Here’s To Old Lady Mellon

Well, tonight is the Pittsburgh Penguin’s first game of the season and the last home opener in Mellon Arena history. Next year they will be in the bigger, better place. Tonight, though, the leaky old “Civic Arena” is new again, at least for a night.

Whether or not you follow hockey, this was a pretty cool video filled with memories of Mellon Arena. Pretty cool song too.

Exterminate!

Let’s lead with something fun today. This one is via Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing. It’s a family made Doctor Who video featuring sound effects and Daleks. It’s pretty cute. Stick around for the “regeneration”.

On to other things. I’ve been editing the chapter with the suggestions from my critique group. Reading over that has been interesting. I’ve come across some pretty brutal, hacky stuff. I’m going to work hard on these edits and send it out to the group again, just to redeem myself. *sigh*

On the exercise front, I have my first ice hockey game of the season Sunday. I’m looking forward to playing again. I hope to build on my success from the end of last season. I’m not looking forward to being sore Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, though. I haven’t skated in three months, so it’s going to be brutal.

Any plans for you this weekend?

Bye Bye Beard

Image via NHL.com

Take a look at that picture. The Penguins were that close to tying the game last night. You can see the puck right on the post on the left of that image. If you look at the scoreboard it says 0 seconds remaining and the score Red Wings 3, Penguins 2. This amazing season is finally over.

It was a pretty good game.  I could tell, though, that the guys were tired from that grueling three overtime game on Monday.  Still, they gave all they had as always and it almost paid off.  They  will be back next year, although  they certainly won’t be able to afford to keep everyone.  I feel that even the guys that leave will look back on this season and this team with affection, once the sting of the loss goes away.

As soon as the game was over I marched upstairs and shaved off the beard.  My wife was sad they lost but happy the beard is gone.  My face feels weird right now, and somehow smaller.  It’s very odd.

We did take some pictures last night, one last beard picture, one of me with just a moustache, and some ones clean shaven.  Maybe I’ll post one of two of them.  We’ll see.

So, going forward, look for more post here about writing and my ongoing struggles there.  I hope I didn’t lose too many of you with these hockey posts.  They were a lot of fun for me to write and hopefully at least a little entertaining to all of you.

Bear with me now as I go into a corner and cry.

Three Overtimes – About That Game

Sorry about all these hockey posts lately, but that’s what’s going on in my life. Also, I want to remember some of this stuff. I swear I’ll get back to writing about writing next week. Still, even if you don’t like sports you may still enjoy this post.

Anyhow, about that game. The game ended around 12:50 last night and I wasn’t able to fall asleep until around 2:00 AM. I woke at 6:30 AM so I’m a bit sleepy today. Let me backtrack a bit.

I had my first softball game of the season last night, so I missed the start of the game (I played absolutely brutal, by the way. Let’s not talk about that.). By the time I was able to start watching, the Penguins were ahead 2-0. I wasn’t confident at all in that score and my worries were proven justified when the Red Wings took a 3-2 lead late in the last period. Their best offensive defenseman (Gonchar) got injured in the second period and one of their players who had just broken his nose in a game last week, Ryan Malone, was hit in the nose with a puck. Things were looking bleak.

I left my bedroom at this point, put on a backwards ballcap for good luck(rally cap) and went downstairs. It was at this point I made sure my game watching partner was comfortable and able to see the game. Here’s a picture of him (I gave him a book to read too, in case he got too nervous):

With my partner, Lucky Bear, ready, I watched the rest of the game, with thoughts of shaving my beard in my mind. The Penguins couldn’t get anything going. With two minutes remaining in their season, the Penguins looked resigned to lose the game. NBC showed a picture of the Stanley Cup being prepared to be presented to the Red Wings. They also showed video of all the Stanley Cup banners they had previously won. I wanted to punch the television.

With a minute or so remaining, the Penguins pulled their goalie and brought on an extra skater. Miraculously, with 30 seconds remaining they scored a goal to tie the game and send it to overtime and send me jumping around my living room like a silly person. Here’s some video of the goal (look around the 1 minute mark):

The first overtime was a blur. I originally was just happy they made a good showing of things and would’ve been fine if they lost. The Red Wings were getting such good chances that it looked like it was inevitable the Penguins would lose. The Penguins goalie, a young man only 23 year old, had other ideas and played what may be considered one of the best games of any goalie in Stanley Cup history. He kept the team alive.

Things improved in the second overtime. The Penguins had some really good chances and so did the Red Wings. Lucky Bear was starting to get tired from all of his Care Bear stares. The players were tired but you really couldn’t tell watching them even though they had played 40 more minutes than they should.

In the third overtime, sometime after midnight, my wife called down to me wondering why I wasn’t asleep yet. I told her the game was still going on. She came down with me and sat on the couch beside Lucky Bear, making sure he still had his pillow and book.

One of the announcers said one of the Penguins players, Peter Sykora, jokingly told him he was going to score to finish the game. Well, one of the Penguins got hit in the face with a stick which meant they would get a powerplay (meaning they got to play with 5 players and Detroit only got 4). Wouldn’t you know it that at 12:45 AM or so Peter Sykora took a shot from the right side and won it for the Penguins. Also on the ice was Gonchar, who hadn’t played for two periods due to his injured back.

My wife and I hugged and did our high fives. Lucky Bear collapsed with a smile from exhaustion from all his Care Bear stares. It will be a night we will all remember. The beard will last another couple days as they will now play a Game 6 in Pittsburgh, their season extended at least one more game.

My wife took a picture of me just after the game was over (you can see it on the TV in the background). Notice I’m still wearing my softball jersey from earlier in the day.

Everyone at work asked me about the game today as I’m the resident hockey guru. I told them I was tired but happy.

When I checked my email this morning I had a note from my mom, telling me she had read my blog last night and had played the Miracle video from my post just as the Penguins tied the game in the third period. Amazing!

Anyhow, I don’t know what will happen when they play tomorrow. Maybe they will win, maybe they will lose. Either way, they will have played with dignity and heart, and that’s all you can ask.

Penguins Down 3 Games to 1

Well, the hockey situation has gone from troubled to dire. The Penguins lost Saturday night 2-1, and are now down three games to one in the best of seven series. If they lose again, their season is over. Very few teams have ever come from so far behind to win the Stanley Cup. Time to bring in the big guns.

Here are the Big Guns:

That’s right. I’m calling on all you Care Bears out there to point your little bellies in the direction of the Pittsburgh Penguins and give them a dose of the most powerful weapon known to man: The Care Bear Stare. The Pens could use a good boost of love and good cheer right about now. Remember when I defended you in the Care Bears vs Smurfs debate? Well, I need you to return the favor for me. Deal?

For those of you not familiar with the Care Bear Stare, here’s some video evidence of its awesome power:

If that isn’t inspirational enough, here’s the pre-game speech from the hockey movie Miracle. I get goose-bumps every time (the coach portrayed here, Herb Brooks, coached the Penguins one season in the 90’s).

LETS GO PENS!

Success!

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Frank Gunn)

Well, whatever you all did yesterday, do again Saturday because the Penguins won last night 3-2! It was an absolutely amazing, hard-hitting, exciting hockey game, and my stomach still hasn’t calmed down a bit. It was intense. If you care about the details, Empty Netters is a fun, entertaining blog done by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (and cool to look at even if only for the pictures of “vintage jerseys”). Thanks to everyone for the vibes. The series will now go at least two more games, which means the playoff beard has at least five more days of life 🙂

Now, I don’t want to put too much emphasis on this sports thing. I’m not someone who “lives” for the games, or gets in a bad mood when the team loses (maybe I was like that when I was much younger). I know I’m not part of the team and “we” didn’t win. However, when you watch a team through the good times and the bad, it’s nice to see them succeed.

OK, totally unrelated to hockey, I saw this amazing video the other day and had to share. It’s from a television show I don’t watch called So You Think You Can Dance. You have to watch it. It’s quite amazing. This dude can clearly dance!

Luck Needed

Source

I need some luck. Well, I don’t really need luck. Rather, the Pittsburgh Penguins need some luck. They are down two games to none to the Detroit Red Wings and have yet to score a goal. The teams play tonight in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins lose tonight the math will be severely against them.

Here’s where I need all of you. The Pens need all the good vibes they can get. I’m doing my part with the beard and all. It isn’t enough. Tonight, around 8:00 PM (eastern), rub your lucky rabbit’s foot, break a wishbone, put on the lucky socks, eat some chicken parm, or whatever you do for good luck and think of the Penguins. They need all the help then can get.

Tell me about your good luck superstitions? Do you really believe they work?

Besides, the Penguins are the underdogs in the series, the youth against the more experienced Red Wings.  I read an article today that called the Red Wings style of play machine-like and joyless.  Meanwhile, the Penguins style is full of speed and energy.  Honestly, who would you rather win?

Also, be sure to check out my post yesterday with my waterstones story and tell me what you think. Pretty please? 🙂

My Day of Celebrity

I felt like a celebrity yesterday. First of all, I was reading my favorite weekly hockey column by John Buccigross on ESPN.com and saw my name! I had completely forgotten I had entered a caption for his “Shot of the Week” feature and he had picked mine as one of the best. It’s the little things like this that can brighten a day. Check it out:

At least I still have my humor.

Saturday night is the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals. My Penguins are playing the Detroit Red Wings. It’s going to be a good series. The Penguins haven’t been to the finals since 1992, when I was 15 years old. Those games were the reason I started playing hockey in the first place.

Here’s a pretty cool Pittsburgh sports video set to Aerosmith’s Dream On (the only Aerosmith song I like). I get chills every time I see the old Roberto Clemente footage:

Gary Roberts is a player on the Penguins team. Well, he’s more than a player. Here are some facts about Gary (via ultimate hat trick):

– When Gary Roberts is in a crowded area, he doesn’t walk around people. He walks through them.

– If Gary Roberts were a calendar, every month would be named Garytober, and every day he’d kick your ass.

– What’s known as UFC, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, doesn’t use it’s full name, which happens to be “Ultimate Fighting Championship, Non-Gary-Roberts-Division.”

Here’s a cool tribute to Gary Roberts, set to the tune of Mrs. Robinson:

Scruffy McGee

Here’s a picture of my daughter at her birthday party, checking out the awesome coloring book my wife made for all the kids. I lead with this picture because the one that follows is not quite as cute.

Also, my latest Sippy Cup Book Review is up at BeAGoodDad.  This week’s book is Cat’s Pajamas.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  Any constructive criticism is welcome as always.

It’s been a while since I posted any updates on the playoff beard. Our camera has been on the fritz, we’ve been planning our daughter’s birthday party, and so on. Last night, I finally decided to get a picture. As you can see, this one is a self portrait. I really wasn’t in total darkness when I took the picture, just so you know. I had to do some Photoshop magic because the flash was too bright on my face. Also, I’m wearing my glasses. It’s coming along pretty nicely, huh? Should I use this one when my novel gets published? 🙂

Here is a link to my last picture, for comparison purposes.

My wife has taken to calling me Scruffy McGee and pleading with me to shave every day. I tell her I’ve come this far and can’t shave now. I’m no quitter! 🙂 The funny thing for me, not for her, is that she keeps asking people what they think of the beard and they all keep telling her they like it. My grandfather, who I though for sure would be against the beard said he liked it. This weekend, my wife’s two sisters both said they like the beard.

Plus, the Pittsburgh Penguins have done quite well in the playoffs and are up 2 games to 0 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The winner of the best of 7 series will play for the Stanley Cup!

As soon as the playoffs are over, though, I’m shaving the beard. It is just too itchy for me.