Thursday, March 23, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Hallelujah Hollywood; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Ottawa tonight to faceoff against the Senators. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)With Tuesday night's 3-1 win over the Sabres, the Pens have won 3 in a row. They continue to lead the league in goals per game with a 3.5 average. During the streak, the Pens have put 13 pucks on the net. It's all about Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)The Pens lost another player Tuesday night when rookie F Jake Guentzel was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Get well soon, Jake. Next man up! 3)The Pens punched their ticket to the playoffs but at 46-17-9 with 100 points, they're still 1 point in back of Washington for the top spot. Normally, the President's Trophy is more ceremonial than anything (just ask the Caps) but it would be key for the Pens to win the top seed and let Washington & Columbus beat each other up in the 1st round. The March to Lord Stanley's Cup continues. Gimme a W! Let's Go Pens!!!!








Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THE BULLPEN

     On Friday, Mrs. Black-N-Gold & Brother Black-N-Gold are Florida-bound. We head on the road to Clearwater to watch our Pittsburgh Pirates battle the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field on Saturday (Mrs. Black-N-Gold refuses to give Bottom Dollar Bob anymore money until he puts it back into the team and not his pocket). To get ready for the trip and to get all of Black-N-Gold Nation ready for another season of baseball from the Pittsburgh Baseball Club, here are some things that we're looking forward to seeing on our journey (in no particular order).

1)The new outfield alignment of LF Gregory Polanco, CF Starling Marte and RF Andrew McCutchen. As Mrs. Black-N-Gold typed these words, she almost typed "CF" for Cutch. Oops! That will take some getting used to for both #22 and the fans. The New, Improved Outfield of Dreams!

2)Will UTIL Adam Frazier be SRod 2.0? Fraz has been working on his defense this offseason, looking to boast his value to the team. We already no what he can do atop the batting order based on last season's audition. Maybe manager Clint Hurdle can plug him into the lineup 4 to 5 times a week to spark the offense. Mrs. Black-N-Gold feels that Frazier can do for the Bucs what Josh Harrison did in his super-sub All-Star season of 2014.

3)It will be good to get a look at 1B Josh Bell and see where he is. Remember, he got a late start to spring training due to knee surgery. Has he caught up with his bat? And how's the defense over at 1B?

4)We know that RHs Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Ivan Nova are inked in as starters 1-3 for the rotation. How about #s 4 and 5? It looks like RH Chad Kuhl will be the 4th starter. Meanwhile, RHs Tyler Glasnow and Drew Hutchison and LH Steven Brault have been battling for the final spot. No one is running away with the job. Mrs. Black-N-Gold predicts that Glasnow will start the season in Indy to work on his off-speed stuff and control. It will come down to whether the Bucs want a lefty in the rotation (Brault) or whether Bottom Dollar Bob wants his $2 million man in the rotation (Hutch).

5)In years' past, the Bucco bullpen was a strength of the team. This year? Maybe not so much. LH Tony Watson, LH Antonio Bastardo and RH Jared Hughes have all had struggles this spring. All 3 are being counted on to bring stability to the 'pen. Watson will start the season as the closer but if he continues to wrestle with the role, what will happen?

 6)The battle for bench spots has heated up, especially with the emergence of 1B/OF Jose Osuna. The legal/visa issues for 3B Jung Ho Kang may open another spot on the bench. With the Buccos scheduled to start the season with an inter-league series at Boston, they'll need a DH in the lineup. Why not go with Osuna, the team leader in HRs & RBIs this spring?

7)Beach & Baseball!

     Mrs. Black-N-Gold will report back to you when she returns next week. The season is less than 2 weeks away. Play Ball! Let's Go Bucs!!!!!






Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     I'll be cow-kicked; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins shuffle off to Buffalo to faceoff against the Sabres tonight. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)Thanks to Sunday's 4-0 shutout of Florida, the Pens have won 2 in a row. If it's 3, it's for me! 2)During this mini-win-streak, the Pens have scored 10 goals. Keep rockin' the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)A win tonight will punch the Pens ticket to the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season. Next stop, Lord Stanley's! Let's Go Pens!!!!




Monday, March 20, 2017

THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

     Extra, extra, read all about it! The Black-N-Gold News is back in town. That's right, Black-N-Gold Nation, it's time, once again, for that internet sensation. Mrs. Black-N-Gold has all The News for you on our Pittsburgh Penguins, Pirates and Steelers.


                                     THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

PENGUINS

The March to the playoffs is well underway for our Penguins. Unfortunately, as the wins mount, so are the injuries. F Carl Hagelin was the latest member of the walking wounded. He is expected to miss approximately 4 weeks with a lower-body injury. Get well soon, Hags!

The Pens dropped their last game on the Western Canada portion of their road trip. However, they were able to get  point out of it when Calgary clipped them 4-3 in a shootout Monday night/Tuesday morning. Did they escape the Great White North with no more injuries? No such luck. D Mark Streit left the contest in Calgary with a lower-body injury. No word yet on the extent of said injury. Get well soon, Streit!

Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Hockey Team had to call in more reinforcements from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. They recalled F Josh Archibald from the Baby Pens. Speaking of Baby Pens, free agent Zach Aston-Reese was recently signed out of Northeastern, averaging more than a point a game during his NCAA career. He received a 2-way, entry-level contract and will join WB/S immediately. 

The Pens road trip ended with a thud. They were shutout, 4-0, in Philly Wednesday. They also may have lost D Ron Hainsey in the process. Yes, another player left the game due to injury. No word yet on his status. Get well soon, Hainsey!

The Pens must be getting healthy, though. They sent Archie & Sunny back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Thursday. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton-Pittsburgh connection continues, the Pens called up D Derrick Pouliot again.

Coach Sully announced that Hainesy is week-to-week. Meanwhile, C Evgeni Malkin missed Friday's game with an upper-body injury. Get well soon, Geno!

Friday night saw another game, another possible Pens injury. F Conor Sheary left the 6-4 win over New Jersey when he was hit in the face by a puck. No doubt about it, the Pens are having a run of tough luck. Sheary was able to return from the game and assist on C Sidney Crosby's 2nd goal of the game.

Sid and the Kids (Fs Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary) continued their hot play yesterday. Sid had a hat trick and his lieutenants assisted on all 3 goals en route to a 4-0 shutout of the Florida Panthers. G Marc-Andre Fleury notched the shutout.

The Pens are 45-17-9 with 99 points, 1 point behind both Washington and Columbus for the division lead. The Captain now leads the league with 80 points (along with some kid named McDavid) and 40 goals.

The Pens take their show on the road to Buffalo Tuesday night. A win on Tuesday punches the Pens ticket for the playoff for the 11th straight season. Let's Go Pens!!!!

PIRATES

Our Pirates made the first cuts of the spring. They assigned LH Cody Dickson, LH Tyler Eppler, C Jin-De Jhang and SS Kevin Newman to minor league camp. Our Favorite Black-N-Gold Baseball Team also optioned RHs Clay Holmes and Nick Kingham to Triple A Indy.

The Bucs made some more cuts when they optioned RH Dovydas Neverauskas and assigned OF Barrett Barnes and C Christian Kelley to minor league camp, too. They also optioned INF Chris Bostick to Triple A Indy & assigned INF Erich Weiss to minor league camp.

Still no word on 3B Jung Ho Kang and his visa issues. 

Opening Day is 2 weeks away. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

STEELERS

Free agency kicked off recently. Our Steelers have been entertaining some potential signees. They hosted former Jacksonville CB Davon House (while House was in the house on the South Side, he agreed to a deal with the Packers on his cell phone), former Buffalo WR Justin Hunter, former Packers LB Jayrone Elliott (who ultimately re-signed with Green Bay) and former Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower. No word yet on any signings from that group. Mrs. Black-N-Gold will continue to keep you abreast of the situation and let you know if/when our Favorite Black-N-Gold Football Team signs anyone. Hunter ended up inking a deal with the Steelers for 1 year.

The Steelers former 1st round pick, LB Jarvis Jones, has taken his talents to Steelers West. Jones signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals.


On the injury-front, RB Le'Veon Bell underwent core muscle surgery to repair the groin injury that was suffered during the playoffs. He may not be ready for OTAs but should be ready for training camp. Get well, Bell!

Now the Steelers get ready for the draft. The NFL will convene in Philly April 27-29. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!




Sunday, March 19, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Shave my legs with a rusty razor; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins faceoff against the Florida Panthers this afternoon in a matinee at PPG Paints Arena. These are your keys for today's game. 1)After Wednesday night's shutout, the Pens found the net and the win column Friday night with a 6-4 win over New Jersey. Goals, Goals, Goals, baby! 2)The Panthers boast the league's best penalty kill at 86%. The Pens power play is ranked 3rd at 22.5%. Take advantage of the man-advantage. Man-up! 3)The Pens continue to have the best home record in the NHL at 28-4-3. There's no place like home! Let's Go Pens!!!!


Friday, March 17, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Hop in the Cordoba, baby, we're going bowling; it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins continue the March to the playoffs tonight when they return to the home ice of PPG Paints Arena to faceoff against the New Jersey Devils. These are you keys for tonight's game. 1)With Wednesday night's 4-0 loss to Philly, the Pens have dropped 2 straight. Gimme a W! 2)Getting a goose egg is no good. Crank up the Crue and Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)Of course the shutout also means the Pens #3 ranked power play was shutout, as well, going 0 for 2. That just won't do. Take advantage of the man-advantage. Man-up! Lets Go Pens!!!!


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SLAP SHOTS

     Michael, Michael, motorcycle; it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins close out their road trip tonight when they phaceoff against the Flyers in Philly. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens suffered a 4-3 loss in a shootout with Calgary on Monday. But, hey, they come back east with 7 out of a possible 8 points on that Western Canada road trip. That's not a bad problem to have. Unfortunately, with D Mark Streit's injury in that game, they suffered yet another injury. Get healthy in a hurry! 2)Now, the Pens have one more game before they return home. That game is tonight on the other side of the state with their cross-state rivals. Need I remind you that we don't like them and they don't like us. The Flyers are sinking like a stone and falling further and further out of playoff contention. They'll be looking to take their anger out on the Pens tonight and try to knock us around.  Ph*ck Philly! 3)Philly is 24th in the NHL in goals against, allowing 2.9 per game. The Pens continue to power their way to the top of the standings in goals per game with a 3.5 average. Gimme, gimme, gimme Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!!