Saturday, January 31, 2009

upgrade or downgrade?

Okay, I want you all to put yourselves in a scenario. It's late on a cold January night, you're about half-drunk coming home from a friend's place, and you need to drive through McDonald's. Bad. You get the dollar menu double cheeseburgers that you so desperately want. You get the small fries. You remember to ask for ketchup. Everything is going pretty well. I mean, it's McDonald's, but you couldn't have asked for anything more. Just got to eat this shit so you can go home and pass out. You're driving, smiling to yourself, and you reach towards the center console--

Fuck.

You didn't get a Coke. By the time you make it home these burgers won't even taste good anymore.

That's kind of how this felt. Everything was about to be okay, we were about to get back in it. Little did we realize that Jason Blake was lurking and Luke Schenn was determined to stick his cock up the team's collective ass and thrust away.

Vesa got the win? Maybe his fans don't hate him after this? It's the only thing we can positively take away from this.

Well, actually there are many things we'd like to assess for you. You're familiar with our awards-show style format, which is often adopted by celebrity/pop culture blogs that thrive on discussing trashy shit. If you've ever read a trashy gossip mag, you're also familiar with the idea of "upgrade or downgrade." Perhaps some whore has a new boyfriend and the world of journalism has taken it upon themselves to decide whether or not he's better than her last one.

We will take it upon ourselves to be judgmental bitches about everything that happened tonight. Is it better than the last time we last thought about it?

When you forgot to order a Coke, that was a serious DOWNGRADE. You were forced to eat the burgers alone in the dark in your kitchen, cold as they were, with flat ginger ale that you found in the back of the fridge. What the fuck is wrong with you?

Let's get started here.

STEIGGY AND ERREY

UPGRADE
Rare form tonight.
Bob Errey discussed himself in the third person.
Steigerwald called Mats Sundin a hypocrite.
They were willing to call out the team throughout the game when they weren't performing, and they were obviously not impressed with Garon and not afraid to say it. Thank you, gentlemen. But is there ever really a downgrade possible when it's Bob Errey and Paul Steigerwald? I mean, yeah, we all want Mike Lange back. But we're being realistic here. At least we don't have that joke from Tampa Bay radio. Remember him? I bet you're sorry I even mentioned it.

MAXIME TALBOT AND MIROSLAV SATAN
Talbot played balls out. He's back to his old self and isn't playing like he's hurt anymore. He had a +2 tonight, probably just so he could laugh in the face of everyone who is accusing him of being shit. Assisted on that goal by Miroslav Satan. Miroslav Satan = has a slapshot? Who knew? Seriously. Not to mention that sick backhander he flipped in front shortly after the Blake goal. He wanted it. UPGRADE

MATHIEU GARON

This is hard. We're not sure.
It's hard to say what kind of night this would have been if Dany Sabourin were in net. No one really knows. We almost feel like Sabu was never even here. Marc-André Fleury, however, probably would have gotten the win. And John Curry? Probably would have looked like he cared more. Sorry, Mathieu. We didn't know what to expect and there was some soff shit happening around you all night. DOWNGRADE for the time being. I know it was hard to start on the road, having never played for this team before, feeling like all eyes were on you, but there were some things you should have done to make it better. The Ponikarovsky goal comes to mind. What the Jesus fucking Christ was that? Then again, you didn't have a lot of help, because. . .

THE PENGUINS DEFENSE
Just when we thought you couldn't care less.
DOWNGRADE
Where the fuck were Orpik and Scuderi on that Stajan goal?
Luke Schenn waltzed in like he was the only man on the ice to get it towards Garon.
Brooksie, when you see a man walking in on your goaltender, you pressure him. You don't just watch him. Speaking of which. . .

LUKE SCHENN

Could have picked a better night for his fucking bildungsroman.
What a player.
UPGRADE for the Leafs.
This picture might not tell the whole story, but President Tyler Kennedy feels no pain. None whatsoever. What a player.

MARK EATON
Isn't actually involved in this defensive breakdown.
He was still playing his game, during which he was blocking shots, throwing his body around, and generally not fucking up.
Seeing Eaton show up like this is making us weep insatiably.
WHERE IS EVERYONE ELSE
Mark thought it was time for that oft-mentioned "playoff push." He brought pizza and a case of beer. He's ready for the party. Why haven't you fuckers showed up?
UPGRADE, Mark Eaton. We love you so hard right now.

VESA TOSKALA

Leafs fans really don't like Vesa Toskala. They get drunk just thinking about the poor man.
Tyler Kennedy's slapshot eluded him for what should have been an easy save.
But he was also standing tall in the first period when his team was bitching out.
Their team has won two straight. We pray for that every game.
UPGRADE

EVGENI MALKIN
On a completely different level than everyone else, as always. UPGRADE

BILLY THOMAS

Hugest UPGRADE in a long ass time. Michael Zigomanis, Jr.

THE PENGUINS ON ANY TYPE OF SPECIAL TEAMS SITUATION
Mike Yeo should have been rotting at the bottom of the Mon weeks ago.
Not even commenting.

THE THIRD PERIOD
You watched the game, you know the Pens were having one of those third periods destined for the history books. They scored three times--they didn't even notice when Matt Stajan tried to collectively ride them like bitches off into the sunset. They even did a good job staying out of the box. Cooke's ability to battle for positioning and possession led to Crosby's goal--the tripping call kind of cancels him out. But wasn't he fucking trying? What a human. What a player. What a man. What a fucking individual.

Score was tied. This was our time to shine. UPGRADE

JASON BLAKE

HUGLAGHUAGLAHAGUAHALGUALAHAG
HUALAGLAHAGHALAHAG
HLAGLAHAH
HUAGLAHAGHAHAGHAHAGHAHGHAGHAHFAHFBG
HFHAHGHJDKFLKSFJKLDJKLJLKFJLKJDLNSFKLVJ
Ten minutes should be enough for a team to score and get the big tie, but then again, maybe not.
DOWNGRADE

Mathieu Garon should have looked better than Vesa Toskala tonight. He probably should have been pulled after the third goal. We hate to be like that, but it's gone through our minds.

You are required by law to watch this video.




Sometimes we're not sure if the Pens even deserve to make the playoffs.
But if they can find a way to battle back, to not let this game affect them, Joe Esposito will probably have something to say on the matter.

Nothing is ever easy in the NHL, or at least it shouldn't be. That's why it's a big deal.

Think back to that failed McDonald's trip.
You pass out on the couch to City Confidential after throwing half of the fries away.
The next morning, it's sunny out, an infomercial for the SlapChop is blaring at you from the television, and someone's put the coffee on.
It's going to be a fun day.
Shake it off.

Here's the attitude we want to see:
Steiggy and Errey thought back to Jordan Staal's first NHL career hat trick, which took place versus the Leafs in February 2007.


They said that something different was going on back then. All the young players. All the energy.
We agree.
Back then, the Pens could play differently because no one expected them to do anything.
When you're the underdog, you feel invisible. You go into a building and everyone is like, "Who are these jokes?" You proceed to stun them and laugh maniacally while doing so. Every shift is an opportunity to prove yourself. Every little thing you do right is an improvement.
The Pittsburgh Penguins went from being the underdog to one of the best in the entire world way too quickly, and simply couldn't handle it. It's like growing up too fast. Something awkward gets stuck in your heart. You don't believe in anything anymore. Your joy is manufactured, your imagination is shot.
We want to see the Pens be those kids again. The Stanley Cup Finals last season obviously aged them beyond their years, got them jaded and confused.
It's time to fall so hard so many times that it stops hurting.

There's no such thing as "right" and "wrong" anymore.
You don't get consistency by just saying you need it.
When the offense is good the defense is bad, when the defense is good the offense is bad, yada yada yada.
No rules, no explanations, and, most of all, no expectations.
Throw them all away.
If you don't know who you are as a team, a long string of letdowns like this is where you might find out.
You might not find out until you miss the playoffs. You might not find out next year.
Time to find the grace in losing, that surge of energy you need when you're pushed into a corner.
Sometimes you need to downgrade before you can upgrade.
We say this because we probably care about this team and its players more than is healthy. Sometimes when you love someone you have to let them fuck up.

This is all rhetoric.
Whatever.
Tomorrow is Why This Week Didn't Suck. We'll spell it all out for you.

12 comments:

Annie S said...

Every recap you guys do after a loss never EVER fails to cheer me up and look at what's positive. This is no exception. I had already started to force myself to look at the big picture after tonight's game, thinking that if Malkin and Sid are at the top of the points race RIGHT NOW while the team is slumping so bad, how fucking terrifying will this team be once Shero has everything fall into place?

This was my favorite part:

You pass out on the couch to City Confidential after throwing half of the fries away.
The next morning, it's sunny out, an infomercial for the SlapChop is blaring at you from the television, and someone's put the coffee on.
It's going to be a fun day.
Shake it off.


And right on with the emotional change. Maybe they should all find a secluded frozen pond somewhere and rediscover the essence and joy of playing hockey again.

Random thoughts:

Right before Satan scored I said under my breath, "C'mon, earn your paycheck." Man delivered. Max also rocked, as did Cooke. Tyler... well, he tried. The HNIC announcers were saying he could get slapped with a suspension for leaving the bench to instigate a fight like he seemed to. I thought they were just making a line change and he encountered Schenn as he was coming off.

I noticed that the Scuderi/Orpik pair was on the ice for the first three goals at least. I didn't notice who was there for the others. I may love you guys, but way to sleep through a game.

Eaton was awesome again, as well as Malkin, Sid, and Thomas.

Offense seems to be clicking. Our defense is not, except for Eaton and Fleury. (Did anyone else get a bad feeling that Fleury was sat for this game while in the middle of a hot streak? I know Garon's got to play sometime, but still...)

By the way, I'm totally jealous of all who got Steiggy and Errey. The rest of us out-of-towners were stuck with HNIC on NHL Network. The commentary wasn't bad (they're obviously pro-Leafs, but they weren't homers about it), but I could have done without Cherry and Milbury between periods.

The intro with the bagpipes and slo-mo CGI is kind of nifty, though. Especially the bit of Lemieux emasculating the Northstars.

Um, and sorry for the novel. None of my friends are hockey fans so I have to vent all my thoughts elsewhere.

debrisslide said...

Annie, if you want FSN, you should watch on ADTHE. Sometimes they have it, and boy is it a treat.

Glad we could be of help.

We were talking each other down from extreme existential crises after this game happened.

katepghfan said...

I just want to say, Kim and Zoe - I have been reading your blog since you started it. I found it after that early mention on tPB. But, I don't have a blogger account, or whatever they may be called. Then I realized that I could comment through AIM.

I LOVE this blog! I really enjoy reading your recaps and all the great features (the CMN ones have been particularly enjoyable ;)). And, as Annie just mentioned in her comments, you find a way to cheer me up and make the losses a little more bearable. I am afraid that I live and die with this team (and have done just that for almost as many years as either one of you has been alive), and it is obvious that you are both in that same 'place'. But, you are always able to find the humor, and the total ridiculousness at times, of the current situation - and I DO appreciate that very much.

Just a few notes:
the Staal Brothers Drinking Game?
Pure unadulterated GENIUS!

the "missing" poster after the Devils Game?
had me rolling! (and, so so true - I've no idea where Brooks and Scuds have gone - Whitney...has been MIA for most of the games he has played this year)

and, the blog and all its contents in general:
hilarious, irreverent, yet...insightful and TOTALLY on the right track!

Thanks, Kate

SteveThePirate said...

"You were forced to eat the burgers alone in the dark in your kitchen, cold as they were, with flat ginger ale that you found in the back of the fridge. What the fuck is wrong with you?"

That's why I read this blog.
Amazing stuff.
Listened to Lange this game, video wasn't happening thanks to some serious internet connection underachieving.
I need to stop drinking my face off and sleeping through half a game.
Or, start drinking earlier and wake up on time. Yeah, that sounds better.
Annie, I heard about that possible TK suspension too. He should be alright though - he's got diplomatic immunity. (rimshot) Not one of his best moments as President, but at least he did something.
Disappoint game, great recap.
New format = Upgrade.
Still like the awards and the alternate three stars. Little confused about the hat trick of karate kid youtubes, but I am definitely watching that classic again. Mr. Miyagi for head coach.

wrap around curl said...

Luke Schenn continues to make my panties melt. Oh Captain Fistpump....I didn't see the 3rd but I have the game recorded.

debrisslide said...

Kate, Steve: We love you. Lots.

Heather: This isn't just us being broken. The entire team and its fanbase are broken. For some reason, it was THIS GAME. Last night was foreplay for it. It's not the Leafs or the way the Pens played. It was something else, something hard to swallow. If you're not a Pens fan, you don't get it. We're like a group of childhood buddies coming face to face with Truth for the first time. We won't be friends forever. We will die someday. We will lose each other's phone numbers. We will do and think terrible things in the future, and hurt the ones we love. It's that kind of feeling. When you feel like this, ain't no one melting any panties. Seriously.

katepghfan said...

yeah (and, wtf I am doing still awake?), these last two games have been painful ... but, I still believe with all my heart that SOMEHOW the Pens are going to find a way to come up w/ the 40 or so points they need to make the playoffs - I mean, Geno and Sid are point-producing machines, MAF is going to stand on his head the rest of the way, the wings are going to start finding the back of the net, the defense is going to find its way and actually cover the opposition in front of the net instead of waving at the puck as it goes by them, Garon is going to find redemption for tonight and win a few for us, the grit and grind guys are going to slam bodies and forecheck like beasts, Billy Thomas is going to lead the league in faceoff percentage and chip in a few shorties as well, Gonch is going to return with a vengeance all rested and ready to lead, and Shero is going to make the right moves!



Hell, I even believe that the PP is going to manage to win a few games for us ... and that REALLY is the statement of an incurable optimist.

and, if some evil whimsy from the dark side of the hockey gods denies all my dreams ... then, I will still be there at season's end, cheering for the boys, and waiting for next year!

and, for the record, I have a group of HS friends that are still among my closest friends (and HS was a long time ago) - so, yeah, while there are painful losses of innocence and dreams, and realizations of that Truth you mention, Zoe ... not all is lost.

Kimberlass said...

By no means do we ever, ever, in the darkest hour of Pens existence, think that all is lost. We've been Pens fans through some really rough times. And as you've said, you've got years on us, but you're kind of lucky in that way. We are too young to really even remember ever winning a cup. We wish we had that to grasp onto sometimes.

Tonight was just the night that we realized that we might not get the turnaround we wanted right now. We know it will come. If not this season, then the next, or the one after that. We're in it for the long haul, always have been.

It's kind of like me having to face that maybe Colby isn't coming home, despite having convinced myself his trade was only temporary and he would be back shortly. I have still not accepted that maybe he really is gone for good. When I do, it's going to be bad.

Kind of like tonight was.

eyebleaf said...

It's got to be a treat for you Pens fans to watch Sid and Malks night in and night out. They are special. That being said, it's a shame that the rest of the team sucks.

If it wasn't for whorish Vesa Toskala, that game is a 5-1 Leafs. He's just brutal back there. But, you said it best, it's two in a row. I guess we're just never satisfied in Toronto.

It was an exciting game, and pretty chippy. I'm looking forward to the rematch in two weeks.

debrisslide said...

eyebleaf: Our great d-men are on vacation and will be back once someone finds them and reminds them it's still hockey season. Not everyone else on the team sucks. In fact, some of the people we've been hating for awhile now are really showing up. We have a full complement of extremely talented men who know how to destroy at the NHL level--but something's off. Chemistry. Coaching. NOT ENOUGH ICE TIME FOR PETR FUCKING SYKORA.

You can say what you want, but we'll never agree that the rest of our team sucks.

eyebleaf said...

Just to be clear, my "the rest of your time sucks" comment wasn't meant in a douchey sort of way. That's not how I roll. And I'm a Leafs fan. We've sucked for most of my entire existence. And you know better than I do about the Pens. You're def right about the D. All the goals by the Leafs were in tight, crashing the net, with no Pens around.

Frankly, I have no idea how Therrien still has his job. I guess the Finals appearance has granted him some time, but, damn, I certainly wouldn't have imagined the Pens fighting for their playoff lives at the beginning of February.

25superstar said...

inspirational.
Billy Thomas is God.
Maxie is fantastic.
Geno is superb.
End of story.

 
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Puck Huffers by Kimberly Davidson and Zoë Hayden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.