Note: We attempted to live blog this afternoon's game and experienced massive technical issues. The following is a running play-by-play account of what we intended to blog. We apologize for the mishap. We personally blame Gary Bettman. And Versus. And Josef Melichar.
You are reading live from Mellon Arena. We wimped out
today and actually paid to park near the arena today. It's not because it was
so cold out. We were running late because of this darn 2 p.m. start. We
struggle when we have to wake up before noon.
-The hats being given away. They're ugly but free:
-It's kind of sobering to think this could be the final time we see the Canucks in Mellon Arena. Obviously this is the next to final season at this arena and you would think the Penguins would travel to Vancouver next season. Assuming these two teams don't meet in a Stanley Cup final and these two are "wild cards" for each other next season (i.e. non-conference opponents chosen to play each other twice during the regular season), we might not ever see the Canucks on Mellon Arena's ice ever again.
-The Canucks will probably not miss the building considering they've gone 11-33-7 all-time in it.
-Somewhat appropiately, the early arrivers to the arena are greeted with the Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Snow:"
-Given our technical issues were weren't terribly motivated to find a lot of jerseys. And after seeing this foursome, anything else would pale in comparison:
-From left to right, that is Roberto Luongo, Todd Bertuzzi, Kirk McLean and Trevor Linden. Not literally mind you. Those are their jerseys. We suspect Luongo was on the ice warming up and not in the stands with three Canucks fans. For all we know, that might've been Bertuzzi, McLean and Linden. We can't independently account for their whereabouts.
-The concourse near B-22
-Dany Sabourin and Roberto Luongo are your starters in net.
-Mark Eaton and Marc-Andre Fleury are the Penguins' scratches.
-Sami Salo, Mike Brown and former Penguins defenseman Nolan Baumgartner are scratched for Vancouver.
-Someone other than Jeff Jimerson sings the national anthem. Their presence isn't worthy of our Flickr account.
19:35: Matt Cooke dumps Alexander Edler with a hip check along the boards and a near line brawl nearly breaks out as three fights go on at the same time. Jannik Hansen and Alex Burrows both jump Cooke. Brooks Orpik holds off Burrows and drops the gloves with him. Hansen and Cooke fight and Tyler Kennedy and Ryan Kesler kind of drop the gloves but don't really fight. Whoa. What a start to this game. Did we miss the memo about this being a rivalry? All six players are escorted to the penalty boxes. Hansen is escorted off the ice. It takes about 36 minutes to figure out the penalties. It takes public address announcer John Barbero nearly that long to announce the penalties. Cooke is then escorted off the ice. For what who knows. He can be seen walking down the ramp to his locker room and breaks his stick off a wall. Can't blame him. Cooke and Hansen are given game misconducts. We suppose that for being the Somehow, the Penguins end up with a power play. Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Petr Sykora , Philippe Boucher and Kris Letang are on for the power play.
18:35: Boucher directs a puck into the slot where Crosby directs it on net but hits the post. Luongo covers the rebound. Vancouver dodged a bullet there.
17:51: Alex Goligoski directs a pass onto the net but his shot goes wide.
17:23: Willie Mitchell hammers Sykora to the ice with a hit.
17:16: More penalties. Shane O'Brien and Maxime Talbot get matching minors. Four-on-four. The great Mike Zigomanis is chased out of the faceoff circle and that brings some booing.
16:12: Hal Gill hits Steve Bernier into the boards behind the Penguins' net.
15:06: Boucher snaps a wrister off at the point that gets deflected. Another Canucks player goes to the box. This time it's Daniel Sedin. On top of that, Luongo is now hurt. He's laying on the ice and is looking in pretty rough shape. Replays appear to show him kick his leg out for a save but perhaps injured a groin. That's a complete guess. He recovers to his feet but is helped off the ice. He's not putting any weight on his left leg. What a terrible start for Vancouver. This game has been really weird so far. Curtis Sanford comes into replace him. Sykora, Malkin, Crosby, Boucher and Kris Letang are on for the power play.
14:12: Malkin fires a slapper from the right point that Sanford kicks out.
13:39: Malkin feeds a pass into the slot for Crosby but the Penguins' captain can't quite get his stick on it.
12:49: Oh geez. Is Sanford hurt now? He covers a puck in the crease and is stunned for a bit. He recovers after a delay but he probably gave his bench a scare. We know there's some crazy rule about what a team can do when both its goaltenders get hurt but we're too scared to look it up right now.
11:58: Ruslan Fedotenko is sent off for slashing. Jordan Staal, the great Mike Zigomanis, Rob Scuderi and Gill take the ice.
11:31: After the puck goes out of play, Maxime Talbot and Pascal Dupuis join Scuderi and Gill on the ice.
9:38: Fedotenko's penalty expires without much of an attack from the Canucks.
8:41: Daniel Sedin fires a soft slapper from the left point. It hits a skate in front of the net and deflects wide.
8:21: Off a Vancouver turnover, Pascal Dupuis snaps a wrister off from the slot. Sanford eats it up.
7:45: Goligoski fires a slapper from the right point. Sanford kicks it out with his left leg.
7:04: Burrows fires a sneaky wrister off using Scuderi as a screen. Sabourin kicks it out. Kesler follows up on the rebound and Sabourin eats it up.
6:36: Crosby controls the puck behind Vancouver's net, spins away from Lawrence Nycholat and tries to jam it by Sanford. No dice.
6:14: From the top of the slot, Letang tosses a wrister on net high. Sanford traps it against his chest.
6:09: It's been a shooting gallery here for the Penguins. Miroslav Satan whips a wrister from the slot. Sanford eats it up.
5:40: Dupuis feeds a puck to Crosby in the crease and Crosby pushes it just wide.
5:13: Daniel Sedin pumps a slapper on net that Boucher blocks away.
4:52: Eric Godard pushes a shot just wide of the net.
4:21: Edler is called for delay of game. Sykora, Malkin, Crosby Bouher and Letang are on for the power play.
2:21: Edler's penalty expires without much of a threat from the Penguins.
1:55: A loose puck bounces around in the crease. Goligoski and Sabourin can't control it. Daniel Sedin appears to poke it under Sabourin for a goal. It's a garbage goal, but Vancouver will take it. Pavol Demitra gets credit for the goal. Daniel and Henrik Sedin get assists. Canucks 1-0.
0:00: End of period. Canucks 1, Penguins 0.
-The Penguins had a many opportunities there to control this game early but failed to do so. They had a few early power plays and saw perhaps the finest goaltender in the world leave this game. Give the Canucks credit for weather a rough first period and coming out with a lead.
-The Canucks have a 10-8 lead in shots.
-Burrows, Kesler, Mason Raymond, Demitra and Letang lead the game with two blocked shots each.
-The Penguins are dominating faceoffs, 16-6.
-Staal (5-for-5) and the great Mike Zigomanis (4-for-4) are perfect.
-Boucher leads the game with 9:18 of ice time.
-Mattias Ohlund leads the Canucks with 8:42.
-Boucher leads the game with three blocked shots.
-We did the intermission show with the fine Bob Grove and were able to sit in Mike Lange's booth. It was quite an honor. This is a poorly lit picture of the booth minus all the equipment we took after the game:
19:19: From the left point, Goligoski tosses a wild wrister that totally misses the net.
18:40: Goligoski corals a puck at the right point again and instead of shooting, he directs it towards Crosby in the slot. The puck is a bit off the mark and sails out of play. Attendance is announced as 17,040.
18:30: Gill trips Henrik Sedin. Two minutes. The great Mike Zigomanis, Staal, Scuderi and Boucher take the ice.
17:52: Scuderi hammers Kyle Wellwood with a nice check behind the Penguins' net.
16:53: Orpik smashes Henrik Sedin into the boards.
16:30: Gill's penalty expires without much of a threat from Vancouver.
15:23: Boucher ties up a Canucks player behind the net. No call.
14:58: Mason Raymond emerges with the puck from behind the net, spins and fires a wrister that is blocked.
14:42: O'Brien tosses a wrister into the slot. It hits a body and goes juuuust wide of the cage.
13:21: From the corner, Demitra directs the puck into the crease. Sabourin covers it.
13:13: Off a faceoff, Daniel Sedin collects the puck, winds his way through the defense and attacks the net. He's denied initially by Sabourin but pokes the rebound by the Penguins goaltender on the stick side. Henrik Sed get the only assist. Canucks 2-0.
12:57: After Sabourin collects a puck, Burrows give shims a snow shower. Gill takes exception and debates him on the Oxford Union Society. We think.
12:33: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
10:49: From the right point, Kris Letang blasts a slapper that hits a body in front and deflects wide.
10:14: The Penguins touch up for icing. They have yet to record a shot this period.
8:55: Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher" is played for Kiss Cam:
8:30: Talbot hammers Rob Davison in the corner.
8:24: Sykora tosses a puck into the slot from the side of cage. Sanford holds it out. Talbot digs for a rebound. Sanford says no. Some Canucks players take exception to Talbot persistence and shoo him away. That was the Penguins' first shot this period. Very poor.
8:10: The great Mike Zigomanis rips a big wrister from the slot. Sanford kicks it out.
8:17: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
6:52: Orpik fires a wrister from the right point that is deflected juuust wide of the cage.
4:52: Dupuis feeds a puck to Crosby in the slot but it just misses the mark. Crosby crashes into the cage and knocks Sanford down a bit but play continues.
3:33: Fedotenko tees up a slapper from the right wing. Mitchell blocks it.
3:15: Crosby spins and fires a wild backhander towards the net that his a body in front and deflects away.
2:41: Dupuis juuust avoids a big hit by Edler at the Canucks' blue line.
1:50: Tyler Kennedy works his way through the defense and tosses a backhander on net. Along the way, he is hooked by Edler. Two minutes. The Penguins could really use a goal here to swing the momentum. Crosby, Malkin, Sykora, Boucher and Goligoski are on for the power play.
1:09: As Vancouver clears the puck for the second time this power play, some fans begin to boo.
0:45: Sykora takes a pass in the slot and whips a backhander wide of the cage.
0:02: Staal blasts a puck from the right wing that his a body and deflects away.
0:00: End of period. Canucks 2, Penguins 0.
-That was a really weak period for the Penguins. They only mustered three shots.
-Vancouver has a 16-11 advantage in shots.
-Demitra leads the game with three shots.
-Letang leads the Penguins with two shots.
-The Penguins have a 21-18 edge in faceoffs.
-The great Mike Zigomanis is 5-for-7.
-Boucher leads the game with 17:24 of ice time.
-Ohlund leads Vancouver with 15:37.
-Boucher and Letang lead the game with three blocked shots.
-The Penguins will have 11 seconds of power play time to begin the period.
19:38: Just as the penalty expires the Penguins finally strike. On the left wing, Kennedy controls the puck, fakes a slapper and dishes it to the great Mike Zigomanis to the right of cage. Zigomanis tosses a wrister on net that beats Sanford. It's not exactly a great goals for Sanford to give up but the Penguins will take it. Kennedy and Goligoski get assists. They "Hey Song" is played. Barbero announces the goal scorere as "Mike! Zzzzzzziogmanis! "Canucks 2-1.
14:55: Not a lot has happened since the Penguins' goal. That's why we're bring up the "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!" chant.
14:44: Scuderi breaks up a pass from Daniel Sedin in the Penguins' zone with a fine poke check.
14:27: Malkin has a shot at an open net but chips it high over a prone Sanford and the the cage.
12:59: Kesler cruise into the offensive zone and rips a wrister from the slot that Sabourin eats up.
12:23: Staal zips a pass into the slot. Satan streaks down the slot and directs it juuust wide. The Penguins have missed the net quite a bit today.
11:34: Davison holds the puck behind his net for approximately eight seconds waiting for his teammates to set up. Penguins fans boo the delay.
10:59: Crosby spins and fires puck from the side of the cage. Sanford kicks it out. Ohlund tries to play it away but Crosby appears to slash him. No call. Ohlund responds by tackling Crosby. No call. "New" NHL?
9:43: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
8:55: Zigomanis crashes into Davison with a check in the corner.
8:49: Cotton Eyed Joe is busted out:
-We actually met that guy last week. He's an usher here at the arena now. He's unfortunately not allowed to dance in his current position.
6:35: Fedotenko dishes a pass into the slot from behind the cage. Sykora is there but can't get his stick on the puck.
6:00: Staal plays the puck into the crease where Sanford keeps it out. Staal appears a bit stunned after perhaps getting jabbed with a stick. He appeals to an official for some sort of penalty but no dice.
5:19: Kennedy comes up the left wing, pulls up and whips a big wrister towards the cage. It hits a body in front and deflects away.
4:31: Malkin controls the puck on the left wing, uses Davis on as a screen and fires a wrister that Sanford fights off.
4:07: The Canucks clear the puck. Orpik touches up for icing. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault calls time out to organize a paper football tournament. We think.
3:37: Kennedy has been the Penguins' best player on offense today. He's comes down the rig ht wing and tosses a wrister on net that Sanford fights off.
2:26: Boucher gets a pass at the right point tries to shoot but loses control of it. That was a missed opportunity there.
1:48: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
1:25: ‘LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
1:01: As Staal pushes a backhander on net that is shuffled away. Sabourin leaves the net for an extra attacker.
0:20: Talbot brings the puck up ice and is blasted with a crushing check by Ohlund. What a hit.
0:11: Demitra and Daniel Sedin come up ice on a two-on-one against Boucher, Sedin dishes it to Demitra who fires it into the net for one of us. Ohluand and Talbot get matching minors for roughing.
0:00: End of game. At the end of the game, the Great Mike Zigomanis and Shane O'Brien almost engage each other in a stick fight. Like Killer Carlson and Dr. Hook had in "Slap Shot." Wow. We've heard of those kinds of fights back in the "old days" but we've never seen one in person. Thankfully the officials step in to break it up immediately. O'Brien and Zigomanis each get major penalties for slashing and game misconducts. Canucks 3, Penguins 1.
-That was probably the Penguins' weakest effort since a 4-1 loss in Phoenix Oct. 30. They seemed just very unsure of each other on offense. There wasn't a lot of cohesion and they were just off.
-Give credit to the Canucks for playing an "early" game for them (It started at 11 a.m. PDT.) and dealing with a few early power plays to kill and the loss of Luongo. Lots of teams couldn't overcome all that and escape with a road win against a fairly hot team in the Penguins.
-Did anyone see Crosby or Malkin? They weren't quite invisible, but when Tyler Kennedy is more noticeable on offense, something is wrong.
-Sabourin was strong again, but it wasn't exactly his strongest game in his stint as Fleury's replacement.
-Sanford was dynamite considering the circumstances. He came in cold and manage to keep a fairly potent offense in check.
-This phD Line of Demitra and the Sedin twins looks legit. There were a lot of concerns about finding a replacement for Markus Naslund in Vancouver, especially after Mats Sundin turned down the Cancuks, offer of $20 million during the offseason, but Demitra showed today at least, he's more than capable of being a legit first-liner.
-That said, Canucks fans might be concerned by the fact those three were the only ones to record a point today. Some secondary scoring would be nice.
-This wasn't exactly an offensive extravaganza. Each team only recorded 19 shots.
-Demitra led the game with four.
-Malkin was tops with three.
-The Penguins had a 28-24 advantage in faceoffs.
-The great Mike Zigomanis was 8-for-12.
-Boucher led the game with 26:17 of ice time time.
-Ohlund led the game with 24:47.