Saturday, November 22, 2014

SLAP SHOTS

Call Arnold Slick from Turtle Crick, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their  show on the road as they continue their home-and-home set tonight against the New York Islanders. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens look to re-group and get back in the win column following last night's shootout loss. Fire up the Goals, Goals, Goals! 2)The Pens are 7-1-1 on the road while the Isles are 5-2-0 on home ice. It's a Black-N-Gold home invasion! 3)Pens C Sidney Crosby was held scoreless in last night's tilt. Slap me silly & put it on the net, Sid! Let's Go Pens!!!



Friday, November 21, 2014

SLAP SHOTS

Great balls of fire, it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins are back on the home ice of Consol Energy Center tonight as they play the first game in a home-and-home series against the New York Islanders. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games, coming off a 4-0 shutout of Montreal on Tuesday night. Yes, the Pens have been flying high but received some bad news recently. It was announced that LW Pascal Dupuis would be out for at least 6 months with a blood clot on his lung. The Pens will not only miss Pascal on the ice but off it, as his presence has always been felt throughout the Pens locker room. It would be super to win it for Duper! 2)The Isles are 7-4-0 on the road. The Pens are 6-2-0 on their home ice. There's no place like home! 3)It will be a battle of high-powered offenses as the Isles are 3rd in the league with 3.1 goals per game. The Pens continue to lead the NHL at a 3.6 goals per game clip. Rock the Motley Crue with the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BLUES N'AT

     Christmas is coming and the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania has the perfect gift for the blues-lover in your life. "Blues From The Burgh 4" is their latest compilation CD.  It's a chance to hear the latest and greatest from the many talented blues artists Pittsburgh has to offer.

     There are many familiar names to blues fans in the Pittsburgh area such as Jill West and Blues Attack, The Rhythm Aces, and Billy the Kid and the Regulators. There are also some artists that are new to the "Blues From The Burgh" series such as Vince Agwada, Stevie Pete and Ruby Red and the Dirty Devils.

     No matter your taste in blues, this set has something for everyone, from scorching blues-rock to  slower, country-tinged blues and everything in between. There's fiery fretwork from some of the best guitarists around such as Billy the Kid, Vince Agwada, Gregg Krupa (Jill West and Blues Attack), Jimmy Adler and Cheryl Rinovato (Bottom Shelf Blues Band).

    Mrs. Black-N-Gold loves the entire collection but there are certain songs that stick with her. Vince Agawada's "Blindsided" attacks the senses with it's funk-rock-blues explosion. The pulse-pounding guitar keeps the heart rate up. Jimmy Adler Band's "Wild Imagination" evokes images of rockbilly-swing and makes you want to cut a rug. "Gypsy Blues" by Ruby Red and the Dirty Devils is a tune that Mrs. Black-N-Gold can't get out of her head, especially the catchy chorus. The closing number, "This Whiskey" by Leigh-Anne Yost is one of two "whiskey"-inflicted songs. It's a straight shot of the blues for you.

     It doesn't matter if you've been naughty or nice. If you're a fan of the Pittsburgh blues scene or  you want to introduce yourself or your loved ones to what's going down in western PA blues, the "Blues From The Burgh 4" CD is for you. Until next time, boys and girls. Keep It Bluesy!




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

50-YARD LINE

     Put another one in the win column for the Steelers. As has been the norm during much of the Tomlin-era, it wasn't pretty but it was a win. Now that Mrs. Black-N-Gold has gotten a good night's sleep, she brings you the Good, the Bad & the Ugly from Monday's 27-24 victory over Tennessee.

Good-It looked good when the Steelers jumped out to an early 10-0 lead. Mrs. Black-N-Gold was starting to believe that the Steelers were awakening from the slumber of last week's loss to the Jets. Alas, it wasn't meant to be, not immediately, anyway. The Steelers allowed themselves to be outplayed by Titans rookie QB Zach Mettenberger for much of the game, going down 24-13 to start the 4th quarter. Thanks for RB Le'Veon Bell's beastly performance, 204 yards on 33 carries with 1 touchdown, the Steelers were able to pull off the win. Kudos to the offensive line, too. Although they allowed the Tennesse D to sack Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger 5 times and batter him most of the evening, they did pave the way for Bell's breakout performance, clearing holes so Bell could pick up at least 10 yards 8 times, and average 6 yards per carry. Yes, game ball goes to Le'Veon Bell and the O-Line and offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Give an honorable mention to Da Beard, DE Brett Keisel. During his sabbatical from the Steelers #99 found the fountain of youth. He's helped keep the defense going when the youngsters seem to peter out. Keisel had 2 pass deflections and a QB hit. Keeping it old school!

Bad-When you're down by 11 to a 2-7 team and their rookie QB, I don't care if you do win the game, there is definitely some bad going on, too. As good as the offensive line was in the running game, they were just as bad on passing downs, giving up 8 QB hits to go with the 5 sacks. And apart from WR Antonio Brown and TE Heath Miller, the receivers pretty much disappeared. Rookie WR Martavis Bryant, a touchdown machine since his insertion into the lineup, proved why he sat out the early part of the season, allowing 2 touchdown passes to slip through his hands. Ben didn't help matters when he threw an interception in the endzone towards the end of the 1st half. That pick setup the 80 yard touchdown pass from Mettenberger to former Steelers WR Nate Washington that put the Titans up 17-13 at the half. The defense let Mettenberger pick them apart for most of the game. Give the D credit though. They held up when they had to late in the game to help secure the win.

Ugly-This portion was going to be a tossup. RB LeGarrette Blount's unprofessional behavior of Monday night was extremely ugly. Pouting and leaving the field before the end of a game is not a good example of a model teammate. If you're not a team player, you don't belong on the team. Obviously, Coach Tomlin and the Steelers felt the same way as they sent the disgruntled Blount packing yesterday afternoon. Now this week's "Ugly" award goes to Dri Archer. Ok, maybe it's not the rookie's fault. Let's fault whoever the genius was that stretched to draft this kid. Was it GM Kevin Colbert? Tomlin? OC Todd Haley? Did we learn nothing from the Chris Rainey Experience of a few seasons ago? If the Steelers really think Archer can turn into an exceptional ballplayer, why not try hiding him on the practice squad where he can get some seasoning? Sorry, Archer looks like a wasted draft pick and a waste of time. Better do something about that and soon.

     The schedule makers have given the Steelers a bye this week as they get ready for a visit from the New Orleans Saints on November 30. Time to rest up, heal up and find some depth at running back. The Steelers did fill Blount's roster spot by signing rookie RB Josh Harris from the practice squad. They may not be done making moves before their next game.

     Meanwhile, let's look at the standings in the AFC North. Cincy is on top at 6-3-1 following their win over NOLA. The Steelers are on their heels with a 7-4 mark. The Baltimorons won and Cleveland lost, putting them both at 6-4.

     There's more work to be done and 2 weeks to get ready. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

SLAP SHOTS

Scratch my back with a hacksaw, it's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to Montreal as they faceoff against the Canadiens. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)Montreal has won 6 straight. The Pens have won 2 in a row. If it's 3, it's for me! 2)Montreal is on top of the Atlantic division in the Eastern Conference with 29 points. The Pens sit atop the Metropolitan division with 25 points. Fire up some Motley Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)During Montreal's winning streak, they've given up just 1 goal or less 5 times. They'll have their hands full with the Pens who lead the league in goals per game at 3.6. Score early, score often, score BIG! Let's Go Pens!!!


Monday, November 17, 2014

50-YARD LINE

Are you ready for some football? Your Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Nashville tonight to do battle with the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Steelers have fallen behind in the 1st quarter in 8 of their last 9 games. Coach Tomlin needs to quit acting like Wil E. Coyote and stop trying to outsmart the opponent. Every time he does that it blows up in the Steelers' faces. Put the ball in Ben's hands and get it to your playmakers. Dare the Titans to stop the high-powered offense of a few weeks ago. Move the ball downfield, not sideways. Score early, score often, score BIG! 2)Tennessee will start rookie Zach Mettenberger at quarterback. Since Dick LeBeau's return as defensive coordinator in 2004, the Steelers are 18-2 versus rookie QBs. Hit 'em early, hit 'em often, hit 'em HARD! 3)The Steelers have a chance to move up in the AFC North. Although Cincy won yesterday, the Baltimorons had a bye and Cleveland lost. A win going into the bye would be music to my ears. Hit the right notes in the Music City! Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

THE BULLPEN

     The Dark Knight Returns......Batman is coming back to the 'Burgh. No, Christian Bale and company aren't filming another Batman flick in the Steel City. So why all the hoopla? It's because your Pittsburgh Pirates have inked RH AJ Burnett to a 1-year deal for $8.5 million. Can you say "Never say never"? AJ is ready to finish his career with one last hurrah with the Pirates. Bad move or good move? Mrs. Black-N-Gold takes a look....

     Bad move-Well, of course, there is the age thing. AJ isn't getting any younger. He will be 38 years old on Opening Day. AJ's record of 8-18 gave him the most losses in the Majors last season. His 4.59 ERA and 1.41 WHIP were contributing factors in all those losses. He also led MLB with 96 walks issued, averaging 4 BB/9.

      Good move-Well for starters, in 2013 AJ became the first Pirates righthander to record over 200 strikeouts in a season with 209. In 2012 he became the first Pirates pitcher since Todd Ritchie in 1999 to win at least 15 games, going 16-10. In 2012 and 2013 AJ finished with an ERA under 4. He hadn't gone a season under that mark since 2007. At age 37, AJ was still able to log 200+ innings for Philly last year. With a hernia. He's since undergone surgery and is expected to receive a clean bill of health when the Pirates' doctors give him his physical. He's also a fiery competitor that was well-liked in the Pirates clubhouse. Oh, and one more thing....He turned down a $12.75 million option with Philly to have his manager negotiate exclusively with the Pirates. How often do you hear that in the world of sports?

       How does Mrs. Black-N-Gold feel about the move. I guess, "cautiously optimistic" would be the best term. There are still too many unanswered questions: Is it safe to assume that AJ and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle have mended fences since AJ's blowup for not pitching Game 5 of the NLDS in 2013? Was AJ's record last year more of a product of the band box that is Citizen's Bank Park and the fact that Philly played dreadful baseball last year? With AJ's signing and the trade of LH Justin Wilson to the Yanks for C Francisco Cervelli, are the Pirates done for the offseason? They still need a #2 starter (sorry, AJ, that's just not you anymore) and bullpen help. They also have to find depth on the bench and an everyday first baseman. If AJ could talk LH Francisco Liriano and C Russell Martin into coming back, the band would be back together again. Otherwise, continue to work those phones, GM Neal Huntington.

      Some consider AJ's signing a bone thrown to the fans by the Pirates organization to placate fandom's disapproval when Russell Martin signs elsewhere. If you're a glass half-full kind of person, it could be interpreted as the Pirates trying to bring a World Championship back to Pittsburgh. Only time will tell. 140 days until Opening Day. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!