Saturday, May 31, 2008

Penguins and Red Wings Look to Live Up to Spotlight in Game Four

After a three day layoff the puck will drop tonight on Game Four of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals. Should the Penguins triumph at home again, they will lock the series up at two apiece after being down 2-0. If the Wings can pick up the road victory they'll set themselves up to play for the Cup Monday night at home in Detriot's Joe Louis Arena.

After the one-sided loss of Game One by the Penguins, more than a few were running around calling game two a "must win" game for Pittsburgh. And while I laughed off calling any game two a must win game, after they once again were trounced pretty handily, Game three in Pittsburgh was looking pretty important. But when it came time, the Penguins did what they had to do. They won at home. If any Red Wings fans thought this series was over when the Wings took the first two, and started planning parades or something, they were vastly mistaken.

Game three was more the Penguins style of game, and home ice proved to be huge. And while the sellout crowd was absolutely riotous, spurring on the sensational play of Gary Roberts and in particular an incredible shift by Brooks Orpik, it was the last change that proved to be the Penguins greatest advantage. It's no secret that line match-ups have been a huge plot line in this series, and when Michel Therrien is able to respond to any teams line changes, the Penguins are nearly unbeatable. Likewise when the Wing's Mike Babcock is able to respond the other teams line changes, he can throw out a defensive match-up that can shut down just about anyone.

Though while the last change has been an important storyline in the series, perhaps the loudest story around those close to the game is the greatly increased amount of exposure this year's Cup is receiving. Across the boards ratings are up, and in some spots, up big. In a prime time duel that saw the Wings road game going head to head with the Detroit Pistons NBA Conference Finals road game, the Red Wings walked away winning in a big way. Detriot Neilson ratings saw the hockey game beating the basketball game 18.2 to 15.9.

The Cup series between Sidney Crosby and his Pittsburgh Penguins and the dominant Detroit Red Wings has the NHL looking to parlay the increased attention into reasserting themselves as one of the top sports in the US. And overall, mainstream media seems to be playing along. ESPN, long criticized by hockey fans for their decreasing coverage of the game following it's move to Versus, brought in none other than Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry to sit in on segments with Barry Melrose. As well, media credentials are up from 550 last season's finals to 700 this year. Which very well may be a shift in policy for many U.S-based newspapers that had refused to incur the cost of sending a writer to cover the Stanley Cup.

And while on the topic of the increased attention this finals has received, perhaps the greatest aspect of the third game of the series was the excitement it brought. The first two games in Detroit saw the Wings thoroughly dominant the Penguins scorers, and while the Red Wings defensive play may be an astonishing strategic feat, it is also about as exciting as tax season. Which is why those around the game are crossing their fingers hoping that regardless of the final on tonights game, and ultimately the series, the play lives up to the national spotlight the NHL has finally received.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stanley Cup Game One: Detroit 4 - Penguins 0

Heading into Detroit for the first game in what's thought to be perhaps the most competitive Stanley Cup Finals since the New Jersey Devils took on the Red Wings in 1995, there was a slew of mutual appreciation from both parties. The two teams weren't very familiar with each other, having only played once in the past two years, but they had to respect what the other had done. In the aftermath of the Red Wings 4-0 victory, it's to be sure the Penguins have a much better idea of just why the Wings are to be respected.

After the long lay off, the Joe Louis Arena was buzzing for the puck to drop. A surprising number of Penguins fan secured tickets to the series opener, spotting the red crowd with black jerseys here and there. Enough Penguins fans to hear a slight "Ruu" cheer after Jarkko Ruutu laid now a huge shot block early in the game. But not one's to be outdone the Wings faithful rang down thunderous praises of "Ozzie" after early Penguins scoring chances were thwarted.

An early Red Wings goal was called off due to goaltender interference on Tomas Holmstrom. If you want to read the NHL rulebook word for word, Holmstrom interfered with Marc Andre Fleury by putting his stick in Fleury's equiptment prior to the shot. But if this guy's name is anything but Holmstrom it probably isn't called. That being said, I'm not sympathetic, he has been warned again and again. He's going to continue to do what he does best, but he can't be surprised when it lands him in the box for two.

If you want to point to one moment the Penguins could have stepped ahead, you have to look to the six-plus minutes on the power-play in the first period they came up empty on. The Wings shorthanded approach could not have been any better. They shut down the dynamic Penguins power-play by forcing the play to the perimeter, closing off in front of Osgood, and cutting down any cross ice passes.

Still scoreless in the 2nd period, I, along with about 15 thousand watching from the Mellon arena, and countless Penguins fans else where, let out an audible gasp when Brooks Orpik's stick was lifted in front of Fleury on an icing touch-up. Valtteri Filppula let a snap shot go off the hustle play, but Fleury came up with a big save to keep the Penguins in the scoreless game.

The zero-zero deadlock was broken with 7 minutes left in the 2nd period on Mikael Samuelsson's wrap around goal. It unfolded like it was in slow motion. The Penguins dumped the puck for a line change, but it was intercepted in the neutral zone. I screamed at my television as 48, Tyler Kennedy, and 11, Jordan Staal, continued to glide toward the bench for a change. The play broke the other way and before long the puck was behind the sprawling Fleury.

When the Samuelsson picked up his second of the game early in the 3rd, depositing a bad clear by Fleury in the net from close range, the Wings fell back into their suffocating defensive play. Detroit allowed only 3 shots in the period, despite the Penguins desperate play that opened the game up for 2 insurance markings. One shorthanded on the rush by Dan Cleary, and the other with only seconds left in the game by Henrik Zetterberg on the powerplay.

For the Penguins they are faced with a list of things they must address in time for game two on Monday night. First and foremost is scoring first. They can not allow the Red Wings to settle into that dominant defensive role that they do so well with the lead. The one thing I won't call game two, though, is a "must win" game for the Penguins. It's an over used phrase and a cliche. The Red Wings have grabbed the early lead, but even with the dominant play I don't think anyone's backing away from their predictions of a long series.

You only have to look to the other playoffs going on in the sporting world right now in the NBA to see how the Boston Celtics have survived despite poor play on the road. When it comes to the first four games of a series, winning on the road is a luxury that ends things quicker. The only must win game is a home game.

Game One Recaps

The Pens Blog is ready to set up and rally the troops, something they haven't had to do all playoffs long. Remember when Rudy was so pumped he slammed his head off that brick wall, that's how I feel after this Pensblog.

One the Wings breaks down the victory and the solid Detroit play. It's insightful, and he's no fool. He knows it takes four wins, not just one.

Going Five Hole's Sean Leahy knows the Penguins haven't faced adversity like this all playoffs long, but it just might be the wake up call to light a fire under them.

Game Two is in Detroit, Monday night at 8 pm EST on Versus.

Stanley Cup Final Prediction

I could very well just tell you I'm getting this preview of the Stanley Cup Finals in at the very last minute because it's such a tough series to call. And really, it is. Neither team has felt much resistance as they blew threw the first three rounds. The Penguins dropped one to the Rangers and one to the Flyers, and are sitting at 12-2. The Red Wings dropped two consecutive games in the first round against the Nashville Predators, but then turned to backup goaltender Chris Osgood, who strung together 9 straight victories. Fighting off elimination, the Dallas Stars took a couple from the Detroit, but the Wings went down to Dallas to seal up the Campbell Conference Trophy in a decisive 4-1 victory.

However, this preview is being mailed in last minute because I spent yesterday afternoon, probably not unlike many players from the 28 teams that won't be suiting up tonight, on the golf course hitting triple bogeys. Anything to distract me from counting down the hours until the puck drops.

Every way you turn in this match-up you run into numbers that tell you this is a heavy weight match. The Penguins haven't lost at home since February 24th. Remember February? The last time the Penguins lost at home the New York Giants were still glowing from their Super Bowl victory and Mitt Romney still thought he had a chance at becoming the 44rd President of the United States. I'm just saying, that's a long time.

But, you know, the Red Wings haven't done too poorly for themselves either. I vaguely remember something about them winning the Presidents Trophy as the top team in the NHL regular season. The closest team was 7 points back. And all of that was before Osgood came onto the scene full time and started stopping everything thrown his way.

I'm not going to repeat the "storylines" to you, because if you're reading some obscure hockey blog, then I don't need to tell you about Sidney Crosby. You know Evgeni Malkin and Marc Andre Fleury. The Penguins are young, and they are good. Likewise you know about Nicklas Lindstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, and Johan Franzen. Detroit is old, er... I mean experienced, but they are practically "Team World". This is clearly the match-up everyone wanted to see, the meeting of the titans.

So I suppose I need to wrap this up with some sort of prediction, albeit, completely skewed and biased. You could say this series is going either way and I wouldn't argue with you, but I'm picking my Penguins. It'll be a test heading into Detroit for games 1 and 2, but if they can split them they'll be poised to jump ahead with 3 and 4 heading back to the 'burgh. And just as a recap: I am biased. This could go either way. But, Pittsburgh Penguins become the 2008 Stanley Cup Champions in front of the home crowd in Game 6.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Fix Is In

Lately it’s been the belief of more than a handful of opinionated hockey fans that the National Hockey League has conspired to land Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Eastern representatives in this year’s Stanley Cup finals. Although, it’s a bit of a paradox, as most are also of the opinion that Gary Bettman could not successful run a lemonade stand, let alone one of the largest sports leagues in the world.

Facing these two conflicting outlooks, I’ve carefully weighed all the evidence at hand and have come to the most logically and reasonable conclusion. Secretly Gary Bettman must be an evil genius who has concocted an elaborate scheme with a single goal in mind, getting the names of Sidney Crosby and the rest of the 2007-08 Pittsburgh Penguins etched on the Stanley Cup. His facade as an ignorant basketball fan that couldn’t set up a game of Mouse Trap, is just that, a cover. And behind it he’s put this wicked plan into action.

I can see him now, in his office high above the city of New York, sitting in a large leather chair. If my early research into the realm of evil geniuses is to be trusted, we can safely assume he has a large cat sitting on his lap, and he’s probably petting it as he manically laughs. From here he instructs the on-ice officials to give all the calls to the Penguins.

The only question is just how long this has been going on. Of course he fixed the 2005 Draft Lottery in the Penguins favor. That’s a given. And of course the 2004-05 NHL lockout was just all part of this scheme to send Crosby to Pittsburgh. But how far back does it really go? Are you a Hartford fan who lost their precious Whalers to North Carolina? Guess what? All to get the Penguins into the 2008 Stanley Cup. The attendance problems, leaving ESPN, Mighty Ducks 3, the canceling of Arrested Development. Yeah … to get the Penguins to the Cup. For the love of Buster Bluth, just how deep does this go?

Sure, with everyone so hot on the trail the past couple weeks Bettman has had to cool it off a bit. Throw a couple curveballs. He called for the War Room to disallow Crosby’s goal against the Flyers in the Semi-Finals, but I can see straight through that. What to the untrained eye may appear as stellar play of Evgeni Malkin and shutdown goaltending of Marc Andre Fleury is clear to me. I’ve got Bettman pegged behind the scenes playing puppet master. You can’t pull the wool over my eyes.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Penguins Advance to Cup Final With Only 2 Losses

With the Penguins wrapping up the Eastern Conference Finals with a dominant 6-0 shutout of the Flyers, the Penguins become the 5th team to reach the NHL Stanley Cup Finals with only two playoff losses.

The Ducks accomplished it in 2003, the Wings pulled it off in 1995, as did the Hawks in 1992. The Oilers did it in back to back years 1987-1988. The Penguins are the first team to accomplish it from the Eastern Conference.

Assuming the Red Wings bring home the Campbell Conference Trophy tonight, the two teams will meet with the lowest combined losses sine the 1995 between the Devils and Red Wings.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

NHL Playoffs Round 3 Chart

The Conference finals are in full swing, and everything appears to be in order. The Penguins are heading into Philadelphia up two games to none, and the Detroit Red Wings are a game away from running the table on the Dallas Stars. It is at this time that my pick of Dallas in seven games seems a little ill advised, but I guess that's the risk you run going out on a limb like that. With everyone else picking the Wings I would look like a genius if the Stars took this one, but that's looking a little unlikely.

Actually, with everything unfolding pretty much exactly as was expected the big stories in hockey have been from matters outside of the playoffs. Well, except maybe Mike Ribeiro and Chris Osgood's attics following game two. Just recently the head coach of the San Jose Sharks Ron Wilson became the former head coach of the San Jose Sharks. This sets the score for an off-season that could be as much about signing free agents as it is about locking down a head coach. Along with the Sharks, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Colorado Avalanche, and the Florida Panthers are looking for someone to fill that spot behind the players on the bench. Also the Thrashers have to be looking for a coach to take over for GM Don Waddell who has assumed the duties since Bob Hartley has fired early in the season.

In my preview for the Eastern Conference Finals I mentioned how I didn't think everyone realized how big of a deal Kimmo Timonen's absence would be. Fire that, sniffing out a juicy storyline the hockey media are now painting the 33 year old defenseman as if he is a first ballot hall-of-famer. The guy is solid, but Versus answer to every Penguins goal is to question what would have been differently had Timonen been in the lineup. I'd say it's about time for everyone to calm down, but with the puck dropping in Philadelphia later this evening, I think we all know there is little hope of that.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Eastern Conference Final Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins (2) vs. Philadelphia Flyers (6)

It always takes me being backed up against a wall to get this series predictions done, and the puck drops in fifteen minutes, so it's probably time to get something here. Once again I'll preface this series by admitting the incredible self interest I have in it. However at the same time, these are probably the two teams I know more than any other in the league. As a Penguins fan I've been there all season long. As a relocated resident of the greater Philadelphia area, all my friends, my neighbors, my co-workers, if they carry any interest in hockey, are Flyers fans. When I'm talking hockey, it's usually about either the Penguins or the Flyers. Needless to say, there are a handful of people who I'll be temporarily falling out of communication with for the duration of the series.

As a Penguins fan, they are playing as well now as I've seen them play in years. Since landing Crosby they've gone through periods of putting up big numbers, but their defense hasn't been as solid as it is now in a very long time. Marc Andre Fleury post high ankle sprain injury has been impeccable. And the Penguins at home have been unbeatable , 13 straight home victories dating back to February 24th. Coming out of, perhaps, the most competitive division in hockey, the Atlantic, the Penguins may be the most dynamic team in the NHL.

For the Flyers, it's been more of an up and down season. They have struggled, but they've proven they are up to the task, always bouncing back. At one point late in the season it looked like the had fallen out of the playoff race. They lost 10 straight games in February, and they lost out on the Forsberg lottery (ultimately for the best) in which they were originally favored. However they finished out the season 12-4-4, beating the Penguins on the final day of the season to leap a few teams to the sixth spot. They went 7 games with the Capitals, winning the deciding game with all the momentum against them and on the road. In the second round they were matched up with the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens. After dropping game one in overtime, the Flyers bounced back, rattling young Canadien goaltender Carey Price, and winning the next four. Throughout the season they have been down, but they haven't been out.

It's been said again and again, but it can't be underrated, this is going to be an emotional series. Special teams will play a factor, no one can afford letting their emotions get the best of them. Losing Kimmo Timonen hurts Philadelphia more than people may think. Ultimately it comes down to who can win on the road. It shouldn't come as a surprise, but I've got the Penguins in 6.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Western Conference Final Prediction: Detroit Red Wings (1) vs. Dallas Stars (5)

It's no secret, my doubt in the Detroit Red Wings. If you'll recall my 2nd round predictions, while I did have the Wings getting through the Avalanche, I mentioned the possibility of them falling apart in the Western Finals. But then they came out and played so strong they had me choosing my words carefully as I recapped the 2nd round.

The Stars shocked us upsetting the Sharks in the 2nd round, especially myself. San Jose had been my Western Conference pick all season long. It was closely fought, with four games heading to overtime, including the deciding game which took 4 overtimes for the Stars to eliminate the Sharks.

This match-up is going to be all about who can enforce their style of play on the series. If the play is more open and higher scoring, the Red Wings are going to have the advantage. However if the Stars can muck it up a bit, slowing it down and making the game close, they've shown they can win those games. Thus far these playoffs the officials have shown that they are willing to let teams slow the games down, so I've got to believe when it matters in this series they'll keep their whistles in the their pockets. Marty Turco is a top five goaltender in the league. Osgood has been playing well, but I'm not sure he holds out. All in all, I imagine this one will be close, but I've got the Stars in 7.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Playoff Predictions Chart: Round 2 Recap

- update: turns out Barry Melrose did make second round predictions, though they hid in a corner of the internet. Fret no longer, they have been found. Pierre and Milbury are still MIA.

If the second round the NHL playoffs have proven anything, it is this: the Philadelphia Flyers will not yield to the robot invasion. And for that matter, neither will the Dallas Stars. Perhaps you remember that following the first round of the playoffs we all looked on in awe as the NHL 08 simulation went a perfect 8 for 8. In the second round? Penguins over New York Rangers. Called it. Detroit Red Wings over Colorado Avalanche. Called it. But as for the other two series, the mighty machine has faltered. I have a hard time celebrating the Dallas one though, as no one else from our chart called for the Stars to move on. However, notching one in our column, Jes Golbez of Hockey Rants did correctly surmise the outcome of the Canadiens v. Flyers series. It still holds a lead on the rest of us, but one thing has be proven: The machine can be beaten. In the words of my comrades from The Pens Blog: do it.

Looking at the second round, I finished 2 for 4. After rambling on how I was too biased to make an accurate prediction for my Penguins series against the New York Rangers, I not only called it, but made the correct games prediction, and correctly predicted which games both teams would win. I have no problem taking credit where credit is due, and I was on my game with that one. I also got the Red Wings vs. Avalanche series right, although I don't think anyone was too thrown off by what went down in that one. The Wings are rolling. Does that mean I'm taking back my doubt about them struggling in the Conference Finals? Well I haven't put my predictions in pen yet, but they've made a strong case.

Minus Golbez's call as stated above, we all dropped the ball when it came to the Canadiens vs. Flyers and Sharks vs. Starks match-ups. Not taking anything away from Philadelphia, but I think if Carey Price plays like he can in that series, Montreal isn't breaking out their golf clubs yet. As for the Sharks elimination, I'm genuinely surprised we all missed that one. I'm sticking to the excuse that I was merely staying true to my preseason Cup picks. What's your guys excuse?

Before I end this post, and we say goodnight to the second round of the playoffs, let me just repeat one thing. Neither Barry Melrose, nor Pierre Milbury made second round predictions. These are supposed to be the ambassadors of our sport. Anyone who has caught some playoff games knows one thing when it comes to the league and their voes. It's not the product. But maybe it's the packaging.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Impromptu Live Game Blog: Stars at Sharks Game 5

Well the week has finally ended and somehow I made it through alive. After focusing all my time and effort for the past week on completing the semester, it's time to celebrate the arrival of a lot of free time by an impromptu live game blog. There's only one game on tonight, so if you're watching hockey, it's the Sharks looking to stay alive with a game five win at home against the Dallas Stars. So with that, live game blog time:

1st OT [18:55]
Dallas 2 - Sharks 3 FINAL

It didn't take very long. A minute into overtime Pavelski circled the Stars zone and fired a high wrister sending the series to a game 6. Thats two straight for the Sharks, are we finally going to see an NHL team come back from a 3-0 series deficit? They'll meet again on Sunday night, Brendan Morrow will bide his time.

3rd Period [00:21]
With only seconds left in regulation Brendan Morrow looks to end it all for the Sharks, but is driven into the net. No call. Morrow is all business. He is channeling just a bit of Gary Robert tonight.

The scoreboard all zeros and it's still all tied up. For the first time in the series the Sharks decide to play some 3rd period hockey. Once again a game from this series is heading to overtime to find a winner. The Stars won games 1 and 3 in extra time. The Sharks are looking to stay alive and force a game 6 Sunday night in Dallas.

3rd Period [8;53]
Dallas 2 - Sharks 2

Speaking of San Jose getting to it, and of the resurgence of JR, Roenick just sent a beauty of a neutral ice pass to the tape of Brian Campbell. Campbell sent a laser of a shot a quarter inch below the crossbar, beating Turco. It hit the back crossbar and came right back out, but the goal light judge is on his game. Tie game.

3rd Period [12:21]
Dallas heading back to the powerplay after Ribiero was pulled down from behind. After selecting the text color for the last goal I am reminded that the San Jose Sharks wear teal. This is completely unacceptable.

San Jose kills the penalty and nearly has a breakaway for a chance to tie the game, but it's called off-sides. The clocks ticking for the Sharks, time to get to it.

3rd Period [13:40]
Dallas 2 - Sharks 1

Michalek takes a pass from Thornton and finally solves Turco. Somehow, only a goal down, the Sharks are still in this game. No much debate on the issue, Thornton is the best passer in the NHL.

3rd Period [16:03]
Christian Ernhoff takes another penalty. This time tripping, Dallas heading to the power-play. A goal here could almost put it away. GOAL! Wait . . . . . NO GOAL! They are saying Morrow threw this one off his glove. They are going upstairs once again to the War Room, but the early review looks to agree with the man in stripes. Morrow was trying to knock down the puck to shoot it in, but he never got wood on it.

The War Room knows was good for them and they agree with me. Morrow's put three pucks in the net tonight, but only one's counted.

2nd Intermission

Keith Jones as a colorman is great, Keith Jones as an analysis is laughable. I love his stories, but when he tries to act like he knows what he's talking about everything falls apart. During the break he made the argument that the goal shouldn't of counted, without really giving any reason why. He just said "distinct kicking motion" about five times during an incoherent ramble. I like Jonesy, so I'm just gonna chalk this up to the guys behind the scenes telling the guys at the table to debate whether it was a goal or not, and Jones got the bad end. That's what we call the commercial bias.

Much like my hatred for the "delay of game" penalty, I'm not that fond of the whole no kicking business. I just don't see the purpose of it. Are they afraid that if they allowed it everyone drop those pesky sticks and try to use their CCMs to beat the tenders?

2nd Period [0:55]
Dallas Goal
Dallas 2 - Sharks 0

I'm pretty sure this one counts, guys. But I'm 0 for 1 on the evening, so what do I know? Morrow made sure to let the refs know once again how he felt about them calling his last goal off after putting the Stars up by 2 (again). Bad angle shot, that one's all on Nabokov.

End of 2. Dallas has scored three, two have counted. San Jose only 20 minutes away from tee times. Time to grab another slice of pizza, get ready to bunker in for the final period. Sharks have to throw everything at the Stars here in the 3rd.

2nd Period [4:29]

Dallas Goal
Dallas 2 - Sharks 0

Well it's looking more and more bleak for the Sharks. Brendan Morrow just put one behind Nabokov, although it looks like they are taking it to the War Room in Toronto to make sure everything is on the level. Looks like it went off the skate, but doesn't look like any sort of kicking motion. Every Fact of the Game says it's good, fall in line War Room.

Dallas is jobbed like nobody's business. If that is a distinct kicking motion than I am Mickey Mouse. How dare he.

2nd Period [9:56]
After the Stars nearly made it a two goal lead, save for the post, the Sharks lead a rush up the ice that resulted in Dallas taking a penalty. Let's just pause and reflect on something for a second, Jeremy Roenick is at the moment, it's 2008 let me add, playing for a chance to be in the Western Conference finals. Jeremy Roenick. Sure, he isn't the oldest guy in the league. And I really don't like him thanks to being berraged by an onslaught of commercials when he was in Philly. But has anyone resurrected their career more like JR has? When he was in Phoenix it looked like his career was over.

Sharks powerplay over, nothing doing.

2nd Period [13:46]
Power-Play Goal
Dallas 1 - Sharks 0

Stars make good on the powerplay chance and break the deadlock. It's a dumb penalty, but if you are the Sharks in the situation to be eliminated, you just can't take something like that. Dallas wasted little time, Zubov found Lehtinen in front of the net and he took Nabokov five-hole. Time for the Sharks to respond.

2nd Period [15:21]
Still score-less in San Jose. Both these teams are smart defensively and have amazing goalies backing them up. The Stars failed to cash in on their first opportunity on the power-play, but they've got another one thanks to a Sharks "Delay of Game" penalty. Man I hate that call. Tell me how a guy throwing the puck over the glass in the defensive zone is any different then an icing? Put the faceoff back in the zone and don't let them change.

1st Intermission
Taking advantage of the break to get some food. A little Digiorno pizza, nothing but the best, after all my body is my temple. Dallas is starting of the 2nd with about a minute of carry-over man advantage.

One of the funniest things about watching games from teams all over the country and Canada is eyeing the on-ice and board advertisements. In San Jose, is all tech related. Playstaion, San Disk, SeaGate, HP, Best Buy. At the same time in Pittsburgh it's blue collar. Car dealerships, trade schools, and the like.

1st Period [00:56]
The Stars get an opportunity on the power play themselves to finish out the first period.

Scoreless through one. If you're the Sharks, you're probably looking to get on the board in a big way sometime in the 2nd period. The 3rd hasn't been friendly to the Sharks. Their season hangs in the balance.

1st Period [4:00]
Dallas takes another penalty, holding, Sharks looking to get something done on the power-play. They set up some possession time in the offensive zone, but few chances. The best chance probably went to Dallas with a nice little shorthanded play.

1st Period [6:39]
We're more than ten minute deep into the opening period, and thus far, nothing. Perhaps had I put some time thinking into this I would have put some time into picking a game that would prove to be a little more exciting, but I guess that's the fun of the impromptu blog.

1st Period [20:00]
Alright, since this was impromptu (very impromptu I just got up from a nap a couple minutes ago) I started throwing this blog together just as the game was starting, but fear not, it's been rather uneventful so far.

The Sharks just dinked one of the crossbar in the dying seconds of a power-play. If the Sharks want to keep their season going they are going to have to cash in on the chances when Turco is out of position.