Wednesday, May 07, 2008

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

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At 10:37 p.m., May 07, 2008, Blogger poploser said...

Sounds like Pensblog is LCS Hockey, Version 2.0. Except LCS Hockey 2.0 actually exists.

At 10:58 p.m., May 07, 2008, Blogger nu said...

(Why? Because LCS has a Penguins bias?)

Okay, I guess if people make photoshops about you, you don't qualify as "unsung", but the USS Hal Gill -> penalty kill -> beast.

And Staff forgot to elaborate that Philadelphia is mostly viewed from the other side of the commonwealth as crime- and entitlement-ridden (and having an inferiority complex with regards to NYC, Boston, and DC), and that Pittsburgh is seen as being in Appalachia somewhere (with an inferiority complex in regards to Philadelphia). There is a very definite natural rivalry between the two cities, even if the hockey aspect is a more recent development.

At 8:23 a.m., May 08, 2008, Blogger dying alive said...

Aside from the Pens and being humorous, what do Pensblog and LCS Hockey have in common? Nothing that I can think of.

Nice Q&A, Dr. James and PB staff.

At 8:44 a.m., May 08, 2008, Blogger Matt Gajtka said...

Kudos to Mirtle for including an "alternative" blog in this series. The Pensblog is my first stop in the morning and it's always worth it. You gotta remember that sports are supposed to be fun and there's no harm in being a biased fan!

At 9:18 a.m., May 08, 2008, Blogger Pooch said...

I'd add Tyler Kennedy to the unsung heroes list. Most people thought he would completely disappear in the playoffs, but he's been lights out. He shows more hustle than most players on the ice.

At 11:30 a.m., May 08, 2008, Blogger Bizurke said...

Rolling on the ground over Cumburger..... When a nickname is both catchy and visual, I must applaud.

Perhaps it's an argument of necessity, being a Philly fan and all, but it burns me when people talk about old championships like they happened yesterday. If you're 30, the Pens last championship happened when you were in 8th grade. It's somewhat akin to hanging my hat on the Phillies 1980 championship when talking to a Cubs fan.

The Flyers are definitely playing with house money, but this should be a good series nonetheless. I look forward to the trash-talk and will refrain from jokes about yins being the capital of Pennsyltucky.

At 1:00 p.m., May 08, 2008, Anonymous KiddChris said...

what a horrible Q&A. At least the700level gave some very good, well thought out responses...the pensblog is just a bunch of jackasses that make (horrible)photoshops. They have 0 credibility and in fact, probably only make their readers dumber. I guess thats the kind of garbage you get out of the newly crowned smoggiest city in the country though ( Kudos to the 700level for providing some decent and coherant responses.

At 1:02 p.m., May 08, 2008, Anonymous KiddChris said...

that link for all of you people who find it very hard to believe how filthy Pittsburgh actually is should read: I love when people say "philthadelphia" - your comments dont really have much of a leg to stand on anymore

At 1:09 p.m., May 08, 2008, Anonymous dvc said...

Pittsburgh gave the Flyers Umberger. All's Philly ever gave the Penguins was Jay Caufield. Advantage: Flyers. Thank you, Pennsyltucky!

At 1:13 p.m., May 08, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

How anyone can hate the Pensblog is beyond me. The first time I went: me=stunned.

The USS Hal Gill is amazing.

WWGRD = life changing.

I go every day without fail to see what insanely funny material they have on the pens and I am a Leafs fan.

At 3:05 p.m., May 08, 2008, Blogger itchit said...

Round 3 = no more Canadian content. Who to pull for? I choose the Penguins because of the Pensblog. Hey don't blame me, even Superman has a pair of Gary Roberts pajamas.

At 8:04 p.m., May 08, 2008, Blogger Jawsh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:05 p.m., May 08, 2008, Blogger Jawsh said...

When people call philly Filthadelphia, it isn't talking about the filthiness of the city, its referring to the people within it. Essentially PA is 3 different states, Pittsburghavania, Amishavania, and Lil'Jerseyvania.


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