some squats, have some cake.  We’ll see you soon.

serious

They look so grown up.

Hard Out Here

Well, that was a night.

merida

Penguins take years off my life, defeat Blue Jackets in series: 4-2

What are we supposed to do?  NOT hope for leads because they get snatched away? NEVER want a power play for fear of giving up a shorty?  I don’t know which end is up except the Penguins won so hallelujah.  Columbus played their pants off and boy, were they having fun right up till that final buzzer sounded.

Can we still come to your All-Star Game?

Can we still come to your All-Star Game?

I will say nice things about them in the off-season.  You guys can say them now. They’ll all be true and I won’t read them because I am busy going to Round 2.  The Pens found some dominance in Games 5 and 6 – even if they didn’t hold it for 60 minutes, it felt good to know it’s still there.

I AM SCORE THREE TIMES.

I AM SCORE THREE TIMES.

Besides CBJ, the off-season isn’t so bad.  Ask the Stars:

Is there an Instagram filter called “Leg Hair” used on Seguin?  Also, is it weird the thing I’m most envious about in these photos are that it’s warm enough to wear shorts?  This winter has ruined me.  I digress.

Back to business: In case you missed it, Sidney Crosby has no goals. Maybe you didn’t hear last night’s commentators repeating it like a rosary or you failed to see the hilltop bonfires lit to spread the news from town to town.  It’s like the scene in 101 Dalmatians where every dog in London barks at the same time.

sparrow

Yes, Captain.

The only real question is: how many goal-less playoff games until Superstitious Sid tosses the yellow Crocs?  (Answer: Never. They are hideously fun, so be glad for them. He could have gotten black ones.)

pens

Silly, his black Crocs are for formal occasions only.

Brooks Orpik, it takes a man to stand front and center in pink-on-pink businesswear. Or, since it’s probably designer, salmon-on-salmon.  Elle Woods Approved.  Taylor Pyatt’s back there looking perfectly pastel acceptable in lavender and it’s no mistake Megna’s standing up front in that outfit. Just a mistake to stand next to Borts, the handsomest Penguin you’ve never heard of.

Only one beautifully bracketed addition today.  Everybody else is headed for a one-game cage match.  We’re going to need beer and bandages.

bracket

Day 14

Wild: 5; Avalanche: 2 [Series tied 3-3]

The Wild and Avalanche (two of the three NHL teams whose names are not plural) were locked at 2 goals a piece for nearly 30 breathless minutes.  Finally, with his second goal of the night and powered by chocolate milk, Zach Parise scored the goal Minnesota paid him $98 million over 13 years to score.  Well not the only goal, but you’ve got to get the first one first.  Add in two Wild ENs because Patrick Roy loves to pull goalies early and Minny forces this series back to Denver for Game 7.  My money is still on the Avs, but it’s not $98 million worth.

 

Kings: 4; Sharks: 1 [Series tied 3-3]

Three in a row – done. Why not four? The Kings scored three goals in 2:46 to break this game open and fuel what could be an historic comeback in playoff hockey.

 

Only three NHL teams have ever pulled off a four-straight resurrection [great stats on 0-3 comebacks].  Usually fans of the trailing team start fantasizing about this at the end of Game 3.  The last time I was still talking about it after Game 6?  Red Sox/Yankees, 2004 ALCS.  Chuck and I know it can be done.  The Kings clearly do too.  But the Sharks?  They’ll need to reset their heads and play like they were, not like they are.

Ask for Thursday off now, Wednesday is going to be a late one.

kings

Who needs sleep? Well you’re never gonna get it.

Tonight now means more to me than ever.

Rangers at Flyers – Game 6.  You know what I’m going to do? Root for the Rangers.  Though I’d be fine with PHI taking this to seven and then losing, it’s a little too close.  I would rather Pens/NYR in Round 2. Pittsburgh showed composure in R1 through plenty of tough situations, so I have faith they can hold it.  Just something about the Flyers brings out the worst in me them… but GAH I kind of want to play the Flyers, I ADMIT IT!  BLOOD AND FIRE!

ronb

Someone should check on me later.

Weekend Update

I didn’t get to watch much hockey after Friday night, but the playoffs wait for no DVR.  In case anyone else (mostly) missed the weekend festivities…

The networks have all kinds of on-hiatus hockey players pitching in as commentators during these playoffs.  Let us make the offer official: Alex Pietrangelo, you and your currently unemployed hair are welcome here anytime.

Mike Green hair substitute, you'll be missed.

This look will be missed.

I think we could even use a pool man now that the Stars are available.  We don’t have a pool, but…

Leave Hartnell and the socks at home.

Leave Hartnell and the socks at home.

Ducks eliminate Stars: 3-2

This one hurt.  We were all falling a little in love with Dallas, or at least their Twitter account.  Let’s hope that doesn’t get a summer vacation.

tweet

Like so many game in this post-season, the Stars had this one and they blew it.  The Ducks scored two goals in the last 2:10 to tie the game, then won it shortly into overtime.  It’s all summed by this beard and the scoreboard which I’ve helpfully left visible for anyone who likes to wallow in misery.

beard2

99% beard, 1% brows

It’s hard for me to understand the rage Corey Perry causes people without watching him in a long series against a single team.  Now I really get why he’s good at it and why other fans hate him.  Round 2 will be an in-state series vs. the Kings or Sharks.

ducks

We’ll never be far from an In-N-Out Burger!

Blackhawks eliminate Blues: 4-2

Sorry Blues.  (I’m not, not at all.)  After being up 2-0 in the series, they dropped four in a row to the defending Champs and are on their way to summer.  Here’s what you need to know about Chicago going into Round 2.  Patrick Kane can score in OT [video].  Jonathan Toews can score in OT on a breakaway:

gif by @cjzero

gif by @cjzero

And Patrick Sharp can score on a breakaway while someone puts their stick blade in his perfect face:

Bruins eliminate Red Wings: 4-1

Oh happy Chuck.  How nice it must be to root for a team withs so few weaknesses and also the ability to fix them.  In Game 1, the Bruins played with all the speed of Red Sox’s David Ortiz.  (Non-baseball fans, this is sarcasm.  The man cannot run.)  Starting in Game 2, they went faster… and it worked.  They will face the Canadiens for the 257th time in NHL playoff history.  Everyone hates each other, prepare to die.

bergy

Video: Bergy has some sleepy-voiced things to say.

Thus the bracket has been bracketed three more times.  For the record, so far I’ve been right 100% of the time.  Chuck is currently at 75% since she didn’t pick the Canadiens.  She would never pick those jerks.

bracket

For those of us with teams still battling to the pain:

Rangers lead Flyers: 3-2

The Flyers figured how to win once at MSG and they’ll need to do it again to survive this series.  But first, they have to win Tuesday night at home.  They held the NYR to only 22 shots Sunday, but the Rangers capitalized on what few chances their persistence and speed (and Flyer mistakes) could generate.

While I want both teams gone, is there anyway they could just leave the beard?

Sunday post-game interview

Sunday post-game interview: Gingertime Sadness

Penguins take series lead over Blue Jackets: 3-2

I ditched a bachelorette party mid-bar crawl to catch the end of this.  Of course I refused to leave even after Letang’s EN goal just in case.  Kunitz had 1G, 1A plus 7 SOG and 6 hits.  Throw that body around, Sock Monkey!  Fleury bounced back (See? SEEEEEE???) stopping 23 of 24, while the Pengins had a whopping 50 shots.  Game 6 Monday night, I’ll be on the floor of my living room in a fort made of pizza boxes.

flower

Dog days are over?

Kings stay alive again, still trail Sharks: 3-2

Well what do you know, the Kings have staved off elimination twice now.  The first four games of the series averaged 7.75 goals per game.  Jonathan Quick gave up 16G in that stretch, but found his mojo Saturday and the Kings won 3-0 in an orderly fashion.  Can they do it again Monday night or will the Kings leave LA’s perpetual summer for regular old summer somewhere else?

Pelvic thrust.

Pelvic thrust.

Avalanche take lead over Wild, Errrrrrybody Mad: 3-2

Remember me raging about the disallowed Tampa Bay goal back a ways?  Well the Wild had plenty to say about this oh-so-close, offsides-or-on moment with less than 1:30 to go in Game 5.  There was no call on the play, so of course the Avs scored and forced overtime.

Image by @johncanref

Image by @johncanref

Offside say the Wild media | Inconclusive say the Avs media

If the Wild had won, we wouldn’t still be talking about this.  Too bad the Avs have TriWizard Tournament hopeful Nathan MacKinnon with his 2nd goal (and League-leading 10th point) of the playoffs.

 

Monday night Colorado will have the chance to reach Round 2 for the first time in 6 years.  Guess who else they’ll very likely have?

Colorado Avalanche v Phoenix Coyotes

Hey girl.

Duchene’s go/no-go will be announced after the morning skate.  We say go.

What this all means is that three more bracket spots could be locked Monday night, or any of three series could need a Game 7.  I could need blood pressure medication.  Just another day in the playoffs.  Stay ready.

eve

Of Course It Did

Well…

Screw you, Day Eight.

Screw you, Day Eight.

Last night I was very PANIC! AT THE DISCO.  I feel a little better this morning , so allow me to re-edit my thoughts.

Blue Jackets: 4; Penguins: 3 [Series tied 2-2]

Listen, Fleury has been the Penguins’ best player all series.  Sometimes he is their only player actually playing.  So much has been said over the years about his fragile confidence that I want to sucker punch a sportscaster in the junk.  Last night the Penguins played a  great 20 minutes, followed by what felt like a 40 minute penalty kill.  So after an endless amount of this:

save

There was a single, slow motion, crash zoom moment of this:

flower

With 24 seconds left in the game and a 1 goal lead.  And then overtime.  And then the Penguins lost.  Series tied.

expletiveexpletiveexpletiveexpletiveexpletiveexpletiveexpletive

There is no reason, no why.  But if I had a dollar for every time I yelled, “STAYINYOURNETFLOWER!” I’d be blogging from a private island where Chris Evans brings me cake between rounds of shirtless push-ups.  So there is also no surprise.  It’s a flabbergasting and inexplicable mistake, I don’t think Flower himself would argue against that.

tyra

Yet it was made by the man who’s been holding everyone else’s crap together for nearly four games.  I hate that this happened to Flower – it’s like a bad rumor making itself true.  His job is to make saves, not carry the team.  If those things are one and the same sometimes, so be it.  Blame falls far and wide for how the Penguins even ended up in this situation.  In that way, Fleury is lucky.  If Scuderi had made a mistake this costly?  Riots.  Letang?  WAR.

paper

That it’s Flower is both the best and worst thing for a team that has no choice but to rebound Saturday night.  Fleury will get a chance to prove, in real time, that he is not the fall apart mess people say.  He’s a great goalie.  The damage is done.  We’re asking him to forget it and move on so let’s do the same, yeah?  Let’s have faith, and please don’t let it be the delusionally misguided playoff kind.  If these guys need their backs against the wall to win battles and outplay their opponent, well they’ve got their chance.  (#PensInSix)

Stars: 4; Ducks: 2 [Series tied 2-2]

On a night when Ryan Getzlaf was out with an upper-body injury and Teemu Selanne was a healthy scratch, Game 4 in Dallas promised to be exciting.  Like final whistle line brawl exciting.

 

The Ducks were unhappy after Game 3, where they felt the Stars were running Ryan Getzlaf because of his injured face. [link]  Dallas’ Ryan Garbutt broke the leg of Anaheim’s Stephane Robidas in a play for the puck [Garbutt apologized, Robidas accepted: link].  There’s history now and bad blood.  The Stars scored four unanswered goals and the Ducks are in a bit of a panic after being ousted in the first round last year.  Regardless, all fights should have streamers.

save

Jamie Benn had another goal.  That’s all you really wanted to know, right?

benn hair

Blackhawks: 4; Blues: 3 [Series tied 2-2]

It wouldn’t the Blackhawks if it didn’t take overtime.  They blew a two goal lead in the first.  The Blues had plenty of chances to extend their lead but could not convert.  Brian Bickell tied the game with under four minutes left in regulation.  Then in overtime, which they’ve needed three of the four games in this series, Patrick Kane:

 

Because Jess is a good person who loves the Blackhawks, she wanted to be sure you didn’t miss Captain I’m Fun Now doing post-game press in his booty shorts [video].

toews

Now all of these series are new again.  They’ve done the homework, there are no surprises left.  Chicago and Dallas are on the upswing while Pittsburgh could certainly use a fresh start.  Everyone knows exactly what it will take to win a Best of Three.  Give yourself a day (two if you’re the Penguins, whose practice this morning was cancelled) and when this resumes we will fight not to the death.  No no, our losers have to watch someone else steal their dream.  As always we fight:

westley

Day Seven

It was bound to happen and one night it did (Thanks, Garth)… the Tampa Bay Lightning were the first team eliminated from the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  I haven’t heard from Lindsay, who is probably wrapped in her Stamkos jersey like a shroud and laying on the floor in the space between her bed and the wall.  That is what happens when you let yourself fall for more than one team.

Canadiens: 4; Lightning: 3 [Habs win series 4-0]

It looked like OT until Max Pacioretty, who I still have trouble remembering is American, scored his first ever playoff goal with 43 seconds left in the third.

 

And the crowd goes wild.  Literally.  I don’t care for/about the Habs but a moment like that melts my heart.  Much has been made of the Habs being the only Canadian team in the post-season, and they haven’t advanced past the first round since 2010. They become 2014′s first playoff bracket move:

bracket

Farewell to the Bolts, whose beards we will not get to enjoy.  We’ll give Stamkos a week to mope then we expect daily Gary Roberts workout videos.

bolts

You’re welcome.

So Lightning fans, who will you root for now?

Bruins: 3; Detroit: 0 [Bruins lead series 2-1]

The Canadiens will await the winner of this series, which is getting fiesty slimy.  In the grand Detroit tradition of throwing octopi on the ice, a fan tossed one during the anthem.  Chances are it wasn’t Justin Verlander because it came up short, sliding gently into Tuukka Rask’s skate like it was afraid of becoming sushi.  Tuukka gave it a well-deserved look of disgust and proceeded to beat the Red Wings in reply.

rask

Gif by Twitter/@PeteBlackburn

Brad Marchand barely dodged a potentially terrible knee-on-knee hit from Brendan Smith – then went down and grabbed the wrong leg.  I have to mention it, you know that about me.  Video/Gif/weaksauce explanation at CBS Sports.  Better examination on Days of Y’Orr, including a Marchand gif that makes me want to stab myself in the face.

Rangers: 4; Flyers: 1 [NYR lead series 2-1]

This game can be summed up in two images:

tweet

carcillo

I’m still rooting for everyone to lose but even I had a little bit of fun at the end there.

Sharks: 4; Kings: 3 [Sharks lead series 3-0]

It took OT and by far the Kings’ best result in this series, but in the end it was still the Sharks and their weird beard dreams taking a chokehold lead on this series.  BU’s Matt Nieto scored his first playoff goal last night – yay for days!  The Kings will try to stay alive Thursday night.

Read this adorable Hertl/Nieto rookie BFF story from the SJ Mercury News.  They better have those Minions in the locker room.

For tonight…

notebook

Pens and Blue Jackets are up first thing evening, as if anyone has recovered from Saturday night.  The Stars and Ducks are on early (8PM ET), so you can see Jamie Benn’s face/Jordie Benn’s beard and if they’re able to even that series.  The Blackhawks will try to take two of two at home from St. Louis in the not-quite-so late game (9:30 PM ET).

These little recaps are really helping make sure I have at least looked at every playoff game.  That said, they are 3-minute looks.  If I miss something good, let me know!  I can’t be everywhere and Mr. Pants is already really tired of the playoffs.

The Night Before

Allow me to present the Day 6 update as an autobiographical look at my catastrophic emotional instability.

goal

Penguins: 4, Blue Jackets 3 [Pens lead series 2-1]

This game started and an instant later the Jackets had scored two goals.  Okay, maybe it took 3:18, but it felt like a heartbeat.  The Penguins were not ready, not willing and not at all able while I just watched like:

tornado cow

It continued into the second period.  Pittsburgh shot total multiplied exponentially but nothing got past Bobrovsky.  They had 257 power plays – alright 6; the CBJ were throwing themselves into the box – but converted on zero.  This from the NHL’s #1 regular season PP!  When I tell you I yelled, “The next person who blows a drop pass coming into the zone gets my foot up his ass!” I mean I was loud.

carol

Finally Brooks Orpik (ofallpeopleexceptLetangmewlingdeath!!) scored in the last gasp of the 2nd period.

lc

And of course, the Jackets got it right back to start the third.

hermione3

Only I didn’t leave.  I sent my Patronus away so it wouldn’t have to watch but I am not strong enough to resist.  Then the Penguins scored.

beckett

1:10 later they scored again.

gwenth

1:03 after that they scored again.

panic

I was freaking out and faith-healed and curled into a weird knot on my living room floor.  Three goals on three shots in 2:13.

pens

I KNOW, RIGHT?!

Then they won.  And this was me, for a solid two hours after:

amy

It’s only Game 3.  Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin and Neal have no goals – only Geno even has a point.  So many wasted man advantages.  Flower stayed confident despite a messy start.  Alison & I both performed mid-game costume changes to what we wore for Game 1 and it worked.  I’m exhausted.  I might be overreacting.  Maybe everything is going to be okay.

Right, Sid?

sid

GAH.  That’s what you always say.

Blackhawks: 2; Blues: 0 [Blues lead series 2-1]

Well no one died, which makes it a model of restraint after last game’s dirty hit/suspension/general abhorrence.  Instead the Hawks set the pace early when Captain I’m Fun Now put a gimmie through the wickets on Ryan Miller.  Corey Crawford pitched a shutout and the Hawks staved off an almost certain death – for now.

hawks

Wild: 1; Avalanche: 0 [Avs lead series 2-1]

Zero goals until 5:08 of overtime.  After a combined 9 G in Game 1 and 6 G in Game 2, this match was locked down.  The Avs managed on 22 shots on Darcy Kuemper in his playoff debut, while Minnesota threw 46 shots on Varlamov.  Matt Cookie hit Tyson Barrie knee-on-knee and will likely (deservedly) be the second player suspended this post-season.  See it here.  I don’t want to watch it again.  Instead watch Mikael Granlund’s holy moly game-winner:

 

Stars: 3; Ducks: 0

I was only half-watching this game after the emotional trauma of the Pens’ game, but I know the DuckTales theme when I hear it!  The Stars in-game staff played it during a third period timeout.  If you were sleeping, search ‘DucksTales’ on Twitter.  Harmless fun and who doesn’t want to hear that song?  [The Albany River Rats used to play "Even the Losers (Get Lucky Sometimes)" when the opposing team scored.  I laughed even when we were losing.]

Jamie Benn had a goal and the post-game interview, but you should be tuning in for Jordie Benn’s megabeard.  Someone find me a picture of that!

benn

Tonight, tonight it’s Montreal with the chance to give Tampa Bay the first playoff exit of the year.  The Bruins/Red Wings and Rangers/Flyers all try to gain the edge in tied series and late night, the Sharks will attempt to go up 3-0 over the Kings.  The first two games have each seen 9 total goals scored.  Sounds exciting – if only we could stay awake!

Days Go By

I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend.  I embarked on a “No carb left behind” mission and managed to consume every jellybean within a 10-mile radius (that moved as I did).  Mostly I was drowning Penguins-related sorrows and the sound of “Letang” from my memory.

joey

Anyway, let’s have a look at Friday (Day Three):

  • Canadiens: 4; Lightning: 1
  • Red Wings: 1; Bruins: 0
  • Ducks: 3; Stars: 2

No one wants to talk about theses.  They are depressing and also old news.  Ryan Getzlaf’s wife did have a baby girl, though, and Getz scored the requisite “welcome to the world” goal with his Iron Giant Helmet Extension on.

getz

Saturday (Day Four):

Blues: 4; Blackhawks: 3 [Blues lead series 2-0]

The Hawks have played so much playoff OT over the past few years, it’s the only way they know how to end games.  Unfortunately these OTs are not going their way and they’re down 2-0 to St. Louis.  Add in the hit on David Backes that earned Brent Seabrook a 3-game suspension, the alleged comments by Duncan Keith and tonight’s game in Chicago looks to be all fired up.

I might dislike David Backes (a lot) but that is pretty messed up.

Blue Jackets: 4; Penguins: 3 [Series tied 1-1]

Did you know you can go to Twitter jail for sending over 100 Tweets in an hour?  This did not happen to me, but I may consider it again if the Penguins play the way they did Saturday night.  100 Tweets x 140 characters = 3500 four-letter words.  That’s about how many Alison and I traded via Gchat.  Alas, the Pens were still in a game they played terribly, which gives me hope for a Head-Out-Of-Ass strategy tonight.  The Blue Jackets… well, I yelled, “I HATE YOUR SKILL AND EFFECTIVE ON-ICE PRESENCE!” at least once.

cbj

Avalanche: 4; Wild: 2 [Avs lead series 2-0]

MacKinnon, Landeskog and Stastny had 10 of the 11 total points awarded for G & A in this game.  It felt more lopsided than the scoreboard indicated – Stastny’s goal was an EN, so the Wild were close for a long time.  Still you should be watching these kids to remember what fun feels like.

 

And Sunday (Day Five):

All the wrong teams (for me) won yesterday until the Sharks.  I was ready to write the day off.  Perhaps it was my punishment for playing Cards Against Humanity with a very mixed-age crowd and hearing my friends’ 70-year old parents say things I can never un-hear.

Flyers: 4; Rangers: 2 [Series tied 1-1]

The Flyers finalllllly won a Game at MSG (first since 2011).  Giroux’s gingerbeard is magnificent.  It was a comeback win for Philly, who were down 2-0 in the first.  Just remember: the longer this series goes the more potential to destroy each other.

flyers

Bruins: 4; Detroit: 1 [Series tied 1-1]

This must’ve been fun if you’re a Bruins fan.  I’m not, but I’d like to win a game by more than 1 goal (or at all) right now.  Misty water colored memories…. Chuck can expound on the enjoyment of Easter Sunday Bruins Victory if she’s got a moment.

Zdeno Chara, Brendan Smith

Canadiens: 3; Lightning: 2 [Habs lead series 3-0]

Let me tell you something.  This is a b$##@*^$ disallowed goal:

 

My first reaction was “Bleeeeeeeeeep!” and my second was, “I cannot believe I am cheering for Ryan Callahan.”  Ah trades, you make everything new again.  I wrote a whole diatribe on this call, then deleted it, went outside and vehemently landscaped my front yard.  Positive outlets for playoffs frustration!  In short, this cannot be called ONLY if it results in a goal.  It’s either a penalty when it happens or it’s not, regardless if it results in something important. This isn’t even my team.  I’d be enraged.  The Bolts might not have won, and MTL clearly has a handle on the series, but blown goal calls infuriate me like no other.  Especially in playoffs.

steven

To add injury to insult, Steven Stamkos took a knee to the head.  He did not get up well.  Prayer circles were formed – and they worked (Easter coincidence? I think not.).  Steven returned for the start of the third period.

Sharks: 7; Kings: 2 [Sharks lead series 2-0]

Seven (7!) unanswered goals by San Jose.  I don’t think this game needs a recap. If someone wants to get in on the Sharks now, I’ve got a jersey and perfectly matching teal nail polish you can have.

sharks

What will tonight bring?  Three of the games offer the chance to go up 3-0 in their series (COL, STL, ANA) – we wish luck to the fans of the teams down 0-2.  Be strong and believe.  As for the Penguins game, you know where to find me.

flip table

Obviously we still cannot center things.  Sorry about that.

Foxy Friday: Matt Niskanen

This took forever today because I was having too much fun.  It’s time!  Time for turtles and Minnesota accents and the true, though somewhat unsung, love of Penguins fans everywhere.  Unless you are me, Lindsay or Alison, then there is a lot of singing.

Foxy Friday: Matt Niskanen

Oh yeah, I went right for the puppy picture.

Oh yeah, I went right for the puppy picture.

Most of you met Nisky that time he fought Sidney Crosby.

My screams still echo somewhere in the depths of outer space.

Four months later, Matt and someone else you know (sing it: Gingerbeeeeeeard!) got traded to the Penguins.  Niskanen and Sid joke about the fight.

t1

Where is that video, hey?  This may be the one time Sam Kasan let us down.

 

Did I mention Matt is from Minnesota?  If not, you heard it in that interview.

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2013-2014 has been the Year of Niskanen in Pittsburgh.  He had 46 regular season points, including 10G.  He leads the Penguins and all NHL defensemen with a +33.  He had 6 GWG – tied with OEL for best among League d-men and second-most on the Penguins.  That’s right, Matt Niskanen had more GWGs than Sidney Crosby.

nisky4

What else?  Oh, he plays defense.  Actual, consistent defense on a team whose blueline rode the strugglebus all season.  There were monumental lapses in ability among the Penguins top 4 D, added to serious injuries like Letang’s stroke, Paul Martin’s broken hand and Orpik’s concussion.  Niskanen played 81 games.  There was a stretch in December when Nisky was the only Pens’ defenseman old enough to drive (slight exaggeration).  He held it down, guided Olli Maatta in a ROTY consideration-worthy year and kept me, personally, from losing my damned mind.  And these guys too: Hockey Writers, Rant Sports, everyone.

Thanks, Matt.

nisky8

In the last year of a 2-year deal, making just $2.3 million, Nisky looked like trade bait at the beginning of the season.  Now he looks like:

paid

That’s his reserved Minnesota version of GETPAAAAAAAAAAAID.

The Penguins haven’t talked contract yet.  Read this Puck Daddy piece on factors important in a potential deal for Matty.  We can only hope Swami Shero makes this a long-term relationship because:

t2

He’s also said: “I’ve fallen in love with this organization….” [video]

WE LOVE YOU TOO, MATT!  And not just “we” as in me and Lindsay, because we fall in love with everybody, but other people whose standards are much higher.  Like Alison.  She does not suffer fools on her blueline.

nisky10

What else is great about Matt?  This time he fought Brad Marchand.  His middle name is NORMAN.  He says “darn” and “heckuva.”  The way he slicks his hair back but cannot ever defeat this center-part cowlick:

nisky7

This terrible, terrible tie/shirt combo:

nisky6

What do you expect from a guy with an unabashed love of sweatpants?

 

In his free time, Matt enjoys wearing light-colored jeans.

nisky5

Having his car “pimped” before selling it for charity:

 

Learning his lesson the hard way about losing that shootout.

nisky9

And holding a turtle.

nisky3

Okay, it’s not a turtle – it’s a rock.  But when I first saw this picture [link] I was convinced Matt was rescuing a turtle in this forest, probably from some slow-moving distress, because that’s just the kind of nice guy he is.  He’s turtle-esque.  I laugh about this daily and it inspired one of my favorite WUYS memes of the year: Matt Niskanen Goal Turtle Celebrations.

n1

n2

n3

And for those of you who see why this is hilarious, I thank you.

n5 n4

There is so much more, I could go on for days (or at least until the Pens game starts tomorrow night).  For now enjoy the adorable American-ness that is Matt Niskanen and his puppy:

n6

Because Saturday night it’s back to work.

niskya

*Please pardon the fact we cannot center any images today.  It’s being address by someone who knows what HTML stands for.  All we can do is lean left a bit and everything seems fine.

Day Two (and Three, if you count OT)

One more  night in the books!  Welcome back to my way to be sure that I have noticed every playoff game around the League for three minutes.  Some of you probably called in “overtime” to work and are just waking up.

whelmed

Blues:4, Blackhawks: 3

Look,  overtime is one thing.  Triple overtime is two more things but is there anything more annoying than waiting 17 minutes of intermission in the middle of the  damned night just for someone to win it 30 seconds into the next extra frame?

Aside from being the team that loses that way, I mean.

 

Coach Q, how do you feel about this game?

coachq

I can’t stop laughing.  I hope Joey, the Junior Reporter didn’t see that!

Avalanche: 5, Wild: 4

Since all the cool kids who won the Cup last year were going to OT, the Paul Stastny of the Avs thought that sounded brilliant.  He tied it with 14 seconds left [video].  GAH, that is what Playoffs are about!  Paul enjoyed that so much, he did it again.

 

Look at Nathan MacKinnon with the hugJUMPhugJUMPhugJUMP.  19 year old puppy.

Rangers; 4, Flyers: 1

I hate everyone but wow, Giroux’s beard is already amazing.  It was the only positive thing about this game for the Flyers, who gave up goals 2 and 3 in 47 seconds while I was brushing my teeth.  If they Flyers could do that every time I left the room, I’d stay out my whole life.

giroux

G’s beard looks even more orange because Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell have dyed their beards black for the playoffs.  I’m torn between saying, “Well they can’t look worse.” and “That was cool when Mike Green did it.”  Photos by the only officially Flyers-related person we like: @sbaickerCSN.

vorachek

Just to be fair:  The Rangers changed their homepage to look like Tumblr and I hate that too.  Sad Brad Richards had three points and I bet he went home and laughed while making 6 AM tee times under the name “Tortorella” at every golf course within 50 miles of wherever Torts lives.

Sharks: 6, Kings: 3

This game was “mostly dead” in the first with the Sharks up 3-0.  In the second, they scored 2 more.  But to start the third period, the Kings came out and got 3 goals.  I don’t know if it felt like they could really climb the entire hill (thoughts? I was asleep.) but that has got to help their confidence in an otherwise brutal loss.

Tomas Hertl had one of the Sharks’ goals – looks like those water aerobics he used to recover from injury really paid off.

hertl

The Bruins kick things off against the Red Wings tonight (finally!), while the Habs/Bolts and Ducks/Stars will go again.  Ryan Getzlaf expected to be in the lineup with his new Frankenface.

Enjoy!  I hope all of your teams lose!

Day One

There are two ways to spend any night during the NHL Playoffs:

  1. Enjoy a composed evening of important hockey that matters on a theoretical level, but not to your team.
  2. Like me, last night:

snow white

One goal games all around, and no one made it look easy.  Here we go, Round One: Day One already gearing up to be great.

Canadiens: 5, Lightning: 4

Did you get dizzy watching this one?  Twice Tampa Bay took the lead, only to lose it in 0:19 and 3:15 respectively.  Montreal went up by a goal twice, only to be tied again in 2:01 and 1:57.  The last game-tying goal was a beauty by Stamkos, coast-to-coast, all alone:

 

Almost an entire OT period was needed to end this, the Habs getting the win.   Still some good numbers for the Lightning – they had only 25 shots on Price but scored 4 times, while Lindback stopped 39 of 44.  On Montreal’s end, that’s a lot of shots!  Vanek had 7 of them, including this very pretty goal:

vanek

Penguins: 4,  Blue Jackets: 3

TOO CLOSE, THANK YOU.  If every game in the series is like this, I may not survive.  I expect it will be, since all Pens defensemen over the age of Matt Niskanen have a tendency to do what only Mokiki can do so well: the Sloppy Swish.

They will magically get it together for periods (of time, not hockey).  Let’s hope for more of those.  Flower I thought was not bad – the first 2 goals were all the D’s fault, the 3rd he’d love to have back.  If only the world were a wish granting factory.

bsutts

The Jackets are, of course, good and scary.  I was sore from watching guys get hit on TV.  Also from punching the screen every time Brandon Dubinksy’s face came up.  That’s his job and he does it so well.

Ducks: 4, Stars: 3

I went to bed when this was 3-0 Anaheim, all in the first.  I did a “WHAT?!” this morning when I saw the final score.  For twenty minutes things were bleak, but it was just the rust of not making the playoffs for the last 5 seasons.  They are good now.  But are they as good as the Ducks?

Ryan Getzlaf, with the Tyler Seguin slapshot-to-face:

getz

If not for Getz’s mug, who knows?  The Stars could have tied in the final seconds.  They came close more than once.  Coach Boudreau expects Getzlaf to have a “nasty cut” but hopefully be fine and they will know more today.

The Edge of Glory

Since Psych was not renewed for a 9th season, Chuck & I are officially the best faux-psychic show in town.  No time is more ripe for our charlatan act than Day 1 of the 2014 NHL playoffs.  So sit back and allow us to disagree slightly on who will win in the first round.

meangirls

EAST

Bruins vs. Red Wings

Pants: Bruins, because there is no way I get off this easily in life.  They’re packed and they’re stacked, especially in the back (Shoop!).  Tuukka Rask, brick wall with a 2.04 GAA.

Chuck:  Bruins, duh. I mean, I love me some Zetterbeard and the Red Wings did take 3 of 4 from the Black and Gold in the regular season.  But this is the playoffs.  And the Bruins always crank it up to 11 in the playoffs. (Can I get some fries with that shake shake booty?)

arsenio

Penguins vs. Blue Jackets

Pants: Penguins, because I NEED THIS, OKAY?  Also they’ve beaten Columbus five times this season, Letang is getting up to form and Malkin could be back in the lineup tonight.  Fleury is near the top in every category and I’m banking on confidence.

Chuck: I love a good underdog story, and this series could be it.  I know this is FAAAAR from popular option with our readership but just lemme finish. The Blue Jackets are a difficult team to play against.  One coach told Kevin Weekes who told me that Columbus was a “nightmare every time you play them.”  They have some underrated guys and they’re physical.  Last year, Pens went up against the Bruins, arguable one of the most physical NHL teams, and they got swept.  But it is Pittsburgh, so I could be wrong.

newsies

I can’t stop laughing at this gif.

I can’t stop laughing at this picture.

Lightning vs. Canadiens

Pants: Canadiens, because the Bolts lost the one-two punch they needed to win this series when St. Louis bailed.  A shame, since Alexis says Tampa’s beard potential is astronomical.

Chuck: Lightning. Because I cannot. I will not.  It will be a cold day in hell before I cheer for the Canadiens.

just left

Flyers vs. Rangers

Pants: Evil, because that is the only choice.  I’ll say Rangers here but it won’t be easy. The Flyers score slightly fewer G/G (by .22) but Lundqvist’s GAA is marginally better (by 0.14) than Mason’s – who is hurt, thanks Kaitlin, and out for at least Game 1.  That doesn’t help Philly.  Whoever wins plays the winner of PIT/CBJ and I don’t see the Flyers leaving anything but a streak of blood to get there.  Rangers in a long, brutal series.

Chuck: Rangers…I guess.  Both teams have fought and scrapped to make the playoffs, especially the Flyers, who have seemed to recover from their disatrous start.  Rangers’ goaltending and defense are better but this match-up has some serious Hunger Games potential.

voldemort

WEST

Avalanche vs. Wild

Pants: Avs, because Patrick Roy says so.  He’s turned the worst team in last year’s West into the 2nd best team in this year’s West.  Varlamov has seen more shots than any goalie and won more games.  By comparison, the Avs’ offense ranks 20th in shots per game – but they are accurate, with 2.99 G/G (5th overall).  High-quality offense, high-quality goaltender.

Chuck: Avalanche, because why not them?  They are young, exceptionally talented, and have a top notch goalie in Varlamov. Nathan McKinnon is a shoe-in for the Calder and the rest of the forward crew ain’t to shabby.  While the wheels were coming off the Blues’ bus, the Avs leapfrogged over them to take the Central. Remember last year’s Red Sox team?  They went from worst to first and won the World Series.  Just saying….

cindy

Ducks vs. Stars

Pants: Ducks, because they score more than any other team.  They’re #1 at 3.21/game.  The dark horse is that Dallas draws a lot of penalties (3rd overall), and Anaheim’s penalty kill ranks 13th 82.2%.  So there are freebies to be had, Stars.  I still think the Ducks overpower them.

Chuck: My heart says Stars, but my head says Ducks. For reasons.  Namely, Perry, Getzlaf, Bonino, Selanne. Seguin and Benn have one of the best bromance/chemistry in the NHL right now, but it won’t be enough to overpower the Ducks.

grandmas boy

Blues vs. Blackhawks

Pants: Blackhawks.  Only 4 points separate them.  The Blues are slumping hard – they lost 6 of 8 in April.  I would not want to ride that streak into the post-season against the defending Champs.  If Toews & Kane are really ready, like ready-ready, they can tip that balance.

Chuck: Blackhawks. Toews and Kane are back. Even at 75%, they are still pretty awesome.  Blues spent the month of April on a cross-country trip on the struggle bus, which not the way you want to go into the playoffs.  If Blues can return to their regular season form and get some guys back, they could have a shot.  But the WUYS Magic 8 Ball is saying “Outlook look not so good.”

viggo

Sharks vs. Kings

Pants: Snore.  Don’t these teams play every year?  Just two of the last four.  I’ll pick the Sharks for the same reason I always do: aren’t they tired of eventually losing in the Playoffs?  The Sharks are always a fire drill, never a fire.

Chuck: Sharks. Please dear Lord, the Sharks. I need Joe Thornton’s playoff beard to make me whole and happy.

gaga

Did your team make the playoffs?  Who are you cheering for?  Any Cinderellas in this year’s matchup?  We want to kn0w what you think?

Tyler Tuesday: Beardspiration

Tyler and the Dallas Stars giving new meaning to the phrase “by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin”.

They just squeeked into the playoffs and took then second Wild Card spot in the West.  I’m genuinely excited for Tyler (really I am!), given the circumstances of his departure from Boston.  He has matured into a high caliber NHLer and his BMOC bromance with Jamie “Encino Man” Benn was critical to Dallas’s success this season.

But the question remains – Will this new found maturity and attitude also translate to his beard-growing game?

Might we suggest he look to the following paragons of bristle and beauty for some “Beardspiration”.

Henry Cavill.

Armor optional.

The Marines from Zero Dark Thirty.

#ChrisPratt #JoelEdgerton

Ben Affleck.

#BostonStrongBeard

Tom Mison.


Jake Gyllenhaal.

Whoever this guy is.

Any one of these looks will work quite well for us, Mr. Seguin. Quite well, indeed.

Dallas’ 1st round series verses Anaheim starts tomorrow night.  Could be short one for the Stars, given the way that the Ducks have been playing, but we’re hoping for seven games, if only to see what Seguin’s stubble might become.

 

Bring on the Beards!

Happy Day Before #&$% Gets Real, Everyone!  

ron

Every April, we wonder how we got here - if we got here – and panic. Prayers are said.  Shirts and jerseys are lined up to wear.  Post-traumatic stress resurfaces from last season.   And with all that comes something else, something glorious.

No, not the possibility of winning the Cup.  We’re talking about playoff beards!

oduya

2013 Beard of the Year Winner

Here’s a look around this year’s post-season hopefuls, starting with, well…

The Pens TV feature was offline yesterday because the Penguins’ servers are no match for James Neal’s Gingerbeard.

neal

Already GLORIOUS.  Let me tell you James, since you obviously read this blog for tips on fixing your PR problems, the beard is A+.  Glasses too.  Plaid suits, yaaassss. Now keep your promises, don’t be a dirtbag and I may just remove your #futureexboyfriend status.

red panda

MAF however, has permission to remove this creation and begin again.

flower

He looks like Kenneth Branaugh in Hamlet which is really just a gateway beard to Kenneth Branaugh in Wild Wild West.  And no one wants to be in Wild Wild West.

You know I love this disaster.  Crosby growing facial hair is like me singing karaoke – zero God-given talent, still goes on stage.  We both compensate with dance moves.

sid1

Thanks to modern medicine and some really tight workout shirts, we’re thrilled this gem of a beard will be appearing in our 2014 collection:

stammer

Flawless as he always is, Stammer’s beard fascinates because it’s so brown.  Mid-season he hardly appears to have eyebrows, such is his blondness, yet roll around the post-season and Simba starts working on his roar.

Since I mentioned Nealer, here’s Shawn Thornton for good measure.  This art installation began around April 4 and holds promise to become an impressive hedge maze.  Let’s everybody grow beards and nobody get suspended, yeah?

thornton

In news you knew was coming, Toews and Kane have been announced as ready to go for Chicago in Game 1 against St. Louis.

toews

That’s right, Wolverine and his trusty sidekick, The Meerkat, ride again.

wolverine

We’re pretty excited for the Avs to have a go in the playoffs, because we want to see if Gabe can grow a beard.  And we want Matt Duchene back… but mostly Gabe’s beard.  The Avs’ ad campaign asks #WhyNotUs?

Gabe Landeskog, Age 10

Gabe Landeskog, Age 10

Probably #BecauseofthatMohawk, honestly.  But this is a new, sophisticated year.  They’re even hosting “Burgundy and Blue Week” and as much as we love hockey, that’ll be disappointing if it doesn’t involve wine and cheese.

And remember, Max Talbot is on the Avs!   Think he’ll give us one of these, like the good old days?  Probably scare the crap out of his new baby son, but teaching can never start too early.

talbot

He can compare it to that of fellow former Penguin Mike Rupp.  I miss this elf costume.

rupp

Another excting playoff debut is Jamie Benn.  We know Tyler can phase to Teen Wolf at a moment’s notice (hey, isn’t it Tuesday?), but Jamie’s babyface has never been to the post-season.  We’ve seen an AHL goatee and Movember Mustache, so there’s a beard waiting to happen.  Still we fear the jowl-centric permashadow:

jamie

Will again become this:

jamie2

EGADS.  When we say “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” Jamie, we do not mean that part of your face!  You’ve been on a roll lately (sidenoteBattingPracticesigh) – either go all the way or just keep shaving while gazing intently into the camera.

jamie3

Does Dallas have a bandwagon? Because Imma need a ride.

TJ Oshie joined the Blues Beardathon campaign, so we’ll call his beard The American Dream.  The part of arch-nemesis will be played by Roman Polak.

oshie

Even if he could get 6 rounds like the Olympic shootout, TJs only chance at fuzz would still be to adopt a puppy at the end.

Joe Thornton has done the right thing – he’ll be starting fresh when the Sharks see the Kings on Thursday night.  This really gives new meaning to the term faceoff.  Let’s hope he and Brent Burns have planned A Race to Crazy.

April 9 April 12

April 9                                                                     April 12

The Kings are always regally bearded, but until Mike Richards can’t see past his nose to where Pierre Maguire is trying to groom him on a boardwalk, I find them boring.  Remember when Joaquin Phoenix went crazy, grew a beard and became a rapper (then it was all fake)?  That’s the kind of excitement I expect from LA beards.

 

Speaking of burly later-round possibilities, Henrik Zetterbeard is doing his best to get back into the Wings lineup.  He will practice today, and while he likely won’t be available for the first round, if the Wings get past Boston at least Chuck will have something to live for.

zett

The Habs have Brandon Prust.  If no one else grows a beard (or if they do), we won’t even notice.

prust

The last and final playoff match up is both my dream and nightmare: Rangers vs. Flyers.  Such drama.  I fantasize about them somehow both losing.  I invent elaborate food poisoning schemes.  I transport them off-world, I drop them into the bottom of the ocean in the end, I retract the ice and everyone falls into a pool of sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.

Is that wrong?

loki2

Alas, I must endure.  I caught a hot second of Giroux flipping his hair while being awarded the Toyota Cup for most “Star of the Game” points the other night. Happy Gingers = Slight Weakness.  This beard though.

giroux

Even as an unhappy ginger, Scott Hartnell looked – dare I say it? – kind of nice while discussing his major penalty for spearing (subsequent $5k fine came later).

hartsy

Okay, enough of that.  :: shudder ::

As for the Rangers, Rick Nash looks nice with a beard.  It can dry his tears.

nash

(That wasn’t quite the last playoff matchup, but to the Blue Jackets, I say nothing except see you tomorrow.)

I can’t believe it’s this time of year again.  Are you guys doing okay?  My emotions are 50% excitement and 50% dread soaked in 100% Skittles-flavored vodka.  We’re thankful for beards help to lighten the mood because it’s about to go down.

real housewives wig

Foxy Friday: TJ Brodie

As the regular season comes to a close, we’ll start to remember and eulogize those teams that battled and bruised and sacrificed, but in the end, fell short of the post-season.  But before you reach for that pint of ice cream or in Pants’ case, that bottle of red wine (RIP Capitals), we have something that could cheer you up.

As I was combing through the Foxy Friday archives, I came to realize that out of the all the teams not making it to the Playoffs,the Calgary Flames are the only ones who do not have a Foxy Friday on their roster.   Other teams have a embarrassment of Foxy Fridays gracing their roster. The Flames? Zilch.

Edmonton had three.  Florida had one. Even Buffalo…poor sad, 51-point-getting Buffalo had one.

That changes today. You have TJ Brodie to thank.

Sure, the Flames might have finished 13th (out of 14 teams in the West), but at least they’ve got this guy.

Since 2010, he’s been up and down with the Flames but this season saw him play 80 games with the team. He had a very respectable 30 points this season (4 G and 26 A).  That’s gotta be worth some Foxy Friday points, right? That’s what I thought too.

His team is might be crappier than a port-a-potty at a chili festival, but he’s got some Foxy Friday potential, like….

Eyebrows.

Tattoo.

A Beeker Face.

A wicked cool scar. (and a vampire hairline)

Safety always comes first with TJ.

The beginnings of an excellent playoff beard.

But alas…twas not meant to be.  Maybe next year, TJ.

In the meantime, we hope you and your fellow non-playoff friends have a great summer golfing, ski-dooing on Canadian lakes, and working out with Gary Roberts.

And instagramming/tweeting every glorious moment.


You loving on TJ? I bet you are.  Check out more about our newest Foxy Friday honoree here.

Tyler Tuesday: Filling In

Chuck is on vacation and I am woefully unqualified to do this post, but I know @amy_gehring is skipping class in Europe and @wingwoman85 started her day on Australian time, so I can’t leave the world waiting.

seguin

The Tyler Seguin/Michael Del Zotto bromance that began Instagram-tastically with this:

seguin2

Has continued both online:

seguin1

And in real life:

dz1

The Predators had a three day break, and what better way to spend it than arriving early in Dallas for the NCAA Championship Game?

dz2

Let me be clear: I would not watch basketball if you paid me.  But I would watch it with these guys.

Tonight, you can be a part of Tyler & Michael’s Date Night as the Preds face the Stars at 8:30 PM ET.  Dallas is fighting for the last wild card spot in the west – they need to win tonight.  Will Tyler stay with Jamie?  Or leave him for DZ?  Drama.

seguin3

Since it’s what Chuck would want, let’s assume the season that began with Tyler wearing a cowboy hat on my birthday [video] will live on into playoffs.

seguin1

Tyler has a career-high and team-leading 36G and 46A for 82 points this season. The The Bruins are far from hurting without him, but he has rebounded nicely after being shipped off to Dallas.  We’ll see how far Texas can take him this year.

stars

When summer comes for Seguin, that’s not such a bad thing either.

seguin2

DZ’s pool hair… I can’t. [source]

You can spend it enjoying Seguin photos galore at shattered-lens-photography.tumblr.com and this picture of MDZ as a mermaid.

seguin

And after summer, there is always next season.

 

Hope on the Rocks

The playoffs give me angst.  For the duration of the Penguins’ chances I will feel sick to my stomach nearly all the time.  A portion of that is desire to win, and a large chunk has been devoted over the last few years to hoping this isn’t the moment James Neal does something stupid.

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Does this expression look familiar?

I’m obviously not alone.  You guys know the love/hate – maybe you don’t feel it the way I do.  Maybe you’re more forgiving.  Many of you are not.  I get really, foolishly, heart-breakingly mad about this stuff [Exhibit A | Exhibit B - don't read them though, they hurt].  I finally bought a James Neal shirt in Pittsburgh, as if spending $32 is some kind of bargain with the universe.

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I wish it didn’t.

So I was happy reading this interview by Dejan Kovacevic in which James addresses the issues of his dirty play and poor decision-making like an adult. Alison vetted the article first (breaking our shared rule about never reading Pittsburgh hockey media):

Kovacevic: Neal sees playoffs as ‘second chance’

Of course saying something doesn’t mean James will do it, but it’s a place to start.  Acknowledging the impact his actions have on the team and looking at guys who have won it all are important steps.  Now we need him to stay on the ice as flashy goal-scoring James Neal and not, as someone on Twitter so perfectly called him, “Rabies Neal.”

This James, please:

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So we can get to this James:

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I want one less thing to worry about starting April 16 every game. I want to defend the evolution of a skilled player who rises above past mistakes, not be relegated to blograge and drowning my emotions in a tub of Skittles.

Also I really want the damned Cup.

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Serious-voice (sick voice) James appeared on the Avs intermission last night, sounding like Bruce Wayne.  I still don’t love the sleeve tattoo but the burgeoning gingerbeard gives me dreams of wrist shots and goals from the top of the faceoff circle and victory well into the post-season.  I am here, James, at this second – third - chance and counting on you to hold it together.  Let the only people losing their minds in these playoffs be on my side of the glass.

With Skittles.

 

Foxy Friday: Chris Evans

I really tried to pick a hockey player, but one Google search made everyone else look so boring and outfitted in proper-sized clothing. Consider this your preventative, pre-playoff diversion…

Foxy Friday: Chris Evans

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Now, I can’t tell you if Chris Evans cares about hockey.  I can tell you he owns this hat:

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And this hat:

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Combine these facts with last year’s first-round, Game 7 Maple Leafs implosion-slash-Bruins comeback, and I’d like to think Chris Evans feels NHL playoff stress the way we do.  The dead-on-the-floor, furniture-kicking, eat-your-feelings wave of emotion that waits for us just twelve days from now.

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Well, maybe he doesn’t eat his feelings.

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Chris is from Boston, so I would guess any real hockey loyalties lie with the Bruins.  (Oh look, there he goes dropping down my list.)   When time machines are finally invented, here’s the exact moment where you can find Chuck:

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But just 3 weeks ago Chris was rocking the Leafs logo again.

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That’s not exactly American, Cap – and believe me, when you pick Canada over the US people really let you hear about it.

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Based on nothing but three photos and the fact I make the rules around here, I’m going to say Chris loves hockey.  Right now, he’s as anxious as anyone (whose movie is about to have an $80+million opening weekend).   One of his teams is a playoff lock, the other clinging to hope.  He watched last night’s Boston/Toronto OT game from the edge of his seat, hoping his beloved Bruins would lose because the Leafs need points.

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Seat? Is that a seat? Is there a couch in this photo?

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How about this – anyone see a seat?

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Oh hey, found one.

He’s also afraid – if the Leafs make it, they’ll likely face the Bruins in Round 1.  It’s a fresh hell, a quick drop into last year’s nightmare.  But he’s willing to go there for his team(s) and knows which one he hopes will ultimately come out on top.

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Chris is ready for the post-season: he’s steeled himself emotionally against this cruel world while perfecting a spectacular playoff beard:

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And if you want to spend 2 1/2 hours with Chris this weekend, you can – before or after the game at your local movie theater.

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(Don’t bother looking in DC, I already double-checked this spot.)

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Disclaimer: I loved – LOVED – Captain America: The Winter Solider.  Right behind The Avengers as my favorite Marvel movie.  Did you know Captain America has a female counterpart in later Marvel lore called American Dream whose real name is Shannon?  Obviously.  I bet she and Cap watch a lot of hockey.

All the Small Things

I was really going to do a post about this Winnipeg Jets’ cookbook… so close.  They Instagrammed something and being married to a chef, I was hooked!  Sadly the video is a yawn but those wings looked pretty delish.  It’s for charity and so, yeah.

Off to the interwebs to find something to care about.

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Jonathan Toews will miss the rest of the regular season with an upper body injury sustained after a crushing hit (cue debate – clean/dirty/undecided) from Brooks Orpik.  I like the idea of Toews and Kane sharing a couch, watching hockey and shouting at the TV like I do with… you guys.  On Twitter.  That’s six games out for JT19 and he’ll apparently be 100% (Lindsay’s favorite expression) for the playoffs.

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You can read about how Mike Green proposed to his fiancee, if you’re into that kind of thing (I am).  It obviously involves a pair of shoes.

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Why don’t I have one of these?

John Tavares is part of the new CCM ad campaign, which presumably is to sell helmets and overly serious facial expressions.

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Martin St. Louis scored his first goal as a New York Ranger… which pretty much sank Torts’ and his Canucks’ hopes of the post-season.  Forgive me if I don’t applaud.

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In a related story, Ryan Callahan has 5G, 5A for the Lightning, who have clinched a playoff spot.  (Alexis and Lindsay clap.)

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning

In total the East looks like this, and whoever wants to hold my hair while I throw up will be rewarded in her next life.

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The Caps are circling the proverbial drain.  TWO POINTS COME ON YOU JERKS!  I apologize to the husbands and friends I’ve dragged to recent games with the promise of nachos.  It is impossible to eat such feelings of despair.

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My only light of hope is the Rangers & Flyers could play each other in the first round and so many negative forces might combine to create a black hole that sucks both teams into another dimension where they never play the Penguins in Round 2.

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If the Bruins win the President’s Trophy… I’ll say nothing publicly or to Chuck.  We’re already to the point of the season where we barely speak.

Here’s the West, which shows you why the Jets are writing cookbooks.  I hope Dallas staves off Phoenix because I know you guys love Tyler Tuesday and because I want to be nice to Chuck about something.  It has nothing to do with shirtless Jamie Benn playing ping pong.  Nope, not at all.

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I somehow missed it three weeks ago when #TeamEbs & Co where stuck in an elevator.  My first thought is that I’ve seen Speed a hundred times, I’m totally qualified to perform a rescue in this situation.  My second thought is based on the month season the Oilers have had, maybe they should’ve stayed in there.

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Also this gem  - think about it for a second.

Gabe Landeskog engaged in a Twitter conversation about which Disney hero he better resembles: Kristoff or John Smith (or Cinderella).

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Erik Karlsson has 70 points.  That’s twice he’s broken 70 – each of the last two full NHL seasons.  The only other defenseman to top 70 points in the last 6 years (also did it twice)?  Mike Green.

Mike Green also started with limited tattoos and look where we are  now.

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Source video. 100% Swedish.

Meanwhile Matt Niskanen has 42 points and still insists on dry-parting his hair down the middle.  Also, a turtle.  I will never stop thinking this is hilarious.

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Today is another day for your team’s fortune to rise or fall.  Based on all the falling my teams have done lately, I’ll just bottle my frustrations like a perfectly normal hockey fan does with two weeks left in the regular season.

You know how it is.

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