Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals Game 2: Pens v Red Wings

In my house, when it rains, it pours.

I'm still not well myself, and today one of my dogs had a health issue. I just got back from the emergency vet office. My 10-year-old Golden Retriever, Baylee, started having difficulty walking today. We got X-rays and blood work done, all of which turned out negative. But that's actually not a good thing. It means he's got neurological (nervous system) problems. Long story short - we got two prescriptions that we have to give him, and we MUST see improvement by mid-week.

Needless to say, I'm in no shape to do anything blog related right now. I'm just going to go lie on the floor with my dog and hope for the best. As I usually do with the other things in my life, I'll keep you posted on his condition as well.

Until then, feel free to keep chatting about the game(s) that I miss in The Friends' Zone below.

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

You're Welcome

...because I know you're gonna thank me for these! Check out these high quality shots of our Boys and The Man from the media day press conference prior to Game 1, during which Mario said that Siddo is a better player than he was at Sid's age. [*GASP!*] WHAT. A. COMPLIMENT!!! :D

Click to enlarge all the following shots, but make sure you get the last photo for an awesome RARE wallpaper sized shot of the best damn thing to happen to Pittsburgh. EVER.

BOO-YAH!! Game 2. Tonight Tomorrow at 8pm. (← I was trying to schedule this to publish automatically tomorrow morning, but I forgot to change the date and time before I clicked the publish button. I'm too tired and too sick to try to fix it, so enjoy!)

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stanley Cup Finals Game 1: Pens v Red Wings (L 1-3)

So it begins...

First Period

Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay dropped the ceremonial pucks to the team captains. No penalties at all were called during the first period, and both teams turned the puck over more times than I could count. Mad Max had a nice early chance off a rebound from Gonch, but it was blocked and Mad Max and Holmstrom mixed it up in the aftermath.

Stuart hit Tank (uncalled interference!), and Brooksie didn't like it so he and Stuart had words. Basically, there was a scrum after every single shot on goal at either end of the ice. Cleary set up a nice play for Zetterberg, but thankfully he hit the post. The first candidate for Subway Sam'ich of the Game came when Brooksie absolutely drilled Hossa with a MONSTER hit at center ice, the former knocking the latter right to his arse.

Holmstrom later puffed his peacock tail at USS Hal Gill. Staalsy and TK went 2-on-1 but the shot was forced wide. The second nominee for the Sam'ich of the Game saw Siddo skating full-on and taking Zetterberg completely off his skates. (It was a thing of beauty.) Immediately following, Letang took a big hit into the boards, and Siddo and Zetterberg got "familiar" with one another in front of Osgood as the play was whistled down. The first mark on the board came when the Pens turned the puck over to Stuart, who fired a long shot from the near boards that went wide and took an un-fortuitous bounce out, hit the back side of Flower, and went into the goal. [Pens 0, Wings 1] I responded by begging and pleading with the Boys through my TV to take a tie to the locker room.

Letang got hooked by a Wing right in front of an official. No call was made, so Letang figured he'd get his own justice by crosschecking the guy, again right in front of that same official. And again, no call was made. The non-call on the guy in white prompted a "B.S.!!" chant from the crowd. With about 90 seconds left in the period, the Wings turned the puck over to Geno. He fired a shot that Osgood blocked but didn't smother. Enter Tank: He swooped through the paint, grabbed the puck, and sent it home. [Pens 1, Wings 1]

Second Period
Geno stole the puck (possibly by tripping a Wing) and got a breakaway. Osgood blocked him, but these aren't exactly Geno's strongest point. Letang made a brilliant poke check on Helm from behind to prevent him from capitalizing on a great chance. Lebda slashed and broke Max's stick. On the resulting power play, the Pens threw everything and maybe even the kitchen sink at Osgood, but the goalie and his defenders kept it out. We got another power play chance when Samuelsson was nailed for slashing then grabbing and tossing Staal to the ice, but the Pens didn't score with the advantage. Right in front of the camera, Kronwall repeatedly crosschecked Staal in the small of the back, but no calls were made.

Adams was pinched for a weak hooking call, but we made up for it when Cooker took a stupid, late, high hit on Holmstrom after the whistle and got away with it as the Adams penalty was ending. Siddo made a fantastic save for Flower by lying down on the ice, stacking his pads, and blocking a shot. It was beautiful!

NBC WTF Moment of the Game: The GoDaddy commercials with racecar driver Danica Patrick have all been terrible, but the one they just showed with the lady cop was the absolute worst. Patrick constantly whines that she's not taken seriously because she's a girl... Well, honey, these commercials definitely aren't helping your cause.

Siddo was hauled down by the moving stick of Hossa, but no call was made. Just before the period ended, another crazy, un-fortuitous bounce off the rubberband boards hit the back of Flower's pad and went into the goal. [Pens 1, Wings 2]

Third Period
Kronwall pulled an A-hOle™: He left his feet to take aim at Geno, but Geno, who always sees A-hOle™ coming also saw Kronwall coming and ducked out of the way just in time. He used the opportunity to create an offensive chance that didn't result in anything. Helm got a breakaway chance, but Gill backchecked him and Flower shut the door.

The only goal the Wings really had to work for came when Abdelkader (← what a mouthful!) hit the post and the puck popped up in the air. Staal lost sight of it, but Abdelkader didn't, gloved it down, and put it in for his first career playoff goal. [Pens 1, Wings 3]

Tank accidentally highsticked Max. Some awful missteps in the Pens' own zone (starting with Flower coming w-a-a-a-y out to clear unsuccessfully) resulted in an offensive onslaught from the Wings, but somehow the Pens kept the puck out. Flower was pulled in favor of the extra attacker (Siddo) at the 2 minute mark. Despite the Wings' best efforts, they couldn't sink the empty netter. (Hossa in particular had the best crack at it but missed.) Time ticked down and the Pens lost Game 1.

There's not much time to get too worried about it. We go to work again with Game 2 in Detroit tomorrow at 8pm Eastern. Also tomorrow: details of the snoopyjode v kcjacoby II bet rematch. WOOOOOOO!!!!!!! ;)

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

GO PENS GO!!!!!!!! The 2009 Stanley Cup Finals TSCS "Pep Rally"

Good things are coming to Pittsburgh... I can feel it. :) I've got a ton of stuff for you for tonight's Pep Rally, so I'm just going to dive right in.

I was honored to be the lone female Penguins blogger to be asked to participate in a Pens Bloggers Roundtable discussion by Yahoo! Sports blogger Puck Daddy. I am in the company of the guys from The Pensblog, Brian Metzer of HockeyBuzz, Michael Dell of LCS Hockey, and good Friends of The Show Frankie D. of Pensburgh and Tony F. from The Confluence. We were asked three key questions about the upcoming rematch. Check out all of our Stanley Cup Finals predictions here.

Click this for supersized awesomeness.

I've got a bit of reading material for you. First up, even Don "Grapes" Cherry has changed his mind about our title man.

Second, good Friend Mike@Japan found this article detailing how maniacal our Captain can be when it comes to improving his game.

And finally, I've got a story from good Friend Vanessa D. Just wait until you find out what happened to her and her daughter:
Hi Jodie,

I have been a regular reader of your blog and I love your honest, mature and entertaining style of keeping us fans informed. I am writing today to share with you an awesome experience that my daughter Kelly and I had last week when we took a trip to the Burgh to watch our beloved Pens face the Canes in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was a beautiful day and we headed out with our chairs to watch on the big screen set up outside the Mellon arena. We live about an hour from downtown Pittsburgh and we had attended a game last year during the conference final so we decided that we should do it again since we had so much fun last year.

Siddo is shown here having a good time at yesterday's practice at the Mellon Arena.

The traffic was pretty light and we actually got a great parking spot and made our way to the arena. Even at 5:00 PM there were already lots of people camped out in front of the screen. Lawn chairs, blankets, snacks and drinks a plenty everybody looked like they were there for a serious celebration. Boy were they right! Kelly and I set up our chairs well within range of he screen and we settled in for what we thought would be a long evening of watching our man Sid and company along with 3,000 close friends. Little did we know that things would get much better.

As we sat and watched the people walk around us Kelly nudges me and says “Look Mom. It’s George, Geno’s translator”. I glanced up to see a man casually dressed in a white polo shirt walking towards us. He appeared to be scanning the crowd looking for someone. Kelly made eye contact with him and low and behold he approached us. “Is it just the two of you?” he asked me. Yes, I told him wondering why he would ask me that and then he produced 2 tickets! “Would you like to watch inside?” he asked. YES, YES of course we would!. Thank you, Thank you very much we gushed and as soon as he handed us the tickets he was gone. Needless to say we were both absolutely floored. I was babbling, giving away the pop that we brought and trying to pack the chairs. I was so happy that I had tears in my eyes. The fans around us were excited for us. New fans moved in and took our spots and congratulated us. We even got them to take our picture with the tickets. As we made our way back to our car to put our chairs in the trunk Kelly called my husband who later told me that she was talking so fast that he couldn’t understand a word she said but he did get the gist of her excited chatter.

As we walked back to arena we both kept laughing and remarking that we could not believe that we actually got FREE tickets to a Pens playoff game. We were hardly dressed for the occasion. Both of us were wearing shorts and Pens T-shirts ( mine a Talbot and hers a Kunitz) Ironically, Talbot and Kunitz were the two Pens who scored in the 2nd period. But trust me we would have gone in wearing our underwear. As we entered the arena we were handed a white towel and a white T-shirt that said “THE REAL EYE OF THE STORM” beneath a close up of the Penguins Eye. They looked great with our shorts. We made our way to our seats in section C-2, row D. They were wonderful seats. Great view of the ice. No Carolina fans nearby.

This shot is also from yesterday's practice.

The Pens warmed up at our end of the arena and I did mange to get some nice pictures. I must admit that I was sort of too excited to really get into the photos but as you know, the game could not have been any more amazing. The crowd was absolutely electric. There is something to be said for 17,000 + fans all waving white towels and chanting LETS GO PENS! Our man Sid scored the first goal and the place just exploded. If the players are more ramped up during the playoffs, the fans, at least Pens fans match that energy. I have been to a number of games over the last 2 seasons but nothing could compare to this enthusiasm. Of course we know that Geno scored a hat trick. His parents were sitting not far from us and they were of course delighted with their son’s performance as were the entire arena. Kelly and I had never been there for a hat trick. It was sensational.
No Vanessa, I think you mean it was "PENSational!" ;)

To close tonight, I've got the traditional Rally downloads. Good Friend of The Show Jaime B. has been hooking us up with wallpapers for the entire playoff run. Today is no different. Here is one she made from a sweet shot of Gonchar going over a drill with Geno: [ 1280x800 ] ...and a wicked shot of Siddo's goal in Round 3 Game 3: [ 1280x800 ] [ 1024x768 ]. And for the mp3 download, I've got the matching goal call: [ Mike Lange Calls Sid's Goal in Game 3 ].

Jaime also made something extra special for us for the SCFs. She made three Pens cursors. I added a few old hockey themed cursors I've had for a while to complete the set, which can be downloaded here: [ Pens Cursors ]. Don't worry - I included installation instructions! :)

So many thanks go out to Jaime, Mike, and Vanessa for their contributions to tonight's Rally post. Okay, folks - this one is for all the glory. Our Stanley Cup finals gets underway at 8:00pm tomorrow night in Detroit. Tomorrow marks the beginning of our retribution.


GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Poems in Limbo

I have a number of writing journals in which I jot down ideas for and rough drafts of poems. Many of these ideas and drafts never become polished poems. I do find that keeping the journals is a good writing exercise for me. Sometimes, I am able to revisit a particular piece and rework it into a final draft. It’s also interesting to read through the journals and find things that I had forgotten that I had written.

Yesterday, I looked through two of my journals to see if I could find some of my poems that may never be polished but remain forever in a state of literary limbo. I thought I’d post a few of them this week for Poetry Friday.


My Poems in Limbo

I’ll eat so much
Before you know it
I’ll need a new skin.
I’ll have to grow it—
A nifty new suit
In a bigger size
Before it’s time
To chrysalize.
I’ll pupate in
A little case
Where I’ll change my
Body, legs, and face…
And grow four wings.
Then by and by
I’ll be a
Monarch butterfly.

Prepared for rain, our
trash waits for the garbage men
in dark green slickers

busying yourself
in a bright pink peony,
save a sip of nectar
for me.

In daylight
stars vanish
as the sky erases them
from her bright blue memory.
At night
in the sleepy dark
she dreams them alive

stitching stars together
on the dark cloth of night.

Lock step, as
One turns—so turn all the other gears,
Clicking, ticking, tocking together
Keeping in time through the years

Here’s a poem in which I finished the first stanza—but never completed the second stanza.

I’ll wrap you up
in darkness.
I’ll hide away
the sun.
I’ll hush
the singing birds,
and switch the stars on
one by one.

At Blue Rose Girls, I have a great mother-daughter poem by Marie Howe entitled Hurry.

Irene Latham has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Live. Love. Explore!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I would have posted something sooner, but I am battling a fever. (I think it's finally breaking because I'm so hot right now that I literally feel like I'm in hell.) Anyhoo, I just wanted to post a quick reminder of what happened last time and proclaim that this WILL NOT happen again:

Click to enlarge for a kick in the stones.

Tomorrow I will publish the final Pep Rally post of 2009. This year is OUR YEAR.


GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Summer Reading: Books, Poetry, & Other Resources

Children’s Books for Summer Reading

Other Summer Reading Resources

From Wild Rose Reader & Blue Rose Girls: Book Reviews and Original Poems





Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Your 2009 Eastern Conference Champions

What a photo, eh? Check out the congratulatory message to the Pens on the digital sign in the background from the Canes' organization. Extremely classy of them. :)

Okay, so I know that we've got bigger fish to fry, but I don't think it will hurt if we take one day to celebrate this accomplishment. There are so many fantastic images of the victorious Penguins from last night's Game 4 that I couldn't possibly post them all. Here are a few of my favorite that weren't in last night's recap post:

I saved the best one for last:

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Map: anti-podal maps

(Via Armcontrolwonk) This map shows where the opposite (anti-podal) point on the earth is. i.e. North Pole corresponds to South Pole. One can easily check up one's anti-podal point by change the coodinate (change lattitude from N to S, then add/subtract 180 on longitude). But it is neat to view this on a globe.

ACW cited this when he read that vibration typically get 'magnified' on anti-podal points as noted by astronomers observing the moon and some planets. He thinks this may be used to measure earthquake (and nuclear tests).

The physical explanation may be quite simple, as the anti-podal point represents THE equi-distant (both on earth surface and via the mantle/core) point, such that all waves arrive IN PHASE (ignoring fluctuations in rock type/etc). This means it would be difficult to measure earthquake anti-podally since these are random events and one does not know where to place the probe in advance, but for monitoring nuclear tests with known sites this could be pretty effective.

A few interesting observations
  • Very few land has land as antipodal points, mainly because there are only 30% land on earth and most of it is on the northern hemisphere. (this makes ACW's plan more difficult/costly)
  • The few land-land pairs include (this site provides a great tool)- Beijing's anitpode is a few hundred km south of Buenos Aires, Xian and Santiago (Chile) are almost exact antipode pairs (perhaps the only major city pair). Jakarta/Bogota and Singapore/Quito are also close enough. New Zealand's antipode is Spain (auckland/Seville). -- play these games to test your geographic knowledge.
  • The Yucatan meteorite at Chicxulub crater, which allegedly killed the dinosaurs, would probably have had created some folding under the ocean between NW Australia and Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. However,  some people believe that the Chicxulub antipode is actually the Deccan Traps inside India because techtonic movement shifted the Indian subcontinent

The map above shows the wave-front of the DPRK shock (test). Ideally these contours should be circle, but they are distorted because of rock/water structure the p-wave passes through (changes the speed the sound wave travels).

Given these contours, it is now easy to measure future shocks (from the same location) much more accurately. The trick is to put an array of probes spaced on a chosen contour such that the signal these probes received are all "in phase". Adding these signals (time-plotted) up will result in strong signal since the noises are not in phase and tends to cancel out. This will achieve similar or even better results than a measure from the antipode.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Toucan Talk: An Original Mask Poem

Tricia is back with another poetry challenge for us this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect: Monday Poetry Stretch - Animal Poems.

For Tricia’s Poetry Stretch, I decided to revisit an animal mask poem about a toucan that I had written many years ago. I wasn’t happy with the poem’s ending. I had changed it a number of times. I decided to do a bit more research on the toucan—of which there are different types—in hopes of getting some fresh ideas for the poem…and maybe writing a better ending.

Here’s the toucan poem as it stands at the moment:

by Elaine Magliaro

I’m Toucan. I’m more beak than bird.
In profile I may look absurd.
I sport a bill that’s giant-size.
It’s true. I don’t hyperbolize.
It’s strong and filled with rigid foam.
It’s like an airy honeycomb.
It doesn’t weigh me down. It’s light!
It’s sharp.
It’s colorful
And bright.
It helps me to attract a mate.
It’s perfect female birdie bait!
It’s really great for plucking fruit
From trees—and self defense, to boot.
A useful tool, it’s versatile—
A beak that truly fits the bill!

Round 3 Game 4: Pens v Canes (W 4-1) It's a series CLEAN SWEEP!!!

The Pens lead this Eastern Conference Finals series 3-0.

We all know we want it... but PLEASE resist the urge to say it. Let's not jinx our Boys! Instead we'll simply say, "PUT THE CANES OUT OF THEIR MISERY!!!"

A debt of gratitude goes out to good Friend of The Show Susan B. for graciously allowing me to use the Pens Sweep logo she made for last year's sweep of the Sens.

First Period
Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher opened the game with a siren. Eric Staal got things rolling just over 90 seconds into the game with a goal he got by stuffing the puck past Flower. [Pens 0, Canes 1]

The first of the scrums erupted in front of the Canes' bench. Tank got an early break, but Ward shut the door. But Tank would get his revenge: Superstar let a dump around go through to Boucher at the point. Boucher then intentionally fired the puck just inches wide of the far corner of the net, and a fresh off the bench Tank sailed in and just let the puck come to his blade for the goal. [Pens 1, Canes 1]

Geno lost his stick (it went flying) and subsequently was called for holding the stick of a Hurricane with his free hands. On the ensuing penalty kill, Flower and Orpik worked in tandem to keep Samsonov from getting the puck into the net, but upon closer inspection on the replay, that would have been a goal that would have been nullified because Samsonov kicked it towards the goal line. The Canes didn't score on their advantage. Later, Cullen hit Flower behind the net. As they both went down, the Versus joke actually stated that Flower was "trying to buy a call," but when the replay was shown as they went to commercial, it was crystal clear that was not the case. Cullen actually put a knee-on-knee hit on Flower while Flower had his back turned.

Brooksie was getting booed throughout the game pretty heavily. Gronk and his linemates went nuts. Gronk was hitting everything that moved. He put a series of three hits in a row on Walker, with the first of those hits being a HUGE one that took Walker down. The Pens got a power play when Jokinen was called for crosschecking. The Pens didn't score on their advantage.

Then, with less than 2 minutes left in the game, Superstar scored the second flukiest goal of his career. (In case you missed it, this is his first one.) Talbot shot a long pop-up on net. It should have been a textbook glove save that even a middle schooler would have made. But in the ultimate of fails, Ward didn't manage to get his glove up high enough and instead tipped the puck as it came to him and actually helping the puck reach its destination. [Pens 2, Canes 1] Another good Friend, DayWalk3r, uploaded the video for us:

Everyone on the ice and on both benches and the Versus announcers were all stunned. My favorite part:
"That stands for 'Oh My God' right?"

In the final 30 seconds of the period, chaos exploded in front of Flower. When the dust settled, Geno was called for roughing. The Canes didn't score on their abbreviated power play.

Second Period
The Canes didn't score on the remainder of their power play, either. Geno got high sticked by Seidenberg. The first 30 seconds of the resulting power play was dominated by Eric Staal, who was a one-man wrecking crew, and he came dangerously close to getting the shorty. The Pens didn't score on their advantage. Versus reporter Christ Simpson interviewed Cowher in the stands. Not only did I not care what he had to say, but the full screen shot kept me from seeing what was happening as a penalty was assessed to Seidenberg for tripping Siddo.

To their credit, Versus did replay it for us - Kuni nailed Seidenberg hard into the boards. He lost his lid and maybe his temper too as he stuck his stick out and took our Captain down. Seconds into the power play, Larose got a breakaway after a terrible pass by Gonch was intercepted. Gonch backchecked him and ended up tripping him for the even up call. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4, and the Pens killed the remaining seconds on Gonch's penalty. Just seconds later, Siddo got the puck and lead the charge for a 3-on-1. He sent a nice little saucer pass over the lone Canes defender's stick to Guerin for the goal. [Pens 3, Canes 1]

The end of the period brought about a shooting frenzy from the Canes. Flower stood tall throughout it all, especially in the plays after two consecutive icing calls left the same five tired bunch of Penguins on the ice in front of him.

Third Period
Flower was a complete WALL in the third. He kept everything out. Adams took a penalty but the Canes didn't score on their advantage. Flower continued to see beach balls. A scary moment happened when Geno went to finish a check on Cole, but Cole was already falling, so Geno hit Cole in the head with his leg. Cole, who was on the receiving end of a literally neck-breaking hit from Orpik a few years ago (hence, the booing), went down hard. Officials and players alike could be heard screaming, "Eric, stay down!!!" until the Canes' trainers could come out to tend to him. He, fortunately, was okay and returned for his next shift on the ice.

Corvo was called for tripping Sid, and on the ensuing power play, Larose made a dirty move on Staal by poke checking his leg out from under him. He was called for tripping, and the Pens had 32 seconds with a 2 man advantage. The Pens didn't score while either man was in the box. With less than 3 minutes left in the game and their season, the Canes opened up, but Flower responded in kind. At the 2:11 mark, Ward was pulled in favor of the extra attacker. In the final 90 seconds, Siddo got the puck and went 2-on-1 with Adams. Sid passed the puck to Adams for the empty netter, effectively ending the game. [Pens 4, Canes 1] The clock ticked down and confirmed that THE PENS ARE HEADING FOR THE STANLEY CUP FINALS FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR!!!!!!!!

After NOT touching the Prince of Wales trophy last year and losing at the SCF, the Boys decided that this year, they'd give the hardware some love. (FYI - Mario touched the trophy in both 1991 and 1992... Not such a bad omen, eh???) ENJOY:

Now we just have to wait for the inevitable outcome of the Western Conference Finals. :) Many, MANY thanks go out to Friends Susan and DayWalk3r for their awesome contributions to tonight's post. :)

Can you believe this? This is just such an incredible feeling. We're going dancing with Lord Stanley again this year!! I am honestly at a loss for words to express how exhilarating this truly is. I will look for more great pictures of the Boys with the PoW trophy to post tomorrow. Until then,

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!