...randomness surrounding Guided by Voices, Robert Pollard, and other great indie rock bands; a quasi objective look at "my" sporting teams; the random horror film; plus other crap as we see fit...all with a Pittsburgh based feel.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Alain Nasreddine, Difference Maker

Desperate times call for desperate measures. With the slew of injuries the Pens have recently experienced, we needed someone to step up. Alain's +/- of 0 last night may be deceiving. It was #32's mere presence on the ice for 15 minutes that put the Pens over the top. At least that's how I saw it from the bar stool at Fred's. How could you argue any different? Ray Shero recalls Nasreddine on Monday...a day later, Winner.

As another wise man said last night at the bar with his slice of Police Station pizza: "We can cope with Crosby's injury, but it's the rest of these guys going down that kills us." Or something like that.

Not only is #87 out...Armstrong's sick, Kennedy's got mono, Scary Gary and Mark Eaton are out indefinitely, Fleury's still wearing a skirt, Adam Hall...I think he's got a groin of sorts. The games missed due to injury this year have been brutal. And the amount of unrecognizable dudes recalled from Wilkes-Barre has given us a Who's Who in the AHL look. So to get a win under those circumstances, on the road against a divisional opponent, after being down twice in the game...EVERYTHING.

I could just see Nasreddine and Nathan Smith (another call-up) in the locker room before the game, during Therrien's pre-game speech: "That's what were here for guys. We're here to win!"

*** side note: does referee Bill McCreary have a little Cliff Clavin from Cheers in him? ***

Christensen, Staal, Malone...way to step up, kids. I've been hard on Malone in the past, but the dude's been awesome all year. Major props to #12, and 2 huge goals last night. Christensen's been our best face-off guy all year, and is close to automatic in shootouts, but it's about time he buries one in regulation. And as bad as Staal's been this year, at least you can say he's played in every game of the season (I believe Malkin and Scuderi are the only others who match that). For the record, I'm not giving up on Staal...he just needs to hit the weights in the off-season.

Moving on...

Pens are back at it tonight in Atlanta, where we need to get some redemption against toolbox Mark Recchi. And w/ @ 30 games left in the season for most teams, it's not too early to start watching the scoreboard. Not that anyone out there is stupid or anything, but here's the short list of "Root For's" and "Root Against's" for the rest of the regular season:

Root Against, in order (these are relatively easy):
  1. The low class Flyers
  2. New Jersey
  3. Montreal
  4. Boston
  5. NY Rangers (as disappointing they've been, they could be scary in the playoffs)
  6. NY Islanders

The winner of the Atlantic is most likely assured the #2 seed, which in my opinion, is just as advantageous, if not better, than the #1 seed. Here's why: #7 or #8 in the 1st round...who cares. But if the seeds hold true in the Conference Semi's, then I would rather play the #3 seed (the Southeast winner), than anyone else. So, feel free to cheer on these squads against any of the above...

Root For:

  1. Western Conference teams (duh)
  2. Any Southeast Division team. Let Carolina run away with it...the best they'll do is a #3 seed. I doubt you'll see another SE team in the playoffs, so let the surging Caps, Atlanta, Fla, and Tampa scrap it out for an 8 seed spot.
  3. Toronto
  4. Buffalo
  5. Ottawa (see above. sounds crazy, but who cares if they get the #1 seed. let them take care of some of the above clubs along the way.)

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