A Penguins blogger weighs in
A Round 3 Q&A with The Pensblog
I'll start this Q&A with a bit of an explanation: The Pensblog is not your average online news source. It's silly, profane, off-colour and definitely not P.C., a fan forum that is full of gross-out humour and bizarre photoshops. Opposition fans are called "jobbers," there are homosexual references and Gary Roberts is their messiah.
If that's not your thing, feel free to take a pass.
Hockey blogs come in all shapes and sizes, and The Pensblog has quickly grown into one of the biggest — and strangest — sites of the bunch. I believe it's run by a few 20-something college students from just outside Pittsburgh who enjoy their goofy, including strange apparel and slogans, all of which makes for an odd discussion on their team.
I don't know if they knew quite how to respond to my request. It starts out okay but sort of devolves into... well, you'll see:
Q. Can one of you guys do a quick Q&A with me over email before the series gets going?
We'd be honored to do a Q&A. We'll answer them in a respectful way. Nothing crazy.
Crazy's okay by me.
put it this way: we'll attempt to come off as knowledgable
Who's been the unsung hero on the Penguins so far?
We immediately thought of defenseman Rob Scuderi, but we couldn't go into elaborate detail for him, because he's just a steady defenseman who gets the job done.
So, we're gonna go with a guy who, coming into this season, we didn't think was gonna be unsung at all. Jordan Staal.
He followed up his 29-goal rookie year with less than half of that this season. You can chalk that up to the sophomore-slump thing. But the goals that he isn't scoring this year, he is preventing with stellar two-way play.
He's been the Pens shutdown third-line center when the entire lineup has been healthy, and when Sid was out, his play as second-line center was overshadowed by the emergence of Evgeni Malkin.
In these playoffs, he scored the game-winner in Game 2 against the Rangers and an insurance goal in Game 3 against the Senators. We've stood by our prophecy that he will score the biggest goal of the Penguins season.
As a fan, what's your biggest worry going into the series?
Seriously, our biggest worry is hard to pinpoint. We don't look at the Flyers lineup and say, "Yeah, we gotta stop blah-blah."
Basically, the last thing we want to see is Philadelphia splitting these first two games at Mellon Arena. If the series goes to Philly 1-1, it would get very interesting.
We'll be the first to admit that Pens haven't faced any adversity at all in these playoffs, while the Flyers already have a Game 7 on the road under the belt. And that's pretty much the only thing you'll find under their belt.
Do the Penguins matchup well against the Flyers? Does the fact Philadelphia won five of the eight regular season meetings mean anything?
The Penguins match up well against any team in the National Hockey League. They've beaten teams in the past two months while utilizing a variety of game plans.
The general consensus amongst Flyer Nation is that the Penguins tanked the final game of the season in order to avoid player the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. It's still amazing that fans will say that, and in the next breath, mention the Flyers held a 5-3 game advantage during the regular season.
The Senators and Rangers both held season-series edges on the Penguins, and they are in line at the driving range.
Maybe you can describe the rivalry between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia: Does it go way beyond hockey? Do the cities have a natural rivalry like Calgary-Edmonton, Toronto-Ottawa, etc.?
We're definitely not old enough to appreciate the foundation of this rivalry that was set as soon as the Penguins were given the state's second hockey franchise in the modern era of the NHL.
It's not a natural rivalry. The rivalries you mentioned are between Canadian teams, so they definitely hold more water than a Flyers/Pens rivalry. You're just told when you are growing up to hate Philly.
The Flyers have had the reputation of playing like jobbers, while the Pens have always been the complete opposite of that.
What's your best trash talk line for the City of Brotherly Love?
The best trash-talk line is simply that the Flyers haven't won a Cup since 1975. Nothing else has to be said.
And Daniel Briere is a woman.
How will Pensblog photoshoppers treat native son R.J. Umberger (who is from Pittsburgh)?
We have no idea how people will incorporate Umberger into photoshops, but we do draw lines as far as decency goes.
Adding "C" to the beginning of his name will not fly.
And, finally, What Will Gary Roberts Do?
As far as Gary Roberts goes, you have to turn to AC in Isaac Asimov's "The Last Question." INSUFFICIENT DATE FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.
My thanks to The Pensblog for playing along (I think). Stay tuned for a look at the Stars from ace blogger Mark Stepneski next.
A Red Wings blogger weighs in
A Flyers blogger weighs in
A Stars blogger weighs in