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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wine at the Blue Line: PIT vs NYR by @SpinMeWrite

It's been awhile since I dropped a post and in an effort to dust off the cobwebs, I've decided to start writing a semi-regular column where I drink a whole bottle of wine (or two) during a Pens game and offer up my reactions and takeaways. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing again like vino, right?

In an effort to be as authentic (and drunk) as possible, I'm going to rein in my perfectionist side and let the words flow with little to no editing. I think it's important to warn you, I'm not sure how polite my language will be. I apologize in advance. I'm popping the cork at puck drop.

Tonight's selection:

Sold to me as the "Best Sweet Red Wine for $9.99"

First Period:

I just discovered the wine has a twist top as the Rangers score their first goal. I have a bad feeling about this game. Damn it, Geno. I have mixed feelings about the goal because I have Zuccarello on my fantasy team. Also, Michael Grabner.

I really like putting Letang back with Olli Maatta because if there's anyone who can cover up Maatta's ineptitude (or bring out his talents, to be fair), it's Tanger.

What scares me about this season, and particularly this Rangers team, is that most teams smartly used the Pens' blueprint from last season and are playing north-south hockey with a lot more speed.

FIGHT! Shit just got real. Good for Sid! That was a dick move on Sheary. Love the misdirected "Crosby sucks" chants. McDonagh deservedly got five minutes for that. Glad I dropped him from my fantasy team this week. Or am I? We get points for penalty minutes.

I know my colleague @MedinaMarie_PI pontificated earlier this week on whether Kunitz's days were numbered, but I think the Pens are missing a certain something when he's not on the ice, especially in a game like this. He hasn't produced much this year and his days of playing on Sid's line are over, but he led our team in hits last season and is one of the first to step up when a teammate gets harassed. He's talked about how he does whatever he can to make everyone better around him, and there's no measurement for that. And this is coming from someone who has harshly, and often unfairly, criticized Kunitz.

Let me know when the Pens learn how to passs again.

End of First Period Wine Update:

So far, not the sweet wine I was hoping it would be. I had a very specific sweet taste in mind (Mastropietro's Winery in Berlin Center, Ohio, to be exact). I'm living in Boston now and pretty much just picked the label that looked the most fun. I couldn't pass up a wine called Jam Jar.

I know we all make fun of Jay's Telestrations, but I'm a little impressed with stuff like this. And I want a TV like that.

Start of Second Period:

Mother F&#$^...I have to stop looking at Twitter when I'm watching on NHL.TV. And holy hell is my NHL.TV feed behind real life. Someone could die, and I wouldn't know until 10 minutes later.

Every game I pray to Penguins Jesus that Cole or Schultz scores. I really, really like those guys. My first Pens Initiative article was about Ian Cole after he came off the bench and transformed his game, so he holds a special place in my heart.

AND COLE'S SHOT IS DEFLECTED IN MY CROSBY! So close, but so awesome. Also Cole is on my fantasy team and you're all dum dums if you don't have him on your team. Especially if your league gives points for hits and blocks.

I'm apologetically and unrealistically Team Fleury, but Murray's reaction time is damn near perfect tonight.

Pittsburgh claims J.T. Miller but my Ohio-born ass claims him as an Ohioan. He was born in East Palestine. And we don't have too many Ohio-born players.

Phil Kessel, Stanley Cup Champion! I really want Lundqvist to lose his shit in his own house. I'll never get tired of him flippingthe net and MAF calling it "baby stuff."

I hate how well Vesey is doing. There was so much made this summer over which team he was going to choose and I chalked it up to a slow news cycle. I thought he was overrated, he chose the Rangers, I said he was a moron, and then went about my business. And he's made an impact. I hate that.

Shit the bed! I just checked Twitter again! So now I'm waiting for a Crosby goal.

Oh please, Lundqvist flip a net. Throw your stick in the air, like you just don't care! And he gets pulled? I don't think it matters who's in net. Are the Rangers always that quick to pull him when he's losing? Or is it just a Pens thing? Have some faith in your goaltender. Vigneault. Even if he's a cry baby. Because Sheary just scored on Raanta so it's clearly not a goaltender problem.

Every time the Pens and Rangers play, I always hope Zuc and Sheary drop the gloves and get in a teeny tiny fist fight.

End of Second Period Wine Update:

As Dee says in the "It Always Sunny in Philadelphia" Wade Boggs episode, "It's going down real smooth."

Start of Third Period:

Missed the puck drop because I was peeing. It was a mighty pee.

Cole needs to do something about his pornstache. I can't look at it anymore.

Getting distracted with a conversation about Mario Kart choices with @BrianK_PI, @evil_shero, and @nick422. I think my hatred of Luigi is going to get me fired by Paul. Seriously, who uses Luigi in any game? Specifically Mario Kart on N64?

I hate babies, but dear God, is Maizie Bonino the cutest f**king baby I've ever seen.

I cannot believed I'm pissed that Cullen redirected that Schultz shot. I was so sure that was a Schultz goal and my dreams came true.

Language is neat. You know why? Because Skjei is pronounced Shay.

Wow. It's a sad state of affairs when Rangers fans cheer for a SOG.

Matt Murray still has a lot to learn from MAF about playing the puck out of the net. Murray looks awkward and makes me nervous when he comes out of the net, but the Flower looks so fluid.

End of Game: 

Look, these aren't the Pens from last spring, nor should we expect them to be. I think a lot of people expected them to be because the lineup is primarily the same. But they had the summer off to celebrate, to participate in the World Cup, to regroup and recuperate, but we lament and bitch when they play like hell after four days off. Surely, we can cut them some slack if they don't have their stuff together in November. Because think about what they looked like in November of last year when the fan base wanted to trade our generational centers and were ready to write the team off then. It's a long season. Have some patience. 

Enjoy the win from Wednesday night. Enjoy this Thursday with whomever you're spending it with. Enjoy the win. And enjoy wine! If you're not opposed to my nonsense, let me know what kind of wine you'd like me to try next time, and I'll give you a shout out on social media. 

Happy Thanksgiving and Let's Go Pens!

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