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Posts Tagged ‘Sidney Crosby’

NHL – 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs – Sidney Crosby’s legacy firmly established among the greats with second Stanley Cup win

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 13, 2016

Sure, Sidney Crosby has Olympic golds, numerous trophies and accolades. But his second Stanley Cup — and the way he won it — is what puts him firmly among the game’s elite.

Source: NHL – 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs – Sidney Crosby’s legacy firmly established among the greats with second Stanley Cup win

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Pens Fulfill Destiny with 4th Cup Title – 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins – Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 13, 2016

Pens Fulfill Destiny with 4th Cup Title

Source: Pens Fulfill Destiny with 4th Cup Title – 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins – Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage

 

My Penguins started the year off pretty roughly, but ended up having a great season and were the hottest team in the league in 2016. It was a great playoff run against superior competition with a rookie goalie and a number of injuries, but we prevailed and excelled, to win our fourth Stanley Cup and I’m so happy and so proud and I’m simply elated. I’m happy for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, as well as the few other remaining players from the 2009 Stanley Cup team, as well as the newer veterans and the young players we’ve been playing and our new rookie coach who has made such a difference for the team this year. This year has been remarkably like the 2009 Stanley Cup year and I was saying that three months ago to my wife. It just felt like destiny. I’m so happy. I’m happy for the team, for the managements and owners, for the fans and the city of Pittsburgh, and obviously for myself and my wife. I’ve been a fan since the early 1970s, when the team was fairly new, and my dad would take me downtown to watch the team play against brutal teams like Philly’s Broad Street Bullies. To a young kid, it was magical. I’ve been a fan ever since. I remember our first Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992, and of course losing the Stanley Cup in 2008 to Detroit and beating the same Detroit team the next year for our third Cup. This fourth might be the most special one because of all of the adversity we have faced, not only this year, but all of the previous years. It’s finally paid off. We finally have another Cup. This means everything. I’m so happy. Go Pens!

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A Review of Total Penguins

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 30, 2016

Total Penguins: The Definitive Encyclopedia of the Pittsburgh PenguinsTotal Penguins: The Definitive Encyclopedia of the Pittsburgh Penguins by Rick Buker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is without doubt the most comprehensive, well researched, exhaustive, thorough resource on any subject I have every encountered in my life, in this case, the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s most impressive. Admittedly, it’s for a niche market. It won’t appeal to that many people and I doubt it’s sold well. But if you’re a Penguins fan, like I am, it’s completely invaluable. I can’t imagine a more important book to add to your library and your knowledge of the team and its history.

The book is a literally hugely proportioned 720 page hardback with stories and a synopsis of each season, beginning with the first expansion season of 1967 through the book’s publication date of 2010. Fascinating stuff. I particularly appreciated learning about the early teams because even though my dad and I went to Penguins games at the Igloo in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, I was so young, I really don’t remember the players and didn’t start to pay attention to them until the early 1980s, by which time the team had been in existence for 15 years. So I missed out on a lot of the team’s early history and players. And with each team’s synopsis, there’s a team roster listing each player’s stats, including games played, goals, assists, points, for goalies, goals against average, etc.

The next section of the book is huge! It’s about 120 pages of player profiles for EVERY player who has ever worn a Penguins uniform, even if it was just for one game. That’s stunning research. That’s simply amazing. It’s got their stats and everything, just like on old time baseball cards you used to collect when you were a kid. It’s freaking awesome! There are simply hundreds of them! I really enjoyed this section, although it took a long time to get through. It was fascinating to see all of the players we’ve had over the years.

The next section was on the coaches and general managers. A little less exciting, yes, but still, we’ve had some good ones over the years and it was exciting to read about Bob Johnson, Herb Brooks (of US Olympic fame), Scotty Bowman (the all time winningest coach in NHL history), Craig Patrick, and other big names who worked for the Pens. And, yes, it was even interesting to read about all of the owners the Pens have had over the years, although it was depressing to see how many loser, broke owners we had until Mario Lemieux bought the team in the late 1990s and ultimately saved the team from bankruptcy, keeping the team in Pittsburgh, where it belonged.

The next section is on the Penguins Hall of Famers. Very fascinating. As of this book’s publication, 17 former Penguins had been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s safe to assume former Pen Jaromir Jagr will make it at some point in the near future and it’s also a safe bet that Sidney Crosby will likely make it down the road too. There are a couple of other current Pens who have the potential to make it if they keep playing to their level of competition. The articles on these players are really well written and quite fascinating and give you an inside look at some special players. Of course, some of the players here are, naturally, Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy, Joe Mullen, and Bryan Trottier (who played most of his career with the Islanders, truthfully). The next section is interesting, too, though, because it’s the Penguins Hall of Fame, I guess, for those who don’t make the NHL Hall of Fame. These are for those who make a significant career contribution to the club who the league didn’t think merited a lifetime achievement award of the big one. I didn’t know all of these players and it was interesting to read about them. Some include Syl Apps, one of Pittsburgh’s first stars in the early ’70s, Les Blinkley, our first goalie, Anthony Cagglano, our longtime locker room assistant, Jean Pronovost, another early ’70s star, Vincent Lascheid, our organist of 33 years, and Ulf Samuelsson, our “enforcer” on our great early Stanley Cup teams. Very cool.

The next section is a 90 page section called The Stanley Cup Playoffs. It has a synopsis of every playoff series and most games from every year in the Penguins’ existence. It’s beyond in depth! I mean, this goes above and beyond research, above and beyond dedication. This book was only $29. I think this book is easily worth $100. The author spent 17 years — SEVENTEEN YEARS! — putting this together! That’s half a lifetime for some people. That’s the ultimate in dedication. Surely that should be worth more than $29. Anyway, it was fascinating to read about all of our playoff games we’ve had and to relive some of those moments of glory and agony. It started with St. Louis, moved to Philly, then to the Islanders, then I believe the Caps and Rangers became our playoff nemesis’s for a very long time (still are). In our Stanley Cup wins in the early ’90s, we beat Minnesota and Chicago. In this past decade, we’ve had to go at it with the Caps again, the Rangers again, Detroit several times, playing them twice for the Stanley Cup, winning in 2009. Pretty interesting stuff.

The next section is called The Greatest Games and it is the best and worst games as picked by the author and also the games with the best fights, which I really enjoyed since I miss the old days of fighting in the NHL and am often annoyed that fighting in the NHL has largely been curtailed. I found it amazing to note that one year, back in the early ’90s, 11 Pens players had over 100 penalty minutes on the year. This year, our leader has 65. No one will end up with 100 or anywhere close to it. In the old days, it wasn’t uncommon for enforcers to wrack up 300-400 penalty minutes a year. Now, if a player gets even 150 in a year, he’s considered a mega-tough guy, maybe even dirty. What a joke! I’ve read what Gordie Howe and some of the older former hockey players have said about today’s game and while they admit today’s players are very talented, they think they’re babied and coddled and they’re scared to mix it up and the league has gotten scared to let their players get hurt, even though in the old days, players were charged with, get this, MURDER on ice (not that I’m encouraging that, but you get the picture), so that today’s players, while more talented than yesterday’s players, would probably get the shit beaten out of them thoroughly by yesterday’s players, literally. Who cares what the final score is? The oldies would probably still win. Good point, Gordie.

There is also a section on the arenas, which is somewhat interesting, but far less so than the other sections. There’s only so much you can do with that. There also another section on all acquisitions, sales, trades, and drafts, which is mind blowing, considering how many people you’re talking about over such a long period of time. It’s amazing how much research went into this book. There’s an additional section on other Pittsburgh hockey teams and I had no idea about this. There have been many, including an NHL team called the Pittsburgh Pirates back around 1925. But there were Pittsburgh hockey teams back in the late 1800s, believe it or not. Quite possibly the first semi-professional hockey teams in America with the first real hockey rinks. Teams came from all over North America (including Canada) to play the Pittsburgh teams. There was a minor league club called the Pittsburgh Hornets that played there from from 1936-1967 that went 770-705-174 and won three Calder Cups, including in their last year in existence. Apparently the fans there loved that team.

The last section is a very long 150+ page section on statistics, awards, and honors. It has about any statistic you could possibly think of, no matter how obscure. It’s unreal. The awards and honors are what you would expect, of course, but include minor ones as well, ones you’ve never heard of. But the stats just blow you away. The all time All-Star team Selections. The All-Star Game Selections. Individual and team playoff records. All-time playoff goaltending leaders. Shootout wins and losses. By game, date, winning goal, winning goalie, final score and more! Single game records in just about anything. It goes on and on. You could keep learning for months. It’s stunning.

So, this is an amazing book. My only complaint, and this is no fault of the author, is that since it was published in 2010, it’s a bit dated. It only has Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Letang, etc., stats through 2010. It’s 2016. I’d like to see where these players rank now in career standings! Back then Crosby was in the list of top ten scorers. Malkin was not. I know now Crosby is probably in the top five and Malkin is in the top ten easily. I also know that Fleury has surpassed Tom Barasso, my former favorite goalie, as the team’s all time winningest and winningest playoff goalie and I’d like to see that reflected in that stats. But until the publisher decides to come out with a new edition, that won’t happen. And frankly, I don’t see how the publisher could have made any money on this project. I’m sure they lost money. The book simply would have been too costly to make with too little revenue generated to recoup their expenses. So I don’t anticipate another edition any time soon, if ever, which disappoints me. So, that disclaimer said, this remains the greatest resource I have ever seen for anything. Obviously, it’s the greatest resource for anything related to the Pittsburgh Penguins, of course. Obviously, it’s a great hockey resource. There are tons of pictures and numerous stories of other teams, players, and coaches and their interactions with Penguins teams over the years, so even if you’re not the biggest Pens fan in the world, you still *might* find this interesting. Perhaps. But frankly, it’s for a niche market. To me, it was a gift from heaven. To me, this is just about the biggest five star book I can think of. To me, if you’re a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, there is no other book you should read before this one and I can’t recommend this book more strongly.

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A Review of J.R.

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 27, 2015

J.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in HockeyJ.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken, Fearless, and Hard-Hitting Man in Hockey by Jeremy Roenick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very enjoyable book to read, even if you’re not a huge fan of Jeremy Roenick. I gained a lot of respect for him as a player as a result of reading this. He obviously loves the game of hockey and played with a lot of passion. Over the course of his 20 year career, he became one of a very few American-born players to score more than 500 career goals. Pretty impressive.

Roenick grew up a hockey player. He was playing pee wee hockey at 10 and his parents were traveling to other states to take him to tournaments. He moved around a lot as a kid, mostly due to his father’s occupation, but as his hockey playing skills grew, his parents’ determination for him to succeed grew, so his dad did something totally bizarre. Rather than take a promotion to a warm weather city like Dallas or LA, he took an entry level demotion to move to Boston so his son could grow up entrenched in a hockey atmosphere, losing some 50% of his income in the process. Still, he must have been doing pretty well, because JR went to prep schools, where he dominated. So much that he got drafted by Chicago after his junior year of high school. He wasn’t even 160 pounds yet. Strangely, even though he wasn’t into academics, he decided to go to college and went to Boston College — for 15 minutes. Long enough to read the syllabus for a class and decide it wasn’t for him. So soon, he was NHL-bound. He played a year in the minors, but got called up to Chicago and scored. The rest is history. He had a tough coach, was surrounded by good players, was a tough player himself, could score a lot, was a fast skater, a scrapper, and excelled. He lasted eight years in Chicago before they shipped him off to Phoenix, where he stayed for five years. Then he went to Philly, where I think he was also there for about five years. L.A. for one abysmal year, then two years with San Jose, then retirement. Along the way, his body took a lot of punishment. Hundreds of stitches, many broken bones, most teeth busted. Abused. He also partied his ass off, even though he was married. Strangely the book evades the topic of groupies. Gee, I wonder why? LOL! He devotes a chapter to a gambling problem he had, which was pretty bad. He played a lot of pranks. He was the life of the party, an entertainer. When he retired, he didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he felt like he wanted to stay in front of the camera. So when NBC offered him his job as an analyst, he jumped for it. And I like watching him now. I think he’s very good. There’s a funny story in the book about a disagreement he and Mike Milbury had in the studio about a hit on Kris Letang which nearly brought them to blows. Speaking of Penguins stars, in the book’s first paragraph, JR calls out Sidney Crosby for not showing enough or proper leadership. Which I tend to agree with, and I’m a huge Pens fan.

This book isn’t the best autobiography I’ve ever read. There should have been more about the game of hockey itself and more hockey stories, with fewer party stories. But it’s still quite entertaining. One area of confusion. He goes out of his way to ensure you know he’s American, dammit! Yet the book is written in Canadian English (defencemen, cheque, etc). WTF? Whatever. I enjoyed it. If you like hockey, you probably will too. And even if you don’t like hockey, but you like a good story, this might be a good book for you. Recommended.

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Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh Penguins named NHL MVP for 2nd time – ESPN

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 25, 2014

Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh Penguins named NHL MVP for 2nd time – ESPN.

Yay Sid! Yay Pens! Stanley Cup next year, baby!!!

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Penguins Blew It!

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 14, 2014

So my Pittsburgh Penguins cemented their monumental meltdown last night by losing to the New York Rangers 2-1, thereby losing the series 4-3. A week ago, they were up 3-1 and poised to go on to the conference finals once again, but they just lost it and scored only three goals in their final three games. New York really outplayed them and out energized them the whole way and it’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing to see this happen — again. The Pens had a marvelous regular season and finished with a great record, like they have every year since at least 2008 when they went to the Stanley Cup, winning it in 2009. However, since then, they’ve blown it in the playoffs, losing to lower seeded teams each of the past four years. This was also the second time in four years they’ve blown a 3-1 series lead. That’s totally inexcusable. The last two years, a primary culprit for playoff losses was our once sterling goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury. But he had two shutouts in this series and had a decent playoffs, I think. The person I’m most pissed at is captain Sidney Crosby, widely considered to be the best player in the world and who will likely win the MVP of the league award. He’s always superb in the regular season, but got shut out by Boston in last year’s playoffs and scored only one goal in 13 playoff games this year. That indicates to me that he’s not a money player, that he can’t be counted on to be a clutch player at crunch time and that’s bitterly disappointing. The other former MVP on the team, Evgeni Malkin, had a decent playoffs with, I think, five goals, but he really wasn’t overly effective either when he needed to be. They both let the team down. Everyone says the coach is going to be fired. Here’s what I think needs to be done. The team has shown it’s got plenty of All Stars and lots of talent, but underachieves in the  playoffs every year. So tear the damn team apart and start over! Fire the coach and bring in someone who can get these guys to play their best when it counts. Here’s the big one — trade Crosby! That’s right, I said it. Do the unthinkable and give away the face of the franchise. Trade him for a top line goalie who will win us games like Boston’s Tuka Rask or the Ranger’s goalie, Lundquist. Trade him to the LA Kings for Jonathan Quick, who was America’s Olympics top goalie and he may be the best in the league. I’m sure the Kings would love to have a player like Crosby — who wouldn’t? He scores 100 points every year. Trade him and get Quick, a scoring center, and a number one draft pick. Then trade Fleury for another top line scorer and a good defenseman, maybe one who has a temper and is big enough to beat people up. Our top penalty man was Tanner Glass this year and he only had 83 penalty minutes. That’s embarrassing. Back in the 1970s, people got like 300 penalty minutes. That’s when men were men. Also, trade James Neal. He’s a former 40 goals scorer, an All Star, but he’s been worthless in the playoffs and just gets stupid penalties that hurt the team. He’s overrated. Trade him even up for another high scoring forward who can score in the playoffs when it counts. I’d also think about unloading Kris Letang. I know the Pens signed him to a five year, $56 million contract last year when he was a finalist for the Norris trophy, but his game really slipped this year and I think he lost us some games. Besides, we have at least four defensemen who are better than him defensively, which is what we need. There were many times during the playoffs when our defense wasn’t good enough. Bring in more high quality defenders, please. But I think the top priority has to be a Stanley Cup-caliber goalie. Get him, get proven playoff scorers, and take us back to the Cup. Please, Pens, do something. You’re going nowhere fast.

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A Review of Tales from the Pittsburgh Penguins Locker Room

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 1, 2014

Tales from the Pittsburgh Penguins Locker Room: A Collection of the Greatest Penguins Stories Ever ToldTales from the Pittsburgh Penguins Locker Room: A Collection of the Greatest Penguins Stories Ever Told by Joe Starkey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a longtime Pittsburgh Penguins fan, this was an awesome book to read! And I think it would be interesting for any hockey fan. However, if you’re not into hockey, this might not be the book for you.

The book starts out with the founding of the Penguins in 1967. Among the names considered for the team were the Shamrocks, Hornets, and Eskimos. However, the wife of one of the original investors chose “Penguins” and that’s what they became.

The first chapter is on the early years, namely 1967-1974. The first game was a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Their first rivalry was with the St. Louis Blues, although it soon became heated with the Philadelphia Flyers, a rivalry that continues to this day. The original hockey arena was called The Igloo, and I remember going there as a kid in the ’70s. It was a fun place to watch hockey.

The next chapter covers 1975-1983. The 1983-84 team was the worst ever, getting only 38 points on the season while using 48 players. The team declared bankruptcy in 1975. The book doesn’t say how they got out of it though. It describes a game that was played the night before Pittsburgh’s fourth Super Bowl win. It was against Edmonton and it erupted into a bench-clearing brawl. Eight players were ejected and the Pens were given 144 penalty minutes. That’s pretty cool. The 1970s Penguins may not have been all that good, but they could fight. The chapter also goes on to mention how the team’s colors were changed from sky blue to Pittsburgh black and gold in 1980, much to Boston’s displeasure. The chapter closes with a description of how the team might have flopped to get the worst record so they could draft superstar Mario Lemieux in 1984.

Mario was an instant hit and he scored a goal in his first game, on his first shift, with his first shot against Boston. And on to an incredible career. The chapter mentions how the Pens had gone 0-39-3 — 15 YEARS — without a win in Philly, only to finally get one in 1989. That’s crazy! Around the same time, Pittsburgh acquired awesome goaltender Tom Barrasso, who would go on to help the team win two Stanley Cups. I still remember him in goal. He was great. Meanwhile, going into 1990, Mario had scored a point or more in 46 straight games before a bad back injury forced him out of the lineup. That was disappointing. Another great Penguin was also acquired in the late ’80s — defenseman Paul Coffey. He would finish his career as one of the great scorers in the league. The pieces finally came together in 1990 when Pittsburgh drafted Jaromir Jagr, who would go on to also become on of the greatest scorers in league history. He and Lemieux made a formidable combination.

The next chapter covers the great Stanley Cup wins in 1991 and 1992 and several great subsequent seasons. The 1992-93 Pens had four 100 point scorers, which is amazing. This year, only Pen Sidney Crosby scored 100 points in the league. Four on one team in the same year. Amazing. Finally, in 1997, Mario retired due to terrible back problems and Hodgkins Disease. The 66 jersey was immediately retired. He was also elected to the Hall of Fame.

The following chapter covers 1997-2004, which were pretty lean years for the Pens. In fact, they went into bankruptcy once again and were only saved when Mario stepped in to buy the team. The next chapter is all about Sidney Crosby’s 2005 rookie year as the new savior of the franchise. He lived with Lemieux his rookie year. He scored his first goal in his first home game against Boston.

After the chapter on Crosby comes a chapter called “The Rising,” covering 2006-2008, when the Pens were putting the pieces together for another Stanley Cup run. They got Evgeni Malkin from Russia and he sure could score. Like Lemieux and Jagr before them, Crosby and Malkin would go on to become the most feared scoring pair in the NHL. Of course, Pittsburgh played Detroit for the Stanley Cup in 2008, losing in six games. However, the next year, both teams went at it again, with Pittsburgh winning its third Stanley Cup in seven games. I remember that series well. Nail biting, to say the least.

The final chapter covers 2010-2013, and it’s as good as the other chapters. Now it’s 2014 and the Pens are in the playoffs again and I really hope this year we can bring home a fourth Stanley Cup. Crosby and Malkin are no longer the kids they were in the previous ones and this team can’t last forever. It’s time for another.

This was a fun and quick book to read. My only complaint is the contents of the chapters aren’t linear, so that you get something that happened one year followed by something that happened four years before. It can be confusing at times. Still, excellent book and I strongly recommend it.

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Crosby scores 2 as Penguins bounce back

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 19, 2014

Dallas Stars vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Recap – March 18, 2014 – ESPN.

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Sidney Crosby lifts Penguins past Caps

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 11, 2014

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals – Recap – March 10, 2014 – ESPN.

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Sidney Crosby, Penguins stay hot, batter Rangers

Posted by Scott Holstad on January 4, 2014

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Recap – January 03, 2014 – ESPN.

We’re having a sweet season! Way to go Pens. I want another Stanley Cup so badly. It’s amazing we’ve been able to acquire the record we have with so many injuries we’ve had. Keep it up, Pens!!!

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