Pittsburgh’s Mike Rupp Pulls Hat Trick as Penguins Top Rangers 5-2

The Steelers may be having a rough season, but the Keepers of the Cup Pittsburgh Penguins top the Atlantic Division with a 19-9 record. As of today, the Penguins have the most wins of any team in the NHL.

Well, that’s something. Hats off to Mike Rupp for his first career hat trick.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Mike Rupp got his first career hat trick and Sidney Crosby scored twice to lead the Penguins to a 5-2 victory against the New York Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden.

The victory was the Penguins’ first at the Garden since March 1, 2007

Read more here.

Penguins Strike Lightning, Improve to 7-1

It’s way too early in the hockey season, but the Pittsburgh Penguins are off to an incredible start. And I liked the headline from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette so much, I adapted it for Turning Left.

From the Post-Gazette:

The Penguins improved their record to 7-1 with a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at Mellon Arena.

That matches the club’s second-best record through eight games. The Penguins started 7-0-1 in 1995-96 and were 7-1 in 1986-87.

It was their first game after a 4-0 road trip.

The win gave coach Dan Bylsma his 25th regular-season win as an NHL head coach. He is 25-4-4 since taking over Feb. 15. That doesn’t include the Penguins’ run to the Stanley Cup last spring.

The Penguins opened a 1-0 lead at 4:57 of the first period when Bill Guerin, from below the left circle, swept in a rebound of a shot by Evgeni Malkin for a power-play goal. Malkin was playing in his 250th regular-season game.

A faceoff win by Sidney Crosby — who entered the game among the top 10 in the league by winning 62 percent of his draws — led to the Penguins’ second goal. He got the puck back to Brooks Orpik, who sent it across to Sergei Gonchar. Gonchar one-timed the puck from the right point past Lightning goaltender Antero Niittymaki at 17:10 of the first period.

Please read more here.

Pittsburgh Penguins Receive Stanley Cup Rings

Just look at all that gold.

Yes, that one ring could probably bail you out of your credit card debt.

Well, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins who received their Stanley Cup rings last night.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Penguins presented their championship rings in numerical order at a private dinner last night, which meant that captain Sidney Crosby had to wait and wait and wait for the serious bling that was to come. It was, of course, worth the time to place an ornament with the heft of a rock on his finger.

Crosby showed off the white and yellow gold band decorated with 167 diamonds, which was enough ice to replicate the surface at Mellon Arena.

“It’s a pretty nice ring,” Crosby said with classic understatement.

Rings were made for 52 players, coaches, staff and executives, and most were presented in person at a dinner at LeMont Restaurant on Mount Washington. The ceremony was held three days before the Penguins begin defense of their title, which team officials hoped would mark the end of the celebration and get the players in the proper frame of mind to begin another title journey.

Ironic that after four months on the ice, you get rewarded with more ice.

(Thanks to James Mendez for that last line.)

Go Pens!  The quest to defend the Cup begins Friday in Pittsburgh.

Sydney Crosby’s Groin Ready for Home Opener

Sorry, Syd.  Had to write that headline after reading this from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Center Sidney Crosby participated in the Penguins’ practice at Southpointe today with no apparent problem, and seems increasingly optimistic about playing in their season-opener Friday night against the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena.

Crosby said the injured groin he has been nursing for about a week “feels pretty good,” and that, “as long as everything stays the way it is, it should be good to go.”

I was even happier to read the team received their rings.

Penguins Dethrone Detroit, Raise Third Stanley Cup

Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins

In a frantic game 7, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings and brought the Stanley Cup back to Pittsburgh.  Final score: 2-1.

Sidney Crosby had to leave the second period with a yet undisclosed injury.  In the collision that took him from the ice, it appeared that he collapsed on Johan Franzen’s back.

Evgeni Malkin  led the playoffs with 36 points and earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP.

Crosby became the youngest captain of a championship team at 21 years old.  He currently resides with Penguin co-owner and Stanley Cup champion Mario Lemieux.  Interviewed after the game, Lemieux said Crosby could stay with him as long as he wished.

From the WTAE Pittsburgh:

Detroit’s reign is over and the Pittsburgh Penguins are the Stanley Cup champions for the first time since 1992 after winning a thrilling Game 7 in the Red Wings’ house.

After falling behind 2-0 and 3-2 in the series, the Pens completed their championship comeback with a 2-1 victory in the decisive game of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Max Talbot scored twice in the second period to give the Pens a 2-0 lead.

Pittsburgh played much of the second period without captain Sidney Crosby, who was checked by Johan Franzen as they chased a loose puck in the neutral zone, landed on Franzen’s back and appeared to injure his midsection or left leg.

The action went down to the last second, with Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury making two dynamic saves within the last 3 seconds to seal the victory.

It did appear that Detroit fans were booing when it came time to award the Cup.  Tsk. Tsk.  Pittsburgh applauded Detroit last year.

Pittsburgh succeeded in slowing down Detroit, forcing the Red Wings to play chess.

It’s a miracle on ice.  Pittsburgh wins the Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh Steelers Pick Up Biggest Ring Yet

steelers-super-bowl-ring-2009The Pittsburgh Steelers picked up their Super Bowl LXIII rings last night, and this is the biggest ring yet.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the story:

The Steelers’ Super Bowl ring keeps getting bigger, and Joe Greene, who picked up his sixth last night, could not decide which he likes more.

You have six kids, you love them all equally.

“There is no best,” Greene said.

The latest, which weighs in at 3.7 ounces and contains 63 diamonds that go 3.61 carats, is Greene’s and the Steelers’ biggest, by far, dwarfing their ring from Super Bowl XL.

Counting all the diamonds, it was another whiteout night across town in Pittsburgh.

“It is a beautiful ring,” said Greene, who earned four as a Hall of Fame defensive tackle for the Steelers and two more as a scout. “Beautiful, beautiful ring.”

Greene is one of five club employees who have earned six rings, including Dan Rooney and scout Bill Nunn. At one time, 22 players owned four Super Bowl rings, earned over six seasons in the 1970s.

Gotta love “Mean” Joe Greene.  I do, and I’m glad he’s still a part of the franchise.

Twenty-eight team members joined the “two ring” club.

The ceremony was supposed to last until 11 p.m., but Ben Roethlisberger left first:

Ben Roethlisberger was the first to emerge at 7:43 p.m., holding the large box with the large ring inside. He jumped into his Porsche and sped across town to Mellon Arena for the game.

That was the Penguins game at the Igloo, Stanley Cup game six.  The Penguins topped Detroit 2-1 and have tied the series at 3-3.  Friday night is do or die for each team.

As I write this, I’m wondering what I’ll be thinking six months from now as I look back on this post.  Two days hence, we’ll know who gets to keep the Stanley Cup for a year.  Six months down the road, and the Steelers will be well into the 2009 seasons, battling cold games in Pittsburgh.

Let’s go Pens! Take the cup!

And congratulations to the Steelers.

Live Blogging: Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh

Refresh this page for updates.

You can’t imagine how emotional for Pittsburgh fans to see Mario Lemieux on the ice for the ceremonial first drop of the puck.

FIRST PERIOD

So far, Pittsburgh is dominating possession.  A couple of shots, last one held by Osgood.

Play stops at 17:02.

Icing against Detroit at 16:14.

Icing again against Detroit. Pittsburgh wins faceoff and keeps it in zone for a while.

PITTSBURGH SCORES!!!!

Malkin to Talbot, flash past Osgood stick-side!!!

DETROIT SCORES.

Game tied at 1-1. Puck flies between Fleury’s legs.

Pittsburgh needs to regain possession and keep it.  Detroit with another steal.

Detroit gets first power play at 10:18.

Pittsburgh gets possession of puck in power play, then off sides.

Pittsburgh clears twice.

DETROIT SCORES ON POWER PLAY.

Pittsburgh gets next power play.

SCORES!!!

Game tied 2-2.

Penalty against Detroit.  Second power play for Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh with a few shots. Detroit clears.

END OF FIRST PERIOD. Game tied: 2-2.

Live Blogging: Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pittsburgh at Detroit

I’ll be live blogging during the first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Detroit Redwings.  The puck is about to drop.

I’m with Pittsburgh.

Detroit is playing aggressively, taking a few shots on goal, all stopped.

Osgood just stops an advance from Pittsburgh.

Detroit off sides at 18:27, play stops.

Pittsburgh needs to start playing the puck into their home area, not shooting all the way in.

This is not a friendly game.  Both teams very aggressive.

Another shot by Pittsburgh.  Osgood stops.

Pittsburgh has the puck at 13:55.

Pittsburgh is playing fierce hockey.  Even the neutral zone is not safe.

Detroit scores first goal.  Puck dribbled in from the back.

2:40 remaining in the first period.

Pittsburgh needs more control of the puck.  The first goal was lucky for Detroit, no doubt about that.

PITTSBURGH SCORES A REAL GOAL! Osgood flubs a shot from Malkin, puck dribbles out and Fetitenko slams it home.

Game tied.  End of first period.

INTERMISSION: NBC’s Pierre McGuire is so in love with Detroit it isn’t even funny.  The man takes every opportunity to talk up the Redwings over Pittsburgh.  Is he on the take?

Ready for the second period.  Shut up McGuire.

SECOND PERIOD ACTION

Puck out of play on a deflection, no penalty.

Slow play at in the first 2 minutes of the second period.  Teams sizing each other up.

There’s McGuire blabbing in his cozy seat between the two benches.  No helmet, though, so there’s still a chance…

Breakaway Malkin, but Osgood stops the shot.

Again, Penguins need to stop these damn shots from the blue line to behing the net, with no follow-up.

PITTSBURGH POWERPLAY

Detroit has cleared twice.  Pittsburgh needs to take a few shots now.

Detroit kills the powerplay.  Pittsburgh is doing too much thinking, not enough shooting.  But they’re playing excellent defense against Detroit.

PITTSBURGH POWERPLAY II

Pittsburgh needs to be aggressive on this powerplay.  A steal and shot by Detroit.  Detroit clears again with 1 minute left in the powerplay.

Powerplay ends.  Detroit back to full strength.  Pittsburgh keeps the puck in play.

Icing Detroit at 9:34.

The NHL Gamecenter has gone dark.  Good thing, too, because, you know, there’s a game and all.

DETROIT POWERPLAY I

Time for a short-handed Pittsburgh goal.  Two minutes.

Pittsburgh clears.

Both teams at full strength.

Pittsburgh shot saved by Osgood.  Hard shot, took some time for him to get control.  Pittsburgh is finally playing hungry.  Another shot on goal stopped by Osgood, but Pittsburgh’s getting closer.

Icing Pittsburgh.  Just over a minute left in the second period.  Game still tied.

Detroit scores with 57.4 seconds left.  Very aggressive play from Detroit.  Many, many shots on goal.

End of second period.  It’s close.  Detroit has the edge.  Pittsburgh needs to come out hungry.

In all honesty, Marc-Andre Fleury needs to step up.  He should have stopped both of Detroit’s goals.  They were not hard goals.

THIRD PERIOD PLAY

Icing call against Detroit.  Pens need to tie.

Fleury catches a shot.

Detroit scores again.  3-1.  Pittsburgh is getting sluggish, not paying attention.  That was a good goal.

Pittsburgh is NOT playing to the goal.  Too much fuss on the boards.  The game is NOT in the hits.

Close one on Osgood.  Pile-up in front of the net.  Puck lands on Osgood’s back and looks like Detroit players grab it, but no penalty.

Pittsburgh is spending too much time playing the boards and not enough time shooting at the net.  Puck won’t go in that way.

It’s time for Miroslav Satan to score.  Kid’s due.

Pittsburgh is simply unable to bring the puck into their own zone — or they’re not trying.  Just settling for those whimpy shots up the side, and those shots all go to Osgood.  Detroit enters their zone with a plan.

Let’s go, Pens.

Empty net.  Pens take some shots, but look sluggish.  Pens are trying to play a slow game, and Detroit is too fast.  Trouble is, Pittsburgh is fast too.  But not tonight.

Game over.  Detroit takes game one.