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27 April 2009

Moving On Up!

Well, we did it.

We finally moved from blogger.

We are on our own now.

Just look under http://www.everythingpittsburgh.net.

Our official site is http://www.everythingpittsburgh.net/blogs/EP.php
and our RSS is

So, it it finished. The last five posts are also listed above.

Come in and see what it is all about!



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26 April 2009

The Next Level!

The last two Penguin games have been heart stoppers. It seemed that we forgot how to play our style of hockey. I was actually worried about the series simply because we let them take control. Then, out out nowhere, our hero emerged. Was he on the first line? Nope. Second line? Nope again. Third? Wrong again. It was our hometown favorite Max Talbot to the rescue. It is amazing what a simple fight can do for a team. And they want to take fighting out of hockey? This is the definition of why it needs to stay in!

In game five at home, we played great in the first period, out shooting the Flyers 15-5 and getting all kinds of chances. Unfortunately none went behind Biron. The spirits were down and the Flyers scored one more in the second and two in the third to clinch it. We were outplayed and outmaneuvered in the second two periods. We somehow forced ourselves out of that game. We let them win that battle. It was at home as well. It shouldn't have happened. The battle we can lose, but not the War!

Game six started almost the same way, although we looked much better. The Flyers got two quick goals in the first though and one early in the second and it looked like game five all over again. I was scared to come back to Pittsburgh for game seven. I know how I felt last year when other teams were not able to close it out and forced into it. I felt that they weren't Stanley Cup quality. That is just how my mind works. I feel if a team can't close it out soon after going up three games to one or none, they won't make it to the finals. I am glad the Pens didn't give me that thought.

At 4:21 in the second period, we were down 3-0. Every minute before that mark in the second, we looked like we were done. We looked like we were going to lose and deservedly so. Then Max Talbot got on the ice and started talking to Daniel Carcillo, an ex-Penguin for Wilkes-Barre. He used to play with Max down there. Now, as far as fighting goes, you don't typically fight when you are up 3-0, simply because you could possibly, win or lose, give the other team some momentum. When Max asked for the fight, Carcillo was hesitant even though he wanted to, but with some encouragement from the bench, he agreed. This was the best example of a player being a bonehead. Max may have been beaten in that fight, but what happened afterward with the team was nothing short of amazing.

In a matter of 14 seconds after the fight, Evgeni Malkin crashed the net and Ruslan Fedotenko push the puck in past Biron's right pad. He finally broke the ice after a game and a half of not scoring. It also looked as if it broke Biron's will to play on the level he had been previously. Before the period was up, we had Mark Eaton and Sidney Crosby scoring in a similar fashion, batting the puck out of mid-air into the net after a juicy rebound. If you do the math right, we tied it. If the Flyers truly deserved to win this one, they wouldn't have let that tying goal in.

Just past two minutes into the third period the clincher happened. Malkin skated into the zone and it looked like he pushed their defense back, without actually touching anyone. He then had a nice little dish to Sergei Gonchar who wound up and fired his signature slap shot into the top left corner of the net. Biron didn't have a prayer. They let the Penguins control the ice. That was all she wrote aside from the hard fought empty netter by Crosby in the end. We won the game and clinched the series, now we wait for our next opponent.

Now, back to fighting. I am a big proponent of fighting in hockey, but only a certain kind. This was it. It was the type that comes with passion and emotion. Now I have said that I didn't like the ones right after the faceoff, but in this case, it was right. I guess it is circumstantial. What I mean is that when you send your heavyweight guy out that is know to be a fighter and the other team does as well, it isn't an emotional fight. It is just their jobs and doesn't have the same effect. Now, if the great hockey minds can figure out how to control the difference, that would make it great!

Just to let you know, Boston won its series as the first seed, so if the Rangers knock off Washington today, no matter what, Boston would face them and we would get whomever wins between New Jersey and Carolina. If the Rangers eventually lose the series against the Caps, then we would play Boston. I don't care who we play, but think of this...the last two times we played Boston in the Conference Finals, we won and went on to win the Stanley Cup!

Let's Go Pens!

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McCoy to Eagles 2nd Round, Great for him

Pitt's LeSean McCoy went to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2nd Round (53rd overall) of the NFL Draft on Saturday.

From a post I made yesterday on Pantherlair.com:
Did any of you honesty think that it was best for HIM to come back for another season to come back and take 20-30 carries a game and get beat up?

Everybody already knows what he can do. It's a weak draft this year and it was a great time for him to go.

The chance of him getting injured greatly overrules ANY other considereration that he could have come back for. He can now go shine and get paid for it, as opposed to getting beat up and possibly getting hurt. We have no real QB again this year and he'd be relied upon to win games again this season.

Why stay around and get beat up for free when you can get paid for it?

If you think he made a bad decision, ask yourself if you're being selfish and you really want him back at Pitt for yourself instead of him doing his own thing and taking care of himself.

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23 April 2009

All Hail Fleury, Our King of the Nets!

In Fleury we trust. Or at least that is what we should be saying right about now. I want to take a look at how well our beloved goaltender has been doing the past couple of years. It is pretty impressive. I like to compare him in a round about way to another Pittsburgh favorite in Ben Roethlisberger. I am not going to dwell on this just think of how each plays. When the chips are down and they are the most important cogs on their respective teams, they always seem to come through. Back to Marc-Andre Fleury.

Marc-Andre Fleury is only 24 years old and has appeared in a Stanley Cup Final as well as achieved over 100 wins. He also is starting to get the Brodeur and Roy-esqe type of reputation, however everyone keeps holding their breathe for him to flop. I will tell you this much, I don't believe he will.

Fleury was drafted by Pittsburgh 1st overall in 2003. He was the first pick because our Penguins were just horrible the year before. We went 27-44-6-5 for 65 points. We were second to last in the league. This was just the second year of our four year hiatus from the playoffs. Ryan Whitney was our top pick at 5th overall the year before. This was a legendary draft class with Eric Staal taken second, Nikolai Zherdev third, Thomas Vanek fifth, Dion Phaneuf ninth, Andrei Kostitsyn tenth, Jeff Carter eleventh, Zach Parise seventeenth, Ryan Getzlaf nineteenth, and Mike Richards at twenty-fourth. You look at this draft and it is amazing how this much talent all went in the first round. The key is that Fleury was taken before all of them.

He was immediately shoved into a semi-starting role for the Pens, even though he wasn't ready for it. That is usually reserved for a team that is half decent. We weren't. We weren't even by a longshot. We sorta left him out to dry constantly. Here is his progression since then...

2003-2004 21GP 4W 14L 2T 1SO 70GA 675SA .896SA% 3.64GAA
2005-2006 50GP 13W 27L 6T 1SO 152GA 1,485SA .898SA% 3.25GAA
2006-2007 67GP 40W 16L 9T 5SO 184GA 1,954SA .906SA% 2.83GAA
2007-2008 35GP 19W 10L 2T 4SO 72GA 909SA .921SA% 2.33GAA*
2008-2009 62GP 35W 18L 7T 4SO 162GA 1,850SA .912SA% 2.67GAA
*-injury season

Those are the overall numbers, but I want to show you the last 20 games of each of the last three playoff seasons.

2006-2007 15GP out of 20 with a record of 11-2-2.
2007-2008 13GP out of 20 with a record of 10-2-1.*
2008-2009 18GP out of 20 with a record of 13-2-3.
*-injury season

It seems like he gets significantly better at the end of the season, just when the pressure is on and you have to. Now onto some playoff numbers, which are also continually getting better.

2006-2007 5GP 1W 4L 0T 0SO 18GA 150SA .880SA% 3.76GAA
2007-2008 20GP 14W 6L 0T 3SO 41GA 610SA .933SA% 1.97GAA
2008-2009 4GP 3W 1L 0T 0SO 9GA 142SA .937SA% 2.09GAA*
*-still ongoing

So you see, Fleury is more solid in between the pipes than everybody talks about. The best way he could make that statement is coming off of that five goal let down in game three, only to stop 45 shots in route to a 3-1 win.

Marc-Andre Fleury may not have a Stanley Cup under his belt yet, but as long as he is in the net, we definitely have a chance.

Let's Go Pens!

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21 April 2009

Going Into Battle

Now let me start off about the bad luck I brought upon our team. I am here to apologize for that. I was forced to go to drill for the National Guard and couldn't wear my lucky Lemieux playoff sweater. I knew that the chances of us winning while these two circumstances were in place was slim. I just wanted to apologize to all the superstitious fans in Penguin Nation.

Tonight is the night to take back the series. We need a big win in Philly to go up three games to one. We want to win this in five. It would be good for us to finish them early so we can prepare for our next opponent.

Boston looks to be wrapping up Montreal, Washington decided to show up finally, but in the wrong city, and the Devils are still ahead in theirs. It is hard to determine whether or not my predictions will come true, but only time will tell. For the record, I predicted Boston, New York, and Carolina would win their series, oh, along with Pittsburgh.

This is going to be a battle once again in Philly. We got a little scrap happy in the last game and it drew us out of the style we play. We forgot how to play defense as well. This has to change. It has to change tonight!

"Veni, vidi, vici."
(I came, I saw, I conquered)
- Julius Caesar

"Come on you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever?"
- Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly

"I have not yet begun to fight."
- Captain John Paul Jones

"Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair."
- George S. Patton

"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier."
- Colin Powell

"The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it."
- Norman Schwarzkopf

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure."
- Colin Powell

This isn't the time to worry whether or not we can win, it is a time to worry about how bad we are going to beat them!

Let's Go Pens!

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Grand Opening!

So, I made another addition to the site, a little shop. I have a few shirt designs on there already and am still coming up with more. Let me know if you have an idea you would like to see on one, and I will make it happen. Please drop by and check it out!
Everything Pittsburgh Store

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16 April 2009

Exciting Days Ahead

Courtesy a reader of Pensblog
So I spent the last day reading a lot of articles and getting the overall feel of what happened Wednesday night. I had extreme confidence that we would win the first playoff game. I am a very superstitious guy and have this really great Lemieux sweater that I can't wear on game day due to the fact that they never win when I wear it...even during the end of this past season. It seemed that every time I wore it during the game, they lost. Well, Wednesday night, I dawned that sweater. I knew that we would come out victorious. Now I can't not wear it. It is officially labeled my playoff sweater.

Upon opening face off the Penguins set the stage with a couple big hits. This was obviously not what the Flyers were ready for. It was pretty much all downhill from there. It was almost exactly like I said it. I predicted that the utter hatred will knock them off of their game, and it did. The Flyers were more worried about getting even the whole game that they forgot the game was won by goals, not hits and cheap shots. This is obvious not only by the scoreboard, but by the fact that Daniel Carcillo was suspended for Friday's game for a bone-headed play. He pretty much punched Max Talbot in the face with a combination of his fist and the butt end of the stick upon the final face off. Carcillo's only argument in the issue was that he was sure he hit him with his fist. Really. Who cares what you hit him with. Idiot. The point of the suspension was that you hit him. The other bonehead of the game was out favorite Flyer, Scott Hartnell. He chalked up three penalties for stupid actions and finished it off with his ten minute misconduct. If they plan on winning any games this playoff series, they need to get back to what they did in the final match-up of the season. To be honest, I don't think that would even matter. The Pens are playing on a whole new level, even higher than last year.

Onto game two. I can easily see the Flyers try to set the tone as we did Wednesday. They may at first, but they have too many goons and irresponsible players on their roster to win the type of series this is going to be. They have a ton of wins this season chalked up to brute force to a lesser opponent. We are not a lesser opponent, therefore the brute force tactic can't work. They would have to change who they are to win, and it is way too late for that. Their losing ways started with their .500 run in the last 25 games of the season. You can't win a playoff series without knowing how to win.

The Flyers are similar to the Baltimore Ravens are to the Steelers anymore. It doesn't matter what happens in the regular season because we have their number in the playoffs. The Steelers and the Penguins can take it to a whole other level when the stakes get higher.

The Pens over the last two years sorta reminds me of the Pens of the '90s. I am not just talking the early years when we won the cup, but the 11 year playoff streak. It seemed that no matter how we played, if we were within a goal or two, we could pull it out. It wasn't a guaranteed loss. I love that feeling. You know, the feeling that the score doesn't matter. You have to play 60 minutes against us and if you don't, you will lose. It is a feeling that only Pittsburgh fans know.

Let's Go Pens!
Read what some other bloggers wrote:

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15 April 2009

All Pittsburgh Blogger...A Must Read!

Well, after careful consideration, I have decided to let you all in on the master plan. I want all of you to read this and ask yourselves if you want to be a part of it. It was a short, but sensible conversation with a good friend, The Unemployed Asshole, we started thinking of what we would like to see as far as blogs in Pittsburgh. We came up with a great idea...at least we think so!

How about a one stop shop for Pittsburgh bloggers? It can cover anything from Pens to Pirates to Steelers to anything else you can think of. I figure we put everyone's blog that wants in on there in an easy to read format. Also, we can have a blogroll next to them of all the recent posts, so everyone gets the same chance.

We also have the forum on there where people can come in and talk to the people that are closest to the teams. These are people that are respected by most Pittsburgh fans. This forum doesn't have to stop at sports though, although it is the headline, it can be about news as well as the arts. Just as long as they are categorically organized. If you are added to the blogroll, I would expect appearances in the forum, so as to keep people coming back.

I think this is a needed thing in Pittsburgh. I mean, most cities have generic versions of this, but we will be the first to have an official site to go to. No one will have to create their own blogrolls for the latest and you won't have to go site to site finding the gems. You would just come to our site and see it all.

If you want to be a part of this, let me know and we can get the ball rolling. I am not a genius with design yet, so I may need some help with some of the ideas. Oh, if ads and donations roll in, it will be split evenly based on posting average. In this I mean that if you blog or check into the forum once a year, you aren't going to get the same cut as the people that post daily and check the forum out all the time. I think that is fair and makes sense.

Let me know what you think and if your interested! If you decide to do it, then let everyone know you are! Advertise all you can!


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My Playoff Predictions!

Since I didn't put in my actual playoff prediction, I will put them in here!
You have to click below to see them though.
Will I pick the Pens? I think we all know I will!

These picks, you can go on record for. They will be factual. The Pens will once again beat the Boston Bruins in the conference finals to go to the Stanley cup finals. Yes, in 1991 and 1992, we beat the Boston Bruins in the conference finals before destroying the other conference in the finals.

I don't think Washington will be able to overtake the Rangers, I believe they will get back to earlier season form.

The Devils don't have a prayer against the Hurricanes. Period. Well, one...Brodeur.

Habs and Boston will go a long, grueling series with the Bruins on top.

No one, except the Pens, will beat the Sharks.

The Redwings will have a tough time in Columbus, but will prevail.

I like the St. Louis and Vancouver matchup. I think the Canucks are just too hot right now to lose to the Blues.

Chicago has to lose to win.

This will be one of the best playoff series we will have seen in a long time. I am talking every series of every game. The salary cap made all the teams so close that a 1-8 matchup isn't so distant anymore.

Let's Go Pens!

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14 April 2009

Here We Go Pens!

The playoffs are here! This is my favorite time of the year. I even love it more than football playoffs time. I love it more than baseball playoff time as well. I mean seriously, when I watch the NFL playoffs, the teams step it up a notch, and it is very exciting. I watch the MLB playoffs, the catches are more spectacular, but that's it. In the NHL, the teams step it up like six notches, and it is fantastic. The game gets ten times faster and even harder hitting. The saves by the goalies seem that much more dramatic. I love it. To top off the whole thing, it is almost every day for six weeks or so. You simply can't beat it.

The Penguins are once again playing the Flyers, our most hated rival. I remember last year when we beat them handily in five games, the commentators believed that there would be blood, but there really wasn't. I don't know if it was because Georges Laraque was too much of a gentleman or we just beat them too quickly, but there wasn't. We had hard hitting and that, but it wasn't what I expected. I am going to pull a paragraph out of the last blog I did about the playoffs concerning the Flyers specifically.

"The Philadelphia Flyers, our most heated rivalry other than the Washington Capitals. I don't know who we love to hate more sometimes. We have faced Philadelphia four time in the playoffs, losing the first three. Last year, we won our revenge. We lost in 1988-89 in the second round in seven games. We were destroyed in the last two games of that series with a combined score of 10-3. We wouldn't have to face them again until the 1996-97 season where we lost four games to one. In that series, we went down three games to none right away, only to win a 4-1 decision at home. We then lost the series in game five 6-3. We would then face the Flyers three years later in 1999-00, where we lost again four games to two. This was a key series that fueled the fire between us and them. We went up two games to none before coming back home only to lose in overtime. The very next game turned out to be historic, lasting five overtimes only to end badly for the Pens when Keith Primeau scored to win it. We never recovered from that and lost the series. We finally solved this playoff debacle last year with an easy four games to one. This was the most recent run at the Stanley Cup." 10-APR-2009

In that last post about the playoffs, I was pretty positive that there was no way that we were going to finish in fourth. As it turns out, the Flyers and the Hurricanes turtle shelled. I don't believe that the Flyers did it on purpose due to the fact that they lost home ice advantage as well as have to play us. The Canes had a good reason to drop the last couple games, they are playing the slumping New Jersey Devils. Now, I am not saying they did something as unsportsmanlike as that, but it sure looks that way.

I love how the commentators and major writers all feel it is necessary to start writing when the playoffs begin. It seems like they know absolutely nothing, just what others have been writing. I have been reading a lot and find in mildly humorous that people don't realize that the stats before coach Bylsma don't reflect on how the team is playing now. I just read on NHL.com that the Pens need to be more responsible in their own end because of their season average of 30.3 shots per game. I wish they could have watched the Pens all season and realized that it was the staff from before that allowed a majority of the high shot totals and Bylsma's regime has brought that number down. I believe that the commentators will realize that we are more than just Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. We are a complete team.

Now, onto the season series, we won it 4 games to two. I will honestly say we didn't look dominant at any time against this team. It is like they have the ability to bring us out of our game just because of our utter hatred for each other. The only good part is that it takes them out of their game as well. The team that can work past this will win out. I feel that Coach Bylsma will have that emotional button well within his control for his first playoff series. I also think that this is the best team we could possibly play for the first round with Bylsma. What I mean by this is that it will have everything in it, raw skill, courage, emotion, and speed. It will give him a taste of everything so he can be ready for the rounds ahead.

I was looking at all the statistics for the season between these two teams and although they look completely even, they aren't. I believe aside from the power play, which the Flyers win out easily, we dominate every other aspect of the game now. What I mean by now is that with the new confidence and coaching style, we almost fixed our season stats. They were horrible before and we improved so much that it makes us look even. This just tells me that the way we are capable of playing now is so significantly better that if we would have been able to play a majority of the season like this, we would have been in first in the east and dominated the stats sheets.

I want to compare my preseason predictions to the actual standings:

I guess I wasn't that far off!

I like our odds of going deep, but I am not going to talk about that. It is time to stop shaving and get intense!

Pens will win this series in six!
Let's Go Pens!

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13 April 2009

DeJuan Blair to go pro

DeJuan Blair is renouncing his final two years of college eligibility with the Panthers and going into the NBA draft.

DeJuan Blair, who was named to the Associated Press All-America first team and the Wooden All-America Team, was the only consensus All-Big East first team selection and was named the league's co-Player of the Year, is 19 years old. The decision was widely expected by most fans and personalities in the college basketball community. He doesn't have much left to prove. He was amazingly dominant most of the season against many of the best players in the country. Blair averaged 15.7 points and 12.3 rebounds for the Panthers this season in a little more than 27 minutes per game.

For those who say he needed to return in order to develop or "work on" a jump shot - Do you think Jamie Dixon would let him out from underneath the rim? There's no way. Jamie has to look out for the best interests of the team, not any one player.

One hindrance is that he shoots 60.5% at the free throw line. That number isn't likely to get better with another season in college, though.

Blair has signed with Pittsburgh area media guy James Cook and is looking to ink marketing deals.

Starting in May, Blair will train at the IMG Basketball Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he'll work closely with trainer David Thorpe. He'll also attend the NBA camps in Chicago alongside Pitt senior Sam Young, another possible first-round selection.

It is really unknown at this point who will start at center for Pitt next season. All American Dante Taylor will start at power forward, though.

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Harrison Deserving or Steelers Statement?

Well, James Harrison finally got his payday. Now, I know a lot of you are thinking that the Steelers shouldn't pay a 30 year old linebacker a possible $50 million. They did pay Ben Roethlisberger $102 million...why not? Are the Steelers making a statement or is it a deserving payday? You decide!

Think about it for a minute...I mean really think about it. The Steelers organization isn't known for paying older players as well as players who have proven themselves over a short period of time. They find the diamonds in the rough from the draft or as an unrestricted free agent, but as soon as they appear to be losing some of their shine, the organization releases them. So far, for the past 50 years, it has worked like clockwork. They haven't paid out an older guy yet, but in the state of the NFL, I think it might be a necessary evil. It might be a huge payoff for the future, I mean, planting the seed that we are willing to pay for talent that shows the virtues of a true Steeler. That statement could bring a lot more success in than Harrison ever could.

Think about it for a minute...I mean really think about it. If the Steelers think it is worth it, than they are probably right. Harrison hasn't been a starter for long and that might be a serious influence on their decision. He hasn't had the wear and tear a typical 30 year old linebacker experiences in a career. He won the league's defensive player of the year. He set the sack record for the Steelers, which is saying a lot and he is still just a second year starter. They did have him on discount last year at $1 million. They did have another year on his current contract and could have held him for another by franchising him. Did they see something in him or not? I hope we will know as soon as the season starts.

So, you make the decision...a deserving raise or a statement for the future?

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11 April 2009

New Everything Pittsburgh Forum!

Just a quick heads up here!
I created a new Forum for all Pittsburgh Fans!
Feel free to join or give me input on what you think!
We are going through some pains to get everything up and running properly, so bear with us!

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10 April 2009

History Lesson...Penguins Style!

Since the Penguins began their franchise in 1967, they have entered the postseason 24 times out of a possible 41 seasons (including this year). That is 58% of the time. Taking into consideration that every team rebuilds, restructures, and renews, this is quite an impressive number. We have been to the Stanley Cup Finals three times, winning two of them, as you probably already know. That makes a nice 66%. Here is a funny number, out of all the times we have been to the playoffs, we win the cup 9% of the time. I have some insight to who we should want to play in the playoffs this season and who we shouldn't, simply according to history.

On a side note only Pittsburgh fans would appreciate: We beat the California Golden Seals 3-0 in the 1969-70 season. What makes this so great is that the Seals moved in 1976 to become the Cleveland Barons. This makes us the team that beat the only Cleveland team ever to play in the NHL. Also, our goaltending coach, Gilles Meloche, played on that team (not the actual playoff team) before finishing his career in Pittsburgh in 1988.

Now, I said that we have made the playoffs 23 other times in our history. I know we complained when we went into our 4 year hiatus before Crosby was drafted, but remember there was a lockout in that time frame as well. In the dark years before we drafted Lemieux, we went a total of 6 years without a playoff appearance. I am just saying we need to stop whining about us not succeeding. We are very blessed to have such great teams through the years.

Out of the seven other playoff teams in the East this year, we have faced everyone except the Carolina Hurricanes. This includes when they were the Hartford Whalers. Now, if you do not look at how teams are playing this year and simply look at history, we want the Rangers. I know we can't have them, but we are an undefeated 4-0 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I like the Capitals as well, due to the fact that we are 7-1 against them in Stanley Cup playoffs. The Bruins wouldn't be bad even though we are 2-2 against them. We haven't lost a series to Boston since 1980. We also defeated them the last two times in a row in the Conference Finals to win the Stanley Cups. Now we have a losing record against the Flyers, but we had the last laugh last year when we eliminated them 4-1. We only faced the Canadians once in 1998 only to lose in seven games. The most likely team for us to play this off season is the Devils. We are up in total 3 series to 2. We are 1-1 against New Jersey in the Brodeur era. I know they have been playing badly as of late, but who knows anything once the playoffs start.

Since it is more likely we will play the Devils than the Flyers, I will start with New Jersey. We have faced them five times in history, the first time en route to our first Stanley Cup, in 1990-91, where we beat them in seven games. In that series, we went down three games to two before winning game six on the road 4-3. We went on to win the series 4-0 at home in the Civic Arena. The second time we played the Devils was the two years later in the 1992-93 season, where we won four games to two. That year we won the Presidents Trophy for best overall record in the NHL and were expected to get our third in a row. The other remarkable thing about this particular year was the fact that we set a record for the most consecutive wins at 17. Ok, back to the Devils. In 1994-95, we lost four games to one, the one being the first game of that series, then four straight losses. This year was Sergei Gonchar's first year in the league with the Washington Capitals. Anywho...we beat New Jersey in seven games with some amazing heroics by Jaromir Jagr. The final time, before this season...maybe, we played the Devils was in 2000-01, where we were defeated four games to one. We lost in the Conference Finals. This was the final time we were in the playoffs before the Crosby era.

The Philadelphia Flyers, our most heated rivalry other than the Washington Capitals. I don't know who we love to hate more sometimes. We have faced Philadelphia four time in the playoffs, losing the first three. Last year, we won our revenge. We lost in 1988-89 in the second round in seven games. We were destroyed in the last two games of that series with a combined record of 10-3. We wouldn't have to face them again until the 1996-97 season where we lost four games to one. In that series, we went down three games to none right away, only to win a 4-1 decision at home. We then lost the series in game five 6-3. We would then face the Flyers three years later in 1999-00, where we lost again four games to two. This was a key series that fueled the fire between us and them. We went up two games to none before coming back home only to lose in overtime. The very next game turned out to be historic, lasting five overtimes only to end badly for the Pens when Keith Primeau scored to win it. We never recovered from that and lost the series. We finally solved this playoff debacle last year with an easy four games to one. This was the most recent run at the Stanley Cup.

Our other "favorite" team, the Washington Capitals, has had their problems with the Penguins. As I said, they have lost seven out of eight to us. It is a wonderful feeling to have their number, especially the present time. I won't go into every series like I did with the Devils and the Flyers because I am not as sure about us meeting them anytime soon. I mean, at least in the first round. The only loss came in the 1994 playoffs, where the Rangers went on to win the Stanley Cup.

The Boston Bruins lost the last two times they faced us in the playoffs, both happened in the same way, as I mentioned before. They are playing tough now, but like the Capitals, we won't see them till a later round and that is if they make it that far. A first round upset isn't unheard of.

The Rangers and Canadians will not be playing us in the first and probably the second round either, if they make it that far, so I will save their history for then.

We currently have no playoff history with the Hurricanes, but since we have a probability of playing them in the first round, I will give you some number. We have two cups to their one. We have three finals appearances to their two. We both lost to the Red Wings in the finals. We are both on a hot streak and will probably win the first round, unless we play each other, where the Pens will come out on top. I can easily see a Pens-Canes Conference final, that is if we end up 5-6 in the standings like it looks like we will.

I am very excited for all tho possibilities for this postseason run. We are showing the same signs we did back in the cup years. We will see. Despite what everyone thinks or sees on paper, we are a better "team" than last year. We may have had more scorers, but this year we have more scoring lines.

Let's Go Pens!

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