Saturday, May 30, 2009

2009 Stanley Cup Finals Predictions

The Stanley Cup finals begin Saturday night, so naturally, everyone wants to make their predictions so that they might look smart at the end of the series. Let’s see what "the experts" think:


Matthew Barnaby – Wings in 7
John Buccigross – Penguins in 6
Scott Burnside – Penguins in 6
E.J. Hradek – Wings in 7
Pierre LeBrun – Penguins in 6
Barry Melrose – Wings in 6

(ESPN deserves credit for naming the number of games. As you continue, you'll see that most folks just picked the winning team.)


Bob McKenzie - Wings
James Duthie - Wings
Darren Pang - Wings
Ray Ferraro - no selection
Maggie the Monkey - Penguins

CBS Sports(line)

Wes Goldstein – Penguins
Greg Cimilluca – Penguins
Erin Brown – Penguins
Michael Hurcomb - Wings


Bruce Ciskie – Penguins
Adam Gretz – Penguins
Tom Mantzourainis – Penguins
Eric McErlain – Penguins
Kevin Schultz – Wings
Susan Slusser – Penguins


Jim Fox - Penguins in 6 (via video)

Naturally, the Penguins bloggers are picking the Penguins while the Red Wings bloggers are picking Detroit.

Since I'm a homer, I'll pick the Penguins in 6. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section. You can also add a tidbit (funny or not) about the series. My random prediction is that Craig Adams will score the final goal of the series.

Update: Sunday May 31

I found a few more predictions since I published this post.


Ross McKeon - Red Wings in 6
Matt Romig - Penguins in 6
Puck Daddy (aka Greg Wyshynski) - Wings in 7

Seth @ Empty Netters - Wings in 7

Friday, May 29, 2009

Black Card

When Ziggy wakes me up at 4:00 a.m. by playing with the bedroom blinds, I sometimes think to myself, I wish I had 24-hour concierge service. It would be so nice to call someone whenever I wanted to ask about vacation ideas and travel guides and whatever else concierges do. Well, imagine my excitement when I received such an offer in the mail. Besides the 24-hour concierge service, I would also get luxury gifts, be a part of an exclusive rewards program and have my very own patent pending carbon card. All of this could be mine since I received an invitation to apply for "the world’s most prestigious and versatile credit card," the Visa Black Card. The Director of Customer Experience sent me a personal invitation "limited to only 1% of U.S. residents." Someone must have made a huge mistake to ever include me in the 1% of anything in the United States.*

So anyway, all I need to do to have my own Black Card is pay an annual fee of $495, and I’m in. That’s not $4.95 or $49.50; that’s $495. I would have to pay $495 a year just for the honor of using the card to spend even more money. Although as a young boy, I always dreamed of having a patent pending carbon credit card, I think I’ll pass.

Credit card companies must really be struggling in the current economy and with the recent legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama to invite me into the black card club. Therefore, being the good consumer that I am, I'll give you a link to the Black Card website in case you want your own card.

* Actually, there are approximately 300 million people in the U.S. Take 1% of that, and I’ve got to have one of the best 3 million blogs. (Right?)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Penguins-Red Wings Story Lines

With Detroit’s win over the Chicago Blackhawks last night, the Red Wings will now face the Pittsburgh Penguins in a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup finals. For all of you hockey fans and non-hockey fans (at least for now) out there, let me be of assistance for what you may (or may not) hear from the media over the next week.

- Marian Hossa was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins last season and signed a one-year contract with Detroit this season.

- Jordan Staal does not have any brothers on the Red Wings.

- Sidney Crosby is still trying to grow a playoff beard.

- Chris Chelios will be the oldest player ever in the Stanley Cup finals at 72. (Actually, he’s only 47, and I have no idea whether or not he could be the oldest player ever in the Stanley Cup finals.)

- Will Henrik Zetterberg ever update his website?

- The Penguins are 3-0 in the playoffs when Craig Adams scores a goal. Why isn’t he playing 35 minutes a night?

- As a member of the Penguins last season, Ty Conklin was part of the trial of the decade against Marc-Andre Fleury on the old version of The Pensblog. (Just make sure that you also visit the new version of The Pensblog.) Conklin is now on Detroit.

- Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart is not related to singer Rod Stewart. (Although both think they are sexy.)

- Mikael Samuelsson played for the Penguins in 22 games during the 2002-2003 season. No one remembers this including Mikael Samuelsson.

- Jim Leyland will not turn into the traitor known as Bill Cowher.

- Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? He's a coach on the Detroit Tigers staff along with Jim Leyland and former Pirates Lloyd McClendon, Gene Lamont, and Rafael Belliard. I thought I would mention this since Detroit is facing Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup finals.

- Jerome Bettis is from Detroit.

- Larry Foote is also from Detroit and recently signed with the Lions after leaving the Steelers. Foote will be supporting the Red Wings. (The same article pointed out that Whitehall, Michigan native Nate McLouth was undecided. Is he still? Dejan - get on this!)

- After not participating in the Eastern Conference finals against Carolina, will Pascal Dupuis (the Iceman) play in the Stanley Cup finals?

- Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has been an NHL head coach for only a few months longer than me.

- Dan Cleary is still from Newfoundland and is still the first and only native of Newfoundland to win the Stanley Cup.

- The Penguins touched the Prince of Wales trophy.

- The Penguins are 2-0 in series when I do these previews.

This just in (as I'm writing this on Wednesday night): the Stanley Cup finals schedule has been announced (h/t Empty Netters):

Saturday, May 30 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC
Sunday, May 31 at Detroit, TBD-Night NBC
Tuesday, June 2 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm VERSUS
Thursday, June 4 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm VERSUS
* Saturday, June 6 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC
* Tuesday, June 9 at Pittsburgh, 8:00 pm NBC
* Friday, June 12 at Detroit, 8:00 pm NBC

Finally, here's the latest Yinz Luv 'Da Guins video:

Go Pens!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Would You Say?

Let’s play a game. Say you are a soccer referee and you give a red card to a 14 or 15 year-old kid from a New Jersey team for using offensive language. Yes, he said some bad words that were loud enough for you and several other players to hear, so the kid had to go. (This is cut and dry; no debates on this one.) Let’s also say that the father of said kid comes up to you after the game and asks for an explanation. You calmly explain that he was kicked out for bad language and start walking away. The Dad’s response: we drove 7 hours for this!

Forgetting professionalism for a second, what would you tell the parent?

1. Well, maybe if you looked at a map, it wouldn’t have taken you 7 hours to get from South Jersey to Northern Virginia.

2. Delaware. (and nod knowingly)

3. Your kid should have watched his f-ing language!

4. Here’s your chance to add your own response. Have fun!

Merchandise, Merchandise, Merchandise

That was quick! At 10:21pm last night, I received the following e-mail from the shop with Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 Eastern Conference Champions gear:

Unfortunately, I don't see what I'd really like - Eastern Conference Champions: The Flamethrower!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trivia Tuesday: Baseball Edition

Since I attended two Nationals-Pirates games last week (and missed trivia night), I figured I would have a baseball-themed Trivia Tuesday. Think you know baseball? Try your luck on the rules of the game.

True or False

1. Runner on second, two out. The batter hits a home run, scoring R2 (the runner on second), but the batter-runner (B-R) is declared out for missing first base. Only one run counts.

2. An outfielder may wear a first baseman’s mitt in the outfield.

3. A B-R can never be declared out when he is hit by a thrown ball as he is running in foul territory.

4. There is a no penalty for throwing a glove at a fair ball.

5. The ball always becomes dead immediately when a balk is called.

Multiple Choice

6. One out, runner on first. The batter hits a sharp one-hopper to the first baseman. The first baseman tags R1 (runner on first), who is standing on first base, then tags the base before the B-R arrives.
a. Double play.
b. The B-R is out when first base is tagged. The runner is safe since the force was removed.
c. The B-R is out on the force. To complete the double play, R1 must be retired at second base.
d. The B-R is declared out. R1 is safe since he is not forced until the B-R touches first base.

7. With a runner on first and one out, the batter hits a pop-up to the second baseman. He gets under the ball, then backs up and lets it fall untouched in front of him. He turns an easy double play.
a. The umpire should invoke the infield fly rule.
b. The double play stands.
c. The ball is ruled dead.
d. The batter is declared out on the intentional drop and the runner may advance at his own peril.

8. No outs, runner on first. A hot grounder is smashed up the middle. The shortstop fields the ball but throws it wildly trying to retire R1 approaching second, and the ball rolls into the first-base dugout just after R1 rounded second and the B-R has touched first. Place the runners.
a. Both runners score.
b. R1 scores; B-R is awarded third.
c. R1 scores; B-R is awarded second.
d. R1 is awarded third; B-R is awarded second.

9. The batter swings and misses for strike three. The pitch touches him as he swings and the ball drops to the ground. What is the ruling?
a. The batter is out. The ball remains alive and in play.
b. The batter can run and possibly reach first base safely.
c. The ball is dead and the batter is out.
d. The ball is dead and the batter is awarded first base.

10. Runner on third and no outs with a 1-2 count on the batter. The runner attempts to steal home, and as he is sliding across the plate, he is hit by the pitch within the batter’s strike zone.
a. The ball is alive and in play. All play stands.
b. The ball is dead and the batter called out on strikes. The run scores.
c. The ball is dead and the batter called out on strikes. The runner returns to third.
d. The ball is dead. This is a double play. The batter is out on strikes and the runner is out for interference.

As always, please leave your answers in the comments section below. Good luck!

These questions were included as part of the book I’m currently reading by Bruce Weber titled "As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires."

Since we're on the topic of baseball, today is the 50th anniversary of the greatest game ever pitched. Read more about Harvey Haddix's 12 perfect innings from Sunday's Post-Gazette.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Links and Videos

- Vote for Ben Roethlisberger against some guy named LeBron James in the Most Unstoppable Jock category of Spike TV's third annual Guys Choice Awards. Voting runs through May 29th and the Guys Choice Awards air on June 21st.

- Visit ThePensblog for your recap of game three against Carolina and all of your Pittsburgh Penguins needs.

- The guys at Benstonium continue to put out amazing video after amazing video. The latest is a 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins playoff tribute:

- ESPN an actual article about the Pirates. Granted the story is titled "The Pittsburgh Pirates near a record in mediocrity."

- DC Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg hosts a weekly discussion on The Washington Post. Here's one of his comments regarding Pittsburgh's recent domination against Washington teams:

This Pirates thing, though, is tough to take. After what happened with the Steelers and the Caps, we really needed some local team to defend D.C.'s pride against Western Penn. D.C. United and the Wizards don't get that chance. Heck, GW lost to Duquesne, and Georgetown lost, at home, by 16, to Pitt. Face it, we're a wholly owned subsidiary of Pittsburgh at this point.

The Pirates won three of four at Washington this week.

- Finally, here's something that has nothing to do with Pittsburgh sports. Here is my song of the week. (Month? Year? I don't do this very often.) That's Not My Name by The Ting Tings. Very catchy song! (h/t lacochran)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pirates-Nationals Notes

Since I was in attendance, I thought I would share my observations from the Tuesday and Wednesday night games between the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates.

- While it would be nice for the Nationals to be successful one day, in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the easy access to tickets. For the third time over the past two seasons, I arrived at the stadium without tickets only to have someone give me two tickets. Not sell me tickets, give me tickets. On Wednesday night's game, I was given tickets in the first row of section 100L (center field not far from where Nate McLouth made the game-saving catch). The normal ticket price is $30 per ticket and we even had someone in this section taking orders and bringing food and drink directly to our seats.

- Speaking of servers, when my friend ordered a hot dog, our server told him a few minutes later that they were out of hot dogs and had to make them from scratch. Do the Nationals have cows somewhere in the stadium ready to become hot dogs? (Just writing this past sentence makes me want to consider becoming a vegetarian.)

- I'd like to thank the Nationals for showing both A. LaRoche and A. LaRoche on the scoreboard. That really helped to differentiate the two brothers.

- Speaking of the LaRoches, what set of brothers have the most assists and put-outs from one brother to another? Our initial thought was Cal Ripken to Billy Ripken, but the LaRoches have to be pretty close, right? Any thoughts?

- Craig Monroe & Christian Guzman had a warm exchange at center field before the game. I feel like you need to know this.

- Pirates third base coach Tony Beasley deserves a lot of credit for Pittsburgh's victory on Wednesday. He made a bold move waving Andy LaRoche home in the fourth and then holding Freddy Sanchez in the ninth. Both turned out to be excellent moves.

- Andy LaRoche should start paying me to attend all of his games. He had three hits on Wednesday and a 2-run homer on Tuesday.

- I haven't watched Jeff Karstens enough this season to know whether this is a pattern, but he looked really good against the Nats the first time through the line-up. The hitters caught up to him quickly during their second go-around.

- There seems to be a lot of discussion from Nationals fans to fire manager Manny Acta. Personally, I don't think it is his fault that the team is so bad. As of a few days ago, the bullpen was on pace to have the worst ERA in the history of baseball. The team's defense is also the worst in the majors. My solution: rehire Jim Bowden as General Manager and then re-fire him the next day.

- The Nationals never announced the attendance at either game.

- Adam LaRoche is clutch in the 9th and 10th innings. He did next to nothing offensively in either game but on Tuesday, he hit a huge two-run double to give the Pirates a 7-5 lead in the 10th. On Wednesday, he was at-bat for the fateful wild pitch that scored the winning run. Coincidence? I say no. He is Mr. Clutch except for the first 8 innings!

- During Tuesday night's game, it would have been helpful to let us know that the Pirates were resting nearly the entire bullpen. Instead, we continually questioned why Sean Burnett and Tom Gorzelanny pitched so much when Matt Capps, John Grabow and Jesse Chavez were all available. This was especially the case after Burnett threw a wild pitch allowing the Nats to tie the game in the 9th.

- I would like to point out the jerk who sat two seats down from me on Wednesday night. He and his friend arrived in the fourth inning and talked loudly during the rest of the game. I'm all for going to a game and talking with your friends. That's part of the baseball game experience. However, he rarely talked about baseball and shifted to topics from naming all the French words he could to something about hanging out with drug dealers at a party. Plus, he also broke out his laptop for a few minutes.

- I wasn't a big fan of the old Screech mascot, but finally got used to him. When the team introduced the new gastric bypass Screech, I wasn't impressed. However, the person inside the costume changed my opinion. I'd share more but I worry what I reveal could be viewed as offensive, when it was really funny.

Overall, it was nice to see so many fellow Pirates fans at the stadium. While I don't recall seeing any Steelers clothing (though I did see one Terrible Towel), there was a handful of Crosby and Malkin jerseys and shirts.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sick Day

I’m at home today with a sore throat and runny nose (or is it running nose; maybe I should just write nasal congestion) and am basically not feeling well. If President Obama or Dan Rooney contacted me, I would have sucked it up and attended the Steelers ceremony at the White House, but since that didn’t happen, I’m hanging out with Ziggy. As a result, you get an extra special post today with my random thoughts.

- Morgan Freeman just gave an amazing speech to the Eastside High School students. I’m ready to take and pass the test, but first I’m going to sing Lean On Me at the assembly.

- The 24-caplet pack of Tylenol Cold Day costs $5.99 at Giant and the 24-caplet pack of Tylenol Cold Night also costs $5.99. However, if you want to buy the 24-pack that contains 12 Day pills and 12 Night pills, the cost is $6.49.

- Jake Peavy going to the White Sox would really screw up my fantasy baseball team. Don’t approve the trade, Jake! Use your no-trade clause!

- I think I’m going to try to update my links over the next few days. If you have a blog that you would like to be added, please let me know. Of course, I also hope that you provide a link to my blog.

- I am grateful that Scrubs and Bernie Mac are on television today. I can’t watch the judge shows. (Who the hell is Judge Alex?)

- If you’re on Facebook, please join the Sean’s Ramblings Facebook page.

Time for another shot of orange juice!

Overheard at Nationals Stadium

"Are you going to the Wesley Clark Sex and The City event?"

I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation, but it had something to do with a function featuring General Wesley Clark and Sex and the City’s (and Mannequin’s) Kim Cattrall.

I’ll have much more about the two Pirates-Nationals games I attended on Tuesday and Wednesday later today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

The big news in the NFL the past few days has been James Harrison’s refusal to visit President Obama when the Steelers are honored at the White House. Harrison originally told WTAE "if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don't win the Super Bowl. As far as I'm concerned, [Obama] would've invited Arizona if they had won." This also led to an extremely funny post by Christmas Ape at KSK (R-rated language for those sensitive readers). However, Harrison revealed to the Post-Gazette that the real reason he is missing the White House visit is because he has a fear of flying. I guess this also means that Harrison will not be a Monday Night Football broadcaster after he retires.

With Harrison missing from the festivities on Thursday, and based on my understanding of Algebra II from high school, it seems like there is an open spot for someone to attend. Therefore, I’d like to propose someone that already lives in the Washington DC area and does not need to fly. This person has been a Steelers fan since birth and even has this photo with Hall of Famer Franco Harris.

Plus, this person is a terrific blogger (at least in his mind), and he’d be more than happy to write about his experiences on this very blog. I have an idea: how about Sean of Sean’s Ramblings!

In all seriousness, how does one get invited to the Steelers ceremony at the White House? Besides actually being a Rooney or a Steelers player or a coach. If you have any connections at the White House, and can get me in, I’d love to witness this event. I'll even get you a Pop Tart from California Tortilla (Wednesday only). President Obama, if you happen to be reading this, have Rahm send me an e-mail!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

This week's theme: science. (Yes, it's perfectly fine - and encouraged - to yell science just like the scientist in the Thomas Dolby song.) Your challenge is to name the country in which the famous scientists were born. Good luck!

1. Johannes Kepler and Albert Einstein

2. Joseph Lister and Steven Hawking

3. Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei

4. Alexander Graham Bell and Alexander Fleming

5. Nicolas Copernicus and Marie Curie

6. Niels Bohr and August Krogh

7. Louis Pasteur and Antoine Laurent Lavoisier

8. Sigmund Freud and Gregor Mendel

9. Edwin Hubble and Linus Pauling

10. Dmitri Mendeleev and Theodosius Dobzhansky

Please note that there are no repeats among this group. For example, if Albert Einstein and Johannes Kepler were born in Canada (they were not), none of the other answers would be Canada.

As always, please leave your answers in the comments section and do not use the internet to find the correct answer. In case you are wondering, we scored 7 out of 10.

This quiz is courtesy of Stump Trivia!

Monday, May 18, 2009

NHL Player Websites

Watching the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL playoffs, I was reminded of my visit to Joe Louis Arena during the second year of my annual hockey road trip. Specifically, the Red Wings encouraged attendees to visit Henrik Zetterberg’s website. With the Red Wings advancing to the Western Conference finals, I thought I would revisit Zetterberg’s website to see what he thought about yesterday’s game against Chicago as well as the exciting game 7 victory over Anaheim. Here’s what "Hank" has to say:

We did it! Mission accomplished

It was trully a team effort and now that we have it, we arent ready to give it up. Stanley is just going to have to stay in Detroit! Of course, a great thanks to all of my fans that gave me the energy to go all the way last season. I hope that you will be there to support me and the team again.

I hope that you will enjoy both my website and webshop as well as follow me and the Red Wings this season!

This headline and message have remained unchanged for months. Plus, apparently that is how truly is spelled in Sweden.

Fortunately, the top of the page (and the top left of the page for every NHL team page – such as the Pittsburgh Penguins) shows three drop down options: Team Sites, Affiliate Sites and NHL Player Sites. Let's see what other NHL players are doing.

For example, what does Rick Nash think about the Columbus Blue Jackets reaching the playoffs for the first time in franchise history?

The page cannot be found.

Amazing insight!

San Jose's Jonathan Cheechoo must be disappointed about the team's early playoff departure. Here's the picture from his website:

Cheechoo is more attractive than I remember. The rest of the website includes the headline "Welcome to" and contains related searches for jerseys, games, cars, Calgary Flames Hockey and more. Basically, it appears that someone didn’t renew their website, and this possibly evil woman took it over. This same woman is also prominently featured on Boston's Michael Ryder’s website.

Although the websites of Martin Brodeur, Mike Modano and Ryan Miller and several other players look legit, even if they aren’t regularly updated, the NHL should be embarrassed. While I am sure that they do not administer these websites, they do promote them on every team page. Does anyone at NHL Headquarters ever look at their website?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Penguins-Hurricanes Storylines

Now that the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals, we can all focus on the Eastern conference final between the Pens and the Carolina Hurricanes, who defeated the Boston Bruins in a tremendous game seven Thursday night. For those of you seeking storylines for the series, let me be of assistance of what you may (or may not) hear from sportscasters and writers over the next week.

- Eric Staal and Jordan Staal are brothers. I feel like you should hear this from me since the announcers will fail to mention this.

- Although Tuomo Ruutu is the brother of former Penguin Jarkko Ruutu, Pirate great Turner Ward is not related to Carolina's goalie Cam Ward.

- Scott Walker, who scored the series winning goal against Boston, is not a Texas Ranger even though he may think he is after punching out the Bruins’ Aaron Ward.

- Sergei Samsonov and Simeon Varlamov are not the same person.

- It's time for Bill Cowher to decide whether he supports the Penguins or the Canes.

- Cam Ward and Ryan Bayda are both from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. OK, no one outside of Saskatoon will mention this, but I still think Saskatoon is one of the greatest city names ever.

- After watching hundreds of "The Portal at" commercials, you will snap and want to "Scott Walker" guy who randomly (and unconvincingly) appears to be in the stands and locker room. Conversely, you realize that the commercials aren’t as bad as you originally thought.

- The Penguins will get all of the calls since the NHL wants Sidney Crosby in the finals. Oh sorry about that. I channeled my co-worker who is a Washington Capitals fan momentarily.

- Craig Adams is on a one-game goal-scoring streak! (Or the Penguins are undefeated in game sevens when Craig Adams scores a goal.)

- Ron Francis, Carolina’s associate head coach, won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins. Even if Francis decides to "Scott Walker" the cotton candy guy, which would completely out of character for this three time Lady Byng recipient, he will still be loved in Pittsburgh. (h/t Empty Netters for this video)

- Will the Pens see the return of Casey Hampton at its home games? Since Ric Flair is a huge Canes fan, who would win in a steel-cage match between these two?

Let's just hope Casey Hampton keeps his shirt on this time unlike during the Super Bowl parade.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

TMI Thursday: Disturbing Trend

We interrupt our coverage of the Pittsburgh Penguins for a brief TMI Thursday. While I’m going back to my roots of TMI Thursday of bathroom experiences, I want to share something that is not specifically about me. Over the past month or two, I have noticed that more and more people are not flushing the urinals at work. While some of this may be due to the fact that you really need to flush the one urinal (as opposed to barely touching the handle), the people using these toilets should be familiar with the equipment and know how to flush. Are people just trying to help the environment by not flushing thus saving water? I tend to think not, but there is the old Thomas Jefferson* quote, “If it’s yellow, keep it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”

Make sure to visit LiLu for more (interesting) TMI Thursday. Plus, you can click here to see all of my TMI Thursday archives.

* Or perhaps, Benjamin Frankin.

Unleash the Fleury

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made a huge save on an Alexander Ovechkin breakaway just three minutes into Wednesday night's game seven. Arguably, that could have been the play of the game. Of course, most folks will talk and write about Crosby’s two goals and the fact that the Penguins scored twice in eight seconds culminating with Craig Adams’ first ever playoff goal. However, if Ovechkin scores there, the whole complexion of the game is different.

Since I live in the DC area and have had to listen to constant Capitals coverage and taunts by several co-workers after game six, I do want to point out that the Capitals had only 12 shots and 6 scoring chances in the first two periods. Way to show up for a game seven!

Meanwhile, the Capitals talk around the area over the next few days will likely focus on what happened to Mike Green. Although Green had four assists in this series, he was not the same amazing player as he was during the regular season where he led all defensemen in goals and points. He has to be hurt, right? His poor performance in this series can't be attributed just to a new hockey stick.

The Capitals as a whole got very little offensive production from its defensemen. Tom Poti had 2 goals, 5 assists, and 13 shots in the first round against the Rangers, but no goals, 1 assist and 5 shots versus Pittsburgh. The other defensemen combined for 1 goal (Jurcina) and 3 assists (1 each for Sloan, Pothier and Shaone Morrisonn - who should be offended by the spelling of his name). That's a grand total of 1 goal and 8 assists from the Caps D (and I'm not including the overtime goals that deflected off the sticks of Morrisonn and Poti into their own net).

Meanwhile, the Penguins got 6 goals (Letang - 3; Eaton - 2; Gonchar - 1) and 15 assists (Gonchar - 4; Letang & Orpik - 3; Scuderi - 2; Boucher, Eaton & Goligoski -1) from its D. That's a huge difference. Actually, that’s a difference of 5 goals and 7 assists. Seth – you have to include this stat in Empty Netters!

Anyway, that's about as detailed analysis you'll get from me. For more coverage of game seven, make sure you visit The Pensblog, the Post-Gazette (including the Empty Netters blog) and the Washington Post (including the DC Sports Bog).

Finally, I’d like to thank the Penguins for granting my birthday wish!

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All I Want For My Birthday

is a Pittsburgh Penguins victory over the Washington Capitals tonight. That’s not asking for too much, is it?

To celebrate my birthday, we made 6:30 dinner reservations tonight at a nice restaurant that just opened recently. Since the Capitals won game six, we’re now planning on arriving much closer to 5:30 since the hockey game starts at 7. Therefore, I want to publicly thank my wife for planning a nice evening and apologize to her since I’ll probably watch the clock throughout dinner to ensure that I’m home for the opening face-off. Is that wrong of me?

Photo from Sportsecyclopeida.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

Your challenge for this week's Trivia Tuesday is to answer the 10 questions below regarding television shows. Good luck!

1. What singer played Blossom’s estranged mother?

2. What was Wonder Woman’s alias?

3. Who is Bart Simpson’s favorite super hero?

4. What high school did Zack, A.C., Screech and Kelly attend?

5. What was Niles Crane’s oft-mentioned wife’s name?

6. Lost is filmed on location--where?

7. Where did the Walsh family live before they moved to Beverly Hills?

8. In Fresh Prince of Bel Air, what was the butler’s name?

9. In Seinfeld, who were the passengers in the "hansom cab" where the horse developed a flatulence issue?

10. Which lead character drove a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible?

Please leave your answers in the comments section and do not use the internet to find the correct answer. As I like to write, either you know it or you don't (or you guess). In case you are wondering, we scored an 8 out of 10.

Thanks to Stump Trivia for providing these fun quizzes!

Monday, May 11, 2009

To Twitter or Not to Twitter

I’d like to try something new at Sean’s Ramblings where I’ll occasionally bring up a topic for debate.* Today’s topic: Twitter. I have previously written that I don’t understand the appeal of Twitter. I think that you’re limited to a certain number of characters and that seems rather arbitrary to me. However, to be fair, I really don’t know how Twitter works. When someone tweets (is that what the cool kids call it?), do you get an e-mail or text message? Is this entire thing similar to the status update on Facebook?

Since several folks have told me that I should have a Twitter account (page?), I thought I would open up the debate. I’d like to hear from those pro-Twitter folks about why it is good and whether or not I should start an account. Conversely, are there folks that are anti-Twitter or think that this is just a waste of time?

* I should also come up with a cool name for these debates. Battle Royal seems a little much.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Capitals Fans Game Five Reactions

For your viewing pleasure, here are some posts from the Washington Capitals message board following the team's game 5 loss to the Penguins (with some comments from me in bold):

Dear Ted,, I'd like a refund.

by CapsLockNLoad

Dear Ted,

Please cancel my season tickets for next season. If I wanted tickets to scripted battles of grown men hitting each other and over hyped feudds, I would have bought wrestling tickets.

Sean's note: Just rent The Wrestler instead. It's only $1 through Redbox and is much cheaper than Caps season tickets. Mickey Rourke is great!

Ted can you Please Complain to the Media, We the fans will Pay for your Fine!!

by Fishredcap18

Ted can you please complain to the media about the fixed/bias Reffing whatever you want to call it? Pittsburgh complains to the media and gets the calls. The DC media, POST News etc will never complain about it. They will look the other way. Pittsburgh has twice as many power plays as the Caps in this series. They are getting the benefit of the doubt. Pittsburgh has PP in OT on the Road and the Caps get NO PP in OT. Was their opportunity to call on a penatly on Pitt in OT? on The game winning breakaway was completely due to a NON CALL. You can't tell me the Refs don't favor one team. Look at Game 7 last year. What is the point of buying Playoff tickets when the Refs are going to have an influence on the outcome of the game?? Their is no punishment in league for poor officiating. Ted please make a stink about it publicly and not just on your blog. We the fans will back you up and pay any fine that you might acquire from the league. Something must change.


I'd love to see Ted get fined by the league, and in response, raise season tickets by $100 per ticket and explain that the increase is to help pay the fine. I'm sure that will go over well.

The caps played great tonight but they aren't as good as the Penguins

by HckyFan

That appears to be the case. The owner will have all kinds of spin and happy talk but the fact is that the Caps aren't ready for prime time. Semin hasn't shown up. Green has turned into a head case. They have no secondary scoring to speak of in this series. The defense over all is highly suspect. They don't have a chance Monday, not a chance. And it isn't the refs, although I have no doubt that the NHL is doing what they can to get pittsburgh into the finals.

by SeminOMG


It's Stalin's fault the Caps lost the past three games.

Can one of us PLEASE punch Crosby?

by Scrabbleship

I'm tired of seeing us choke. I want Crosby's face re-arranged so he will be too fugly to be the face of the league. We should do that if we have any souls which nobody in western Pennsylvania has.

Kill me now...

by Light the red light

How are we going to do that,None of our guys can catch him.

by SamsDog

Isn't that conspiracy to commit murder? Call the state police, damn it.

by Cloverfield37

If Brash is leaving anyway, why not go all out and get him Dale H style after he scores?


by Capsfaninbc

Cause he never did anything to warrant a penalty, he established body position and never moved forward into Gordon.......Boyd simply fell down after running into the was a good non-call.

NOT why we lost tonight, too many no shows once again is why....and maybe Don Cherry is right for once....CUT YOUR HAIR MIKE GREEN! IT AINT HELPING!

So, are you REALLY surprised?

by Kit_Fisto

Ask yourself in your heart of hearts if you're actually surprised by this? It's been scripted since the Canes got lucky vs the Devils with a min left. You KNEW it was coming if you're have been a Caps fan longer than the Ovechkin era.

Like I said befor the day the Caps wina cup is the year they do NOT face the Pens in the playoffs. You could put Crosby, Malkin, Chara, Pronger and Patrick Roy in his prime on our current team and face the Pens if they called up their entire AHL team and we would still lose the series.

again, are you really, actually surprised by this? I'm not. People call me overly negative and tell me to Hey off because I face reality before it happens. Whatever people.

This makes no sense to me. Why would these players be on the Caps? Plus, Crosby and Malkin would only be 12 if he was playing with Roy in his prime. Of course the Penguins' AHL team would defeat 12 year-olds.

by Atomic

Well you do realize the Penguins defense is a lot better than the Capitals defense.

by Bodycheck

Pittsburgh was the better team in 4 of 5 games and because of that they had the lead now in this series and they deserve it . We got outplayed in every single game and Varlamov hadn't kept us with big saves in the game tonight. I hope Theodore is in net on monday and I hope he has a better rebound control than Varlamov.

You really want Theodore? Have you watched him play this season?

by KolzigandOvechkinThatsAllUNeed

I really want to say I'm not surprised, but I just can't shake it, I mean it was the same thing with the Ravens, I was all excited they were beating the Steelers, and then haha just kidding, we aren't going too. I guess I just really really despise the pens, thats why I am surprised. I should probably by now learn to not expect a lot, but I can't help it... why?

Yes, it's the vast Pittsburgh conspiracy. The fate of world depends on the success of Pittsburgh sports teams. I guess you already expect the Pirates to win 3 of 4 against the Nationals next week?

Game six is Monday night at 7:00.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Steelers Should Sign Favre

Once again, Brett Favre has been in the news quite a bit recently. Much to the dismay of Big Daddy Drew of Kissing Suzy Kolber (language may be NSFW), the speculation is that Favre would join the Minnesota Vikings, but according to Yahoo, "Favre told Vikings coach Brad Childress that he wanted to remain retired." Nevertheless, I don’t expect that people will believe that Favre is truly retired until the day Super Bowl 44 is played. Therefore, to end the speculation and the months of "will Brett be back?" stories, I propose that the Pittsburgh Steelers sign Favre. From his perspective, wouldn’t he want one more chance to win a second Super Bowl? The defending Super Bowl champions are one of next season’s top contenders and could give Favre that opportunity.

From the Steelers side, we all witnessed what happened after Super Bowl 40. The Steelers finished the season 8-8 and failed to reach the postseason. In his final season as Steelers coach, Bill Cowher did not have his usual enthusiasm and the team seemed to play without the same passion and determination that they did during the previous season. Plus, that was the season in which Ben Roethlisberger missed one game after an appendectomy and had that whole motorcycle accident thing. To ensure that Roethlisberger doesn’t have the same drama following his second Super Bowl championship, signing Favre could keep Ben away from motorcycles and a second appendicitis. In addition, signing Favre would keep the team hungry. A team that wins a championship can’t be complacent and needs some new players who are desperate to win the title. Sure, the team has a new rookie class highlighted by Ziggy Hood, but rookies don’t have the same perspective that veterans have. And yes, the Steelers signed free agents Keiwan Ratliff and Shaun McDonald, but they don’t bring the same history and headlines that Brett Favre would. While Favre competing for another Super Bowl would be a national story, I can’t see the same level of "Bettis wins a championship in his hometown" coverage for Ratliff or McDonald.

Another reason to sign Favre would be to help in the development of Dennis Dixon and rookie free agent Mike Reilly out of Central Washington. Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch need to focus on learning the playbook and winning games. They may not have the time to mentor the younger quarterbacks. Dixon needs someone to teach him what it’s like to win a Super Bowl. Brett Favre can do that. Of course, when Favre is busy meeting with Peter King or Rachel Nichols, Dixon could always talk to Roethlisberger about the experience of winning two Super Bowls.

If only John Madden was alive to see Favre as a Steeler.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

TMI Thursday: Overtime Hockey

There is nothing in sports comparable to overtime in the NHL playoffs. The players play to exhaustion and fans’ blood pressure goes up as each shot towards the net could be cause for celebration or dejection. I remember being a junior in college watching game four of the 1996 Penguins-Capitals Eastern Conference semifinals when Petr Nedved scored in quadruple overtime and then staying up all night to write a paper. I also remember watching game four of the 2000 Penguins-Flyers Eastern Conference semifinals when Keith Primeau won the game for Philadelphia in the fifth overtime. I had to drive home from my friends’ house, barely stayed awake the next day at work and school and constantly questioned why I stayed up so late to watch THAT.

So yesterday, I attended trivia night at a bar/restaurant about 25 minutes from my house (you’ll see the questions in next week’s Trivia Tuesday). Trivia ended near the beginning of the Penguins-Capitals overtime, and I decided to stick around to watch it. However, I knew I had a big day at work today so I couldn’t stay out very late. Plus I was driving a friend back who had an even bigger day at work today, so I didn’t want to keep him out very late. I bargained with myself that I would leave at the first stoppage after the 10-minute mark of the overtime. My rationale was that if I left at that time, I would be able to watch the start of the 2nd overtime as I figured that someone would either score within the first 10 minutes or the game was going to be 3 or 4 overtime classic. Folks who followed the Penguins-Capitals game know what happened next.

As soon as I got to my car, I turned to the Capitals radio broadcast just in time to hear announcer Steve Colby (I think that’s his name) yell score. There was a slight moment of panic in hearing the Capitals broadcaster being so enthusiastic in making the call. However, loud horn and crowd noise in the background made me happy, even if I did think, “if only I stayed in the bar another minute...”

So that’s my TMI Thursday. Nothing too dramatic or exciting; just the fact that I call myself a Penguins fan but I missed Kris Letang’s winning goal. Game four is tomorrow and game five is back in DC on Saturday. Go Pens!

Make sure to visit LiLu for more TMI Thursday. Plus, you can now click here to see my TMI Thursday archives.

Celebrate Fairfax Tickets

So I totally missed the fact that there is a great deal on tickets to this year’s Celebrate Fairfax through today. Adult admission tickets for the June 5-7, 2009 festival are on sale at Celebrate Fairfax’s website for only $7. That’s right, $7! When was the last time you paid $7 to see a concert? Ticketmaster fees alone are generally much more than $7. For $7, you can see Blues Traveler on Friday, June 5th or Phil Vassar on Sunday, June 7th. You can also spend $7 to see the Old Skool All-Stars of Tone Loc, Naughty by Nature and Sugar Hill Gang plus The Fixx on Saturday, June 6th.*

Plus, there is much more to Celebrate Fairfax than just the headliners including dozens of local artists, nightly fireworks, 300+ exhibitors, vendors and crafters and an interactive SciTech Center.

If you happen to read this after today (Thursday, May 7), don’t worry. There are still discounted tickets available prior to the festival, just not as good as $7. The discounted tickets (I believe they are $9 for adults) are also available at the Wegmans in Fairfax.

* The Fixx is not part of the Old Skool All-Stars; they play in the afternoon while the all-stars perform at night. Actually, maybe these artists will meet at Celebrate Fairfax and form a new band called Naughty Sugar Fixx! (Tone Loc can serve as the manager.)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Win a Trip to Washington DC

Even though I recently won the Mega Millions lottery, I still go through the coupon section of the Sunday newspaper. This week’s coupon section included a contest by Smucker’s where you can win a personal fitness and nutrition consultation by Denise Austin in Washington, D.C. Since I’ve always wanted visit Washington, I thought I would look into the official rules.

The great prize winner receives "one 4-day/3-night trip for winner and one guest to Washington, D.C. for a 4 hour fitness consultation and personal training session for winner with Denise Austin." While I’m sure that the winner will be excited to have the session with Denise Austin, he/she may be reluctant to tell the guest that their 4 hour fitness consultation will consist of walking on the Mall in 95-degree weather and 100% humidity.

The winner also receives "round-trip coach air transportation from a major airport near winner's home to Washington, D.C." Since the closest airport to my home is Washington Dulles, if I win would I have to fly from Dulles to Washington National? If so, I’m not looking forward to the layover in Chicago or Atlanta. If I have to fly from Dulles to Dulles, do I still need to go through security? I guess I could always eat at the airport California Tortilla.

Of course, the official rules have a provision if the winner resides within 100 miles of Washington, but I think it is funny to think about someone flying from Dulles, BWI or National.

Anyway, to enter the contest, visit the Smucker's website.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Trivia Tuesday

Welcome to a brand new Trivia Tuesday! This week I present nine questions that supposedly are not trick questions. As an added bonus, I don't know the answers to most of these questions, so this should be fun.

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many "alphabet" stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle? This question in no way endorses the purchasing or trying of said beverage.

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters 'dw' and they are all common words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter 'S.'

As always, please do not use the internet for answers...unless it is to help me confirm whether or not they are correct. The only ones I definitely know are numbers 6 and 8. Good luck!

Monday, May 04, 2009

NCAA Division III Lacrosse Question

I’m guessing that no one who reads this regularly follows NCAA Division 3 men’s lacrosse. However, can someone explain to me how Ithaca College failed to make the NCAA Tournament? Ithaca finished the season ranked #8 in the USILA Division III Men's Lacrosse Coaches' Poll with a 14-2 record (7-1 in away games) including an impressive 11-8 victory at #4 Cortland. Ithaca lost to Nazareth in the Empire 8 Tournament semifinals in overtime meaning that the Bombers could not earn an automatic bid. So that loss alone causes the team to be excluded from the tournament?

The Ithaca Journal wrote that "Ithaca got caught up in a cold numbers game. The Bombers were one of four of the USILA Division III coaches' poll's top-five teams to miss out on their conference's automatic berth. No. 1 Roanoke lost to No. 10 Washington & Lee in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference final; No. 2 Middlebury fell in the NESCAC semifinals to eventual champion, No. 17 Wesleyan; and No. 4 Stevenson lost last weekend to No. 5 Salisbury in the Capital Conference title game."

Please note that in the final poll, Roanoke finished at #3; Middlebury at #7; and Stevenson #1. Not only did these three teams earn NCAA berths, but they also received first-round byes. I call shenanigans! A few commenters at Inside Lacrosse also state that Ithaca got screwed.

Therefore, I demand a full explanation from the NCAA lacrosse selection committee! Where is Billy Packer to ask these tough questions to the committee chair?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sunday Links and Videos

I haven't provided links in a while so even though some of these may be a week or two old, they are definitely worth checking out:

- LiLu welcomes two kittens to the family, Murray and Axe Murderer. Awesome names!

- Behind the Steel Curtain presents the Steelers projected 53-man roster. Yes, it is still early May.

- PSAMP has another China Jack video, this week's featuring a toast to Sally Wiggin.

- Cotter's Meeting People is Easy featured an amazing 17 panelists (and I wasn't one of them). [One for the Other Thumb]

- RizzoSports Blog scored an interview with Victoria Azarenka, a future tennis star from Belarus.

Finally, NBC4 here in Washington features on update about the Jewish Jordan. Did you know he plays for the Heat?

And this just in...a new Yinz Luv da Guins video:

In my mind, game one didn't fully happen since I didn't watch the game. The Penguins-Capitals series starts Monday!

Friday, May 01, 2009

I Won the Lottery!

The Virginia Lottery has a great advertising campaign at some Metro stations. It’s a simple electronic billboard with bright red numbers indicating the current jackpot for Mega Millions. I’ve noticed the numbers gradually increasing week after week until it said $155 million on Tuesday. I figured I could use a few extra million (in addition to the zero million I currently have), so I played the lottery for the first time in years. Well, you are now reading the blog of the winner of Mega Millions! That’s right; on one of my tickets I selected one of the pick five numbers correctly and also got the mega pick number. I spent $5 to win $3. That’s enough to buy 3 more tickets today since apparently no one won the jackpot.

Here’s your question of the day: If you won the lottery (let’s say $100 million as opposed to $3), would you still work? Please note that being a full-time blogger doesn’t count.