Pittsburgh Penguins Pregame: The Epicenter of Suck

Illustration by Ian Oland

Heeeeeere’s Doug Johnson of PuckBuddys fame. Tweet his face.

The Pre-Game: I think it was Benjamin Disraeli who said “Sometimes cities just suck.” Or maybe it was Don Rickles. We’re getting our historical figures mixed up.

Look, there’s nothing that stinks about San Diego, the actual place. It’s lovely. Or Phoenix, for that matter, if it weren’t for all the whack-a-doodles. Vancouver: now there’s a dandy city for you! If you can just get over all the residents piously reminding you just precisely how dandy it is.

On the other end, there are places like Mogadishu, a city that, I can comfortably assure you, sucks. Or vacation paradise Pripyat!  – home to the entombed Chernobyl perpetual light bulb. Pyongyang. Philadelphia.

Then we come to the middle ground: decent places inhabited by truly awful organizations. Pittsburgh comes to mind. Hoorah, it’s beautiful and their food isn’t too toxic and the local rumor is that there’s even a museum or something. But it’s also home to the rat burrow of unctuous fink Richard Mellon Scaife and his poisonous heirs, and the ‘Terrible Towel’, which we rank as only just below Scaife as scabes-inducing. The Pittsburgh Penguins… and Dan Bylsma. Think about that for a moment: both the Penguins AND Bylsma (and his douche-hat) compressed into one geographic point. That single distinction alone  is enough to push Pittsburgh to new title holder: Epicenter of Suck.

The Puck Drop

Every game matters. Pens games matter more. This game matters very much more.

Unless you’re living in a cave on Mars with your fingers in your ears, or are Alex Ovechkin,you understand that the swap of Coach Mustard for Coach Hunter has scrambled the Capitals squad at an inopportune time. Yes, everyone wants to be on their best behavior for the new teacher (was that a goal, Nicky?), and no, everyone clearly still does not understand what their role is on the ice (*coughWidemancough*), and whoops!, now all of a sudden players are actually expected to perform or else. (Don’t ask who or what.)

But this is not the time for scrambling. It is the time for righteous beatdowns of those self-entitled prigs in Pittsburgh. But are we ready? Ugh, I cannot believe I have to write this next section.

What Makes them Hot

Jordan Staal

1: Don’t Make Me Do This: A bunch of stuff. Players, mostly. Jordan Staal (12G 6A, plus-4), hatched somewhere in Canada, continues to prove the cynical criminality of the Staal breeding experiment. Shut out against the Rangers, and a little dry of late, he’s still a damn hard skater, one who rarely gives up and is quick to take advantage of weak defense (ruh-roh.) James Neal (14G 11A, minus-1) and vampire Kris Letang (3G 16A, plus-5) are also showing their mettle. We say vampire given Letang’s punishment from the Habs’ Max Pacioretty last Saturday, only to rise from the dead to score the GWG. Vampire or zombie? Let’s let his hair be the judge. Add to that Pascal Dupuis, Tyler Kennedy and a raft of other flightless birds that are just messing things up. They clearly command play in their zone and at the other end of the blue line, which gives us pause.

Nobody in particular

2: Really! I Can’t Do This!  Self-appointed Captain of the whiners, Sidney Crosby, is once more up to his soulless robotic ways. Scoring, hitting, scoring, smiling vacantly for the cameras. There is not enough room in Heaven or on this Earth to heap enough scorn on Sidney Crosby and his media-whoring ways. Unfortunately, on this plane of existence we need to contain him on the ice.

Hero-coach Hunter squired squads against Crosby in the early days, meaning a few years ago. “We had to put a checking line against him and pay special attention – he still scored points and goals — we limited him, anyways,” Hunter said this week.

Solution? Remember what teams did two years ago once they had to face the Ovech-ka-juggarnaut? They swarmed and gobbled him up. Gobble up Sidney Crosby this Thursday, Capitals. Unwrap him, devour him, and throw what’s left into an acid bath.

Dan Bylsma

3: For the Love of God, Please Stop! No! There is no amount of torture that will force me to admit that Dan Bylsma is a decent coach. I mean: hardly a decent human being. Like Coach Boudreau said a while back, can you really imagine Coach Douche-Hat “playing” with anyone, let alone his offspring, during the holidays? Nice staged photo op, jerk. How about you use everyone else in your life as a prop for your own mealy-mouthed self-aggrandizement? Oh wait! You’re doing the Movember thing? Really? Moustaches around the nation have done great work for raising money. But no moustache has spoken truer than that spiral cut ham rotting on Bylsma’s lip. Quoting: “Dan Bylsma’s moustache to world: ‘I hate you, and am cutting myself off from all human contact.'”

Yet he keeps winning, and keeping his stars in check. Why is there no moustache justice in this world?

What Makes Them Not

1: We Got a Warning Light. The Fetid Stink Birds have allowed only 63 goals this season, compared with our 75. Their win percentage is better, their players are performing while ours are floundering. So what’ the ‘Not’ here?

Crosby @ MSG (Photo: Reuters)

Let the H8trs rip me up, but I’m not convinced Pittsburgh is much more than a well-oiled one-trick machine. There’s no juggling like we’ve had, or locker-room turmoil (that we know of), or serious disruptions. But they’re still only a few games ahead of the Caps. This isn’t whistling past the graveyard, but acknowledgment of a truth that seems to have gotten lost lately: the Caps, almost entirely from head to tail, are the best NHL collection of talent in the last decade. Maybe not this game, or the next, but quality is going to start to shine through. As we’ve seen before, the Penguins will rise, then fall, then settle into meh; I believe they’re already showing signs of this now by their play. If I were a bookie in Vegas, I would see the warning light flashing from Pittsburgh, and adjust accordingly.

2: We Got a Red Alert. Think back to the days when the Caps would ‘get up’ for the big game. OK…I’ll give you a moment.

There! Got it? When they played like the Caps of 2009? When everyone on the bench would perform, swarming in the Dzone, crashing the net in theirs? Good…hold that image in your mind. With the exception of the newish Caps (and not all of them, as we think Halpy has been up and on his toes from the very start), our team remembers that, too. That’s the image they’re holding in their minds. That’s the visualization of performance they’re seeing and reliving.

James Neal

There’s no game bigger than this, and they know it’s happening in front of their loyal hometown. There’s no need to spur us – the team or the fans – to Unleash the Fury this game, as it begins fury unleashed, and only gets uglier from there. Red Rally Balloon? Rock the Red? It’s a Red Town Thursday, and we’re here to eat Pittsburgh’s lunch and steal their cookie.

3: We Got a Time Bomb Ticking. Dumptruck Arron Asham decided to give our Jay Beagle a pounding he wouldn’t forget. Or would, apparently if Asham had his way. As in: men with concussions don’t really remember what happened to them in the first place. In our book Arron Asham is no better than a drunk driver. No, he’s worse, actually: someone supposedly in control of his facilities (or what passes for them) who intentionally chooses to send a man to the hospital with a swollen brain injury. Nice going, Asham.

Beagle may not remember, but we do. Asham: you are a horrible human. We are watching you. There’s a timebomb ticking… and you’re not going to like it when it goes off.

The OT Shoot Out: Of all things that gave us heart this week, it was GMGM’s quick dismissal of Swedish star Mattias Sjögren. Apparently unsatisfied with Hershy Bear’s play, he sulked back to Sverige this week, fuming that he wasn’t getting enough NHL play. McPhee’s response: in a word, go. If you’re quitting on us, go. Begone. Away with you.

This, even more than Boudreau’s dismissal, has given us heart that the head office is in this to win it.

The games begin Thursday at Verizon. Come be with us to cheer on the Caps.

And remember, Pittsburgh:tick-tick-tick-tick…

Editor’s note: Download and print out some DALE signs. Like a billion of em. Make it rain like Newsies.

  • dps2002

    Bring it on.

  • penguins

    you’re fucked in the head. can’t wait for the caps to get DEMOLISHED by the penguins. 

  • Tommymaddox

    “the Caps, almost entirely from head to tail, are the best NHL collection of talent in the last decade”

    This statement alone makes your entire blog meaningless.

  • Michael01a

    Haters are here allready.
    They still have a butt-hurt from continuous beating of the last season.
    This is priceless
    :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryantpthomas Bryant Thomas

    Some Penguins fans are gay.

  • EeFin

    Hunting season begins! And roasted penguin à la Dale sounds lovely.

  • EeFin

    Hunting season begins! And roasted penguin à la Dale sounds lovely.

  • Anonymous

    newsies reference = win

  • VaMedic

    Reading the early comments leave me with just one thought.

    Who is left guarding all the bridges in Pittsburg?

  • http://twitter.com/BlitzburghBrian Brian Schaich

    Wait, you’re mad because Arron Asham gave Jay Beagle a concussion in a fight that Beagle clearly was willing to engage in?

    Man, none of us were even that mad when David Steckel concussed Sidney Crosby. And I’d say he’s slightly higher profile than Beagle. No part of this post makes any sense.

  • http://twitter.com/BlitzburghBrian Brian Schaich

    Wait, you’re mad because Arron Asham gave Jay Beagle a concussion in a fight that Beagle clearly was willing to engage in?

    Man, none of us were even that mad when David Steckel concussed Sidney Crosby. And I’d say he’s slightly higher profile than Beagle. No part of this post makes any sense.

  • WOOOOOOO

    Silly boy, it’s only December 1. We don’t care about games 1-82 in Pittsburgh, the season doesn’t even start until April. But you guys wouldn’t know anything about that….

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  • Ryt

    dude, since when is it wrong for a player to punch another player who willingly engage in the fight. your opinions are so wrong that it’s laughable.

  • Ryt

    and @Michael01a losing a few games in the regular season doesn’t really mean anything. you should focus on the fact that your team has NEVER made it past the second round. i think that’s a little more meaningful, don’t you?

  • serpent

    Wait-what? Bylsma has kids?! What woman in her right mind—–oh, never mind.

  • serpent

    Wait-what? Bylsma has kids?! What woman in her right mind—–oh, never mind.

  • http://twitter.com/PuckBuddys Puck Buddys

    Ryt = unctuous fink lover. 

  • What that guy said

    “Silly boy, it’s only December 1. We don’t care about games 1-82 in Pittsburgh, the season doesn’t even start until April. But you guys wouldn’t know anything about that….”
    choke choke choke choke choke choke choke choke

  • TheTurkeysOnTheTable

    I just can’t wait for the Crosby / Ovie matchup tonight… oh, that’s right, Ovie is MIA this year. Nevermind….

  • Vokeswagon
  • jgoggs23

    Aw, penguins fans upset over what a WASHINGTON CAPITALS blog said about them. Check where you’re reading idiots. Great write-up, keep the rivalry fresh.

  • http://twitter.com/callyourbluff Katie Brown

    That’s right, because Pittsburgh fans don’t even start watching hockey until playoffs because they’re too busy running their mouths to actually watch a game. 

  • tim

    Yep. Not a single Pens fan mad about Crosby’s injury. Okay.

  • tim

    Ah, classy Penguins fans. 

  • VaMedic

    We don’t care…and here you are. I do believe you though. I’ve seen strong examples of Penguins taking the year off.

  • VaMedic

    Only Because you said NEVER like you knew the meaning…

    1998 calling… Yes, it was a while ago, but then in that realm, so was your cup run.

  • JoeyG

    Wait untill golden boy gets hit hard again, his baby brains will get splattered don’t you worry.

  • VaMedic

    That’s what your third round opponent this past year was just saying about you.

  • VaMedic

    The use of any acronym involving “In Action” should be prohibited by any fans with a Captain his, what 4th game, this calendar year?

    (No, I neither know, nor care the exact number…shocking)

  • JoeyG

     You can say what you want about play-offs, but when it comes to Caps vs. Penguins I think the record speaks for itself. I think it’s like 11-3 caps favor.

  • Hat1277

    Tell pudding-for-brains, crybaby crosby, to keep his head up this time…C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!!!

  • VaMedic

    Sigh…
    1 Man, none of us were even that mad when David Steckel concussed Sidney Crosby
      Really? Congratulations on your first day to the internet…and welcome.

    2. Steckel did that? Then WTF is your coaching staff doing letting him finish that game, And take the ice in the next games? Assuming you are right, your organization has questions to answer.

    3. What doesn’t make sense to you, is that the post actually compliments the results produced by the Penguins to this point, and points out that this is normal for the team. It jabs at the city and the fans.

  • VaMedic

    I’d talk about the talented tail on your team, but he’s just gotten back on ice and all.

  • What that guy said

    This article is garbage, but i’m happy the rivalry is back on.  I just hope ovy can get off the suck train and learn how to play hockey again.  The two best players in the league facing off is so much fun to watch.  

    “Ah, classy Penguins fans.”  Great statement after such a classy article written by a classy caps fan.

    Oh yeah caps fans, don’t forgot to cheer if your team wins…

    “At the end of the game, the three stars of the game are announced. Basically, just cheer if the end result is a Caps win.”

    from another caps fans blog
    http://arschwarz.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/let-me-hear-you-scream/

    Ha, what a joke.

  • D A Cross3

    Dude you are a homo….. Danny B is the best coach in hockey today… side the best player in the world. And all caps fans are douche bags

  • Ryan

    Best collection of talent in the past decade… So delusional.

  • http://twitter.com/jacqueliness Jacqueline Steber

    You guys know that you’ve written a successful blog when the opponent gets all snarky.  Congratulations.

    Hopefully we can all stay reasonably classy tonight and come away with a Capitals W.

  • VaMedic

    I’m happy the rivalry is back on. — You bringing your team with you tonight? Where have they been? You take the last few years off?

    The two best players in the league facing off is so much fun to watch.  — I was just checking NHL.com stats page.  I didn’t see PIT on the offensive side at all, which game are you watching tonight?

    Don’t make me link Pensblog.

    FWIW, the rivalry IS fun though, eh?

  • VaMedic

    I’m going to let this one slide…

    Clearly it’s your first fight, you were working hard and taking a shot at someone else. What sort of turbo dick would jump in and clobber you. 

  • Brian Schaich (Blog Troll)

    You mean Crosby not understanding the concept of skating with your head up so you dont accitentally run into someone? Pretty sure there was no suspention there so you should take of your lie-focals so you can actually see what happens.

  • JoeyG

    Let’s get HBO in here again so we can film how good you guys are leading up to a big game, and then getting your asses handed to you by us. This post was about Caps Vs. Penguins, not Caps in play-offs, or post season. Don’t get it mistaken, we hate you during regular season too.

  • Peter

    Well this is awkward

  • Really…

    Do you all always bring that up whenever somone from the CAPS burns the PENS? Can we please be a little more creative? Like how we are 10-0-2 against you all in the past 3 years?

  • VaMedic

    yeah, Even in my “Play the role and just go stir poo” mode, I had to give the reply there some thought..

    I chuckled.

  • Brian Schaich (Blog Troll)

    lol Peter its ok… Just leave him on the ground and walk away he will stop crying eventually.

  • Tojohnson12

    Nothing wrong with it. Just showboating about it was classless. Which I will give Asham at least he admitted as much

  • The One

    Championships do tend to make your adversaries quite jealous, especially when their entire existence within the realm of modern sports has been both built on and defined by mediocrity, overrated talent, and of course failure. Here we see a brilliant manifestation of these traits: disgruntled sports writers who further their pointless, unfulling careers by rallying their city’s troops through a jealous rationalization of the place that has caused his simple mind a great deal of pain. Go dry your tears, clown, then proceed to write about something that really matters.

  • Friedberg7

    This page is hilarious!  Very entertaining.  Deep down if I was a Caps fan I would hate the Pens also.  As much as the Caps win in the regular season against the Pens it really doesn’t matter.  And they know it

  • Peter

    You write like a douchebag. We can smell our own.

  • VaMedic

    First, and sincerely, congratulations on passing HS English. Sorry you had to move into Pittsburgh after.

    While you were looking up words, the Bruins won the Cup and are the Champions.

    But, while you have the book out, look up Irony:  as in, using a elevated writing style to rally an illiterate fan base.

  • http://twitter.com/PuckBuddys Puck Buddys

    All of a sudden these comments have a noxious effluvia reminiscent of the Three Rivers stench. Yet these screeds lack the certain flair we’re used to seeing from our Pensblog pals / miscreants.  Dan “Mr. Personality” Bylsma sure operates under a lot of aliases online. Tick, tick, tick…

  • Tommymaddox

    Yes, and by his 8th game he’ll have surpassed over8ed’s point total.  So what exactly is your point?

  • VaMedic

    You playing the Islanders back to back to back to back to back to back?

  • http://twitter.com/PuckBuddys Puck Buddys

    Yes, I am a homo. Wait, you’re really only discovering this today? Poor child. 

  • VaMedic

    Holy Jebus, How did I miss you? CoughInsignificantCough

    This page is hilarious! Very entertaining. — At least until the Comments, I agree.

    Deep down if I was a Caps fan I would hate the Pens also. — It’s not deep down. It’s on the surface. (Bonus: TWSS, but she told me it hurt your feelings to hear).

    As much as the Caps win in the regular season against the Pens it really doesn’t matter. And they know it  — And yet, here you are all butt hurt, on a Caps blog. Ask me how many Pens blogs I’ve been on today. (Hint:  Same as number of regulation wins the Pens have vs the Caps in the last 13 games)

  • Pattyo

    This one actually pumped me up! Great job guys!

  • JoeyG

    Are there Penguins in Pittsburgh?

  • rumin8 over that!

    Hey, Pens fans. Nice to see you trollin’. Tell me, when the Caps win, can we come over and do the same to your blogs?

  • VaMedic

    Dan O’Halloran, is that you?

  • sean

    Whomever has the longest goal-scoring drought and/or has yet to score in the NHL will score for Pitt, everyone in Washington likes helping the have-nots.  We will also have a Your Welcome mat placed next to our goal for Sidney. 

  • Krafty-RockTheRed

    Waitaminnite – don’t you have to win at least some of them to play in April?

  • Peter

    you’re

  • Peter

    also: whoever not whomever 

  • Jim

    Gee, over the past two post seasons you haven’t really faired any better.  So despite all your caring, hasn’t amounted to much, has it?

  • Jim

    We win if Hunter just lets them loose, no system, no plan, and we get lucky.  Otherwise we lose.  The circumstances dictate that nothing else is really possible, unfortunately.  When *is* the last time the Pens beat us in regulation anyway? 

    Perhaps we owe them one.

  • tharp

    Your blog is trash… It hurts to say this because I’m a Caps fan but you write some of the dumbest things I’ve ever read… I actually wish that after I read stuff from your blog, that I didn’t know how to read

  • WOOOOOOO

    YESSSS! good ones, the whole lot of ya

  • Casey

    So a game that comprised 1/82 of the season is a big game, eh? Caps vs Pens IS the playoffs, that’s all that matters, maybe you should check the record on that one? Or better yet, ask your coach, he knows all about it. Please, bring HBO back so we can see once again how much more professional of an organization the Penguins are. The only thing i took from 24/7 was gross incompetence on the part of Caps management and a lack of heart from the players.

  • Alex from PGH

    You know what the best part of this blog is? The Capitals will never win a cup as long as Ovechkin is on that team. lolol

  • Nwszabatura

    Screw the CAPS Crosby is better than Ovie. Last time I checked Crosby had a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal. What does Ovie got nothing. Also we won the cup 2 years ago which is big difference than 1998. Learn to count before you talk smack. Maybe do some research to so what you own the series in the regular season. Last time we played you in the playoffs who won oh that’s right the pens. 

  • Alex from PGH

    Dude, read my name, then read what I wrote again, slower this time

  • MoJoPlease

    This is just sad…

  • Nwszabatura

    lol I didn’t mean to reply it to u I meant to say it to the CAP fans my bad

  • VaMedic

    You misplaced your period. They go at the end. Good news though, you are on your way to getting your wish.

  • VaMedic

    You know what the best part of this blog is? — Yes. Laughing at you. Seriously, I’m screen capturing this exchange between you two for future use.  And, I won’t even take the time to smack you down for it.  Now, get off the computer before your parents come home.

  • boyinthepenaltybox

    face it doug.. if staal, malkin, letang, crosby, neal, or any one of the pittsburgh penguins you loathe so much played for your craptastic, almost entirely from head to tail, the best NHL collection of talent in the last decade. your nose would be browner that john boehners skin..

    GO PENGUINS!

  • david

    san diego reference… nice..

  • The One

    First of all, peter must be referring to the illiterate assclowns comprising the capital’s fanbase when he speaks of “our own.” You are sadly mistaken sir, as I am a fan of neither team. Second, don’t be mad, medic. It’s not anyone else’s fault that your mother never told you not to use a casual linguistic approach when referencing the logical shortcomings of your intellectual subordinates. That would make sense, though, as I assume you’ve never experienced what it’s like to cognate at a higher rate than another human throughout the course of the miserable, mundane, yet still blissfully ignorant existence you call a life. Oh yeah, I forgot one thing. Not everyone has to look up words we were supposed to have learned in high school English. Who am I to judge, though. Whatever helps ease your state of painful denial, faggots :-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B7BLZUQM6L2U3SWL5ALFLYYXVA Talking Head

    this website is so ridiuclous. Im not even a penguins fan. Look at all of you “welcome to the first day of the internet”. You guys (yes im generalizing you crapital fans –> oops i insulted you and your ZERO CUPS). 

    Im not even surprised now that I said that last bit, that you all need shit like this to be happy, you guys dont know how to win when it counts. Enjoy that. Deep down youre all losers, literally, you cant go deep in the playoffs. Also im pretty sure the penguins own you guys in the playoffs.

    LEARN HOW TO WIN– THEN WIN WITH CLASS. INSTEAD OF LOSE AND HATE ON BETTER TEAMS. holy shit, how many virgins are on here?

    russian machine never breaks? hmmm hes not even an elite player anymore- ov literally is just a highly talented player that is performing very average.. you cant even argue that. jesus christ

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B7BLZUQM6L2U3SWL5ALFLYYXVA Talking Head

    im sure you know a great deal about hockey, and you probably have an ugly caps jersey with the #8 on it. congrats