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.

Bye Bye Beard

Image via

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.