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Friday, October 31, 2014

Assessing the Penguins vs. the Eastern Conference...so far by @DXTraeger

9:12:00 AM 0
The Eastern Conference's Prince of Wales Trophy Might be the Penguins' for the Taking
The 2014 off-season was a tumultuous one for the Pittsburgh Penguins following their embarrassing collapse to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

The early playoff departure bought head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Ray Shero the proverbial one way tickets out of town, and ushered in both a new era of player personnel and offensive philosophy.

Penguins owner Mario Lemieux even had difficulty streamlining the new head coach process: if media reports are to be believed, the Penguins were either too late in inquiring or were outright declined by some of the top options available on the market, and the hiring of career minor-league coach Mike Johnston failed to have the electricity of hiring the defensive minded Barry Trotz to shore up the Penguins' clear lapses in their own end.

However, Johnston- along with the newly hired GM Jim Rutherford, formerly of the Carolina Hurricanes- have instilled a new energy into the locker room, and after 1/9th of the season, the cream is beginning to rise to the top of the Eastern Conference, with the Penguins doing a lot of the swilling.

Consider: the Penguins' own Metropolitan Division is an unmitigated disaster, with only the Penguins and the revamped New York Islanders showing any sense of consistency, star power, and potential.

The Devils were just whipped 8-3 by the Penguins, have a new starting goaltender that's trying to escape the shadows of his predecessor, and their best offensive player is 42 years old.

The Flyers are extremely top-heavy offensively, and injuries have decimated their blue line corps.

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Morning Drive: Radio:PI 10/30/14

8:00:00 AM 0
Morning Drive brings you the latest episode of the Radio:PI Podcast Network for easy access.  This morning: Radio:PI

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Utilizing Corsi to Better Analyze PDO by @BrianK_PI

1:05:00 PM 0
All data used in this post was obtained from Hockey Analysis and Puckalytics

PDO is a statistic that has been used as a measure of luck. It's a team's shooting percentage plus their save percentage, and with each shot either being a goal or a save across the entire league the total equals 100. Now, what makes this an indicator of luck is that theory states that PDO should regress to 100 over a sufficiently large sample size, and that any team above 100 is enjoying good luck that will not last, while any team below 100 is suffering bad look and should see a bounce back.

However, PDO as a stat suffers from a lack of sample size. If more data is present, the stat would be more accurate, though data collection is limited to the events occurring during NHL gameplay. However, it is possible to get more data for use in PDO analysis without having teams play any more additional games. Corsi is a measure of all shot attempts throughout the course of a game, not just those directed on net, and as such there are more Corsi events throughout a game than there are shots on goal. Over the course of a season, the additional events add up and give a larger data set to work with.

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Morning Drive: 412 Sports Talk 10/29/14

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Morning Drive brings you the latest episode of the Radio:PI Podcast Network for easy access.  This morning: 412 Sports Talk

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blake Comeau Embracing Opportunity in Pittsburgh by @griffTHW

11:03:00 PM 0
Talk about a shrewd signing.  When Jim Rutherford inked Blake Comeau to a one-year, $700,000 contract, Pittsburgh's new G.M. brought in the kind of player the Penguins had been starving for, someone capable of bolstering the bottom-six.

After all, not only did Comeau dole out 197 hits in Columbus last year, but he's a former 20-goal scorer (he potted 24 markers and added 22 helpers with the Islanders during the 2010-'11 campaign).  Oh, and the winger brings a solid puck possession game, a quality the Pens have placed a premium on since Mike Johnston took over behind the bench.

And, while Comeau figured to slot in on either Pittsburgh's third or fourth line, he clearly sensed an opportunity with his new club, a chance to jumpstart a career that had seemingly stalled in recent years.

“Since I left New York, my numbers have dropped off a little bit. So I’m excited to expand my role and get back there contributing offensively like I know I can. Lot’s of depth upfront, so it’s exciting for any player to come here and play with these types of players.” - Comeau, on joining the Penguins
Eight games into the season, he's certainly taking advantage of his new surroundings.  Already having registered two goals and six points, Comeau's production bears no resemblance to a player who failed to put up more than 16 points in any of the last three seasons.

Of course, riding shotgun alongside Evgeni Malkin probably doesn't hurt.  Who knows how long it will last but the veteran winger is clearly seizing the opportunity while he can.  With five points in his last four games, Comeau continues to make his case for sticking with the superstar for the foreseeable future.

Should that offensive output dip if and when he returns to the bottom-six, though, don't mistake the "demotion" for Comeau bringing less value to the lineup.  Because, regardless of point production, he brings so much more to the table.

Whether it comes from throwing his weight around (he currently ranks second on the squad with 27 hits), standing up to an opponent who takes a run at a teammate or chipping in on special teams, Comeau finds a way to impact the game.  And, since he can play in any situation or slide up and down the depth chart, he provides the kind of versatility the Penguins clearly covet.

In short, he provides a lot of what last year's Penguins lacked.  Not bad for $700,000.

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Pens Initiative November Desktop Wallpaper by @ryannoble66.

2:45:00 PM 0

Here is the new Pens Initiative Desktop Wallpaper for the month of November! Each month we will have a new desktop wallpaper with a different player and that months schedule. If you miss the post, that is okay because we will have each month available in our Multimedia section once that month starts. 

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RECAP: Pens Give New Jersey A Devil Of A Time

11:00:00 AM 0

In years past, a game that saw MarcAndre Fleury giving up a goal 9 seconds into a hockey game would not end well.

In years past, the Devils opening up a two-goal lead on any Penguins team meant that the game was as good as done.

Last night, the Penguins provided the most definitive evdience in this early portion of the season that "years past" no longer applies, downing the Devils 8-3.

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The New Cult Hero has Always Been Here by @kjcmalakai

9:00:00 AM 0
Not the cult hero we deserved - the cult hero we needed
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Penguins needed a new cult hero.  A cult hero in hockey is a non-superstar that a fanbase has a ravenous affinity for and Pascal Dupuis certainly fits this description.  This became readily apparent to me when he returned to the ice the very next game following being taken off of the ice on a stretcher during the game against the Dallas Stars on October 16.

That tweet from PensInitiative.com's own @MadChad412 sums up the sentiment of a lot of Penguins fans about Pascal Dupuis.  

He really is Super Duper.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pens Will Only Go as Far as Sid and Geno Will Take Them by @ChrisRBarron

3:00:00 PM 0
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will decide the Pens' future.
Hockey is a complex team sport, unlike basketball, a team’s prospects rarely ride squarely on the back of one or two players.  Wayne Gretzky scored a league leading 163 points for the 1990-1991 that didn’t even make it to the Stanley Cup – falling to the Edmonton Oilers in the division finals.  We Pens fans know all too well how Mario Lemieux’s league-leading 160points in 1992-1993 weren’t enough to get them back to the Cup finals.  So if the Great One and Le Magnifique couldn’t single-handedly win a Cup, it’s fair to say unequivocally that a team’s prospects can't be determined by just one player.

That being conceded, the truth is that this Pens team may come as close as any other team to challenging that basic assumption – because this team will only go as far as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will take them.
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Pittsburgh @Penguins in Horror Movies by @ryannoble66 and @ChicksDigHockey.

11:45:00 AM 0

Those of you who followed us last year might remember our "FAMOUS MOVIE MONSTERS STARRING THE PENS!" post. If not, take a look here. 

This year, we decided not to limit our ideas to classic "creature features" and explore some horror movies that were filmed since color has been added to "picture boxes".

Take a Halloween stroll with us as we re-imagine some of horror's best villains as Pittsburgh Penguins.

At first, you may not think Sidney Crosby could have anything in common w Freddy Kruger, the serial killer who stalks and kills his victims in their dreams. Think Sidney Crosby the serial scorer and think 2010. Crosby notched 2 hat tricks just days apart. The first came 11/27 against Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames and again just five days later, a natural hat trick against Pavelec and the Atlanta Thrashers. No doubt, he has haunted many goalie's dreams.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Olli Maatta Will Beat Thyroid Cancer by @ChicksDigHockey

3:57:00 PM 3

Olli Maatta is a vibrant, athletic 20-year-old. Which is why the news that he has thyroid cancer so rocked the Pittsburgh sports world this afternoon.

Actually, the incidence of thyroid cancers in young adults is rising. It is the most common endocrine malignancy and occurs in females five times more than males. Fortunately, with localized disease, the overall survival rate is excellent at 97-100%.

In a statement released today by the Penguins, team physician Dharmesh Vyas said, "Even if it is found to be cancerous, we do not expect that he will need radiation or chemotherapy,"

How will it be treated?

Most people have surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland. Sometimes a suspicious lump or nodule has to be surgically removed before you will know the type of cancer. From there, the most common treatment is radioactive iodine (no more Imagine Dragons at the games).

Radioactive iodine is used to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue. Because thyroid cells have an affinity for iodine, the cells will hold on to the radioactive iodine while it kills them and their cancer. It has little to no effect on other cells in the body. It is administered in liquid or capsule form. IF he needs his thyroid gland removed, he may have to wait several weeks for the radioactive iodine treatment.

After treatment for thyroid cancer, he may need to take thyroid hormone for the rest of his life to replace the hormones that his body no longer makes.

Dr. Dharmesh Vyas further said, "We anticipate a complete recovery. In all likelihood, Olli will go on to live a healthy life and this should not affect his ability to play hockey long-term."

For his part, Maatta seems to be taking it all in stride. When interviewed he said, "I feel healthy and I feel fine, but the only thing that's different is I maybe have a cancer."
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Olli Maatta to have Tumor Removed from Thyroid

1:14:00 PM 0
In a surprise press conference today at 1pm Penguins GM Jim Rutherford announced, with the help of team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, that Olli Maatta will undergo surgery to remove a tumor on his thyroid.

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Why Trading Malkin Makes No Sense by @PandaPSU

9:08:00 AM 0
(Photo courtesy of Pittsburghmagazine.com)
Here is the article I never thought I would need to write. 

After the Penguins had a lackluster performance against their archrival, the Philadelphia Flyers, and then followed that up by blowing a 3-1 lead to the Red Wings the following night, many fans and media called for major shake-ups. After all, we were six games into the season. The team has six new starters and is currently learning a new system under Mike Johnston that is attempting to reverse all of the bad habits learned over the past few years. So, it seems completely plausible that fans and media thought the season was over. 

There were many ludicrous sports takes including: This team is not very good, and this team will miss the playoffs. The best thing I read was that this team needs to trade away Evgeni Malkin. Among the reasons mentioned were that he was lazy, not doing enough for the team, etc. If I thought this was a minority opinion held by a few fans, I would not feel the need to write about it, but since it garnered attention and backing from some of the Pittsburgh media as well, it is time to talk about why trading Evgeni Malkin makes no sense.
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Why You're Probably Wrong About Craig Adams and Corsi by @ToonsBrian

2:47:00 PM 0

Everybody loves a scapegoat. This season, the early favorite to play that role is one Craig Adams. And why not?

Craig Adams will not score 10 goals. He's only done that once in his career, in the 2005-06 season which he spent in Carolina. Nor will he put up 25 points. He's never done that.

But this is Pittsburgh. And putting up points is the only way fans measure the worth of a forward.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Pens/Flyers, Pens/Red Wings Post-Mortems: Breaking Down Johnston's New Lines by @DXTraeger

6:19:00 PM 0

On the heels of dual losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Penguins and new head coach Mike Johnston find themselves assessing what has gone right- and what has gone wrong- for the team over the past 72 hours.

As I have done previously, I will break down the production (success and failures) of the various line combinations Mike Johnston has used on the ice during the past two games during 5-on-5 play.  As a reminder, I do not track power-play, penalty kill, 4-on-4 (including overtime) or empty net situations because the context of play is very different (more on that below).

Here is the subjective criteria I use to evaluate play:

Type of plays that a player (and/or his line) earn a plus for:

-successful dump & chase
-successful zone entry with some sustained pressure and/or shot attempt (note: this only applies to entering the zone as a group)
-sustained offensive zone time and/or successful forechecking pressure (shot not necessary)
-winning an offensive zone faceoff with sustained pressure (shot not necessary)
-winning a defensive zone faceoff and a successful defensive zone exit
-executing a successful defensive zone clear with a successful neutral zone transition (for instance, clearing your own zone and dumping the puck for a line change is a positive play)
-executing a set play off of a faceoff win
-scoring a goal or generating a quality scoring chance (plus only goes to players participating in the goal;  for instance, shooting, passing and screening the goalie warrants a plus, simply standing on the near boards does not)
-drawing a penalty

Here are the types of plays that a player (and his line) earned a minus for:

-failed defensive zone breakout (turnover by an Penguins forward in his own end)
-allowing the opposing team to maintain sustained pressure
-failed clearing attempts (again, limited to Penguins forwards)
-offensive players taking an unnecessary penalty (denying a quality scoring chance is sometimes a great play)
-failed dump & chase
-failed zone entry (note: this only applies to entering the zone as a group, and includes offsides calls)
-unnecessary/detrimental icing of the puck
-bad turnover (unnecessary move and/or high risk/low reward passes, subjectively assessed)
-allowing a goal or high quality scoring attempt because an offensive player failed to honor his defensive assignment

-losing a defensive zone faceoff with subsequent opponent offensive zone time/pressure

I willingly use subjective criteria because hockey is a game of context, and attempting to derive statistical relevance from events in a vacuum (without the context of the play in which the event happened) inevitably yields data that fails to represent the actual action on the ice (such as an opponent's harmless 60 foot shot negatively impacting a player's Corsi-For).
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Motor City Meldown: Pens Fall to Detroit in OT

11:00:00 AM 0

It's not how you start, it's how you finish.

The Detroit Red Wings finished fast and furious on Thursday night, scoring thrice - that's THREE times - in the final minutes of their match with the Pittsburgh Penguins, including the OT game-winner off of Justin Abdelkader's stick.

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Meet the @PensInitiative Team: 10 Questions with @chicksdighockey

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Writer, Charity Director, Facebook Manager
Pens Fan Since: 1992
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite Pens Player: Mario and Sid

The purpose of "Meet the +Pens Initiative Team" is to highlight all of the moving gears behind the PensInitiative machine. Some team members you know, and some you may not. This series is to let our reader know who does what, why they do it, and why you should care.

What made you fall in love with hockey and the Penguins?

Haha....what makes you fall in love with anything? I wanted to be a football girl but just like you can't tell your heart who to love, you don't choose your passion. I watched a Penguin game with my older cousin, Jimmy and he took great pains to explain as much as he could. That whet my appetite.  I watched and learned and fell head over heels in love. Now, I can hardly stand to watch football....too slow!

Explain why Mario and Sid are your favorite players.

In all situations, I'm most attracted to men of character. Both of them can be held as examples of benevolence, strong work ethic and grace in the face of adversity. They're both uber skilled forwards who dominate(ed) the sport. Add to that their brilliant hockey minds and poised leadership as captain and you have not only hockey heroes but my ideal man.

What's it like being a female blogging in a male dominated field?

The climate has gotten better but in the beginning it could be brutal. Some men were neanderthals over a woman daring to comment about a sport only a man could understand. I suffered through a lot of accusations of being "just another puck bunny" even though I was discussing real aspects of the game and not how hot the guys were. It was tough!

I started a FB page, 'Chicks Who Dig Hockey' to have a place for myself and other females to talk hockey without fear of judgement. That has evolved into a place where both men and women have intelligent often spirited discussions. Sometimes the women are more brutal than the men.
Now, I feel accepted as part of the hockey community. There are men who ask me questions about hockey and appreciate and respect my answers.

 I feel an obligation to represent women in an intelligent and respectful manor when I blog. While I do admit to having written some pure fluff (see "Hockey Hair"), I try to bring an honest, fresh perspective to what I write. I'm fond of saying, we aren't female hockey fans, we're hockey fans.

What do you do for PensInitiative?

I'm a feature writer and co-manage our Facebook page. One of the ideas I brought to the group was the notion that if we were going to be a presence in the Pittsburgh hockey community that we should involve ourselves in charities that serve the community. I manage our charity endeavors but some of our members are taking a big interest in expanding that presence.

This has been the most rewarding aspect for me. A common misconception is that we are all in the Pittsburgh area. In fact, we're pretty scattered over the country. Geographically, that makes community involvement a challenge.

The first charity we supported was "Hockey Kicks Cancer" and I was so impressed we were able to assemble a kick ball team for one of their events. Since then, we have been involved with Animal Rescue League, PEMF, Defending the Blue Line and JAWPA to name a few. We are currently developing an idea to sponsor a bus trip to a Pens/Blue Jackets game as well as a charity golf scramble. I could not be prouder that we have found a way to give back to the people of Pittsburgh.

What do you like most about Pens Initiative?

I love the team concept. When Paul approached me with the concept he and Damian had of a group of bloggers with varying opinions and points of view all working together to cover the Penguins, I thought it was brilliant. When I found out I would be one of three females in a group of men I was sold. The diversity of the group can be pretty overwhelming at times but in the end, I'm proud of the work we produce.

If you were a Penguin, which current Penguin would you be?

Hmmmm.....Pascal Dupuis. I love his game and admire his work ethic. Have you ever seen him half-ass it? He'll play either wing, any line, PK, PP....he is just the most complete player. Always has a smile on his face.  Also, I've been known to pull a prank or two in my day.

What's in your refrigerator right now?

 Not much....turkey, cheese, pickles, eggs, some milk (but I wouldn't drink it), yogurt and beer. In the freezer, there's always vodka and a pint of ice cream.

You recently wrote a piece about beer and hockey, if I were to buy you a drink, what would you order?

It depends. I enjoy most beers but Yuengling is my go to brew. I'll mix vodka with almost anything
but if it's Grey Goose, I'll have that over ice with some lime. Same goes for whiskey. I'll drink that on the rocks but don't be surprised if I want a cigar with it.

Batman or Superman?

I am such a Batman lover! I have all of 'Batman, the Animated Series' on DVD. I love that he doesn't have any super powers. It's all him and the gadgets. Can't wait for "Dawn of Justice".

How do you feel about fighting in hockey?

I am 100% against the orchestrated stuff but I have no problem with a spontaneous drop of the gloves to defend the team. This is where I feel conflicted....a bit hypocritical. I've read extensively about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and know it to be a very real side effect of repeated blows to the head. Yet, hockey is the only sport that makes allowances for fighting in its rules.

The nature of hockey makes an element of violence inherent. If you eliminate fighting will there be more stick infractions and cheap shots? Fighting is a way of commanding respect. When they find another way of doing that, it will lose it's place.
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Morning Drive: 412 Sports Talk featuring @SteelDad

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Morning Drive brings you the latest episode of the Radio:PI Podcast Network for easy access.  This morning: 412 Sports Talk

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RECAP: Penguins fall to Flyers on Rivalry Night

7:29:00 AM 0

After an impressive win against the unbeaten (at the time) New York Islanders that saw the beleaguered Penguins' penalty kill go a perfect 7-7, including killing off a 5-3 power play, the hated Philadelphia Flyers traveled the length of I-76 West for the first of five meetings.  The cross-state rivals, however, were playing their second game in as many nights having been bushwhacked 4-0 by the Chicago Blackhawks the night before.

Crosby in the Penguins' new 3rd jerseys
Sidney Crosby looking good in
Pittsburgh gold.
Donning the new 3rd jerseys for the first time this season, everything was lined up for the Penguins to exorcise some demons against the Flyers.  Philadelphia came into the contest having beaten the Penguins in their previous 4 meetings, and 9 out of the last 11 at Consol Energy Center.  Sporting the league's best power play, playing a team that had gotten shelled the night before, and coming off of three days of rest should have been a recipe for success for Pittsburgh.  Should have been.

A nationally televised game in both the United States and Canada, the night began with Jeff Jimerson singing the Canadian national anthem following the tragic events at the Canada War Memorial and halls of the Parliament in the city of Ottawa.  The game between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs was postponed as the country mourns the loss of a 24 year old Canadian soldier that was murdered in cold blood.  As a tribute, the Canadian national anthem was sang before the Star Spangled Banner, despite no Canadian teams playing.  It was an appropriate tribute to our neighbors to the North during a sorrowful day for Canada.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Video: Pens/Flyers Pregame Tribute To #OttawaStrong Victims

9:44:00 PM 0
Prior to the start of the Flyers-Penguins game, the Pittsburgh Penguins paid tribute to the victims of today's shootings in Ottawa, ON, Canada. Fans joined in. Here's the video:

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Penguins/Islanders Post-Mortem: Evaluating the Line Play by @DXTraeger

6:00:00 PM 0
Johnston Continues to Keep His Lines Stable through 4 Games
Through the first four games of the Pittsburgh Penguins' campaign, new head coach Mike Johnston has defied expectations and played his four lines both statically and consistently ala the Penguins' former bench boss, Dan Bylsma.

Bylsma's unwillingness to mix up lines and play matchups was often cited by critics as one of the reasons why the Penguins chronically underperformed in the post-season, and was a major contributing reason as to why Lemieux and Burkle canned the Team USA head coach last spring.

By and large, Johnston's contributions to the on-ice trios has focused more on the situational use of certain line combos instead of the jumbling and mishmashings of players and skillsets.

For instance, Johnston has repeatedly called the numbers of Zach Sill, Nick Spaling and Craig Adams (38, 13 and 27 for those of you scoring at home) to handle a number of offensive zone faceoffs after a TV timeout.

Common coaching convention (including basic Coris-For doctrine) dictates that you take advantage of the extended break and put your best offensive players out on the ice to try and generate immediate scoring chances off of the draw in the attacking zone.

This apparent misuse of personnel is tempered by the fact that Sill, Spaling and Adams have played responsible hockey despite their limited minutes, and have consistently graded out under my Production Success metric as positive players.

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Claude Giroux's Public Service Announcement

3:00:00 PM 0

It was an interesting offseason for Philadelphia Flyers Center Claude Giroux. By now, most hockey fans have heard about the incident in Ottawa this summer where Claude Giroux was arrested for repeatedly grabbing the butt of a police officer. The charges were dropped, but what many people don't know is the circumstances that led to him being let go uncharged. With a spate of sexual assaults during Canada Day celebrations, Giroux was quietly approached behind the scenes by Health Canada to appear in a series of public service announcements in an attempt to combat the problem.

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Claude Giroux: At The Movies (A Short Film by @ToonsBrian)

12:00:00 PM 0
Today is the first day on the NHL calendar that Pens and Flyers fans alike circle first. Game 1 of the annual Pittsburgh Penguins/Philadelphia Series. Sure other rivalries exist for both teams. But this is "the one."

The one that matters most.

The one that makes everything better if you win.

And the one that puts a damper on an otherwise wonderful day if you lose.

In the spirit of the rivalry, I present this little nugget. Enjoy.

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Image is Everything by @Nick422

10:27:00 AM 0
Tonight, as Pittsburgh take on the Flyers, the Penguins will finally wear their gorgeous new third jerseys.  The jerseys invoke a time of great success for the team, a time when everything was new, was fun, and was fresh.  It's yet another move in the rebranding of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Rutherford Says Pens Will Keep Fleury Around, But Should They? by @MadChad412

8:00:00 AM 0

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had at least a three-day break in between games for the second time of the season, and it's only October. Thank God for Pens' general manager Jim Rutherford, who gave us all a newsworthy quote about goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's future. 

Rutherford told the media "As long as I'm the GM, he'll be our goalie" and "My plan is to re-sign him when the time is right. When that is, I don’t know, if it’s during the year or after the year, but I do want to re-sign him. I believe in him."

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Pens Elite Power Play: Can it Win Them the Cup? by @JamesSantelli

4:00:00 PM 0
Penguins fans should not skate to conclusions four games into a new coach's tenure. The team is learning and playing a whole new system, and though the Pens have had some early success with...

Ah, screw it. The Penguins' power play looks awesome!

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5 Good Reasons for Penguin Fans to Hate the Flyers by @ChicksDigHockey

8:26:00 AM 0

I was a casual hockey fan until 2003-04 season. I find it odd that I forged my love for the Penguins during a season that they stunk up the Atlantic division from the bottom up….for the third season in a row. I guess my hate for Philly has something to do with them winning the division that year. 

That was the season Jeremy Roenick had a broken jaw and Captain Keith Primeau was out with a concussion but the Flyers clinched the Atlantic Division title over the New Jersey Devils on the last day of the season.  Primeau was back in the line-up for the playoffs in ‘04.  He and Simon Gagne led the team past the Devils and the Leafs before losing to the Lightning in the Eastern Conference finale. I hated the Flyers and cheered on all of their opponents.

Over the years since, my hate has grown exponentially with each passing season. I can’t imagine any Penguin fan also being a Flyer fan. That being said, I offer 5 good reasons to hate the Flyers.

1. Broad Street Bullies: It's just like the grudge you hold against the kid that bullied you back in grade school. If that kid was tough and became successful that grudge can cut to the quick. The Flyers' all-time win percentage of 57.8% (as of the 2013–14 NHL season) is the second best in the NHL. They’ve had the mentality that if their sticks can’t get the job done, their fists will. Fighting became the Flyers’ identity. 

Some will argue they are responsible for the fighting and aggression that’s so controversial in the sport today. Many hockey scholars have suggested the Flyers did hockey no favors, reducing a graceful sport to a barroom brawl. Arguably, the fighting that brought the franchise success drove away some fans who loved the speed and skill.

The documentary "Broad Street Bullies" argues that this created perfect synergy. The skill players needed the protection of the fighters, who in turn would have had no value without the skill players to score goals and stop the other guys.

2. Claude Giroux: I’m just not a fan of Mr. Giroux. I do admit to being endlessly amused this summer when he spent the night in jail in Ottawa for pinching a cop’s butt. He’s 26. Drunk or not, don’t we all know touching a cop’s butt is not going to end well? 

My most favorite bit of assery from Giroux came in 2012 when he was interviewed after he had off-season surgery on both of his damaged wrists. He claimed the wrists were injured by Sidney Crosby: 
“Those are from Crosby,” he says half smiling, but with some tension in his voice. “Every time we’d line up against each other for a face-off during our series, instead of going for the puck when it was dropped, he’d hack me across the wrists." 
His right wrist needed to have some torn cartilage repaired, and his left needed to have bone spurs removed. Really, Claude? That was your story? Sidney Crosby gave you bone spurs? 

I will concede that Giroux is a talented center but who among us would endorse former Flyers coach, Peter Laviolette’s contention that he’s, “the best player in the world”? He isn’t even a very good captain.

3. July 2011: On July 1, 2011, the Flyers signed Jaromir Jagr to a 1-year, $3.3 million deal and Maxime Talbot to a 5-year, $9 million deal. I know, both players have since moved on but my hate for that day burns like the stings of a thousand jellyfish.

4. Flyer Fans: They aren't an original 6 team, they aren't Canadians and they haven't won a cup in almost 40 years--yet they still sell out consistently since the 70s….even in down years. The people of Philadelphia are loyal to a fault. They get under peoples' skin. 

So brutal are the fans in Philly that they once booed Santa Claus at an Eagles game. Santa, however, should not take the booing to heart, he’s in good company. The Flyers fans have famously booed injured players, Jeff Carter (upon his playing return), and Gary Bettman (relentlessly at the NHL Draft).

One thing is for certain when it comes to the boo birds in Philly: No matter how the Flyers season and post-season is going one of the biggest things going for Flyers fans is how loud they boo Sidney Crosby. During a stoppage of play in a game between the Canucks and the Flyers in Philadelphia in 2010, an advertisement was shown to the fans in attendance to solicit donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. And the fans in attendance responded by booing when Sidney Crosby appeared in the video as a spokesman for the campaign.  Said Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy of the crowd’s response: "Fighting cancer, finding homes for kittens, working in a soup kitchen … who cares? We'd be disappointed in any fan base that didn't exhibit this Pavlovian response to seeing a rival on their big screen."

5. Cross-state hate: "The Battle of Pennsylvania". Every time the Penguins and Flyers face each other the media goes nuts with the clichés. 

One of the most memorable moments of the rivalry occurred during the 1999–2000 season, when the two teams met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. A season after the Penguins joined the Atlantic Division, the Flyers had won the division and the 1st seed in the East, while the Penguins snuck into the playoffs as the 7th seed. Despite this, the Penguins jumped out to a 2 games to none lead in the series, winning both games in Philadelphia. The Flyers won Game 3 in overtime, but NHL history was made in Game 4. Tied at 1, the game stretched to five overtime periods and set the record for the longest game played in the modern era of the NHL.

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