Wednesday, February 10, 2016

THE BULLPEN

     Happy Truck Day! To those of you not familiar with this term, today is the day that our Pittsburgh Pirates load up their truck with baseballs, bats, gloves and plenty of sunflower seeds and Double Bubble for the drive south to Bradenton, FLA. And today Mrs. Black-N-Gold will tell you why she looks forward to this joyous occasion. I shall call this essay "What Truck Day Means to Me".

                            WHAT TRUCK DAY MEANS TO ME


1)As Mrs. Black-N-Gold types these words, there is snow on the ground and freezing temperatures in the air in Western Pennsylvania. With Truck Day, there is a light at the end of the winter tunnel. Spring is just around the corner!

2)Once that truck makes it to Pirate City, pitchers and catchers will report shortly thereafter. It's a chance for players to get loosened up and start to knock the rust off. It's also an opportunity to become re-acquanited with teammates as well as a chance to get to know the new guys.

3)The official report date for pitchers and catcher is February 17 with their first workout on the 19th. From there, the report date for position players is the 22nd and first official workout is the 23rd. We're getting closer to Opening Day!

4)When the truck gets unloaded and all the players are assembled, everyone has a clean slate and teams are on an even plain. If someone had an off-year last season, all is forgotten. Just put in your work and begin anew.

5)With Opening Day just around the bend, hope springs eternal. So keep on truckin' and keep on BUCN all the way to the World Series.

Let's Go Bucs!!!!!






SLAP SHOTS

     Get in the fastlane, Grandma, the bingo game is ready to roll; it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins are on home ice tonight when they faceoff against the New York Strangers at Consol Energy Center. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)With Monday night's 6-2 defeat of the Ducks, the Pens moved into 3rd place in the Metro Division at 61 points. The Strangers are 2nd with 65 points. Keep the arrow pointing up! 2)The Pens have an opportunity to take advantage of New York's not-so-special teams. The Strangers power play is a punchless 15.9%, 28th in the league. The Pens penalty kill is 7th in the NHL at 83.5%. Kill 'em all! 3)The Pens power play has shot up to 9th overall at 20%. New York's penalty kill is ranked 26th at a 78.1% clip. Power up the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

     Start spreading the news! Mrs. Black-N-Gold has compiled her notes with what's new with our favorite Black-N-Gold teams, the Pens, Pirates and Steelers. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages, it's time for another edition of The Black-N-Gold News.

                                                       
                                       THE BLACK-N-GOLD NEWS

PENGUINS

Our Pens returned to the ice following last weekend's All-Star break. They made some roster moves to help along the way. The Pens re-called Fs Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. They also signed F Tom Sestito to a 1-year, 2-way contract.

A time-change was made for the Pens game versus Philly at Consol Energy Center for Sunday, April 3. The puck will now drop at 5pm, instead of 3pm. Make the necessary change to your schedule.

The NHL announced that Pens D Kris Letang was named 3rd Star for the month of January. Congrats to Tanger!

Another schedule change was made. The league announced that the Pens-Caps game that was postponed on January 24 is now re-scheduled for Tuesday, March 1 at 7:30.

The Pens first game back from the break was another W. They defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-5 on the strength of C Sidney Crosby's 9th career hat trick. The Pens did suffer a loss in that contest at C Eric Fehr left the game with a lower-body injury. He is expected to miss up to a month of action. Get well soon, Eric!

Another inury hit the Pens as they were preparing for a weekend swing through Florida. C Evgeni Malkin did not make the road trip due to a lower-body injury. Get well soon, Geno! In the meantime, the Pens called up C Oskar Sundqvist from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Pens promptly lost their meeting with Tampa Bay, 6-3. G Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled in the 2nd period.

Outdoor hockey is coming back to the 'Burgh. Word has gotten out that the Pens will host Philly in an outdoor matchup at Heinz Field in early 2017. It's speculated that this meeting will be part of the NHL's Stadium Series and not the Winter Classic.

The Pens did salvage a split on their Florida road trip, edging the Panthers on Saturday night in OT, 3-2. In that game, Sid recorded his 900th career point. Congrats on the milestone, Captain!

More honors for Sid as he was named the NHL's 1st Star of the Week. Sid recorded 5 goals and 8 total points for the week. Way to go, Sid!

#87 continued his torrid tear last night in the Pens 6-2 pasting of the Ducks. In that game, the Captain notched 4 more points to move into 5th place in the league in scoring. Also on the evening, F Carl Hagelin recorded his 1st goal for the Black-N-Gold.

Tomorrow night the Pens faceoff against their Metro division rivals, the New York Strangers, at Consol Energy Center. They're now in 3rd place with 61 points. The Strangers are in 2nd at 65. Time to move on up. Let's Go Pens!!!

PIRATES

Our Pirates continued their roster shuffling in the leadup to spring training. It's less than 2 weeks away, folks!

RH Yoervis Medina was outright to Triple A Indy.  Medina didn't even have time to pack his bags as he was traded to Philly for former 1st round pick, LH Jesse Biddle. Biddle will miss the entire 2016 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery that was peformed in October. To make room for Biddle on the 40-man roster, recently acquired RH AJ Schugel was designated for assignment. Schugel cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple A Indy. He will attend spring training as a non-roster invitee. Whew!

The Bucs recently welcomed a new man behind the mic for this season. Joe Block will replace the departed Tim Neverett who left for a gig in Boston. Block comes to Pittsburgh by way of Milwaukee. Welcome aboard, Joe!

Mrs. Black-N-Gold may be disappointed with the Bucs offseason but she's certainly looking forward to spring training and Opening Day. Hope springs eternal. Let's Go Bucs!!!!!

STEELERS

Mrs. Black-N-Gold double checked and triple checked her Black-N-Gold notes. There was no notable news from our Steelers this week. Many of the players, past and present, were busy making the media rounds this week in Santa Clara as part of the build up to Super Bowl 50.

There was some news involving some former Steelers as the NFL announced this year's inductees for the Hall of Fame. Former LB Kevin Greene will be enshrined. Also, former DB and defensive assistant Tony Dungy will be inducted. Dungy, who coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indy Colts, will enter as a head coach. Congrats to both gentlemen on the illustrious honor!

In the meantime, Mrs. Black-N-Gold is sure that the front office will be working feverishly in the coming weeks and months to make the necessary roster decisions as we draw closer to the draft. Make it a good one. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

SLAP SHOTS

     Mrs. Black-N-Gold is smiling like a butcher's dog 'cause it's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Our Pittsburgh Penguins return to home ice tonight at Consol Energy Center to faceoff against the Anaheim Ducks. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Ducks are 8-2-0 in their last 10. With Saturday night's come-from-behind 3-2 win in OT, the Pens are 6-2-2 in their last 10. Something's got to give. Sink the Ducks! 2)The Pens power play has risen all the way to 9th in the league with a 20.1% rate. The power play unit will have their work cut out for them as they face a Ducks team that is ranked 1st in the NHL on the penalty kill at 89.1%. Man-up! 3)The Ducks are 6th in the NHL in goals against, giving up an average of just 2.3 per game. The Pens will need to step up. They are 17th in the league in goals per game with a 2.6 average. Crank up the Crue and the Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

THE 50-YARD LINE

     It's the countdown to kickoff. Tonight is the 50th edition of the Super Bowl, coming to you live from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The Denver Broncos battle the Carolina Panthers. It could be Denver QB Peyton Manning's last roundup as he faces off against the league MVP, Carolina QB Cam Newton. If you're like Mrs. Black-N-Gold, you'd much rather see our Pittsburgh Steelers in this contest. But since you can't win them all, someone has to play. Today Mrs. Black-N-Gold will carefully and scientifically predict the outcome of this tilt.

MUSIC

Denver can lay claim to Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Yonder String Band and Sugarloaf. Mrs. Black-N-Gold has heard of all 3 bands but can only name 1 song between them, Sugarloaf's lone hit "Green-Eyed Lady".

Carolina has given us the Avett Brothers, Earl Scruggs and Corrosion of Conformity. That gives us a folk band, a bluegrass legend (who scores points for being on the Beverly Hillbillies way back when) and a metal band. Mrs. Black-N-Gold does have a COC CD amongst her collection. She loves the song "Clean My Wounds". Besides, while doing research for this article, she saw Corrosion of Conformity described as "stoner metal".

Advantage-Carolina

CELEBRITIES

Mrs. Black-N-Gold was able to find about a handful of celebrities that are fans of the Broncos. The list includes Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, political pundit Bill O'Reilly and comedian Roseanne. Of course, the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are fans, too.

There aren't many celebrity-Panthers fans out there. Mrs. Black-N-Gold certainly couldn't find many, only 2. Model/actress Brooklyn Decker is a big fan as is actress Marg Helgenberger.

Neither list seems very impressive.

Call it a push.

FOOD/BEVERAGE

The Denver area is famous for Rocky Mountain Oysters, the Denver omelet and Coors Beer. What a meal this would make.

The Carolinas have given us their famous vinegar-based BBQ, Pepsi, Hardee's, Krispy Kreme and Mt. Olive Pickles.

Even though Mrs. Black-N-Gold has never had Rocky Mountain Oysters, the mere mention of them makes her eyes water, not her mouth. I don't care how many Coors Lights you pour down her gullet. And she wouldn't even eat them after partaking in Colorado's other well-known delicacy, marijuana.
She'll take doughnuts and pop and pickles with some barbecue any day.

Advantage-Carolina

PARTY FAVORS

Of course, Denver scores big points in this category since Colorado has legalized the aforementioned Mary Jane.

The only tobacco that Mrs. Black-N-Gold has heard of that comes from the Carolinas is the kind that gives you cancer.

Advantage-Denver

The votes have been counted. Carolina has a slight 2-1 edge. So who does Mrs. Black-N-Gold think will win the game? Who cares. The Steelers aren't playing. As usual, Mrs. Black-N-Gold will spend the day watching Puppy Bowl. She's rooting for the rottweiler.

The Black-N-Gold will be back for Super Bowl 51. Let's Go Steelers!!!!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

SLAP SHOTS

     Eddie spaghetti, it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins wrap up their road trip tonight in FLA when they faceoff against the Florida Panthers in the 2nd of a back-to-back. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens look to rebound following last night's 6-3 defeat in Tampa Bay. In that game, G Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled midway through the 2nd period. In his last 2 starts since coming off the break, Flower has given up 9 goals on 37 shots. We need Flower Power! 2)C Sidney Crosby has continued his torrid run of late, finding the net again last night. Since December 26, the Captain leads the league with 15 goals. He's currently on a 9-game point streak that includes 9 goals and 6 assists. Lead the way, Captain! 3)Florida is 1st in the NHL in goals against, giving up an average of just 2.2 per game. Break out the Goals, Goals, Goals, baby! Let's Go Pens!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

SLAP SHOTS

     Great balls of fire, it's a great day for hockey! Our Pittsburgh Penguins take their show on the road to FLA this weekend. Tonight they play the first of a back-to-back when they faceoff against the Tampa Bay Lightning. These are your keys for tonight's game. 1)The Pens have won 4 straight. #5 would not be jive! 2)During this stretch, the Pens have put 17 goals on the board. Light up the Lightning with Goals, Goals, Goals! 3)Tampa Bay has not lost at home since the New Year. Time to put them in the loss column. Give 'em L! Let's Go Pens!!!