Thursday, January 31, 2013


"It's a great day for hockey"! That's the kind of attitude your Pittsburgh Penguins need to take into MSG tonight as they look to take a bite out of the Big Apple against the Strangers. These are your keys to the game. 1)The Pens have won 3 straight at MSG. Since home-ice advantage seems to be a disadvantage for the Pens, these days, scoop up as many road wins as you can. The Pens and Strangers both have 6 points in the standings. Knock 'em down a peg or two! 2)The Pens power play has gone 1 for 14 in their last 4 games. Why the puck are you standing around, passing the puck all over the place? Put the biscuit in the basket for crying out loud! 3)The Pens have lost 3 of the last 4 and been outscored 14-7. Time to start a winning streak, guys. Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Your Pittsburgh Penguins look for their first home win of the season tonight when they take on the Isles of Misfit Toys. These are your keys to tonight's game. 1)The Pens are looking to win fheir 14th out of the last 15 versus the Isles of Misfit Toys at home. We need the kind of D that we had Sunday night. Box 'em in like a Charlie in the Box! 2)The Pens have scored first in each of their first 5 games. Score early, score often, score BIG! 3)However, the Pens only have 5 goals in their past 3 games. Where is Motley Crue when you need them? Goals, Goals, Goals! For myself and the millions of fans watching at home tonight, I want to hear that crowd. Be proud and be LOUD! I can't hear you! Let's Go Pens!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Get in the fastlane, grandma, the bingo game is ready to roll! Your Pittsburgh Penguins are out to veto the Senators this afternoon in Ottawa. These are your keys to today's game. 1)You can't say that scoring is a problem. The Pens have 13 goals in their first 4 games. Put it on the net! 2)D stands for defense. It also stands for disappear, as in our defense has disappeared. The D has allowed 9 goals in the last 2 games. Let's not waste all of our goals. Tighten up, D! 3)The Pens are looking to get back in the win column and avoid a 3 game losing streak. The Flower is looking to rebound in goal today and start us a winning streak. The puck stops here! Let's Go Pens!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013


It's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins look to get back in the win column today as they try to ground the Jets in Winnipeg. These are your keys to the game. 1)The Pens are 35-4-1 when Geno and Sid score in the same game. True, that didn't work out for them against Toronto. But I'll take those odds and the 2 former MVPs any day of the week. Go Sid! Go Geno! 2)The Pens held Toronto to 1 of 8 on the power play. The special teamers are continuing to shine. Shine on! 3)I hope the Penguins like take out food because they're on the road for 6 of the next 9 games. The Winnipgeans are supposed to be a tough crowd. Get out of there with a win tonight and take this show on the road! Goals, Goals, Goals. Let's Go Pens!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! How long has it been since we could say that? Ok, there was the Black-N-White scrimmage of last week but this game counts. Your Pittsburgh Penguins look to win their home opener tonight versus the Toronto Maple Freaks. This is your keys to the game. 1)MVP Geno has at least one point over his last 10 regular season games, dating back to last season. Just wait till Geno and Sid start putting the biscuit in the basket! 2)A victory tonight would give the Pens a 3-0-0 start for the first time since 1994-1995. Come out swinging! 3)During their 2-0-0 start, the Pens turned 4 of 8 power plays and killed 8 out of 9 penalties. Those special teams are looking special! The Pens sit atop the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division with New Jersey. Sure it's unrealistic to think they can go 48-0, but we can dream, can't we? Go out there and score some Goals, Goals, Goals. Let's Go Pens!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Scratch my back with a hacksaw! Your Pittsburgh Penguins look to start the season 2-0 as they battle the NY Strangers tonight at MSG. This is your keys to the game. 1)Congrats to Pens' goalie Marc Andre Fleury for his franchise record 228th win yesterday. The Flower was the game's 3rd star as he recorded 26 saves on 27 shots. Good goaltending and good D are key to a fast start out of the gate. Stop the puck! 2)The Pens' power play was 2 of 3 while they shutout the Cryer's power play, 0 for 5. The special teams yesterday were quite special. Keep it up! 3)The Strangers started off their season yesterday with a loss, dropping one to the Bruins 3-1. The Pens are going for their 5th straight victory versus the Strangers. Let's see some Goals, Goals, Goals! #HockeyIsBack. Let's Go Pens!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


It's a great day for hockey! Your Pittsburgh Penguins, finally, begin their quest for the Cup. The puck drops in Philthedelphia this afternoon as the Pens faceoff against their interstate rivals, the Cryers. It's a chance to exact some revenge as the Pens try to wipe the the memories of their 1st round playoff exit from their minds and begin a new season. These are the keys to the game. 1)Don't get sucked into playing the Cryer's type of game Stick to the game plan. Play Penguins hockey! 2)There were 2 different Penguins' defenses in that Philly series last spring. One looked like swiss cheese, full of holes. The other was invisible. Wipe the slate clean and don't forget to play defense, too. Tighten up, D! 3)Reigning MVP Evgeni Malkin is already in mid-season form as he was tearing up the KHL. Captain Sidney Crosby hasn't played in real game action since last spring and is totally healthy for the first time in months. Here's a chance to get them both in gear. The Pens need to come out and start both today's game and the strike-shortened season, guns-a-blazin'. Finally, it's time to cue the Crue! Go out and score Goals, Goals, Goals! Let's Go Pens!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The puck drops in Philly in less than a week and Vegas has your Pittsburgh Penguins as the favorites to take home the Stanley Cup at 8-1. Sure, there are many questions surrounding the Pens but I feel that the same can be said for the rest of the NHL what with the shortened season and the abbreviated training camps. I believe that the shortened schedule can work to the Pens’ benefit. First of all, it’s given Sid even more time to get healthy and ready to roll. I’m sure he’s chomping at the bit to hit the ice. Second, Geno is looking for back-to-back MVP awards. He was able to sharpen his skills in the KHL, during the lockout. He ripped it up in his motherland so Geno is good to go, too. Third, the Flower is looking to put his recent playoff meltdowns behind him and Tomas Vokoun is ready to help push him towards greatness. Don’t forget to throw in the Real Deal, who is coming off of a 40-goal season. Mix in Brandon Sutter, who the Pens got in the Jordan Staal deal and is getting rave reviews. You also have up-and-comers like Beau Bennett and Simon Depres. With the plethora of defensemen that the Pens have, GM Ray Shero could make a move to beef up the offense even more.  Add this all up and throw in the extra time that Disco Dan and his coaching staff have had to tweak the penalty kill and power play units and it should equal out to a 4th Stanley Cup for our Penguins.  To quote Badger Bob “It’s a great day for hockey”. Let’s Go Pens!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013


Yes, hockey fans, it’s finally here. The deep freeze of the lockout is finally over and your Pittsburgh Penguins will be hitting the ice before you know it. We sure did miss our Boys of Winter. Now that the season is upon us, there are many hockey-related questions to be answered. We know that Sid is ecstatic to be returning to the ice. How will his health hold up? Considering it’s only going to be a 48-50 game season, there is less opportunity for injury. That’s good news. Geno was ripping up the KHL. Will he capitalize off of that and earn a second straight MVP? It’s rumored that the Pens will face off against the Philthedelphia Cryers in their first game back. Can they avenge their first-round loss and beat the snot out of the Cryers? If I remember correctly, the Pens were rebuffed when they pursued Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, and Shane Doan. The only significant signing, that I recall, was Tomas Vokoun as backup goalie. Will Vokoun be able to spell Flower and pick up some wins for us, in the process? How about the youngsters down on the farm in Wilkes-Barre? Have they grown enough that they’ll be able to blossom with the big club? I think the strike-shortened season can work to the Pens’ advantage. I’m going to go ahead and call it and say that the Pens will take their 4th Stanley Cup over the Nashville Preds in June. To quote Mike Lange, “Lord Stanley, Lord Stanley, pass me the brandy.” Let’s Go Pens!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


It didn't have to be this way, ya know. Your Pittsburgh Steelers had every chance to make the playoffs....It just wasn't meant to be. Some people point fingers at the coaches. Others blame the players. Sorry, folks. You win as a team, you lose as a team. This disappointing 8-8 season was a collective effort. After stewing about it for a week, it's time to break down what went wrong with the Steelers 2012 season and try and figure out the best possible way to get back on top. It sure beats watching the playoffs since there is no black-n-gold.

1)Coaching-I don't try to hide the fact that I'm not a huge fan of Coach Cliche. His inability to tell time and his habit of talking in circles is one of many reasons for this. However, I'm also a realist. I know that like Coach Chin and the Emperor before him, Tomlin will be around for the long haul. That said, he needs to find a new way to motivate his players. I fear that they're to the point where they've heard it all before and are just  not listening to him. Tomlin also has to realize that he can't keep plays in his pocket for future use. Play for today, not tomorrow. As far as his assistants go, we know that we're searching for a new offensive line coach. Will the search go out for others? Dick LeBeau has expressed an interest in staying. Todd Haley has an interview lined up with the Cardinals. And Amos Jones, the (not so)special teams coach has got to go. I hate to see anyone lose their job. Maybe he can work in some other capacity for the team. Perhaps as an administrative assistant or something. He sure as heck isn't a special teams coach, not with the multitudes of penalties that this unit had. Is Bobby April or Ron Zook available? If not, how about some youngster in the college ranks to light a fire under these guys? Oh, and while we're at it, we may want to look into a new strength/conditioning coach, if we even have one. Maybe that would help keep these guys in shape and out of the trainer's room. One more thing, I'm all for hiring a quality control coach. Someone that can tell time and count players. I'd like to throw my hat into the ring for this one.

2)Offense-When the Steelers started out 6-3, everyone was riding high on Haley's "dink and dunk", Ben was mentioned in the MVP conversation and it didn't seem to bother anyone that we still didn't have a consistent running game. Then....Boom! Ben has a horrible game and gets knocked out versus KC, the offensive line starts dropping like balls through our wide receivers hands and the running game is stuck in neutral. Whether or not Haley stays, there will still be alot of changes with this unit. Kiss Mendy and Wallace goodbye. Max Starks is also a free agent and Willie Colon rhymes with injury-prone. Jonathan Dwyer led the Steelers with 623 yards rushing, the lowest total since Merril Hoge had 610 in '91. I know this is a passing league and I believe the Steelers need to put the ball in Ben's hands, provided someone will catch it. What they need to do is get Ben healthy, keep the line healthy to keep Ben upright, and find someone to run the ball to take the pressure off of Ben. They'll need to address running back, wide receiver and quarterback in the draft. Yes, I said QB. It's time to find someone that can be groomed to replace Ben if/when the time comes. Leftwich is a free agent. Let him walk. Sorry, Charlie, you need to move on, too.

3)Defense-The D came on towards the end of the year. Cortez Allen and Keenan Lewis emerged as budding stars for the secondary. Troy and Harrison looked like they were, finally, getting healthy. Lawrence Timmons showed signs of why he was a first round pick. However, it was the D that gave up 4th quarter leads early on in the season. It was also the D that only had 10 picks for the season. That's tied for 3rd lowest total ever. Overall, the defense forced only 20 turnovers. Sure it was the #1 defense in the league. That doesn't mean anything if you can't create mistakes and opportunities. The defense may see alot more changes in the offseason. Can the Steelers find cap space to lock up Lewis? Have we seen the last of Troy, Harrison, Hampton, Keisel, and/or Foote? And has anyone seen LaMar Woodley? The Steelers need to look at both inside and outside linebackers as well as the secondary in the draft. Once they do this, they need to work on tackling and creating turnovers and getting to the quarterback. You know, get back to playing Steelers Football.

4)Special Teams-The only bright side of special teams this year was that Shaun "Squeeze 'Em" Suisham only missed 3 field goals all season. The downside was that 2 of them came in the Cincy game that knocked us out of playoff contention. I found rookie punter Drew Butler to be inconsistent. He needs to work on that. And of course, the special teams unit needs to learn that you can't hold on returns and not be penalized. Better get some special teams gunners to help these guys.....soon!

All in all, I don't think that the Steelers' window is closed yet. But they'd better hurry. Fix this thing before it becomes unfixable. Don't rely on free agency. The Steelers are known for drafting and developing their own players. They need to concentrate on the draft and get these players ready to go. Here we go Steelers!!!!!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

As the Black-N-Gold Turns

Is 2013 the year of the Rumor? You can tell when the Steelers don’t make the playoffs, the NHL is still locked out, and the Pirates are still, well, the Pirates that there’s not a lot on the black-n-gold front to report. Rumors are flying around the city more than snowflakes on a cold January day. It’s like As the Black-N-Gold Turns around here.

Will Todd Haley be fired by the Steelers or will he take a gig coaching the Cards?

Who will be the Steelers new O-Line coach and will the Steelers have other coaching positions to fill?

Will the NHL ever get back on the ice where they belong?
Will Sid fly the coop and take his game to Europe?

Will the Pirates continue to try and dump GI Jones and his salary?

Will the Pirates ever, actually, contend?

 These questions, and many more, probably won’t be answered on the next edition of As the Black-N-Gold Turns. However, special editions will be available as news develops. Someone please cue the organ music now. Too bad it’s not Vince Lascheid.

Happy New Year!