Live Blog – Mortal Lock Week 1 – Pens & Canes

Today is the day that will answer the question: will I be going to to an EDM/Rap Battle concert next week. Fuck.

Pens are starting Murray. Let’s take that as a sign of confidence. Kid has been really solid in his 6 previous starts. No need to play like a rookie tonight.

I have a grown up things to do at 3:30 so I might be a touch late getting home to start. Let’s hope we have some fun, shall we.

Summary

Well that does it. Lack makes a nice save with 3 seconds left but the game is over. Sid scored twice. I think Phil had some points. Murray shut the door after the 2 early goals.  That was huge. Pittsburgh needs to look at that defense if they want to do anything in the playoffs, assuming they get there. Also please stop taking penalties below the opponents goal line.

Pens win their 4th. I don’t go to EDM/Rap Battle concert. And I won money for the house. It’s a good night. Now we just need a Zaga loss to send Squire to his punishment, and were all set.

First Period.

  • Just got home.  6 Minutes left in the first. Sid scored. Score is 2-1. Fuck.
  • US Open trophy getting some TV time. Bad sign. Let’s not talk golf right now. Thanks.
  • 2 on 0. Sure why not. Thanks for the save Murray. Closed the 7 hole quick. Good god.
  • If Lack can keep bobbling rebounds like they’re hot potatoes that would be great. Also, how many times does Phil have to miss?
  • Cullen is fancy.
  • 2:09 left in the First and Rust takes a boarding call behind the Canes goal line. Right call on the play. Poor play by Rust.
  • 1:04 left in on the PK for the pens. PK looks good. Keep the lanes closed and puck to the outside. Couple of nice passes left a Cane player open to snap a hard shot on Murray. Good save.
  • One of the Golden Rules of hockey: No goals allowed in the final minute of a frame. Pens are 1:05 from getting out of this one.
  • 15 Seconds out. Puck is dumped in and quickly out by Letang. Pens escape the PK unharmed.
  • Penguins out shoot the Canes 22-14 but remain down 2-1. Fuck. Me. 40 miles left though. Here’s hoping.

Missed most of the first obviously. But the Pens out shooting the Canes 22-14 is a good sign. Lack can slow down. Very unlikely Pens stay on pace and put 66ish shots on net. Going to have a find a way through Lack and buckle down on the back end. Have a feeling Pens ran into a hot goalie tonight. Not good.

Second Period.

People bowling on the ice is strange to me.

  • Pens win opening face-off and are offside 9 seconds later.
  • Matta with a dump in on Lack holds for the face-off. Goalies must hate that play in the show this year.
  • Solid save by Murray. Canes looked dangerous coming into the zone on that rush. please stawp.
  • Sid is good at face-offs.
  • Sid is good at sprawling around on the ice taking away the pass on a 2-1. There’s practically 2 periods left. No need to pinch that hard yet.
  • Murray looks to be tracking the puck well tonight. Easily handled a shot from the point and put it into the corner.
  • Phil losses a race to the puck in an offensive zone. Canes clear. The sky is blue.
  • Sherri almost feathered a pass through to Fehr. No luck. Puck goes wide. Pens pressing now. Lack standing tall.
  • Pens keep the pressure up. Canes forced to ice. The commentating crew is immersed in the fact the puck bounced off the dasher and went into the air. Let’s see how many times it comes up tonight.
  • Pens seem happy to leavea a man alone in front of their net on every Carolina rush tonight. Oh look. There was just three of them and only Letang in front. This is an unsettling theme. Puck cleared. Somehow.
  • Three Canes 2 Pens. Pens back check forces Skinner to take a bad angled shot from the outside. Murray handles it easily.
  • Pens pressure again. Lack handles it well. Rebound in the slot wasn’t found by Pens.
  • 12:30 left and we are headed for a commercial.
  • Murray flashes the leather and finds a piece of candy. Kid is making saves to keep the Pens in this.
  • Canes are cycling well here. 2 shifts in a row. Pens are out momentarily but generate nothing dangerous.
  • Pens are line juggling. Always a good sign.
  • 9:45 left and Pens still losing.
  • We’re back. Puck has been outside the dots a lot tonight. Nothing dangerous happening.
  • Murray stops the wrap around and stays square to the puck to swallow up the rebound.

GOAL

  • Phil can thank the Hockey Gods for this one. Great break out pass to Cole.  Cole entered the zone, delayed and cut to the middle. He went for the shot in the middle of the slot, Cane defensemen got a stick on it, Haiglin was there to kick the arrant puck over to a streaking Phil. Phil managed to put it in the net. Lack was on the other side of the net still. Pens tie it up 2-2. #NOEDM.
  • Murray makes another nice save.
  • Stall and Rust are mad at each other. I think that’s about all that’s going to happen. Rust kept the gloves on. A lot of words not so many fists. Both go for 2. Pens commentators are calling for a spear. It’s more of an upwards slash. A lot of swooping motion in that stick. Refs got the 2 minutes right.
  • 4 on 4 now. Pens should have the advantage here. Sure enough Canes are cycling at will in the Pittsburgh zone.
  • Phil all alone in the slot aaaaand misses the net.
  • Pens are keeping up the pressure here. Pens take another penalty in the offensive zone. This is good.
  • Behind the Canes goal line. Again. Good god.
  • 5 left in the second. Canes start 4-3. Rust comes out of the Box aaaaaaand denied by Lack with the blocker on the breakaway.
  • Canes just get set up on the PP with 15 seconds left. Cleared immediately. It wasn’t. Shot straight out. But goes unseen. Back to even strength. Canes go offside.

GOAL

  • Sid on one knee (he loves that) re-directs a perfectly placed slap pass from Cole over the blocker of Lack. Happened quick. Sid did a great job of getting open. Cole did a better job of finding him. Pens up 3-2.
  • Hagelin, definitely did not spell that right before, goes off for embellishing. Canes go off with a trip. Back to 4 on 4 we go. 1:46 left.
  • Hanifin takes a penalty with 7 seconds left in the 2nd.

Second period comes to a close. Pens start 4 on 3. And I think, I think they’re up 3-2. 20 minutes away from #NOEDM.

Third Period.

Squire needed starbucks. Missed the first 2 minutes. Pens are still up 3-2. All is okay. Just gotta get through this period and walk away with not having to go to #EDM.

  • Pens playing much safer and slower here. I’ll take it. Not much happening.
  • Matta has a shot form the point bounce around and almost go in. Pens putting on pressure here. Sid losses the puck by the blue line and out come the Canes.
  • I am now nervous of Rust being below the Canes goal line. Penalty problems are real.
  • Apparently Rust is like a burrowing animal? Thanks?
  • More Pens pressure. Dumoulin takes two shots before the second gets through. Lack swallows it up……like a burrowing animal? #hiremerootsports.  13 left in the third.
  • Pens still keeping the pace of this game to a minimum. Staal seems to be the only Cane that can really press the puck.
  • Pens turnover in the Offensive zone. 2 on 0 below the hashmarks..again. Daley dove back and jumped on the pass across like a…..yup….burrowing animal. Canes go to the PP on a Hagelin hook.
  • Rask with a rocket from the point. No traffic in front for the Canes. Miller tracks it well and holds on with the glove.
  • Quick pass out of the corner to a streaking Nash on the far side. Nash flubbs it and puts it back across Murray. Canes take a penalty immediately after. 4 on 4.
  • Letang is fancy.
  • 3 on 1 for the Canes. Skinner delayed and tried to cut to the middle in the offensive zones. Sid back checks well enough to congest the play and Skinner faces too much pressure to get a shot off.
  • Phil’s arms aren’t long enough to accept a perfect pass from the Pens defense. He chases it down and puts a shot on net from behind the goal line. Rebound is put out of play by Bonino. Pens on the PP now.
  • Canes kill the Pens pp easily. 9:40 left even strength. Hand pass in the neutral zone. Commercial break.
  • Phill and Hagelin cycle it well and put on some pressure.
  • Murray once again looks very much in the zone. Two quick back to back saves. Holds onto the second.
  • Couple of quick stoppages in play. 7:11 left. Not much happening.
  • Hagelin just won a race in the offensive zone. slammed on the breaks and was all alone in front of Lack with no where to go. They just looked at eachother and Hagelin went backhand and it was tipped away but a Canes defensement struggling to get back.

GOAL

  • Bonino streaks in the far side. Phil had the puck below the dot and Lack had to challenge. Even Phil can put it away with that much time. Phil passed, Lack bit, and Bonino tapped it in the open net.
  • Daley goes off for holding. 6 minutes left. Pens up 4-2.
  • Scrum in front of the Pens net. Ref has his harm up. Staal falls on Murray and goes off for goalie interference. 4 on 4 again.
  • Back to back solid saves by Lack and Murray. Canes cycling down low in Pittsburgh zone.
  • Sid breaks out of the zone and gets a pass from the Pens defensemen.  He took a half clapper from about the the hashmarks, just to the left of the face off dot. Lack played it very well. Was out to challenge. Made the save and held on. No hatty for Sid.
  • Canes buzzing but cant get the puck on net. Pens look content to burn this one out.
  • Pens PP is over with 3:45 left. Penalty coming up on Hornqvist because why not? Can’t make it easy. Tripping penalty. ON the Canes goal line this time. The penalties are becoming more and more defensive by the second.
  • Canes cycle. put it on net. Doesn’t get through and the Pens clear. Canes can’t gain the offensive zone. 1:10 left in the PP and 2:30 left in the third.
  • Canes cycle it around, Hard shot from the point, steered aside by Murray. Another shot from the point, doesn’t get through. Another shot, doesn’t get through.
  • 30 seconds left. It’s all but over. NO EDM! THANK GOODNESS!

 

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The Real 10 Commandments of Beer League

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Today, Bardown released the ’10 Commandments of Beer League Hockey’. Their 10 commandments had 3:

  1. Honor thy GM Above All Else;
  2. Thou shalt pay they hockey fees on time; and
  3. Thou shalt not bail on game day.

Did you see what they did there? 1,2,10. Holy fuck. I was going to accuse them of having never played beer league hockey, but based on the way they count, they are exactly the type of guys who play beer league hockey.

I’ve played a lot of hockey in my life. In the grand scheme of things I was bad. Major/Junior and then University if I must qualify myself. Beer league is the reason I quit. The following 10 commandments seem to be the 10 commandments every beer league player adheres to. We’ll call our beer league player Barry.

#1 THOU ART A HERO BARRY, AND THOU ART BETTER THAN THIS LEAGUE638b1f68d9ebe9d284a65a25f6dd0651

This is the golden rule that every middle aged man seems to agree to in beer league. Barry can’t wait to tell you who he played Bantam Hockey with, oh and by the way, he’s in the Show now. Barry just missed his chance. Or he got hurt. Or the scouts just couldn’t see how good Barry was. Or. Or. Or. Meanwhile, the biggest obstacle on the ice is the blue line which Barry seems to trip over, again and again. You’re a real life Gordon Bombay, Barry, minus the skill. Sick dangles.

                                  # 2 THIS IS THE GREATEST LEAGUE ON THE PLANET AND BARRY WILL DIE FOR THE 06ab101330a8325f2ca34683c2060a07.jpgSHIP

You know how you can tell it’s beer league and its NOT the NHL? It’s a Thursday night. It’s 11:15 p.m. The only thing in the stands are the empty seats that are full when the local Junior/Uni team plays. And you are just getting on the ice. It’s beer league. Not game 7 of the Stanely Cup finals. Relax.There’s no need to draw blood, bleed, or run the 45 year old man from behind for an opportunity to get the puck out of your end. It’s. just. beer league. Barry.

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#3 BARRY SHALL TREAT OPPONENTS LEGS LIKE TREES AND THINE STICK LIKE AN AXE

See that picture on the left. I swear beer league players like Barry think doing something equivalent to that picture will magically make the puck leave their opponents stick and land on theirs. I don’t know how else to explain why it happens so much. It’s as if they’ve never held a hockey stick before. Settle down Barry, I need to walk to my car after the game.

download (2)#4 BARRY, THINE HOCKEY STICK IS FREE TO FLY

The only thing worse than the hacks is the high sticks. Again, it’s as if Barry’s hands have never held a hockey stick. I swear the average beer league player’s blade spends more time above the crossbar then it does on the ice. Maybe because 75% of them are ready to grate cheese they think it’s okay? I’m not sure. Stick on the ice Barry.

#5 THOU WILL CHIRP BARRY, AND THOU WILL CHIRP POORLY

chirp_chick

There is an art to chirping. It’s perfected over years of being terrible at it and being on the receiving end of some good ones. Giroux is one of the best. Barry, you’re not Giroux. Yelling, “YOU ARE NOT GOOD!” from the bench is embarrassing. To be honest Barry, you’re just letting everyone in the rink know that you, are in fact, not good. Be nice Barry. You’re all in the same boat out there and it’s fine you don’t know the lingo. It evolves. Just today I saw a Junior player tweet that he had made the ‘Ploffs!’ I had never heard that word before in my life (maybe that’s why I went and burnt out in Uni) and I’m not about to start using it.

#6 SICK DANGLES BARRY, NOW CELEY LIKE IT REALLY MEANT SOMETHING

Barry CeleyBarry, you just scored on a 53-year old man who hasn’t put on goalie skates since he was 21. I think his knees have sand in them. You managed to ‘rip the puck’ from the hashmarks low blocker side. Good work Barry. You got one. It’s amazing you guys are all out here trying to play the game. But you’re not Sid, Toews, or Kane, there’s no need to try and celey like you are. Hand up, maybe a yip or two, but fuck Barry, you don’t need to go for a skate around the offensive zone. Your stick is never something you should try to ride. No one is watching Barry, remember that? The bleachers are blue because no one is sitting in them, not because it was blue t-shirt night. Reel it in Barry.

#7 BARRY WILL FIGHT FOR THINE HONOUR

maxresdefaultLook at this picture. Look at Barry. Look how many there are. Barry isn’t afraid to drop the mitts and show Fred who’s boss. This is Barry’s rink and he’ll go ya to make sure you know that. Meanwhile, Barry has to show up to teach grade 11 gym class with a black eye tomorrow. The stitches on the back of his head are because he slipped and fell in a hockey fight last night. Keep the mitts on Barry. Best case scenario you don’t look like an asshole. Worst case scenario you run into someone who used to fight on skates for a living and is tired of you trying to break his ankles and poke his eyeballs out with your stick.

#8 BARRY, THOU SHALL SHIT ALL OVER YOUR GM

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The only guys crazier than the ones running around without a cage on are the GMs. Barry going to show up tonight? Won’t know for sure until we’re 5 minutes into the first. Barry going to pay his league fees? Maybe, certainly not by the deadline. Barry going to remember his jersey? Probably, because it lives in his bag. Barry going to drink all the beer if he shows up, and no matter how many times he tries, miss the garbage can in the middle of the room? Absolutely. Guess who has to deal with all of Barry’s shit? The GM, and he does it willingly, he volunteers for it. Mind boggling.

#9 THINE LOCKER ROOM IS A PLACE TO VENT ABOUT YOUR SHITTY MARRIAGE

download (1)Ladies, if you want to know how your marriage is doing, pull some NSA shit and mic that locker room. I think it’s a preface for beer leagues: your marriage has to be in shambles and you must vent to no end about it. After about 4 beers and a ‘hard fuckin skate eh Barry’ it’s a full blown counseling session. Maybe I’m bias. I was single at the time and just wanted to burn some calories before I hit the hay. I hadn’t yet made the decision to marry someone. Still haven’t. Maybe this is why they’re all so angry on the ice. Either way, keep your marriage at home Barry.

#10 THOU SHALL NOT SHOWER, NO MATTER THE COST

shower

Barry, it’s just a shower. You can even wear a bathing suite Barry! Or your briefs! It’s fine. Just for the love of god, shower. You don’t air your gear out Barry, guess what? It fucking stinks. It’s rancid. If you want me to go out for a beer with you after, or grab some food, you gotta shower Barry. Even I can’t inhale that smell and try to stuff down Budweiser and chicken wings at Boston Pizza.

Beer league should be great. It’s a place where people who haven’t had the opportunity to play the game can put on some skates and give it a whirl. But, frustrated middle aged men full of testosterone ruin it by trying to be heroes. You’re not a hero Barry. You’re a middle aged man playing hockey at 11:15 at night. And that’s okay.

Salt.

 

GDay – March 9 – 2016 – Caps v Kings

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Tonight the Capitals are in L.A. to take on the Kings in what could be a preview of the 2016 Stanley Cup finals. In fact, every game on the Cap’s three game Western Conference road trip could be a potential preview of the 2016 Stanley Cup finals.

On Monday the Caps went into Anaheim and ended the Duck’s 11 game winning streak. They needed a shoot-out to do it, but the fact is, they did it. Despite an almost identical stat-line, theScore reported head coach Bruce Boudreau post-game saying, “I don’t think skill for skill we can match those guys [the Caps] in the middle of the ice”. The Caps have always had skill. That isn’t news to anyone. The theme for the Caps this year is finding a way to win. The Caps are doing it again and again.  And that is news.

If Holtby lets in 3 with a .889%, the Caps score 7. If the Caps aren’t filling the net, Holtby (or Grubauer for that matter) is there to shut the door and carry them through to OT where they can put that neutral zone skill to work in 3 v 3.

But tonight isn’t about numbers for the Caps. It’s about the big picture. On Monday, as I mentioned, they were in Anaheim, tonight they are in L.A., and Saturday sees them in San Jose. The Ducks, Kings, or Sharks could end up in the Stanley Cup. However, the East goes through the Caps. They’ve earned that this year.

This 3 game swing through the West is a perfect mock  exam for Caps. They travel and play in the Western time zone, with at least 1 day of rest in-between each game, and play against 3 of the top 6 teams in the Western Conference. If they aren’t approaching this road trip as a mini-series with the goal of capturing 5 of 6 points, which I’m sure they are, it’s a wasted exercise.

And that is why I took the Caps tonight. Tonight is not about L.A. and how good they are. Because L.A. is good. It’s all about Washington finally tracking down that coveted trophy that has alluded them for, well, forever. This team is that good. It has it all. But, even according to Capitals GM Brian MacLellan, time is of the essence. That is why this road trip will not be wasted on Washington and they’ll come away with 2 points tonight in what promises to be a hell of a hockey game.

-Salt.

Postgame.

The Salt is real. Washington losses 4-3 in OT.

One of two things happened tonight; either the Capitals were unaware they were in a hockey rink, playing a hockey game, or they had one hell of a night last night.

The Caps mustered 6 shots in the first period. L.A. managed to put 14 on Holtby. The Caps took 2 penalties in the first 10 minutes of the game. L.A. capitalized on the first scoring just 4:52 into the contest. L.A. would add two more before the end of the frame. Washington, the Washington I wrote about, didn’t show up tonight. Not yet anyways.

The second period was scoreless. Both teams managed 7 shots.

In the third the Caps showed up. The Caps that were, before tonight, 49-13-4. It’s intimidating to watch. They command the rink. Washington put 18 shots on net in third scoring on 3 of them. Orlov showed off some fancy stick work cutting through the slot and tying the game with just under 4 minutes left. The Caps looked like they were about to do it. They looked like they were going to find another way to win a game they had no business winning.

3 v 3 is scary. It’s especially scary when you have two teams with this much talent flying up and down the ice. Just over half way through the second frame, Doughty turned around at the Caps blue line opting to regroup rather than force a 1 on 2 situation. 

A Capitals forward took a slow change. Meanwhile, Lucic and Carter came flying off the Kings bench with a full head of steam towards the Cap’s end. Doughty quickly put the puck up the left wing to Lucic and joined the rush. Washington was caught. They had one defensemen back, Ovechkin in the middle of the ice, and thanks to the slow change, a man just coming off the bench. Doughty joined the rush forcing Ovechkin to take him, Carter cut to the outside of the right wing, Lucic feathered a pass through to the wide open Carter and Holtby was left sprawling across to make a save that just couldn’t be made. Not tonight.

Caps show up late. Costs them a point. There is a positive in them for this. They went down 3-0 to the Kings and came back. They willed it. Just wasn’t enough tonight. Caps lose. I lose my first hardnosports bet, of course.

-Salt.